What is home teaching?

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mream
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What is home teaching?

Postby mream » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:45 am

I searched the forum and can't find if this has been asked. I also don't find specific guidance in the Handbooks.

What gets counted as home teaching? Are there any defined guidelines, or is it more up to local leaders?

Thanks,

Matt

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:02 am

mream wrote:What gets counted as home teaching? Are there any defined guidelines, or is it more up to local leaders?


Some Handbook references would be in Handbook 2

  • Section 7.4.1 says: "Where possible, home teachers visit members in their homes at least monthly."
  • Section 7.4.3 says: "In some locations, visiting every home each month may not be possible for a time because of insufficient numbers of active priesthood holders or other challenges. In these circumstances, leaders give priority to visiting new members, less-active members who are most likely to respond to invitations to return to Church activity, and members with serious needs."
  • Section 7.4.3 also says: "In some cases, leaders may assign home teachers to visit a family one month and assign visiting teachers to visit Relief Society members in that family the next month."
  • Section 7.4.4 says: "Each report includes a list of those who were not contacted."
That last point implies to me that if no contact of any kind is made, you don't count it. But the second and third points deal with flexibility. In my opinion, if some contact is made under the direction of the appropriate leaders with the intent to watch over the family, it could be acceptable to count it. But in any case, as with all issues in the Handbook, local leaders should become familiar with what is written there, and then make their decisions by following the spirit.
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mream
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Postby mream » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:08 am

Thanks for your reply. I understand those guidelines, but I'm wondering what actually gets counted.

In the example of section 7.4.3, if the priesthood leaders let the RS visit the family every other month, does it get counted as HT on those months, or only on the months where actual home teachers are there?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:16 am

mream wrote:Thanks for your reply. I understand those guidelines, but I'm wondering what actually gets counted.

In the example of section 7.4.3, if the priesthood leaders let the RS visit the family every other month, does it get counted as HT on those months, or only on the months where actual home teachers are there?


I believe I answered that when I said "as with all issues in the Handbook, local leaders should become familiar with what is written there, and then make their decisions by following the spirit."

If the authors of the Handbook wanted to provide that level of detail in how visits are counted, they would have. But they didn't so, it's up to local leaders, as directed by their line leaders.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

mream
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Postby mream » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:26 am

Ok, that's what I thought. I was just curious if anywhere else there were more specific guidelines. I will refer to my local leaders.

thanks for your help

kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:12 am

mream wrote:
What gets counted as home teaching?

Ah...The ultimate question!

President Ezra Taft Bensen, "to the Home Teachers of the Church"
Brethren, home teaching is not just another program. It is the priesthood way of watching over the Saints and accomplishing the mission of the Church. Home teaching is not just an assignment. It is a sacred calling....
A home teaching call is to be accepted as if extended to you personally by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yeah, not sure any of us dare to impose any further description on what to count, unless we are called to be your file leader...

Welcome, by the way!

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:54 pm

mream wrote:What gets counted as home teaching?

From the instructions on line 4 of the quarterly report (total families visited by home teachers):
Record the number of families who were visited by home teachers during the last month of the quarter


Contrast this with line 11 (total women contacted by visiting teachers):
Record the number of women ... who were contacted by visiting teachers during the last month of the quarter.


The instructions suggest home teaching should be more than just contact. It should be an actual visit. Of course, then the question is what constitutes a visit. I think there is some wisdom in not specifically defining it. Let the spirit guide the visit, and be adaptable to what the needs and situation require.

bobschaack
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Postby bobschaack » Tue May 01, 2012 9:24 pm

While making a visit to the family in their home is ideal, it's important to keep the greater purpose in mind. It is possible (and all too common) to visit a family every month, and yet not actually be a home teacher. It is also possible "to watch over the [family] always, and be with and strengthen them" (D&C 20:53) without visiting their home every month.
A home visit used to be one of the only ways to be a home teacher, but especially with all the recent advancements in technology, there are many more ways now to effectively be in close communication with, and teach the gospel to individuals and families.

"This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed"
-Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:135.


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