5 Highlights for “Never Give Up an Opportunity to Testify of Christ” by Bonnie H. Cordon

by | Apr 20, 2023

sepia pencil sketch of Jesus Christ

5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

Please take another look if you haven’t considered using this talk for a lesson. Especially at quotes 3, 4, and 5.

While preparing this lesson, I deeply felt the Spirit. This is a golden topic with spiritually wise insights from Sister Cordon. I also felt how pleased the Lord is with her for sharing these precepts. I realize I want to find more ways to testify of Christ in a natural, friendly, effective, and inviting way. This lesson includes a list of doable suggestions and will make a memorable discussion for your group.

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 with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Bonnie H. Cordon (unless otherwise noted).


Lesson Prep

  • If I were teaching this lesson, I would first cover quotes 3, 4, and 5. There is so much rich lesson/discussion material there – those quotes will most likely lead to an excellent discussion. Save quotes 1 and 2 for any leftover time. (It would surprise me if you have any!)

Quote #1 (Nephites)

When Christ physically visited the Nephites at their temple, His invitation was not to stand at a distance and look upon Him, but to touch Him, to feel for themselves the reality of the Savior of humankind. How can we draw close enough to gain a personal witness of Jesus Christ? This may be part of what my father was trying to teach me. (“Bonnie, never give up an opportunity to testify of Christ.”) While we may not enjoy the same physical proximity as those who walked with Christ during His earthly ministry, through the Holy Ghost we can experience His power every day! As much as we need!

Possible discussion questions: Why did the Savior get close and personal with the Nephites rather than keep His distance? Do we need to get close to Christ? In what ways have you experienced the Savior’s power – what were you doing?

Quote #2 (distractions)

We live in a fallen world, with distractions coaxing our eyes and hearts downward instead of heavenward. Much like the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11, we need Jesus Christ. Can you imagine yourself there, among people who had experienced so much chaos and destruction?

Possible quick discussion question: What kinds of distractions from a fallen world sidetrack you? Do we sometimes need to be intentional about our daily habits and occasionally prioritize everyday use of time?

Quote #3 (a list)

…as we choose to seek Christ, the Spirit will witness of Him in many different situations. These witnesses of the Spirit occur as we fast, pray, wait, and continue forward. Our closeness to Christ grows through worshipping frequently in the temple, repenting daily, studying scriptures, attending church and seminary, pondering our patriarchal blessings, worthily receiving ordinances, and honoring sacred covenants. All of these invite the Spirit to enlighten our minds, and they bring added peace and protection. But do we honor them as sacred opportunities to testify of Christ?

  • fast
  • pray
  • wait and continue forward
  • worship in the temple
  • repent daily
  • study scriptures
  • attend church
  • attend seminary
  • ponder patriarchal blessings
  • receive ordinances (for ourselves and others)
  • honor our covenants**

We testify of Christ by sharing our experiences from the items on this list.

Optional – Deepen the Understanding

Ways to Testify

To testify of Christ need not be a formal testimony or end in “amen” – it can be a part of natural conversation. Consider what Elder Stevenson said during the October 2022 general conference:

You bear your testimony when you share spiritual feelings with others. As a member of the Church, you have opportunities to bear your spoken testimony in formal Church meetings or in less formal, one-on-one conversations with family, friends, and others.

We testify when we love, share, and invite, even online. Your tweets, direct messages, and posts will take on a higher, holier purpose when you also use social media to show how the gospel of Jesus Christ shapes your life.

Another way you share your testimony is through righteous behavior. Your testimony in Jesus Christ isn’t just what you say—it’s who you are.

Each time you bear vocal witness or demonstrate through your actions your commitment to follow Jesus Christ, you invite others to “come unto Christ.”


**Review of Our Five Temple Covenants

You probably won’t have time for this, but here is a quick resource if someone asks about the temple covenants.

