At the waters of Mormon, Alma declared that those who seek baptism into the Church “are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:8–9).
There has never been a time in the history of the Church when this kind of watchcare is more needed. Home teaching is a program inspired by the Lord through which priesthood holders render this service. The scriptural foundation of home teaching is the Lord’s commandment for priesthood holders to “watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them” (D&C 20:53).
Through home teaching, priesthood holders watch over and strengthen all Latter-day Saints, particularly those with special needs, such as widows, new converts, and families with less-active members.
Home teachers are the Church’s first source of help to Church members. They offer help when members are unemployed, ill, moving, or have other pressing needs. They assist with spiritual, emotional, and physical challenges. They help parents teach their children to “walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28). They “warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59). In monthly visits they are to present the First Presidency’s message printed in the Church magazines. Under the direction of the senior companion, an Aaronic Priesthood holder may be invited to present the message. They include prayer in each visit.
Young men holding the Aaronic Priesthood are full participants with their senior companions, making appointments, sharing gospel messages, offering prayers, and rendering service.
Priesthood leaders can strengthen home teaching in the ward or branch by (1) making home teaching part of their first-Sunday discussions, (2) giving attention each month to specific assignments—such as who has and who has not been taught that month, (3) regularly discussing home teaching assignments in the ward or branch Priesthood Executive Committee, and (4) conducting regular home teaching interviews. As we all focus on providing thoughtful, diligent, caring home teaching, we will magnify our priesthood callings and honor our baptismal covenants.