5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
This is a 5-star talk! Amy A. Wright might be one of the wisest, most influential women I have ever heard speak at General Conference. I cried this morning while studying this talk. Amy’s insight into both life and trials is profound and inspiring. She is a cancer survivor and knows deep want. Her fiery, good-hearted conviction is a bright light in this world. This will make a wonderful lesson!
You can find her 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 Amy A. Wright and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Possible Lesson Plan: Whichever quote you feel is the most inspiring content for your group should come first. For me, that would be 1, 4, 2, 3, and 5.
Quote #1 (complete story)
I love Amy A. Wright’s capacity to teach deep truths. The following quote is made up of a string of golden quotes end-to-end.
While the Savior was teaching in the temple, a woman was brought to Him by the scribes and Pharisees. We do not know her full story, just that she was “taken in adultery.” Often the scriptures give only a small portion of someone’s life, and based on that portion, we sometimes tend to exalt or condemn. No one’s life can be understood by one magnificent moment or one regrettable public disappointment. The purpose of these scriptural accounts is to help us see that Jesus Christ was the answer then, and He is the answer now. He knows our complete story and exactly what we suffer, as well as our capabilities and vulnerabilities.
Possible activity: print a list of the following quotes and pass them out to each person before you read quote #1 together as a class. After reading the quote, ask, “Which quote stands out for you today and why”?
- Often the scriptures give only a small portion of someone’s life, and based on that portion, we sometimes tend to exalt or condemn.
- No one’s life can be understood by one magnificent moment or one regrettable public disappointment.
- The purpose of these scriptural accounts is to help us see that Jesus Christ was the answer then, and He is the answer now.
- [Jesus] knows our complete story and exactly what we suffer, as well as our capabilities and vulnerabilities.
Possible discussion questions: What stands out for you today from this quote? (if you don’t use the activity) Why? What do we know about the women taken in adultery? What happened? By a show of hands, have you ever judged someone based on one incident and realized later you were wrong? In what ways do you feel Jesus Christ is the answer?
Quote #2 (change)
This quote does a lovely job of putting repentance in perspective.
Christ’s response to this precious daughter of God was “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Another way to say “go, and sin no more” could be “go forth and change.” The Savior was inviting her to repent: to change her behavior, her associations, the way she felt about herself, her heart.
Because of Christ, our decision to “go forth and change” can also allow us to “go forth and heal,” for He is the source of healing all that is broken in our lives. As the great Mediator and Advocate with the Father, Christ sanctifies and restores broken relationships—most important, our relationship with God.
Possible questions: Does repentance sometimes have a stigma attached to it? How would you explain repentance to a friend in a positive way?
stigma: shame, scar, stain, disgrace, blemish, mark, dishonor
More possible questions: Sister Wright described repentance as “change.” What are some things we can change when we repent? (behavior, associations, how we feel about ourselves, our hearts – accept all reasonable answers) When we repent and change, that opens the door to healing. Have you ever noticed the joy and buoyancy your soul feels after repenting?
Quote #3 (noble gift)
Suggestion: For the sake of time, tell the story of the prodigal son in your own words or ask for an impromptu volunteer to summarize the story.
The fact that the father ran to his son, I believe, is significant. The personal hurt that the son had inflicted upon his father was surely deep and profound. Likewise, the father may have been genuinely embarrassed by his son’s actions.
So why didn’t the father wait for his son to apologize? Why didn’t he hold out for an offering of restitution and reconciliation before extending forgiveness and love? This is something I have often pondered.
The Lord teaches us that forgiving others is a universal commandment: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” Extending forgiveness can take tremendous courage and humility. It can also take time. It requires us to put our faith and trust in the Lord as we assume accountability for the condition of our hearts. Here lies the significance and power of our agency.
With the depiction of this father in the parable of the prodigal son, the Savior emphasized that forgiveness is one of the noblest gifts we can give one another and most specifically ourselves. Unburdening our hearts through forgiveness isn’t always easy, but through the enabling power of Jesus Christ, it is possible.
