5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Is anyone else loving on President Nelson? He pierced my soul with a challenge to end a personal conflict in two weeks. His talk is full of light and is possibly life-changing. See what you think?
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 quotes by President Nelson and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
2 Possible Lesson Plans
- Quote #1 then Quote #4 (all whole-group discussion).
- All Quotes: I would do #2 and #3 briefly (not a lot of discussion, use one question or no questions), then quote #1 (whole-group), and then quote #4 (small group).
Quote #1 (you)
This prophetic invitation has a tremendous capacity to bless your group. Budget about 10 minutes for this quote if you use the suggested activity.
Possible engagement tools:
- Invite your class to resist the temptation to think about anyone else and what someone else “ought” to do as they listen. In other words, apply the following quote just to yourself in your head.
- Extend an invitation to be conscious of what solutions or ideas for action they find in their heart or mind as they listen to President Nelson.
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.
We are followers of the Prince of Peace. Now more than ever, we need the peace only He can bring. How can we expect peace to exist in the world when we are not individually seeking peace and harmony? Brothers and sisters, I know what I’m suggesting is not easy. But followers of Jesus Christ should set the example for all the world to follow. I plead with you to do all you can to end personal conflicts that are currently raging in your hearts and in your lives.
Possible activity: Pass out pencil and paper before the quote is read. Emphasize what they write remains their private property, and no one will be called on to share. Why write? The act of writing opens up the mind and increases the ability to reflect. Writing also invites the Spirit in, so we are frequently counseled to journal and write spiritual impressions.
Tip: Participate in this activity along with everyone else.
Use music or a moment of silence.
Give your group a minute to write down someone they recently experienced conflict within their personal life. In other words, 1) use the moment to reflect on a troubling conflict within the last day, week, or month. Using someone’s initials is fine.
Take another minute for steps 2 and 3 together:
2) Write a one or two-word description of that conflict.
3) Write out a one or two-word honest description of how that conflict makes you feel.
Of course, anyone is welcome to write more if they want, and it’s great if they do.
Extend invitations to engage with the quote. (See “possible engagement tools” above the quote.)
4) Have someone read President Nelson’s quote #1 above.
Tip: Have someone else read the quotes (or verses) when giving any lesson; you already have the floor a lot of the time.
Possible questions: How do you feel about President Nelson as a prophet? What impressed you about the quote we just read? What stood out to you? Who would you be without the conflict that is troubling you – how would you feel? Why end conflicts even when someone else is at fault? (It is terrifically empowering to lay down a trespass because you chose to, not because someone made restitution.) Did ideas of what to do come to your mind or heart as you listened to this quote? Why is it important to focus on yourself when it comes to conflict?
Quote #2 (momentum)
Suggestion: Spend less time on quotes #2 and #3, or save them for backup.
President Nelson focused on the word “momentum” and used it as a foundation for the rest of his talk:
May I underscore this call to action by discussing a concept I was reminded of recently while watching a basketball game.
In that game, the first half was a seesaw battle, back and forth. Then, during the last five seconds of the first half, a guard on one team made a beautiful three-point shot. With only one second left, his teammate stole the inbound pass and made another basket at the buzzer! So that team went into the locker room four points ahead with a palpable surge of momentum. They were able to carry that momentum into the second half and win the game.
Momentum is a powerful concept. We all have experienced it in one form or another—for example, in a vehicle that picks up speed or with a disagreement that suddenly turns into an argument.
momentum: energy, strength, driving power, steam, velocity, speed
Possible discussion questions: How would you describe momentum to a friend in your own words?
Quote #3 (spiritual momentum)
Tip: prioritize the quotes and make sure you have time for the most critical content first. You will be inspired to pick the right ones.
So I ask, what can ignite spiritual momentum? We have seen examples of both positive and negative momentum. We know followers of Jesus Christ who became converted and grew in their faith. But we also know of once-committed believers who fell away. Momentum can swing either way.
We have never needed positive spiritual momentum more than we do now, to counteract the speed with which evil and the darker signs of the times are intensifying. Positive spiritual momentum will keep us moving forward amid the fear and uncertainty created by pandemics, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and armed hostilities. Spiritual momentum can help us withstand the relentless, wicked attacks of the adversary and thwart his efforts to erode our personal spiritual foundation.
Did you happen to notice President Nelson is warning that more natural disasters and wars are coming? That it will get worse? He is a huge blessing by giving us a heads up and handing us a survival guide!
Possible questions: Do you hear a warning from President Nelson in this quote – what is it? What do you consider a darker sign of the time, and how is it increasing? How can spiritual momentum help us with natural disasters? What can erode our spiritual foundation?
Lesson Organization Notes
President Nelson gives us an excellent 5-step survival guide for increasingly complex times. There are two ways to cover Quote #4: whole-class discussion or small-group discussion.
Both lesson plans are included at the end of section #4. However, I recommend the small-group option and include instructions for making small groups easier and more likable – even for introverts. (I’m an introvert.)
If you opt for a whole-class discussion, you will likely only have time for Quote #4 and one other quote (which is fine). If you opt for small-group discussion, you will have more time to cover the lesson material.
