5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
I count it all joy to listen to President Nelson – a powerhouse of a prophet. Picking only five discussion highlights from his talk for this lesson is like picking out five grandchildren and leaving the rest behind. How about we highlight the whole talk and ask for a 2-hour meeting instead?
The full title of this talk is “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains.” Because almost every word is stellar – this lesson plan ended up with 8 highlights instead of 5, but they are organized in a way to maximize class time and allow you to cover more of the talk with impact. While it may be tempting to just focus on President Nelson’s “five suggestions,” there are other amazing concepts in his talk and as a teacher, I would not want to skip them.
Suggestion: Maybe avoid the temptation to electronically play the talk? Most people do not absorb audio material well in a class setting. People seem to do better when they have a chance to focus on smaller sections and talk about it a piece at a time.
His complete talk can be found 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 which resonate the most with you and which you feel will 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 Russell M. Nelson and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (you and Christ)
Have you noticed yet that President Nelson’s reoccurring theme is about you (specifically YOU) pulling greater power from the Savior into your life? This General Conference address adds to that growing, robust collection of prophetic counsel. Here are four quotes straight from this talk about faith, Christ, and power. (Please note “God” in the ancient scriptures often refers to Jehovah.) Optional: Extend an invitation to engage before reading the quotes: “As we listen to these quotes by President Nelson, see what words or ideas stand out for you? What comes up for you today as you read or listen to these quotes”?
1 Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of all belief and the conduit of divine power.
2. Everything good in life—every potential blessing of eternal significance—begins with faith. Allowing God to prevail in our lives begins with faith that He is willing to guide us. True repentance begins with faith that Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse, heal, and strengthen us.
3. “Deny not the power of God,” the prophet Moroni declared, “for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men.” It is our faith that unlocks the power of God in our lives.
4. Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest power available to us in this life. All things are possible to them that believe.
Possible discussion-promoting questions: What do these quotes bring up for you, share your thoughts? Recently, President Nelson changed the Church’s icon from the angel Moroni to the resurrected Savior. Why? Whose Church do we belong to? Why is it important to focus on the Savior? Does Heavenly Father become jealous or disrespected when we focus on Jesus Christ and bring him into our lives? (You might think that’s a strange question, but you’d be surprised how many members think there is some kind of competition between the two.)
“The greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in Heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ…is to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open a communication with your Elder Brother or file-leader–our Savior.”Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:339
Quote #2 (mountains)
Russell M. Nelson laser-guides his message straight to all of our hearts by redefining ‘mountains’ as our personal obstacles. My favorite is “…even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest.” There’s a Mount Everest or two in my life, to be sure. I have challenges and weaknesses that repeatedly defeat me. This talk is a great pick-me-up for every imperfect, striving Saint in the world.
My dear brothers and sisters, my call to you this Easter morning is to start today to increase your faith. Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life, even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest.
Your mountains may be loneliness, doubt, illness, or other personal problems. Your mountains will vary, and yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith. That takes work.
Your growing faith in Him will move mountains—not the mountains of rock that beautify the earth but the mountains of misery in your lives. Your flourishing faith will help you turn challenges into unparalleled growth and opportunity.
Sometimes our personal mountains appear harder to move than physical ones!
Possible discussion-promoting questions: By raise of hands, do you have a Mount Everest in your life? Who would be comfortable sharing one of theirs? What is the difference between a little faith and strong faith? (amount of actions, doing?) President Nelson mentions ‘growing faith’ and ‘flourishing faith,’ which one best describes your faith and what do you think is the difference between the two? What are some action steps you could take to have more “flourishing” faith? Have you ever faced a hard trial only to have it bring better things into your life? How have you come out ahead when times get rough and you finally make it through? What advice would you give a close friend who is facing severe challenges?
Quote #3 (Miracles – 2 kinds)
If you are short on time, this is probably the most optional of all the quotes. However, I love this sweet, quick story because it masterfully illustrates two kinds of miracles. Miracles where circumstances are generously changed and miracles where we are able to rise to the occasion and become equal to or greater than whatever trial we face. Personally, I think the second version grows us more.
Two years ago, Sister Nelson and I visited Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and Tahiti. Each of those island nations had experienced heavy rains for days. Members had fasted and prayed that their outdoor meetings would be protected from the rain.
In Samoa, Fiji, and Tahiti, just as the meetings began, the rain stopped. But in Tonga, the rain did not stop. Yet 13,000 faithful Saints came hours early to get a seat, waited patiently through a steady downpour, and then sat through a very wet two-hour meeting.
We saw vibrant faith at work among each of those islanders—faith sufficient to stop the rain and faith to persevere when the rain did not stop.
Quote #4-8 (Five Suggestions for More Faith & Trust)
This quote outlines a super, essential checklist for each of us. Please be sure to read the “Recap” at the end of this section for an effective way to use these five suggestions with their discussion-promoting questions. Remember to just choose 1-3 questions per quote!
To do anything well requires effort. Becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ is no exception. Increasing your faith and trust in Him takes effort. May I offer five suggestions to help you develop that faith and trust.
First, study. Become an engaged learner. Immerse yourself in the scriptures to understand better Christ’s mission and ministry. Know the doctrine of Christ so that you understand its power for your life. Internalize the truth that the Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to you. He took upon Himself your misery, your mistakes, your weakness, and your sins. He paid the compensatory price and provided the power for you to move every mountain you will ever face. You obtain that power with your faith, trust, and willingness to follow Him.
Moving your mountains may require a miracle. Learn about miracles. Miracles come according to your faith in the Lord. Central to that faith is trusting His will and timetable—how and when He will bless you with the miraculous help you desire. Only your unbelief will keep God from blessing you with miracles to move the mountains in your life.