Elder Renlund briefly summarized our five temple covenants during General Conference (April 2023):

The covenant path leads to the ordinances of the temple, such as the temple endowment. The endowment is God’s gift of sacred covenants that connect us more fully to Him. In the endowment, we covenant, first, to strive to keep the commandments of God; second, to repent with a broken heart and contrite spirit; third, to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do this by exercising faith in Him, making covenants with God as we receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation, keeping those covenants throughout our lives, and striving to live the two great commandments to love God and neighbor. We covenant, fourth, to keep the law of chastity and, fifth, to dedicate ourselves and everything the Lord blesses us with to build up His Church.


Sister Cordon’s List

  • fast
  • pray
  • wait and continue forward
  • worship in the temple
  • repent daily
  • study scriptures
  • attend church
  • attend seminary
  • ponder patriarchal blessings
  • receive ordinances (for ourselves and others)
  • honor our covenants

Possible discussion questions: Which items from Sister Cordon’s list have been especially meaningful to you lately? Have you had any experiences with the items on the list that you wish to share? What happens when we start talking about our feelings and experiences from the things on the list? Have you ever been prompted to do something from this list because you heard someone talking about it?

Last question: We’ve all been testifying to each other just now – who caught that?

Quote #4 (Christ daily)

Sister Cordon tells us what happens when we start witnessing for Christ about the items from the list (added power and added closeness to Christ)

There is power in making these holy habits less of a checklist and more of a witness. The process will be gradual but will grow with daily, active participation and purposeful experiences with Christ. As we consistently act on His teaching, we gain a testimony of Him; we build a relationship with Him and our Heavenly Father. We begin to become like Them.

The adversary creates so much noise that it can be difficult to hear the Lord’s voice. Our world, our challenges, our circumstances will not get quieter, but we can and must hunger and thirst after the things of Christ to “hear Him” with clarity. We want to create muscle memory of discipleship and testimony that will bring into focus our reliance on our Savior each day.

muscle memory: the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.

More possible questions: Looking at Sister Cordon’s list – which ones have become “muscle memory” for you? Could testifying of Christ by conscientiously and repeatedly sharing our spiritual experiences and habits become muscle memory for us? Do you believe using the “checklist” as a means to be a witness of Christ will add power to your life and bring you closer to Him? Who could you share your experiences with more? Could you use the Gospel Library Circles app for this kind of sharing?

Possible Strengthening Activity:

If it were my presidency – I would create an active, vibrant culture on Circles by assigning a variety of people (weekly or every few days) to share a scripture, quote, thought, experience, or any item from Sister Cordon’s list.

Perhaps create a calendar with dates to sign up to share on Adult Circles and pass it around like you would the missionary meal calendar. Then, I would make sure members of my presidency modeled engagement and encouragement by commenting and acknowledging the efforts to share. This would create goodwill and add to a positive, strong ward culture! Make sure everyone gets at least four responses (your presidency). Watch your attendance and/or participation gradually increase.

From the Church News:

The purpose of the app is “to draw us closer to our families, friends, Church leaders, and especially to the Lord,” explained Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a recent Church News interview. 

“We hope this tool deepens testimony. It can help bring together in Christ our gospel learning, service and activities, and personal development as we plan, record and share things which happen each day that are fun and deepen our faith and testimony,” he said. (Feb 2020)

Quote #5 (testify)

My father has been gone for over 11 years now, but his words are alive in me. “Bonnie, never give up an opportunity to testify of Christ.” I invite you to join me in accepting his invitation. Look for Christ everywhere―I promise He is there! True joy rests on our willingness to come closer to Christ and witness for ourselves.

We know that in the last days, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus is the Christ. I pray this witness will become a normal and natural experience for us now—that we will take every opportunity to joyfully testify: Jesus Christ lives!

Oh, how I love Him. How grateful we are for His infinite Atonement, which has “made eternal life a possibility and immortality a reality for [us] all.” I testify of our Savior’s goodness and great glory in His sacred name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Possible closing question: What are your feelings about Christ – who would like to share?

Deepen the Understanding

Some of you may have caught that powerful invitation from Bonnie H. Cordon.

