Q&A: Questions and Answers

“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Jan. 2006, 14–16

Questions and Answers

Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

“How can I prepare to teach the gospel on my mission?”

New Era

  • Teaching by the Spirit on your mission helps people come unto Christ.

  • Prepare now by taking opportunities to teach and testify of the gospel.

  • Become familiar with Preach My Gospel and the scriptures, especially scripture mastery verses.

  • Strengthen your testimony by praying about the gospel, by learning to recognize the Spirit, and by thinking about what the gospel means to you.

Teaching by the Spirit is at the heart of missionary work. The Holy Ghost can guide you and your companion to know what to say. And if you can help investigators recognize the Spirit as you teach, they will be more likely to gain a testimony, find the answers they are looking for, and become converted. You can prepare to teach on your mission by learning the gospel, gaining a testimony of it, and taking opportunities to practice teaching.

Learn the gospel. You need to understand the gospel well so you can teach it clearly and simply. Could you explain to an investigator what the resurrection is? why prophets are important? why the Restoration was necessary?

The Lord said, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed” (D&C 11:21). You can obtain the Lord’s word by studying the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets. Scripture mastery verses are especially helpful to missionaries; these verses can help you answer many of the questions investigators will have. General conference talks often address gospel questions, and the booklet True to the Faith has clear, brief explanations of gospel topics. Prayerfully study alone and with others at church, in family home evening, and in seminary.

Strengthen your testimony. As you learn the gospel, pray for the Spirit to testify to you. Think about what the gospel means to you. When you teach, sharing personal feelings about a gospel principle often invites the Spirit. For instance, after explaining the resurrection, you could testify that it gives you comfort to know that you will see your deceased family members again.

Practice teaching in family home evening, when you go home teaching, and, if possible, in seminary and your Sunday classes. Take a mission preparation class, where you can practice teaching in a safe environment. Go on exchanges with the missionaries to see how they teach, and bear your testimony when invited. Bearing your testimony can be as simple as saying how a gospel principle has helped you.

Become familiar with Preach My Gospel, the new guide to missionary service. It includes suggestions on improving your teaching skills and recognizing the Spirit. It also presents, in five lessons, the doctrines you will be teaching on your mission. Preach My Gospel (item no. 36617) is available at distribution centers and at www.ldscatalog.com.

Teaching interested investigators will be one of the highlights of your mission. As you teach by the Spirit, your testimony will grow, along with theirs. You will enjoy seeing others come unto Christ as they obey the principles you teach them.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“We challenged our young men to better prepare themselves to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. … They need to be anxious, willing, and committed to serve so they can reach new levels of spirituality as gospel teachers. They need to know the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach it with power in their own words under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit.”
—Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work,” Ensign, May 2003, 37.


Volunteer to give devotionals in seminary. Bear your testimony in sacrament meeting and to friends and family. I volunteered to teach our Sunday School lesson once when our teacher needed a substitute. It was a wonderful experience. The best way to get ready to teach is to take opportunities to teach. It will boost your confidence and ability as you gain more experience in sharing what you know to be true.
Sarah R., 18, Idaho

Prepare to teach by going home teaching. This will help you with your people skills and to learn how to teach a lesson. Also you can do family home evening lessons.
Garrett D., 13, California

As my brother prepared to go on his mission, he was praying a lot more and a lot longer. He was constantly reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. During sacrament meeting he would take notes, and when he came home he would ask our family what we thought the talks meant. He had the constant desire to make sure my family knew of his testimony and of his desire to serve the Lord. His dress and appearance improved, and he had a stronger desire to enter the temple. I think if anyone does as my brother did, they will be better prepared to teach the gospel.
Jaci S., 13, California

In your daily scripture study, record your thoughts, feelings, and impressions. Record the principles you learned that day, and apply them in your life. Then you will be more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Effective teaching comes from the standard works, by the Spirit, backed up by a personal testimony of the truths gained through living the gospel.
Sister Apple Jane Atanante, 22, Philippines Manila Mission

Two things have been of great worth to me on my mission: love and an ability to listen. Being able to listen helps us understand investigators’ concerns. Developing these two qualities—as well as study of the Restoration, Atonement, and faith—can help prepare anyone to teach on their missions.
Elder Nathaniel H. Gwinn, 21, Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission

Study the scriptures. You can’t touch someone else’s heart with the scriptures if you haven’t studied them yourself. You need to read and gain a testimony of the things you read. Seminary and scripture mastery are wonderful ways to gain a better understanding of the gospel.
Lindsey S., 18, North Carolina

I think the most important thing you should be doing is building your testimony. You’ll be fine if you go on your mission with strong faith in what you’re teaching. You can strengthen your testimony by reading the scriptures and praying about what you read. Attending church is also important.
Courtney F., 19, Arizona

Go to seminary, and make a habit of studying the scriptures daily, something you will be doing on a mission. Also, make a list of the ways the gospel blesses you, and think about why other people would want to hear the gospel message, which would bring them those blessings as well.
Wendi R., 17, Logan

Prepare by learning how to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Praying with all your heart, being Christlike, and studying the words of the Lord and His prophets will help you be in tune with the Spirit.
Jaclyn S., 15, Virginia

To teach effectively as a missionary, you must become familiar with the language of the Spirit, which comes as you repent daily and live the gospel. And you must know the gospel. Study the doctrines by topic, especially from the Book of Mormon.
Elder Bryan Stoddard, 20, Illinois Peoria Mission

Photograph by Christina Smith, posed by models