Friday, September 10, 2010

The Duty of a Teacher

Whether at home or in the Church, all of us have or will have a responsibility to teach. Those who taught in Jarom's time provide an excellent example of how this should be done:

Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. (Jarom 1:11)

Those with teaching responsibilities labored diligently, as Jacob did:

And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day. (Jacob 1:19)

Each of these groups of teachers understood the requirement to motivate faith and repentance. They filled that requirement by teaching the intent of the Law of Moses, or in other words, by pointing their teaching to Christ. Focusing on Christ had the desired effect:

And it came to pass that by so doing they (the teachers) kept them (the people) from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance. (Jarom 1:12)

The same is true for us. Focusing on Christ in our teaching will save those we teach from being destroyed-- at least spiritually, and perhaps temporally as well. Thus, the duty of teacher is less about relaying facts, stories or historical details, and much more about inspiring faith and repentance in their students. As we do so, all will be edified of all and we will rejoice together (see D&C 50:22, 88:122).

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