Jesus commanded us to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (D&C 88:77). Doctrine is the word of God, found in the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets and apostles. The doctrine of Jesus Christ has power to change lives for the better. President Boyd K. Packer has said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than the study of behavior will improve behavior. …That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).
We have been extended the sacred calling to teach. To teach is to impart knowledge of, or skill in. Teaching is not the same as telling. It is both the sharing of knowledge and skill. To understand is to comprehend; grasp the significance of; and accept it to be true; to believe. Understanding is more than knowing the ‘what’; it is also knowing ‘why’. Our duty is to help those we teach acquire a personal knowledge of the Savior, His teachings and gospel principles. This knowledge will give them the desire and ability to use and defend those principles, follow Him and to become His true disciples. A young woman, for instance, is more likely to live the law of chastity when she understands the doctrine of guarding her virtue and how her life will be richly blessed if she lives the law.
We must ensure that in our teaching the doctrines remain pure and undiluted, keeping the gospel truths as the Lord has revealed them. The doctrines will protect them – if they KNOW and LIVE them. We can accomplish this by knowing the doctrine ourselves, studying the scriptures and words of the latter-day prophets.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “There is no satisfactory substitute for the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.” (The Gospel Teacher and His Message , 6). Using Church-approved materials will help us teach the doctrine in it’s purest form and will invite the Spirit into our classrooms and homes. Following the doctrines of Jesus Christ is the greatest gift we could ever give our families.