Thousands of participants from around the world gathered at the BYU Campus beginning Monday morning for the annual Campus Education Week. The weeklong conference includes more than 1,000 classes and events and usually brings in around 20,000 individuals from many different walks of life.
Classes and instruction on subjects such as education, family and home, religion, self-improvement, and youth-specific topics started Monday and continue through Friday.
During the devotional address, Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke of the importance of the spirit in teaching and learning, and the process of edification.
"Edification will occur only when teachers and learners direct all their efforts in a shared responsibility to establish a climate where the converting power of the spirit is present," he said. "The atmosphere or climate must be spiritual, warm, open and reciprocal."
Leaders, teachers and parents will be more successful as they become more Christ-like and adapt and respond to needs without being coercive or manipulative, he said. It is through creating an atmosphere or setting that invites the spirit that individuals will be able to teach and learn and be edified.
Centering his remarks on this year's conference theme, "That all may be edified," taken from the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 88:122, Elder Jensen shared ways in which individuals can improve in their teaching and learning, both in informal and formal settings. It is through a foundation built upon the spirit that teaching and learning leads to edification and heavenly confirmation, he said.
Elder Jensen spoke of different elements of revelation, sharing five essential principles taken from Doctrine and Covenants 88:122 that lead to edification.
1. A teacher is appointed and recognized as such by the learners
"The appointment of a teacher in the church denotes someone with authority to appoint another," Elder Jensen said. "All true authority in this restored church is under the direction of or submissive to a higher authority, ultimately God's authority."
Today, it is under the direction of ecclesiastical leaders, such as bishops or priesthood presidents with priesthood keys, that a teacher is appointed. Worthiness to be guided by truth and divine doctrine and correct principles is essential to the effectiveness of a teacher.
2. Teaching and discussion are governed by order and reverence
"As a people and a curch, we need to improve our attitudes toward and performance of order and reverence, both at home and in our places of worship," he said. "In our society today, we see more and more evidences of a drift towards casualness in speech, dress and appearance."
Rather than point fingers at others to fix the problem of casualness, Elder Jensen said that it is up to individuals to fix themselves, in turn showing reverence as they create order and set a good example for others.
3. What is discussed or said revolves around divine doctrines or truths
Everything taught in this church may fit under three headings, Elder Jensen taught: doctrine, principles and applications or commandments.
"As a listener to sayings that come from the pulpit, the classroom and the home, I have observed that speakers often devote more time and attention to applications and keeping of the commandments or the how and less effort is given to the doctrine or the grand 'why' and the principles, or the 'what.' "
It is as parents and teachers provide learners with a balance of all three — how, why and what — they are able to teach as the Savior taught.
4. Those who are not speaking have a duty to actively listen
"The scriptures themselves are our best sources on learning and teaching, the Savior being the perfect model of a learner/teachers," he said.
Some of the ways individuals are able to become a diligent learner include: becoming teachable and having a desire to learn; studying, searching, pondering and likening the scriptures to oneself; being a punctual, reverent listener in church meetings and at home; and being open to correction or instruction.
5. Both teacher and listener participate respectfully to invite the spirit
"It is important to remember that there are basically two kinds of meetings held in this church — one is formal and the other is informal," he said. "In a formal meeting, audience participation by way of discussion or comments is not encouraged. … On the other hand, in informal meetings … listener participation is vital for edification to occur."