Leaders of the Church Curriculum Department said the best teaching tools that can be placed in the hands of teachers in the Church are the scriptures – the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.
"In Section 11 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord tells us we must seek to obtain His word before we can teach it," said Elder Rex. D. Pinegar of the Presidency of the Seventy and an executive director of the Church Curriculum Department. "Here in our own time, we have a living prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, telling us to read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, to study it, to have it in our hearts."The scriptures contain precious truths that the Lord has preserved for our day. President Benson reminds us that the Book of Mormon is a record of a fallen people. I have been pondering this, and then thought, `We pick up the newspaper, and what we read is a record of a fallen people. We read of murders, all manner of debauchery, almost anything that is negative you can find in the paper. The evidence of a fallen people then becomes ever before our eyes.'
"Then we have the Book of Mormon. We see that what is happening today is not unusual. There is a cycle and we can keep ourselves on the right side of the cycle if we pay attention to the record of a fallen people – the Book of Mormon – that was preserved just for us."
Elder William R. Bradford of the Quorums of the Seventy and an executive director of the Church Curriculum Department cited the first six verses in the 32nd chapter of 2 Nephi, referring to them as "some of our best lessons" on the subject of teaching by the Spirit. One passage in verse three proclaims, " . . . feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
Good teaching in the Church has little to do with a teacher's eloquence, scholastic level or experience gleaned during years of teaching, said Elder Bradford. "Teaching by the Spirit has little to do with the sophisticated methodology that could be taught in the professional teaching realm. It has to do with teachers preparing themselves by diligent study and by righteousness in their own lives as they try to be sanctified and purified by the way they live and act."
Elder Francis M. Gibbons of the Quorums of the Seventy, who is also an executive director of the curriculum department, said the Topical Guide in the 1979 and later LDS editions of the King James Bible helps enhance gospel knowledge.
"The guide has led many of us into considering the scriptures in ways we have never done before, making it possible for us to commence thinking deeply about a subject. Instead of just looking at one scripture we can take many scriptures together on the same general subject, pondering them, analyzing and comparing them."
Elder Gibbons said whenever he meets with stake presidencies, he tells them to never hold a meeting of any kind in which they don't take time to read the Book of Mormon.
`Learning by the Spirit' in next issue
While a great responsibility is placed upon teachers in the Church to present lessons in such a manner that the Spirit of the Holy Ghost can touch hearts and change lives, students also have major roles. The March 24 issue of Church News will feature several articles focusing on "Learning by the Spirit."