5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Bednar is so GOOD. His talks are sometimes harder to understand initially, but they are always worth studying and absorbing. He is an inspired apostle full of wisdom and understanding. His talk makes an excellent discussion.
You can find his full talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.
All blue quotes by Elder David A. Bednar (unless otherwise noted).
- There are so many relevant quotes in this lesson – as much as I love Enoch’s story, I would
- summarize it quickly.
- emphasize that Enoch didn’t feel worthy of the task and was embarrassed about his slow speech
- people didn’t like him.
- Share the Lord’s reply to Enoch’s insecurities and feelings of unworthiness – “thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.”
- I would probably do quotes 1, 2, 5, 4, and 3 in that order. (the topic of quote #3 is pretty much covered in quote #2)
- Please don’t worry if you only get through a couple of quotes. Discussion is golden; it resonates and teaches more than a lecture covering all points will.
Quote #1 (come)
How many of us can relate to Enoch, feeling out-of-place and smaller than the task? Throughout the scriptures, God calls the humblest of men from the most modest circumstances. Moses was in hiding from the law, and he stuttered, and Enoch thought everyone hated him. Joseph of Egypt was a slave and then a prisoner. Joseph Smith was on crutches for years, walked with a noticeable limp, and came from a poor, financially struggling family. They all either started with sizable disadvantages or suffered tremendous setbacks.
Even Christ was born in a donkey stall and slept in a feeding trough.
2 He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:2-4)
There’s a message in all that, isn’t there?
The start of our life and circumstances, along with huge setbacks like Moses and Joseph had, do not determine our ultimate success. No matter the beginning or where we are now, the Lord speaks directly to you through Elder Bednar.
Possible engagement tool: Say something like, “Elder Bednar uses the word “come” five times in this next quote as an invite. See which use stands out for you today and why? (After the quote, someone may say “all of them,” just follow up with, “Okay, let’s pick one of them to discuss first – which one shall we start with”?)
The Lord Jesus Christ extends to each of us the invitation to abide in Him. But how do we actually learn and come to abide in Him?
The word abide denotes remaining fixed or stable and enduring without yielding. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained that “abiding” as an action means “‘[to] stay—but [to] stay forever.’ That is the call of the gospel message to … everyone … in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you.” Thus, we abide in Christ as we are firm and steadfast in our devotion to the Redeemer and His holy purposes, in times both good and bad.
Elder Bednar’s Invitations
- Come to remain
- Come with conviction
- Come with endurance
- Come permanently
come: move closer, approach, proceed, enter, show up
Possible quick discussion question: Elder Bednar used the word “come” 5 times as an invitation. Which of the five stand out the most to you today? What does it mean to you to “come to remain”? (Or come with endurance, etc.) How do our spiritual lives and decisions affect generations who follow us? Elder Bednar uses the phrase “in times both good and bad.” Why is that important?
Lesson Organization Notes
This next section is divided into five quotes (A, B, C, D, and E). You can choose between traditional whole-group discussion, as you did for Quote #1, or small-group discussion.
Well-structured small-group discussions are an excellent way to effectively cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. If you have 12 or more people, please consider using a small-group conversation format. Even introverts enjoy small-group experiences when well-structured (more tips at the end of quote #2).
Quote #2 (six ways)
Use the following quote as an introduction – whether you choose whole-group or small-group discussion – do the following quote together.
We begin to abide in the Lord by exercising our moral agency to take upon ourselves His yoke through the covenants and ordinances of the restored gospel. The covenant connection we have with our Heavenly Father and His resurrected and living Son is the supernal source of perspective, hope, power, peace, and enduring joy; it also is the rock-solid foundation upon which we should build our lives.
Blessings from keeping covenant connections in our lives:
- enduring joy
- rock-solid foundation
Possible discussion questions: What’s an example of a covenant and ordinance? (baptism, sacrament, temple endowments) How do covenants and ordinances bless your life? (for me, they are anchor points that help guide the use of my time and efforts – they significantly improve my direction and focus) Look at the blessing list (above) – which blessing stands out for you today? What does it mean to you?
Instructions: If using whole-group discussion, read quotes A, B, C, D, and E together (Ask five people to read the different quotes). Answer 1-2 questions after each quote is read.
If using small groups, divide the class into several groups of 3-5 people now. Let each group direct their own discussion. Tell them they can pick any or all quotes and discuss them together. Don’t worry about which ones they pick – what your class needs to talk about most will rise to the top. (More detailed instructions at the end of quote #2)
No matter which discussion style you choose, ensure everyone has a copy of the quotes (and questions if using small groups). [Printable PDF download at the end of this article.]
We abide in Him by striving continually to strengthen our individual covenant bond with the Father and the Son. For example, praying sincerely to the Eternal Father in the name of His Beloved Son deepens and fortifies our covenant connection with Them.
(Especially when you keep a prayer journal and record your impressions.)
“Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently.” (President Nelson – Oct 2022)
Question A: Does prayer change things? Has a sincere, hearty prayer ever made a difference in your day or your outlook? Why is prayer important to you? How would you describe prayer to a friend using your own words?
Please see Thoughts on Church culture regarding the teaching that “getting answers to prayers should happen while on your knees” (false!)—quotes by Elder Uchtdorf, Spencer W. Kimball, and Elder Bednar.
We abide in Him by truly feasting upon the words of Christ. The Savior’s doctrine draws us, as children of the covenant, closer to Him and will tell us all things what we should do.
Question B: What does feasting upon the words of Christ mean to you? What is one of your favorite teachings from the Savior? How would you describe being “children of the covenant” in your own words?
