“All of us—leaders, teachers, missionaries, and parents—have a lifelong challenge from the Lord to both teach and learn the doctrines of the gospel as they have been revealed to us,” President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says. The scriptures often repeat the same counsel, and so do additional prophets and apostles.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says:
“And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
“Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand” (D&C 88:77-78).
Study the Word of the Lord
“Because teaching is such a universal assignment, it is requisite of every member of the Church to prepare himself or herself through study of the holy scriptures,” says Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Fundamental to becoming good teachers is serious study of the word of the Lord, that we are able to impart our acquired knowledge to others.”
Elder Perry continues: “It is our privilege to have the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, as our constant companion, to edify and inspire us in our preparation as teachers. We should prepare ourselves through obedience to God’s commandments, that our confidence will wax strong when we call upon the Lord, that His Spirit might magnify us as we teach. When we have the Spirit to direct us, we are capable of teaching with great power. Again in the Doctrine and Covenants we read how the Spirit-assisted flow of knowledge between giver and receiver is the very essence of the inspired teaching.”
We Are All Teachers
Elder Perry also teaches that “nearly all of our associations and relationships involve the process of teaching. One of the major responsibilities of parents is to teach their children. Many of our assignments in the world of work involve being a teacher. Every assignment we receive in the Church requires some form of teaching.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says: “Every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, or will be, a teacher. Each of us has a vital interest in the content and effectiveness of gospel teaching. We want everyone to have great gospel teachers, and we want those teachers to help all of us find our way back … to our Heavenly Father. …
“… Our Savior’s occupation was that of a teacher. He was the Master Teacher, and He invites each of us to follow Him in that great service.”
Everybody Can Teach
President Packer says that if he were giving advice to newly called teachers, he would “tell them they can do it. Everybody can teach. I would counsel them to pray for the gift of teaching. You know, the Book of Mormon speaks of gifts and outlines several gifts, among them to teach the gospel by the Spirit (see Moroni 10:8–10). When I read that years ago, I thought, ‘That’s a gift I want, to be able to teach by the Spirit.’ I found out from the scriptures that you have to ask for it—ask and ye shall receive—so I would tell them to keep asking and seeking, ‘and ye shall find’ (see Matthew 7:7; 3 Nephi 27:29) and that the gift has to be earned, but it can come.”
He also counsels: “You may be an older person who thinks that your ministry is finished, you may be a young person who is frightened about everything or a mother who is so busy with the children or a father who is preoccupied, but you can teach, and you can pray, and you can be guided. And you will. You’ll be blessed of the Lord—I can promise you that.”