5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Holland brought us delightful humor and wit at General Conference. He shares this sweet note which says:
was Boring why
Do we half to
Do it? tell me why
Sinserlie, Marin Arnold.
Elder Holland replies, “Well, Marin, the talk I am about to give will undoubtedly disappoint you again. But when you write your bishop to complain, it is important that you tell him my name is ‘Kearon. Elder Patrick Kearon.’
(Elder Kearon was the next speaker.)
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 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 Jeffrey R. Holland and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Possible Lesson Plan: Shorten the quotes below whenever you feel inspired. Whichever quote you think is the best content for your group should come first. For me, that would be 1, 2, 4, 3, and 5.
Quote #1 (find and do good)
This is a simple yet eloquent reminder of the power of intentional gratitude.
Given our current times, it is understandable if the idealism of the young is waning a little. Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University, recently created a class titled Psychology and the Good Life. “The first year the class was offered, nearly [one-quarter] of the [entire] undergraduate student body enrolled.” Over 64 million people then visited her podcast. Writing about this phenomenon, one journalist noted how painful it is to see so many bright, young students—and adults—desperately “looking for something they’ve lost” or, worse yet, longing for something they never had.
My plea today to our youth, and to you parents and adults who advise them, is to begin your search for happiness by embracing the bounty we have already received from the giver of every good gift. At precisely the moment many in the world are asking deep questions of the soul, we ought to be answering with the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which holds aloft the mission and message of the Savior of the world, offers the most eternally significant way to both find good and do good at such a needful time.
Possible activity: Pass out simple gratitude journals (or a piece of paper) and ask the class to take a minute to write down 3 things that make them happy or grateful right now. (Optional
gratitude journal: “A gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful. Gratitude journals are used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives. Gratitude, the feeling of appreciation or thanks, has gained a lot of attention in the field of positive psychology.” (medium.com)
Possible discussion questions: Why might our younger people have a bleak outlook on life? Is that limited to just younger people? Is there a lack of gratitude today? Why is gratitude essential to happiness? Would anyone like to share “a bounty” that makes their heart feel happy? How can “find good and do good” help in today’s world? Why does the world need us to keep our focus on the good? What does it mean to you to “do good”?
Quote #2 (sunny side)
We, of all people, should be “sing[ing] the song of redeeming love,” but that takes discipline—“discipleship,” if you will—the kind that guards against negative attitudes and destructive habits that would pull us off-key as we try to sing that song of eternal salvation.
Even as we stay “on the sunny side of the street,” we do run into that fellow from time to time who is determined to find something bleak and dismal about everything. You know his motto: “It is always darkest just before it goes pitch-black.” What a malignant vision, and what a miserable existence! Yes, we might sometimes want to run away from where we are, but we certainly should never run away from who we are—children of the living God who loves us, who is always ready to forgive us, and who will never, ever forsake us. You are His most precious possession. You are His child, to whom He has given prophets and promises, spiritual gifts and revelations, miracles and messages, and angels on both sides of the veil.
Possible activity: Hand out the following list to everyone or post it on the board.
Elder Holland makes a list of “who we are.” Which one means the most to you today?
- child of God
- loved by God
- forgiven by God
- never forsaken by God (opposite of forsake: keep, claim, hold, maintain)
- precious possession of God
- given prophets
- given promises
- given spiritual gifts
- given revelations
- given miracles
- given messages
- given angels
Possible questions: What are some examples of negative attitudes or destructive habits that pull us off-key? (include minor, everyday examples!) Have you ever met someone determined to see the negative side of everything (and everyone)? How does it feel to be around them? What does it mean to run away from who you are?
Quote #3 (sunbeam)
I love this quote!
Of course, in our present day, tremendously difficult issues face any disciple of Jesus Christ. The leaders of this Church are giving their lives to seeking the Lord’s guidance in the resolution of these challenges. If some are not resolved to the satisfaction of everyone, perhaps they constitute part of the cross Jesus said we would have to take up in order to follow Him. It is precisely because there would be dark days and difficult issues that God promised He would, out of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, guide prophets, give an iron rod, open a narrow gate leading to a strait path, and above all grant us the power to finish the course.
