Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy introduced the theme of Education Week, “That All May Be Edified,” and focused on how members can be better teachers and learners in the Church, in a Devotional address Tuesday in the Marriott Center.
“Education will occur only through and by the Holy Ghost,” Elder Jensen said. “He is the true teacher in all spiritual learning and teaching.”
He listed five principles that lead to edification: 1) have an appointed teacher, 2) teaching is governed by reverence, 3) we must teach using divine doctrines or truths, 4) those not speaking must listen and 5) both teacher and listener are learners of the Spirit.
“The scriptures themselves are the best sources for learning and teaching,” Elder Jensen said. “The Savior was the perfect teacher.”
He talked of the hierarchy in the Church and in families and how members should respect that authority.
“All true authority in this Church is submissive to a higher authority — ultimately God’s authority,” Elder Jensen said.
Everything taught in the Church fits under one of three headings — doctrines, principles and applications or commandments — or the why, the what and the how, Elder Jensen said.
He said reverence is essential for members to feel the Spirit and be guided by it in meetings and in the home.
“Everything we have been saying about leadership in church meetings and counsels applies equally to marriages and home and the family,” Elder Jensen said.
He proceeded to list the different styles of leadership he has come in contact with and used a diagram to illustrate how each one worked. He described the styles as the commander, the egalitarian, the phantom, the decision-maker, and the united presidency. He said the only style authorities should use is the united presidency, following the example of Jesus Christ’s way of authority and teaching.
“For education to occur, we have different but not superior roles,” Elder Jensen said.
He noted there are two kinds of meetings in the church – formal and informal. Formal meetings include stake conference, weekly sacrament meeting and general conference. Informal meetings include quorum, primary, relief society and even simple gospel lessons in the home. He encouraged teachers and parents to encourage participation and discussion in informal lessons.
“The gospel learning at home is more effective when it is like a conversation rather than another meeting,” Elder Jensen said. “Listener participation is vital for learning to occur. At home, the most effective teaching occurs when it is informal.”
He said learning becomes more useful and invites the Spirit more when listeners contribute their own insights and experience. He quoted Joseph Smith, saying, “Each should speak in his turn and in his place and his time and season, that there may be perfect order in all things.”
Husbands and wives should take any free time in the home to help promote gospel learning, Elder Jensen said. He said one-on-one time spent talking about the gospel can sometimes help teach children more about the gospel than formal lessons in church.
“When a husband and wife understand these principles and truths, they are better prepared to lead their children so they can be edified and promote learning,” Elder Jensen said.
He advised teachers and leaders to remember they are teaching people, not lessons.
“The atmosphere must be spiritual, warm, open and reciprocal,” Elder Jensen said. “Leaders, teachers and parents will become more Christlike. Teaching divine doctrine will invite the Holy Ghost to do what He can do, so that all can be edified by all.”