Mormon Stories Sunday School is a new podcast led by Bible scholar Jared Anderson. You can visit the site at

In this first episode, Jared outlines the vision, tone, goals, and proposed content of this Sunday School podcast. There will be a weekly Gospel Doctrine podcast entitled “Engaging Gospel Doctrine”, as well as a “ward library” of expanding content under the title “Excavating Scripture”. He also introduces skills for “close reading” of the scriptures as well as suggests resources, to which you can find links below.

This project models Sunday School teaching that is substantive and engaging while remaining faith-friendly, something that would be at home in a ward environment (though the coolest ward ever). Content will be produced in the following order:

  • A weekly Sunday School lesson published about two weeks before the Church schedule
  • A series of twelve audio-visual presentations that explore the intersection of key disciplines and topics with religion and Mormonism
  • Mormon Stories-style interviews that will focus on the Standard Works and related topics
  • A podcast commentary of the Standard Works

Here is a link to Dr. Sophia McClennen’s Close Reading Guide

The “Super Quad” list of books:



  1. Larrin July 5, 2012 at 8:04 am - Reply

    I have a couple questions.

    1) How will you handle weeks where a huge amount of material is covered in Gospel Doctrine? I’m thinking about when the entire book of Psalms, Romans, etc. is in one lesson.

    2) Will further commentary recommendations be given, or would that be too complicated? As you said there are millions of commentaries.

    • Jared July 5, 2012 at 8:20 am - Reply


      Glad to see you are already excited for the Bible!

      1) No matter how much material is covered, in Engaging Gospel Doctrine I will stick to the time limit roughly since we are modeling a Sunday School class. However, just you wait… when the Bible hits the recommended links are going to explode. :)

      2) I will also recommend resources for each lesson the way I linked the close reading guide here. Here is a place to start for the Bible:

      That said, when I get around to the podcast commentary I will be working a few chapters at a time so will take as much time as needed.

    • Penny July 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      This is way too cool. I’m also a member of the online FB group “The Venerables”. (Less young members!!) In the past, we discussed forming some sort of Sunday School situation…..well, NOW y’all have formed this option!!! It’s ABSOFREAKINLUTELY GREAT!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3 !!!

  2. LatterDayDeist July 5, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Wow I am excited! Finally something different than the same old stuff re-hashed

  3. Anon July 5, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Hmmm. The Open Stories foundation claims it is not a new Mormon Religion. Yet here we go again. Yet another thing it is doing to emulate the Church. It before it was just communities emulating wards and stakes, and now it has a Sunday School. Hey, it even has a hierarchy, with the Alpha personalities filling that role.

    • Jared July 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Well the ways that Open Stories parallels and differs from the Church and why it is not a new religion are large topics better addressed in a different forum perhaps.

      But to address the relationship of this podcast with the Church Sunday School, have you noticed that these podcasts follow the lesson schedule? There have long been abundant online resources to help Gospel Doctrine teachers and students get more out of the experience. This simply does so in podcast form. This is not an alternative Sunday School; it is fully aware of and engages with LDS Gospel Doctrine classes. Therefore it isn’t playing a part of a “new religion” any more than the hundreds of Sunday School classes around the world.

    • Ben July 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      If you don’t like it, you don’t need to listen. :-/

  4. Chassie A Bunker July 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much! I have been waiting for something like this–I cannot express how excited and full of gratitude I feel for this much needed resource you are providing. Wow!

  5. Mike July 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to dig in.

    Close reading has been a real challenge for me and I look forward to hearing the comments of others who are trying their best at it. One of the biggest struggles i have with close reading is how to determine how closely written a passage may have been in order to know how significant each word or sentence might be. for example, perhaps Paul, writing in a dungeon with limited resources would have reworded a sentence but didn’t have the room to do so. Perhaps a part of king Benjamin’s sermon being an oral presentation originally, came out differently than he had wished. Or perhaps they chose every word carefully and each sentence has important meaning.

    Anyway, I am very excited that Mormon stories is doing this so that we can all bounce ideas off each other in an environment a little more opened to varying opinions than Sunday school typically is.

  6. Arthur July 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    This is an incredibly exciting endeavor. I am very grateful that Jared has taken it upon himself to create this program.

  7. Paula July 7, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Jared, thank you for this amazing resource! As I continue my journey toward a more mature faith structure, I’m confident this podcast will be a God send!

  8. Steve Parkin July 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    With face washed and lunched packed, I’m excited for the first day of school, Jared, er rather, Mr Anderson. I’m especially interested to learn more about biblical epistemology (and the other cool terms your used in your intro). My trepidation? I feel like I’m in Kindergarten, or perhaps 3rd Grade, on some of these topics. In your lessons, please give us some epistemology one-liners and simple sound-bites that biblical simpletons like me can repeat in regular Sunday School that will enlighten non-listeners.

    • Jared July 9, 2012 at 12:07 am - Reply


      My students call me professor, but you can call me Brother Anderson or Jared. ;) I will keep this in mind; I think it will come naturally as I explain concepts that need to be addressed. I am very serious about this not being a project with an academic feel for the most part, but at the same time offering substance.

  9. matt July 11, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Looking forward to this! In the last few minutes you discussed the format for the ways lessons will be approached. So, then each class will be segmented into literature, history, theology, and ethics in roughly 10 minute potions?

    • Jared July 14, 2012 at 3:00 am - Reply

      The eventual Scripture Commentary podcast will be roughly like that, though in different passages the segments will be longer or shorter. But that project won’t happen until I am done with the full Standard Works Gospel Doctrine schedule.

  10. Sheila August 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this. I’m really looking forward to learning in Sunday School again.

  11. Bonita Migliore September 21, 2012 at 12:23 am - Reply

    I’d like to see a tab for Jared’s bio. It would be nice to see all of his qualifications delineated.

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