So please, please, stay for the whole feast even if you are not sure about the broccoli. Bask in His light and lend your candle to the cause. They have it right in Primary: Jesus really does “[want you] for a sunbeam.”
Possible questions: What does it mean to “take up the cross” to follow Jesus? What is the iron rod? (The word of God, however it comes – scriptures, prophets, etc. – Elder Bednar pointed out last General Conference that the iron rod was also the Savior since he is “The Word”) How do you hold to the iron rod? How can we access more power and capacity when we need it? Elder Holland says, “lend your candle to the cause.” What does he mean by that?
Quote #4 (gift of life)
During these challenging and chaotic times, suicide is on the rise. Most of us know someone who has contemplated ending their own life.
Before you ever received the gift of the Holy Ghost, you had the Light of Christ planted in your soul, that “light which is in all things, … giveth life to all things,” and is the influence for good in the hearts of all people who have ever lived or ever will live. That light was given to protect you and teach you. One of its central messages is that life is the most precious of all gifts, a gift which is obtained eternally only through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Light and Life of the World, the Only Begotten Son of God came to give us life by conquering death.
We must commit ourselves fully to that gift of life and run to the aid of those who are at risk of giving up this sacred gift. Leaders, advisers, friends, family—watch for signs of depression, despair, or anything hinting of self-harm. Offer your help. Listen. Make some kind of intervention as appropriate.
Possible questions: Why is life one of the most precious gifts? Why is it important to “run” to someone’s aid if they are contemplating suicide? Who should be watching for signs of self-harm? What kind of help is needed? What are some ways we can “intervene”? Have you ever helped someone who is suicidal?
Possible handout: This list could be passed out as a take-home resource.
Signs of Suicide
- Wanting to die
- Great guilt or shame
- Being a burden to others
- Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
- Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
- Unbearable emotional or physical pain
Changing behavior, such as:
- Making a plan or researching ways to die
- Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will
- Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Eating or sleeping more or less
- Using drugs or alcohol more often
One that is little talked about is “unbearable physical pain.” Like they can’t even sleep. One of my daughters, who has Aspberger’s, manifested severe stomach cramps and intestinal pain for almost a week before we committed her to a facility. We were busy trying to diagnose and alleviate the physical pain when it was a symptom of emotional and mental distress. It was an exterior mirror of the inward feeling that it was too painful to live.
I don’t ever recall hearing this as a suicide symptom, so I wanted to share our learning curve. We were successful in the end, and she is doing well, but we almost failed her.
Quote #5 (suicide)
The following quote is a direct message to those in deep despair and contemplating suicide:
To any of our [members] out there who are struggling, whatever your concerns or difficulties, death by suicide is manifestly not the answer. It will not relieve the pain you are feeling or that you think you are causing. In a world that so desperately needs all the light it can get, please do not minimize the eternal light God put in your soul before this world was. Talk to someone. Ask for help. Do not destroy a life that Christ gave His life to preserve. You can bear the struggles of this mortal life because we will help you bear them. You are stronger than you think. Help is available, from others and especially from God. You are loved and valued and needed. We need you! “Fear not: believe only.”
Someone who faced circumstances far more desperate than you and I ever will once cried: “Go forward [my beloved young friends]. Courage, … and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.” We have so much to be glad about. We have each other, and we have Him. Don’t deny us the chance to have you, I plead, in the sacred and holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Master, amen.
You can use this as closing or, if you have time, ask a couple of simple questions.
Possible questions: What stands out for you today from this quote? What is Elder Holland’s message?
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Holland’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
There is so much material here; pick and choose what you feel best about. You will not have time for every suggested activity or question. Shorten quotes when can. Be discriminating. Have faith in what content you feel drawn to.
Thank you for visiting this site! It’s our collective efforts that light the world. If you are here to better prepare yourself for teaching or participating in Elder Holland’s lesson – it says so much about you. Thank you for making an effort and thank you so MUCH for the lives you will bless.
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.