From the Mouth of Babes Shall Ye Be Taught

Sounds vaguely scriptural (see maybe Matt. 21:16 or 3 Nephi 26:16), but I’m actually thinking of my Elder’s Quorum meeting on Sunday, where an 18-year-old, newly-minted, recently graduated (I think he graduated) elder taught the lesson. The disorientating effect was heightened for me because I can recall when he was ordained a deacon, and have observed this young man on scout hikes/campouts and at various other activities for the last six years. He would not have received my “most likely to teach Elder’s Quorum” vote. Simply surviving childhood was probably an accomplishment (although maybe one could say this about most teenagers).

So here’s the miracle: he actually taught an okay lesson. It was on having good gospel books around the home. Sure, he got lots of supportive comments from the class (I noted how nice it is to have Deseret Book bookstores in many cities outside Utah these days, and my nose didn’t grow so I must believe it). Sure, I might offer a few pointers here or there about the lesson or his style. But he wasn’t nervous. He did a quite adequate job, even a fine job for his first lesson. I’ve seen worse, much worse.

Somehow, the Church teaches its youth to be passable teachers and to be comfortable teaching a class. Not just the natural teachers or the outgoing loves-a-crowd future salespersons–even the lower-half-of-the-curve types are able to manage it. Even an 18-year-old to a room full of adults all of whom are older and probably better informed about the lesson material. I confess I’m a little stumped as to how it happens. What’s the secret?


  1. I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile, and I think it’s because our lessons aren’t true ‘lessons’, in the sense that the % of information-transfer is very, very low. You really can’t miss in teaching a lesson so long as you follow the path in the manual (and they are pretty good manuals) and keep your head down.

    I think it’d be a different story if we were confronted with a situation of teaching someone ideas they’d never heard of before. Gospel Essentials can be a pretty tough class, I think.

  2. Well Dave, I think all those Primary talks must have something to do with it.