Possible questions: How would you sum up Sister Wright’s advice? Why is forgiveness of others significant to you? (it unburdens our hearts, accept all answers) Should we wait for restitution or for someone to ask for forgiveness before we extend it? Does forgiveness always mean we embrace that person and take them back into our lives? (No, sometimes that person is unwilling to change, and they inflict harm. We can send them on their way and wish them well – and hope that someday they and God will work it out, just as we hope He will work it out with us. It never means we pretend something terrible didn’t happen to us. Instead, we put it in perspective of eternity and move on.) How do you forgive in challenging situations?
If forgiving a problematic person troubles you, you might enjoy this post: “When Forgiving is Hard.”
Quote #4 (waiting and waiting)
This might be the best-expressed narrative of what so many of us go through. Often, we pass through lengthy or repeated trials, and Amy shines a light right through them.
Oftentimes we can find ourselves, like the lame beggar at the gate of the temple, patiently—or sometimes impatiently—“wait[ing] upon the Lord.” Waiting to be healed physically or emotionally. Waiting for answers that penetrate the deepest part of our hearts. Waiting for a miracle.
Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place—a place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way. Waiting upon the Lord may also be a place where we find ourselves asking, “O God, where art thou?”—a place where spiritual perseverance requires us to exercise faith in Christ by intentionally choosing Him again and again and again. I know this place, and I understand this type of waiting.
I spent countless hours at a cancer treatment facility, united in my suffering with many who were yearning to be healed. Some lived; others did not. I learned in a profound way that deliverance from our trials is different for each of us, and therefore our focus should be less about the way in which we are delivered and more about the Deliverer Himself. Our emphasis should always be on Jesus Christ!
**Please see my additional notes about this quote at the end of the post.
Possible questions: This is a powerful quote about life and the different outcomes of trials we might experience. By a show of hands, have you ever had a challenging test that elevated you? Would anyone mind sharing what happened? How can “waiting on the Lord” be a sacred place? Sister Wright pointed out that our focus shouldn’t be on the specific way we are delivered but on Jesus Christ. Why would that focus be better for us?
Quote #5 (broken)
Use this as a closing quote if you have time.
Exercising faith in Christ means trusting not only in God’s will but also in His timing. For He knows exactly what we need and precisely when we need it. When we submit to the will of the Lord, we will ultimately receive substantially more than that which we had desired.
My dear friends, we all have something in our lives that is broken that needs to be mended, fixed, or healed. As we turn to the Savior, as we align our hearts and minds with Him, as we repent, He comes to us “with healing in his wings,” puts His arms lovingly around us, and says, “It’s OK. You are only 5—or 16, 23, 48, 64, 91. We can fix this together!”
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Sister Wright’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
What a great lesson about faith, life’s disappointments, forgiveness, and having a relationship with the Savior. Have faith in someone’s inspiration to ask you to teach this lesson. 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.
**Additional Notes on Quote #4
Is it too far-fetched to add that we are sometimes mistaken about what someone else’s deliverance should be? Or what their best fix is? Society and culture forever have a rather decided and loud opinion of SOMEONE ELSE’S situation, good or bad.
Sometimes, though well-meaning, we mistakenly champion or avenge the injustice we hear of – on behalf of others. When truthfully, we don’t know the whole story or the best outcome for that person. Sometimes, we get caught up in someone else’s quest to blame and harbor contagious anger.
Perhaps Christ has a more complete viewpoint? Each individual profits by a path different from someone else. We each have a distinct set of challenges and a unique transformation to conquer. Furthermore, those challenges are most beneficial when we approach the Savior with them. Setbacks and trials are intentionally coded to refine and exalt us. Even self-imposed afflictions have consequences that teach and point humbled souls in a better direction.
How much more valuable and memorable are our gifts of compassion and comfort to others!
We don’t know the path to the eternities for another being, but Jesus understands their most needed refiner’s fire intimately. Allow and trust the Savior to do his work with others while we help others figure out how to approach the Savior.
The greater good is served when we shine a light onto the path that leads to a personal Christ. ~Shawnie Cannon (Divine Code)