When I first joined the church, I went to the bishop for everything. I didn’t even realize there were other choices. The church puts many people into our lives and it can be confusing to know who you go to in each situation. Following is a list that can help you decide where to go for help:
If your missionaries are still visiting, you can ask them. If not, you might start by talking to your home or visiting teacher if you’re an adult or your youth leaders if you’re a teen. If they don’t know the answers, they can tell you who will know. Your Sunday School teacher is also a good resource for information. The ward library sometimes has books you can borrow. ChurchofJesusChrist.org and ComeUntoChrist.org are official Church websites and have answers to doctrinal questions.
2. Trouble keeping the commandments
Talk to the bishop about this if the problem is serious. If it’s a smaller problem, such as forgetting to pray, or difficulty learning not to swear, your home or visiting teachers can be a resource in giving you ideas. If the sin is a small one, you can also just talk to Heavenly Father. Only serious sins need to be confessed to the bishop. He can help you learn which ones must be taken to him.
3. Assistance with financial problems or employment:
Your home teacher can help you learn what to do in this situation. You can also visit the bishop for help. Most wards have an employment specialist who can teach you how to find work and tell you what resources your ward offers.
4. Faltering testimony
If you feel comfortable talking to your home and visiting teachers, do so. Otherwise, you can talk to the bishop or to anyone in the ward you trust completely. The missionaries can also be a resource for you if they are still visiting.
5. Difficulty learning how to do your calling
Talk to the leader who is over your calling. For instance, if you are a Primary teacher, talk to someone in the Primary Presidency. All problems with callings should go through the leaders over that organization.
6. Writing your first talk
Ask your home or visiting teacher to help you with your first talk. They can teach you how to write it and check to make sure your information is correct.
7. Hurt feelings
If possible, go to the person who hurt your feelings and talk about it. You can also take that to Heavenly Father to help you.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.