When You Feel Like Shrinking From Your Duty

As a Home Minister………

The following is a historical statement from our Church’s history, which captures the courage and devotion of a priesthood member fulfilling the commandment God has given, to visit the home of every member. 

…A historical statement of William Cahoon, who joined the Church October 16, 1830, just six and a half months after the revelation setting forth home teaching responsibilities….1

“ ‘…I was called and ordained to act as a Teacher to visit the families of the Saints.  I got along very well ‘till I found that I was obliged to pay a visit to the Prophet.  Being young, only about 17 years of age, I felt my weakness in visiting the Prophet and his family in the capacity of a Teacher.  I almost felt like shrinking from duty.  Finally, I went to his door and knocked, and in a minute the Prophet came to the door.  I stood there trembling and said to him, “Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a Teacher, if it is convenient for you.”  He said, “Brother William, I am glad to see you, sit down in that chair there, and I will go call my family in.

“ ‘They soon came in and took seats.  He then said, “Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands,” and took his seat.  “Now, Brother William,” he said, “ask all the questions you feel like.

“ ‘By this time my fears and trembling had ceased, and I said, “Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion?"

“ ‘He answered, “Yes.”

“ ‘Then I said, “Do you pray in your family?”

“ ‘He said, “Yes.”

“ ‘ “Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel?”

“ ‘He replied, “Yes, I am trying to do it.”

“ ‘ “Do you ask a blessing on your food?”

“ ‘He answered, “Yes.”

“ ‘ “Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family?”

“ ‘He said that he was.

“ ‘I turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said, “Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion?  Do you teach your children to obey their parents?  Do you try to teach them to pray?”

“ ‘To all these questions, she answered, “Yes, I am trying to do so.”

“ ‘I then turned to Joseph and said, “I am now through with my questions as a Teacher; and now if you have any instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them.”

“ ‘He said, “God bless you, Brother William; and if you are humble and faithful, you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come before you in the capacity of a Teacher.”

“ ‘I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a Teacher, and took my departure.”

Taken from:  Marshall, Richard J., Home Teaching with Purpose and Power, Deseret Book Company,  pp. 17-18.