Teaching No Greater Call: Exponent Resources for Teachers

Do you have a teaching calling? The Exponent can help! Here are some of the resources we have to offer:

primary-class-391476-galleryLesson Plans

The Exponent has an ongoing project to compose Relief Society, Visiting Teaching and Young Women lessons.  We have also completed series on lessons based on Daughters in My Kingdom (the Relief Society history book) and Activity Days ideas.

Relief Society

Young Women

Visiting Teaching

Daughters in My Kingdom

Activity Days

While the Exponent has not done a specific series on Primary, several bloggers have posted their Primary lessons and tips as they have completed Primary callings.

Exponent II Magazine

The Sabbath Pastorals feature of the magazine provides examples of excellent talks delivered by women in Sacrament Meetings across the globe. Borrow their ideas and wisdom! The Flannel Board feature offers suggestions for teaching Primary, Young Women or Relief Society with a feminist bent. Subscribe to Exponent II magazine and/or purchase past issues here.

Learn How to Teach

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Teaching, No Greater Call Series: “Horrors of Teaching” Halloween Thread

We all know that sometimes, something horrifying, spooky, creepy or just plain silly suprisedhappens when we are in a classroom. Sometimes it happens as a teacher, sometimes it happens as a student. In honor of Halloween, we give you a collection of teaching horrors from the Exponent backlist…. please add your own in the comments section below!


I was the primary music chorister and for some reason I was telling the kids about the Nauvoo temple and how it was destroyed.

I said, “And then mobs came and destroyed the temple.”

This adorable little blond-haired sunbeam look absolutely crushed and said, “WHY would MOMS want to destroy the temple??”


When I was a Primary chorister, I planned an activity that involved playing a recording of the same song multiple times while playing a game to learn the lyrics.  Unfortunately, that was the day the ancient CD player from the media center broke.  It wouldn’t pause and restart in the same place and the track number display gave out.  After each round, I had to find the song on the CD again by hitting and releasing fast forward exactly 11 times.  I counted out loud and got the whole Primary involved in counting with me, like a Sesame Street episode.  By the end of sharing time, even the Sunbeams were quite proficient at counting to 11, but I doubt anyone mastered the song I was trying to teach.

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Teaching No Greater Call: Writing a Spirit-Filled Sermon

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” 

I go to church hungry every week. No, I’m not talking about fasting, but spirit and soul hungry with longing to “feast upon the words of Christ” and desires to be “nourished by the good word of God.”

Some weeks I leave with my cup running over, others drained out lower than when I came. We need powerful, spirit-filled speakers with Christ-centered sermons to feed the souls of everyone in our worship service. Be that person! Accept the invitation to speak and then deliver a message that will invigorate hearts and minds…..to those who have ears to hear, let them hear!

What’s in a talk?

A message that is Christ-centered, scripturally based, doctrinally sound, with words from modern-day prophets and leaders, and including personal experience and testimony is sure to have something that can appeal to everyone and bring the spirit of God into the hearts of those listening.

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Teaching No Greater Call: Public Speaking Boot Camp

I recently had the opportunity to attend a “public speaking boot camp” at a conference I attended for work.  The trainer was Christine K. Jahnke, a professional speech coach and author of the Well-Spoken Woman. (It’s endorsed by Gloria Steinem!)

I learned skills that would be useful not only for professional work, but also for giving talks in Church.  The fact that virtually all Mormons have opportunities to speak in Church is one of my favorite aspects of Mormon worship; the downside is that not every member who speaks has public speaking skills.  At times, the presentation can distract from the message. So how can we lay clergy sound like pros?

Writing Your Talk

  • If anyone else could pick up your talk and read it instead of you, it is less interesting. Put yourself in it. Tell personal stories.
  • Begin with a one-sentence topic statement that makes it perfectly clear what you will speak about.  This advice sounded alarm bells in my mind, so I asked about a personal pet peeve, beginning a talk with the sentence, “My talk is about fill-in-the-blank.” (This is probably the #2 most common intro to a Mormon talk, right after, “I hate talking in church, but So-and-so asked me to speak.”) She said that was okay!  So fine, go ahead, start your talk that way!  (But I still don’t like it.)  She also said that if you prefer a more elegant introduction, you could use a grabber.  
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Teaching, No Greater Call: How To Teach Like An Exponent Blogger

Words of WisdomThere are a few general recommendations all of us try to keep in mind as we prepare lesson plans for the Exponent blog, or for our own ward communities.

They are:

  • Include quotes from women, both from within and without the church. One of my favorite resources for finding quotes from female general leaders is WAVE’s Words of Wisdom: A Collection of Quotes for LDS Women. The Table of Contents is extremely helpful when looking for quotes on a specific topic, and the PDF is searchable as well, which makes looking for a specific word a dream. I have also had some luck searching on LDS.org, though recall it previously being simpler to find talks and articles just from female speakers. Sometimes I’ve tried to use words from the General Relief Society President serving alongside the current manual’s Church President. Other times I’ve tried to learn more about–and use the words of–the Church President’s wife. More often though, I rely on women like Chieko Okazaki, Elaine Jack, and Aileen Clyde. For incorporating thoughts and ideas from women outside of the church, I’ve drawn upon Mother Teresa and Malala Yousafzai, but there are so many other wise women to choose from.
  • Add historical context. What else was going on when these words were spoken?
  • Make the lesson applicable to as many women as possible, including women in varying family circumstances. Stay at home mothering is a valuable and valid choice, but stay at home mothers should not be the only ones walking away from the lesson feeling fulfilled, heard, or understood. I recently gave a lesson in my ward’s Relief Society on “The Sacred Calling of Mothers and Fathers.” I reflected on the specific women who would be there, and after starting with a quote from President Benson, I said this:
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