A HOME TEACHER TO THE PROPHET – William Cahoon (1790-1861)

Would you be a little nervous if you were called to be a home teacher to the prophet and his family? This is just what happened to William Cahoon, a young man who lived in Kirtland; and he was, in fact, a bit anxious about this responsibility.

“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 call and pay a visit to the Prophet. Being young, only about seventeen 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. [To a degree I can appreciate the feelings of this young man, for in my youth I was once assigned as a teacher to the home of President Joseph F. Smith.] 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, come right in, I am glad to see you; sit down in that chair there and I will go and 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 then took his seat. ‘Now Brother William,’ said he, ‘ask all the questions you feel like.’

“By this time all 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.” (Quoted in Marion G. Romney, “The Responsibilities of Home Teachers,” Ensign, March 1973, 14-15)

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