Preparing to Teach Others
“Lesson 19: Preparing to Teach Others,” Young Women Manual 2, 70
Each young woman will prepare herself to share the gospel with others.
1. Optional: Assign pairs of young women to present the role-play situations at the beginning of the lesson.
2. If it is available in your area, show “Missionary Work: Our Greatest Duty,” from Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).
3. Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.
SUGGESTED LESSON DEVELOPMENT
Choose two or three of the following statements (or others if you prefer) to begin discussions the young women might have about the gospel. In each case, one young woman is to act as the nonmember who asks the question, and another young woman is to act as the member who responds. The assigned young women should take no more than a minute or two for each conversation. Ask the class to comment on each situation.
1. “I find it hard to believe the Joseph Smith story. How can you believe it?”
2. “How is temple marriage different from any other marriage?”
3. “What do you mean when you say that your church is the only true church?”
4. “What’s so bad about a cup of coffee or a cigarette?”
5. “What difference does it make if you shop on Sunday?”
At the conclusion of the role-play activity, point out that these typical situations demonstrate the need for all of us to be prepared with knowledge, skills, and testimony.
To Share the Gospel with Others, We Should Strive to Increase Our Knowledge
Point out that our need to be prepared with gospel knowledge has been stressed by a former president of the Missionary Training Center:
“We ought to be real students—students like no one else. … If we, in this lay Church, don’t become proficient in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ, who on earth will? If the elders of Israel do not become profound theologians, who on earth will? If you mothers and mothers-to-be don’t learn the gospel sufficiently to teach your children, who on earth will? And, you missionaries, if you don’t learn the message the Lord would have you teach, who on earth will? Many painfully discover the obvious—you can’t teach well that which you do not know!” (Joe J. Christensen, “Learning Is Everybody’s Business,” Ensign, Feb. 1979, pp. 64–65).
Refer back to the role-play situations presented earlier.
• How many of you feel that you have enough knowledge to answer these questions if someone asks them to you?
Point out that we can best help others if we are able to answer their questions intelligently and precisely.
List the young women’s ideas on the chalkboard. Their suggestions might include studying the scriptures; taking seminary classes; reading Church magazines; and listening and learning in sacrament meetings, Sunday School and Young Women classes, and family home evenings.
Point out that the scriptures are one of our greatest sources of gospel knowledge, and we should make sure that we study them daily. They are the most correct source for a strong knowledge of true principles.
Have the young women turn to and read 2 Timothy 3:15–17.
• According to this passage, how can the scriptures help us? (Make us wise, teach us doctrine, correct us, and instruct us in righteousness.)
Ask the young women to share their ideas about how to study the scriptures regularly. Their ideas might include setting aside a certain time each day to read, having their own copies of the scriptures, and marking passages that are important to them. Point out that help can be found in the Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, and Index of the LDS edition of the scriptures or the Guide to the Scriptures found in non-English editions of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. Encourage the young women to study the scriptures each day.
Have the young women find and mark Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 in their scriptures. Ask one of them to read it aloud to emphasize the idea that we must learn before we can teach.
We Can Develop Skills That Will Help Us Teach the Gospel
Explain that in addition to gaining knowledge, we need to develop skills to be more effective in sharing the gospel. There are many helpful skills, but this lesson will discuss only four: developing confidence, learning other languages, developing talents, and cultivating good manners.
List these skills on the chalkboard one at a time. Use the material included here to discuss the skills. Ask the young women to discuss (1) how each skill could help them teach the gospel and (2) how they could develop the skill in their own lives.
1. Develop confidence. Point out that we may have difficulty approaching others about the gospel because we are afraid. We may be afraid that we do not know how to share the gospel, that we may offend others, or that others will think we are overbearing.
Explain that we can take advantage of natural ways to open gospel discussions. The members of one family consider it fun to look each day for ways to tell their friends about the gospel. They just watch for natural opportunities. By simply keeping their eyes, ears, and hearts open, they are able to teach their friends about the gospel without forcing anything. (See George D. Durrant, “Helping Your Children Be Missionaries,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, p. 67.)
Some students make use of school assignments to introduce others to the Church or gospel principles. One student, looking for a subject for a history project, decided to prepare a report on the westward trek of the Latter-day Saint pioneers. Not many students in the class knew much about the Church. This oral report provided an opportunity for much to be said about the Church. Another student had an assignment for a science class. She decided to present a report on the effects of smoking by dissecting a calf’s heart in class. She had received instructions on how to do it from a medical student. This graphic presentation not only earned her an “A” in the class but allowed her to teach a Word of Wisdom lesson as well. (See Dee V. Jacobs, “Gospel Sharing the Easy Way,” New Era, Sept. 1980, p. 26.)
2. Learn other languages. The commandment to carry the gospel to all the world (see D&C 90:11) implies that we need to learn the languages of the people who have not heard the gospel. It does not matter which language we learn, as the following statement points out.
