What Do I Study and Teach?

“3: What Do I Study and Teach?” Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2018), 29–88

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount, by Carl Bloch. Original at the Chapel of Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark. Used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum. Do not copy.

The lessons in this chapter contain the essential doctrine, principles, and commandments that you are to study, believe, love, live, and teach. They are what the living prophets and apostles have directed you to teach. They are organized so that you can help others clearly understand the doctrine of Christ.

The lessons in this chapter are:

Teach all of the lessons before baptism. Make sure those you teach qualify for baptism and confirmation by making and keeping all of the commitments in these lessons.

Each lesson contains a list of invitations for others to make and keep certain commitments. Help those you teach understand that accepting an invitation to make and keep a commitment can prepare them to make and keep covenants with the Lord.

Full-time missionaries take the lead in teaching all of the lessons before baptism and again after baptism, with the help of ward missionaries and other members. After baptism, encourage each new member to keep all the commitments in these lessons.

You should also use these lessons in individual and companion study, district council, and other training settings. As you study the scriptures and treasure up in your mind the doctrine in these lessons, the Spirit will give you in the very hour what you should say and do to help others receive a witness of the truthfulness of the teachings.

As a missionary, you have a great responsibility to teach from the heart and by the Spirit. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “Our purpose is to teach the message of the restored gospel in such a way as to allow the Spirit to direct both the missionaries and those being taught. It is essential to learn the concepts of the [lessons], but these should not be taught by rote presentation. The missionary should feel free to use his own words as prompted by the Spirit. He should not give a memorized recitation, but speak from the heart in his own terms. He may depart from the order of the lessons, giving that which he is inspired to do, according to the interest and needs of the [person]. Speaking out of his own conviction and in his own words he should bear testimony of the truth of his teachings” (“Statement on Missionary Work,” First Presidency letter, 11 Dec. 2002). As you and your companion study these lessons and prepare to teach, keep these instructions firmly in mind. Make sure that you teach all the doctrine in these lessons.

Let the Spirit guide the order in which you present the first three lessons based on the person’s needs, interests, and situation. A few of the commandments may also be included as appropriate or be taught as lessons of their own. Prayerfully decide what to teach and which invitations to extend. Be mindful of the person’s questions and level of understanding.

Each lesson outlines the baptismal interview questions, commitments, and doctrine that you are to teach. Thoroughly learn the doctrine. Consistently focus on helping those you teach make and keep the commitments. Use the baptismal interview questions to prepare those you teach for baptism and confirmation. The lessons also have ideas for teaching. Use these suggestions to strengthen how you prepare and teach.

The Role of Memorization

Memorize scriptures to use in your teaching. Commit to memory the sequence of the doctrinal points in each of the missionary lessons. Missionaries learning a second language should focus their language study on preparing to teach the missionary lessons. They should memorize vocabulary, phrases, sentence patterns, and brief statements of doctrine as they appear in the lesson, but only after these have become personally meaningful. Do not memorize entire lessons.

Teach with Clarity

At the end of the first three lessons is a list of words that may be unfamiliar to those you teach. Learn how to define these words simply. As you teach, do all you can to make the message easy to understand.

Scripture Study

What are you directed to teach?

Why must you study the doctrine in the lessons?