This entry is a bit different because it is a sample assignment for one day, not a complete syllabus.
It comes to us from Keith:
The story of Alma’s conversion (and that of the Sons of Mosiah) is recounted in 3 different places:
Mosiah 27: 8-37 (Note also 28:1-4)
Alma 38: 5-8
Please read them carefully noting how the stories each emphasize different things while still having a general similar message.
Who is the author/speaker and audience in each? What general similarities do you note in the stories?
What general differences? What things are included or excluded/omitted in one and not the other(s)?
Especially note specific differences in:
What the angel says:
How Alma reacts and describes his three days of being unconscious:
The confession/message Alma delivers after returning and what he does after:
What do these chapters say (or not) about the Sons of Mosiah?
Do you see similar patterns or events in the Book of Mormon to the accounts here? How are they similar/different?
So what do you think are things we can learn from this? Questions? Comments? Observations?
[There’s lots to take from these chapters, and there’s always more than one key idea someone should learn. I might categorize this lesson under “Conversion” or something along those lines, though I don’t feel bound by that alone–there’s always more that overflows. Part of what I want to do–and the new curriculum is supposed to do this–is to help students become better readers of Scripture.]
Well, I think this is superb. Despite my general disdain for topical (as opposed to sequential) teaching, this assignment shows how topical teaching can be grounded in a legitimately contextualized approach to the text, how it can respect the multi-vocality of scripture, and how it can encourage students to become thoughtful readers of the actual text instead of passive consumers of an instructor’s cherry-picked prooftexts. I particularly appreciate how this lesson teaches not just content (handed down on high from the instructor, which can only be applied to this particular case), but skills (of close reading, of asking questions, of comparing texts, which the student can apply to any scriptures in the future). My only concern would be: What do the other 25 class sessions look like? This is a stellar single lesson, but can this kind of close, thoughtful reading be extended to other types of material in the BoM in way that provides adequate coverage of the entire text and situates the other readings in context? Or is this a one-off due to the unique nature of Alma’s conversion accounts?