5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Christofferson reviews a critical topic that always needs refreshing and review. The sealing power and eternal families are two of the most important aspects of our restored gospel.
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 D. Todd Christofferson (unless otherwise noted).
- Please don’t worry if you only get through a couple of quotes. Spiritual discussion is golden; it resonates and teaches more than a lecture covering all points will.
- If the discussion gets too secular, pull it back to the quotes and a spiritual tone…naturally and with tact.
- Encourage discussion by accepting all reasonable answers. Validate people for participating and be thankful they spoke up. Engage with the answer in a conversational way whenever it feels natural. Never say, “We haven’t got to that part of the lesson yet.”
- If a lesson takes a different turn, roll with it. The Spirit intends for you to be successful.
Quote #1 (intro )
This quote is a perfect intro and warm-up to the rest of the lesson. You don’t have to spend much time on it, BUT if it opens up a spiritual discussion – let it roll.
Quick discussion questions: What evidence do you see of this gathering today? Let’s answer Elder Christofferson’s question. What do you think the purpose of the gathering is? (Accept all reasonable answers – maybe write them on the board.)
Quote #2 (protection)
Protection is on a lot of minds these days as we watch riots and warfare increase and infrastructure and civility fall. How soon before we have to face it more than we do now?
By revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord identified one purpose as the protection of the covenant people. He said, “The gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, [will] be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.” “Wrath” in this context may be understood as the natural consequences of widespread disobedience to the laws and commandments of God.
without mixture: means full-out catastrophe that isn’t diluted in any way to tone down or soften the effects.
The “whole earth” means where you’re located as well. The wrath and desolation will come to everyone’s town.
Possible discussion questions: Have you felt that loss of peace is happening yet? Why is it essential to be a covenant person during the upcoming days? The scriptures describe Zion as a defense and a refuge from the storm. What does that mean to you? Why is it important to grow our spiritual habits like prayer, scriptures, and magnifying our callings? Who do we need to draw closer to in order to withstand the coming days? (accept all reasonable answers – Jesus Christ!)
Quote #3 (the way)
Optional engagement tool: Invite the members to think about the temple and how they feel about having temples.
There is another vital purpose in the gathering of Israel that has special meaning when we talk about sealing on earth and in heaven—that is the building and operation of temples. As the Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “What was the object of gathering the … people of God in any age of the world? … The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.”
I love that phrase, “teach the people the way” of salvation. So often, we use the word “path,” but I prefer way. Because “way” implies daily movement. It’s a lifestyle word.
Possible discussion questions: What do “the ordinances of His house” mean? (He is directly referring to the temple) How would you describe your temple experiences? Why do you attend? What is your favorite part about the temple and temple work? What advantage do the Lord’s ordinances give us? How is the sealing power used in our temples, and why does it matter? How does temple work fit into the “way of salvation”?
Quote #4 (temple work)
Possible discussion questions: Does anyone remember their sealing in the temple? What could you share with us about that day? Why do marriages sealed for all eternity matter to us? How important is it that we be sealed to our ancestors and form an eternal chain? How often do you like to return to the temple? Have you ever taken your own name to the temple? Why did you do it, and how did that feel?
“And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15)
Quote #5 (many)
Elder Christofferson uses the word “some.” But I will venture that it is many, if not most, of us. Achieving a happy family life and healthy, extended family circles are increasingly challenging as the world turns increasingly chaotic. Today’s culture infiltrates and destroys marriages and family relationships and/or presents us with many challenges.
Possible engagement tool: Have two people read this quote, paragraph #1 and paragraph #2—one right after the other.
We can see why “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” At the same time, we recognize that in the imperfect present, this is not the reality or even a realistic possibility for some. But we have hope in Christ. While we wait upon the Lord, President M. Russell Ballard reminds us that “scriptures and latter-day prophets confirm that everyone who is faithful in keeping gospel covenants will have the opportunity for exaltation.”
Some have experienced unhappy and unhealthy family circumstances and feel little desire for an eternal family association. Elder David A. Bednar made this observation: “To you who have experienced the heartache of a divorce in your family or felt the agony of violated trust, please remember [that God’s pattern for families] begins again with you! One link in the chain of your generations may have been broken, but the other righteous links and what remains of the chain are nonetheless eternally important. You can add strength to your chain and perhaps even help to restore the broken links. That work will be accomplished one by one.”
Don’t give up. Don’t feel like your current situation is the final marker of your life. Don’t be shocked that chaos finds its way into your personal life and relationships. But do plant yourself firmly in correct principles and hold fast to the brightness of hope. Elder Uchtdorf says it beautifully:
Possible discussion questions: What challenges do our marriage and family relationships face today? How does culture and society increase opposition to the happiness of marriages and families? Many people aren’t able to marry for one reason or another – what would be your advice to those in that situation? Why is it so essential to have charity and patience in our relationships? How can the Savior help us have better relationships?
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.
I’m thankful to anyone who teaches important doctrine like this on Sunday. We must be reminded of our religion’s essential elements and why we are Latter-day Saints. 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.