Teach the Doctrine
“Lesson 4: Teach the Doctrine,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching, 203
To help class members understand the power that comes from studying and teaching the doctrines of the gospel, which are found in the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets.
Note to the Teacher
As you prepare to teach this lesson, pray for guidance to teach effectively from the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets. As prompted by the Holy Ghost, talk about the effect the doctrines of the gospel have had in your life as you have studied and taught them.
1. Prayerfully study the scripture passages in this lesson. Seek to apply them to the purpose of the lesson.
2. Study the section in this book titled “Teach the Doctrine” (pages 49–59) and the following in the “Gospel Teaching and Leadership” section of the Church Handbook of Instructions: “Teach the Saving Doctrines and Ordinances of the Gospel” (page 301), “Teach from the Scriptures and the Teachings of Latter-day Prophets” (page 302), and “Use Church-Approved Lesson Materials” (page 304).
3. Invite a class member or another member of the ward to come to class prepared to talk about how learning a specific doctrine of the gospel has influenced his or her life.
4. If current Church-produced lesson manuals are available, bring a few of them to class.
5. Before class, write the following on the chalkboard:
“I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (D&C 88:77).
How does learning the doctrine of the kingdom affect us?
How is learning true doctrine different from learning other things?
Suggested Lesson Development
The Lord has commanded us to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.” The doctrine can have a powerful effect on our minds and hearts.
Chalkboard and Scripture Discussion
Direct class members’ attention to the scripture and questions that you have written on the chalkboard (see “Preparation,” item 5).
Explain that in the scripture written on the chalkboard, the phrase “doctrine of the kingdom” refers to the revealed truths of the gospel.
Direct class members’ attention to the questions that you have written on the chalkboard. Before asking class members to discuss the questions, invite them to read the following scripture passages aloud:
a. Enos 1:1–4. (The doctrines of the gospel sink deep into our hearts and lead us to humble ourselves before God.)
b. Alma 31:5. (The word of God leads people to do good and has a “powerful effect” on the mind.)
c. Alma 32:28. (The word of God enlarges our souls, enlightens our understanding, and becomes delicious to us.)
d. Joseph Smith—History 1:11–12. (The word of God comes “with … power to the heart.”)
Ask class members to discuss the questions on the chalkboard.
Class Member Presentation
Invite the assigned class member or other member of the ward to talk about how learning a specific doctrine of the gospel has influenced his or her life.
We should focus our teaching on the doctrine.
Ask class members to imagine that they are members of a Young Men, Young Women, or Sunday School presidency. A teacher in their organization says to them, “When I teach the youth I spend a lot of class time talking about things like sports, dating, and movies. I feel like class members will lose interest if I spend too much time teaching from the scriptures.”
Discussion and Quotations
As part of this discussion, invite three different class members to read the statements below. Emphasize the importance of teaching the word of God to Church members of all ages.
To Teachers of Adults
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “It is not pleasing to me when I attend a service and someone is called upon to speak who stands before the people and presents, though it be in a pleasing way, some platitudes, some philosophy of men—the ideas of those who today mould the thought of the world, but who in their own hearts have no faith in or love for Jesus Christ—or who discuss questions at variance with the fundamental principles of the gospel” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:342).
To Teachers of Young Men and Women
President J. Reuben Clark Jr. taught:
“The youth of the Church are hungry for the things of the Spirit; they are eager to learn the gospel, and they want it straight, undiluted. …
“You do not have to sneak up behind [them] and whisper religion in [their] ears; … You do not need to disguise religious truths with a cloak of worldly things; you can bring these truths to [them] openly” (The Charted Course of the Church in Education, rev. ed. [pamphlet, 1994], 3, 9).
To Teachers of Small Children
Elder Ezra Taft Benson counseled, “All we ask of you [is] that in the hearts of these children who come under your watchcare and direction, you will so inspire them that nothing in this world will be dearer to them than the Gospel” (“Our First Obligation,” Children’s Friend, Oct. 1950, 454).
To All Gospel Teachers
Elder Boyd K. Packer said:
“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.
“The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).
We should ensure that we teach correct doctrine.
Quotations and Discussion
Read the following statement by President Marion G. Romney:
“When I drink from a spring I like to get the water where it comes out of the ground, not down the stream after the cattle have waded in it. … I appreciate other people’s interpretation, but when it comes to the gospel we ought to be acquainted with what the Lord says” (address to religious educators, 13 Apr. 1973; quoted by J. Richard Clarke in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 19; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 15).
• To what sources should we turn to help those we teach “be acquainted with what the Lord says”? (Answers should include the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets.)
• How can we ensure that we are teaching correct doctrine?
As part of this discussion, have class members read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–13 and D&C 52:9. Emphasize that we can ensure that we are teaching correct doctrine by being consistent with the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets. Invite a class member to read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“No one has the right to give his own private interpretations when he has been invited to teach in the organizations of the Church; he is a guest, … and those whom he teaches are justified in assuming that, having been chosen and sustained in the proper order, he represents the Church and the things which he teaches are approved by the Church” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 532–33).
If you have brought current Church-produced lesson manuals to class, display them now.
Point out that Church-produced manuals contain suggestions for application questions, activities, and audiovisual materials that help us focus our teaching on the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets.
The Lord promises us great blessings as we diligently learn and teach His doctrine.
Point out that we must study the doctrines of the gospel before we can teach them effectively. Then read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“It is a common thing to have a few passages of scripture at our disposal, floating in our minds, as it were, and thus to have the illusion that we know a great deal about the gospel. In this sense, having a little knowledge can be a problem indeed. I am convinced that each of us, at some time in our lives, must discover the scriptures for ourselves—and not just discover them once, but rediscover them again and again” (“How Rare a Possession—the Scriptures!” Ensign, Sept. 1976, 4).
Chalkboard and Scripture Discussion
Erase the chalkboard, and draw the following chart. Explain that the chart will show the Lord’s promises to teachers who “rediscover [the scriptures] again and again.” Ask class members to copy the chart in their notebooks. (Do not have them turn to this page in their books.)
What We Do
Blessings We Receive
Have class members read the scripture passages outlined in the chart. After each passage is read, ask class members to identify things we can do and blessings that we will receive as a result of those actions. Write their insights in the appropriate columns. Encourage class members to write these insights in their notebooks. Some possible answers are given in the following chart.
Ask class members to write in their notebooks one specific thing they will do to follow the counsel in these scripture passages. Also, ask them to write about how they feel this action will help them receive the Lord’s blessings in their responsibilities to teach.
As prompted by the Spirit, testify of the power that comes from studying and teaching the doctrines of the gospel.
Encourage class members to:
1. Study the scriptures diligently every day. (You may want to encourage them to read “Developing a Personal Plan for Studying the Gospel,” pages 16–17 in this book.)
2. In connection with the notebook assignment during the lesson, strive to do one thing in the coming week to improve their personal gospel study. Write about their progress related to this goal.
3. Review the principles taught in this lesson by studying the section in this book titled “Teach the Doctrine” (pages 49–59).