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PRRI Study on Religious Liberty Issues


bsjkki

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I have not heard of this organization before but they profess to be non-partisan. Their study linked to in this Deseret News article http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865675305/Do-religious-teachings-on-LGBT-issues-drive-young-people-away-from-faith.html has many interesting statistics on religious liberty issues. http://www.prri.org/research/lgbt-transgender-bathroom-discrimination-religious-liberty/  The study contains so many statistics on hot button current events about where public policy and religious liberty intersect, it is hard to discuss them all. They found a partisan divide on transgender bathroom laws and large support for LGBTQ non-discrimination laws. The chart on the morality of sex outside of marriage laws is very interesting. 

The Deseret News article discusses a drop in young adults leaving their faith due to LGBTQ issues. It would be interesting to see all these statistics from a Mormon perspective. I found these concluding statements in the Deseret News article interesting. 

For example, 72 percent of young adults in 2013 said religious groups are alienating young people by being "too judgmental" about gay and lesbian issues, compared with 60 percent today — a drop of 12 percentage points, PRRI reported.While this trend may be cause for celebration for some, it may do little to stem the flow of teens and 20-somethings away from faith, as Cox noted. "The interesting thing about this shift is how little impact it appears to be having on rates of religious disaffiliation," he said.There are no easy solutions to the rise of the nones, so it's important for parents and pastors alike to stay committed to building connections with young people that can withstand moments of doubt or tense debates, said Nancy Ammerman, a professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University, to the Deseret News in November." The research I've seen that is most convincing says that relationships matter," she said. "It's both about families being committed to participating together and about youth having other adults in a congregation who are trusted figures."

I have found that young adults who have friends at church and trusted adult mentors stay active in church at much higher rates. (My anecdotal experience) I don't think as Mormons we allow "tense debates" at church for people to to withstand. It is a shame because our youth are then unprepared for "tense debates" with friends and peers. 

 

 

 

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As I said to Johnnie Cake very recently on this board:

Quote

However, you may want to rethink your commitment to the principle of yaha -- simply because it doesn't have true survival value for most of society.  Mormon values turn out to be far healthier (physically and psychologically) in general than much of what passes for fun in the larger gentile culture.  I'm thinking of the self-destructive behavior among youth in many sectors of American society, often leading to widespread use of booze and opioids, which in turn lead to increased crime to support those habits, in turn leading to prostitution and the spread of virulent disease -- now as likely to be present in rural as well as inner-city areas.

Turns out that the well-organized Mormon emphasis (including money) on youth activities makes a huge difference in preventing societal disintegration.  Indeed, the same sort of emphasis in a non-Mormon context has made all the difference.  Two programs in particular ought to get our attention:  Youth in Iceland, and its spinoff Youth in Europe.

Years ago, Icelandic youth were rapidly falling into high levels of drug use and suicide.  Researchers took a close look and came up with a well-funded program setting legal boundaries for youth, getting parents fully engaged, and providing plenty of fun and challenging alternatives to dissolute behavior.   And it worked.

Emma Young, “How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs,” Atlantic, Jan 19, 2017, online at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/01/teens-drugs-iceland/513668/ .

I don't know that "tense debates" are necessary, but mentoring certainly is.  In the meantime, those who leave the faith will not survive nearly as well as those who stay.  Millennial drift will have no long-term survival value.  The same is true in any sort of community, whether Methodist or Jewish -- those who keep the faith will prosper.  Those who do not, will fade away into the Land of Yaha.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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11 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As I said to Johnnie Cake very recently on this board:

I don't know that "tense debates" are necessary, but mentoring certainly is.  In the meantime, those who leave the faith will not survive nearly as well as those who stay.  Millennial drift will have no long-term survival value.  The same is true in any sort of community, whether Methodist or Jewish -- those who keep the faith will prosper.  Those who do not, will fade away into the Land of Yaha.