Nonetheless, see what you feel comfortable with and can visualize yourself doing. Consider the size and the personality of your group.
Quote #4 (a prophet’s 5-step guide)
This section is divided into 2 groups (A and B). Small group and whole group instructions are located at the end of Quote #4.
For both small-group and whole-group lesson plans – have someone read the intro quote and the “First” quote to the whole class:
Intro – Today, I would like to suggest five specific actions we can take to help us maintain positive spiritual momentum.
First: Get on the covenant path and stay there.
“…we enter the covenant path by being baptized and making our first covenant with God. Each time we partake of the sacrament, we promise again to take the name of the Savior upon us, to remember Him, and to keep His commandments. In return, God assures us that we may always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us.”
“Later we make additional covenants in the temple, where we receive even greater promises. Ordinances and covenants give us access to godly power. The covenant path is the only path that leads to exaltation and eternal life.”
Possible questions: How important is the sacrament in our lives? President Nelson mentions ordinances and covenants give us access to godly power. Does the sacrament ever do that for you? Did anyone notice how much the apostles talked about the temple during the last General Conference? Why do you think it is such an important topic for us right now? Why do you personally like going to the temple? Who has plans to go soon? When are you going next?
Tip: If using whole-group discussion, just follow the outline below. If using small-group, divide the class into several groups of 3-5 people. Hand out “Subset A” to about half the groups and Subset “B” to the other half. See the end of Quote #4 for complete instructions.
Discover the joy of daily repentance.
How important is repentance? Alma taught that we should “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord.” Repentance is required of every accountable person who desires eternal glory. There are no exceptions. In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord chastised early Church leaders for not teaching the gospel to their children. Repenting is the key to progress. Pure faith keeps us moving forward on the covenant path.
Please do not fear or delay repenting. Satan delights in your misery. Cut it short. Cast his influence out of your life! Start today to experience the joy of putting off the natural man. The Savior loves us always but especially when we repent. He promised that though “the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed … my kindness shall not depart from thee.”
“Walking the covenant path, coupled with daily repentance, fuels positive spiritual momentum.”
Possible discussion questions: Why do we sometimes fear or delay repenting? President Nelson used “joy” and “repentance” in the same sentence. Why? What might you say if you were to explain repentance to a friend? What’s a good way to repent daily? (reflection, prayers, humility, reaching for the Savior, etc.) How do you feel about President Nelson’s statement that “the Savior loves us always but especially when we repent”?
Invite the class to think about what they need to stop doing or start doing.
Learn about God and how He works.
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.
Possible Questions: What does President Nelson mean by “frightening speed”? What is taking place in the world around us? Do you have friends or family who have lost their testimony or left the Church? Is it possible that you, someday, might lose your testimony? How can we give God a “fair share” of our time?
Seek and expect miracles.
“…the Lord will bless you with miracles if you believe in Him, “doubting nothing.” Do the spiritual work to seek miracles. Prayerfully ask God to help you exercise that kind of faith. I promise that you can experience for yourself that Jesus Christ “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Few things will accelerate your spiritual momentum more than realizing the Lord is helping you to move a mountain in your life.”
Possible questions: Do you believe the Lord grants miracles and tender mercies? Why do you believe that? What is a miracle or tender mercy you are grateful for? What are some examples of the mountains in our lives? Have you ever prayed for something and found it answered in an unexpected way?
End conflict in your personal life.
I repeat my call to end the conflicts in your life. Exercise the humility, courage, and strength required both to forgive and to seek forgiveness. The Savior has promised that “if [we] forgive men their trespasses, [our] heavenly Father will also forgive [us].”
Two weeks from today we celebrate Easter. Between now and then, I invite you to seek an end to a personal conflict that has weighed you down. Could there be a more fitting act of gratitude to Jesus Christ for His Atonement? If forgiveness presently seems impossible, plead for power through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to help you. As you do so, I promise personal peace and a burst of spiritual momentum.
Possible Questions: President Nelson repeated the call to end a personal conflict twice in the same talk; why do you think that is? Easter was about 2 weeks after Conference – can we still use his counsel today?
Follow the outline above. Because there is so much material, I would make sure 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 even before Sacrament meeting and let people absorb them before reading them aloud. This practice typically upgrades the quality of discussion!
Do not read quotes from Subset A or B as a class together. Let the individual groups handle that part. Have people split into smaller groups. Assign one half of the groups “Subset A,” and the other groups Subset B. Instruct them to skim through the two quotes for their subset and group – on their own and then discuss the questions together after the quotes. 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 in hand to look at. It’s okay to have both A and B on one sheet as long as they know which subset they’re supposed to 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 #4.
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.
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 teacher. 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 leaves easter eggs [hidden details or not so hidden details] in all of his talks now. I should probably make a list from 2018 on. Not everyone will pick up on those precepts immediately, so let’s highlight this one from Quote #4 (“Learn about God and how He works”)
“…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. If that happened, study this phrase a couple more times.
“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.” In fact, the dictionary definition of the gospel is: “the teaching or revelation of Christ” and “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.
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 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 the 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 and a quote from President Nelson:
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)
“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.”
I invite you to embrace both President Nelson and Nephi as they teach how to be close to the Savior.