"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
March 26, 2014
Tips for Teaching and Learning by the Spirit
by Laurie Williams Sowby

Teachers are an essential component to understanding the gospel, says Gerald N. Lund, and he’s determined to give them tools to assist in their great responsibility. Hence, In Tune, his latest from Deseret Book (2013, 182 pages including index, $21.99 in hard cover).

A companion volume to his Hearing the Voice of the Lord, this new book reflects his 35 years of experience in the Church Educational System.

The prolific author, perhaps best known for his popular LDS fiction series, draws on examples from the classroom as well as from the scriptures and his travels as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, 2002-2008.

His message is directed to Sunday School teachers, Young Men and Young Women leaders, missionaries, and stake and ward leaders. The Church and its members, he says, have a commitment to teaching.

What to teach has been defined for each role and meeting, he notes in Part I, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit.” But how to teach — and how well we’re doing at it — isn’t so clear. So Lund delves into the meaning of “edify” and a definition of “teaching by the spirit” as well as a discussion of indications when we are not.

Part II — the bulk of the book — reviews the functions of the Holy Ghost. Part III shows the principles in action, while Part V offers suggestions for putting ourselves in tune and drawing closer to the Spirit in order to teach and learn.

Like a good teacher, Lund reminds us what we’ve learned so far before moving to the next “lesson.” He enumerates examples from the scriptures and includes comments from teachers, members, and missionaries to illustrate the concepts and adds his personal experience and testimony of each principle.

Relevant quotes from general authorities are placed in sidebars on the page for quick reference.

Good questions that provoke thoughtful answers are part of the learning process. Two who should know – John Hilton III and Brad Wilcox, both on the faculty at Brigham Young University — offer 52 Life-Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon (Deseret Book 2013, 256 pages, $24.99 in hardcover), a resource.

In order from First Nephi to Moroni, the authors have selected important questions asked within the verses themselves, then added illustrations and anecdotes to the discussion to provide further insight into application of the “answers within the questions.”

Readers and ponderers will find the answers to such inspired questions as:

  • “Why should my heart weep?”

  • “Why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?”

  • “Have we not reason to rejoice?”

  • “Have miracles ceased?”

The authors intended the 52 questions to be spread out over an entire year, one per week. But if you’re hungry for spiritual uplift and answers, go ahead and enjoy this hearty feast whose multiple courses can be savored again and again.

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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