5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Uchtdorf’s conference talk is delightful and promises a memorable discussion for your group. The recounting of his youth, and the chaotic wartimes of East Germany – impressed the depth of his trials upon us. His family lost everything and had to escape for their lives. He saw deteriorated conditions and circumstances far worse than most of us see now. Is he not the perfect, most qualified spokesman for the message of ambitious hope and the exalting perspective he brushes with vivid colors?
His talk gladdens and blesses us all.
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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (unimaginable)
Elder Uchtdorf wastes no time touching on a rather majestic concept. It takes my breath away every time! Christ fully intends to exalt us completely. As in all the way…
God is among us—and is personally involved in our lives and actively guiding His children.
It is astonishing what we can learn when we look a little closer at our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and exaltation, the plan of happiness, for His children. When we feel insignificant, cast off, and forgotten, we learn that we may be assured that God has not forgotten us—in fact, that He offers to all His children something unimaginable: to become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”
What does this mean?
That we will live forever, receive a fulness of joy, and have the potential to “inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers.”
It is so humbling to know that this magnificent and supernal future is possible—not because of who we are but because of who God is.
Knowing this, how could we ever murmur or remain embittered? How could we ever keep our eyes on the ground when the King of kings invites us to take flight into an unimaginable future of divine happiness?
“…how could we ever murmur.” Here’s an analogy I shared with my kids. See if you can visualize this scenario and if it helps illustrate the point. Say you’re playing a monopoly game, and other people are cheating, like taking properties from the bank they didn’t buy, maybe ganging up on you, and taking your play money when you’re not looking. You might feel put out or disappointed with the cheating and poor behavior. It might even really irritate you. A knock comes at the door, and a messenger informs you that you just inherited 5 billion dollars. Are you still thinking about the unfairness and irritation of the monopoly game? Would you keep your eyes on the monopoly game?
Sometimes we treat life the same way – we keep our eyes on the monopoly game.
Possible questions: What does Elder Uchtdorf mean by “keep our eyes on the ground”? (Focus on the negative) Do you sometimes have your eyes on the ground? Does it feel stress-free or productive? What does it mean to be joint-heirs with Christ? How do you envision that ultimate blessing? What does Elder Uchtdorf’s quote make you feel right now? What stands out for you today?
Quote #2 (mistakes)
The Savior’s infinite Atonement completely changes the way we may view our transgressions and imperfections. Instead of dwelling on them and feeling irredeemable or hopeless, we can learn from them and feel hopeful. The cleansing gift of repentance allows us to leave our sins behind and emerge a new creature.
Because of Jesus Christ, our failures do not have to define us. They can refine us.Dieter F. Uchtdorf ~ April 2021
Like a musician rehearsing scales, we can see our missteps, flaws, and sins as opportunities for greater self-awareness, deeper and more honest love for others, and refinement through repentance.
If we repent, mistakes do not disqualify us. They are part of our progress.
One of my favorite explanations about mistakes goes like this: mistakes are not failures; instead, they show us what we didn’t yet know.
Possible questions: In what ways is repentance an uplifting message? What does Elder Uchtdorf mean by “emerge a new creature”? Knowing that mistakes are a part of our progress, how might we apply the same standard to the mistakes and learning curves of others? How have your mistakes created a deeper and more honest love for others? Does the process of repentance deepen us?
Quote #3 (timeless messages)
.Elder Uchtdorf lists some of the Savior’s repeated messages to us. See which ones stand out for you today?
The Savior always teaches timeless truths. They apply to people of every age and in any circumstance.
To our blessing, many of His words are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants—available to anyone in the world who wishes to read and study them. How priceless are these words to us today!
He teaches us to become His disciples—that our hearts should not strive for personal power, wealth, approval, or position. He teaches us to “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.”
He urges us to seek joy, enlightenment, peace, truth, happiness, and the promise of immortality and eternal life.
