5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Oh, how I love this talk. The world could not be more polar opposite than the unity and oneness Elder Christofferson describes. Fortunately, he tells us how to achieve it anyway – and it’s the most doable formula. This talk is a blessed discussion for your group of Saints.
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 Elder D. Todd Christofferson (unless otherwise noted).
- Pick your 2-3 most important quotes and cover those first. You’ll know which ones are best for your group of Saints.
- Please don’t worry if you only get through a couple of quotes. Discussion is golden; it resonates and teaches more than a lecture covering all points will.
Quote #1 (one soul)
Jesus wants us to be one with Him – he prays for it!
Possible engagement tool: Invite your group to listen for how the Savior feels about them.
Jesus petitioned His Father in these words: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name [mine Apostles] whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
Then, tenderly, the Savior expanded His petition to include all believers:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”
Becoming one is a recurring theme in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in God’s dealings with His children. With respect to the city of Zion in Enoch’s day, it is said that “they were of one heart and one mind.” Of the early Saints in the primitive Church of Jesus Christ, the New Testament records, “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.”
Possible discussion questions: How does the Savior feel about you, and what kind of relationship does He want to have with you? What else stands out for you from this quote? Oneness has been achieved in the past and recorded. When Zion happened, was it because there was much peace in the land? (No, they were both precarious times.)
We already know the ancient Christians were heavily persecuted, and here’s a description of the state of affairs during Enoch’s time.
14 There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea.
15 And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God;
16 And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. (Moses 7:14-16)
Quote #2 (contention)
Possible engagement tool: Invite your group to notice the similarities between this quote and the prophet’s talk “Peacemakers Needed.”
Where God prevails in all hearts and minds, the people are described as “in one, the children of Christ.”
When the resurrected Savior appeared to the ancient Book of Mormon peoples, He noted with disapproval that in the past there had been disputations among the people about baptism and other matters. He commanded:
“There shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention.”
contention: disagreement, argument, discord, conflict, disharmony
Possible discussion questions: What is contention? Who works by friction and is in charge of it? How can we avoid it? (accept all reasonable answers, focus on Christ, intentionally guide our thoughts) How is this quote similar to President Nelson’s “Peacekeepers Needed” talk? How can we tell if God prevails in our hearts and minds? What does being “in one, the children of Christ” mean to you?
Optional – Deepen the Understanding
President Nelson does a magnificent job describing contention in our modern language.
Those who foster contention are taking a page out of Satan’s playbook, whether they realize it or not. “No man can serve two masters.” We cannot support Satan with our verbal assaults and then think that we can still serve God.
My dear brothers and sisters, how we treat each other really matters! How we speak to and about others at home, at church, at work, and online really matters. Today, I am asking us to interact with others in a higher, holier way. Please listen carefully. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” that we can say about another person—whether to his face or behind her back—that should be our standard of communication. (Peacekeepers Needed ~ April 2023)
Possible discussion questions: Is it a natural habit of our culture to focus on the positive rather than the negative? Why is it important to understand where contention comes from? The prophet said, “Please listen carefully,” why is it important to bring up the good about people? How does elevating our standard of speech when talking about others contribute to oneness?
Quote #3 (unity)
Unity with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ grows as we heed the second commandment—inextricably connected to the first—to love others as ourselves. And I suppose an even more perfect unity would obtain among us if we followed the Savior’s higher and holier expression of this second commandment—to love one another not only as we love ourselves but as He loved us. In sum, it is “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.”
Possible discussion questions: In what ways can we treasure and love others as the Savior does? What does “seeking the interest” of your neighbor mean? (accept all reasonable answers – service, brother’s keeper, good Samaritan, etc.) Why is it essential to seek the interest of others outside of our families? What can we learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan? How does loving our neighbor contribute to oneness?
Quote #4 (end it)
A year ago, President Russell M. Nelson pled with us in these words: “None of us can control nations or the actions of others or even members of our own families. But we can control ourselves. My call today, dear brothers and sisters, is to end conflicts that are raging in your heart, your home, and your life. Bury any and all inclinations to hurt others—whether those inclinations be a temper, a sharp tongue, or a resentment for someone who has hurt you. The Savior commanded us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, and to pray for those who despitefully use us.”
Possible discussion questions: What stands out for you from this quote? How has this invitation from President Nelson blessed your life? (It made me realize that my heart raged over some things, and it was time to stop.) Notice how President Nelson mentions three things that are common in our lives and sometimes even easy to justify. 1) temper, 2) sharp tongue, and 3) resentment for someone who has hurt you. What happens when we quit chasing justice and chase mercy, peace, and others’ well-being instead? Why are President Nelson’s words important to oneness?
Quote #5 (Jesus)
I say again that it is only in and through our individual loyalty to and love of Jesus Christ that we can hope to be one—one within, one at home, one in the Church, eventually one in Zion, and above all, one with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.
We are blessed by simply taking the time to think about Jesus Christ and include time for Him in our daily thoughts. Elder Andersen said it beautifully last general conference in his talk!
“As you continue to attentively catch hold of this thought of Jesus Christ, trust in Him, and keep His commandments, I promise you not only heavenly guidance but heavenly power—power that brings strength to your covenants, peace to your difficulties, and joy to your blessings.”
Possible discussion questions: How does achieving oneness within ourselves help us achieve oneness with others? (accept all reasonable answers – the Spirit is peaceful and without contention.) Who is the key to oneness and peace? (the Savior) Elder Christofferson gives the order to achieve oneness. 1) First within ourselves, 2) then at home, 3) then with our ward or branch, and eventually Zion. How can we find oneness within ourselves? (accept all reasonable answers – by focusing on Jesus with daily devotion to thoughts of Him and praise.)
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)
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Christofferson’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
Dear Elder Christofferson delivers an excellent talk dealing with how we truly are. It doesn’t matter how others perceive us at Church. Ultimately, it’s how Christ perceives us and He sees everything we don’t want others to see. He also loves you for virtues not everyone knows about. He sees the true you! He is an extraordinary and willing friend.
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.