Husbands and Wives HT & VT together

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I have to wonder what would happen to the home and visiting teaching programmes if companionships were made up of husbands and wives. Would more home teaching get done? Would more visiting teaching get done? Would more friendships be made?

26 thoughts on “Husbands and Wives HT & VT together

  1. In three instances, I’ve seen a husband assigned to home teach a little-participating family where his wife visit teaches the woman of the little-participating/practicing family. The double assignment seemed to be left alone through the semi-annual shuffles.

    I saw these since I was a friend of someone in the nonparticipating family, but not in the same ward. I was grateful my friend had a connection to her own ward community. These couple HT/VTs gave great service to my friend, by providing a connection that looked more real and stable and normal than the perceived “assigned friend” situation. It was about relationship, not free labor: they weren’t repairing things or moving them. My friend valued the contact, and looked forward to it even when other members of her family did not value anything having to do with church. Or even gave her a hard time about it.

    It didn’t produce numbers though. None of my three nonchurchgoing friends receiving these visits became churchgoers. I hate the thought of dismissing the HT/VT on that, since so much good seemed to come from it, though it rounded to zero on most balance sheets.

  2. yes the home teaching would get done more if husbands/wives companionships were formed. Especially if the wife is a solid VTer. Several years ago my visiting teacher of a couple of years at that point had her husband become our home teacher and together they taught us for about 18 months. But she still came out on her on to see just me.

    My husband and I have several families that we home teach together. They are all inactives but they come out to activities now and their children are allowed to come to PM so that is a great step.

    Does it form friendships to a new social circle. Well the couple that home/visit taught us are probably are best friends in our ward right now because of their consistency and commitment.

  3. “My husband and I have several families that we home teach together. They are all inactives…”

    Does the fact that they’re all inactive speak toward your home-teaching skills or the fact that the leaders don’t like you much?


  4. I mean making you associate with the lowest caste of the ward?

    …or did you ask to HT the inactives as some sort of a challenge?

  5. I should expound a bit. It’s interesting that you think inactive members are considered the less valuable members of the Church. It kind of alarms me that you view this to be so, because it means there are members who behave in such a way that they give this impression.

    When there are people who are asked to home teach or visit teach less active members it’s because the leadership believes they can rely on these people to friendship these people. I have visit taught less active people and I have never felt like I was being given the “dregs” or such. I think it is a good opportunity to get to know people, who you don’t see on Sunday as often and hopefully to be a good example and support to them. By good example, I mean an example of how members of the church should be as far as friendshipping and caring about people whether they attend church or not.

    And whether it is a challenge? Well why would it be? Dad is high priest group leader so he knows he can trust himself to help others.

    I have many family members who are not active. I don’t consider it a challenge to associate with them. I have never considered it a challenge or a distasteful task I need to complete.

    There aren’t any castes in a ward except in the minds of some individuals who might feel themselves to be better than anyone else. And since the Saviour went to the ones who needed Him most, I would be inclined to say the inactive members are of the highest class.

  6. “the leadership believes they can rely on these people to friendship these people.”

    Or the leadership thinks, “Everyone else has six families, so you should as well. Here’s someone who just moved in but isn’t active”.

  7. Yeah Mary, that’s all love, hugs and kisses from the standpoint of the teacher – but consider the non/semi active individual who moves into the ward.

    There is going to be a certain amount of resentment towards the teachers if they indeed have their own good reasons to not attend or semi-attend.

    For this reason, it’s almost like setting up the assignment to fail, and for that reason I would think that it would be a less than desirable assignment.

    Also, I’ve heard that most people have mixed assignments a few very active families, and a few less active families so that the work is spread around – assuming that less active members require more help etc.

    …and on a related note, the caste system is alive and well with the membership – even if it isn’t formally accepted by the leadership. Anecdotal evidence is surprisingly easy to find.

  8. No matter which way you slice it, the current home teaching program is broken. The focus by most leaders is on the stats and not the individual.

    It drives me nuts listening to all of the discussion around “What counts” for a visit, which can be interpreted as “what is the least amount of effort I can give and still get full recognition.”

    HT / VT is not about the teacher, it’s about the family being visited. When I was EQP, I never asked anyone if they visited their families. I would only ever ask how their families were doing.

    It was rather comical to be in a home teaching interview with someone and before I could even ask a question, they would start confessing about how they were a terrible home teacher and how they weren’t visiting their families like they were suppose to.

    I’d always cut them off and say, rather bluntly. “Actually, in this interview, I’m not really concerned about how you’re doing. This is a home teaching interview. I want to know about the families you have stewardship over. If you want to talk about you and your dedication to your priesthood, then we should schedule a PPI”.

    Most of them couldn’t see the difference. I would just ask, how are your families doing? They would again respond “But I havent visited them this month.” I would ask “So, you have no clue how they are doing at all? You never talk to them or hear anything about them?”.

    Then I would get responses like “Well, sure, I play hockey with Jim every week and we talk about how things are going.” I’d use that as a starting point and get as much information from him about that family as possible. Then we’d discuss ways he could be of help to the family.

    Then, at the end, I would point out that home teaching is about the family, not the teacher and that he needed to do whatever he was able to in order to “Watch over, be with, and strengthen”. If he did that, it counted.

    Then during interviews with the SP or during PEC, I would get asked what my home teaching percentage was. I would reply “I have no idea, but if there is a certain family you would like to know about, I can tell you”. And I actually could. Some stupid number like 74% helps nobody. Actual information was useful. Before the end of the interview or meeting, I’d usually get a mild repremand about how home teaching stats are important… bla, bla, bla, and I’d kindly smile and ignore every word of it.

    The visits and numbers don’t mean a thing without proper return and reporting, and “getting it done” is such a vague measurement when we fail to define what “it” means.

