Need for gospel literacy effort 'exists in our own back yard'

"We feel so strongly about the need of gospel literacy," said Carma M. Hales in moderating a Women's Conference panel, "Implementing the Gospel Literacy Effort."

"We have two purposes in terms of the Gospel Literacy Effort," explained Sister Hales, a member of the Relief Society general board. "The first purpose we have is to teach basic gospel literacy skills to those who cannot read or write. We want all sisters in the Church to have an opportunity to know, to have the ability to read and write so that they can become more effective students themselves, and more effective mothers."The second purpose is to encourage Church members to study the gospel and improve themselves and their families throughout their lives."

Panelist Jeanie McAllister, education counselor in the Salt Lake Parleys Stake, recounted in parable form how Relief Society leaders in her stake worked closely with priesthood leaders to help stake members focus on gospel literacy. They sponsored a stake event to initiate such a focus. Afterwards, wards were charged to continue efforts to improve literacy, she said.

She noted that while the amount of work in planning and holding the stake literacy event was formidable for the Relief Society leaders, they learned that working closely with stake and ward priesthood leaders was beneficial. This helped bring the effort to a ward level, and provided additional channels through which the stake could obtain suggestions from wards in implementing gospel literacy.

Jan Wilde, principal at Hawthorne Elementary School in Salt Lake City and a member of Grant 5th Ward, Salt Lake Grant Stake, said: "It is important for us sisters that we realize the needs for the gospel literacy effort. As a teacher and school principal, I see every day the need to develop a person's skills, but not everyone has that opportunity."

Sister Wilde, who is the education counselor in her ward's Relief Society, added: "In fact, most Church members understand the need to have gospel literacy in

developing nationsT . . . . But many people are not aware of the need that exists here in our own back yard."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed