President's Pen 7-4-16 (Power in the Pamphlets)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! We begin with the “End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ and the best missionaries in the world!

Dear Elders & Sisters,

We love you!  Happy 4th of July and what a blessing it is to have the freedom to worship how, where, or what we may.  This freedom allows us to open our mouths and share the good news of the gospel to all that will listen.  Be grateful for this privilege and help all come to a knowledge of the sacred truths we have come to share.

Our focus for the month of July will continue to build upon our abilities to teach people, not lessons, and in particular, how we use the pamphlets.  The pamphlets are not only inspired, but include all of the doctrines we are to teach.  When we teach from the pamphlets we can be assured that we have taught the necessary principles to prepare our investigators for baptism.  The benefits of using the pamphlets are many and to follow are a few that I'd like you to consider as we invite all to come unto Christ.  

  • The pamphlets have been created to draw your investigators into the doctrines we teach…   An effective "How To Begin Teaching"  should include the title of the lesson.  When you do this it gives you an opportunity to share a brief overview of what you will teach, what commitments you will extend, and the purpose of your visit.  Think of how the title and picture on the pamphlet might be like the trailer for a movie, inviting all to come and see.  As an example, consider how the cover of the "Plan of Salvation" pamphlet focuses on the resurrected Savior.  As you hold the pamphlet in your hand and show them the front cover, you might say something like. "Today's lesson is focused on the love God has for all His children and His desire to bring them home.  His plan, the Plan of Salvation, as you see here, is the roadmap that allows us to come back to God's presence.  This beautiful painting of the resurrected Savior is at that the center of this plan.  Today we will share with you the answers to questions that many of us ask; where you came from, why you're here on earth, and where you and your family will go when you die.  This plan we will share with you today is a plan of happiness and hope, and it is only through the Savior, Jesus Christ, that this plan is made possible..."  A strong HTBT is essential and the pamphlet will allow you to build interest and draw the investigators in to the truths you will teach.
  • The pamphlet is brilliant for lesson planning…  If I were you, I'd take out my pamphlet each time I was preparing to teach an investigator and review what that particular investigator needs.  As you review each page, you might highlight sentences or even paragraphs that you want them to read and understand.  You might even write an inspired question on the side that will help you check for understanding.  You may write in a few scriptures not found in the pamphlet that you feel inspired to add based on what you need to teach.  You can discuss what pictures you might call out and what definitions you may have them read at the back of the pamphlet.  As you review the pamphlet with your companion during companionship study, you will likely take some time to role-play certain points or doctrines that will then be treasured up as you teach.  You will also want to insert how you include baptism in every principle.  It is our purpose; tie it into every aspect of the lesson.
  • The pamphlet allows you to teach simply…  The beauty of the pamphlet is that it allows you to teach personally, but stay within a framework that builds towards extending invitations.  You should still teach from your heart and use your own words, but the pamphlet in some cases can state a doctrine or principle better than you might describe it on your own.  I often find that when missionaries don't use a lesson plan or pamphlet they become very wordy, over teach, and lose their investigators in unnecessary teaching.  An example of how the pamphlet can help you teach simply is by using the call out boxes, the bullet points, scriptures, pictures, or even definitions.  Why make something up when it's right in your hand?  The key is to make the lesson so easy to understand that a small child could share with you what they've learned.  
  • The pamphlet outline leads towards invitations…  Take for example lesson 1, The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ leads the investigator to an understanding that the power and authority to baptize has been restored.  If you follow the outline and establish that God loves us, blesses us with families, gives us prophets to guide and teach us, when people turn away from God we lose His power and authority to baptize, because this is a pattern, the Savior himself restored this power and authority to baptize when he was on the earth, but like times of old, the power to baptize was lost and wasn’t restored to the earth again until Joseph Smith humbly prayed, and then the power and authority to baptize was once again returned to the earth.  Now that you know this power is on the earth again, will you be baptized?  An overly simplified example, but you can see how the pamphlet builds towards our purpose to invite people to come unto Christ.  
  • The pamphlet becomes the investigators tool for study…  After you've taught to the needs of the investigator, you always invite them to go back to the pamphlet to review and study what you've taught.  The best teaching takes place when you're not there.  As the Spirit is the teacher, the pamphlet will allow them to feel the truth of what you've taught.  In each pamphlet there is a section called, "Additional Study".  You should share this with the investigators and invite them to take the time to learn more.  If they're truth seekers, this will be a very helpful guide for them to go to the scriptures and be taught by the Spirit.  The "List of Terms" in the pamphlets allows the investigators to go back and review words that in some cases are very new to them.  Make sure they understand how the pamphlet is a great resource for them to study and learn from when you're not there.  You may even consider giving them the pamphlet for the next lesson so they can begin to study for it.  
  • The pamphlet helps investigators remember what they should do…  On the back cover there is the question, "What Should I Do?"  If you're using the pamphlet effectively, you take them there and write down the next appointment and other relevant information.  You might also write down websites such as or for them to seek out more information.  We need to make sure the investigators know we expect them to act and take responsibility for their learning. If you show them the tools of how they can do this, they're more likely to take ownership as they are being taught.
  • The pamphlet will help members as they teach with you…  As you know, our good members need to know what you expect of them and need to feel comfortable that they can be with you.  Walk the member through the lesson plan, point out to them in the pamphlet where you want them to be involved.  If they are prepared, they will not fear, the pamphlet will give them courage and strength that they can teach with you.
  • The pamphlet includes the doctrines we are to teach… As we track the progress of our investigators in the teaching record, the pamphlet ensures we teach what is necessary for baptism.  With the addition of the pamphlets, "Learning & Serving in the Church" and "Families & Temples", there will no surprises for the investigators when they reach their baptismal interview.  You need to make sure that investigators are taught the celestial traditions and principles found in Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel.  Following the outline of the pamphlets will ensure that you do this.   
  • The pamphlet teaches how investigators can come to know the truth… In each of the first three pamphlets we teach how the investigators can come to know that what we teach is true.  Circle this section for them, teach them, and help them understand how the Spirit works and how to pray.  If we are to have true converts, the Spirit must witness the truth and in many cases that will come while we are not with them.  Do not forget to help them come to know how God will speak to their hearts and minds.  
  • The pamphlets are available digitally… The Church has created an app called "LDS Pamphlets" available for iOS devices (only in English for now).  If your investigator has an iPhone or iPad have them download it.  The great thing about the app is that it has built-in videos on many of the principles you teach.  Videos such as the restoration and others are built into the app…  All the pamphlets are also available on the LDS Library app.  They can be found under the missionary section and the library is available for almost all digital devices (English & Spanish are available). 

