The Lord said: “And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given. And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me” (D&C 43:8–9).
Referring to this revelation, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated, “In our administrative meetings let us both ‘instruct and edify’ as the revelations say, that even in these our teaching may ultimately be ‘from on high’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 33; or Ensign, May 1998, 27; see also D&C 43:16).
Because time in leadership meetings is limited, time spent on teaching should be carefully planned. In some meetings the teaching may be a brief spiritual thought given at the beginning. In other meetings, one or more participants may be asked in advance to lead the group in a detailed study of selected topics. Those receiving such assignments should use the principles and methods of teaching recommended in this book.
In preparation for leadership meetings that will include detailed instruction, presiding leaders should prayerfully determine what should be taught and who should be asked to teach. They may select subjects that are doctrinal or that relate to Church government and the duties of those assembled. The Lord said:
“I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand” (D&C 88:77–78).
The scriptures are the basic resource for study in leadership meetings. “I give unto you a commandment,” the Lord counseled, “that you rely upon the things which are written; for in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock” (D&C 18:3–4). Other resources are the Church Handbook of Instructions, addresses from general conference, and other teachings of latter-day prophets (for assistance in developing lessons from such resources, see “Creating Lessons from Conference Talks and Other Resources,” pages 100–101).
We can teach and learn the gospel and be edified together when the Spirit attends us (see D&C 42:14; 50:17–24). We can invite the Spirit by our reverence (see “Inviting the Spirit As You Teach,” pages 45–46; “Reverence,” pages 82–83). In leadership meetings, those presiding and conducting can encourage reverence by being in their seats early. By their demeanor, they can help set the tone for meetings. Other leaders who attend can also come early; bring their scriptures, handbooks, and writing material; and prepare themselves quietly and prayerfully.
The prayer offered at the beginning of a leadership meeting can help establish reverence and invite the Spirit. A spiritual thought also provides a good opportunity for teaching and learning gospel principles. In some leadership meetings, appropriate prelude music and hymns sung during the meeting can help prepare the hearts and minds of those present.