5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Holland’s latest General Conference talk touched my heart in compelling ways. In fact, it spun my soul when he said, “But the first great truth in the universe is that God loves us exactly that way—wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength.” How grateful I am for a mighty apostle to guide us and teach us.
You may 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 quotes by Jeffrey R. Holland and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (all in)
Elder Holland tells the following story to introduce the topic of dedicated sainthood. Quotes 1 is a great quote. Use it if you feel you have time, but quotes 2, 3, 4, & 5 go over even better discussion material. See what you think.
If you do use this short story, increase participation by inviting someone else – ahead of time – to read or summarize this quote and share a couple of short thoughts about it.
It’s always a good idea to assign quotes to someone else. You do enough directing and facilitating of the discussion. The more people you can get to pitch in and share the spot light, the better the experience for your group.
The scriptures speak of a rich young ruler who ran to Jesus, knelt at His feet, and, with genuine sincerity, asked the Master, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” After reviewing a long list of commandments this fellow had faithfully kept, Jesus told the man to sell all his belongings, give the proceeds to the poor, take up his cross, and follow Him. The boldness of this directive caused the young ruler—in spite of his expensive sandals—to get cold feet, and he went away sorrowing because, the scripture says, “he had great possessions.”
Obviously, this is an important cautionary tale about the uses of wealth and the needs of the poor. But ultimately it is a story about wholehearted, unreserved devotion to divine responsibility. With or without riches, each of us is to come to Christ with the same uncompromised commitment to His gospel that was expected of this young man. In the vernacular of today’s youth, we are to declare ourselves “all in.”
Go right to the next quote you have planned.
Quote #2 (expand the soul)
Of course, we all have some habits or flaws or personal history that could keep us from complete spiritual immersion in this work. But God is our Father and is exceptionally good at forgiving and forgetting sins we have forsaken, perhaps because we give Him so much practice in doing so. In any case, there is divine help for every one of us at any hour we feel to make a change in our behavior. God gave Saul “another heart.” Ezekiel called on all of ancient Israel to cast off her past and “make … a new heart and a new spirit.” Alma called for a “mighty change” that would cause the soul to expand, and Jesus Himself taught that “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Clearly the possibility of change and living at a more elevated level has always been one of the gifts of God to those who seek it.
There’s a wise quote about repentance that reflects Elder Holland’s words, “Repentance is not when you cry, it’s when you change.”
As I reflect on this past week, I realize it has not been my best week, and I need repentance and change in several ways – both secular and spiritual.
Possible discussion questions: You do not need to share, but by raising hands, has anyone ever had a habit or flaw they had to overcome? (Start a great discussion by sharing one of your flaws or habits. Self-disclosing contributions make great discussion starters and liberate others to have a more meaningful discussion) Does anyone else have an example you wouldn’t mind sharing? Why is change necessary for all of us to gain eternal glory? (we all have carnal natures to overcome, or the natural man is an enemy to God) Who can gift us with an extra measure of capacity and change our hearts? (the Father and the Savior)
Quote #3 (tribes and divisions)
Invite class members to think about what we need to help us avoid contention as they listen to this next quote.
Friends, in our present moment we find all manner of divisions and subdivisions, sets and subsets, digital tribes and political identities, with more than enough hostility to go around. Might we ask ourselves if a “higher and holier” life, to use President Russell M. Nelson’s phrase, is something we could seek? When doing so, we would do well to remember that stunning period in the Book of Mormon in which those people asked and answered that question so affirmatively:
“And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land … because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
Possible discussion questions: Why might Elder Holland mention contention as an example of something that needs change and repentance? How might we get the love of God in our hearts? What are some examples of contention and hostility you’ve seen around you lately? How can we make peace in chaotic times? What have you tried that works with other people when they are contentious or try to draw you into an negative exchange? (For some good ideas on this discussion – go to the very last section of “Alma and Amulek’s Powerful Silence“)
Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
Young King Solomon was surrounded by adversaries and challenging situations. He solved the problem by praying for a larger heart and greater understanding of those around him. (1 Kings 4:29) That’s a prayer that works for all of us. The Lord is in the business of growing people and most of the time, the answer to our prayers is to overcome and conquer, to upgrade our capacities and enlarge our souls rather than have problems and adversaries disappear.
Quote #4 (power of hearts)
Elder Holland shares profound spiritual wisdom:
Of course, we are speaking here of the first great commandment given to the human family—to love God wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, that is, with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. This love of God is the first great commandment in the universe. But the first great truth in the universe is that God loves us exactly that way—wholeheartedly, without reservation or compromise, with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. And when those majestic forces from His heart and ours meet without restraint, there is a veritable explosion of spiritual, moral power. Then, as Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “for [the] second time” in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
Jeffrey R. Holland’s words impressed me that the Father and Christ both go all out to love you. As in, they FEEL it. They have passionate, enthusiastic, personable, proactive personalities, and They give their all—loving them back in like manner is also how to pull down power from heaven and God.
What a great quote! It motivates me to upgrade my capacity with Christ, the Father, and with others around me.
Possible discussion questions: Which part of this quote made the most significant impression on you and why? Do you have room to grow in matters of the heart and spirituality? (Do not call on anyone for details, instead ask for volunteers who wouldn’t mind sharing or share something yourself.) How do you picture Heavenly Father’s feelings about you after listening to Elder Holland’s quote?
Quote #5 (worth it)
Elder Holland’s final invitation gives me chills. It reminds me of the quote, “I never said it would be easy; I said it would be worth it.”
Brothers and sisters, I pray we will succeed where that rich young man failed, that we will take up the cross of Christ, however demanding it may be, regardless of the issue and regardless of the cost. I bear witness that when we pledge to follow Him, the path will, one way or another, pass by way of a crown of thorns and a stark Roman cross. No matter how wealthy our young ruler was, he wasn’t wealthy enough to buy his way out of a rendezvous with those symbols, and neither can we. For the blessing of receiving the greatest of all possessions—the gift of eternal life—it is little enough that we are asked to stay the course in following the High Priest of our Profession, our Day Star, Advocate, and King. I testify with obscure Amaleki of old that each of us is to “offer [our] whole souls as an offering unto him.” Of such determined, steadfast devotion, we sing:
Praise the mount; I’m fixed upon it:
Mount of thy redeeming love. …
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for thy courts above.
Possible discussion questions: Are there things in our lives that get in the way of fully following the Savior? What are some examples of those distractions? What does it mean to seal our hearts? (become fully dedicated and ready to endure trials with faith – it also means to keep the heart pure) What distraction do you need to stop giving time to? What do you need to start doing? (Present these as introspective questions – do not require participation) Is there anyone willing to share an answer to one of those questions? (be prepared to share something if no one answers. When you are self-disclosing, you permit others to speak up)
Close by sharing key class highlights, thank them for their excellent participation, and/or share your testimony.
Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach and to emphasize. Put the quotes in whatever order feels best to you – skip sections if you are worried about time. Do not ever worry about covering all the material you prepare. The discussion will go the direction it needs to go and lives are uplifted by your efforts. Blessings to you as you fulfill a vital role in the Savior’s Kingdom – teaching others and instilling a higher faith.
Note: If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.”