20 Establish an Appropriate Spiritual Setting

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 73

Principle to Emphasize

Teachers can establish an appropriate spiritual setting by doing such things as practicing principles of edification, praying for the Spirit, preparing every needful thing, inviting the Spirit as class begins, and teaching students how to have the Spirit in class (see Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 24–25).

Suggested Training Activities (45 minutes)


Invite teachers to read the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about obstructing the delicate channels of revelation.

Irreverence Obstructs Revelation

“For the past several years we have watched patterns of reverence and irreverence in the Church. While many are to be highly commended, we are drifting. We have reason to be deeply concerned.

“The world grows increasingly noisy. Clothing and grooming and conduct are looser and sloppier and more disheveled. Raucous music, with obscene lyrics blasted through amplifiers while lights flash psychedelic colors, characterizes the drug culture. Variations of these things are gaining wide acceptance and influence over our youth. . . .

“This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.

“The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer.

“Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 28; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22).

Ask teachers:

  1. What concerns does Elder Packer identify?

  2. How might irreverence affect a student’s readiness to learn the gospel?


Group teachers into pairs. Invite them to read aloud to each other the section entitled “The spiritual setting for learning” (handbook, 24–25). Have teachers share in their pairs what they feel they can do to encourage the Spirit to be with them in their classrooms.

Invite teachers to again read the paragraph entitled “Invite the Spirit as class begins” (handbook, 24–25). Then ask:

  1. What is the purpose of a devotional? (see handbook, 24–25).

  2. What elements can contribute to an effective devotional? (see handbook, 25).

  3. How can serving refreshments in a devotional have a negative impact on the classroom setting? (see handbook, 25).


Show presentation 21, “The Importance of Devotionals” (3:30). This presentation shows excerpts from “The Lord Will Multiply the Harvest,” an address to religious educators by Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask teachers to listen for what “little changes” make the difference between the casual way and the careful way to conduct devotionals. After showing the presentation, ask teachers about the little changes and discuss the difference these changes can make.


Invite teachers to again read the paragraph entitled “Teach students how to have the Spirit in class” (handbook, 25). Read together 1 Corinthians 2:10–11; Doctrine and Covenants 50:17–22; 88:121–26. Ask teachers:

  1. What principles do these scriptures teach us about how to have the Spirit in class?

  2. How could you use these scriptures to teach students how to have the Spirit in class?


Show presentation 22, “Establishing a Spiritual Setting” (6:13). This presentation provides an example of how the scriptures you read together in the previous activity can be used to teach students about their role in inviting the Spirit into class. Invite teachers to look for how Sister Yuri uses these three scripture blocks and how she focuses on behaviors that cause the Spirit to withdraw and behaviors that are pleasing to the Spirit. Following the presentation, ask teachers: How could you adapt Sister Yuri’s presentation for your own class?


Invite teachers to adapt Sister Yuri’s presentation for their own classes. Have them share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).