Monday, June 16, 2014

"A Classroom of Faith, Hope, and Charity" by Elder Neil L. Anderson

Elder Anderson addressed the seminary and institute teachers of the whole world on February 28, 2014. These are principles that apply to teaching in any setting -- church classes, the home, or elsewhere. 

Click here to listen to or watch the whole talk. 

Here are my notes from his talk. 

The youth of today are amazing. 

Those who sit in your classrooms are some of the most spiritually sensitive sons and daughters of God that have ever entered mortality. Wow. How am I doing, as a teacher and a mother, to help young people listen to the Spirit and develop that sensitivity? 

Young people today are like young trees growing up in a very windy environment. The wind stimulates two compensating strengths: 
  • The roots are stimulated to grow faster and spread further
  • The trunk and branches become thicker and more flexible
Inspired teachers are part of what stimulates deeper spiritual roots and stronger resolve to resist temptation. How well are we strengthening this rising generation by bringing them to Christ? 

How to teach more like the Savior taught.

Faith is a big deal. 

As a teacher, you encourage faith, explain faith, show the fruits of faith, and bear testimony of your own faith.

Participation is better than lecture. 

"Spiritual understanding rarely comes from a lecture. It comes in classrooms where questions are welcome, where doubts and fears can be expressed, and where honest opinions are never dismissed. It comes from obedience, private study, and prayer. Spiritually, the classroom of faith becomes less like a lecture hall and more like a fitness center. Students do not get stronger by watching someone else do the exercises. They learn and then participate. As their spiritual strength increases, they gain confidence and apply themselves all the more."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "Do not be afraid of repetitious teaching. Ask inspired questions. Typically, but not always, two-way dialogue is better than one-way monologue." 

"Use the scriptures; share simple stories, parables, and real-life examples; ask questions; invite students to teach and to share their feelings; encourage them to act in faith and to report on what they are learning."

The Savior is our best example of teaching. 

"He loved them, prayed for them, and continually served them. He found opportunities to be with them and to express His love. He knew their interests, hopes, and desires and what was happening in their lives. He knew who they were and who they could become. He found unique ways to help them learn and grow -- ways meant just for them. When they struggled, He did not give up on them but continued to love them and minister to them" (Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way (2012), 4).

How well are we doing teaching with this kind of love and care? 

If you are not sure what to teach, teach about Christ. Teach the doctrine of Christ, the gospel of Christ, His life, His death, His Resurrection, and His Atonement. 

As darkness increases, here comes more light.

As the Gospel spreads, Satan's influence is growing stronger, but God compensates by giving us more light and blessings. 

  • Brigham Young said, "...In proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise." 
  • Here's the flip side of that coin. Elder Anderson said, "As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power of revelation and spiritual gifts given to the righteous. The Lord gives us added power as we are willing to remain righteous in a wicked world." 


Some of these direct "compensatory blessings" Elder Anderson mentioned include: 

  • The 143 temples dotting the earth, and 27 more in process
  • The modern technology that makes it super user-friendly for us to find our ancestors and do their temple work
  • How easily and instantly we can hear from our modern prophets and apostles. 
"As the world grows darker, the light of the truth shines brighter. As the hearts of men become colder, the warmth of the Savior's peace burns stronger. As the noise of tempting voices shout louder, the still, small voice of the Spirit comes with even greater clarity. As evil increases in the world, the Lord sends the power of revelation and spiritual gifts for the righteous." 

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