5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
This talk is one of my favorites from the October 2020 General Conference. Sister Craig extends a powerful invitation to be more engaged with people around us, with the heavens and ourselves. Michelle Craig does a beautiful job of delivering enlightenment and motivation for a richer, purpose-driven life.
Her 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 Michelle Craig and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (open your eyes)
Sister Craig opens with a story – while I love this quote and principle, the other 4 quotes are home runs for discussion and engaging content. Take care to read them all before you pick which ones to highlight for your lesson.
I love the Old Testament story of a young man who served the prophet Elisha. Early one morning the young man woke up, went outside, and found the city surrounded by a great army intent on destroying them. He ran to Elisha: “Alas, my master! how shall we do?”
Elisha answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
Elisha knew the young man needed more than calming reassurance; he needed vision. And so “Elisha prayed, … Lord, … open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
There may be times when you, like the servant, find yourself struggling to see how God is working in your life—times when you feel under siege—when the trials of mortality bring you to your knees. Wait and trust in God and in His timing, because you can trust His heart with all of yours. But there is a second lesson here. My dear sisters and brothers, you too can pray for the Lord to open your eyes to see things you would not normally see.
Possible Questions: How does Elisha’s answer, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” make you feel? Is our mortal perspective sometimes different than an eternal perspective? What helps you remember the bigger picture? Have you ever prayed for your eyes to be opened? Have you ever prayed for help and gotten it in a way you didn’t expect?
Quote #2 (seeing ourselves)
Seeing Ourselves as God Sees Us: Perhaps the most important things for us to see clearly are who God is and who we really are—sons and daughters of heavenly parents, with a “divine nature and eternal destiny.” Ask God to reveal these truths to you, along with how He feels about you. The more you understand your true identity and purpose, soul deep, the more it will influence everything in your life.
This ties in perfectly with a quote from Elder Andersen last April (2020). Elder Andersen shares some important truths about Heavenly Father.
“Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God [Heavenly Father**] powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly…God knows and loves each of us and…He eagerly desires to reveal Himself to us…Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.”
**Note: “God” is already established as Heavenly Father in the original paragraphs leading to this one.
Possible Questions: Have you ever asked Heavenly Father how he feels about you? What is the difference between understanding a gospel truth in our head and understanding it “soul deep”? How are the two different? (Even the simplest gospel concept becomes powerful and memorable when the Holy Ghost carries it to our heart as well as our mind.) Are you open enough to the idea that Heavenly Father would talk specifically to you? How can we have more experiences like this?
Quote #3 (deeply seen)
Understanding how God sees us prepares the way to help us see others as He does. Columnist David Brooks said: “Many of our society’s great problems flow from people not feeling seen and known. … [There is a] core … trait that we all have to get … better at[, and that] is the trait of seeing each other deeply and being deeply seen.”
Jesus Christ sees people deeply. He sees individuals, their needs, and who they can become. Where others saw fishermen, sinners, or publicans, Jesus saw disciples; where others saw a man possessed by devils, Jesus looked past the outward distress, acknowledged the man, and healed him.
Even in our busy lives, we can follow the example of Jesus and see individuals—their needs, their faith, their struggle, and who they can become.
Possible Questions: How does it feel when someone sees you deeply? What were the circumstances? How can we see others deeply? (Recognize their needs, acknowledge their strengths, be safe for confiding their struggles and detect their gifts that need encouragement.) How does this fit into our ministering roles? You’ve gotten impressions of who you need to talk to and connect with as we discuss this talk – let’s take a moment to write those thoughts down. Visualize when and how you will talk to them and what you will say or do and write those down as well.
Quote #4 (stop and start)
As I pray for the Lord to open my eyes to see things I might not normally see, I often ask myself two questions and pay attention to the impressions that come: “What am I doing that I should stop doing?” and “What am I not doing that I should start doing?”
Maybe one of the best questions we can ask ourselves every day or every Sabbath day during the Sacrament?
Possible Discussion Activity: “What should you start doing and what should you stop doing”? Another small writing exercise. With or without background music, give people a couple of minutes to think about and write down what comes to their mind. Ask if anyone wants to voluntarily share what came up for them. Be sure to share your own if initial participation is slow.
Quote #5 (someone noticed)
There’s a whole beautiful story about a young girl’s simple act of loveliness and the profound impact it had (Rozlyn). It seems a small act of kindness becomes something much bigger in people’s hearts? I’ve not copied the story here, but it’s definitely a candidate for your lesson. You could perhaps paraphrase it or assign someone to read it?
“That sweet 16-year-old young woman, less than half my age, found me every Sunday for the rest of that year to give me a hug and ask, ‘How are you?’ It made such a difference in how I felt about coming to church. The truth is I started to rely on those hugs. Someone noticed me. Someone knew I was there. Someone cared.”
As with all gifts the Father so willingly offers, seeing deeply requires us to ask Him—and then act. Ask to see others as He does—as His true sons and daughters with infinite and divine potential. Then act by loving, serving, and affirming their worth and potential as prompted. As this becomes the pattern of our lives, we will find ourselves becoming “true followers of … Jesus Christ.” Others will be able to trust our hearts with theirs. And in this pattern we will also discover our own true identity and purpose.
Possible Discussion: Joseph Smith once said, “When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind.” Have you ever had someone turn your whole day around by just a simple smile and some friendliness? What happens when we stop noticing and caring about others? Who becomes the biggest voice in a lonely person’s head? (Satan). Both the written word and the spoken word are more powerful than Satan’s influence on our thoughts. How can we put that knowledge to use?
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! Teaching and encouraging increased faith and actions are some of the most important works you can contribute, to the Kingdom of God.