    We need stop focusing on the stat if we want to fix the real problem and implement the principle correctly.


  9. You have some good points, JM. I particularly agree with you on receiving home teaching reports. I never ask a home teacher if he did his home teaching. One reason I don’t ask is because, as you say, it’s not about them, it’s about the family.

    The other reason is because home teaching is never done. Imagine the Smith family phoning you to ask for help fixing their front steps and your response is “Sorry, Sister Smith, I just visited you two days ago, so my home teaching is done. I can help you next month though”.

    It sounds silly, but that’s the attitude people have if they think home teaching is done if you visited the family.

  10. Rick

    Yes I know it is. And it’s wrong. 100% wrong. But it isn’t like this everywhere in the church. I have seen it more-so in Southern Alberta, hardly at all in BC or Ireland.

    There sometimes is resentment, but all they need to say is “no thanks”. I know, easier said than done.

  11. Or, as Kim has pointed out to me several times, just resign their membership if they don’t want to be contacted.

  12. yes, true. though there are many inactive folks who don’t even get an attempt at a visit. Most of my siblings rarely get bugged by Church members. Sigh.

  13. There is a strong correlation between the % of HT a ward does, the number of men who bear their testimonies at F&T meeting and the spiritual level of that ward.

    Stakes are rated and judged by the % of HT, % of ful tithe payers, etc in their stake.

    I believe HT is about the family. If you care about them, they grow to love you and vice versa.

    Today – I received a call that one of my HT families needed a blessing right then. 1:30 pm in the afternoon. I had a choice to make – finish my work day or go give a blessing. What would you have done if they had called you?

  14. “I mean making you associate with the lowest caste of the ward?

    …or did you ask to HT the inactives as some sort of a challenge?”

    I am going to assume you are just joking when you make a comment like that Rick!!!! First of all I do not hold the priesthood so I am not called as a home teacher per se. My husband assigned himself his route as the HPGL and has asked me to accompany him to some of the families for different reasons. It never occured to me to say no to his requests. I just assumed that the request came from my Father in Heaven through him not because hubby couldn’t get anyone else to go.

    As for inactives being lower caste, I have to shake my head in amazement that you would think this. Just for curiosity sake Rick are you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? I would love to hear your answer to Christ on Judgement Day on why you though some of his people were not deemed worthy enough to get a visit or that they were lower classed citizens.

    As for inactives getting bad reactions to members/HTers showing up at their home.. well see it works this way… when you move from a ward to another ward you contact the new Bishop or ward clerk’s office to give them your new address and you do it BEFORE you move so everything is in place. If I was inactive and wanted no contact from HT/VT’ers or missionaries for that fact, I would not be telling a new Bishop I had moved to his ward. Why would I do that? The only way they would be getting a visit and people would know where they lives was if they had told them in the first place.

    On a last note when you asked if I had asked to visit inactives or saw it as a challenge, in my patriarchal blessing it states and I quote ” I bless you that in the times ahead when terror is upon the earth, when many hearts shall fail because of the things that happen, that you will have the strenght borne of the spoirt to be a counsel and a guide, to many people, and strenghten your fellow members in the cause of Christ. Lifting up the hands that hang down and strenghtening the feeble knees, that you will be a servant of God in every deed” unquote. So do I see is as a challenge or that I am being punished if I am given inactives to be responsible to? No.. I see it as a great and noble honour

  15. “The only way they would be getting a visit and people would know where they lives was if they had told them in the first place.”

    Or if their parents phone the new ward clerk.

  16. “What would you have done if they had called you?”

    Well since you don’t live in Lethbridge, and I am sure they don’t either, I would have said,”Sorry, too far away, phone your home teacher Bill.”

  17. In some wards, the home teaching and visiting teaching would never get done. I was once in a branch on the East Coast of the US where NO ONE except the branch president was married!

  18. Sally,

    I will hereby do my best to avoid the use of sarcasm, irony, or innuendo when addressing your comments – it’s fairly obvious to me that we don’t communicate well when I do.

    I was being sarcastic when I was referring to ‘the lower caste’ of the ward. My entire post was with tongue firmly in cheek. So don’t go worrying about how I’ll be judged in the hereafter – I’ll be burning in hell just like all the non-Catholics.

    By the way, I am not LDS or RC or JW or EC or Scientologist or Frisbeetarian or a Jew or … well that’s just getting silly.

    Let’s just say I don’t fuss about going to church, shall we?

    In regard to when or not new wards get your information when you don’t want them to:

    It is a well known fact that non/less active members are constantly narc’d on by well-meaning relatives – err, I mean their extended families often will inform their new wards of their arrival and forward any necessary details as well.

  19. “It is a well known fact that non/less active members are constantly narc’d on by well-meaning relatives – err, I mean their extended families often will inform their new wards of their arrival and forward any necessary details as well.”

    Rick, well not always, they just THINK they are. Having a plethora of inactive/non member relatives I can promise you I don’t harp on them. And sometimes though, what happens is they contact member families, wanting to know their updated information. If the inactive family members don’t want any contact they SHOULD SAY SO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE. i.e. if they want their names removed, don’t rely on active family members to take care of it for them.

  20. “if they want their names removed, don’t rely on active family members to take care of it for them”


  21. However, I must say, I will continue to encourage my inactive siblings, if possible. Sometime they may be ready to come back. It’s happened before!

  22. Another thought came to my mind today. Another good reason for combining the HT/VT programmes is that it would give couples experience in doing spiritual work together, in preparation for a mission later on.

  23. Husband/wife home teaching. No way! I’m not into 3 hour home teaching visits. No wait a minute. Come to think of it with the people I have she’d have us out of there in a heartbeat. Might work.

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