5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Elder Bednar is a powerhouse of an apostle. He dives deep, and sometimes his talks take effort to study – but the time is always worth it. This general conference talk addresses the empowerment God targeted for our everyday lives, found in ordinances and covenants. The topic makes for a great discussion!
You may find his complete 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 David A. Bednar and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (fundamental)
Quick Note: Elder Bednar’s quotes can be taught in any order. Prioritize the quotes that mean the most to you and cover those first. If it were me: 4, 5, 2, 3, 1 (or 5, 4, 2, 3, 1).
This quote makes a great intro, but maybe an even better closing quote (without discussion questions).
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and the great tool of conversion in the latter days. Our purpose in sharing the gospel is to invite all to come unto Jesus Christ, receive the blessings of the restored gospel, and endure to the end through faith in the Savior. Helping individuals to experience the mighty change of heart and bind themselves to the Lord through sacred covenants and ordinances are the fundamental objectives of preaching the gospel.
Quote #2 (purpose of temples)
A helpful quote to re-visit the temple’s purpose and tie the rest of the lesson into attending the temple – a place we can find righteousness and the power of God in great glory.
Our purpose in building temples is to make available the holy places wherein the sacred covenants and ordinances necessary for the salvation and exaltation of the human family can be administered, for both the living and the dead. Moroni’s instruction to Joseph Smith about the vital role of Elijah and priesthood authority expanded the work of salvation and exaltation on this side of the veil and initiated in our dispensation the work for the dead on the other side of the veil.
Possible discussion questions: How can attending the temple help us in our everyday challenges and problems? Does the temple strengthen you in perceivable ways? How?
Quote #3 (easy yoke)
This is a simple point, but have you ever wondered what the Savior means by “take my yoke upon you”? I love Elder Bednar’s straightforward, uncomplicated answer.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We take the Savior’s yoke upon us as we learn about, worthily receive, and honor sacred covenants and ordinances. We are bound securely to and with the Savior as we faithfully remember and do our best to live in accordance with the obligations we have accepted. And that bond with Him is the source of spiritual strength in every season of our lives.
Ordinances and covenants provide us with increased abilities for righteousness and access to the power of God in great glory.
Possible discussion questions: Which is your favorite ordinance and why? Who has been back to the temple recently, and how did it feel to you? Have you ever felt strength from your visits to the temple? Who wouldn’t mind sharing an experience? (be ready to share an understanding of your own if no one volunteers)
Quote #4 (mini stories)
This is the perfect material for breaking into discussion groups if variety appeals to you. I’ve included instructions below the stories for discussion groups even introverts will like.
Or have four class members read the intro and three stories right in a row.
Because this is a lot of material to consider – make sure everyone has their copy of the intro and stories to follow along. Invite your class or smaller groups to pay attention to which story stands out to them today and why? Do not worry about discussing all three stories; you taught them simply by having them read them. The ones that your group needs to discuss the most will be the ones that get the most airtime.
Intro quote: Nephi “beheld the church of the Lamb of God [in the latter days], and its numbers were few, … the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions … were small.”
He also “beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, … and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.”
The phrase “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” is not simply a nice idea or an example of beautiful scriptural language. Rather, these blessings are readily evident in the lives of countless latter-day disciples of the Lord.
Story #1 I witnessed the righteousness and power of God in great glory, received through faithfulness to covenants and ordinances, in the life of a young Church member who was partially paralyzed in a horrific automobile accident. After this individual’s grueling months of recovery and adapting to a new lifestyle with restricted mobility, I met and talked with this stalwart soul. During our conversation I asked, “What has this experience helped you to learn?” The immediate response was, “I am not sad. I am not mad. And everything will be OK.”
Story #2 I witnessed the righteousness and power of God in great glory, received through faithfulness to covenants and ordinances, in the lives of newly baptized and confirmed members of the Church. These converts were eager to learn and serve, willing but often unsure about how to set aside old habits and strong traditions, and yet joyful to become “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
Story #3 I witnessed the righteousness and power of God in great glory, received through faithfulness to covenants and ordinances, in the lives of a family who cared tenderly for a spouse and parent with a terminal disease. These valiant disciples described times that their family felt all alone—and times they knew the hand of the Lord was lifting and strengthening them. This family expressed sincere gratitude for the difficult mortal experiences that allow us to grow and become more like our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. God succored and blessed this family with the companionship of the Holy Ghost and made their home as sacred a place of refuge as the temple.
Possible questions (whole-group discussion): After listening to Elder Bednar and the stories, ask your group: Which story stands out for you today? Why does it touch you? Have you had any similar experiences?
Small group option: Have people split into small groups (3-5 people per group if possible). Instruct them to skim through the three stories on their own and then decide as a group which 1 or 2 they want to discuss together for 5-10 minutes (Having their own copy of stories and questions in hand to look at and discussing the options as a group are a great warm-up for introverts). 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. The following group questions are best put on the same paper as the 3 stories: Which story stands out for you today? Why does it touch you? Have you had a similar experience? 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 for this activity.
Quote #5 (illogical peace and comfort)
Many of us have passed through the trials of divorce and/or the loss of fidelity and love. I had to read this story several times before the peace and truth of it settled on my soul. We may never hear an apology in this life from the one who hurt us so deeply. Yet I can picture a Savior so loving, so understanding, and so kind that he would tell you, “I’m so sorry for what you went through. I’ve watched and witnessed your pain every single moment.” And you would deeply know and feel that someone magnanimously, completely understood everything – and loved and esteemed you even more for all you went through.
7 My son [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8)
I witnessed the righteousness and power of God in great glory, received through faithfulness to covenants and ordinances, in the life of a Church member who experienced the heartache of divorce. This sister’s spiritual and emotional distress was heightened by a sense of unfairness associated with her spouse’s violation of covenants and the breakup of their marriage. She wanted justice and accountability.
As this faithful woman was struggling with all that had happened to her, she studied and pondered the Savior’s Atonement more intently and intensely than ever before in her life. Gradually, a deeper understanding of Christ’s redemptive mission distilled upon her soul—His suffering for our sins and also for our pains, weaknesses, disappointments, and anguish. And she was inspired to ask herself a penetrating question: since the price already has been paid for those sins, would you demand that the price be paid twice? She realized that such a requirement would be neither just nor merciful.
This woman learned that binding herself to the Savior through covenants and ordinances can heal the wounds caused by another person’s unrighteous exercise of moral agency and enabled her to find the capacity to forgive and receive peace, mercy, and love.
The truth is we are miserable when we focus on the guilt of others no matter how much they deserve it. There is no happiness, satisfaction, or peace for us there.
Possible discussion questions: Does forgiveness work in a situation where the other person shows no remorse? What would be your advice for a friend going through a similar trial? How does forgiveness help us with difficult people, disturbing thoughts, and complicated emotions? Have you ever felt the peace of forgiveness? What did it feel like?
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about our access to the power of God in great glory.
Elder Bednar gets us to think about the gospel with more profound thoughts and helps us make valuable connections we might not think of on our own. This is a beautiful lesson to prepare for your group. Feel confident in what you feel drawn to teach and in what order you want to present it. You were called to teach this lesson for a reason, and your efforts bless others. May the Spirit rest on you and guide you!
Note: If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.”