"The fundamental role and purpose of the auxiliary organizations of the Church is to help 'plant and make grow. . . a testimony of (Jesus) Christ and of the gospel,' " said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve, at the training session Jan. 10.
Establishing the doctrinal foundation of auxiliaries, Elder Scott quoted Church Presidents Joseph F. Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball and Gordon B. Hinckley, all of whom emphasized the importance of priesthood quorums and auxiliaries strengthening the family.
"Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home, . . ." said President Spencer W. Kimball. "Priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations, even wards and stakes, exist primarily to help members live the gospel in the home. . . . People are more important than programs, and Church programs should always support and never detract from gospel-centered family activities."
Elder Scott emphasized that auxiliary organizations operate under the direct presidency and supervision of stake and ward priesthood authorities, who carry the ultimate responsibility for the work.
"This inspired pattern maintains order in the kingdom," said Elder Scott. "It allows information not available to auxiliary officers who recommend candidates to be considered in seeking confirmation whether a call should be extended or not."
Priesthood leaders should support this by giving auxiliary officers "guidance and a vision to orient their service," said Elder Scott. "Develop a statement of direction that you hope they will follow to fulfill their assignment and to meet local needs."
He said that once a calling has been issued, the person called would do well to follow the example of cooperative effort between priesthood leaders and auxiliaries at headquarters, an effort that reduces the burden of membership through simple, clear and universally applicable directions.
"Auxiliary officers are presided over by their corresponding priesthood leaders at every level of Church government at headquarters and at the stake and ward levels," said Elder Scott. While general officers occasionally meet with local auxiliaries, they do not preside over them.
He asked that auxiliary officers share with their priesthood leaders their plans before implementing them.
"It is vitally important that auxiliary officers participate actively in the stake or ward council in which they function," he said.
In concluding, he counseled leaders "not to go overboard in creating so many good things to do that the essential ones are not accomplished. . . . Remember, don't magnify the work to be done simplify it."
An analogy of irrigation often used in the Church, that of "getting the water to the end of the row," would be better phrased to simply "let it rain from heaven," he said. "You have the right to be guided in fulfilling your inspired assignment to best meet the needs of those you serve."