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3/2/05

Visiting Teaching Messages

“I hope that home teachers and visiting teachers will experience two things: first, the challenge
of the responsibility that is in their great calling, and second, the sweetness of results from their
work, particularly with those among us who are less active. I hope that these teachers will get on
their knees and pray for direction, and then go to work to bring these wandering prodigals back
into the fold of the Church. If home and visiting teachers respond to this challenge, I honestly
believe that they will taste the sweet and wonderful feeling which comes of being an instrument
in the hands of the Lord in leading someone back into activity in His church and kingdom. I am
making a plea for us to reach out to our brethren and sisters who have known the beauty and the
wonder of this restored gospel for a brief season and then for some reason have left it.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

“We urge you to give renewed emphasis to effective priesthood home teaching and effective
Relief Society visiting teaching. Home teaching and visiting teaching are inspired programs.
They are designed to reach each member of the Church each month, both the active and the less
active. Please give home teaching and visiting teaching an increased emphasis”
President Ezra Taft Benson

“I feel impressed to speak to you about a program that has been inspired from its inception – a
program that touches hears, that changes lives, and that saves souls; a program that has the stamp
of approval of our Father in Heaven; a program so vital that, if faithfully followed, it will help to
spiritually renew the Church and exalt its individual members and families. I am speaking about
home and visiting teaching. It is the priesthood way of watching over the Saints and
accomplishing the mission of the Church. Home and visiting teaching is not just an assignment.
It is a sacred calling. As shepherds to all of your families, both active and less active, you should
not be content with only reaching the ninety and nine. Your goal should be 100 percent home
and visiting teaching every month.”
President Ezra Taft Benson

“Through visiting teaching we act as mothers, sisters, helpers, companions and friends, one to
another. In visiting teaching we reach out to each other. Hands often speak as voices can’t. A
warm embrace conveys volumes. A laugh together unites us. A moment of sharing refreshes
our souls. We cannot always lift the burden of one who is troubled, but we can lift her so she can
bear it well.”
President Elaine L. Jack

“We should never underestimate the value of a one-on-one visit. Just as women walked around
Nauvoo gathering information about the conditions of individuals and families in that early era
of the Church, so do sisters in Perth, Australia, and Papeete, Tahiti, walk to homes of their
neighbors to visit and care for one another. I think it’s exciting to be a part of a worldwide
association of sisters who exercise this watchful care over each other. Sometimes when I’ve
gone out visiting teaching I’ve thought about that, and wondered if maybe women in Manitoba,
Canada, or in Mexico or in France or even in the Soviet Union were out doing their visiting
teaching at the same time I was. It’s quite a concept, to be part of something that is so much
bigger then ourselves.”
President Elaine L. Jack

“Visiting teaching gives us an opportunity to learn how to follow the Savior. As we extend love
and unselfish service, we become instruments of the Lord, helping in times of Physical,
emotional, and spiritual need to touch hearts and change lives. Visiting teaching is the very
essence of the gospel and gives us the opportunity to practice the principles found in Mosiah
18:8-9: ‘willing to bear one another’s burdens,…willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea,
and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all time,…
that we may have eternal life.’”
President Barbara Winder

“Whenever I think of visiting teachers, I think of home teachers also, and think that certainly
your duties in many ways must be like those of the home teachers, which briefly are ‘to watch
over the church always’ –not twenty minutes a month but always-‘and be with and strengthen
them’-not a knock at the door, but to be with them, and lift them, and strengthen them, and
empower them, and fortify them’ and see that there is no iniquity,…neither hardness,…
backbiting, nor evil speaking’ D&C 20:53-54
President Spencer W. Kimball

“To be successful, it seems to me that a visiting teacher would wish to have high purpose and
remember it all the time, would want to have great vision, a terrific enthusiasm that cannot be
worn down, a positive attitude, of course, and a great love.”
President Spencer W. Kimball

“We must seek out those among us with need and, using our God-given talents for charity and
our means for relieving others, coordinate the two. This has been the charge from the beginning.
It is the charge today. We should go personally into each other’s homes, and we should turn our
souls to the point that we may find those in need and offer friendship, help as needed, and
courage to meet each day’s challenges.”
President Barbara B. Smith

“It is good to…go from house to house, seeking out the poor, the cast down, minister to the sick,
lay out the dead, gathering and distributing, as you have done, my sisters, for so many years,
gifts and donations for relief. And yet we have a larger mission-to teach the mother to rear her
young in simplicity and in truth and virtue, that happy home circles may bound in our midst.”
President Bathsheba W. Smith 1901-1910

