5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Bednar sounds a lot like President Nelson when he speaks. More and more, he points directly to having a robust, active connection to Jesus. This talk encourages us in our quest for strength and sure-footing in the gospel of Christ.
You may 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 right in with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.
All quotes by David A. Bednar and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (Savior)
These quotes were pulled from the talk. Please notice how Elder Bednar repeatedly points to a close, effective relationship with Christ:
- Truly, “if we do what’s right we have no need to fear, for the Lord, our helper, will ever be near.”
- Living and loving covenant commitments creates a connection with the Lord that is deeply personal and spiritually powerful.
- As we honor the conditions of sacred covenants and ordinances, we gradually and incrementally are drawn closer to Him and experience the impact of His divinity and living reality in our lives.
- Jesus then becomes much more than the central character in scripture stories; His example and teachings influence our every desire, thought, and action.
- But I witness that the connections with Him and Heavenly Father are real and are the ultimate sources of assurance, peace, joy, and spiritual strength…
- I listen to these devoted souls speak of…their connection with the living Lord supporting them through times both good and bad. To these individuals, Jesus Christ indeed is a personal Savior.
- Let me suggest that holding fast to the word of God entails…remembering, honoring, and strengthening the personal connection we have with the Savior and His Father…
- If we abide in Christ, then He will abide in and walk with us.
Possible activity: This works best if everyone has a copy of these quotes in their hand.
- Have eight people read the eight quotes without discussion in between.
- Let the class know all of these quotes came from Elder Bednar’s latest General Conference talk.
- After the 8th person finishes reading, ask the entire group 1-3 questions:
- What message stands out to you?
- Did any one of those quotes touch your heart?
- Which one?
Possible discussion questions: Why is it essential to strengthen the connection with the Savior and Heavenly Father? Do we sometimes need to make an effort to have a relationship with Christ? What has worked for you?
Quote #2 (heeded them not)
“Heed them not” is one of the best pieces of advice for both personal and public life. It’s simple to do and hard to master. Sometimes we need not absorb or pick up what is verbally thrown at us.
P.S. Check out the bonus section at the end of this lesson. Ten tried and proven ways to ‘heed not’ every day. (You’re welcome)
The word heed suggests taking notice of or paying attention to someone or something. Thus, the lyrics of the hymn “Let Us All Press On” admonish us to make an affirmative decision to pay no attention to “what the wicked may say.” And Lehi and the people with him who were partaking of the fruit of the tree provide a strong example of not paying attention to the mocking and scorn that so frequently come from the great and spacious building.
The doctrine of Christ written [in our hearts]** increases our capacity to “heed not” the many distractions, taunts, and diversions in our fallen world. For example, faith focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ fortifies us with spiritual strength. Faith in the Redeemer is a principle of action and of power.
**original words at the end of the post
heed: observe, obey, take to heart, regard, follow orders
For me, heed also means absorbing it or adopting it as your own belief.
Possible discussion questions: What does “heed not” mean to you? Have you ever been in a situation where you “heeded not”? Do you think our need for strength to endure mocking, taunts, and distractions will increase or stay about the same? How does Jesus Christ help us to survive the world? (with spiritual strength and increased power)
Possible Hymn: The Time Is Far Spent #266 (especially verses 2 and 3)
2. Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.
3. What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world’s bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Quote #3 (covenants)
Living and loving covenant commitments creates a connection with the Lord that is deeply personal and spiritually powerful. As we honor the conditions of sacred covenants and ordinances, we gradually and incrementally are drawn closer to Him and experience the impact of His divinity and living reality in our lives.
…I witness that the connections with Him and Heavenly Father are real and are the ultimate sources of assurance, peace, joy, and the spiritual strength that enable us to “fear not, though the enemy deride.” As covenant-making and covenant-keeping disciples of Jesus Christ, we can be blessed to take “courage, for the Lord is on our side” and pay no attention to evil influences and secular scoffing.
Possible questions: What is one of your favorite ordinances? How does it feel, and how is it meaningful to you? Which ordinance helps you to feel particularly close to the Savior? Why is it essential to develop meaningful, direct connections with the Savior and Heavenly Father? Have you ever felt peace and assurance when it was hard to do so?
