Monday, July 16, 2018

Elder Neil L. Andersen on spiritual understanding in Church settings

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"Spiritual understanding rarely comes from a lecture. It comes in classrooms where questions are welcome, where doubts and fears can be expressed, and where honest opinions are never dismissed. It comes from obedience, private study, and prayer. Spiritually, the classroom of faith becomes less like a lecture hall and more like a fitness center. Students do not get stronger by watching someone else do the exercises. They learn and then participate. As their spiritual strength increases, they gain confidence and apply themselves all the more.
"The Savior taught by listening and observing. After teaching and healing the multitude, He fed them. (See Matthew 15:32–38.) To the woman caught in adultery, He wrote in the sand. (See John 8:6.) Before He healed the daughter of the leader of the synagogue, He asked those who did not believe to leave the house. (See Mark 5:40.) And to Caiaphas, the high priest, He said nothing. (See Matthew 26:63.)
"Elder Neal A. Maxwell summarized effective teaching in these words: 'Do not be afraid of repetitious teaching. Ask inspired questions. Typically, but not always, two-way dialogue is better than one-way monologue.' (Neal A. Maxwell, in David A. Bednar, Act in Doctrine (2012), 124.)
"Use the scriptures; share simple stories, parables, and real-life examples; ask questions; invite students to teach and to share their feelings; encourage them to act in faith and to report on what they are learning.
"Keep your teaching centered in the doctrine. Alma taught: 'Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption.' (Alma 12:32; italics added.)
"Commandments are best understood in the context of the doctrine of Christ."
- Neil L. Andersen, "A Classroom of Faith, Hope, and Charity," broadcast for instructors and personnel in the Church Educational System on February 28, 2014
Click here to read the full talk

This is an interesting excerpt to consider, both from the perspective of a teacher and from that of a learner. The teacher must do the things in a formal classroom setting that will facilitate the maximum amount of learning, both intellectually and especially spiritually. But the learner also has a great responsibility to participate in the most effective ways:

As we have formal opportunities to be a teacher in Church settings, we should remember what a sacred responsibility and obligation that is. It is not something to be done casually; it requires significant effort, pondering, preparation, and divine guidance.

But I continue to wonder if we are doing all we can as learners in the Church. Do I make efforts to be prepared to be taught? Am I eager to participate and share? Do I make those personal efforts in areas of "obedience, private study, and prayer"?

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15