PD50043158_000_15Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast • August 7, 2012
My dear fellow teachers, we have loved being with you today. Speaking for all of us who participated in recording that video, I affirm that we did so prayerfully and under the influence of the Spirit and with no purpose other than to help you in your sacred callings as teachers in the seminaries and institutes of this great Church.
Our wonderful new handbook, Gospel Teaching and Learning, just published by the Church, states our purpose as teachers. Brother Hall read this, Elder Johnson read it, and I’m going to read it: “Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , x).
To achieve that purpose, this inspired handbook encourages seminary and institute teachers to implement the various fundamentals of gospel teaching and learning it lists on page 10 and elaborates on in pages 10 through 36.
In the video recording you have just viewed, we discussed some of these fundamentals, such as teaching and learning by the Spirit and daily scripture study. I thought our group of teachers shared many important insights and experiences that will be of great value in your teaching. Please study Gospel Teaching and Learning for other important fundamentals, which I encourage you to use prayerfully in your teaching.
One of these fundamentals is the priority of teaching gospel doctrine and principles rather than just specific rules and applications (see pages 26–33). A superb example of teaching at the level of fundamental doctrine and associated principles is the family proclamation. It never descends into specific applications or rules. This kind of teaching is enduring in memory, and it leaves specific applications to the agency of the individual, guided by inspiration.
In conclusion, I emphasize that a gospel teacher, like the Good Shepherd we serve, concentrates entirely on the needs of the sheep—those being taught. As true under-shepherds, we never focus on ourselves or let our presence or our teaching methods obscure our students’ view of the Master. We do not look upon our calling as “giving or presenting a lesson,” because that is self-centered. We are not called to perform some personal task that can be measured by our efforts and our accomplishments. Our responsibility is to be instruments in the hands of the Master, to do His work—teaching the children of God—in His way.
In furtherance of that sacred responsibility, we will never be satisfied with going through the motions of teaching—however excellently done—but will measure the effect of our teaching by its righteous impact on the life of each individual student. Students with gospel teachers who desire that result and measure their efforts in that way will feel and be influenced by the true love behind that desire—not only the love of the teacher, but also the love of the Good Shepherd whom we seek to serve.
These principles are true. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As His servant I invoke His blessings upon you in your sacred responsibilities—not only for your teaching professionally or by calling, but in your families. And I bless you to that end and testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
© 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 5/12. Closing Remarks. English. PD50043158 000