Monday, January 20, 2014


An Alternative Scripture Mastery Card
SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Reports out of Salt Lake City indicate that church officials are concerned about splinter Church Education System groups creating alternative scripture mastery lists.

These reports note three groups that have started to stray from CES directives and have made their own lists of scriptures that seminary and institute students should master.

One group, centered in New England, has put forward what it calls the “CES” or “Church Enlightenment System’s” list of common scriptures. Their scripture mastery list includes many scriptures from King Benjamin’s speech and more verses with Jesus’ directives to help the poor. 

The New England group’s Church Enlightenment System list also calls for some rather unconventional “scriptures.” This list includes several versus from the Quran, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras, and a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous “Divinity School Address.” Unconfirmed reports indicate that the list may also include quotes from the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on DOMA or the Defense of Marriage Act as well as what reports call “some Grateful Dead lyrics.”

A second splinter group, with a number of cells in the Mountain West, has a list that they call the “CES” or “Church Edification Standard.” This list emphasizes scriptures that place a high premium on obedience. Students also master several verses that provide prophetic statements about the United States, including many from 1 and 2 Nephi.   

Like the New England group’s list, this one also has some rather unconventional scriptures, including versus from the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, the list includes passages from the Federalist Papers and quotes from speeches by George Washington, Ronald Reagan, and brother Glenn Beck.     

The final list is one devised by students. This list, called the “CES” or “Church Entertainment Stuff,” includes 1 Nephi 2:12: “And my father dwelt in a tent” and 1 Chronicles 1:25, which reads, “Eber, Peleg, Reu.”

While some verses were obviously chosen for ease of memorization, the list also addresses other needs. One verse, chosen for working with difficult roommates or mission companions, is 1 Nephi 4:12, which reads, “And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands.” 

For missionaries, the list includes 3 Nephi 3:7. Not to be mistaken with 1 Nephi 3:7, 3 Nephi 3:7 reads: “Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.”

While internal memos indicate some concerns, there has so far been no direct reply to these groups from Salt Lake.

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