We abide in Him by preparing earnestly to participate in the ordinance of the sacrament, reviewing and reflecting on our covenant promises, and repenting sincerely. Worthily partaking of the sacrament is a witness to God that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and strive to “always remember him” after the brief period of time required to participate in that sacred ordinance.
Question C: Elder Bednar makes the point to remember Jesus Christ after the “brief” Sacrament. What point do you think he is trying to make? The sacrament can be a refreshing experience that fills us with Spirit. What can we do to make the sacrament meaningful for us?
And we abide in Him by serving God as we serve His children and minister to our brothers and sisters.
Question D: How important is ministering? Do you have a treasured memory of being ministered to? What happened? How does ministering to others strengthen our lives and our sense of belonging? If we want to serve God, whom do we help?
The Savior said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
Question E: The Savior modeled how to live – including His keeping of the commandments. Why is it essential that we follow His example? What benefits come from commandments? How powerful is the Savior’s love for us?
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
Follow the outline above. Because there is so much material, I usually give everyone their own copy to read. You only need to include the actual quotes, not the questions. It helps to pass out quote assignments earlier in the week or before Sacrament meeting. This allows people to absorb them before reading them aloud and upgrades the quality of the discussion!
[See a PDF download at the end of this article.]
Do not read quotes A, B, C, D, or E as a class together. Let the individual groups handle that part. Have people split into smaller groups (3-5). Instruct them to skim the quotes independently, share their favorite parts, and discuss the questions as a group. The questions and quotes can be addressed in any order and do not all have to be covered.
It takes about 5-10 minutes. You will likely have to stop the conversations, and that’s okay!
Essential preparation for introvert-friendly small groups: Give each person their own copy of the quotes and questions to look at. Also, walk around and listen to each group for a bit (30 secs to a minute) without directing their conversation. Validate and nod. Only jump in if they are highly challenged, and no one is talking.
At the close of the discussion time, have each group elect a spokesperson to summarize their group’s ideas. Allow others to add comments as you go along. Expect about 15-20 minutes total for Quote #2.
Quote #3 ()
The seed we should strive to plant in our hearts is the word—even the life, mission, and doctrine of Jesus Christ. And as the word is nourished by faith, it can become a tree springing up in us unto everlasting life.
My beloved brothers and sisters, is the Word in us? Are the truths of the Savior’s gospel written in the fleshy tables of our hearts? Are we coming unto and gradually becoming more like Him? Is the tree of Christ growing in us? Are we striving to become “new [creatures]” in Him?
Possible discussion questions: What does Elder Bednar mean by “is the Word in us?” (accept all reasonable answers – Do we know it well?) What does it mean to have the gospel “written in the fleshy tables of our hearts?” (accept all reasonable answers – we treasure it, we review the gospel every day, and we seek after Him) How do we know if we are becoming more like Him? How would you describe becoming a new creature in your own words?
Quote #4 (promise)
Use this quote as a closing or insert it as a promise to consider.
Possible engagement tool: Invite your group to ponder this quote and consider if they really believe this to be true?
The Savior’s promise to His followers is twofold: He will abide in us if we abide in Him. But is it indeed possible for Christ to abide in you and me—individually and personally? The answer to this question is a resounding yes!
We should always remember the Lord’s instruction to Enoch: “Thou shalt abide in me, and I in you.” And I testify the Savior’s promise to abide in us is true and available to every covenant-keeping member of His restored Church.
Quote #5 (in)
He yearns to bless with His grace and mercy every single person who now lives, who has ever lived, and who will yet live upon the earth.
Some Church members accept as true the doctrine, principles, and testimonies proclaimed repeatedly from this pulpit in the Conference Center and in local congregations around the world—and yet may struggle to believe these eternal truths apply specifically in their lives and to their circumstances. They believe sincerely and serve dutifully, but their covenant connection with the Father and His redeeming Son has not yet become a living and transforming reality in their lives.
Elder Bednar says the phrase “in their lives” twice. The phrase suggests something is actively taking place.
Possible discussion questions: Who does the Savior want to bless? How deep is His desire? According to Elder Bednar, what is not actively occurring in members’ lives? Can you faithfully attend church every Sunday, serve, and not feel connected explicitly to the Savior or Heavenly Father daily? What happens when we find Christ every day – how does that affect our daily life?
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Bednar’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
Oh goodness – how I love teachers! You bless our lives. I can’t say enough how much your preparation and efforts help gather Israel. You promote better and deeper faith; you get people talking; you increase people’s confidence in their membership – so thank you. Please don’t worry about perfect lessons and perfect outcomes – some of the best lessons ever given went completely off track in an unexpected direction. May the Spirit be with you!
If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” Please put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you.
Thoughts on Church Culture
Remember all those well-meaning people at Church through the years who teach you’re supposed to wait on your knees until the answer comes to your prayers? Nope…that’s a cultural tradition (absolutely not doctrine). The sad thing is that it convinces many people they are not good at getting personal revelation or the Heavens ignore them because the answer doesn’t come to them on their knees.
It is kindness to straighten out that misleading concept! Personal revelation usually comes from service, other people, the scriptures, and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, it happens to me when I’m innocently pondering. It occasionally happens right on the spot while on our knees, but that is the exception. Regardless of how it comes – it does come. Consider Elder Uchtdorf:
“We have our Heavenly Father’s assurance that He will hear and answer our prayers. The answer may come through the voice and wisdom of trusted friends and family, the scriptures, and the words of prophets.
“President Spencer W. Kimball taught this concept when he said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other.”
“Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.” (Waiting on the Road to Damascus – April 2011)
Another notable talk about personal revelation is Elder Bednar and The Spirit of Revelation – April 2011. He also dispelled traditional teachings about getting answers on our knees.