General Conference Book Club Week 6: Brother Osguthorpe

Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe is the General Sunday School President.  (He was our Stake President when Matt and I were newlyweds, so that makes us famous by association, right?)  He gave a fantastic talk during the Saturday morning session of General Conference called Teaching Helps Save Lives.” Many of us have opportunities to teach in our church or civic responsibilities, and the tips here are obviously valuable in those settings, but as I listened to this talk I felt a powerful impression that these were important tools for parenting.  Perhaps my greatest responsibility as a mother is to teach my children.  The really important stuff.  So I’m excited to go back and read it again and be reminded of the power of that role and what I should focus on.


“We teach key doctrine, invite learners to do the work God has for them, and then promise that blessings will surely come.”

“All parents and gospel teachers are messengers from God.”

“Learning and teaching are not optional activities in the kingdom of God. They are the very means by which the gospel has been restored to the earth and by which we will gain eternal life. They provide the pathway to personal testimony.”

So what did you learn about being a better teacher?  You can read the talk here, or listen to it here, or watch it here.  Or, if you got your Ensign in the mail this week like I did (yippee!), you can find this talk on page 15.  If you’re visiting us here at the GCBC for the first time, check out the club here and jump right in and join us.


16 thoughts on “General Conference Book Club Week 6: Brother Osguthorpe

  1. Hey! He was our newlywed Stake President, too! We were in the same stake….weird.

    Also, he was my next door neighbor while I was growing up. I adore this man. He is amazing, and so is his wife.

    I loved his talk and the way that teaching others the gospel or anything really, can actually save people’s lives. I have never thought about it in quite those terms, and it makes me want to be more open to teaching opportunities. Especially with my family, but with anybody who needs me, really.

  2. It’s a lot of responsibility. But like he said, God helps us through the things that we feel unqualified for, so long as we prepare enough to do it.

  3. This talk made me think about how well I am doing as a Primary teacher and as a mother too. I wonder if I am doing enough. You never know who needs your help in “saving” their life–I’m sure none of the people that he mentioned realized at the time what a profound difference they made in his life.

  4. Yipeeee! My Ensign came in the mail today!!! Now I can mark it up! I can’t wait to read and study each talk each week. Thanks so much Stephanie for doing this wonderful GCBC!

    Will check back often. Thanks everyone for your insight.

  5. I have never taught anything to anyone except I learn the most. In a Laurel class I was teaching, as the focus was on service, I asked how they felt as they did service. They told me and then I felt to tell them that that was the Holy Ghost speaking to them; that what they felt was the Holy Ghost and to remember that feeling. It felt so GOOD to know that I had that revelation at that very moment; and then to give it to the girls for themselves was a testimony to me of that important principle. I had read and heard about teaching others to recognize the presence of the Holy Ghost. I was prepared to do that. My mind had been opened by being taught myself. I loved the list he gave. I know I can use that to open up my mind to more possibilites to be led by the Spirit in relation to others and in offering what I can give.

  6. My most favorite part of the talk is when he gave a quote by Joseph Smith. “When we receive the truth we will be saved by it. We will not be saved merely because someone taught it to us, but because we received and acted upon it.” Oh my eyes were opened. I learn so many things through out the day from so many different people and it is so important that I “act upon it.” I can be taught, but is up to me that I follow through and use that information to its fullest. It is not only important to me, but to those I come in contact with. (especially my kids) There is another quote by President Monson about when we are teaching others how we don’t need to “pour information” into the minds of those we teach but we are responsible to help inspire them so they will do something about it. I need to make sure that I use the spirit and remember that I am a messenger from God and I need to make a difference in the lives of those I teach. I taught my sons Primary class last week and it really made we think about what I taught them. I need to prepare with the spirit so that they hear the information that they need to hear.

    The other part I LOVED is that learning and teaching is not optional activities and that we need to continue to learn. I feel that it is important to make sure my children know that as well.

    What a great talk. It made me notice how I am teaching my kids and what an important role I have in their lives to help them return to their Father in Heaven.

  7. The part that stood out to me the most was to put down your manual when you get inspiration to do so. Even when I used this talk to go Visiting Teaching this week, there were parts I wanted to quote, but then our conversation turned a different way, and I learned so much from that! Definitely prepare from the manual, but put it down when there’s certain things that someone needs to hear that day.

  8. I liked the reminder that teaching really does help save lives and can make an eternal difference…sometimes teaching Primary feels a little bit like babysitting, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

  9. I loved this talk! And honestly, I don’t remember hearing it in conference. The thing that stuck out to me was the quote from President Monson “The goal of teaching is not to pour information into the minds of class members… The aim is to inspire the individual to think about, feel about and then do something about living the gospel principles.” I think that sometimes when I teach I focus more on getting through all of the information rather than focusing on what the Spirit really wants the girls to know. So that is something that I am going to try to work on.

  10. Better late than never I suppose…

    This talk made me think about the fact that we are always teaching which is why it is important to always be in tune with the Spirit. So, what was I teaching my family earlier this week when I chose to feel stressed/panicked/irritable for a couple of days instead of trusting in the Lord? On a positive note, I also must ask, what was I teaching my family when I chose to turn away from those negative things and return to the loving guidance of the Savior? I think righting wrongs is a very important thing to learn.

    • Good point! I think it’s really good for our kids to SEE us righting those wrongs. To hear us say, “Okay, let’s do something fun so I’m not so grumpy” or whatever works! 🙂

  11. As with others, the thing that stood out to me was the quote from President Monson: “The aim is to inspire the individual to think about, feel about, and then do something about living gospel principles” I love how Bro. Osguthorpe used examples of different teachers to fortify that point. This talk made me think a lot about the ways I teach my children. I think I can find more opportunities to teach them, and do better helping them to aim high and rely on the Lord for things that are hard for them. Inspire them more, instead of just give them knowledge.

  12. I loved the Sunday school teacher he had who always drew the arrow. It was a great lesson for me in teaching my children & primary class. We should always be working toward getting the people we teach “to stretch ourselves, to reach a little higher than we thought possible.” When we teach we should be encouraging others to apply the lesson to their lives. I also thought this was an important lesson when we are in the class. How can I take what is being taught, combined with my personal situation and level, to stretch farther and become closer to being like Christ. Just “a little higher” not all the way to the top at once.

    I also liked the quote “if I relied on the Lord, He would help me do something I thought was impossible.” There are many aspects of the gospel I feel I can never master, but I need to remember that with the Lord even the impossible is within our reach.

  13. This kind of plays off of Heather’s comment, but I was fascinated by the Joseph F. Smith quote about how we can be saved by truth “because we received and acted upon it,” especially when I looked at it side-by-side with the quote from President Monson saying we must inspire individuals to think, feel, “and then DO something about living gospel principles.” Testimony comes through knowledge+feeling+action; knowledge alone does not a testimony make.

    I also love his claim that all parents are messengers from God, and then later, that we are all teaching future leaders of the church. I think we often underestimate both our role and the role of our children.

    I like his questions a lot. I think my favorite is that we must express so much confidence in those whom we teach that our invitations are hard to refuse.

    Good stuff.

  14. Just finished this talk and am kind of overwhelmed by teaching. 🙂 I realize from this talk the importance of challenging the people that we are teaching. I hope that I can remember this! I like the reminder to teach doctrine ~ I think the best way is to use personal experience and testimony.

    Great pick, Steph. Thanks.

  15. I am grateful for his tips on teaching. I am going to take what he said an apply it to make our family study more meaningful.
    THINK about, FEEL about, and then DO something about living gospel principles – love that.

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