Brother David M. McConkie: 'Teaching with the Power and Authority of God'
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Brother David M. McConkie said teachers are among the great miracles of the restored gospel.
"There is indeed a secret to becoming a successful gospel teacher, to teaching with the power and authority of God," said Brother McConkie, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency. Speaking Sunday afternoon, he said, "I use the word 'secret' because the principles upon which a teacher's success rests can be understood only by those who have a testimony of what took place [in the Sacred Grove]."
The long-awaited restitution of all things had begun and the principle of revelation was everlastingly established in this dispensation, Brother McConkie taught.
"Joseph's message, and our message to the world, can be summarized in two words, 'God speaks,'" he said. "He spoke anciently; He spoke to Joseph and He will speak to you. This is what sets you apart from all other teachers in the world. This is why you cannot fail."
Because teachers in the Church are called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and have been set apart by priesthood authority, they are different from other teachers.
"It means you are on the Lord's errand," he said. "You are His agent and you are authorized and commissioned to represent Him and to act on His behalf. As His agent, you are entitled to His help."
Brother McConkie said that teachers must ask themselves, "What would the Savior say if He were teaching my class today, and how would He say it?"
Teachers are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ — not their own ideas of philosophy, even when mingled with scriptures — as found in the principles taught in the standard works of the Church, modern-day apostles and prophets and from direction from the Holy Ghost.
Living worthily and having daily spiritual preparation — including prayer, scripture study and obedience to the commandments — allow teachers access to the guidance of the Spirit. It is the Spirit, along with a sound understanding of the gospel, that teachers are able to have the power of God as they teach. They must also learn to listen as they teach, be willing to let go when the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come as they stand as an independent witnesses of the things taught.
"You must have the courage to set aside your outlines and notes and go where those promptings take you," he said. "When we do this, the lesson you deliver is no longer your lesson, but it becomes the Savior's lesson."