Home Teaching Lessons for New Members
“Those who become converted and baptized,” said President Spencer W. Kimball, “should immediately have home teachers assigned who will fellowship them with personal concern. … We should help new converts to establish social relationships with the members of the Church, so they will not feel alone as they begin life as active Latter-day Saints.” (Member Activation, filmstrip for 1978 regional meetings.)
Home teachers can now be more effective than ever in their efforts to help new converts make the transition to the Latter-day Saint life-style. Home Teaching Lessons for New Members, a series of six short lessons to be taught within two months after the convert is baptized, provide answers to questions about the Church that may arise in the minds of new members.
The first lesson, taught jointly by the missionaries and the home teachers, briefly explains ward organization and the roles of bishops, quorum leaders, and home teachers. New members are shown that missionaries and home teachers have different purposes: missionaries work primarily with nonmembers; home teachers work closely with members. The home teachers then present a “welcome packet” to the convert: a Gospel Principles manual, a ward or branch directory, and a schedule of meetings.
Lesson two reviews the eternal nature of the family, the role of father and mother, family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. The home teachers give new members a copy of the current Family Home Evening manual and invite them to attend a home evening.
In lesson three, the home teachers explain that “living the gospel is a way of life that affects all of [our] thoughts and actions.” They discuss personal histories and journals, the Sabbath, financial contributions, moral standards, honesty, and kindness.
Lesson four deals with receiving Church callings as well as serving the Lord by being missionaries and good citizens in the community.
Resources of the Church are explained in the fifth lesson: the Church Educational System, publications, meetinghouse libraries, and Welfare Services (including employment services, LDS Social Services, bishops’ storehouse system, and Deseret Industries).
In the sixth lesson, the home teachers discuss with the converts the six areas of personal and family preparedness, explaining that “blessings come from regular, step-by-step application of these principles.”
In the introduction to the new lessons, home teachers are advised to teach “with a spirit of warmth [and] friendliness,” because the relationship they develop with new members “is as important as the information in the lessons.”
Indeed, more than just providing information, the lessons help home teachers develop the kind of relationship that will sustain new members as the missionaries move on to teach others.
Missionary Discussions for the Jewish People
The Missionary Department has announced the recent implementation of new Missionary Discussions for the Jewish People.
The three new discussions were written in response to President Spencer W. Kimball’s declaration in the April 1975 Regional Representatives Seminar that the Jewish people “must hear the gospel; they must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master, and that day, I think, cannot come until we, the witnesses of Jesus Christ, get busy and present the message to them.” (Missionary Training Manual: For Use in the Jewish Proselyting Program, 1978, introduction)
The second discussion traces Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah and then shows how Jesus Christ fulfills them.
The third discussion applies Old Testament prophecies to the apostasy that occurred after the deaths of Christ and his apostles, and then introduces the message of the restored gospel.
After they receive the three special discussions, Jewish contacts are taught just as other contacts are. The missionary plan recommends that for the next meeting with the family, the missionaries choose one of the standard discussions, and that during the process of teaching the family, all of the concepts in the discussions be taught.
Included with the discussions are a flipchart and six tracts: A Message to Judah from Joseph by President Ezra Taft Benson, The Greatest Message of Our Time, What is the Book of Mormon?, The Messiah, Apostasy and Restoration, and We Have Found the Messiah.
Also accompanying the discussions is a supplement, the Missionary Training Manual: For Use in the Jewish Proselyting Program. This supplement has been prepared to help missionaries understand Jewish people and to teach them effectively without offense. It includes such helpful information as a history of the Jewish people, results of a survey of modern Jews, definitions of Jewish terms, and instructions on contacting Jewish people.
All missionaries called to serve in an area with a heavy concentration of Jewish people will receive specific orientation at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Then the mission presidents in each mission determine which missionaries will learn and use the new discussions.
Guidelines for Stake and Regional Meetings
Consistent with President Spencer W. Kimball’s admonition in the Regional Representatives Seminar 31 March 1978 to simplify programs “enough to serve our people at the level of their need” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 101), the Leadership Department has outlined a new format for the June 1979 regional meetings held Churchwide. All Regional Representatives and stake presidents have received the Regional Meeting Planning Guide, 1979, which contains all the information needed to plan and carry out the meetings.
According to the booklet, stake presidents are to consult with local priesthood and auxiliary leaders, determine their needs, and then indicate to their Regional Representative the topics that would be most appropriate and beneficial for their specific areas. Local leaders then brainstorm ways to present those ideas in regional meetings. Other local leaders will be asked to come to the regional meetings prepared to discuss problems, goals, and solutions unique to their geographical areas.
Because this year’s format is geared so specifically to local need, the June meetings will naturally vary greatly from region to region.
In a second effort to simplify, the Leadership Department has condensed several items of instruction and information, formerly necessitating multiple mailings, into one booklet entitled Stake Meetings Planning Guide and Stake Conference Schedules, 1979. Directed to stake presidents, the booklet includes “information on planning stake conferences, suggested topics and resource materials for stake leadership meetings [and] stake priesthood meetings, and stake conference schedules.” (Stake Meetings Planning Guide, introduction)
Essentials of Home Production and Storage
This booklet, prepared by the Welfare Services Department of the Church, is the first of six geared to the six areas of personal and family preparedness. Intended more as a resource manual than as a definitive text, it includes basic information on home production and storage. It can be used as a home reference or as a resource for classes.
The twenty-nine-page publication gives tips on gardening, food preservation, and home production techniques, as well as suggestions for first aid kits, recipes for storage foods, and inventory sheets to help families organize and keep records of home storage needs. The bibliography lists many excellent publications giving more detailed information in each specific area—and also the addresses where they can be obtained.
Copies are available at Church distribution centers for 50¢ (stock no. PGWE1125) and at bookstores carrying Church books.