“Introduction,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (1997), v–vi
“Introduction,” Teachings: Brigham Young, v–vi
The prophet Brigham Young taught the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in a basic, practical way that gave inspiration and hope to the Saints struggling to build a home in the wilderness. Though more than a century has now passed, his words are still fresh and appropriate for us today as we continue the work of building the kingdom of God.
President Young declared that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we possess the “doctrine of life and salvation for all the honest-in-heart” (DBY, 7).* He promised that those who receive the gospel in their hearts will have awakened “within them a desire to know and understand the things of God more than they ever did before in their lives” and will begin to “inquire, read and search and when they go to their Father in the name of Jesus he will not leave them without a witness” (DBY, 450).
This book reflects the desire of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to deepen the doctrinal understanding of Church members and to awaken within them a greater desire to know the things of God. It will inspire and motivate individuals, priesthood quorums, and Relief Society classes to inquire, read, search, and then go to their Father in Heaven for a witness of the truth of these teachings.
Each chapter contains two sections—“Teachings of Brigham Young” and “Suggestions for Study.” The first section consists of extracts from Brigham Young’s sermons to the early Saints. Each statement has been referenced, and the original spelling and punctuation have been preserved; however, the sources cited will not be readily available to most members. These original sources are not necessary to have in order to effectively study or teach from this book. Members need not purchase additional references and commentaries to study or teach these chapters. The text provided in this book, accompanied by the scriptures, is sufficient for instruction. Members should prayerfully read and study President Young’s teachings in order to gain new insights into gospel principles and discover how those principles apply to their everyday lives. By faithfully and prayerfully studying these selections, Latter-day Saints will have a greater understanding of gospel principles and will more fully appreciate the profound and inspired teachings of this great prophet.
The second section of each chapter offers a series of questions that will encourage thoughtful contemplation, personal application, and discussion of President Young’s teachings. Members should refer to and carefully reread his words on the principle being discussed. Deep and prayerful study of these teachings will inspire members to greater personal commitment and will help them resolve to follow the teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
If individuals and families prayerfully follow the principles in this book, they will be blessed and inspired to greater dedication and spirituality, as were the early Saints who heard these words directly from the lips of the “Lion of the Lord” (HC, 7:434)—the prophet, seer, and revelator, President Brigham Young.
Teaching these lessons will require careful advance reading, study, and prayerful preparation. Become very familiar with the teachings and plan various ways to present and teach these principles in the class setting. Lessons should help class members see how gospel principles apply to daily living. Encourage discussions about how these principles can influence our feelings about our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. Invite participants to live according to the principles being taught.
Involve as many people as possible during the instruction period by inviting them to read aloud, answer questions, or share experiences. You can make special assignments when preparing lessons, being sensitive to the readiness of class members to participate. Carefully avoid controversy. Rely upon the scriptures for support and understanding. Humbly seek the Lord’s Spirit, and the brothers and sisters you teach will be blessed. As the Lord has promised, “Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22).