The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be to trust in His mercy, His infinite love, and His strengthening, healing, and redeeming power. The Savior is never closer to you than when you are facing or climbing a mountain with faith.
Possible questions: What does it mean to become an engaged learner? Engaged: committed, hooked, absorbed, interested, deep, intent, involved. What are some ways you can make the scriptures become more meaningful as you study them? How can you make it more of a hobby? (journal thoughts and impressions, mark them, look up definitions, make lists, create art, share, form study groups, prioritize scripture study and calendar it, etc.) What are some ways to study Christ’s mission and ministry in-depth? => Study by topic, use scripture study apps (keeping up with the Come Follow Me assignments for Doctrine and Covenants – works great says me. Christ speaks up a lot about those topics throughout the D&C.) What does it mean to apply the Atonement to ourselves? What are some examples of the mountains we face? According to President Nelson, how can we unlock miracles? How can we feel the closeness of the Savior and pull Him into our lives? (For more information on a relationship with the Savior see “As A Hen.”)
Second, choose to believe in Jesus Christ. If you have doubts about God the Father and His Beloved Son or the validity of the Restoration or the veracity of Joseph Smith’s divine calling as a prophet, choose to believe and stay faithful. Take your questions to the Lord and to other faithful sources. Study with the desire to believe rather than with the hope that you can find a flaw in the fabric of a prophet’s life or a discrepancy in the scriptures. Stop increasing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters. Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery.
Possible questions: “Choose to believe” is a powerful concept. What does the phrase mean to you and what does it feel like when you choose to believe? Why is faith without perfect knowledge important in our development and spiritual journey? What are some ways you’ve strengthened your testimony (not what is your testimony, but how did you gain your testimony – what steps did you take)? What works especially well for you? (For me, it is earnest, honest, personable prayer.) What do you do when someone finds a flaw in a present or past Church leader? (Flaws and mistakes definitely exist! Answer: they never mattered – the Lord only works with imperfect, flawed mortals. See “The Divine Design of Imperfect Church Leaders for more help with this topic.)
Third, act in faith. What would you do if you had more faith? Think about it. Write about it. Then receive more faith by doing something that requires more faith.
Possible questions: Joseph Smith once said, “But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven, or on earth.” In other words, Faith prompts an action that brings power. Faith = Action + Power. Share some ideas of what actions you would take with “more faith.” What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? What are you willing to do after this meeting and this coming week? Why would President Nelson counsel you to write about it?
Possible class activity: (I would definitely do this one – it opens people up.) Provide pen and paper, or by zoom invite them to get a pen and paper. Play music or go silent for 2 minutes while they write some possible ideas of how to have more faith. Invite class members to voluntarily share something they wrote down (anyone who is comfortable).
Fourth, partake of sacred ordinances worthily. Ordinances unlock the power of God for your life.
Possible discussion: List all the ordinances you can think of (and yes, you can discuss the ordinances of the temple by name: sealing, endowment, initiatory, etc). Which ones hold special meaning or memories for you and what are those sentiments? Is the Sacrament considered a sacred ordinance; is it a powerful experience for you? How can you make the Sacrament most meaningful each week? What works for you? (For more ideas on this topic, see “The Dynamic Power Released During the Sacrament.”)
And fifth, ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for help.
Faith takes work. Receiving revelation takes work. But “every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God knows what will help your faith grow. Ask, and then ask again.
Possible questions: Prayer changes things! What makes an especially good prayer? Do you need to upgrade the quantity or quality of your prayers? What prayer habits have worked best for you? How do you feel about prayer and how would you describe the experience of prayer to a friend? What times of the day typically work out for you to take time to pray?
Here are a couple of ways to emphasize these five points AND leave room for some of President Nelson’s other extraordinary teachings:
A) split the class up into 5 (or less) discussion groups for about 5-10 minutes and then have each group report their discussion highlights back to the whole class. Zoom has a feature called “breakout rooms.” They work great! (for more ideas see small-group helps below).
B) Whole-class discussion: If you are meeting remotely: put Nelson’s five suggestions or a summary of the five suggestions up on the screen or on the chat board. If you are meeting physically, print them out with your chosen 1-3 questions for each quote and make sure everyone has a copy. Rather than read them one by one in order – ask the class which of the prophet’s suggestions stand out for them today. Invite them to share their thoughts about any specific suggestion or answers to the questions (if you provided them). Let the discussion take its own shape and choose its own focus. Spend 15-20 minutes on this discussion – as class time permits.
Small-Group Helps: If you go with option A – here are some tips to make small-group discussion enjoyable for introverts like me. 1) try to have around 3-6 people per group. 2) Have these 5 suggestions printed out or somehow available so that each person has their own copy and can read of ALL of them 3) Provide the discussion promoting questions for each of Nelson’s 5 suggestions and instruct each group to agree together on the one (or two) suggestions they’ll talk about and which questions they will discuss. It’s important to let them find consensus with each other and pick what feels most important to them. This also serves as a great warm-up for introverts. 4) Visit each group (if possible) during this group time and listen, smile and nod. Only help if they are especially quiet or stuck. 5) Don’t worry if all the groups pick the exact same suggestion, it won’t matter – the responses will be varied. AND they have read through the five suggestions in order to pick a suggestion (clever, huh?). So all five suggestions are covered no matter what. 6) When they report at the end of the 10 mins., have them select a spokesperson for each group and pick ONE of Nelson’s suggestions and summarize their discussion/findings for the class.
For either option A or B: emphasize that it is okay if some suggestions get more airtime than others. We all have all five in front of us to ponder as needed.
Remember, you were called to lead this lesson for a reason. Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach. Thank you for taking the time to prepare yourself! Teaching and encouraging increased faith and actions are some of the most important works you can contribute, to the Kingdom of God.