OK, just for fun and just because I can’t seem to stop talking today, I’m going to propose a thought-experiment in the form of a bunch of related questions.
(1) How would we feel about designated giftedness and gifted classes in church settings? For example, what if we gave all the Sunbeams a test to determine their level of spiritual giftedness, and sent the top 3% to a magnet Sunbeam class at the stake or regional level so that they wouldn’t have to be bored by those who needed more practice learning that Heavenly Father created the giraffes when the gifted were ready to move on to Leviticus? (Or, alternatively, what if we advanced precocious Sunbeams into CTRs?)
How would we feel about gifted seminary and Institute classes, available only to students who have already achieved a particular level of spirituality? How about gifted Gospel Doctrine for that underserved gifted adult in your life? Gifted sacrament meeting?
(2) If we did implement some or all of (1), on what basis would we determine spiritual giftedness? Would it be essentially indistinguishable from academic giftedness–this kid has already read the whole manual and all four Standard Works, she needs a new challenge–or would we attempt to measure some kind of specifically spiritual precocity? If so, how?
(3) If we object to any of the above, on what basis do we do so? If we object to any of the above, do we make the same objections to giftedness in academic settings? If not, why not? In other words, can we articulate coherent distinguishing principles that would establish why giftedness designations are acceptable in one realm and not the other? What precisely is it about church that might make it a less appropriate institutional setting for giftedness distinctions? (Or, just to make it clear that I’m not trying to prejudice responses one way or the other–what is the case that giftedness distinctions are appropriate at church?)