A short list of the Savior’s teachings from Elder Uchtdorf”s talk:
- do not strive for personal power, wealth, approval or position
- focus upward
- seek joy
- seek enlightenment
- seek peace, truth, happiness and eternal life
Possible questions: Which of the Savior’s messages stands out for you today? Which one has you thinking the most? Why are these messages important? Power, wealth, approval, and position are the world’s primary focus, which one could you think about less? How would you seek more joy and happiness; what impedes it? Have you studied the Doctrine and Covenants in depth? How would you describe the D&C and your experience with it? (This is just me, but as much as I adore the Book of Mormon, I love the D&C even more.)
Not as many members realize how powerful the Doctrine and Covenants’ messages are. They contain many quotes direct from the Savior to you like this one from Section 88:
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Quote #4 (portrait of Christ)
Elder Uchtdorf paints this striking portrait of Christ with words. To help people engage more, perhaps you can ask class members to visualize Elder Uchtdorf’s description in their minds while it is read.
Let us take this a step further. Suppose Jesus came to your ward, to your branch, or to your home today. What would that be like?
He would see right into your heart. Outward appearances would lose their importance. He would know you as you are. He would know your heart’s desires.
The meek and the humble He would lift.
The sick He would heal.
The doubting He would infuse with faith and courage to believe.
He would teach us to open our hearts to God and reach out to others.
He would recognize and honor honesty, humility, integrity, faithfulness, compassion, and charity.
One look into His eyes and we would never be the same. We would be forever changed. Transformed by the profound realization that, indeed, God is among us.
Possible questions: How did Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s description of Christ make you feel? Based on his description, how would you describe the Savior in 1 or 2 words? (me: warm and personable) Do any of these traits sound like ones you would like to emulate more? Which ones and why? Do you believe the Savior is among us? Where or when do you feel Him the most?
Quote #5 (encounter God)
Elder Uchtdorf’s closing statements are also a perfect wrap-up to the class discussion. I would take this as a simple opportunity to invite class members to some kind of action.
In our daily life it is our paramount task and blessed opportunity to encounter God.
As we set aside pride and approach His throne with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will draw near to us.
As we seek to follow Jesus Christ and walk the path of discipleship, line upon line, the day will come that we will experience that unimaginable gift of receiving a fulness of joy.
Open your hearts to our Savior and Redeemer, no matter your circumstances, trials, sufferings, or mistakes; you can know that He lives, that He loves you, and that because of Him, you will never be alone.
God is among us.
Possible questions: How is getting closer to God both a task and an opportunity at the same time? (It takes effort, but the reward of feeling close to Christ and Heavenly Father is available every day.) What does a broken heart and a contrite spirit mean to you? Have you ever prayed with great humility? How did you feel afterward, can you use a few words to describe it? In what ways can we show the Savior our heart is open to Him?
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! Helping others to recognize and draw closer to the Savior is central to our calling as teachers. He really is closer than any of us imagined or perceive.
Perhaps this section is a bit deep for a Sunday lesson, but some precepts you might want to personally ponder:
President Lorenzo Snow says something very similar to President Uchtdorf:
“We understand, fully that as Jesus Christ dwelt here in a body and that He received that body and now dwells in it glorified, that we are entitled to the same blessing, the same exaltation, and the same glory.” (Lesson 24 – Teachings of Lorenzo Snow)
This is a pretty bold statement – which also sets us apart from the rest of the Christian world. They think it is blasepmy to pull our potentials up to this level. Remember how angry the Pharisees became when Christ said he was the Son of God? They were ready to stone Him. Not much has changed.
Here it is in the scriptures, written in the most non-chalant way and I read it, and re-read it and cannot wrap my brain around it:
106 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
107 And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him. (Doctrine & Covenants 88)
Trust me, I have no way to grasp how this is possible for myself. Yes, I understand the atonement, but all the way equal to Christ?
Here it is again:
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion. (Doctrine & Covenants 76)
Knowing our mortal life is a means to this end puts a lot of trials and heartaches in perspective. Christ has a very short amount of time to work with us. Trials and tribulations are the means to get us from point A to point B in the way of growth, understanding and spiritual strength. In the end, His intention is to give us everything…as in everything.
Here are a couple of the same ideas from the Bible:
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
And here’s the one Dieter referred to:
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)
No wonder Elder Uchtdorf uses the word “unimaginable”!