President David O. McKay

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 264–66


Introduction

In 1966 a biographer wrote:

“Few men in this dispensation have had so profound an effect on the growth and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as has President David O. McKay.

“Since he became President of the Church in 1951, President McKay has effectively led the dynamic growth of the Kingdom of God on earth. Through increased missionary efforts directed by him the membership of the Church has more than doubled. There has been a rapid increase in wards, stakes, branches, and missions. Thousands of new chapels, and five new temples have been erected. A great program of home teaching and family home evenings has been instituted, and correlated Priesthood programs have been taught wherever units of the Church are established.

“Even in his 94th year, President McKay is still concerned with the growth and development of the members of the Church, and in preparing them for the responsibilities and challenges which he sees ahead for the Church and the world. … His counsel, his concern, and his desire is for continued growth through effective development of the individual testimonies of all members of the Church” (Jeannette McKay Morrell, Highlights in the Life of President David O. McKay [1966], ix).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Note: Prayerfully study the assigned scriptures and historical readings and consider the principles under this heading before preparing your lessons.

  • The Lord prepares those He calls to lead His Church (see “President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 199, par. 1–2).

  • Church programs, policies, and materials are correlated so that the gospel can be taught and administered more effectively (see “President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, pp. 200–201, par. 10–11).

  • Our families are our most important responsibility. We can find true peace, happiness, and love within our families (see “President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 201, par. 12–13, 15–16, 19–23).

  • One purpose of the gospel is to make bad people good and good people better (see “President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 201, par. 25).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 550–66.

Suggestions for Teaching

Note: Choose from the ideas under this heading, or use some of your own, as you prepare to teach the assigned scriptures and historical readings.

“President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 199, par. 1–2. The Lord prepares those He calls to lead His Church.

(10–15 minutes)

Ask students:

  • What events in your life do you think have best prepared you, or will prepare you, to become a parent?

  • How might your life’s experiences prepare you to serve in Church callings?

Testify that the Lord prepares those He calls to lead His Church. Read paragraphs 1–2 of “President David O. McKay” in the student study guide (p. 199) and look for ways the Lord prepared President McKay to become a prophet. Ask:

  • Do you believe the Lord is interested in your life, even though you probably will not be called as President of the Church? Why?

  • Which do you think is more important: the callings we have in the Church, or how well we serve in those callings? Why?

Read the introduction to “President David O. McKay” in the student study guide (p. 199). Ask:

  • How did the inscription in the arch help President McKay?

  • How could the phrase “Whate’er thou art, act well thy part” be a guiding principle for all Church members?

“President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, pp. 200–201, par. 10–11. Church programs, policies, and materials are correlated so that the gospel can be taught and administered more effectively.

(45–50 minutes)

Divide students into groups (up to eight groups if you have enough students). Give each group different materials and instruct them to build a tower. (You could give one group paper, another group paper clips, another group straws, another group tape, and so forth.) Do not allow the groups to communicate with each other during this activity. Give each group five minutes, and then have the groups show their towers to the class. Discuss how the materials could be combined to make the tallest tower possible. Ask:

  • Is this the best way to construct the tallest tower possible? Why not?

  • Why would it have been helpful to talk with the other groups?

  • How do you think the tower would be different if all the groups were able to plan together?

  • Why is coordination important for a family, team, or other organization?

  • How might coordination between the different organizations in the Church help the Church fill its mission?

Assign each of the groups to represent one of the following departments of the Church. Give each group a description of the purpose of their department, and have them discuss how they could best accomplish that purpose.

Department purposes

Discuss the following questions:

  • How could your department’s work help other departments succeed?

  • How could each group’s plans be better accomplished if you all worked together?

  • How might the Church be affected if its departments did not work together?

Help students understand the purpose of priesthood correlation and the benefits of the organizations in the Church working together. Use the following readings and scriptures to help your discussion: paragraphs 10–11 of “President David O. McKay” in the student study guide (pp. 200–201); John 17:21–23; Doctrine and Covenants 38:27; 84:109–10.

Read Moses 1:39 and explain that the purpose of correlation is to bless and help Heavenly Father’s children. Share the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency:

“When all is said and done, our work is not in terms of ‘the Church;’ our work is in terms of the individual. The individual across the world, that boy in trouble in Argentina, that girl with a great ambition to receive an education and can’t quite make it in the Philippines, that father who’s having to struggle to make a go of it, that mother who thinks she’s overwhelmed with her responsibilities. Every one of these is a son or a daughter of God, concerning whom He has said, ‘This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of’ every man, every woman, every child, every son and daughter of God. That’s what it’s all about. It isn’t about computers. It isn’t about buildings. It isn’t about organizations. It’s about people, the sons and daughters of God” (All-Church Coordinating Council meeting, Jan. 31, 1991, 29).

“President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 201, par. 12–13, 15–16, 19–23. Our families are our most important responsibility. We can find true peace, happiness, and love within our families.

(20–25 minutes)

Have students think about times they have visited someone else’s home. Ask:

  • What made you comfortable there?

  • Was there anything that made you uneasy?

  • What do you think would make Christ want to “linger and rest” in a home?

Invite students to read paragraphs 12–13, 15–16, 19–23 of “President David O. McKay” in the student study guide (p. 201). Have them look for experiences or teachings that impress them. Discuss how President McKay’s example as a loving husband and father can help them. Discuss the following questions:

  • What could a father do to show his children that he loves their mother?

  • What could a mother do to show her children that she loves their father?

  • How can having two loving parents in a home help children accept the gospel and gain salvation?

  • What can children do to increase love in a home, regardless of their circumstances?

Invite students to think of a way they could increase the love and harmony in their own home. Encourage them to put their idea into action during the coming week.

“President David O. McKay,” Student Study Guide, p. 201, par. 25. One purpose of the gospel is to make bad people good and good people better.

(10–15 minutes)

Share with students the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The Church is not a monastery for perfect people, though all of us ought to be striving on the road to godliness. No, at least one aspect of the Church is more like a hospital or an aid station, provided for those who are ill and want to get well, where one can get an infusion of spiritual nutrition and a supply of sustaining water in order to keep on climbing” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 88; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 66).

Ask:

  • What do you think Elder Holland’s statement means?

  • In what ways is the Church like a hospital?

  • How could this statement help someone who is struggling in the Church?

Have students read and memorize paragraph 25 of “President David O. McKay” in the student study guide (p. 201). Ask: How are President McKay’s and Elder Holland’s statements similar?

Ask priesthood leaders to recommend some recently baptized members to talk to your class. Invite the new members to tell your students how the gospel has changed their lives, and encourage students to ask them questions.