5 Highlights for “Lessons at the Well” by Susan H. Porter

by | Apr 8, 2022

woman in suit

5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

Sister Porter will be our General Primary President starting this August. I found her demeanor sweet, easy-going, down-to-earth, and humble. We need that! She is a widow and has endured hard things.

Her talk not only touched my soul, it quickly made a great lesson.

You may 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 Susan H. Porter 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 2, 4, 5, 1, 3.

Quote #1 (future)

Our Past and Present Circumstances Do Not Determine Our Future

Bravo, Sister Porter – this is about mindfulness and self-awareness.

Sisters, I know that many of you feel as I did, unsure how to face difficult challenges and loss—loss because your life is not unfolding in the way you had hoped for, prayed for, and planned for.

No matter our circumstances, our lives are sacred and have meaning and purpose. Each of us is a beloved daughter of God, born with divinity in our souls.

[The woman at the well] became a powerful witness, declaring to those in her city that Jesus was the Christ. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman.”

Her past and present circumstances did not determine her future. Like her, we can choose to turn to the Savior today for the strength and healing that will enable us to fulfill all that we were sent here to do.

This is a vital message. The majority determines their present and their future by their past. People may not even realize they do that! Yet, we’ve all let the past define us at some point or another.

Possible Introspective question: Have you ever heard an expression like, “well, that’s how God made me”?

Possible questions: Has something unexpected happened that changed your life path? Do we sometimes assume the ideal life results from righteousness and setbacks are a sign of failure? Can you have significant disappointments in life and huge setbacks and still be highly favored of the Lord? How do you feel about Christ choosing the “woman at the well” with five husbands and a lover – to first announce His divine mission as Messiah? What is the message there? Have you ever found strength and healing from the Savior? Does anyone mind sharing that?

Quote #2 (much)

In a familiar verse in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord encourages women and men to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them.”

Sisters, the power is in us to bring to pass much righteousness!

The keyword that stands out for me is ‘much.’ That might seem unusual, but what does ‘much’ mean?

much: heaps, loads, a lot of, generous, no end, substantial, voluminous

“Much” is a lot more than “some” or “sometimes.” Our gospel is a religion of action and doing. Not just some action or doing, but powerful, frequent action and ‘much’ doing.

38 “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

Creating, bringing to pass, and setting things in motion are a part of our divine nature. You are capable of so much – let your inspiration and creativity flow.

Possible activity: Have the group help you list examples of good causes we could possibly engage in. They can be anything, from offering a handshake or a few nice words to organizing a large-scale event.

Possible discussion questions: Is there a need to heal people (emotionally and spiritually) and disperse darkness in our day? What cheers you up when you are down? Have you ever had someone do a kind act that lifted your spirits in a meaningful way? What happens to us when we go about and do good? (Our confidence, well-being, and peace increase.)

Quote #3 (salt)

If you are short on time, this is the quote I would save for last as a backup.

It is surprising how much difference a sprinkling of salt makes in the flavor of what we eat. And yet salt is one of the least expensive and simplest ingredients.

In the book of 2 Kings, we read of “a little maid” who was captured by the Syrians and became a servant to the wife of Naaman, captain of the Syrian army. She was as salt; she was young, of no worldly importance, and her life as a slave in a foreign country was clearly not what she had hoped for.

However, she spoke two sentences with the power of God, testifying to Naaman’s wife: “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”

Her words of faith were relayed to Naaman, who acted on her words, allowing him to be healed both physically and spiritually.

You may be young or feel of no importance, but you can be as salt in your family, at school, and in your community.

Possible questions: The dictionary defines “salt of the earth” as a very good and honest person or group of people. What does the term “salt” mean to you? Do you know someone you can describe as “salt”? Salt is ever-present and readily available – what can we learn from Sister Porter’s perspective on salt? What did the Savior mean when he said “ye are the salt of the earth” (Matt 5:13)? What did the Savior mean when he said, “but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing…(Matt 5:13)? How can we lose our savor?

Quote #4 (leaven)

This quote is short but essential! Also, Ezra Taft Benson’s quote perfectly aligns with Susan H. Porter’s quote.

Have you ever eaten bread without leaven? How would you describe it? Dense? Heavy? Hard? With only a small amount of leaven, bread rises, expanding to become lighter and softer.

When we invite the power of God into our lives, we can replace the “spirit of heaviness” with inspired perspectives that lift others and make room for hearts to be healed.

man standing on mountain top
Letting God into Our Lives

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.” ~Ezra Taft Benson

Possible discussion questions: How can we get the power of God into our lives? Was there ever a time God was less important in your life? How did you feel? Consider Ezra Taft Benson’s promise – what stands out to you today?

Quote #5 (light)

How much light does it take to pierce the darkness in a room? One small ray. And that ray of light in a dark place can emanate from the power of God in you.

Even though you may feel alone as the storms of life are raging, you can shine a light in the darkness of misunderstanding, confusion, and unbelief. Your light of faith in Christ can be steady and sure, leading those around you to safety and peace.

Possible object lesson: Put a flickering electric tea light in a bag (or anything like that). Point out the light isn’t that significant – but what happens when we turn out the lights? Notice how much your eyes are drawn to the flame or light.

As this world gets darker, our lights become more pronounced and attract more attention.

Possible questions: When do you feel the most spiritual strength? (Hopefully, service, ministering, temple, etc., will come up). Why does true spirituality usually involve other people?

(True worship of the Savior and true spirituality is determined by our care and service of others during the week. Tears, the use of great-sounding words, or virtual signaling while at the pulpit on Sunday is not a sure measure of anyone’s spirituality. Ministering is one of the highest forms of worship we can offer God.)

More possible questions: In what ways can we shine our light? Have you witnessed anyone else shining their light? What did they do?

Summary

Sisters, hearts can be changed and lives blessed as we offer a pinch of salt, a spoonful of leaven, and a ray of light.

I testify that the Savior is the salt in our lives, inviting us to taste of His joy and love.

Final Comment

I’m so thankful you are preparing yourself to deliver this message. You encourage greater faith and new actions – which is a part of gathering the Kingdom and Israel. Teach with confidence, and 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.

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2 Comments

  1. Khristine Offutt

    The ideas and templates have really been a blessing to me. I am preparing to teach next month. Your ideas have given me a starting point and I feel very confident that I can do this.!

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      That is so awesome! – Let your creativity flow. One of the best things you can do is start well ahead of time and give the Spirit time to influence you with wonderful ideas for your lesson. Wish I could be there to hear it!

      Reply

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