In Tune (Hardcover)
The Role of the Spirit in Teaching and Learning
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all teachers. Not only do we have a glorious mandate to "teach all nations" the gospel (Matthew 28:19), we also have numerous charges to "teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77). In formal and informal settings, as parents or leaders or friends, we are constantly teaching and learning.
Not only has the Lord commanded us to teach, but He has taught us what we are to teach and how we are to do it: diligently and by the power of the Spirit. But how do we know if we're "doing it right"? What signs can we watch for that the Spirit is actually present in a teaching setting?
In this insightful companion volume to Hearing the Voice of the Lord, bestselling author Gerald N. Lund brings his decades of experience working in the Church Educational System to the topic of teaching and learning by the Spirit. He discusses common misconceptions, important questions we should ask about our teaching, and the role of the Holy Ghost in the process.
"The Lord has given the responsibility to save His children to teachers," writes Elder Lund. "The charge is clear. It is specific. It is inspiring. And, gratefully, the Lord blesses us greatly when we strive to carry out His will."
About the Author
Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.
During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.
Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.
He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)
“Go Ye Therefore, and Teach All Nations
A Teaching Church
On April 6, 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in the Peter Whitmer cabin in Fayette, New York. In a revelation presented to the fledgling Church that day, the Lord sounded a theme that was to both direct and help define the Church. One section of the revelation was introduced by this sweeping introduction: “The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ.” Among other specific duties defined in the verses that follow, we find three key words: They are to “teach, expound, [and] exhort” (D&C 20:38, 42). This commandment is repeated twice more (see verses 46 and 59).
We learn from this very clear declaration that from the day of its founding, the Church of Jesus Christ was to be a teaching church. This was a charge that was repeated again and again, both to individuals and to the Church as a whole. For example:
• Part of Oliver Cowdery’s calling was to “teach . . . by the Comforter” (D&C 28:1).
• Emma Smith was charged by the Lord “to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit” (D&C 25:7).
• Before the Church was even a year old, the Lord said: “I give unto you a commandment that . . . ye shall teach them [the scriptures] unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people” (D&C 42:58).
• In a subsequent revelation the Lord told the missionaries to “teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive” (D&C 43:7).
• In that same revelation came this: “And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other” (D&C 43:8).
• Missionaries were taught that they were “not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit” (D&C 43:15).
• The charge to teach was not just for Church officers and missionaries. The Lord warned parents that if they failed to teach their children the key doctrines of the kingdom, “the sin be upon the heads of the parents” (D&C 68:25).
• That duty was not just to teach children the gospel but also to live it. Parents are to “teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28).
• Less than a year later, missionaries were again told, “I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come” (D&C 84:87).
• A few months after that came this sweeping commandment: “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. . . . And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom” (D&C 88:77–78, 118).
• In a revelation on priesthood, the Lord stated that one of the duties of presiding officers of priesthood quorums was to “teach them according to the covenants” (D&C 107:89).
A large percentage of the Book of Mormon focuses on how the leaders and parents in the Nephite church sought to teach their own people and the Lamanites. One has only to think of Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma the Elder and his son Alma, the sons of Mosiah and their fourteen-year mission to the Lamanites, Helaman, the mothers of the stripling warriors, Mormon, and Moroni. When the resurrected Christ came to America, He did two primary things: He taught and He ministered.
Alma the Younger’s commitment to teaching was such that he resigned as chief judge. This was the highest civil office in the Nephite government at that time, somewhat equivalent to a president or a prime minister of a country. He did this because he understood that
The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had 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. (Alma 31:5)
Can you imagine how such a “strategic approach” to social change would be received in our day? Should an Alma propose this in the halls of Congress, or a national parliament, or the General Assembly of the United Nations, those listening would assume the person was mad, totally insane.
At the very beginning of history, we learn that after being taught by an angel about Christ and His Atonement, “Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:12). That effort was continued by dozens of prophets and their wives, as well as faithful individuals and families, for the next four thousand years.
The New Testament dispensation was also highly focused on teaching. After His three-year ministry of teaching, the Savior’s final charge to the Twelve was this:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19–20; see also Mark 16:20)
Fulfilling the Charge
In the nearly two centuries since that day in April 1830, it is evident that members of the Church have labored long and diligently to fulfill their charge to teach the gospel. We see on every hand how much time and how many resources the Church commits to preaching and teaching the gospel. Consider the following:
• Every Sunday, in more than three thousand stakes and nearly thirty thousand local congregations, Latter-day Saints gather together to be instructed, exhorted, and taught.
• A major expenditure of the Church is building chapels and meetinghouses. This is done primarily so that the Latter-day Saints have a place to gather together for worship and instruction.
• Since the beginning of the Restoration, more than a million missionaries have been sent into the world to teach and preach the gospel. Currently, there are about 80,000 full-time missionaries, organized into 405 missions, laboring in more than 150 countries across the globe.
