6 Accept and Fulfill your Commission

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 26–27

Principle to Emphasize

“The commission of CES teachers and leaders [to live the gospel, teach effectively, and administer appropriately] describes those principles and values that, if held by a CES teacher or leader, will lead toward the successful achievement of the CES objective” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook for CES Teachers and Leaders [1994], 6).

Suggested Training Activities (45 minutes)


Invite teachers to scan the headings under “The Commission of CES Teachers and Leaders” (handout, 6–7) and identify the three parts of their commission. Ask teachers:

  1. What are the three parts of the CES commission? (see handbook, 6).

  2. How are the three parts interrelated? (see handbook, 6).

Object Lesson

Bring a three-legged stool to the meeting or draw one on the board. Liken the three parts of the CES commission to the three legs of the stool. Ask teachers:

  1. What might occur if any one aspect were removed from or neglected in your CES assignment?

  2. In which part of the commission do you need to improve?


Distribute handout 5. Read together the definitions of commission to help teachers understand the meaning of the CES commission.

Commission: “A formal written warrant granting the power to perform various acts or duties . . . : a certificate conferring military rank and authority; . . . an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner . . . : a task or matter entrusted to one as an agent for another” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. [1998], 231).

Ask teachers:

  1. How is the word commission related to the words commit, promise, and covenant?

  2. How can a “commissioned” officer in the military be identified?

  3. How does a military officer become commissioned?

  4. What might be the consequences of a military officer performing some of his commissioned duties but not others?

  5. How can a “commissioned” CES teacher or leader be identified?

  6. How do CES teachers and leaders become commissioned?

  7. What might be the consequences of a CES teacher or leader performing some of his commissioned duties but not others?


Invite teachers to carefully read the first paragraph of the section entitled “The Commission of CES Teachers and Leaders” (handbook, 6). Ask teachers: What is CES “based on and governed by”?


Read and discuss the statement from handout 5 by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Revival of Basic Gospel Principles

“Procedures, programs, the administrative policies, even some patterns of organization are subject to change. We are quite free, indeed, quite obligated to alter them from time to time. But the principles, the doctrines, never change. . . .

“Because the Church is growing so fast, there is a temptation to try to solve problems by changing boundaries, altering programs, reorganizing the leadership, or providing more comfortable buildings. . . . What we really need is a revival of the basic gospel principles in the lives of all the Latter-day Saints. . . .

“The prophet Joseph Smith gave us the key. He said, with reference to administration, ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’” (“Principles,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 8).

Ask teachers:

  1. How do principles differ from procedures, programs, administrative policies, and organizational patterns?

  2. What does Elder Packer identify as a temptation in problem solving?

  3. What are the possible consequences of problem solving in this manner?

  4. How can the application of correct principles in problem solving diminish these types of consequences?

Case Studies

Distribute handout 6. On the handout are case studies representing typical problems faced by CES teachers and leaders. Invite teachers to identify the gospel principles (including any principles of edification from page 2 of the handbook) that could be considered in solving these problems. You may wish to separate teachers into small groups so they can compare insights.


Invite teachers to carefully read the first paragraph under “The Commission of CES Teachers and Leaders” (handbook, 6) and look for the relationship between principles and values. Ask teachers:

  1. What is the relationship between principles and values? (see handbook, 6).

  2. How do we obtain values? (see handbook, 6).

  3. What promotes excellence in our CES work? (see handbook, 6).


Read and discuss the following statement from handout 5 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the First Presidency.

Values of Divine Origin

“To each of you I say this: As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have been taught many values of divine origin. These values are based on the commandments which the finger of the Lord wrote upon the tablets of stone when Moses spoke with Jehovah upon the mountain. . . .

“The values you have been taught likewise are based upon the beatitudes which Jesus spoke to the multitude. These, with others of His divine teachings, constitute a code of ethics, a code of values, a code of divine doctrine familiar to you and binding upon you. . . .

“Combined together these basic, divinely given principles, laws, and commandments constitute your value system. You cannot escape the consequences of their observance. If you will shape your lives according to their pattern, I do not hesitate to promise that you will know much of peace and happiness, of growth and achievement. To the degree that you fail to observe them, I regretfully say that the fruits will be disappointment, sadness, misery, and even tragedy” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 99; or Ensign, May 1992, 71).

Ask teachers:

  1. What are values of divine origin based upon?

  2. How do these values become binding upon us?

  3. What are the promised blessings for “shaping our lives” according to this value system?

  4. How do values influence CES teachers or leaders in fulfilling their commission?