How Has Visiting Teaching Been Strengthened?

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    Following is a summary of the changes to the visiting teaching program. We encourage Relief Society leaders and visiting teachers to read chapter 9 of Handbook 2: Administering the Church to review the specific details of these changes. We also encourage you to read chapter 7 of Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society to gain vision, insight, and understanding of the power of ministering and its essential role in visiting teaching. (These two books can be found online at LDS.org.)

    Assigning Visiting Teachers

    1. The Relief Society presidency, not just the president, is responsible for visiting teachers.

    See Handbook 2,9.2.2.

    2. When a Relief Society leader gives a sister her visiting teaching assignment, the leader helps the sister understand that visiting teaching is an important spiritual responsibility to fulfill.

    See Handbook 2,9.5; 9.5.1.

    3. The Relief Society presidency conducts ongoing training for visiting teachers on how to be more effective in ministering to those they visit. Training can be given in Relief Society on the first Sunday of the month or in another Relief Society meeting.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.

    Counseling with Others

    1. The Relief Society presidency meets regularly with visiting teachers to discuss the spiritual and temporal welfare of those in need and to make plans to help them. Visiting teachers may assist the Relief Society presidency in coordinating short-term or long-term service for sisters in need.

    See Handbook 2,9.5; 9.5.1; 9.5.4.

    2. The Relief Society presidency counsels together regularly to discuss the spiritual and temporal welfare of those in need.

    See Handbook 2,9.3.2; 9.5.4.

    3. In ward or branch council meetings, the Relief Society president shares appropriate information from visiting teaching reports so that ward or branch leaders can counsel together on how to help those with spiritual and temporal needs.

    See Handbook 2,4.5.1; 5.1.2; 6.2.2.

    4. The bishop or branch president may invite the Relief Society president to ward or branch priesthood executive committee (PEC) meetings as needed to coordinate home teaching and visiting teaching assignments.

    See Handbook 2,9.3.1.

    5. The Relief Society presidency and the young single adult leader meet regularly to ensure that visiting teaching assignments help address the needs of young single adults.

    See Handbook 2,9.7.2; 16.3.3.

    Organizing and Overseeing Visiting Teaching

    1. The bishop or branch president and the Relief Society presidency counsel together and prayerfully consider local needs to determine the structure of visiting teaching. (Sisters should not be organized in groups for the purpose of visiting teaching since they minister to individual needs.) The bishop or branch president approves each assignment.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.2.

    2. Where possible, the presidency assigns sisters in companionships of two. Handbook 2 provides other options to meet local needs. The presidency counsels with the bishop or branch president about using the following options:

    1. Temporarily assigning only home teachers or only visiting teachers to certain families. Or leaders may alternate the monthly visits of home teachers and visiting teachers.

    2. Asking full-time sister missionaries to help with visiting teaching on a limited basis, with approval of the mission president.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.2; 9.5.3.

    3. Visiting teaching is not just a monthly visit; it is ministering. To watch over and strengthen sisters in their individual needs, visiting teachers have ongoing contact with them through visits, phone calls, e-mails, letters, or other means.

    Leaders give special priority to ensuring the following sisters are cared for: sisters coming into Relief Society from Young Women, single sisters, new members, recent converts, newly married sisters, less-active sisters, and those with special needs.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.1; 9.5.2.

    Reporting Visiting Teaching

    1. Visiting teachers are asked to report special needs and service given—in other words, their ministering. Count the caring instead of just counting visits.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.4.

    2. The Relief Society president gives the bishop or branch president a monthly visiting teaching report. This report includes the special needs and service rendered by visiting teachers and a list of sisters not contacted.

    See Handbook 2,9.5.4.