Teach and Edify
Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a primary effort in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to missionaries teaching the gospel to investigators, teachers or discussion leaders are called to teach in Sunday School, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, and the priesthood quorums.
The Lord directed the Church to “Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesman at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:122).
Although members of the Church are called to teach, Elder David A. Bednar notes,
- Who is the teacher? The Holy Ghost. Could it be that if you want the Holy Ghost to be the teacher, then “let not all [speak] at once, but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken, that all may be edified of all”? The only one that can produce that edification is the Holy Ghost.
- Inviting the Holy Ghost to be the teacher is a central purpose in all of the Lord’s patterns for learning and teaching.
Elder Jay E. Jensen explained that edification through the Holy Ghost is the goal of teaching in the Church and in our families.
- The word edify comes from the French edifier and from the Latin aedificare and means to “improve spiritually” and to “instruct” (Robert K. Barnhart, The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology [New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1988], s.v. “edify,” 315). The Oxford English Dictionary gives this meaning: “In religious use: To build up (the church, the soul) in faith and holiness; to benefit spiritually; to strengthen, support” (2nd ed., s.v. “edify,” 5:71). Thus, to edify is to instruct and improve the soul in knowledge generally, and in particular to increase in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.
- To edify is part of a revelatory process. The word revelatory refers to the supernal gifts of the Spirit, the source of all light and truth. I witness to you that the Holy Ghost is the true teacher in this work.
“He that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth[.]
“Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:21–22).