• Before beginning their full-time service, missionaries attend one of fifteen missionary training centers around the world to be taught and trained so they can more effectively fulfill their callings. It is an enormous undertaking and quite remarkable when we consider the time, effort, and resources required to take the gospel to the world.
• And while we are talking about resources, here is another indicator of the commitment to teaching. Currently a full-time missionary from the United States is asked to pay $400 per month for his or her full-time missionary service. (Costs for missionaries from other countries and for senior missionary couples vary.) With the tens of thousands of missionaries serving each year, those personal and family costs alone run into millions of dollars every month.
• At this time, there are 141 operating temples throughout the world, with another 29 in planning or under construction. In the house of the Lord, worthy members receive sacred ordinances and are given special instruction in doctrine.
• The Church uses one of the world’s most extensive nongovernmental satellite broadcasting systems to carry its message to members scattered across the globe. General conference, which is essentially ten hours of intensive instruction, teaching, and exhortation, occurs twice every year. Multistake conferences and worldwide training broadcasts are also sent out over the satellite system on a regular basis.
• The Church maintains a number of general Internet websites, including lds.org and mormon.org. Many individual congregations also maintain a presence on the web. Conferences and other events are streamed live and are made available for later use. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are utilized to extend our outreach to members and to those not of our faith.
• In addition to regular Sunday meetings, there are stake and ward conferences, pageants, firesides, conferences, seminars, and workshops held on a regular basis.
• The Church maintains numerous historic sites that honor our heritage and provide visitors the opportunity to learn more of our history and feel “a spirit of place” where significant events occurred.
• The Church Educational System includes three major universities, a business college, and several other local Church schools. In its global system of seminary and institute programs, religious instruction is provided in weekday classes to about three-quarters of a million students. The effort and costs required to maintain these programs are enormous.
• Printed materials designed to help in the teaching and instruction process include monthly Church magazines—in English, one for adults, one for youth, one for children; and a combined international version printed in numerous languages. In addition, curriculum and training materials for all ages are prepared and distributed, many at no cost to the member.
• In addition to preparing curriculum materials for teachers and handbooks for priesthood and auxiliary leaders, the Church prepares materials on how to be more effective in our teaching. For example, back in 1999 the First Presidency sent out a letter initiating a Churchwide effort “to revitalize and improve . . . gospel teaching in homes and in Church meetings and help nourish members with the good word of God
• That emphasis and support for improving the quality of gospel teaching in families and throughout the Church continues today. In January 2013, Aaronic Priesthood, Young Women, and youth Sunday School classes began using new curriculum materials. In the letter announcing this new curriculum to the Church, the First Presidency noted that “the focus is on strengthening and building faith, conversion, and testimony
• The Church also produces movies, videos, and other audio and visual resources for the instruction and edification of Church members and to help carry our message to the world.
• This “media outreach” includes BYUtv, which is now carried by about 600 cable TV providers in North America, making it available to about 50 million viewers. It is also available on the Internet.
There are other examples, but these suffice to show the extensive and intensive efforts of the Church to fulfill its charge to “teach all nations.” These programs and materials represent quite an astonishing commitment.
In light of these things, I think we can safely conclude that:
• from the Fall of Adam to the present day;
• in every age and every dispensation;
• to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people;
• using every appropriate means and delivery system available;
• as a general Church, as quorums, as Church auxiliaries, as the Church Educational System, and as individuals and families, the call and the charge are resoundingly clear: “Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly” (D&C 88:78).
The purpose of this book is to examine how we can more faithfully and effectively fulfill that charge so that someday we too may hear these stirring words from Him whom we worship:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)
Teaching by the Spirit demystified!
by Stephanie - reviewed on February 06, 2014
In this uplifting read, Lund seeks to share with readers the importance of teaching effectively through the converting power of the Holy Ghost. He goes into depth on who we are teaching, what to teach, how to teach it… Perhaps the most important aspect of teaching is letting the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of what you are teaching. Lund dispels myths and goes into detail sharing first what teaching by the Spirit is not…then defines what it really means to teach by the Spirit…which surprised me and literally changed the way I thought teaching by the Spirit was supposed to look like. Eye opening: I have been doing a pretty good job of teaching by the Spirit, even thought I felt like I was failing. Yay! We are all teachers. Even if you are not holding a teaching calling in church right now or if you are not serving a full-time mission, we are all teachers in some way. We have a lot of opportunities to teach and minister to others without the formality of being a teacher… This book is a great resource for anyone but as a Sunday School Teacher (13 year olds) this was a very encouraging read that helped me to see what I was doing right and offered advice for more effective teaching.
Wonderful book, especially for teachers.
by Heidi - reviewed on February 03, 2014
Elder Lund really has a way with words. In this book, he teaches the reader about teaching and learning through the Holy Ghost and the vital role it plays in the gospel plan. He starts by sharing a number of scriptures that emphasize the importance of every member of the church being a gospel teacher among each other and the world at large. He goes on to discuss the major role the Holy Ghost plays in teaching, how His help can be gained and the benefits it provides. A wonderful book that shares insights and helps especially for gospel teachers. One I can truly recommend.