“We know that in the last days, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus is the Christ. I pray this witness will become a normal and natural experience for us now

Question for you. If it is right to bow and confess Christ in the “last days,” is it now? Is there ever a time it is wrong to bow and affirm Jesus is the Christ?

Compare that invitation to Nephi’s clear summons:

And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)

The prophet and others have been reaching out to you about your personal relationship with Christ for several years. Here is President Nelson:

“When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.” (President Nelson – April 2017)

Please see the Extra Resources below if this topic personally interests you. I would not include this in the lesson unless you are powerfully prompted. Reason: it’s not ingrained in our Church culture yet. However, the prophet, apostles, and others work on it every General Conference. Someday this will be natural and normal to discuss in class.

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Sister Cordon’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

Thank you for teaching Sister Cordon’s general conference talk. The world is better off because you studied and prepared for this lesson! Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach – you have important insights into the gospel, and your ward/branch needs you. 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 quotes in any order that makes sense to you.


Extra Resources for Worship and Christ

This section is just for you as a reader. It is meant to increase your understanding or collaborate with the knowledge you already have. I would not include it in your lesson plan because some members are not ready for it, or the cultural teachings they’ve embraced all their lives will not allow it. This creates distractions from the Spirit.

President Nelson now leaves easter eggs [hidden details or not-so-hidden details] in all his talks. Not everyone picks up on those precepts immediately. Sometimes, it’s writing these lesson templates that I discover I missed one. Consider this quote from April 2022.

With frightening speed, a testimony that is not nourished daily “by the good word of God” can crumble. Thus, the antidote to Satan’s scheme is clear: we need daily experiences worshipping the Lord and studying His gospel. I plead with you to let God prevail in your life. Give Him a fair share of your time. As you do, notice what happens to your positive spiritual momentum. (President Nelson – April 2022)

“…we need daily experiences worshipping the Lord and studying His gospel.”

At first pass, you might interpret that as Heavenly Father and prayer, along with the scriptures. Our Church culture and repeated Sunday School answers are primarily responsible for that. I understand because that has been my same response for years. If that happens, please contemplate it one more time.

“Lord” almost always refers specifically to Jesus Christ in the scriptures. We recognize “gospel” as the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not say “the gospel of Heavenly Father.” The dictionary definition of the gospel is: “the record of Jesus’ life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament.” The word gospel has always referred directly to the Savior and his ministry.

Look at the phrase again: “…we need daily experiences worshipping the Lord and studying His gospel.”

President Nelson is talking about Christ for those with ears to hear.

worship: “In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God. In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo (“to worship”), which means to bow down to God or kings.” (Wikipedia)

When President Nelson says to have daily experiences worshipping the Savior, he means just that. Nephi makes President Nelson’s teaching irrevocable:

29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)

I have added this habit to my life, and the well-being and spiritual confidence it unlocks is impressive. (This is in addition to kneeling prayers to Heavenly Father.) I hope you will consider adding this to your life.

What do I do? I take the time to thank Jesus for His atonement, His gospel, the beauty of this world, the Light, and His patience. Sometimes I will apologize for using the atonement so much, and sometimes I will reach for a miracle. But above all, I acknowledge He is my Savior, my God, and my goal. I take the time to admit how far I have to go. The Spirit helps my words, and it is repeatedly a wonderful experience.

Here are several more scripture references – each of them is specifically quoting the Savior speaking as Himself:

1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;
2 Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer. (D&C 29:1-2)

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; (D&C 93:1-2)

62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends [Christ speaking], 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. (D&C 88:62-63)

For more quotes and references, please see Relationship With Christ.

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2 Comments

  1. Natauni

    Thank you so much for doing these lessons! It helped me tremendously when I was feeling stuck and lost for the direction I should go.

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      You know, I’m the same way. Sometimes I just need to hear someone else’s thoughts and then it gets mine going too. I hope you have a memorable teaching experience. God bless you.

      Reply

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