“Teaching the Gospel,” True to the Faith (2004), 168–70
“Teaching the Gospel,” True to the Faith, 168–70
The Lord has declared: “I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand” (D&C 88:77–78).
In giving this commandment, the Lord gives us a sacred responsibility. He also leads us to countless opportunities for meaningful service. Few experiences compare to the joy of helping others learn and live the gospel.
This commandment to teach applies to you, even if you do not currently have a formal calling as a teacher. You have teaching opportunities as a member of your family, as a home teacher or visiting teacher, and even as a coworker, neighbor, and friend. Sometimes you teach through words you have prepared to say. Sometimes you can take advantage of brief, unplanned moments in which you can share gospel truths. Most frequently you teach by example.
In your efforts to teach the gospel, look to Jesus Christ as your example. Study accounts of His mortal ministry, and look for ways to teach as He taught. He showed genuine love and concern for those He served. He strengthened people individually, teaching gospel principles in a way that would help them with their unique needs. He awakened in some the desire to understand and live the gospel. At times He asked questions that would help them apply what they learned. He taught the saving truths of the gospel, helping His hearers understand what they needed to know, do, and be in order to receive the gift of eternal life.
As you follow the Savior’s example, your teaching will nourish and uplift others, build their faith, and give them confidence to meet life’s challenges. It will encourage them to forsake sin and obey the commandments. It will help them come to Christ and abide in His love.
The Lord said, “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). The Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is a member of the Godhead. One purpose of the Spirit is to “manifest the truth … of all things” (Moroni 10:4–5). Only through the influence of the Spirit can gospel teaching be edifying and inspiring.
Your privilege as a gospel teacher is to be an instrument through whom the Holy Ghost can teach, testify, comfort, and inspire. As the prophet Nephi taught, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).
If you prepare spiritually, the Holy Ghost will help you know what to do and say in your teaching. You can prepare yourself by praying often, studying the scriptures, living the gospel, and being humble.
Your teaching will be most effective when you use a variety of appropriate methods. For example, you can share stories and examples to hold people’s attention and show how gospel principles apply in daily life. You can use pictures and objects to strengthen others’ understanding of scripture accounts and gospel principles. Through music, you and those you teach can invite the influence of the Holy Ghost and express feelings that may be hard to express in other ways. You can ask questions that encourage thoughtful learning and discussion and that lead to the appropriate sharing of personal experiences. With simple activities, you can help learners focus their attention.
When you consider using a specific teaching method, ask yourself the following questions: Will this method invite the influence of the Spirit? Does it match the sacredness of the principles I am teaching? Will it edify and strengthen those I teach?
Remember that as a gospel teacher, you represent the Lord. Ensure that all you do and say is reverent and consistent with His will.
For additional suggestions on gospel teaching, you may want to refer to Teaching, No Greater Call (36123); the Teaching Guidebook (34595); and “Teaching the Gospel,” section 5.5 of Handbook 2: Administering the Church (08702).