5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
President Nelson shares a new understanding of what “Israel” means and what it looks like to gather Israel today. His recent October 2020 Conference talk offers words of personal encouragement and upgraded perspectives on the turmoil and chaos taking place around us, including Black Lives Matter.
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 President Nelson and in blue.
Quote #1 (let God prevail)
“So imagine my delight when I was led recently to a new insight. With the help of two Hebrew scholars, I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is “let God prevail.” Thus the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concept stirs my soul!
The word willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency. We can choose to be of Israel, or not. We can choose to let God prevail in our lives, or not. We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.”
This stirred my soul too. Previously, I have not given a lot of thought to the promise of being adopted into the House of Israel. However, if it means I’m a part of the ONE tribe were God is revered and where He prevails, I want to be counted in that group.
Possible Questions: What does it look like and feel like in your own life when you let God prevail? Is it possible to be an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ but not let God prevail in our personal, everyday lives? What habits would help let God be the most powerful influence in our lives? How does this new definition and insight from President Nelson influence your understanding of belonging to the House of Israel?
What does the word prevail mean to you? Personally for me it means words like overarching, encompassing, throughout. Here are some synonyms from Google.
Quote #2 (building faith in others)
With the Hebraic definition of Israel in mind, we find that the gathering of Israel takes on added meaning. The Lord is gathering those who are willing to let God prevail in their lives. The Lord is gathering those who will choose to let God be the most important influence in their lives.
We are also referring to building faith and testimony in the hearts of those with whom we live, work, and serve. Anytime we do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.
Possible Questions: According to President Nelson, what steps must a Church member make in order to be included in Israel? (While opinions may differ, it sounds like President Nelson says “Israel” takes a deeper commitment.) How might we build faith in others? Would ministering and service be a part of gathering Israel? Why?
Gathering Israel is for everyone!
Sometimes we’re tempted to wait for perfection or some higher level of “sainthood” before we speak up about our faith to others. I now regret that I hesitated for years to invite people to our family home evenings with six kids bouncing off the walls. And because I thought our attempts at FHE weren’t perfect enough presentations for others.
Truthfully, real-life people aren’t interested in what perfect, well-put-together people do. They are seeking answers on how to solve their own problems which bombard their own imperfect lives. And how to strengthen their family relationships. They are wondering how to bring more light and well-being into their every day.
The brightest light of all is sharing candidly what the gospel does for you and your work-in-progress circumstances and among real-life challenges.
Possible Introspective Question: Everyone has an aspect of the gospel they especially love or understand and can talk about with enthusiasm – what’s yours? Is it genealogy, is it music, is it Church ball, is it the temple, is it the Book of Mormon, is it working with youth? Talk about what you know and love with others!
Quote #3 (awesome story)
Not long ago, the wife of one of our grandsons was struggling spiritually. I will call her “Jill.” Despite fasting, prayer, and priesthood blessings, Jill’s father was dying. She was gripped with fear that she would lose both her dad and her testimony.
Late one evening, my wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, told me of Jill’s situation. The next morning Wendy felt impressed to share with Jill that my response to her spiritual wrestle was one word! The word was myopic.
Jill later admitted to Wendy that initially she was devastated by my response. She said, “I was hoping for Grandfather to promise me a miracle for my dad. I kept wondering why the word myopic was the one he felt compelled to say.”
After Jill’s father passed on, the word myopic kept coming to her mind. She opened her heart to understand even more deeply that myopic meant “nearsighted.” And her thinking began to shift. Jill then said, “Myopic caused me to stop, think, and heal. That word now fills me with peace. It reminds me to expand my perspective and seek the eternal. It reminds me that there is a divine plan and that my dad still lives and loves and looks out for me. Myopic has led me to God.”
I am very proud of our precious granddaughter-in-law. During this heart-wrenching time in her life, dear Jill is learning to embrace God’s will for her dad, with an eternal perspective for her own life. By choosing to let God prevail, she is finding peace.
Possible Questions: How might “myopic” have meaning in your own life? What have you been near-sighted about. Have you ever had a similar experience to Jill? Words can be powerful and have lots of influence on our understanding. What favorite word or short phrase holds a lot of meaning for you or describes a meaningful moment?
What’s interesting about this story is one person contributed the word, another one passed it on. How is that similar to the dynamics and operations of our Relief Society or Elders Quorum?
Quote #4 (skin color)
Each of us has a divine potential because each is a child of God. Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound. Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him, “black and white, bond and free, male and female.”
I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments and not the color of your skin.
Personally, this is not the most important part of the Conference talk for me. To my innermost heart shrine, I believe all are alike unto God and God is no respecter of persons. However, some members may find a lot of comfort and reassurance with these quotes. There is so much political turmoil over racial issues – it is wise for Pres. Nelson to take a public stand. Consider your group and see if you have members who could benefit from this discussion?
Possible Questions: Why is it important to treat all people equally? What happens when we let skin color influence our judgment of people? What happens when we try to judge, blame or scapegoat others based on skin color? What does God think of skin color? (He created them all!) Zion is one heart and one mind – does segmenting people by skin color further or encourage the idea of Zion? While we have a ways to go as a Church before we attain true Zion, how can you make Church more Zion-like for someone else? (Zion happens one small act at a time.)
Quote #5 (6-month challenge)
And as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or “latter-day covenant Israel,” we have been charged to assist the Lord with this pivotal work….
As you study your scriptures during the next six months, I encourage you to make a list of all that the Lord has promised He will do for covenant Israel. I think you will be astounded! Ponder these promises. Talk about them with your family and friends. Then live and watch for these promises to be fulfilled in your own life.
Possible Discussion Activity: President Nelson used the the phrase “latter-day covenant Israel,” what does it mean? Do you identify as part of the house of Israel more after studying this talk? Will you accept the challenge to make a “promise list” in the months to come? Where will you keep that list?
Remember, you were called to teach 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 lifting others is a part of gathering Israel.