Sunday School is for all - including priesthood leaders

Sunday School is essential for all members of the Church, 12 years and older, including priesthood leaders, said Elder Merlin R. Lybbert of the Seventy, Sunday School general president.

"We need the priesthood brethren in Sunday School, all of them," said Elder Lybbert in a recent Church News interview.He quoted President Ezra Taft Benson, who said, "Attend your Sunday School classes every Sunday. Listen carefully to the lesson and participate in class discussions. Gospel scholarship and an increase in testimony will result." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 156.)

"In references by the prophets," explained Elder Lybbert, "we are told that the Sunday School class is where we ought to be. There are not to be other conflicting meetings, including interviews, during Sunday School."

He said that sometimes emergencies arise where the bishop needs to be out, or when a father or mother must attend to a child, but "by and large, the saints need to be in Sunday School."

Elder Clinton L. Cutler of the Seventy, a counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, added: "You can see the success when bishops attend Sunday School class. I've seen it in my own ward, and I've seen it in ward [Sunday SchoolsT I've visited: The bishop, his counselors, the clerks - everyone was there.

"They didn't have the clerk's office open, they weren't having presidency meetings, they weren't doing interviews. We've got to convert the priesthood leaders."

He said that when priesthood leaders miss attending Sunday School, they miss the instruction that their ward members are receiving. They also lose a valuable opportunity to feel the spiritual pulse of the ward members.

"When bishops and other priesthood leaders don't attend Sunday School class, they are doing something to themselves. Some say, `It's been years since I've been able to sit in class.' "But," Elder Cutler added, "it is their own choice."

Previous Sunday School general presidents have also encouraged members to attend Sunday School.

Elder Robert L. Simpson, emeritus General Authority, who served as Sunday School general president from August 1986 to September 1989, said in 1987: "Sunday School is for everyone, including bishops and stake presidents. They should be in class where they can make contributions and be sensitive to what people think about the principles being discussed."

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, who served twice as Sunday School general president from October 1979 to August 1986 and again from September 1989 to August 1992, said in 1989: "A bishop sets a wonderful example when he goes to the Gospel Doctrine class, along with his counselors, and they sit with their wives and worship and study and read the scriptures together. Can you imagine the negative example set, and the message sent, when our Church leaders do not attend Sunday School?"

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