Each chapter in this book includes four sections: (1) an opening quotation that briefly introduces the focus of the chapter; (2) “From the Life of John Taylor,” which illustrates the messages of the chapter with a story or counsel from President Taylor; (3) “Teachings of John Taylor,” which presents important doctrines from his many messages and sermons; and (4) “Suggestions for Study and Discussion,” which encourages personal review and inquiry, further discussion, and application to our lives today through questions.
For personal or family study. This book is intended to enhance each member’s understanding of gospel principles taught by President John Taylor. Through prayerful reading and thoughtful study, each member may receive a personal witness of these truths. This volume will also add to each member’s gospel library and will serve as an important resource for family instruction and for study in the home.
For discussion in Sunday meetings. This book is the text for Melchizedek Priesthood quorum and Relief Society Sunday meetings. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that the books in the series Teachings of Presidents of the Church “contain doctrine and principles. They are rich and relevant to the needs of our day, and they are superb for teaching and discussion.”1 Teachers should focus on the content of the text and related scriptures and should apply these teachings to circumstances with which class members will be familiar.
Teachers should draw from the questions at the end of the chapter to encourage class discussion. Reviewing the questions before studying President Taylor’s words may give additional insight into his teachings.
The Sunday meetings should concentrate on gospel principles, personal examples that teach these principles, and testimonies of the truth. When teachers humbly seek the Spirit in preparing and directing the lesson, all who participate will be strengthened in their knowledge of the truth. Leaders and teachers should encourage class members to read the chapters before they are discussed in Sunday meetings. They should remind class members to bring their books to their meetings and should honor class members’ preparation by teaching from President John Taylor’s words. When class members have read the chapter in advance, they will be prepared to teach and edify each other.
It is not necessary or recommended that members purchase additional commentaries or reference texts to support the material in the text. Members are encouraged to turn to the scriptures that have been suggested for further study of the doctrine.
Since this text is designed for personal study and gospel reference, many chapters contain more material than can be fully addressed in Sunday meetings. Therefore, study at home becomes essential to more thoroughly benefit from President Taylor’s teachings.
The teachings of President Taylor in this book are direct quotations from a variety of sources. Unless editorial changes were necessary to improve readability, the quotations have retained the punctuation, spelling, and capitalization of the original sources. For this reason, readers may notice minor inconsistencies in the text.