Quote #4 (iron rod)
I would make sure you have enough time for Quotes 1-3 and save 4-5 for a backup.
Please note that the ability to resist the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary is promised to those individuals who “hold fast to” rather than merely “cling to” the word of God.
Interestingly, the Apostle John described Jesus Christ as the Word.
Let me suggest that holding fast to the word of God entails (1) remembering, honoring, and strengthening the personal connection we have with the Savior and His Father through the covenants and ordinances of the restored gospel and (2) prayerfully, earnestly, and consistently using the holy scriptures and the teachings of living prophets and apostles as sure sources of revealed truth. As we are bound and “hold fast” to the Lord and are transformed by living His doctrine, I promise that individually and collectively we will be blessed to “stand in holy places, and shall not be moved.” If we abide in Christ, then He will abide in and walk with us. Surely, “in the days of trial his Saints he will cheer, and prosper the cause of truth.”
Possible discussion questions: What does the iron rod mean to you? (for me, it is wherever the word of God comes from scriptures, General Conference, Christ himself, the Holy Ghost, promptings, etc.) In what ways can you strengthen your connection with Christ and Heavenly Father? How does prayer help our gospel study? Do you ask for help to understand doctrinal questions when you pray? (Works great! I seldom get an answer while on my knees, but the answer comes, usually by other people or the written word.)
Quote #5 (closing)
Press on. Hold fast. Heed not.
I witness that fidelity to the covenants and ordinances of the Savior’s restored gospel enables us to press on in the work of the Lord, to hold fast to Him as the Word of God, and to heed not the allurements of the adversary. In the fight for right, may each of us wield a sword, even “the mighty sword of truth,” in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
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.
I took the liberty to shorten a sentence that was a bit cryptic. Here is the original for Quote #2 in case you would rather use it:
The doctrine of Christ written “with the Spirit of the living God … in fleshy tables of [our hearts]”6 increases our capacity to “heed not” the many distractions, taunts, and diversions in our fallen world. For example, faith focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ fortifies us with spiritual strength. Faith in the Redeemer is a principle of action and of power.
This is a wonderful talk, and you are the right one to teach it. If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” Please put the five quotes in any order that makes sense to you. For me, the first three are the most important.
10 Practical Ways to ‘Heed Not’ in Difficult Situations
A list I cultivated with lots of trial and error. This is a life-long study of how to deal with difficult people. I still make mistakes and have to review this list frequently. However…when applied, these suggestions work wonders.
The Spirit of Christ, regular scriptures, and daily, connected prayer will help you develop and acquire the calm and the strength to follow these steps:
- Don’t get pulled into drama or a “word salad” (meaning lots of words which include bickering, refuting, proving, recalling)
- Cultivate a peaceful, graceful response to invalidations, pettiness, talking in circles, and setups. See item #1. Neutral responses: “I’ll keep that in mind” – (great response 75% of the time). “Let me think about that and get back to you.” “I have no response to that.” “That’s a story.” Make sure you keep your voice tone neutral – no emotion, no faces, and no body language.
- Don’t pick it up when crazy-making accusations or head games are laid at your feet. You have no points to make. Just observe.
- When someone behaves poorly or aggressively, shrug it off (to yourself). Please don’t wear it.
- Don’t try to change them. Don’t steer them. Don’t catch them in the act. Period.
- Step away and give yourself a timeout. Soothe yourself – do something you enjoy. Don’t rehearse it in your head.
- Let them make a fuss. They look ridiculous.
- Develop self-worth that is independent of anyone but Christ.
- Decompress. Regularly do self-care and enjoy yourself. Hard calendar and schedule at least a half-hour each day for your hobby, gift, talent, and calling in life. Take it off the back burner, and don’t let other things crowd it out.
- Some people are “unpleasable” or forever expressing disapproval. Don’t get wrapped up in pleasing them. See items 1-9 for help with this. (~Shawnie Cannon from Divine Code)