5 Highlights for “Be True to God and His Work” by Elder Cook

by | Dec 10, 2022

Colorful painted sunset with Jesus and girl on beach.

5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

Elder Cook makes a solid case for self-mastery. He also teaches us the most important task we have – pursue a testimony of your Savior and a close relationship with Him now. That’s the only thing that will sustain you during chaotic, troubling times which are prophesied to get worse.

You can find Elder Cook’s 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 right in with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Quentin L. Cook (unless otherwise noted).

Quote #1 (heber)

Tip: there are two quotes here – so have one person read Heber and the other President Nelson.

Heber C. Kimball is one of my favorite old-time apostles from the 1800s. He was an elegant thinker and a powerful visionary. It doesn’t surprise me to hear him quoted at General Conference.

“To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not [until] you [attain] it. If you do not you will not stand. … The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. … If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall.” (Heber C. Kimball)

Possible discussion questions: What stands out from Heber C. Kimball’s prophecy – do you feel like any of it is starting to come true?

Elder Cook also quotes President Nelson, who is even more direct and urgent:

President Russell M. Nelson said it this way: “I plead with you to take charge of your testimony of Jesus Christ. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Then watch for miracles to happen in your life.”

Possible discussion questions: President Nelson uses the word “plead” (he said, I plead with you). What’s another way to say plead? What does it mean?

plead: beg, implore, petition

More possible questions: What does the phrase “take charge” say to you? (For me, it implies strong efforts NOW.) President Nelson uses several imperative phrases in a row: Work for it, own it, care for it, nurture it to grow – which of those phrases stand out to you and why? What is the promised blessing? Has anyone seen miracles in their life lately they wouldn’t mind sharing?

Quote #2 (bridle)

“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” (Alma 38:12)

Bridle is an interesting word. When we ride a horse, we use the bridle to guide it. A good synonym might be to direct, control, or restrain. The Old Testament tells us we shouted for joy when we learned we would have physical bodies. The body is not evil—it is beautiful and essential—but some passions, if not used properly and appropriately bridled, can separate us from God and His work and adversely impact our testimony.

Let’s talk about two passions in particular—first, anger, and second, lust. It is interesting that both left unbridled or uncontrolled can cause great heartache, diminish the influence of the Spirit, and separate us from God and His work. The adversary takes every opportunity to fill our lives with images of violence and immorality.

Possible discussion questions: What two passions did Elder Cook call out? (anger and lust) What happens when these two passions are “unbridled” or uncontrolled? (accept all reasonable answers and viewpoints – great heartache diminishes the Spirit and separates us from God and his work) Elder Cook stated the adversary takes EVERY opportunity to fill our lives with images of violence and immorality. Where do we run into those images? (media, internet, music, and our thought patterns) How can we bridle those passions?

Quote #3 (social justice)

Negativity is a fearsome, destructive force. While, at times, we may feel justified – the outcome is always inferior.

In our day one of the most significant challenges is contention and verbal abuse related to societal issues. In many cases anger and abusive language have replaced reason, discussion, and civility. Many have abandoned the admonition of the Savior’s senior Apostle, Peter, to seek Christlike qualities such as temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. They have also abandoned the Christlike quality of humility.

societal: about society (i.e., politics)

Possible discussion questions: Have you experienced contention and verbal abuse related to societal issues in your own life? Are there members of your family or friends who have become more inflammatory and confrontational?

Possible activity: List these on the board or tape up a list that everyone can read. Have people vote by raising their hands – tell them they can vote for two. “Looking at Peter’s list of Christlike qualities and their definitions, what stands out for you today? Which one feels like it needs the most work? (count votes for each one) Does anyone have something they want to share about any of these attributes?

  • temperance
  • patience
  • godliness
  • brotherly kindness
  • charity
  • humility

Deepen the understanding: Here’s an interesting perspective on temperance. Temperance is such a lovely word ~ it encompasses a whole attitude and approach to life.

temperance: moderation or self-restraint in action or statement; self-control; habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion

Ironically, temperance is the opposite of “losing your temper” or having a “bad temper.”

My brother-in-law Tom shared an insight with me last summer which greatly added to the whole idea of self-control and self-moderation:

He said (paraphrasing), “The animal kingdom has no impulse control. Animals consume, fight and mate whenever the instinct hits them. Today’s world holds up this same behavior for humans as enlightened, liberated, evolved, and a “sophisticated” living choice”?

Whereas we [Latter-day Saints] have standards to reach up to, we hold ourselves to morals, strive for codes of conduct, and use self-restraint ~ yet we’re considered living in a lesser state by the world. Morals and standards require significantly higher efforts, self-motivation, and deeper thought processes than what is required of animals.”

Indeed, temperance (a.k.a. self-control, self-restraint, moderation) is part of our divine and better natures.

Humorously,  the thesaurus I use views “temperance” dimly. It equated the word with austerity, astringency, frugality, mortification, prohibition, stoicism, and teetotalism. This completely backs up what Tom noticed – that modern culture held self-mastery as restrictive and undesirable.

Hopefully, we know better. Temperance results in peace inside – after the fact.

Quote #4 (repentance)

Because Corianton had engaged in immorality, it was necessary for Alma to teach him about repentance. He had to teach him the seriousness of sin and then how to repent.

So Alma’s preventive counsel was to bridle passions, but his counsel for those who have transgressed was to repent. President Nelson gave members profound counsel on repentance at the April 2019 general conference. He made it clear that daily repentance is integral to our lives. “Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind,” he taught. “Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power.”

Possible discussion questions: Have you ever thought repentance was the key to happiness? Why did President Nelson describe repentance as a process? President Nelson gave us an equation at the end of his quote, what is it? Write “repentance => ______ => ______” (repentance => purity => power Or repentance leads to purity which leads to power.)

Quote #5 (atonement)

This is a fundamental review of the Atonement by Jesus Christ

Alma testified that Christ would take away sin. Without the Savior’s Atonement, the eternal principle of justice would require punishment. Because of the Savior’s Atonement, mercy can prevail for those who have repented, and it can allow them to return to the presence of God. We would do well to ponder this wonderful doctrine.

None can return to God by his or her own good works alone; we all need the benefit of the Savior’s sacrifice. All have sinned, and it is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can obtain mercy and live with God.

Possible discussion question: How would you explain the Atonement of Christ in your own words – what does it mean in your life?

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Cook’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach. Teach with confidence; if you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” The Heavens called you to teach this lesson for a reason, and your insights will help several people in significant ways. Thank you for taking the time to encourage people to have greater faith! We need you – I am so grateful for your preparations.

Tip: Try talking less and listening to your people more. Discussion is invaluable for deepening people’s understanding.

Note: Put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you.

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2 Comments

  1. Quentin

    I’d like to use your brother in law’s quote in my lesson. For attribution, do I just say “Tom” or would you like to email me his last name. Thanks!

    Here is the quote:
    My brother-in-law Tom shared an insight with me last summer which greatly added to the whole idea of self-control and self-moderation:

    He said (paraphrasing), “The animal kingdom has no impulse control. Animals consume, fight and mate whenever the instinct hits them. Today’s world holds up this same behavior for humans as enlightened, liberated, evolved, and a “sophisticated” living choice”?

    Whereas we [Latter-day Saints] have standards to reach up to, we hold ourselves to morals, strive for codes of conduct, and use self-restraint ~ yet we’re considered living in a lesser state by the world. Morals and standards require significantly higher efforts, self-motivation, and deeper thought processes than what is required of animals.”

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      He is pretty private so Tom is fine. Thank you for asking!

      Reply

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