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The Home Teaching program was a program established by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- The separate programs of home teaching and visiting teaching will be “retired,” he said, becoming a coordinated effort called “ministering,” a “new and holier approach” to Christlike caring for others and helping meet their spiritual and temporal needs.
Under this new way for members to serve and care for each other, the terms "home teacher" and "visiting teacher" were replaced with "ministering brother" and "ministering sister."
Home Teaching Program
Those who participated in the former program were referred to as "home teachers"' Throughout the Church the program was set up so that two Priesthood holders are assigned to several families in their ward (geographical boundaries). They were asked to visit their families on at least a monthly basis and share a message with them from the Church leaders. They were asked to watch out for the family, be friends with them, and help them when needed. The teachers were therefore the first point of contact for a family in need.
Home teachers were encouraged to call the families they were assigned to visit and set up a time that would work well for the family. If any of the members of the families they teach were inactive, or if the entire family is inactive, the home teachers were encouraged to invite them to Church and provide them with information about events within the ward, as well as anything that has been handed out to the members of the ward throughout the month. When a member of the family was ill, or in need of a blessing, families usually called on their home teachers to help give the blessing. This is especially true in homes where the father was absent or was not ordained.
President Ezra Taft Benson said the following about home teaching:
- Brethren, home teaching is not just another program. It is the priesthood way of watching over the Saints and accomplishing the mission of the Church. Home teaching is not just an assignment. It is a sacred calling.
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches about the program of home teaching:
- Watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them; And see that there is no iniquity in the church. And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty (Doctrine and Covenants 20:53-55).
- And visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties (Doctrine and Covenants 20:51).
President Ezra Taft Benson again, spoke to the men of the Church and gave them three points that should be followed to fulfill the duty of being a home teacher:
- Know well those you are to home teach.
- Know well your message, teach it by the Spirit, and make praying and reading the Scriptures and integral part of that message.
- Truly magnify your calling as a home teacher.
At the end of his talk, President Benson gave the following encouragement to home teachers:
- Do not settle for mediocrity in this great priesthood program of home teaching. Be an excellent home teacher in every facet of the work. Be a real shepherd of your flock. Make your home teaching visit early in the month, allowing enough time for additional follow-up contacts as necessary.
Source: Ezra Taft Benson, "To the Home Teachers of the Church," Ensign, May 1987, 48