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by Jack R. Christianson
A deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood is, when worthy, advanced to the office of "teacher" at age fourteen and serves for a period of two years. Teachers meet together regularly for gospel instruction and other activities. Latter-day scriptures indicate that "the teacher's duty is to watch over the church always." His authority is "to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ" (D&C 20:53-59). Teachers can function in all the duties of a deacon. In addition, they are to observe the counsel of the bishopric and teachers quorum president, prepare the Sacrament, perform home teaching, usher or speak in Church meetings, be an example of moral integrity and uprightness, care for the poor, and help maintain the meetinghouse and grounds.
As the organization of the New Testament Church took form, teachers played a primary role (Acts 13:1; Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 1:11; James 3:1). The qualities teachers were to exhibit included reverence, temperance, and integrity (Titus 2:1-15). Postapostolic sources indicate that teachers served under prophets and later under bishops and that these higher offices comprehended the teaching function as well.
Teachers are organized into a priesthood quorum of up to twenty-four members (D&C 107:86). Each quorum is headed by a presidency acting under the direction and supervision of the ward bishopric. To be ordained a teacher, candidates must be carefully interviewed by the bishop for personal worthiness and then approved in Sacrament meeting by the members of the ward.
Teachers meet weekly on Sunday for instruction as a quorum and at other times for social activities or service projects, often with the young women or other young men. In the United States and other areas, some of these activities are organized around the scouting program designed for young men of this age group.
The Book of Mormon mentions teachers frequently, butunlike modern teachersthey evidently were adult leaders of their congregations and held the Melchizedek Priesthood with administrative powers (Mosiah 23:17; 25:19; 26:7; Alma 4:7; 15:13).
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page; Priesthood Organization home page; Aaronic Priesthood home page)
Lowrie, Walter. The Church and Its Organization in Primitive and Catholic Times: An Interpretation of Rudolph Sohm's Kirchenrecht. New York, 1904.
Palmer, Lee A. The Aaronic Priesthood Through the Centuries. Salt Lake City, 1964
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4, Teachers
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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