I agree...I would like for more of them to stay because the path is so much better. The reality is we are losing many and need to figure out the best way to keep them. In my RS, my Stake President asked the sisters what their fears were. Their fears were overwhelmingly about their kids and especially about their kids that have left the faith.

Edited by bsjkki
Grammar is not my friend
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For what little my input (as a non-parent) may be worth, I don't want to be seen as trying to put lipstick on the pig of youth disaffection and dissociation from religion.  Yes, it is a serious problem, for parents in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as for those of other denominations.  That said, the Church of Jesus Christ and its leaders ought not be too eager to "solve" the problem by acceding to the direction of the prevailing winds on social issues.  The Church is what it is precisely because of its willingness to take what are seen as unpopular stands on those issues.  "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," wrote the writer of Proverbs.  This scripture, of course, says nothing about a temporary departure or detour from the path when one is young. 

We should reach out to those who become disaffected, with minds open enough to realize that if we saw the world as they do, if we gave utmost priority to the things that they do, likely, we would make the same decisions that they make and have made.  At the same time, we should continue to have open arms and open hearts, ready and willing to welcome them back, if-and-when they choose to return.  Whatever misgivings they may have about the unwillingness of the Church of Jesus Christ to compromise on fundamental, core doctrine, they may well realize that the only safe place, not only spiritually speaking but also, in a large sense, physically speaking, is among their fellow Saints.  But if the Church of Jesus Christ compromises too much after the fashion of the world, there will be no safe place left for them to return to.

My $0.02.  Your mileage likely varies. :) 

Edited by Kenngo1969
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4 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

For what little my input (as a non-parent) may be worth, I don't want to be seen as trying to put lipstick on the pig of youth disaffection and dissociation from religion.  Yes, it is a serious problem, for parents in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as for those of other denominations.  That said, the Church of Jesus Christ and its leaders ought not be too eager to "solve" the problem by acceding to the direction of the prevailing winds on social issues.  The Church is what it is precisely because of its willingness to take what are seen as unpopular stands on those issues.  "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," wrote the writer of Proverbs.  This scripture, of course, says nothing about a temporary departure or detour from the path when one is young. 

We should reach out to those who become disaffected, with minds open enough to realize that if we saw the world as they do, if we gave utmost priority to the things that they do, likely, we would make the same decisions that they make and have made.  At the same time, we should continue to have open arms and open hearts, ready and willing to welcome them back, if-and-when they choose to return.  Whatever misgivings they may have about the unwillingness of the Church of Jesus Christ to compromise on fundamental, core doctrine, they may well realize that the only safe place, not only spiritually speaking but also, in a large sense, physically speaking, is among their fellow Saints.  But if the Church of Jesus Christ compromises too much after the fashion of the world, there will be no safe place left for them to return to.

My $0.02.  Your mileage likely varies. :) 

I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I have explained often that I advocate for no change in doctrine or stressing the importance of keeping the commandments. My take is that we need to analyze and change up methods of teaching to help get the desired outcome. I 100% agree with Elder Ballard in his talk to CES instructors. https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century?lang=eng He acknowledges the youth today are facing new and different challenges and we must teach them differently. What has worked in the past to build strong testimonies is no longer enough and we must do better. We have to be ready to tackle the tough subjects and answer the hard questions. Sometimes, we don't know and it is okay to admit it. I have seen and witness this generation needs to be told why they must do something. They must be inspired to want to live the gospel. They react badly to arbitrary expectations that make no sense to them. They do not respond well to authoritarian leaders who nit pick on the non-doctrinal and non-commandment issues.  

