Lesson 18: Teaching by the Power of the Holy Ghost

Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, (2000), 132–38


The purpose of this lesson is to help us understand that we should teach the gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Introduction

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “If we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us, we can teach any person, no matter how well educated, any place in the world. The Lord knows more than any of us, and if we are his servants, acting under his Spirit, he can deliver his message of salvation to each and every soul” (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 7).

If we are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must have the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Only in this way can we teach the truth.

Teaching by the Influence of the Holy Ghost

  • Ask a class member to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–14. What does this scripture tell us to teach? Where do we find these principles? How do we obtain the Spirit with which to teach? If we do not have the influence of the Holy Ghost, why should we not teach?

To know what and when to teach, we must learn to recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost. Elder A. Theodore Tuttle explained what it feels like to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost:

“Do you sense when revelation comes? Let me share this experience with you. …

“… Traveling [with Elder Marion G. Romney] to Salt Lake after [a] meeting, one of the Brethren [with us] observed, ‘Brother Romney, you spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost tonight.’

“Brother Romney said, ‘That’s right, I did. Do you know how I know? Because I, too, learned something that I did not know’” (“Teaching the Word to the Rising Generation,” address delivered 10 July 1970 at BYU summer school, 8–9).

  • How did the Holy Ghost influence President Romney? How can the Holy Ghost increase our ability to teach?

The Holy Ghost not only teaches the teacher, but also causes the words of the teacher to sink deep into the hearts of the listeners. “For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).

  • How does the Holy Ghost influence those who are being taught?

  • Show visual 18-a, “King Benjamin changed the lives of many people when he taught them by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

    King Benjamin's speech(click to view larger)

    18-a, King Benjamin changed the lives of many people when he taught them by the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Book of Mormon prophet King Benjamin called his people together toward the end of his life to give them special instructions and to strengthen them spiritually.

  • Ask a class member to read Mosiah 5:1–2. What caused the people to believe King Benjamin’s words? Have a class member read Mosiah 5:3–4. Why were these people so receptive to the influence of the Holy Ghost?

Obtaining the Guidance of the Holy Ghost

The Book of Mormon tells us that many of the prophets and missionaries of that time were guided in their teaching by the Holy Ghost. Four of these men were the sons of Mosiah.

  • Ask a class member to read Alma 17:2–3. What three steps did the sons of Mosiah take to enable them to teach with power?

President Marion G. Romney shared an experience his wife had when she was preparing a lesson she was to teach on the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In her class was a well-educated woman who was a nonmember and did not believe in the restored gospel. Sister Romney was an inexperienced teacher at the time and was afraid that her lesson would not be accepted by this intelligent woman.

“[In discussing the problem with her mother, Sister Romney] said, ‘Mother, I can’t give that lesson. I don’t know that Joseph Smith had that vision.’ …

“Her mother was not an educated woman, but she did have a testimony. She said to her daughter, ‘You know how the Prophet got the vision, don’t you?’

“‘Yes,’ answered her daughter, ‘he got it by praying to God for wisdom.’ …

“The daughter went to her room and tried it; she ‘wrestled’ with God, as did Enos. The result was that she … gave the lesson convincingly, with power beyond her natural abilities. How could she do it? Well, the Holy Spirit came to her in response to her inquiry. She received a burning within her soul. She knew that Joseph Smith had seen the vision, as well as he knew it. She had not seen exactly the same things with her eyes that the Prophet saw, but she had the same knowledge. She knew from Joseph Smith’s description what he had seen, and she had a witness from the Holy Ghost that his account was true” (“How to Gain a Testimony,” New Era, May 1976, 10–11).

  • How did Sister Romney prepare for her lesson? Why didn’t studying alone give her confidence to give the lesson?

  • Have a class member read Moroni 10:4–5. In what ways does the Holy Ghost help us learn the truth? What do we have to do to receive this witness?

Testimony Gives Power to Teaching

Teaching with a testimony is teaching with a knowledge that the gospel is true. If we have a testimony of what we are teaching, those listening will feel the power of the Spirit and understand the gospel better. When we bear testimony of the truth, the Holy Ghost witnesses to those listening to us the truthfulness of our testimony (see D&C 50:21–22).

  • Show visual 18-b, “The Holy Ghost confirms the testimonies of those who bear witness of gospel truths.”

Elder Alvin R. Dyer told the following story about the power of testimony in teaching:

Two missionaries arrived at a home in the late afternoon. The family was just preparing to eat, so the missionaries had little success with their message. As the woman began to close the door, the elders seized the opportunity to bear testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel. One of them purposely raised his voice so that those on the inside could hear. Then, because it had started to rain, the missionaries left rather hurriedly. After traveling about a half a block, they heard someone calling to them. A young man about 14 years of age caught up with them and said, “Father wants you to come back.” They went back to the house they had just left. The father told them he had listened to their message at the door. He was not impressed until he heard one of them bear his testimony. Then he said, “A strange feeling came over me, and I knew we had done wrong in sending you away.” That testimony, borne by a humble elder, led to the baptism of the family. (See “‘When Thou Art Converted,’” Instructor, July 1961, 225.)

  • Why did the father call the missionaries back? Ask the previously assigned class members to describe how they felt the Spirit when they were taught the gospel and heard the testimony of the missionaries.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach men things they cannot teach one another. In those great and challenging words of Moroni, a knowledge of the truth of the Book of Mormon is promised ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost.’ Moroni then declares, ‘And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things’ (Moroni 10:4–5).” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 259).

Conclusion

As parents and teachers in the Church, we have a responsibility to teach by the power of the Spirit. When we teach by the Spirit, we increase the knowledge and faith not only of those we teach, but also of ourselves.

Only by teaching with the power of the Holy Ghost can we teach the truth. But to teach by the power of the Holy Ghost, we must be worthy and prepared. Such preparation includes studying, praying, and living the commandments of God.

“And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach. …

“And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

“For behold, the Comforter knoweth all things” (D&C 42:14, 16–17).

Challenges

In preparing to teach, seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost by studying the scriptures, praying for guidance, and fasting.

Seek opportunities to teach children, friends, and neighbors.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Follow the steps outlined in the lesson to be influenced by the Holy Ghost as you prepare the lesson.

  2. 2.

    If you desire, assign two class members to describe how they felt the Spirit when they were taught the gospel and heard the testimony of the missionaries.

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.