A Great and Solemn Duty

“A Great and Solemn Duty,” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 66

Visiting Teaching: “A Great and Solemn Duty”

At a fireside a priesthood leader asked his audience, “How can you tell if someone is converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ?”

A discussion ensued. At its conclusion, the leader said, “I believe the most telling indicator of how we feel about Jesus Christ is how we treat each other.”

A fundamental sign of conversion is an intense interest in the welfare of others. After Enos received a remission of his sins, he “began to feel a desire for the welfare of [his] brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, [he] did pour out [his] whole soul unto God for them” (Enos 1:9). An identifying quality of the followers of Jesus Christ has always been their willingness to impart “to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants” (Mosiah 18:29).

Satan will try to keep us from providing this support; he attempts to separate us from one another, to make us feel we don’t have time for each other, and to distract us from gaining our own testimonies—and helping others gain theirs. Visiting teaching counters the adversary’s efforts.

Relief Society leaders can strengthen visiting teaching by:

  • Teaching that as followers of Jesus Christ we have committed to take care of one another.

  • Being prayerful in making assignments and letting each sister know why she has been selected to serve those she is assigned to visit.

  • Helping each sister understand that she can make a difference in the lives of others.

  • Making visiting teaching a subject for discussion in meetings on the first Sunday of the month.

  • Conducting loving and nonjudgmental visiting teaching interviews.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has admonished: “We have some of our own who cry out in pain and suffering and loneliness and fear. Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness” (“Reach with a Rescuing Hand,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 86).

Photo by Mike Van Doren