“Each of us, at some time during our membership in the Church, will be a teacher,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told seminary, institute, and religion teachers and educational administrators at a Church Educational System fireside. “That is one of the beauties of this Church,” he said. “The call to teach is an opportunity to follow Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher.”
The fireside was held at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, on January 28, 2011.
President Uchtdorf offered five selected topics of counsel for teachers:
First, follow the Master Teacher. Everything we do should center on the Savior—“His gospel, His teachings, His example, and His love.” By expressing our love for the Savior, we help others to develop the same love.
Second, teach the truth with courage and clarity. The world offers many morally-confusing philosophies. Remain committed to the eternal, unchanging doctrines of the gospel and teach them so clearly that they cannot be misunderstood.
Third, teach by the Spirit. Having the Spirit enables teachers to touch hearts and lives and allows those listening to receive eternal learning.
Fourth, teach from the heart. President Uchtdorf recalled the greatest teachers in his life as those who spoke “spirit to spirit, heart to heart . . . with sincerity, passion, and conviction.”
Fifth, testify. “The teacher who bears testimony by the power of the Spirit will be able to touch the hearts and minds of the students,” President Uchtdorf said. He reminded teachers of the example of Brigham Young, the second president of the Church, who felt the Holy Ghost in the testimony of a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking. He quoted Brigham Young: “The Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual [illuminated] my understanding . . . and [I knew] for myself that the testimony of the man [was] true.”
In the beginning of his address, President Uchtdorf said we live in a time of fulfillment of prophecy, when the gospel will be spread unto all the world, and that modern technology will help in that process. However, “as miraculous as these new technologies may seem, they are only a small part of the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecies.” An even greater miracle, he said, is bringing the gospel into people’s hearts. “To accomplish this,” he said, “we need something even more miraculous than modern technology. We need effective, loving teachers.”
As he was leaving the Tabernacle, President Uchtdorf endeared himself to the congregation by waving farewell and then placed his hand on his heart in a gesture of love, appreciation, and support for the teachers in the Church.
The fireside was addressed to seminary, institute, BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and LDS Business College teachers, as well as an audience of more than 42,000 volunteer seminary, institute, and religion instructors throughout the Church via broadcast and DVD’s. The broadcast will be translated into more than 23 languages for teachers in more than 150 countries around the world.