One of the important teachings of the gospel is that we should not only learn the truth; we should also live the truth. Because it’s so important to apply what we learn, the Liahona asked the Sunday School General Presidency to help us understand how we can be better “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).
Why is it so important to apply what we learn?
Brother Milton Camargo, First Counselor: Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Knowing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ is important and necessary. But earnestly coming unto Him and giving our whole souls as an offering requires much more than merely knowing. Conversion requires all of our heart, all of our might, and all of our mind and strength.”1
In other words, we can and should study scriptures, general conference talks, and Church materials, and study them often. But unless we apply what the Savior taught, merely knowing what He taught won’t transform us.
What can help us to act on what we learn?
President Mark L. Pace: The Spirit motivates us to act, and so the best way we can become doers of the word is to have the Spirit with us.2 That’s one of the reasons we take the sacrament every week. We promise that we will take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. Those are calls to action. Then as we do those things, the blessing we receive is to always have His Spirit to be with us.3
The sacrament helps us to live the doctrine of Christ. It helps us to increase our faith in Him. It prompts us to repent, which is a call to action. It prompts us to strive to do better by remembering Him during the week. And one of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to “show unto you all things what ye should do.”4
As we participate in Sunday worship and learning, how can we move from hearing the prophetic word to doing what the Spirit is prompting us to do?
Brother Camargo: It’s important for people to come on Sunday prepared to discuss what the Holy Ghost has taught them during the week. That’s a wonderful way to participate in discussions in Sunday School, priesthood quorums, and Relief Society.
President Pace: Those who teach on Sunday might ask themselves, “What can I do in my teaching that engages the hearer to be not only a learner but also a doer of the word? How can I invite the people in my class or quorum to be more diligent in their home-centered learning, so that they can participate in the Church-supported part of gospel study more effectively?” That’s a part of doing—for individuals to own their own conversion and work out their own salvation.
Brother Jan E. Newman, Second Counselor: And teachers might do well to end discussions by saying, “I would like to hear a 10-second statement of what you have learned or what the Lord would have you do with what we talked about this week.” That would reinforce the invitation to act: “What is the Lord inviting you to do this week, based on the experience we’ve had together studying the scriptures?”
President Pace: One of the reasons we worship together on Sundays is so that we can strengthen each other. I’m not a great singer. When I sing in the choir, I sit by somebody who knows how to sing, and that helps me to sing better. It’s the same thing with living the gospel. Being with people who live the gospel well helps the rest of us to live the gospel better too.
During the week, how can we apply what we learn from our Come, Follow Me study?
Brother Camargo: Often after we read or listen, we commit to do something. But then a day or two later, we forget. That’s why it’s important to write down promptings we feel and commitments we make, so we can remember them during the week. There is great power in the words, “Remember, remember.”5
Brother Newman: Like the Savior, we can go about doing good. As you follow His example of service, it will become a part of who you are. I had a perfect example of that in church one Sunday. I was there by myself because my wife was ill. As I sat down, the person behind me said, “Where’s your wife?” I said, “She’s not feeling very well.” He said, “Can we bring you something for dinner tonight?” I said, “Don’t worry. It’s taken care of.” He said, “Then we’ll bring something tomorrow.” And they brought us dinner.
Without any prompting, these neighbors did something good, because that’s who they are. When we’re disciples of Christ and we see someone in need, we don’t say, “Well, they probably have everything covered.” We do what we can to help.
President Pace: No matter where we are—for instance, driving to work or school—we can think about the Savior. But being a doer of the word means we need to do more than just think about Him. Here are some specific things you can do to apply what you learn in personal, family, and Sunday study:
- Let the promises in the sacrament prayers motivate you to act.
- Through prayer, study, and obedience, invite the Spirit to guide you.
- Liken the scriptures to yourself.6 In your individual or family study, ask yourself, “Is there something in this scripture that could help me know what to do?”
- As you listen to prophets and apostles, ask, “What am I supposed to do with what I have learned?” Pay particular attention to any calls to action you feel or hear.
- Make notes about your feelings and impressions so you can follow up on them.
- Put into action what you have been taught. Pray for guidance. Then, as Nephi said, “go and do.”7
- Help your neighbor. Your neighbor is anyone around you who needs assistance.
Brother Camargo: There’s more to the scripture that encourages us to be doers and not hearers. It continues:
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
“For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”8
President Pace: What a great reminder that if we become doers, we’ll be blessed by living the gospel!
1. David A. Bednar, “Converted unto the Lord,” Liahona, Nov. 2012, 107. See also Doctrine and Covenants 4:2.
2. See Doctrine and Covenants 20:77.
3. See Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79; Moroni 4:3; 5:2.
4. 2 Nephi 32:5.
5. Helaman 5:12.
6. For additional suggestions about how scripture study can lead to action, see Come Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022, x-xiv.
7. 1 Nephi 3:7.
8. James 1:23–25.