Seminaries and Institutes
Invite Diligent Learning

“Invite Diligent Learning,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way: For All Who Teach in the Home and in the Church (2022)

“Invite Diligent Learning,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way

Invite Diligent Learning

It was surely awe-inspiring to watch the Savior walking on the water. But that wasn’t enough for Peter. He wanted to do what the Savior did, be where He was, and have the same experience himself. “Bid me come unto thee on the water,” he said. The Savior responded with a simple invitation: “Come.” With that, Peter leaped from the safety of the boat and showed us that discipleship is not a passive experience (see Matthew 14:24–33). It requires faith in Christ and diligent effort. But it also brings the rich reward of walking with the Savior.

“Come.” “Come and see.” “Come, follow me.” “Go, and do thou likewise” (Matthew 14:29; John 1:39; Luke 18:22; 10:37). From the beginning of His ministry, the Savior invited His followers to experience for themselves the truths, power, and love that He offered. He did this because this is what learning really is. It’s not just listening or reading; it’s also changing, repenting, and progressing. In the Savior’s words, learning comes “by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118; emphasis added). And faith includes acting for ourselves, not simply being acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26).

When we follow the Savior’s example, we invite those we teach to ask, seek, and knock—and then find (see Matthew 7:7–8). And we accept that invitation ourselves. Together, through our own faith in Christ and diligent effort, we will come to know for ourselves what it means to walk with Him.

To Invite Diligent Learning

  • Help learners take responsibility for their learning.

  • Encourage learners to come to know the Savior by studying the gospel daily.

  • Invite learners to prepare to learn.

  • Encourage learners to share the truths they are learning.

  • Invite learners to live what they are learning.

The Savior Helped Others Take Responsibility for Their Learning

Building barges that would safely cross oceans would be a difficult task for anyone. The brother of Jared was “directed continually by the hand of the Lord” (Ether 2:6), receiving instructions about the shape of the vessels and how they would be ventilated. But what do you notice about how the Lord responded when the brother of Jared asked about providing light in the barges? (see Ether 2:22–25). How was the brother of Jared blessed by the invitation to exercise his faith in this way? (see Ether 3:1–16).

It might seem easier to just tell learners all the things you think they should know. However, Elder David A. Bednar counseled: “Our intent ought not to be ‘What do I tell them?’ Instead, the questions to ask ourselves are ‘What can I invite them to do? What inspired questions can I ask that, if they are willing to respond, will begin to invite the Holy Ghost into their lives?’” (evening with a General Authority, Feb. 7, 2020,

Consider how you can invite learners to take responsibility for their learning. For example, you could invite them to ask their own questions, search for answers, ponder, and share or record their thoughts and feelings. As they do, they will strengthen their faith, discover truths in God’s word, and have their own experiences with these truths. As we take responsibility for our own learning, we can say, as Joseph Smith did, “I have learned for myself” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20).

Questions to Ponder: Why is it important for learners to be active rather than passive in their learning? How can you help them take responsibility for their learning? How have teachers helped you do this? What examples from the scriptures can you think of where people were invited to learn for themselves? How do these examples affect how you teach?

From the Scriptures: 1 Nephi 11; Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–8; 58:26–28; 88:118–125; Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20

The Savior Encouraged Others to Come to Know Him by Studying His Word

When it came time for the Savior to officially organize His Church in the latter days, He told His servants, “Rely upon the things which are written” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:3). Indeed, the Book of Mormon, which they had nearly finished translating, contained helpful instruction for the task, including how to baptize, how to administer the sacrament, and other valuable details. But the Savior also wanted His servants to see His revelations as an opportunity to hear Him and to come to know Him more deeply. In that same revelation, He told them, “It is my voice which speaketh [these words] unto you; … wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:35–36).

Think about the people you teach. How do they see scripture study? For that matter, how do you see it? Is it more than a daily obligation? When you study the scriptures, do you sense the Savior speaking directly to you? President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Where can we go to hear Him? We can go to the scriptures. … Daily immersion in the word of God is crucial for spiritual survival, especially in these days of increasing upheaval. As we feast on the words of Christ daily, the words of Christ will tell us how to respond to difficulties we never thought we would face” (“Hear Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 89). As you teach, encourage learners to study the scriptures with the purpose of finding the Savior—not just finding verses or facts about Him but finding Him. Hearing the Lord’s voice every day in the scriptures is foundational to a lifetime of diligent, independent gospel learning.

Questions to Ponder: Consider your own scripture study habits. How has studying the word of God strengthened your relationship with Him? What can you do to improve your study? How will you inspire others to study God’s word diligently and regularly? What blessings will they receive as they do?

From the Scriptures: Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:15–17; 2 Nephi 32:3; Jacob 2:8; 4:6; Doctrine and Covenants 33:16

The Savior Invited Others to Prepare to Learn

Even the best seeds cannot grow on hard, stony, or thorny ground. Similarly, even the most precious and faith-promoting doctrine is unlikely to change a heart that is unprepared to receive it. That’s part of the message of the Savior’s parable about a sower, seeds, and soil of various conditions. It is in the “good ground”—the heart that has been softened and cleared of spiritual stones and thorns—that the word of God bears life-giving fruit (see Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23).

