Visiting teaching is about more than just visiting a sister and giving her a prepared lesson. In fact, the Relief Society General Presidency believes that so much that they have changed the monthly messages published in the Ensign and Liahona magazines.

Beginning in January 2018, the monthly “Visiting Teaching Message” will be a principle to help sisters minister more effectively to each other, and not a universal prepared “lesson” to be given to the sisters you are assigned to.

Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, explained that “The [Church] handbook doesn’t talk about our responsibilities to teach a lesson. It talks about how ‘visiting teachers sincerely come to know and love each sister, help her strengthen her faith and give service. [Visiting teachers] seek personal inspiration to know how to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of each sister they are assigned to visit’ [Handbook 2, 9.5.1].”

“We want to help sisters understand how to really care for and strengthen each sister,” explains Sister Bingham.

  • Visiting teachers are to get to know their sisters, strengthen their faith, and provide service.
  • The focus of visiting teaching should be on ministering to the individual as Jesus Christ did.
  • Visiting teachers should personalize the message they share with their sisters.


The changes in the monthly messages are meant to encourage women in the Church to stop worrying about “what counts” for visiting teaching, and figure out what their sisters personally need. This is similar to the advice Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave to home teachers in his conference address “Emissaries to the Church.”

When visiting teachers feel that a spiritual message is important, Sister Bingham said visiting teachers should look for messages catered to the women that they visit. “It can be [a quote] from the First Presidency, it could be from something you read in your scriptures, it can be something that you know this particular sister has an interest in,” she said. “It should be for that sister. What does she need?”

Learn more in the article “Learning How to Minister: Relief Society Leaders Explain Changes to Visiting Teaching.”

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