Lesson 35: Teaching by the Power and Influence of the Holy Ghost

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 271–76


The purpose of this lesson is to help us teach the gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Teachers Need the Guidance of the Holy Ghost

The Lord has commanded us to teach each other about His kingdom (see D&C 88:77). To teach, we must have a testimony of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We must teach with the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.

President David O. McKay said: “Teachers, begin the preparation of your lessons in prayer. Teach your lessons with a prayerful heart. Then pray that God will enrich your message … through the influence of his holy Spirit” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 223).

Elder Hartman Rector Jr. told a story about President Harold B. Lee:

“Shortly after he was ordained to the office [of President], … one reporter asked … :

“‘What do you expect to accomplish during your administration as president of the Church?’ …

“‘Well,’ he said, ‘I can only answer that question in the words of a great prophet when he was given an assignment by the Lord to secure an ancient record. He said:

“‘“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”’ (1 Ne. 4:6)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 134; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, 106).

As teachers, we also must be led by the Spirit. To teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must have the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

  • Ask class members to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–14. What are we told to teach? Where do we find these principles? How do we obtain the Spirit with which to teach? If we do not have the influence of the Holy Ghost, why should we not teach?

The influence of the Holy Ghost can cause the words of the teacher to sink deep into the hearts of the listeners: “For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).

  • Display visual 35-a, “King Benjamin teaching his people from a high tower.”

King Benjamin called his people together to give them special instructions. He desired to strengthen them spiritually.

  • Ask the class to read Mosiah 5:1–2. What made the people believe the words King Benjamin had spoken? Ask a class member to read Mosiah 5:3–4. How did their faith affect the experience?

Obtaining the Guidance of the Holy Ghost

The sons of Mosiah taught the gospel by the influence of the Holy Ghost. They received this guidance after much effort.

  • Ask a class member to read Alma 17:2–3. What three steps did the sons of Mosiah follow to teach with power? Write them on the chalkboard.

After preparing through study, a teacher must pray to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

President Marion G. Romney told of his wife’s experience in teaching by the Spirit. She was to give a lesson on the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision of the Father and the Son. In her class was a nonmember who was a university graduate. Sister Romney was afraid that her lesson would not be accepted by this educated woman and she was not sure that she herself knew it was true.

In discussing the problem with her mother, Sister Romney said: “‘I can’t give that lesson. I don’t know that Joseph Smith had that vision.’

“Her mother was not an educated woman, but she did have a testimony. She said to her daughter, ‘You know how the Prophet got the vision, don’t you?’

“‘Yes, … he got it by praying to God for wisdom.’ …

“[Sister Romney] went to her room and tried it. … The result was that she … gave that lesson convincingly, with power beyond her natural abilities. How could she do it? Well, the Holy Spirit came to her in response to her inquiry. She received a burning within her soul. She knew that Joseph Smith had seen the vision, as well as he knew it. She had not seen exactly the same things with her eyes that the Prophet saw, but she had the same knowledge. She knew from Joseph Smith’s description what he had seen, and she had a witness from the Holy Ghost that his account was true” (“How to Gain a Testimony,” New Era, May 1976, 10–11).

  • What steps did Sister Romney follow? Compare these with the three steps listed on the chalkboard. Why did adding prayer to her study give her enough confidence? What do we call the witness that Sister Romney received?

  • What is the difference between simply reading a truth and having someone you trust say he or she knows it is true? Have class members read Moroni 10:4–5. How does the Holy Ghost tell us the truth? What do we have to do to receive this witness?

Bearing Testimony

Teaching with testimony means teaching with knowledge that the gospel is true. With the spirit of testimony we can help others understand the restored gospel. The Holy Ghost can witness the truth of gospel principles to the listeners. (See 1 Corinthians 2:12–13.)

Elder Alvin R. Dyer told the following story:

“Two missionaries arrived at a home in the late afternoon. … The family … was just preparing to sit down to an early evening meal. … The missionaries had little success with their door message, … [and] the woman began to close the door. … [As she did,] the missionaries … bore testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel. … One of the elders purposely raised his voice so that those on the inside could hear it. … The missionaries [then] left rather hurriedly. …

“They had traveled about a half a block when they heard someone calling to them. … A young man about 14 years old caught up with them and said, ‘Father wants you to come back.’ So they hurried back to the home. … The father said that he had not felt impressed with what had been said at the door until he heard one of them bear his testimony. Then, said he, ‘A strange feeling came over me, and I knew we had done wrong in sending you away.’ This awakened interest, brought about by testimony and the spirit of conviction, led to the baptism of this family” (“When Thou Art Converted,” Instructor, July 1961, 225).

  • Why did the father have the missionaries return?

  • Have the two assigned sisters tell how they felt when they were taught the gospel.

Conclusion

By teaching with the Holy Ghost, we will increase knowledge, understanding, testimonies, and faith—in ourselves and those we teach. We must be worthy and prepared to teach by the power of the Holy Ghost. If we prepare well, we will teach the truth convincingly. The guidance of the Holy Ghost comes as we study, pray, and live the commandments of God.

“And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach. …

“And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

“For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things” (D&C 42:14, 16–17).

Challenge

Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost by studying, praying, and fasting. These are steps in preparing to teach. Notice and use your chances to teach children, other family members, friends, and neighbors.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Follow the steps outlined in this lesson to receive the help of the Holy Ghost.

  2. 2.

    Assign two class members to tell how they felt when they were taught the gospel.

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.