Teach Faith

By President David O. McKay

Improvement Era, January 1967

[2] We are a church of teachers: parents teaching members of their families in the home; teachers assigned to instruct in the priesthood, the Mutual Improvement Associations, Sunday School, Primary, and Relief Society; neighbors visiting neighbors in the home teaching program; and missionaries teaching the glorious restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Only a few individuals determine in life the way to go. The great majority follow, as the people of ancient Israel followed. If the teacher or leader is false, the followers go on a false road. If the leadership is true, the followers are led on true paths. Thus upon the teacher rests much of the responsibility of leading society to a high level.

Teachers: Yours is the responsibility to teach not only by precept, but also by example.

In one of the great revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants (the Prophet Joseph designated this one as the Olive Leaf), we find these words:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even, by study and also by faith.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting; a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High. (D&C 88:118–120)

Faith is the first principle of the gospel and should always be taught above all else. What should we teach of faith? We should first of all teach implicit faith in Jesus Christ as the light of the world, and a sincere desire to serve God. This condition of the soul will merit the companionship and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Each teacher must have unfeigned love for those [3] being taught, guided by a determination to deal justly and impartially with each member of the group. Honor them, and they will honor you.

Thorough preparation is essential if a teacher is to be successful. He needs to study the student, as well as the lesson.

Teachers of the gospel must exhibit cheerfulness, not forced, but natural cheerfulness springing spontaneously from a hopeful soul.

Every teacher has the responsibility of setting such a worthy example that he might say, as the Great Teacher said: . . . ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:15)

Teach what you feel. Teach by example, and let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16) The sun is to the earth's solar system what the heart is to one's physical body; so Christ should be to our intellectual and spiritual life.

To obtain true happiness and success in life, one should ever follow the admonition of the Savior: . . . seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

A good teacher therefore realizes that his most important goals in teaching are, first, to inspire the student to love the gospel and to love to study it, and second, to teach him how to study it.

My faith gives to me an assurance that God is truly my Father, and that therefore I have inherited his immortality.

So far as the ante-mortal state of man is concerned, I rejoice in the fact that he was in the beginning with the Father. My faith is a constant inspiration to me to search always for truth and to seek ever for that which is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. May we all, teachers as well as students, have such faith to guide and sustain us always.

McKay, David O. Teach Faith. The Improvement Era 70 (Jan 1967): 2-3.