“Any second language study is valuable. … A third language is much easier to learn if you’ve had training in a second language, because you’ve already learned concepts and patterns of thinking that a person who speaks his native tongue still has to wrestle with” (Steven L. Taylor, “To Every Man in His Own Tongue,” New Era, Sept. 1978, p. 49).
Church leaders have always encouraged members to study other languages. Such study gives us ability in that language, improves the use of our own language, and makes us more aware of other peoples and cultures. Learning about other cultures, as well as learning other languages, helps us to understand and love other people.
3. Develop talents. Each one of us has special talents. We have been given these talents to enrich our own lives as well as the lives of others. Talents can be a means of spreading the gospel message.
Merrell Jenson, a member of the Church and a musician, was asked, “What role has music played in your opportunity to do missionary work?”
He replied, “I was 15 when I received my patriarchal blessing, and it said that music would enable me to unlock doors that would otherwise remain closed, and that I would have a great influence on the world through music. Within a few years things began to happen to me that made its meaning more clear. I was called on a full-time mission to Norway and played in a musical group for eight months while there. I’ve been back from Norway 11 years now, and members from there still tell me of youth who are going on missions because they were influenced by our group and of members who went out and did missionary work after listening to us. …
“Since returning from my mission I have been … able through my career to introduce the gospel to producers, musicians, and other people in the industry. I give a Book of Mormon with a picture of our family and my testimony in the front to the conductor of the orchestra I happen to be working with and also to people I meet on planes while traveling” (“Music Man,” New Era, Aug. 1980, p. 43).
Some of us can sing well or play an instrument. Others of us may be good in sports or able to work well with our hands. Whatever our talents are, we should use them to bless our lives and the lives of others.
“Perhaps you have something to give that is as simple as love, or dedication, or hard work, or anything else that may be missing in someone’s life. Try it. Share it. You’ll never know what it may do for another” (H. Burke Peterson, “Your Life Has a Purpose,” New Era, May 1979, pp. 4–5).
4. Cultivate good manners. Explain that every day we represent not only ourselves but our families, our Church, and the Lord.
“Just as surely as [a person] walks, his manner, his attitude, his clothing, his complete self will be concrete evidence of what he is in his soul. He cannot conceal himself. Teach him, then, that these things reveal his spirit and show what he really is” (S. Dilworth Young, in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 83; or Ensign, July 1972, p. 77).
Point out that good manners make good impressions just as poor manners make poor impressions. Good manners can be learned, and we should work to develop them early. If we are to be successfully prepared to teach the gospel, we should know how to dress, eat, use language, and act appropriately around people of all ages. The good impression we make on people can be an important step to sharing the gospel with them.
To Teach the Gospel Successfully, We Must Develop a Strong Testimony
Point out that a strong personal testimony can be a powerful way to teach others. Explain that in the time of Alma, the people of the Church had become very wicked. Alma became so worried about them that he resigned his position as chief judge and devoted his time completely to bearing testimony to the people. He felt this was the only way in which he could convince them to repent and begin serving the Lord again.
Have the young women turn to and read Alma 4:19–20. Point out that many people repented and began living righteously because of the testimony of Alma (see Alma 4–6).
• What personal preparation had Alma made so that he could bear such a powerful testimony to the people?
• What do we have to do to develop a strong testimony? (Study, live righteously, repent, pray, and listen to the testimonies of others.)
• What effect can our testimony have on others?
Ask the young women to share any experiences they have had with sharing their testimonies or being influenced by the testimony of someone else.
Read the following statements of converts who were influenced by the testimony of a Church member:
One man met a Church member at an airport and began talking to her. “Our conversation led into a discussion on religion, and she imparted to me her testimony of the blessings that her family received from joining the Mormon Church. At that time I wasn’t really interested, but she had planted the seed, and when I met the elders some time later I was ready.”
Another convert wrote of a conversation with a member who was a neighbor of her uncle: “He told me some wonderful things I had never heard before about God and what He’d done for him and about the wonderful things the Church did for his life. He told me that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that our Heavenly Father is alive and plays a very important part in his life. For some reason the greatest warm feeling just came and seemed to say, ‘It’s true,’ and I just knew it was! I could just feel it all over” (Santiago Ofianga and Karen Lowe, as quoted in Jay A. Parry, “Converts Tell … What Brought Me In,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, p. 41).
Point out that we all need to bear our testimonies frequently to others, especially to our family members and neighbors, so that we can all be strengthened.
Suggest that the young women choose one or more of the following ideas to carry out individually or as a class:
1. Plan and begin a program of regular scripture study. Describe your study program to the class at the next meeting.
2. Talk with your parents about studying another language. Check in your school catalog or with your school counselor to work it into your class schedule.
3. As a group, have a class on good manners.
4. Bear your testimony at the next testimony meeting or at some other appropriate time.