5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
President Nelson’s latest General Conference talk consumes my senses and thought space. For me, it is a colossal call to action.
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 right in with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.
All blue quotes by President Nelson (unless otherwise noted).
2 Possible Lesson Plans
- Quote #1 then Quote #2 (both whole-group discussion). Last Quote #3 (small-group discussion).
- All Quotes: (all whole-group discussion). Prioritize all the quotes and start with the ones you think are most important to cover. Do not rush it – go through the quotes in the order you picked ahead of time – until you run out of class time. Quality discussion is the most important goal.
Author’s Note – Please Read
President Nelson spoke for almost 19 minutes straight on Sunday morning. Not only was it longer than usual – but every phrase was carefully crafted to carry a lot of impact and meaning. This talk is jam-packed. It was challenging to put a lesson plan together.
Please, please avoid the temptation to try and cover every gorgeous, amazing point. I know it is hard! But, the Brethren have set aside Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum as a time to DISCUSS the talk.
Discussion is crucial to retention and understanding. Discussion deepens the concepts. However, discussion also means you cover less material, and listen to your people more. In turn, the prophet’s words will sink in deeper and serve your members better.
There are two “5 Highlights” articles for this one talk.
This is Part I, which has more material than any one class could use. Nonetheless, 5 Highlights for Part II can be found here. If you can influence the lesson schedule for your ward or branch – perhaps consider assigning two different Sundays to cover this talk. They don’t need to be back-to-back.
Quote #1 (countless privileges)
Right from the start – President Nelson prophesied marvelous events ahead. How do we respond to his prophesying?
Possible engagement tool:
- Extend an invitation to your people to notice what comes up in their thoughts as they listen to this quote.
“…my dear brothers and sisters, so many wonderful things are ahead. In the coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time he returns ‘with power and great glory,’ he will bestow countless privileges, blessings, and miracles upon the faithful.”
Possible discussion questions: What thoughts came up for you as we read this quote? Did you get any impressions about things in your personal life that need attention or changing? Does anyone mind sharing an example? Did President Nelson’s quote encourage you despite all the turmoil we see? (i.e., help you feel more energy, zeal, hope, or faith?) What do you think about President Nelson’s prophesying?
Personally, this makes me want to (1) repent of every little thing in my life, (2) quit squandering my time on empty things, and (3) sit up straighter — so I can be ready and counted worthy to partake of the outpouring of privileges and miracles. I want to be there.
Quote #2 (temple and rest)
The temple! I took the liberty of inserting spaces where President Nelson paused and emphasized a word.
[There’s] a direct connection between making a covenant with God in the TEMPLE
and the Savior’s stunning promise, “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your SOULS,
for my yoke is EASY
and my burden is LIGHT.
words with the most emphasis: temple, rest, souls, easy, light
Possible activity: Have five people stand up front or read right where they are sitting. Have each one read one of the phrases above in order, and maybe emphasize the last word. Write the last word on the board as you go (temple, rest, souls, easy, light).
If you have the right personalities – you could make an even bigger impression with a bit of drama – and have people sit on five chairs up front and then stand up one at a time, reading one sentence each (and remain standing until all five are standing). Maybe use props like lamps and oil (and costumes!) to represent the parable of the five virgins (there are five phrases and five bolded words). Each emphasized, bolded word points to the oil our lamps need.
Write the last, bolded word of each quote on the board as you go. You should end up with five of them: temple, rest, souls, easy, light.
Possible discussion questions: Would you be able to use some of these five words that President Nelson highlighted – and explain or describe to a friend the temple experience? Has anyone recently thought they should go to the temple more often? What kind of changes will you need to make in your personal life to go more often? Can anyone share what they do to get to the temple?
TEMPLE = LAMP OIL
You can write this simple phrase on the board.
It means, going to the temple = putting oil in your lamp.
Deepen the discussion: President Nelson said, “those who live the higher laws of Jesus Christ have access to HIS. HIGHER. POWER. (the all-caps represent President Nelson’s voice inflections and emphasis). Thus covenant keepers are entitled to a special kind of rest that comes to them through their covenantal relationship with God.”
covenantal relationship: a divine promise establishing or modifying God’s relationship to humanity or a particular group.
In other words, making and staying faithful to covenants enables you to experience more extraordinary promises and benefits from God, including a special rest (i.e., inner peace, confidence, vigor, know-how, and well-being).
Possible discussion questions: Can temple covenants help us prepare for the Second Coming? In what ways does the temple experience put oil in our lamps? How valuable is peace and rest in today’s world? How is it possible to have peace and assurance with all the turmoil and uncertainty raging through the world? Did you notice an emphasis on temples during the last general conference?
Lesson Organization Notes
This next section is divided into three groups (A, B, and C). You can choose between traditional whole-group discussions like you just did for Quotes #1 and #2, or you can try using small-group discussions. Well-structured small-group discussions are an excellent way to effectively cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. If you have 12 or more people, please consider them. Even introverts enjoy small-group experiences when well-structured (more tips at the end of quote #3).
Tip: If you stay with whole-group discussion, prioritize the quotes in any order and ensure you have time for the most critical content first. You will be inspired to pick the right ones. The Spirit will lead the discussion where it needs to go. Just assume you will not get to all the quotes and be at peace with that.
Quote #3 (overcome)
For both small-group and whole-group lesson plans – have someone read the intro quote and discuss it together as a whole class.
Intro Quote: “Dear brothers and sisters, my message to you today is: because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world and because he atoned for each of us, you too can overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered, and often exhausting world.”
