Lesson 46: Effective Home Teaching

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 185–88


Objective

Each young man will learn how to be an effective home teacher.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants 20:46–57.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    Make a copy on a card or piece of paper of each of the role-playing situations described in the lesson. Hand them out to some of the young men at the beginning of the quorum meeting.

  4. 4.

    Study each of the role-playing situations carefully.

  5. 5.

    If it is available in your area, you may want to show “Following the Spirit,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276).

Suggested Lesson Development

Home Teachers Are to Help Their Assigned Families

Story

Larry Foster, an Aaronic Priesthood holder, lives with his mother in a small branch. Larry’s father was killed in an automobile accident when Larry was young, and Larry works to help support his mother and younger sisters. He has chosen not to go with the quorum on many of their activities so he can work to help buy food and clothing for the family. Neither Larry nor his mother feels that they are included in the branch, even though they both are active.

  • How could Larry’s priesthood quorum help him?

Let the young men discuss this situation. Help them realize that the quorum has a responsibility to help Larry and that the home teachers have a responsibility to help the family.

  • If you were one of the home teachers, what could you do to help Sister Foster and her family? How could you help them feel needed and wanted in the branch?

Help the young men understand that visiting the Fosters is important, but more effort is required. Effective home teaching is not merely a monthly visit. It is a commitment to help meet the family’s spiritual and temporal needs.

Duties of the Home Teacher

Scripture and chalkboard discussion

  • What are the duties of home teachers?

List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 20:46–57. Suggest that they mark the verses that seem important to them.

  • Which of these verses describe the duties of a home teacher?

  • Who calls Aaronic Priesthood holders to be home teachers? (The Lord through his representatives, the local priesthood leaders.)

Role playing

To help the young men understand more about home teaching, use role-playing situations similar to the following. Assign pairs of young men to be home teaching companions for the following situations. Give each set of companions one of the cards or papers on which you have written a home teaching situation. You and the bishop could act as some of the family members to whom the home teachers are assigned. You may also want to have some of the young men take the parts of family members.

Situation 1

Read the following:

Two home teachers have just been assigned to the Allen family. The Allens are active in the ward and attend all their meetings. Richard Allen is a priest and often blesses the sacrament. The junior companion of the home teachers is a priest and knows Richard from school. He is aware that Richard is using drugs and alcohol with some of his friends at school and is drifting away from the Church. The two new home teachers are having their first planning meeting to decide how to help their families. The senior companion tells the junior companion that the Allens are active, and he knows of no problems with the family.

Have two young men role-play how the planning session might continue.

Situation 2

Read the following:

Two home teachers, a priest and a high priest, have been visiting the Garcias for several months. Brother Garcia is elderly and confined to a wheelchair, and Sister Garcia is not well enough to work outside the house. The home teachers have noticed that there is much work to do in the yard and would like to help, but each time they ask if there is anything they can do, Brother Garcia replies that there is not. The home teachers have discussed the situation and have decided that something must be done to help. The home teachers are now visiting in the home.

Have two young men role-play how the home teachers could help the Garcias without lessening the self-respect of the Garcias.

Situation 3

Read the following:

For some months two home teachers have been assigned to several families in the ward. Some of the families are active and some are not. The senior companion is a high priest who is not very responsible about visiting the families. When he does go, he usually talks about the weather and whatever comes to mind. The junior companion knows that the families need some help, but he does not feel he should go alone to visit or should take over the responsibilities of his senior companion. Each month the Aaronic Priesthood holder calls the senior companion to ask him when they are going to visit the families. He is now about to make the call. He is determined that he will somehow get his senior companion to visit and do a good job so that the families will be helped.

Have two young men role-play the conversation between the two companions.

Discussion

After each situation has been acted out, have the quorum members discuss additional ways to handle the situation. Bring out the following points during the discussion:

  1. 1.

    Home teachers need to counsel together as companions.

  2. 2.

    Home teaching is more than just visiting a family. It is showing genuine concern for the family members and their needs.

  3. 3.

    Sometimes the junior companion can do more than the senior companion with family members his own age.

  4. 4.

    Home teachers should work to maintain the dignity of the families who are helped.

  5. 5.

    Suggesting particular things to do for the family can be more effective than asking what can be done to help.

  6. 6.

    The junior companion must be wise and careful when he prompts a senior companion who is not ready to lead.

  7. 7.

    Home teachers should work with the head of the family in planning visits so that they can help him or her meet the family’s needs.

Add any points from your own experiences that may help the young men to better understand their responsibilities. Use these role-playing situations to help the young men better understand the importance of effective home teaching.

Home Teachers Can Change People’s Lives

Story

Read or tell the following story:

“‘Thank goodness for the home teachers.’

“Brother Bjarne Engman said those words with emphasis as he recalled the events that had brought a return of activity in the church to his family. …

“‘I met a lady at work who didn’t smoke or drink coffee. I asked if she was a Mormon, and her answer was “yes.”

“‘We began to talk and as a result the branch president came to see us. We asked for the missionaries,’ Brother Engman recalled.

“‘No,’ the branch president said, ‘You are members, we will send the home teachers.’

“‘The home teachers were great men. They renewed our interest in the gospel. They came often. They looked after us in every way. They were so well informed and spent so much time that we knew they were interested in us. We knew that they loved us.

“‘We were slow to respond, and I think they may have been discouraged. Each time they prayed with us. It was the prayers that touched us finally. One evening they asked us to pray. I said, “I will if my wife will.” She did, and we enjoyed a great spiritual experience,’ he said.

“Working with wisdom and patience, the home teachers prepared the way and invited them to attend Sunday School.

“‘We had a welcome we will never forget,’ Sister Engman said. ‘We were like the prodigal son returning.

“‘The members were so friendly. We were invited to their homes, and they came to visit us. Soon we were enjoying the spirit of the gospel. We wanted to have our children baptized.’

“… Missionaries taught the children. But it was the home teachers who were asked to baptize the older children. Brother Engman didn’t have the priesthood.

“The home teachers, Svenerik Thompsen and Preben Devantie, taught the Engman family about Family Home Evening.

“‘We had Family Home Evening with the home teachers the first time. It was wonderful. We had a lesson, played some games about the church and had cake and juice,’ Sister Engman explained.

“‘Then we started having our own Family Home Evening,’ Brother Engman added. ‘And it has been wonderful for the family.’

“Now their church activity and personal involvement is complete. Brother Engman [became] a member of the high council of the Copenhagen Denmark Stake. Before that he was in the district presidency.

“Sister Engman [became] the inservice leader for the Primary, as well as being the secretary of the Primary and president of the ward choir” (“Home Teachers Show the Way,” Church News, 16 Nov. 1974, p. 12).

  • What did these home teachers do to bless this family?

Personal experiences

You may want to share an experience you have had with effective home teaching. Invite the young men to also share any experiences they have had.

Conclusion

Testimony

Testify that the Lord has instituted home teaching for the benefit of the Saints. He has called priesthood bearers to perform this important function. We must wisely carry out this duty. Home teaching requires us to have continuous concern for the families to whom we are assigned and constant thought about how to serve. We cannot do this without help from the Lord, and he is always ready to help if we will ask.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to become more involved with the families to whom they are assigned as home teachers. Challenge them to find at least one way each month to show their concern for the families.