For Phoebe, Marion, and William, hearing a pure testimony became the catalyst that changed their lives forever. The same can be true for your students. However, given the realities of today’s world, pure testimony may not always be enough. Phoebe, Marion, and William were clean and pure and were free from pornography and worldliness as they sat at the feet of inspired missionaries, teachers, and leaders. The Spirit easily penetrated their soft and pure hearts.Today, the story is much different, as some of your students have already been infected by pornography and worldliness before they ever reach your classes.It was only a generation ago that our young people’s access to information about our history, doctrine, and practices was basically limited to materials printed by the Church. Few students came in contact with alternative interpretations. Mostly, our young people lived a sheltered life.Our curriculum at that time, though well-meaning, did not prepare students for today—a day when students have instant access to virtually everything about the Church from every possible point of view. Today, what they see on their mobile devices is likely to be faith-challenging as much as faith-promoting. Many of our young people are more familiar with Google than they are with the gospel, more attuned to the Internet than to inspiration, and more involved with Facebook than with faith.

In light of these challenges, the Board of Education recently approved an initiative in seminary called Doctrinal Mastery. Building on what already has been done in Scripture Mastery, this new initiative will focus on building and strengthening our students’ faith in Jesus Christ and fortifying them with increased ability to live and apply the gospel in their lives. Drawing on the scriptures and the words of the prophets, they will learn how to act with faith in Christ to acquire spiritual knowledge and understanding of His gospel. And they will have opportunities to learn how to apply the doctrine of Christ and gospel principles to the questions and challenges they hear and see every day among their peers and on social media.

This initiative is inspired and timely. It will have a wonderful influence on our young people. However, the success of Doctrinal Mastery, and of all the other programs of study in CES, will depend to an important extent upon you.In the face of these challenges, what are your opportunities and responsibilities as CES teachers in the 21st century? Obviously, you must love the Lord, His Church, and your students. You must also bear pure testimony sincerely and often. Additionally, more than at any time in our history, your students also need to be blessed by learning doctrinal or historical content and context by study and faith accompanied by pure testimony so they can experience a mature and lasting conversion to the gospel and a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. Mature and lasting conversion means they will “stay in the boat and hold on” throughout their entire lives.7

For you to understand the doctrinal and historical content and context of the scriptures and our history, you will need to study from the “best books,” as the Lord directed. The “best books” include the scriptures, the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, and the best LDS scholarship available. Through your diligent efforts to learn by study and faith, you will be able to help your students learn the skills and attitudes necessary to distinguish between reliable information that will lift them up and the half-truths and incorrect interpretations of doctrine, history, and practices that will bring them down.

Teach them about the challenges they face when relying upon the Internet to answer questions of eternal significance. Remind them that James did not say, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google!”8Wise people do not rely on the Internet to diagnose and treat emotional, mental, and physical health challenges, especially life-threatening challenges. Instead, they seek out health experts, those trained and licensed by recognized medical and state boards. Even then, prudent people seek a second opinion.If that is the sensible course to take in finding answers for emotional, mental, and physical health issues, it is even more so when eternal life is at stake. When something has the potential to threaten our spiritual life, our most precious family relationships, and our membership in the kingdom, we should find thoughtful and faithful Church leaders to help us. And, if necessary, we should ask those with appropriate academic training, experience, and expertise for help.This is exactly what I do when I need an answer to my own questions that I cannot answer myself. I seek help from my Brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve and from others with expertise in fields of Church history and doctrine.You should be among the first, outside your students’ families, to introduce authoritative sources on topics that may be less well-known or controversial so your students will measure whatever they hear or read later against what you have already taught them.

You know we give medical inoculations to our precious missionaries before sending them into the mission field so they will be protected against diseases that can harm or even kill them. In a similar fashion, please, before you send them into the world, inoculate your students by providing faithful, thoughtful, and accurate interpretation of gospel doctrine, the scriptures, our history, and those topics that are sometimes misunderstood.To name a few such topics that are less known or controversial, I’m talking about polygamy, seer stones, different accounts of the First Vision, the process of translation of the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham, gender issues, race and the priesthood, or a Heavenly Mother.The efforts to inoculate our young people will often fall to you CES teachers. With those thoughts in mind, find time to think about your opportunities and your responsibilities.Church leaders today are fully conscious of the unlimited access to information, and we are making extraordinary efforts to provide accurate context and understanding of the teachings of the Restoration. A prime example of this effort is the 11 Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org that provide balanced and reliable interpretations of the facts for controversial and unfamiliar Church-related subjects.

