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Why is it important to teach pure doctrine?

In the years following the deaths of the original Twelve Apostles, people began to rely on their own wisdom to interpret the scriptures. As a result, false doctrine was taught, and the Church fell into Apostasy. As gospel teachers, we have a responsibility to teach the truths of the restored gospel in their purity so that we do not lead anyone astray. When those we teach understand true doctrine, their hearts are touched and they change their attitudes and behavior (see Boyd K. Packer, “Do Not Fear,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 79).

Prepare yourself spiritually

Study the scriptures and resources below. What do you feel impressed to share with the youth?

Luke 24:32; Joseph Smith—History 1:11–12 (Teaching from the scriptures touches hearts)

2 Timothy 4:3–4 (Paul prophesies of false doctrines being taught)

Mosiah 18:19 (The scriptures and words of the prophets are the source of pure doctrine)

Alma 4:19; 31:5 (The word of God is powerful)

Moroni 10:5 (The Holy Ghost testifies of truth)

Teaching, No Greater Call (1999), 52–53, 203–7

D. Todd Christofferson, “The Doctrine of Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 86–90

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Ask the youth to share an experience in which they felt the Spirit while teaching someone about the gospel.
  • Bring a glass of clean water and a glass of dirty water to class. Suggest that the water could represent the gospel that we teach to others. If the clean water represents the pure gospel, what could the dirty water represent? What are some things that could contaminate the pure doctrines of the gospel? (see Teaching, No Greater Call, 52–53). How does this analogy help the youth understand the importance of teaching pure doctrine?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth learn about the importance of teaching pure doctrine. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Ask the youth to make a list of ways the world tries to change people’s behavior. Then ask them to read Alma 4:19 and 31:5, looking for the Lord’s way of influencing others. After they share what they find, invite them to look in the scriptures for examples of people whose hearts were changed because they were taught true doctrine. Ask the youth to share examples of gospel principles they have learned that have influenced their actions.
  • Help the youth look in the scriptures for examples of people who taught false doctrine (for example, Sherem [see Jacob 7], Korihor [see Alma 30], or the Zoramites [see Alma 31]). What effect did their teachings have on the people? What doctrines did the Lord’s servants teach in response? What similar false teachings have the youth encountered in the world today? How can the youth respond and teach pure doctrine?
  • Invite the youth to read 2 Timothy 3:2–4 and 2 Nephi 9:28–29. How have these scriptures been fulfilled in our day? What are some of the effects of false doctrine that we see in the world around us? (for some examples, see 2 Timothy 3:1–5). Which principles of the restored gospel could help overcome these effects?
  • Ask half of the class to study “Your Responsibilities as a Teacher” in Teaching, No Greater Call (page 52), and ask the other half to study “Cautions for Gospel Teachers” (pages 52–53). Ask each group to think of a creative way to teach what they learned to the other group. Invite each youth to select one of the ideas presented and share why that idea is important in teaching pure doctrine .

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand the importance of teaching pure doctrine? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Invite the youth to think about an upcoming teaching opportunity they have. Encourage them to consider what they will do to make sure they teach pure doctrine.