Hello everybody. I’m grateful to be here speaking to you. I was given the topic of Preparing to Teach the Gospel.
This first part comes from the Preach My Gospel Manual, Section 2. The Lord has said, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). To teach effectively, you need to obtain spiritual knowledge. For you to grow in the gospel and stay on the path that leads to eternal life, you need to develop a habit of daily gospel study.
Effective daily study should begin with prayer. Study is an act of faith requiring the use of personal agency. Many missionaries struggle to know how to study effectively. Some rely heavily on others or on structured programs to tell them what and how to study. While learning from a good teacher is very important, it is more important for you to have meaningful learning experiences on your own. Getting good results from your study depends on having a strong desire to learn, studying with “real intent” (Moroni 10:4), “hunger[ing] and thirst[ing] after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), and searching for answers to the questions and concerns of those you are teaching.
Gospel study is most effective when you are taught by the Holy Ghost. Always begin your gospel study by praying for the Holy Ghost to help you learn. He will bring the knowledge and conviction that will bless your life and allow you to bless the lives of others. Your faith will in Jesus Christ will increase and your desire to repent and improve will grow. Successful gospel study requires desire and action. “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old” (1 Nephi 10:19). Like Enos, the Holy Ghost will open your mind and heart to greater light and understanding. “Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.” (Enos 1:3)
Learning the gospel is also a process of receiving revelation. To Oliver Cowdery the Lord said: “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right” (D&C 9:7-8). As you study, pay careful attention to ideas that come to your mind and feelings that come to your heart, particularly regarding the people you are teaching.
As you feel the joy that comes from understanding the gospel, you will want to apply what you learn. Strive to live in harmony with your understanding. Acting on what you learned will bring added and enduring understanding, strengthening your faith, knowledge, and testimony. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17).
Effective teachers are always working to improve their knowledge and abilities. Although you won’t teach all you know about the doctrine in the mission field, your increased knowledge will build your testimony and your ability to teach with spiritual power.