It is important that you know the content in these essays like you know the back of your hand. If you have questions about them, then please ask someone who has studied them and understands them. In other words, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” as you master the content of these essays.You should also become familiar with the Joseph Smith Papers website and the Church history section on LDS.org and other resources by faithful LDS scholars.The effort for gospel transparency and spiritual inoculation through a thoughtful study of doctrine and history, coupled with a burning testimony, is the best antidote we have to help students avoid and/or deal with questions, doubt, or faith crises they may face in this information age.As you teachers pay the price to better understand our history, doctrine, and practices—better than you do now—you will be prepared to provide thoughtful, careful, and inspired answers to your students’ questions.One way to know what questions your students have is to listen attentively to them.

 

Edited by bsjkki
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4 hours ago, bsjkki said:

I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I have explained often that I advocate for no change in doctrine or stressing the importance of keeping the commandments. My take is that we need to analyze and change up methods of teaching to help get the desired outcome. I 100% agree with Elder Ballard in his talk to CES instructors. https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century?lang=eng He acknowledges the youth today are facing new and different challenges and we must teach them differently. What has worked in the past to build strong testimonies is no longer enough and we must do better. We have to be ready to tackle the tough subjects and answer the hard questions. Sometimes, we don't know and it is okay to admit it. I have seen and witness this generation needs to be told why they must do something. They must be inspired to want to live the gospel. They react badly to arbitrary expectations that make no sense to them. They do not respond well to authoritarian leaders who nit pick on the non-doctrinal and non-commandment issues.  

For Phoebe, Marion, and William, hearing a pure testimony became the catalyst that changed their lives forever. The same can be true for your students. However, given the realities of today’s world, pure testimony may not always be enough. Phoebe, Marion, and William were clean and pure and were free from pornography and worldliness as they sat at the feet of inspired missionaries, teachers, and leaders. The Spirit easily penetrated their soft and pure hearts.Today, the story is much different, as some of your students have already been infected by pornography and worldliness before they ever reach your classes.It was only a generation ago that our young people’s access to information about our history, doctrine, and practices was basically limited to materials printed by the Church. Few students came in contact with alternative interpretations. Mostly, our young people lived a sheltered life.Our curriculum at that time, though well-meaning, did not prepare students for today—a day when students have instant access to virtually everything about the Church from every possible point of view. Today, what they see on their mobile devices is likely to be faith-challenging as much as faith-promoting. Many of our young people are more familiar with Google than they are with the gospel, more attuned to the Internet than to inspiration, and more involved with Facebook than with faith.

In light of these challenges, the Board of Education recently approved an initiative in seminary called Doctrinal Mastery. Building on what already has been done in Scripture Mastery, this new initiative will focus on building and strengthening our students’ faith in Jesus Christ and fortifying them with increased ability to live and apply the gospel in their lives. Drawing on the scriptures and the words of the prophets, they will learn how to act with faith in Christ to acquire spiritual knowledge and understanding of His gospel. And they will have opportunities to learn how to apply the doctrine of Christ and gospel principles to the questions and challenges they hear and see every day among their peers and on social media.

This initiative is inspired and timely. It will have a wonderful influence on our young people. However, the success of Doctrinal Mastery, and of all the other programs of study in CES, will depend to an important extent upon you.In the face of these challenges, what are your opportunities and responsibilities as CES teachers in the 21st century? Obviously, you must love the Lord, His Church, and your students. You must also bear pure testimony sincerely and often. Additionally, more than at any time in our history, your students also need to be blessed by learning doctrinal or historical content and context by study and faith accompanied by pure testimony so they can experience a mature and lasting conversion to the gospel and a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. Mature and lasting conversion means they will “stay in the boat and hold on” throughout their entire lives.7

For you to understand the doctrinal and historical content and context of the scriptures and our history, you will need to study from the “best books,” as the Lord directed. The “best books” include the scriptures, the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, and the best LDS scholarship available. Through your diligent efforts to learn by study and faith, you will be able to help your students learn the skills and attitudes necessary to distinguish between reliable information that will lift them up and the half-truths and incorrect interpretations of doctrine, history, and practices that will bring them down.

