Teaching Youth

Teaching Schedule
Quorum Lessons


Why do we focus on the Doctrine and not just good behavior?:

"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior  the study of the doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
-President Boyd K. Packer (Oct, 1986)

How much doctrine are the youth ready for? Shouldn't we give them "milk before meat?":

"The youth of the church are hungry for the things of the Spirit; they are eager to learn the Gospel, and they want it straight, undiluted. They are not now doubters, but inquirers after truth. . . You do not have to sneak up behind this spiritually experienced youth and whisper religion in his ears; you can come right out, face to face, and talk with him."
-President Marion G. Romney (1934)

In other words: The youth of the church are ready for the meat of the gospel. Give it to them straight and "undiluted."

The Emphasis of the new youth curriculum:

  • More flexibility
  • More learner participation (less "lecture" style teaching)
  • More doctrine

What to Teach 

Focus: Flexibility, Doctrine

Monthly topics

Each month there will be a topic of the month. For example, for January 2013 the topic is "The Godhead." Each lesson during that month should have something to do with that theme, unless the Spirit dictates otherwise.

Learning outlines

The topic for each month contains several "learning outlines." These contains scripture blocks, quotes from authoritative sources, links to general conference talks, links to relevant video clips, etc. The purpose of these outlines is for the teacher to learn the doctrine for themselves. They are not intended to be a lesson outline. Because the teacher has learned the doctrine really well, they now have the flexibility to be guided by the Spirit and create their own lessons.

Teacher preparation is even more important than it was before. Teacher must:
  • spiritually prepare to teach (study, ponder, pray)
  • study the doctrine
  • pray about what the learners need to learn
  • counsel with the youth presidencies about what the learners need
After learning the doctrine for yourself very well, praying and counseling with the youth presidents about what to teach, and feeling inspired, you will write out the lesson for yourself. You can use the scriptures and other resources from the learning outline and/or what you have discovered on your own. The learning outline also has suggested activities you can do during your lessons. You can use some of these or your own.

Bottom line

You as the teacher have the flexibility to teach what the Spirit tells you that the youth need to learn.

How to Teach

Focus: More participation

Discover the Gospel

Your job as a teacher is to help the youth discover the gospel. You can't give it to them. You are to help them to have spiritual experiences of their own. 




Help the students be ready to learn the gospel. Have a good routine at the start of class that helps them get into the "mood" to learn the gospel. Ideas include things like:
  • hymn and prayer to start class
  • a youth sharing a scriptural insight they had in their personal reading that week
  • a youth sharing a "missionary moment" they had that week
  • etc.
Readiness also applies to any specific part of your lesson. For example, when reading a scripture in class, make sure that they are ready to understand the scripture. You may need to prepare them before reading it by explaining who is speaking, what question is being answered, etc.


Here is where we want to spend a lot of time. The youth should be talking as much or more than the teacher. the teacher is more like a guide to help the youth discover the principles.

Class discussions:
  • Try hard to guide good class discussions
  • Allow the youth to share thoughts, insights, and experiences
  • Make the atmosphere feel like a safe place to share. Youth will clam up if they feel like they will be judged or mocked for their thoughts. Make it a safe place to share their feelings even if they are sharing doubts they have about the doctrines or the gospel. It is much better for them to discuss their doubts in a context of faith, than to struggle on their own and feel like no one else understands.
  • You can have whole class discussions, or break them into smaller groups to read and/or share. Many youth feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts with a smaller groups, or in pairs, than they do in a group.
  • Turn comments back toward the class. Try not to repeat what the students say, but help them to listen intently to each other.
  • Ask a lot of questions, both closed and open-ended questions. You may want to have a list of discussion questions and follow-up questions already prepared in case you or the class gets stumped.
  • Have the youth ask a lot of questions. Remember Doubt and curiosity are NOT the opposite of faith. They are building blocks for growing faith. Maybe have a question box where they can ask anonymous questions. Do what it takes to get them to ask a lot of questions.
  • You don't have to read a whole verse. Don't feel bound by the way the verses divide up the scriptures. Read the passages that you need in order to discover the doctrines.
  • Help guide the youth in marking their scriptures. Show them how you have marked verses. Instruct them to mark things, number lists, write one or two word summaries on the top of the page (i.e. "Prodigal Son"), etc.
  • Ask them your question before reading the passage. This will guide them as they read and you will less awkward silences when you ask them questions about it after.
  • Help them to draw out the principle, rather than simply explaining to them what it means.
  • Stories can be a powerful way to teach principles. Share your own stories and have the youth share theirs. Help each other draw principles from them.


Help them to identify the principle being taught. Have the class verbally say the principal being learned. Know that a one word title is not a principle. For example, just saying "prophets" is NOT a principle. A principle is a sentence like "following the living prophet  helps keep us safe" or something like that. Help guide the students to verbally (out loud) identify the principle.

Just identifying the principles is not enough. Help them to apply it. See the discussion tips above to help guide them in applying the stated principle to real life.


Because they need to have their own personal experiences with the Spirit to become converted, feel free to give them good, productive, spiritual challenges: things to do during the week. These should be geared toward giving them spiritual experiences.
  • specific things to write about in their journals
  • things to discuss with their parents
  • scripture passages to read
  • something to pray about 
  • etc.

Bottom line

Help the youth to discover the gospel on their own by learning the doctrines and principles of the gospel and having their own private converting experiences as they live those principles.

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