Soon after joining the church, you will be assigned a home teacher. You may have one home teacher who comes alone, or you may have two who come together. Home teachers are priesthood holders, so they are men. Their responsibility is to pay special attention to your needs and to be a friend to the family.
Your home teacher will visit you each month by appointment. During this home visit, he will spend time getting to know you and your family, and will teach a short lesson, usually called a message. He visits the entire family at once, so it’s important to choose a time when everyone will be home, if at all possible.
If you are a woman and you are alone or your husband is unwilling to participate in these meetings, let your home teachers know. If you have only one, he can arrange to bring someone with him—perhaps another home teacher or his wife. If your husband isn’t a member, let your home teacher know how he feels about the church and what is necessary in order to convince him to participate. Some non-LDS spouses request that no religion be discussed, and others ask to be present for each visit. If your spouse won’t allow home teachers to visit, your home teacher can arrange to check on you during church.
Generally the topic of the lesson is taken from the current month’s Ensign, the magazine for adult church members. You can review this lesson with your family prior to the visit, and decide what thoughts or questions you might have on the subject.
Before the visit, make sure everyone is home and settled down, ready to visit and to learn. Sometimes the home teacher will meet briefly with the husband first, so be prepared in case that happens. Have scriptures ready and make sure there is plenty of seating. You don’t need to feed your home teachers, although you can have a treat if you choose. A treat may help your children feel more excited about the visit.
Your home teacher will ask if your family is in need of anything. If you have questions or concerns about your new church membership, this is a good time to ask for answers. If your family is facing a serious situation, such as unemployment or major illness, let him know so he can pass along the information to the bishop.
Your home teacher can serve as a filter for any help or advise you need. By coming to him, you build a relationship of trust and he can coordinate any assistance you require. He serves as a good friend for your family.
If you are a teenager, your parents need to be present whenever you meet with your home teachers, even if they aren’t members. Ask them to join you so they know what you are learning and what is happening in the meetings. Your home teacher can be a resource to help your parents see what kinds of people belong to your church. When I joined the church alone as a teenager, my parents were nervous about having a man they didn’t know coming to see me each month. However, as they had to be present, they soon came to like him. When my father had to leave town for a week on a family emergency, he instructed my mother that if we needed anything, we were to contact my home teacher. He had learned home teachers could be trusted to serve and this softened his feelings about the church.
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.