Spiritual preparation matters—for you and for the people you teach. So how do we help prepare our hearts so they are “good ground” for God’s word? Consider the following principles of preparation, which you can apply in your life and encourage in the lives of those you teach. Pray to find out what the Lord wants you to learn. Live in a way that invites His presence in your life. Repent daily. Nurture your desire to learn by asking sincere questions. Study the word of God with faith that He will lead you to answers. Open your heart to whatever He will teach you.

As learners prepare to learn in this way, they will have spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear what the Lord would have them know (see Matthew 13:16).

Questions to Ponder: What do you do to prepare yourself to learn? How does your preparation affect the way you see, hear, and understand the word of God? How can you inspire others to prepare to learn? What difference could that make in how they receive the truths of the gospel?

From the Scriptures: Enos 1:1–8; Alma 16:16–17; 32:6, 27–43; 3 Nephi 17:3

child reading scriptures in class

Learners benefit from opportunities to share with each other what they are learning.

The Savior Encouraged Others to Share the Truths They Were Learning

“I am slow of speech,” Enoch lamented when the Lord called him to preach the gospel. But eloquence has never been a requirement for a servant of the Lord. Instead, the Lord promised Enoch that if he had enough faith to open his mouth, the words would come. “I will give thee utterance,” He said (Moses 6:31–32). Enoch exercised his faith, and the Lord did indeed speak through him, with words so powerful that they caused the people to tremble (see Moses 6:47). In fact, they caused the earth itself to tremble. Mountains fled, rivers changed their course, and nations feared the people of God, “so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him” (Moses 7:13).

The Lord wants all of us—not just His prophets—to have the power to speak His word. He wants that for all of us, including for the people you teach (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:20–21). Our words may not move mountains or redirect rivers, but they can help change hearts. That is why it is so important to give learners opportunities to share with each other what they are learning about the Savior and His gospel. Doing this will help them internalize the truths they are taught and express them. It will also help them gain confidence in their ability to share truths in other settings.

Questions to Ponder: Think about a time when you talked about a gospel truth with someone. What did you learn from the experience? When were you grateful that someone had the courage to share their thoughts and beliefs? How will the people you teach benefit from opportunities to talk about the things they are learning? What opportunities can you create for them?

From the Scriptures: Alma 17:2–3; Moroni 6:4–6; Doctrine and Covenants 84:85; 88:122; 100:5–8

The Savior Invited Others to Live What He Taught

“Let your light so shine before men.” “Love your enemies.” “Ask, and it shall be given.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” (Matthew 5:16, 44; 7:7, 13.) Some of the most vivid, memorable invitations in the Savior’s entire earthly ministry were spoken as He taught His disciples on a mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The Savior’s purpose was to change lives, as made clear by His concluding invitation: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24; emphasis added).

Rain descends and floods come and winds blow in everyone’s life. Learning about the gospel is not sufficient if learners are to withstand all the trials they will face. This is why we should not hesitate to invite learners to consider how they can live what they are learning. Out of respect for the agency of others, many of our invitations will be general: “What do you feel impressed to do?” Occasionally our invitations may need to be more specific: “Will you choose one attribute of the Savior you would like to work on?” As you provide opportunities for learners to hear, recognize, and share promptings from the Holy Ghost, He will teach them what personal actions they need to take. Help learners consider the blessings that will follow as they act on what they learn, and encourage them to persist even when it gets hard. Living the truth is the quickest path to greater faith, testimony, and conversion. As the Savior said, living the Father’s doctrine is the way for all of us to really know the doctrine is true (see John 7:17).

Questions to Ponder: When have you been inspired to act because of an invitation someone extended? How did your life change as a result? Notice invitations that have been given in the scriptures and by Church leaders. What do you learn that can help you as you invite others to act? In what ways can you follow up on your invitations?

From the Scriptures: Luke 10:36–37; John 7:17; James 1:22; Mosiah 4:9–10; Doctrine and Covenants 43:8–10; 82:10

Some Ways to Apply What You Are Learning

  • Ask others to come prepared to share something the Holy Ghost has taught them, such as an insight from a meaningful scripture passage.

  • Give learners opportunities to teach a portion of a lesson.

  • Encourage learners to review a video, scripture, or message before you meet.

  • Resist the tendency to answer every question. Involve others in seeking answers.

  • Before sharing your insights about a scripture, ask learners to share their own.

  • Ask questions that encourage learners to find answers in God’s word.

  • Invite learners to ask their own questions about what they are learning.

  • Provide time for all learners to ponder a question before asking them to share answers.

  • Consider dividing learners into small discussion groups, as appropriate.

  • Express clear expectations to help learners grow.

  • Extend invitations that inspire learners to improve but are not overwhelming. Follow up and invite learners to share their experiences.

  • Help learners learn from the scriptures by:

    • Marking meaningful passages, if desired.

    • Inviting revelation through pondering and prayer.

    • Writing down spiritual impressions.

    • Keeping a study journal.

    • Setting goals to act on what they learn.