The headline is a very opinionated and one stemming from my personal perspective but I really felt as if Elder Holland’s talk tonight in the Priesthood Session of General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was extremely on point.
“A thousand pep talks have been given trying to encourage it…certainly no Freudian travel agency anywhere could possibly arrange the number of guilt trips the subject has provoked. Yet still we struggle to achieve anywhere near an acceptable standard of performance regarding the Lord’s commandment to ‘watch over the Church always’ through priesthood home teaching” addressing the unending struggle we have within the church to do our home teaching.
While Elder Holland did state that “where it can be done, a monthly visit in each home is still the ideal the Church would strive for” he shifted the focus on what matters most.
Brethren, the appeal I am making tonight is for you to lift your vision of home teaching…See yourselves as emissaries of the Lord to His children. That means leaving behind the tradition of a frantic, Law of Moses-like, end-of-the-month calendar in which you rush to leave a scripted message from the Church magazines that the family has already read.
We would hope, rather, that you will establish an era of genuine, gospel-oriented concern for the members, watching over and caring for each other, addressing spiritual and temporal needs in any way that helps
As for what ‘counts’ as home teaching, every good thing you do ‘counts,’ so report it all!
In many ways we focus on the “one visit” each month that we miss a plethora of opportunities to connect with our families at church, on social media or through simple phone calls. To restate what Elder Holland said, we need to “lift [our] vision of home teaching.”
No guilt trip, no brow beating but simply a restatement of what our ultimate goal for home teaching really is. Home teaching is simply a program to help us meet the physical and spiritual needs of those in our wards.
“When we speak of home teaching or watch care or personal priesthood ministry … we are asking you as home teachers to be God’s emissaries to His children, to love and care and pray for the people you are assigned, as we love and care and pray for you.”