Gospel Teaching

Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Third, a superior teacher of the gospel will teach from the prescribed course material, with greatest emphasis on teaching the doctrine and principles and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ.. . .

Teachers who are commanded to teach “the principles of [the] gospel” and “the doctrine of the kingdom” (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of dos and don’ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families.

Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence on behavior than rules. When we teach gospel doctrine and principles, we can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives.  ("Gospel Teaching," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 79-80)

Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

We who are General Authorities and general officers are called to teach His general rules. You and we then lead specific lives and must seek the Lord’s guidance regarding specific circumstances. But there would be mass confusion and loss of gospel promises if no general ideal and no doctrinal standard were established and, in our case today, repeated. We take great strength in knowing the Lord has spoken on these matters, and we accept His counsel even when it might not be popular.  (From "General Patterns and Specific Lives," Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Building Up A Righteous Posterity, February 9, 2008;  http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,8027-1-4404-2,00.html)