Tips for Talks and Lessons #8: “Teach the Doctrine”

 “Teach the doctrine, from the scriptures, by the Spirit

The key to gospel teaching has been, is, and will always be the same: Teach the doctrine from the scriptures by the Spirit.”

Gospel teachers must focus on first principles, fundamental doctrines, and the weightier matters.

We must target our teaching.  We must focus first, on the things we must know, then on the things we should know, and only then on the things that are nice to know.

Since the atonement of Jesus is at the center of the gospel, we should relate everything we teach to His atoning sacrifice.  Whatever the subject, teach Christ and His Atonement.”

We should avoid speculation and the “mysteries.” Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Don’t be afraid to say, “The Lord hasn’t burdened us with a lot of knowledge on that subject.” Speculation can easily turn into “false doctrine.”

Never teach anything that will have to be unlearned. When in doubt, look it up; when not in doubt, look it up anyway. Be careful of unverified quotes, experiences, and stories from the internet.

D&C 88:77-78: “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.”

Alma 31:5: “And now, as the preaching of the word [gospel doctrine] had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just…yea, it had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword or anything else which had happened unto them…therefore, Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God [gospel doctrine].”

D&C 19:31: “And of tenets [speculation/mysteries/theories] thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.”

1 Cor 1:22-24: “For the Jews require a sign [empirical scientific approach] , and the Greeks seek after wisdom [intellectual philosophical approach];
            “But we preach Christ crucified [gospel doctrine/spiritual approach], unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
            “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power .”.

Joseph Smith: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose the third day and ascended into heaven.  All other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to this.”

Al 37:11: “Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me, therefore I shall forbear.”

Gordon B. Hinckley: “To me the gospel is not a great mass of theological jargon.  It is a simple and beautiful and logical thing, with one quiet truth following another in orderly sequence.  I do not fret over the mysteries.  I do not worry whether the heavenly gates swing or slide.  I am only concerned that they open. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, p. 5)

Jeffrey Holland:

            “In times like ours we all need what Mormon called ‘the virtue of the word of God’ because, he said, it ‘had [a] more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them’ (Alma 31:5).
“When crises come in our lives — and they will –the philosophies of men interlaced with a few scriptures and poems just won’t do.
            “Are we really nurturing our …members in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear?

            “Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie — spiritually empty calories?
            “President John Taylor once called such teaching ‘fried froth,’ the kind of thing you could “eat all day and yet finish feeling totally unsatisfied (The Gospel Kingdom_ p. 78).
             “During a severe winter several years ago, President Boyd K. Packer noted that a goodly number of deer had died of starvation while their stomachs were full of hay. In an honest effort to assist, agencies had supplied the superficial when the substantial was what had been needed. Regrettably they had “fed” the deer but they had not nourished them.
            “I love what President J. Reuben Clark said of our youth well over a half century ago. The same thing can be said of new members. ‘[They] are hungry for the things of the spirit,’ he said; ‘they are eager to learn the Gospel, and they want it straight, undiluted.” 
(“The Charted Course of the Church in Education”, p. 4, 9).”  (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Teacher Come from God,” General Conference, April 1998)

“After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.”                                                                       –Joseph Smith (DHC 2:478))


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