Teach them about the challenges they face when relying upon the Internet to answer questions of eternal significance. Remind them that James did not say, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google!”8Wise people do not rely on the Internet to diagnose and treat emotional, mental, and physical health challenges, especially life-threatening challenges. Instead, they seek out health experts, those trained and licensed by recognized medical and state boards. Even then, prudent people seek a second opinion.If that is the sensible course to take in finding answers for emotional, mental, and physical health issues, it is even more so when eternal life is at stake. When something has the potential to threaten our spiritual life, our most precious family relationships, and our membership in the kingdom, we should find thoughtful and faithful Church leaders to help us. And, if necessary, we should ask those with appropriate academic training, experience, and expertise for help.This is exactly what I do when I need an answer to my own questions that I cannot answer myself. I seek help from my Brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve and from others with expertise in fields of Church history and doctrine.You should be among the first, outside your students’ families, to introduce authoritative sources on topics that may be less well-known or controversial so your students will measure whatever they hear or read later against what you have already taught them.

You know we give medical inoculations to our precious missionaries before sending them into the mission field so they will be protected against diseases that can harm or even kill them. In a similar fashion, please, before you send them into the world, inoculate your students by providing faithful, thoughtful, and accurate interpretation of gospel doctrine, the scriptures, our history, and those topics that are sometimes misunderstood.To name a few such topics that are less known or controversial, I’m talking about polygamy, seer stones, different accounts of the First Vision, the process of translation of the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham, gender issues, race and the priesthood, or a Heavenly Mother.The efforts to inoculate our young people will often fall to you CES teachers. With those thoughts in mind, find time to think about your opportunities and your responsibilities.Church leaders today are fully conscious of the unlimited access to information, and we are making extraordinary efforts to provide accurate context and understanding of the teachings of the Restoration. A prime example of this effort is the 11 Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org that provide balanced and reliable interpretations of the facts for controversial and unfamiliar Church-related subjects.

It is important that you know the content in these essays like you know the back of your hand. If you have questions about them, then please ask someone who has studied them and understands them. In other words, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” as you master the content of these essays.You should also become familiar with the Joseph Smith Papers website and the Church history section on LDS.org and other resources by faithful LDS scholars.The effort for gospel transparency and spiritual inoculation through a thoughtful study of doctrine and history, coupled with a burning testimony, is the best antidote we have to help students avoid and/or deal with questions, doubt, or faith crises they may face in this information age.As you teachers pay the price to better understand our history, doctrine, and practices—better than you do now—you will be prepared to provide thoughtful, careful, and inspired answers to your students’ questions.One way to know what questions your students have is to listen attentively to them.

 

I do not, of course, have any problem with what you say here.  It may take a while, but I believe the full, effective implementation of Come, Follow Me is at least part of the answer.  Effective teachers must exude love for two things: (1) what they teach, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ; and (2) those whom they teach.  Easier said than done, perhaps, but that kind of love doesn't necessarily come across if one confines one's interactions with one's students to a single 40-minute lesson most weeks.  One of the first lessons I learned as a missionary all of those millennia ago when dinosaurs still walked the earth ;) is, "Build relationships of trust."  One is much more likely to do that if one takes an interest in one's students as people: What are your students' likes?  What are their dislikes?  What challenges are they facing?  It's said that one doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care.  Again, one is unlikely to be able to demonstrate that adequately in the course of a single 40-minute lesson most weeks. :) 

