“Introduction,” Gospel Principles (2011), 1–3
“Introduction,” Gospel Principles, 1–3
Gospel Principles was written both as a personal study guide and as a teacher’s manual. As you study it, seeking the Spirit of the Lord, you can grow in your understanding and testimony of God the Father, Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and the Restoration of the gospel. You can find answers to life’s questions, gain an assurance of your purpose and self-worth, and face personal and family challenges with faith.
Being a teacher is a great responsibility that includes many opportunities to strengthen others and see that they are “nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4). You will teach effectively as you follow these principles:
Love those you teach.
Teach by the Spirit.
Teach the doctrine.
Invite diligent learning.
When you show love for those you teach, they become more receptive to the Spirit of the Lord. They become more enthusiastic about learning and more open to you and to others. Strive to become acquainted with those you teach, and let them know that you genuinely care about them. Be sensitive to the challenges of those with special needs. Create a comfortable environment in your class so that participants feel free to call upon you for help with any questions they have about the principles of the gospel and how to apply them.
The Lord’s Spirit will be present when love and unity exist. The Lord said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
For more on this subject, see Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 31–39.
The most important things you will ever teach are the doctrines of Christ as revealed through the scriptures and modern prophets and as confirmed by the Holy Ghost. To do this effectively, you must obtain the Spirit of the Lord. “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith,” said the Lord, “and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14; see also D&C 50:13–22). The Holy Ghost is the real teacher, so it is important to create an environment in which the Lord’s Spirit can be present.
For more on this subject, see Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 41–48.
Before you teach from a chapter, study it thoroughly to be sure you understand the doctrine. Also study the additional scriptures listed at the end of the chapter. You will teach with greater sincerity and power when the teachings in the chapter have influenced you personally. Never speculate about Church doctrine. Teach only what is supported by the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit (see D&C 42:12–14; 52:9).
If you have been called to teach a quorum or class using this book, do not substitute outside materials, however interesting they may be. Stay true to the scriptures and the words in the book. As appropriate, use personal experiences and articles from Church magazines to supplement the lessons.
For more on this subject, see Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 50–59.
As you teach, help others see how gospel principles apply to daily living. Encourage discussions on how these principles can affect our feelings about God, ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. Encourage participants to live according to the principles.
Try to involve as many people as possible in the lessons. You can do this by inviting them to read aloud, answer questions, or share experiences, but do so only when you are sure it will not embarrass them. You may want to make special assignments to participants while preparing the lessons. Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. You may need to talk privately with individuals before a lesson and ask how they feel about participating.
For more on this subject, see Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 61–74.
Each chapter in this book contains one or two notes for teachers. These notes include ideas that can help you in your efforts to love those you teach, teach by the Spirit, teach the doctrine, and invite diligent learning among those you teach.