5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
This talk took me a long time to put together. But it was completely worth it. This lesson will make for a great discussion in both Relief Society and Elders Quorum. Sister Craig includes a wonderful set of scriptures to study along with her talk attached in the footnotes. I’ve used a few of those verses.
You can find Sister Craig’s 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 Michelle D. Craig (unless otherwise noted).
Possible Quote Sequence
- You may or may not have time to cover all of these quotes – be at peace with that. I would do quote #5 early on in the lesson and include Emily’s story (quote #3) because Sister Craig hits on the same central point a lot. Both quotes 5 and 3 add variety to the lesson. As you pick questions for each quote, try to pick ones that sound different than the questions used for the other quotes so you have a rounded discussion.
- I would do 3, 4, 5, 2 and 1 – in that order.
Quote #1 (troubles)
This is a fundamental truth we all have to face and come to grips with at some point in our testimony and gospel understanding. The divine plan is for us to conquer troubles and become equal or greater than they are. A favored, blessed life never meant we would avoid tribulation. While it is true that righteous living will help us avoid many unnecessary troubles and increase the blessings in our lives, troubles, opposition, and unexpected setbacks are guaranteed to us all.
When your faith, your family, or your future are challenged—when you wonder why life is so hard when you are doing your best to live the gospel—remember that the Lord told us to expect troubles. Troubles are part of the plan and do not mean you’ve been abandoned; they are part of what it means to be His. He was, after all, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
I am learning that Heavenly Father is more interested in my growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ than He is with my comfort. I may not always want it to be that way—but it is!
Possible discussion questions: When you are having a terrible day or a significant trial in your life – what can you do to help yourself through that? Why is it important to remember that even the Savior was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? What benefits us most in the end, challenges or comfort? How do trials help us grow?
Quote #2 (approach)
The very first sentence of this quote is super insightful. It’s a great reminder that some of life’s most important gifts and contributions to our well-being come by way of challenges and growth – not by luxury or comfort.
Living in convenience does not bring power. The power we need to withstand the heat of our day is the Lord’s power, and His power flows through our covenants with Him.
The point of walking the covenant path is to approach the Savior. He is the point, not our perfect progress. It is not a race, and we must not compare our journey to others’. Even when we stumble, He is there.
Sister Craig beautifully lays out the most straightforward reason for our Church membership and all that we do: “The point of walking the covenant path is to approach the Savior. He is the point, not [whether our progress is perfect or not].”
Possible discussion questions: How does taking the sacrament or going to the temple help the Lord’s power to flow through you? How do trials make you more powerful? (They develop a deeper, stronger version of you.) If you sum up the purpose of your spiritual and religious life as approaching the Savior – what are some of the essential things you might do? How often would you do them?
Quote #3 (emily)
You can find the full story about Emily here. I would either assign someone to read it or, even better, summarize it. Here is the ending:
The next morning when Emily did not come for breakfast, my brothers went to find her—there she was, sad and alone behind a closed door. Emily reflected on this experience later: “I was crushed. But what would have happened if I had just opened the door? What would I have heard? What would I have smelled? I would have known I was not alone. I would have known I really was loved. The thought never even crossed my mind to do something about my situation. I just gave up and stayed in my closet crying. And yet if I had simply opened the door.”
My sister made an assumption based on what she saw, but it wasn’t a reflection of the way things actually were. Isn’t it interesting that we, like Emily, can become so weighed down in sadness or hurt or discouragement or worry or loneliness or anger or frustration that it doesn’t even occur to us to simply do something, to open the door, to act with faith in Jesus Christ?
Opening the door is simple and represents that our path to greater well-being is often more simple things, but we don’t do them.
Possible discussion questions: Use Sister Craig’s question (last bolded sentence above.) Do we sometimes let ourselves get “so weighed down” and carried away in negative emotions? Are there times when we could do simple things to calm or help ourselves? What are some simple acts of faith that can help us? Have you ever had an experience where prayer changed how you felt in a difficult situation?
Quote #4 (the big point)
When hard times come, I try to remember that I chose to follow Christ before I came to earth and that challenges to my faith, my health, and my endurance are all part of the reason I’m here. And I certainly should never think that today’s trial calls into question God’s love for me or let it turn my faith in Him into doubt. Trials do not mean that the plan is failing; they are part of the plan meant to help me seek God. I become more like Him when I endure patiently, and hopefully, like Him, when in agony, I pray more earnestly.
Trials, tragedy, and agony were a part of the plan for even the greatest of all. We know Heavenly Father loved Christ; there is no questioning that. Yet when the same things happen to us, we somehow think it’s more legitimate or rational to question if God loves us. When we face sore times – it was never about whether we are loved; it’s about what part of us needs to grow, overcome, and triumph.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44)
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The favored, chosen, and most beloved of God get going when the going gets tough. And we come out the other end as an enhanced, better version of ourselves. Christ is our Ultimate Example.
Possible discussion questions: Are trials, tragedy, and agony part of the plan for God’s chosen? What could you tell a friend who was going through tough times and felt God overlooked her or didn’t love her? What can an earnest, fervent prayer do for us? Have you ever looked back on a challenging time and realized it made you a better person?
Quote #5 (four readers)
Sister Craig attached footnotes to her General Conference talk, complementing her thoughts beautifully. This is a lovely opportunity to give your group a chance to express their feelings about Jesus Christ.
Possible activity: Divide this quote into four readers and explain that Sister Craig attached footnotes to her talk, and we’re going to match up a few of the verses she chose from Romans, chapter 8. Notice why the verses are an excellent match to Sister Craig’s talk.
(If you don’t read the verses or do the activity, combine Reader #1 and Reader #3 and use them as one quote.)
Reader #1 (Craig)
My fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, with all my heart, I choose to stand with the Lord. I choose to stand with His chosen servants—President Russell M. Nelson and his fellow Apostles—for they speak for Him and are the stewards of the ordinances and covenants that tie me to the Savior.
And until the day that the everyday wounds of mortality are healed, I will wait upon the Lord and trust Him—His timing, His wisdom, His plan.
Reader #2 (Apostle Paul)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Possible quick question: How does Sister Craig’s quote correspond with the verse from Romans 8:28? (i.e., they both suggest patience and faith – they both address that everything bad and good has a purpose in your life if you are tied to the Savior.)
Reader #3 (Craig)
Arm in arm with you, I want to stand with Him forever. Wholehearted. Knowing that when we love Jesus Christ with all our hearts, He gives us all in return.
Reader #4 (Apostle Paul)
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Possible quick question: How does Sister Craig’s statement, “He gives us all in return,” match the apostle Paul’s description of the magnitude and power of Christ’s love?
Possible discussion questions: How would you describe Sister Craig’s faith in the Savior? How do you feel about Christ? Of these quotes and verses, which part stands out for you today?
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Sister Craig’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.
Sister Craig teaches important principles about hard times in life. As the chaos and tribulation around us increase – her teachings become more relevant. Good luck sharing this lesson and thank you so much for preparing yourself and searching for content to share with your group. We all love teachers who make an effort to pull a great lesson together.
Put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you. If you would like tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.“