“You can overcome the spiritually and emotionally exhausting plagues of the world including arrogance, pride, anger, immorality, hatred, greed, jealousy, and fear. Despite the distractions and distortions that swirl around us, you can find true rest meaning relief and peace even amid your most vexing problems.”
Quick discussion question: Can you relate to President Nelson’s world description?
Explain to the class President Nelson asked us two questions about overcoming the world and then gave answers to them.
Tip: If using whole-group discussion, follow the outline below. If using small groups, divide the class into several groups of 3-5 people now. Assign “Subset A” to about one-third of the groups and evenly divide Subset “B” and “C” to the rest. See the end of Quote #3 for complete instructions.
No matter which discussion style you choose, ensure everyone has a copy of the quotes (and questions if using small groups).
Question #1 First, what does it mean to overcome the world?
- It means overcoming the temptation to care more about the things of this world than the things of God.
- It means trusting the doctrines of Christ more than the philosophies of men.
- It means delighting in truth, denouncing deception, and becoming humble followers of Christ.
- It means choosing to refrain from anything that drives the Spirit away.
- It means being willing to give away even our favorite sins.
“Now, overcoming the world certainly does not mean becoming perfect in this life. Nor does it mean your problems will magically evaporate; because they won’t. And it does not mean you won’t still make mistakes.”
- But overcoming the world does mean your resistance to sin will increase.
- Your heart will soften as your faith in Jesus Christ increases.
- Overcoming the world means growing to love God and His beloved Son more than you love anyone or anything else.
overcome: get control over, tame, master, conquer, solve
Possible questions: Which item or two on President Nelson’s list are the most meaningful for you today? Why is that? Does anyone mind sharing something they feel they need to work on? Denounce is a strong word. It means: criticize, censure, decry, revile, condemn, discredit, reject. How do you ‘denounce deception’? (call it out – don’t stay silent) What does ‘to overcome’ mean? What do you feel you need to overcome?
Question #2 – How then, do we overcome the world?
“King Benjamin showed us how. He said the natural man is an enemy to God and remains so forever unless he:
- yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.
- puts off the natural man
- becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord
“Each time you seek for and follow the promptings of the Spirit, each time you do anything good (things that the natural man would not do), you are overcoming the world.”
“Overcoming the world is not an event that happens in a day or two. It happens over a lifetime. As we repeatedly embrace the doctrine of Christ, we cultivate faith in Jesus Christ by repenting daily and keeping covenants that endow us with power
We stay on the covenant path and are blessed with: spiritual strength, personal revelation, increasing faith, and the ministering of angels.
overcome: get control over, tame, master, conquer, solve
Possible discussion questions: What is the difference between the natural man and a Saint? How can we become a Saint? What does it mean to ‘overcome’? What has helped you choose sainthood over behaving or reacting like “the natural man”? Do you have a habit that enables you to repent daily? Please share! President Nelson names several blessings from staying on the covenant path. Which ones have you been blessed with recently? How can we have more blessings?
Question #2 (continued) – How then, do we overcome the world?
Living the doctrine of Christ can produce the most powerful, virtuous cycle creating spiritual momentum in our lives. As we strive to live the higher laws of Jesus Christ, our hearts and our very natures begin to change. The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace, and rest.
Now you may be thinking this sounds more like hard spiritual work rather than rest. But here’s the grand truth; while the world insists that power, possessions, popularity, and pleasures of the flesh bring happiness — they do not. They cannot. What they do produce is nothing but a hollow substitute for the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God.
The truth is, it is much more exhausting to seek happiness where you can never find it. However, when you yoke yourself to Jesus Christ and do the spiritual work required to overcome the world, He and He alone does have the power to lift you above the pull of this world.
Possible discussion questions: What do you consider a higher law of Jesus Christ (think temple vows)? Where should we turn when we need more charity (or any real strength or virtue)? What does the world encourage us to pursue? How is that different than what Jesus encourages us to pursue? Do they sometimes clash? How do power, possessions, popularity, and pleasures of the flesh affect us? How long does the Savior’s happiness last? How long does the world’s “happiness” last? Which one feels deeper and fuller?
Follow the outline above. Because there is so much material, I ensure everyone has their own copy to read along. You only need to include the actual quotes, not the questions. If you can, pass out quote assignments earlier in the week or before Sacrament meeting. Let people absorb them before reading them aloud. This upgrades the quality of the discussion!
Do not read quotes from Subset A, B, or C as a class together. Let the individual groups handle that part. Have people split into smaller groups. Assign one-third of the groups “Subset A” and divide the rest between the other two groups, B and C, respectively. Instruct them to skim the quotes independently and discuss the questions together as a group. The questions can be addressed in any order and do not all have to be covered.
About 5-10 minutes.
Essential preparation for introvert-friendly small groups: Give each person their own copy of the quotes and questions to look at. Having A, B, and C on one sheet is okay as long as they know which subset they should focus on. Also, walk around and listen to each group for a bit without directing their conversation. Validate and nod. Only jump in if they are highly challenged, and no one is talking.
At the close of the discussion time, have each group elect a spokesperson to summarize their group’s ideas. Allow others to add comments as you go along. Expect about 15-20 minutes total for Quote #3.
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about President Nelson’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
Thank you for visiting this website! If you are here, it means you are seeking to serve your members better. You’re also probably here because you love President Nelson. I have so much respect for that. Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach – you have important insights into the gospel. 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.” Put the quotes from Part I and Part II in any order you prefer