5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf uses the word “unimaginable” eight times during his recent General Conference talk. Unimaginable means mind-boggling, impossible, incomprehensible, incredible and unthinkable. Just as there is a calm before the storm, there is a storm to endure before the miracles happen. Elder Uchtdorf’s powerful perspectives and encouragement are antidotes to the hard experiences of 2020.
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.
Quote #1 (seeds)
Elder Uchtdorf is great with analogies! I love the imagery of seeds.
My message today is that even though this pandemic is not what we wanted or expected, God has prepared His children and His Church for this time.
We will endure this, yes. But we will do more than simply grit our teeth, hold on, and wait for things to return to the old normal. We will move forward, and we will be better as a result.
In a way, we are seeds. And for seeds to reach their potential, they must be buried before they can sprout. It is my witness that though at times we may feel buried by the trials of life or surrounded by emotional darkness, the love of God and the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will bring something unimaginable to spring forth.
Possible Questions: Have you ever had a difficult experience which “grew” you? Do we sometimes look at the past with 20/20 hindsight and realize what seemed to be a curse was actually a blessing in disguise? What happens if we cling to bitterness and blame when hard experiences happen? (It blinds us to goodness and new opportunities and can deter major blessings that could come our way.) What are some ways to find relief during the worst of times?
Quote #2 (reality)
First, the righteous are not given a free pass that allows them to avoid the valleys of shadow. We all must walk through difficult times, for it is in these times of adversity that we learn principles that fortify our characters and cause us to draw closer to God.
Second, our Heavenly Father knows that we suffer, and because we are His children, He will not abandon us.
Think of the compassionate one, the Savior, who spent so much of His life ministering to the sick, the lonely, the doubting, the despairing. Do you think He is any less concerned about you today?
My dear friends, my beloved brothers and sisters, God will watch over and shepherd you during these times of uncertainty and fear. He knows you. He hears your pleas. He is faithful and dependable. He will fulfill His promises.
God has something unimaginable in mind for you personally and the Church collectively—a marvelous work and a wonder.
Possible Questions: What does Elder Uchtdorf mean when he says the “righteous are not given a free pass”? Do hard times mean you are not blessed? Who else in the scriptures or Church history went through hard times? (His talk lists 3 stories: Enoch, Joseph of Egypt, and Joseph Smith) How personally do you feel connected to Heavenly Father? Why or why not? What tender mercies have you noticed lately? What happens when we take the time to appreciate and feel gratitude? How does your heart feel about his promise that God has something unimaginable in mind for you personally?
Quote #3 (clear-headed)
Sweet! An airplane pilot reference…his analogies are endearing.
As a fighter pilot and airline captain, I learned that while I could not choose the adversity I would encounter during a flight, I could choose how I prepared and how I reacted. What is needed during times of crisis is calm and clear-headed trust.
How do we do this?
We face the facts and return to the fundamentals, to the basic gospel principles, to what matters most. You strengthen your private religious behavior—like prayer and scripture study and keeping God’s commandments. You make the decisions based on best proven practices.
Focus on the things you can do and not on the things you cannot do.
You muster your faith. And you listen for the guiding word of the Lord and His prophet to lead you to safety.
Remember, this is the Church of Jesus Christ—He is at the helm.
Possible Disscussion Questions: Which keywords stand out the most to you from this quote? What do they mean to you? What does Elder Uchtdorf mean by the basics? (prayer, scripture study, keep commandments, optimism, follow the prophet)
Possible Disscussion Activity: Take a look at these word definitions and see which one resonates with you today? Why?
calm; laid-back, level-headed, relaxed, serene, temperate, patience, peace, tranquility
clear-headed; brilliant, sharp, keen, knowing, discerning, aware
trust; confidence, expectation, hope, faith, assurance, reliance
“What is needed during times of crisis is calm and clear-headed trust.” If you were to re-phrase this quote, what words from the above list would you use?
Quote #4 (new way)
At first it may have seemed that a worldwide pandemic would be a roadblock to the Lord’s work. For example, traditional methods of sharing the gospel have not been possible. However, the pandemic is revealing new and more creative ways of reaching out to the honest in heart. The work of gathering Israel is increasing in power and enthusiasm. Hundreds and thousands of stories attest to this.
Many of our missionaries are busier than ever. Many are teaching more people than ever. There is an increased connection between members and missionaries.
In the past, we might have been so tied to traditional approaches that it took a pandemic to open our eyes…Of necessity, we are now learning how to use a variety of methods, including technology, to invite people—in normal and natural ways—to come and see, come and help, and come and belong.
My own daughter Shannon recently experienced a major transition to technology on her mission in Jacksonville, Florida. She became experienced at making and coordinating Facebook videos before she came home. Definitely, a new skill set for our times!
Possible Questions: Has the pandemic or other natural disasters opened your eyes to new or better ways? What are some examples of adjustments which have turned out well? How about your priorities, has the gospel become more important? What do you do now, that you weren’t doing before the pandemic or a natural disaster?
Quote #5 (testimony)
This makes a great closing quote! My favorite phrase is “God holds us in the palm of His caring and compassionate hands.” Heavenly Father has more care and interest than any of us perceived or dreamed. Such insights become more obvious as gospel truths grow on us and inspire us.
I bear my witness that this is God’s work and He will continue to do many unimaginable things among His children, His people. God holds us in the palm of His caring and compassionate hands.
I testify that President Russell M. Nelson is God’s prophet for our day.
As an Apostle of the Lord, I invite and bless you to “cheerfully do all things that lie in [your] power; and then may [you] stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” And I promise that the Lord will cause unimaginable things to come from your righteous labors. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
What a wonderful apostle!
Possible Questions: Which word or phrase from this quote has the most meaning for you today? What can we do to be more cheerful and patient? In what ways might we need to adjust our outlook or attitude about 2020? Which talk from the last General Conference helped you the most?
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! Encouraging hope and inspiring resolve during these hard times is a wonderful service to us all.