12 April 2016

The Things that Consitute A Good (Religious) Visit

I have been a religious leader for thirty years, both ecclesiastical and administrative. I have worked with all sorts of people in all kinds of capacities and have enjoyed both sides of religious work.

Of course, you already know that I am a Mormon and we are increasingly known for our "Home Teaching" program, where our priesthood holders visit Latter-Day Saint (LDS) families in their homes with spiritual messages and encouragement to live better lives and attend to their religious duties. A good friend of mine of another faith, who doesn't think much of Mormon doctrine otherwise, did say that Home Teaching was inspiring to him and he wished his own church had the resolve to do something similar. Pretty good program, yes?

As an LDS priesthood leader, I collect statistics on family visits made and report them to regional (stake) and the general leadership.  The question often comes up of what can be "counted" as a proper visit, as many attempts just simply don't rise to the level for administrative purposes. It may seem a little strange for religious people to get weird about statistics, but we are very concerned about being effective ministers and really helping people - good record-keeping is a part of that!

For my part, this is what constitutes a good priesthood visit with others, no matter the intended purpose:
  • Always take someone else with you.  Never make visits alone.
  • Pray beforehand and listen for inspiration. Follow any promptings that you get.
  • Prepare a spiritual thought to present. You may be prompted not to use it, but have one ready.
  • Before you leave, offer a prayer and blessing on the home and family.
  • No matter the stated reason, always record a contact that includes these elements, which should always be done, as a home teaching visit.
I think anyone, even those who shun religion, can find good principles in this list to use and enjoy uplifting visits with family, friends, and acquaintances. Everyone likes to be around people who bring a pleasant "spirit" with them and leave whatever "blessing" or well-wishes feels good, no matter who is offering and what position they may hold!