My first He*rtlander

I admit it: I’m a chicken. I don’t want to be attacked by irrational He*rtlanders, so I’m obfuscating their moniker. I don’t have the energy to deal with people who are irrational. So yesterday on the Seminary FB Group, I got a report of a post that had comments that were going a little nutty. I looked at the comments and posts. The comments (while deliberately distracting) were off topic and being made by a woman living in Utah, which meant she isn’t a Seminary teacher. In addition, she shared a link to a site that sells books on the so-called He*rtlander theory of Book of Mormon geography, which is that all of the events recorded in the BoM occurred…

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Watercolor Changes and Joseph Smith

I signed up for a watercolor subscription service. It’s been fun to take up a new hobby! I’ve always wanted to learn to paint. I have a bachelor’s degree in design, but I never got to take any of the 300 and 400 level classes in my specialization, BFA Industrial Design, because I was getting married and had the opportunity to graduate two years early with a BA. Not being stupid, I went ahead and took the BA option thinking I’d go on to graduate school. That didn’t happen — I ended up working to pay for Jared’s schooling because he lost his scholarship a few months after we married. My first job had fantastic insurance, and the president and…

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On Book of Mormon Geography

I spent quite some time this summer looking at problems with the Book of Mormon. There are certainly some that are difficult to explain, and for me personally, I find it to be not as internally consistent as we claim (this can be used as proof it is made up or proof of multiple authorship, so it’s not a terribly compelling argument for me anymore) nor is it as consistent with D&C as I’d wish (more challenging for me). The King James wording is … odd. The translation process as described by others (Joseph said it wasn’t for us to know how it was translated)… weird. This said, those who would use Book of Mormon geography to try and disprove…

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KolbyTroll

There’s a know-it-all troll on Dan Petersen’s FB page who likes to try and stir up controversy. If I thought he might be worth talking to, I’d engage. Some innocently do. I was tempted to engage today when he asked some questions of another viewer: So, here’s what I’d say to Kolby if I thought he’d engage in a fruitful discussion. I find none of his questions particularly unsettling currently, though they have bothered me in the past. What is your position on BoM historicity? Earlier in my life, I mostly dined on FAIR and FARMS articles that “don’t prove” but are really trying to provide solid evidence for the BoM. I found it compelling and interesting and have used…

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3 Nephi 1-10

3 Nephi 1 This morning I didn’t prepare a lesson.  A family in our ward’s house burned to the ground the afternoon before this lesson, and not everyone survived the fire.  I expected to have to answer some pretty serious questions from students related to the fire, and so I prepared by reading a couple of articles on grief and tragedy; however, it didn’t seem to be as much of an issue.  Frankly, the kids seemed to not want to talk much about it.  I did handle a few questions and we did have a brief discussion, but it was not was I was expecting.  Maybe our family was just hit harder because we know the family well and because…

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CSI Zarahemla Dead Body

Helaman 1-16

 Helaman 1-5 Had to combine this day due to snow. We continued with March Madness.  Kids shared “what did you learn”s with the class from the reading. On the board I wrote the following words: trolling, bullying, picking, teasing, joshing, joking, criticizing, gossiping, ridiculing, make fun of, judging I opened with a short discussion about what God sounds like (Helaman 5:28–31) and what that teaches us about God.  One point I made was that in this passage God speaks to those who need to repent in a kind tone of voice.  He could be shouting “repent”, but he isn’t.  He speaks in a way that pierces souls. After that we read Helaman 3:25, 25.  Things are going well, but then…

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Jenny's blog

Alma 32-58

Believe it or not, I can totally sum up the rest of Alma in one blog post.  Since last I posted we’ve had Seminary less than 10 times.  Last week we met only once due to another snowstorm and another freezing rain event. At this point I can’t even remember which days we met and which we didn’t without looking at our attendance sheets, which I have ignored entering in the computer because it’s so depressing. School was canceled so late twice last week that kids showed up for Seminary and let themselves into my house or were locked out. It’s been ridiculous.  And we were supposed to have another two day ice storm this weekend, but it looks like…

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Jenny's blog

Alma 32 plus disaster recovery

Well.  This was not the best Seminary lesson.  I was so excited, too. I have to say that I’m not quite sure what went wrong. I have two new students, one of whom is testing me, another student who is trying to get the new student to notice her at any cost, another whose feelings I must have hurt but who wouldn’t talk to me about it, and I let myself get hijacked by kids who had no idea what they were talking about and who were speculating or guessing about their friend’s motives and feelings.  Plus, it later turned out TesterKid did not understand the difference between accountability and consequence, and so that added to the confusion.  I should…

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Jenny's blog

Alma 31

Today’s lesson went well despite a minor snafu — I nearly slept in! I woke up rested, which as all you Seminary teachers know is an unusual and unfamiliar state in your life during winter.  It took a few moments to register that I was probably feeling good because somehow I had slept in.  It took another few minutes for Jared to find a clock and check the time — 5:36.  First Kid arrives about 5:50.  So, I put my clothes on, grabbed my lesson stuff, and pretended I was alert.  First Kid was late this morning, but I had plenty of time to write my opening phrase on the board: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.” by Elder…

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Alma 27-30

These past few days are the first I’ve felt I had both feet solidly undeneath me since November.  Just when I thought I was getting a grip, our family careened headlong into another crisis. The strain has just been so much.  I collapsed again into a deep depression with a short triggered relapse while Jared and I were on our trip to the Bahamas. Who knew you could be depressed on a cruise ship?!?!  Well, now you know that you can.  My heart has been so heavy. Anyway, I am finally doing better enough to take on again some of these extra things that I’ve been ignoring for the past several months, like the website.  I’ve been in maintenance mode…

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Jacob 5 Part 1 and 2

I did Jacob 5 differently than the manual.  The manual is set up for students who have not read Jacob 5, but as you know, the kids in my class read the text and so “discovery” type activities just don’t work for them.  How horrible would it be for me to ask kids to slog through Jacob 5 and then make them reread it again in class??? So anyway, I took the two days for Jacob 5 and changed it into a two part lesson with day one focusing on helping kids understand what they would read, and day two hearing their observations on what they read.   It took some finessing of my Seminary lesson chart to make this happen…

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Jenny's blog

Cell Phones in Seminary Class

Electronic Device Use of Electronic Scriptures Survey Report, 2012-2013 By Jenny Smith Note from the Author: I originally gave Russell Simon permission to publish this paper on his blog this past summer. Due to some (frankly silly and inconsistently applied) requirements from Seminaries & Institutes, Brother Simon set all Seminary related items on his blog to private.  I’ve decided to post the document here in case it offers any help to teachers who are wondering if they can or should allow the use electronic scriptures in the classroom. Introduction: I am a Seminary teacher in the Fredericksburg Stake located in the commonwealth of Virginia.  My current class of sixteen LDS Seminary students meets daily in my home before the regular…

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