15 Prepare Yourself

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 52

Principles to Emphasize

Spiritual Preparation

“The most important and fundamental part of a gospel teacher’s preparation is to prepare himself or herself spiritually in order to set a proper example” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook for CES Teachers and Leaders [1994], 18).

Purpose of CES In-service

“The primary purpose of in-service training is to improve teaching” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 18).

Power of Faith

There is power in religious education as teachers exercise faith in the Lord, in the Spirit, in the power of the word, and in the students (see Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 18–19).

Suggested Training Activities: Spiritual Preparation (25 minutes)


Invite teachers to read page 17 of the handbook. Have them highlight what a teacher can and cannot do. Ask teachers:

  1. According to page 17, what can teachers do?

  2. What can they not do?

  3. How important is the role of the teacher?


Show presentation 15, “Teachers Make a Difference” (9:05). This presentation portrays two teachers being reunited with former students who thank them for their influence. Invite the in-service group to look for reasons the teachers in the presentation had such a positive influence on their students. Following the presentation, ask: Why did these teachers have such a positive influence on their students?


Invite teachers to read the first paragraph of the section entitled “Prepare Yourself” (handbook, 18). Ask teachers:

  1. What is the most important preparation needed for gospel teaching? Why? (see handbook, 18).

  2. What four important considerations are part of a gospel teacher’s preparation? (see handbook, 18).

Object Lesson

Distribute to each teacher a type of vessel (such as a paper cup, pie pan, plastic milk jug, strainer, clay pot, or crystal vase). Ask:

  1. What kinds of vessels do you have in your home?

  2. Which of these vessels are the most useful, valuable, or essential?

  3. What makes these vessels useful, valuable, or essential?

Scripture Activity

While teachers are holding the vessels, read and discuss 2 Timothy 2:19–21. Ask:

  1. What are those who “nameth the name of Christ” (in other words, who call themselves Christians) to do?

  2. How does departing from iniquity prepare one to teach students the gospel of Jesus Christ?

  3. What is the result if a man purges himself of dishonor?

  4. How do Paul’s words about vessels relate to a teacher’s preparation?

Scripture Activity

Invite teachers to read Alma 60:23. Ask:

  1. What did Moroni tell us we should remember as we prepare ourselves to be useful vessels of God?

  2. How does cleansing the inner vessel prepare us to set a proper example as teachers?

  3. How did the Savior prepare Himself for His teaching?

  4. How are living gospel principles, praying, searching the scriptures, and having faith considered part of the Savior’s preparation?


Read and discuss the following statement from handout 14 by President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency.

Sanctify Yourselves

“The greatest of all teachers, when He was preparing to leave His disciples, made this stirring comment:

“‘And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.’ [John 17:19.] . . .

“Can you do less as you start this year’s work than to sanctify yourselves?” (The Abundant Life [1965], 86).


Invite teachers to read the section entitled “Live the Gospel” (handbook, 18). Ask teachers to identify the links in the simple chain of reasoning.


chain links

Draw on the board the above illustration, which represents the links between gospel living and gospel learning. Ask teachers:

  1. Why is living the gospel a prerequisite to participating in gospel learning?

  2. How is living the gospel a link to receiving the Spirit?

  3. In what ways is the Spirit at the center of gospel living and gospel learning?

  4. What is the relationship between living the gospel, receiving the Spirit, and participating in gospel learning?


Invite teachers to read the section entitled “Pray” (handbook, 18). Ask teachers:

  1. What should teachers pray for as part of their preparation?

  2. What relationship is there between the quality of our prayers and the success we have as teachers?


Read and discuss the following statement from handout 14 by President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Depend on Prayer

“All through my life the counsel to depend on prayer has been prized above almost any other advice I have received. It has become an integral part of me, an anchor, a constant source of strength, and the basis for my knowledge of things divine. . . .

“. . . Thank God we can reach out and tap that unseen power, without which no man can do his best. . . .

“. . . We should prepare ourselves for prayer. If we don’t feel like praying, then we should pray until we feel like praying. . . .

“We should ask for what we need, taking care that we not ask for things that would be to our detriment. (James 4:3.) . . . With the help of the Holy Ghost, we will know about what we should pray. (Rom. 8:26.) . . .

“. . . We should listen. Perhaps while we are on our knees, the Lord wants to counsel us. . . .

“. . . Though persecutions arise, though reverses come, in prayer we can find reassurance, for God will speak peace to the soul. That peace, that spirit of serenity, is life’s greatest blessing. . . .

“. . . Never before in this gospel dispensation has there been a greater need for prayer” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, 44–47; or Ensign, May 1977, 32–34).

Ask teachers: When have you felt the power of prayer as you prepared yourself to teach?

Suggested Training Activities: Purpose of CES In-service (8 minutes)


Invite teachers to read the section entitled “Participate in In-service Training” (handbook, 18). Ask teachers:

  1. What is the primary purpose of in-service training in CES? (see handbook, 18).

  2. What are some of the additional purposes of in-service training? (see handbook, 18).

  3. How does in-service training help you prepare to teach?


Invite teachers to read the following statement from handout 14 by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Art of Teaching Can Be Taught

“Among the myriads of things that can be successfully taught is the art of teaching. There are certain principles that apply to the teaching, or the learning of, almost any subject. In teaching we find what might be called tricks to the trade. Some of these techniques are little things that anyone can do; others need to be studied and practiced. But with many of these techniques, it is enough for us just to have them pointed out. We need to be alerted to those things that successful teachers do, for they may well mean the difference between success and failure. Certainly they will make us much better teachers” (Teach Ye Diligently [1975], 2).

Ask teachers:

  1. In what ways does in-service training help us learn “the art of teaching”?

  2. In what ways can in-service training alert us to “those things that successful teachers do”?

Suggested Training Activities: Power of Faith (20 minutes)


Invite teachers to read the first paragraph of the section entitled “Have Faith” (handbook, 18). Ask: In your experience, how is faith “a principle of power in religious education”?


Show presentation 16, “The School of the Elders” (6:45). Invite teachers to listen for what the Prophet Joseph Smith said can be accomplished through the power of faith. Ask:

  1. What did the Prophet say could be accomplished through the power of faith?

  2. Why do you think the inspired gospel writers repeatedly emphasized faith as a principle of power?

  3. What does removing mountains have to do with teaching students in your classroom?

Read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Had it not been for the faith which was in men, they [men of God] might have spoken to . . . the human heart . . . in vain!” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 5). Ask:

  1. How can a teacher’s faith influence a student’s heart?

  2. How can knowing that faith is a principle of power help you as you provide religious education?

Group Work

Separate teachers into three groups. Have each group study one of the three bulleted paragraphs under “Have Faith” (handbook, 18–19). Have the groups identify how their assigned aspect of faith helps prepare them to teach the gospel. Following their study, invite a representative from each group to report teachers’ findings to the in-service group.


Show presentation 17, “Faith in the Students” (3:21). In this presentation teachers and students share their testimonies that the youth of today are prepared to hear the gospel.