David A. Bednar: Learning and teaching in the Lord's way, By Jason Swensen ,
Church News staff writer, Published: Saturday, July 12 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT
hastening of the Lord’s work requires His followers continuously to learn,
to change and “to press forward with faith in the Savior.”
That was the
counsel Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared
June 25 at the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents at the Provo Utah
Missionary Training Center.
focused his message on learning and teaching in the Lord’s way. His
instruction included a group discussion with several new mission presidents
and their wives.
leaders of the Church, he noted, “have given timely emphasis to the
importance of hastening the work of salvation. But I wonder sometimes if we,
as servants of the Lord, believe that we primarily and solely must hasten
this supernal work.” Faithful and diligent members play a vital role in
helping God’s kingdom roll forth across the world, Elder Bednar explained.
“But, the Lord hastens His work; we do not. First
and foremost, we always should remember that this work is the Lord’s work,
and He does the hastening.”
identified two “profound implications” that “grow out of the truth that the
Lord directs and moves His work forward:”
• Will we
• Will we
learn and teach the Savior’s way?
suggested that members ask themselves if they as individuals and as a Church
will choose to keep pace with the Lord’s hastening. “Or will we insist on
doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are
accustomed to or comfortable with?”
said, each member can choose to learn, repent, change and teach more
effectively in the Savior’s way. “Or will we be so entangled in the
traditions and patterns of the past that we will be unable to keep up with
the pace of the Lord’s hastening?”
Prior to the
seminar, the new mission presidents and their wives were invited to study
and prepare for their training lessons. The training group lessons conducted
during the seminar were both current and relevant examples of how the
Church’s Missionary Department is striving to learn, change and improve, he
facilitators and teachers listened more, lectured less and asked more
inspired questions than in previous seminars,” Elder Bednar related. All in
attendance were encouraged to share insights and observations.
group lessons — with their emphasis on preparation and student participation
— served as patterns that can help missionaries become better learners and
such as Preach My Gospel and the “Come, Follow Me” youth curriculum
have enabled missionaries to become better learners and teachers during a
pivotal period of “hastening.” Progress has been made — but additional
improvements are needed.
Elder Bednar reminded the mission presidents and their companions
that the missionaries will look to them as examples in all things —
including matters of teaching and learning.
Lord’s way — and His work — includes a variety of patterns that can
be utilized to achieve different spiritual objectives. Such
patterns, he observed, were evident during the seminar. For example,
the First Presidency and other Church leaders often delivered
focused and inspired messages without interaction from their
audience. In contrast, advanced preparation and vigorous interaction
were central to many group training lessons.
ultimate goal in any learning and teaching experience should be to
determine and use the pattern or patterns that best meet the needs
of learners and achieve the desired learning results,” he said.
Inviting the Holy Ghost to be the teacher, he added, is a central
purpose in all of the Lord’s patterns for faithful learning and
“Learning by faith requires both the heart and a willing mind and is
the result of the Holy Ghost carrying the power of the word of God
both unto and into the heart.”
Elder Bednar then invited three new mission presidents and their
wives to join him on the stand for an informal conversation about
what they had learned during the seminar. (Participants included
President Rodolfo C. Franco and Sister Cristina B. Franco, Argentina
Resistencia Mission; President Clark D. Ivory and Sister Christine
Ivory, Romania/Moldova Mission; and President Wayne E. and Tracy E.
Maurer, Philippines Tacloban Mission.)
Their conversation was anchored by three basic principles,
undergirding the patterns of learning and teaching:
Prepare to Learn
Interact to Edify
Invite to Act
Elder Bednar posed the question: “What have you learned about
learning in the Lord’s way?”
Sister Ivory responded that because of her diligent preparation
before the seminar, she was inspired to also study the Book of
Mormon with her 11-year-old son, who will go with them into the
mission field. She was prepared to receive “very personalized,
individual teaching by the Holy Ghost.”
President Ivory related an experience with their Preach My Gospel
tutor, who was sincerely interested in investigators that President
and Sister Ivory had recently referred to missionaries to be taught.
Their tutor was an example of ministering and caring about people
first. “We need to do the same,” President Ivory said.
President Maurer related an observation made while teaching the
teachers quorum. “When I was talking at them, they were sleeping.
But when they were teaching each other in the Savior’s way, there
was much greater interest among and participation by every student.”
Elder Bednar asked the mission presidents and their wives, “What
will you do with what you have learned?”
Sister Maurer responded she had learned “that when inspiration
comes, you write it down.” Such diligence and focus assures learning
and additional teaching opportunities.
President Franco noted that some of the units that he will preside
over in Argentina are struggling with activity. After teaching them
through the Spirit, “we’re going to invite the leadership in the
different branches and districts to act.”
President Ivory said he had learned key lessons on preparing people
to teach. In the coming weeks, he will be meeting with several local
priesthood leaders in his mission. He plans to invite them to read
and study specific scriptures and other materials prior to their
meetings “so that when we gather together, they are ready to be
taught — and we are ready to be taught by them.”
closing, Elder Bednar reminded those in attendance that the Lord is
hastening His work. “We have a role to play. I pray we will keep
pace with the hastening — that we will not just simply do what we
have always done the way we have always done it.”