Such and Inspirational Book!
by Rebecca - reviewed on February 27, 2014
This is not the typical book you will see from me on my blog. I am a very proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love reading. I love reading all kind of books. I love reading almost all genres. I have to admit this is not a book I would usually read, but when Deseret Book contacted me and asked if I would review it I jumped at the chance. It was a book I needed to read. It is all about how to recognize the Holy Ghost in our lives. It talks about the functions of the Holy Ghost, and how to put the principles into action. Honestly I think I take for granted that I have been a member my whole life. Sometimes I don't give credit where credit is due. Sometimes I like to think that the inspiration I have or had is my own. I think I fail to realize when the Holy Ghost is actually trying to teach me. While reading this book it taught me how to recognize the spirit in my life. In the book there is a sub heading called "Create Your Own Spiritual Destiny". The story that went along with it touched me tremendously. This quote especially "It doesn't matter that your family was dysfunctional. You, like Abraham, can create your own spiritual destiny". I don't think any family is perfect, at least I know that mine isn't. We try, and we work together. This quote though gave me some fuel to give to other family members of mine who might be struggling. It was so great. There are so many wonderful things I want to say about this book, but I think you should go pick it up for yourself and read it. Thank you Deseret Book for giving me the opportunity to review this fabulous book. It taught me a lot.
by Melanie - reviewed on February 19, 2014
As members of the church, we are charged with teaching. Bro. Lund gives lots of scriptures to illustrate this point. He also gives many examples of the resources the Church commits to preaching and teaching the gospel, including providing meetinghouses, sending out missionaries, maintaining websites, preparing curriculum and producing movies and videos. There are many scriptures, quotes by general authorities and stories given throughout the book to illustrate his points. He starts with chapters that focus on teaching and learning by the spirit and the functions of the Holy Ghost. Then he discusses the principles in action and ends with putting ourselves in tune. One of my favorite stories was when he told of a mission tour he was doing and the mission president and his wife told them of a recent baptism. It was an older man named Bro. Jones who tended to be crusty and gruff. At the man's baptism, the mission president asked him what it was that made him decide to listen to the missionaries. The man told him that he was home one day watching television and could see out his front window. He saw two young men in white shirts and ties coming down the road. When they reached the gate to his picket fence, they opened it and started up his walk. As he watched them, the thought came to him: "I didn't know that God made young men like that anymore." So he let them in. Bro. Lund makes the point that the missionaries would have known that they had the Spirit with them when they taught Bro. Jones that day, but neither of the young men probably knew that their teaching by the Spirit began as they opened the gate and started up the walk, yet if that hadn't happened, nothing else would have followed. Towards the end he shares four ways we can better help nurture others as we teach, and the focus there is on preparing ourselves so we can create an environment for the spirit to be felt and to teach directly from the scriptures. There's a lot of great information and insights in this book. I learned a lot from reading it and will definitely read it again and again!
by Shauna - reviewed on February 03, 2014
Why read a book about teaching? Because we are always in a state of either being the teacher...OR...we are learning from the teacher. We must "edify and give light to others, to push back the darkness, to bring joy and rejoicing...to lift and build each other spiritually." This book will helps us be "in tune" with the Spirit while teaching AND/OR learning, I LOVE the way Gerald Lund teaches... He will first give you a principle... And then he will give you a story to illustrate that principle. A great way to retain, understand, and know how to apply what was just taught! Become a BETTER TEACHER and a BETTER LEARNER by becoming IN TUNE
Applicable to all of us - we're all teachers and learners
by Alexis - reviewed on February 12, 2014
In Tune by Gerald N. Lund is a book about how the Spirit affects our teaching and our learning. This is a great book for everyone because we are all teachers - whether as a career, as a church calling, or as a parent. And we are all students in multiple settings. I love all the examples that he gives of the Spirit as a teacher in both the scriptures and in the lives of others. He has tons of great stories to help you understand what is happening when people teach and learn by the Spirit. He also spends a lot of time helping you really understand the Holy Ghost himself and his roles which I love! This includes spiritual gifts and how they help with teaching. I love how the book is set up - like a lesson plan. Gerald N. Lund is very organized and moves from point to point building on each concept. He also gives you a summary of what we've learned a little over halfway through the book to help refresh our memories. :-) And one of the best chapters is at the end where he helps us know what we can do to be closer to the Spirit so that we are always in tune to teach. There are so many opportunities for us to teach throughout our lives and being in tune with the Holy Ghost is the best way to do it. I love the examples Gerald Lund gives of parents at home teaching their kids. Because the Spirit can help us with that as well. All the little nudging, promptings, or thoughts we have in raising and teaching our children is the Holy Ghost. And as long as we are worthy to have him with us, he can help us.