“Home and visiting teaching are sometimes not very interesting, but interesting or not, they are
vital to your security. Think about your coach who talks about drill and exercise, and your music
teacher who insists on hours of practice for but a few minutes of performance. Some activities
may have much more appeal, but there is none that is more important. It is interesting that things
so basic are taken so for granted. For example, there is within us a coursing supply of blood
delivering nourishment to sustain the body, carrying away waste materials, and armed with a
protection against disease and infection. The blood supply is kept in motion by the incessant and
dependable pumping of the heart. It is vital to life. Ordinarily, however, a sliver in the finger
gets more attention and is of more concern. No one pays much thought to the beating of the
heart until there is the threat that it may be interrupted or stopped. It is then that we pay
attention. Home and visiting teaching, strangely enough, is so taken for granted that most
members pay little attention to it, participating routinely, sometimes almost with annoyance.
Through it, nevertheless, there come to members of the Church a protection and a watch-care not
known elsewhere.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Through home and visiting teaching, tragedies have been averted. Sinking souls have been
lifted. Material need has been provided. Grief has been assuaged. The infirm have been healed
through administration. While the work goes on without being heralded, it is inspired of
Almighty God and is basic to the spiritual nourishment of this people. The principles of it have
never changed, not with changing society or the various additions to programming in the Church.
Without it the Church could very quickly cease to be the Church.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer

“I am reminded of a fur trapper who had earned a modest fortune trapping foxes. He decided to
go south for the winter and left his trap lines in the care of a carefully trained young assistant.
He taught him just how to set the traps and where to put the bait. When he returned in the
spring, to his disappointment there were very few fox furs. “Did you do it just as I taught you?”
asked the older man. “Oh, no,” was the reply. “I found a better way.” Brothers and sisters, do
not asked to be released from your duty, we must always come back to doing our home and
visiting teaching His way. Remember this scriptural declaration:
“Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and not fulfilled? I command and men obey not;
I revoke and they receive not the blessing. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of
the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath,
and not from above.” D&C 58:31-33
Elder Boyd K. Packer

“To you who are home and visiting teachers – you who perform the routine visit, not
infrequently considered a drudgery-do not take the assignment lightly or pass it off as being
routine. Every hour you spend in it and every step you take in it and every door you knock upon,
every home you greet, every encouragement you give, is twice a blessing. It is an interesting
truth that the home and visiting teachers are often taught in the course of their visits to the
family. In fact, it is often a question, even in a moment of sacrifice and service by dedicated
home and visiting teachers, who benefits the most-the family he or she serves or the home or
visiting teacher.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer

“I have hear men and women say in response to a question about their Church assignment, “I am
only a home or visiting teacher.” Only a home or visiting teacher. Only the guardian of a flock.
Only the one appointed where the ministry matters most. Only a servant of the Lord! It is
because of you, the home and visiting teacher, that a verse of the hymn stands true:
‘Beneath his watchful eye,
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.’
There presides over us a prophet, who as a man cannot extend himself to the far reaches of the
earth, to every branch, to every mission, or to every stake. Yet by delegation of the authority and
the keys held by him, he can reach, not just to the stakes and the wards and branches, but he can
reach into the homes, to the individuals, and bless and sustain them, that the saints might
securely dwell.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer

“It has been wisely said, ‘Service is the rent we pay for our own room on earth.’ We should
know that the rent is due on a daily basis and know that the receipt is never stamped ‘paid in
full,’ because the rent, service in God’s kingdom, is again due today and due tomorrow.”
Visiting teaching is a service to our Heavenly Father and a way for us to pay our earthly dues.
Elder Russell C. Taylor

“Some mistakenly think that a commitment to service comes after a great spiritual experience.
This is like the man who is cold, standing before the stove, and saying, ‘Give me heat, and then I
will put in some wood.’ The joy and blessings of service follow the rendering of service. Elder
Bruce R. McConkie has so eloquently taught us that service is essential to salvation. I have been
impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is no enough; we must apply. Being willing is
not enough; we must do. Progress is not created by contented people. It is up to us, you and me,
to be uncomfortable in complacency, to refrain from being spectators, and to be players in the
game of life. Our home and visiting teaching should be more than going; it should be doing with
Christian love. It can be done; you can each do your portion of the work because you desire it.”
Elder Russell C. Taylor

”As wisely stated, ‘Until a man learns to think, he is not an educated man, no matter how many
degrees he has.’ I would also add that a thinking man will want to serve. The greater your
service, the closer your access to God. One who serves and sacrifices goes to bed at night with
peace of mind. From D&C 50:26 we learn about service, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples,
feet that were hot, sweaty, soiled with dust and dirt. He washed not their hands or face; he
washed their feet. He who is the greatest shall be the least-he it is who learns to serve.”
Elder Russell C. Taylor
Sisters let us follow the example of our Savior and serve the sisters that we visit teach.

“To you home and visiting teachers, you have a duty to prepare and a duty to serve. The Lord
counseled us, “Seek ye out of the best books works of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and
also by faith.” Preparation for life’s opportunities and responsibilities has never been more vital.
We live in a changing society. Intense competition is a part of life. The role of husband, wife,
mother, father, provider, and protector is vastly different from what it was a generation ago.
Preparation is not a matter of perhaps or maybe. It is a mandate. The old phrase ‘Ignorance is
bliss’ is forever gone. Preparation precedes performance. Now, some of you may be shy by
nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to this calling. Remember that
this work is not your and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s
errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord
qualifies.”
Thomas S. Monson