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I do not, of course, have any problem with what you say here.  It may take a while, but I believe the full, effective implementation of Come, Follow Me is at least part of the answer.  Effective teachers must exude love for two things: (1) what they teach, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ; and (2) those whom they teach.  Easier said than done, perhaps, but that kind of love doesn't necessarily come across if one confines one's interactions with one's students to a single 40-minute lesson most weeks.  One of the first lessons I learned as a missionary all of those millennia ago when dinosaurs still walked the earth ;) is, "Build relationships of trust."  One is much more likely to do that if one takes an interest in one's students as people: What are your students' likes?  What are their dislikes?  What challenges are they facing?  It's said that one doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care.  Again, one is unlikely to be able to demonstrate that adequately in the course of a single 40-minute lesson most weeks. :) 

Yep--you nailed it. That is what it takes to be an effective teacher and it is not always easy. We are having very effective teacher councils in my ward and discussing how to deal with some who are hard to love is always discussed. Teachers are getting great ideas from other teachers on how to show love to their students and encourage learning--not always easy at the same time. Two weeks ago we truly had a miracle occur in Teacher Councils. Those instances strengthen my testimony about how much Heavenly Father cares about all of us.

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11 hours ago, bsjkki said:

Yep--you nailed it. That is what it takes to be an effective teacher and it is not always easy. We are having very effective teacher councils in my ward and discussing how to deal with some who are hard to love is always discussed. Teachers are getting great ideas from other teachers on how to show love to their students and encourage learning--not always easy at the same time. Two weeks ago we truly had a miracle occur in Teacher Councils. Those instances strengthen my testimony about how much Heavenly Father cares about all of us.

Those who are hardest to love are, whether they want to admit it or not, those who are most desperately in need of that love.  More than one General Conference address has featured the miracle that happens when a teacher takes a genuine interest in a hard-to-love student and actually ministers to that student in a leaving-the-ninety-and-nine-and-seeking-the-one sense.  And it sounds to me as though your ward "gets it": It's extremely difficult for one to demonstrate genuine love, interest, care, and concern for one's students if one confines one's interactions with them to asking "canned" questions from a lesson manual, or even by sticking slavishly to an outline of the sort provided in Come, Follow Me.  I think one completely misses the boat if he says, regarding Come, Follow Me, [Sigh!] :huh: "Same ol', same ol'!"  Come, Follow Me miracles aren't based on the "black letter" words on the page: They're based on "between the lines" Spirit-led learning by teachers, and among teachers and students.  The miracles happen outside of class, and inside of class based on what one has done to prepare (using the "Sunday School" answers) by studying one's scriptures, praying about what one has studied to know how it applies specifically to his students in particular, and to one specific student, praying for his students by name, (as you mentioned) holding teacher councils to discuss effective teaching/ministering ideas and what to do about challenging students and situations, and so on.  That kind of preparation leads to interactions in which the Spirit whispers to one "in the very hour, in the very moment" what he should say and do.

You totally get it!  I'm not telling you anything you don't know!  ("Then why are you here, Ken?" :unknw:)  I know, I know ... :huh: 

;) 

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17 hours ago, bsjkki said:

For Phoebe, Marion, and William, hearing a pure testimony became the catalyst that changed their lives forever. The same can be true for your students. However, given the realities of today’s world, pure testimony may not always be enough. Phoebe, Marion, and William were clean and pure and were free from pornography and worldliness as they sat at the feet of inspired missionaries, teachers, and leaders. The Spirit easily penetrated their soft and pure hearts.Today, the story is much different, as some of your students have already been infected by pornography and worldliness before they ever reach your classes.It was only a generation ago that our young people’s access to information about our history, doctrine, and practices was basically limited to materials printed by the Church. Few students came in contact with alternative interpretations. Mostly, our young people lived a sheltered life.Our curriculum at that time, though well-meaning, did not prepare students for today—a day when students have instant access to virtually everything about the Church from every possible point of view. Today, what they see on their mobile devices is likely to be faith-challenging as much as faith-promoting. Many of our young people are more familiar with Google than they are with the gospel, more attuned to the Internet than to inspiration, and more involved with Facebook than with faith.

 

What a strange connection to make. 

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