A few pointers of how you might use the pamphlet in your lessons…

  • Often times we begin teaching sitting across the room or table from the investigator.  There is no problem with this, but consider how you might during the lesson adjust how you're sitting by moving next to the investigator(s), with pamphlet in hand, walking them through each principle.  By doing this you control the flow of the lesson and you can make sure they don't become distracted and jump ahead.  If you do give a pamphlet to the investigator to use and follow along with you, you might want to highlight sections you will teach in advance.  These highlights will draw their attention to those points you feel they specifically need.  
  • For those investigators that struggle with being attentive, you could give them a pen or a highlighter and have them mark things with you as you go.  This will give you an opportunity to make sure they are focused and in the process see that they are actively engaged in the learning process.

Elders and Sisters, I invite you today to not only use the pamphlets in every lesson, but to use them more effectively.  They are inspired and have been purposefully given to us to help people understand and come to know the doctrines we teach.  You should come to know what each page teaches, how to use the highlighted terms, pictures, scriptures, call out boxes, additional study topics, and invitations.  As Disciples of Christ we must follow the inspired patterns of teaching we've been given and using the pamphlet is one our greatest tools.  Will you please commit to me that you will master each of the eight pamphlets we teach from?  For the month of July in our district and zone meetings we will continue to improve our skills as we use and teach from the pamphlets.  I promise you that as you use them effectively your investigators will not only understand, but you will teach with greater power and authority.  This work is true, the doctrine we teach is true, Jesus Christ is at the head of this work and we will not fail.  We love you, keep up the great work and continue to invite and bring all unto Christ.

Mission Update

We have a full month ahead and I look forward to quarterly interviews at the end of the month.  Our new convert temple night will be on Friday, July 15th at 6pm.  Please begin now to help new converts join us that night if possible.  We had a great turnout and experience in June and I'd like to see you all there.  The next new convert temple night will be on Friday, August 19th.  As we begin a new transfer this week please set a goal and make a plan to invite someone to the waters of baptism.  Be tenacious in your discipleship, don't quit, don’t give in, and don't rest until you've done all you can each and every day.  Love ya!

President Hall