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Dedicated teachers: a timeless key

- Remember object of Sunday School

- Make wise use of technology

- Teach and testify

The personal touch of a dedicated, loving teacher who radiates the Spirit is the key to teaching children the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, said Elder Harold G. Hillam Sunday morning.

Elder Hillam of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke on "Teachers, the Timeless Key," and recalled the organization of the first Sunday School of the Church.

Holding a 98-year-old letter, written as part of the Jubilee Celebration of the first Sunday School, Elder Hillam said the words of the 1899 letter still have significance today. The letter, signed by the general Sunday School presidency and board members, was included in a time capsule that was opened in 1949, 50 years later.

Elder Hillam read from the letter: " `. . . This Sunday School work has been to us a labor of love and our interest does not merely exist for today, but extends into the future. . . . We beseech you that whatever may be the methods employed, whatever may be the changes wrought, . . . that you never forget for an instant the object of the great Sunday School work.' "

Elder Hillam called the letter prophetic. "Could the writer of this 1899 letter have imagined, even dimly, the technological advances - the radio, color television, computers, the Internet, or the programming that is present today - they would have been astounded to learn that just one small computer disk could contain large collections of the greatest of books and talks known to mankind."

Sadly, Elder Hillam continued, these early Sunday School leaders would also have seen that the same tools can bring to view wicked and immoral material.

He said as Church members prepare for the next 50 or 100 years, they must learn to make wise use of the tools and technology that they have.

Despite the staggering technological advances of the past century, Elder Hillam said, one of the elements of the 1899 letter remains constant - the importance of well-trained, humble and dedicated teachers.

"We are in essence a Church of teachers," he said. Elder Hillam said that most adult members of the Church also find themselves in a position to teach in a direct manner, noting that leaders, parents and called teachers have the specific responsibility to help prepare, train, and edify those who fall within their stewardship.

"Technology will surely advance, and methods will certainly change, but the personal touch by a dedicated, loving teacher, who radiates the Spirit, is the key to fulfilling the desires of the writers of this 1899 letter, which was - to teach the children and others, the `principles of the Gospel of Jesus Church.' "