5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Bednar reminds us of one of the most essential purposes of our mortal journey…to upgrade our reactions to ‘Stuff Happens.’ Life isn’t about what happens to us so much as it is about how we respond. Every hardship, mistake and misstep has within them the spark of growth and greater stature.
Our own mistakes are not failures as much as they show us what we don’t yet know. Big difference! With the Savior there is always hope of a fresh start and power to push higher. (Which is why I love Him so much.)
Elder Bednar’s complete talk can be found 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 which resonate the most with you and which you feel will 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 David A. Bednar and in blue.
Quote #1 (prove them)
He who authored the plan of salvation described the very purpose of our mortal probation using the words prove, examine, and try in ancient and modern scripture. “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Abraham 3:25)
Elder Bednar gives us three awesome keywords to look at (these work great for small group discussions too).
prove: put to a test, confirm, demonstrate, justify, validate, certify
examine: analyze, explore, probe, review, screen, inquire, survey
try: check, strain, trouble, vex
Possible Discussion Activity: Take a look at the 3 words Elder Bednar chose to highlight – which one stands out to you today and why is it important? Have you ever been “tried”? Why is it important to remain faithful even when our lives are extremely difficult? How do you respond when life is unfair or unkind? What are some ways we can feel peace and strength when trials and tribulations rise?
Possible Scripture Example: Moroni, one of the most righteous, blessed souls ever – endures a traumatic, lonely life. And yet his role and legacy with the Book of Mormon is one of the most influential in our lifetime. Keep pushing ahead no matter what! Your contributions make a difference in this world regardless of the state it is in. (Mormon 8:4-5)
Quote #2 (readiness)
This is a great quote for helping us to be introspective and understand the Savior more intimately. He developed who He was by effort and willpower, it wasn’t magical or automatic.
“We also are promised that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
“And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless.” (D&C 38:30-31)
These scriptures provide a perfect framework for organizing and preparing our lives and homes both temporally and spiritually. Our efforts to prepare for the proving experiences of mortality should follow the example of the Savior, who incrementally “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” — a blended balance of intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social readiness.”
Possible Discussion Activity: Take a couple of minutes to look at Elder Bednar’s list: readiness: intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social. Write down one thing you need to start doing, and one thing you need to stop doing to increase your readiness and “stature.” Ask for volunteers to share what they came up with.
stature: capacity, ability, standing
Possible Questions: What are some potential ways we can prepare our lives and home temporally? What are some potential ways we can prepare our lives and home spiritually? Elder Bednar describes Christ as prepared and well-rounded. Why is that an important example and what does that mean for you today in 2020? How can you become more well-rounded? (Let the weight and diet jokes roll).
Quote #3 (brightness of hope)
We all have sore trials and huge disappointments happen to us. Here’s a heart-touching story and humble example of pressing forward.
I once attended a funeral for a young missionary who was killed in an accident. The missionary’s father spoke in the service and described the heartache of an unexpected mortal separation from a beloved child. He forthrightly declared that he personally did not understand the reasons or timing for such an event. But I always will remember this good man also declaring that he knew God knew the reasons and timing for the passing of his child—and that was good enough for him. He told the congregation that he and his family, though sorrowful, would be fine; their testimonies remained firm and steadfast. He concluded his remarks with this declaration: “I want you to know that as far as the gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned, our family is all in. We are all in.”
Though the loss of a dear loved one was heart-wrenching and difficult, the members of this valiant family spiritually were prepared to prove that they could learn lessons of eternal importance through the things that they suffered.
Faithfulness is not foolishness or fanaticism. Rather, it is trusting and placing our confidence in Jesus Christ as our Savior, on His name, and in His promises. As we “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men,” we are blessed with an eternal perspective and vision that stretches far beyond our limited mortal capacity…”
Possible Questions: Which part of the story made an impression on you today? Have you ever been in a similar situation, where the death of a loved one tried your faith? What does Elder Bednar mean, “prove that they could learn lessons of eternal importance through the things that they suffered”? How or what do we learn from sore trials? It has been said that trust is the highest form of worship we can give…why is that? What does it mean to press forward with steadfastness and a brightness of hope?
Quote #4 (prepare)
On an afternoon a few months ago, Susan and I inventoried our food storage and emergency supplies. At the time, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly, and a series of earthquakes had jolted our home in Utah. We have worked since the earliest days of our marriage to follow prophetic counsel about preparing for unforeseen challenges, so “examining” our state of readiness in the midst of the virus and earthquakes seemed like a good and timely thing to do. We wanted to find out our grades on these unannounced tests.
We learned a great deal. In many areas, our preparatory work was just right. In some other areas, however, improvement was necessary because we had not recognized and addressed particular needs in timely ways.
We also laughed a lot. We discovered, for example, items in a remote closet that had been in our food storage for decades. Frankly, we were afraid to open and inspect some of the containers for fear of unleashing another global pandemic! But you should be happy to know that we properly disposed of the hazardous materials and that health risk to the world was eliminated.
Possible Questions: When is the last time you inspected your food storage and emergency supplies? How are you doing? Do you have 72-hour kits ready to go? Why would Elder Bednar take the time to share this experience in General Conference? Would it be a good idea for our Relief Society or Elders Quorum to start helping its members organize preparedness?
Quote #5 (wrapping it up)
This is a great invitation and probably a good small group discussion too. Then groups can share what they came up with (one spokesperson per group).
I invite each of us to “consider [our] ways” and “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith; [and] prove [our] own selves.” What have we learned during these recent months of lifestyle adjustments and restrictions? What do we need to improve in our lives spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually? Now is the time to prepare and prove ourselves willing and able to do all things whatsoever the Lord our God shall command us.
Our own mistakes are not failures as much as they show us what we don’t yet know.Shawnie Cannon – Divine Code
Possible Discussion Questions: What have you learned during these last few months during the pandemic and other hardships? What personal challenges surprised you the most? How can we be better prepared next time? How is your relationship with the Savior? How can we find confidence and peace during harder times – what has worked for you? Does the ministering program need adjustments – how can we problem solve and do better moving forward? (Ask people avoid a gripe session – but rather contribute what works and what they’re willing to do to make it better for others moving forward?)
Remember, you were called to lead this lesson for a reason. Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach. Thank you for taking the time to prepare yourself! Helping other people get prepared, make improvements and feel more secure during troubled times is an angel’s errand.