5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
President Nelson’s counsel is clear and direct, yet he empowers us. He ends this talk by saying, “God lives! Jesus is the Christ! This is His Church, restored to help you fulfill your divine destiny.”
He truly believes in your divine destiny and ever since January 2018 – spends a lot of time and energy prophesying how to get you there. This talk is no exception. He intends to upgrade us to a Zion-worthy group of Saints able to navigate the last days. I love this prophet. Can you believe he is 97 years old?
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 President Russell M. Nelson and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (firm foundation)
President Nelson starts with a video that highlights the repair work underneath the Salt Lake Temple. Even the best videos turn a group passive, and they slow down participation – so as a teacher, I would skip playing media. Go right to the quotes and discussion instead.
Possible introduction: summarize the temple foundation video in under a minute. Share the highlights you remember and what stood out to you. Then have someone read this quote and start a class discussion with thought-provoking questions (some suggestions found after the quote).
We are sparing no effort to give this venerable temple, which had become increasingly vulnerable, a foundation that will withstand the forces of nature into the Millennium. In like manner, it is now time that we each implement extraordinary measures—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.
My dear brothers and sisters, these are the latter days. If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
So I ask each of you, how firm is your foundation? And what reinforcements to your testimony and understanding of the gospel are needed?
What a powerhouse invitation straight from the prophet to YOU. “…it is now time that we implement extraordinary measures – perhaps measures we have never taken before.”
Possible activity: Give everyone a pencil and paper. Tell your class to contemplate President Nelson’s statement about taking new measures and write what comes to mind as they consider the following questions: What is the Spirit prompting you to begin doing? What is the Spirit prompting you to do without? (About 2 minutes – play background music or have quiet time).
Invite individuals who feel comfortable – to share something they wrote. Be prepared to share something personal if no one volunteers immediately.
Possible discussion questions: What is the Spirit prompting you to begin doing? What is the Spirit prompting you to do without? [If you didn’t do the activity] What are some ways we can pull Jesus Christ directly into our lives? Why is President Nelson expressing urgency with our spiritual preparedness – what do you see happening in the world around you that supports his haste? What are your favorite ways to reinforce your gospel understanding? (Scripture study, prayer, temple trips. etc.)
Quote #2 (draw His power)
President Nelson invites us to have a personal, meaningful relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ almost every General Conference talk – it’s one of my favorite topics:
The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the temple. Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ. His essential ordinances bind us to Him through sacred priesthood covenants. Then, as we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening power. And oh, how we will need His power in the days ahead.
We have been promised that “if [we] are prepared [we] shall not fear.” This assurance has profound implications today. The Lord has declared that despite today’s unprecedented challenges, those who build their foundations upon Jesus Christ, and have learned how to draw upon His power, need not succumb to the unique anxieties of this era.
This is a prophetic warning. We will NEED to be very close to the Savior in the days ahead. Now is the time to develop that relationship and that understanding.
Possible discussion questions: Where does President Nelson say can we go to strengthen our faith? (temple) What happens when we keep our covenants made in the temple? How can we build our foundation on Jesus Christ – what does that phrase mean to you? How do we draw upon the Savior’s power? What are some unique anxieties of our time – and how can we have courage and hope despite their difficulties?
Quote #3 (three truths)
In the same way, each of us grows line upon line and precept upon precept individually – we also grow collectively as a church unit. We steadily get better and upgrade towards Zion.
President Nelson shared three truths – hand them out or have them written up on the board. Tell the class you’re going to give them a quick minute to read them and choose one they feel stands out for them today.
Ponder these three truths:
- The Restoration is a process, not an event, and will continue until the Lord comes again.
- The ultimate objective of the gathering of Israel is to bring the blessings of the temple to God’s faithful children.
- As we seek how to accomplish that objective more effectively, the Lord reveals more insights. The ongoing Restoration needs ongoing revelation.
The takeaway for me is that the Restoration is a process because WE are a process, and more fullness comes as we can handle it.
Possible discussion questions: Which of these three statements stands out to you today…and why? If you were to explain to a friend why going to the temple is so important – what would you say? Do you believe there is strength and power found in the temple? Have you ever received revelation in the temple regarding your own life? Do you believe the prophet can receive ongoing revelations about the temple ceremony?
Quote #4 (changes in the temple)
Over the years, I’ve come to understand the importance of discerning between cultural teachings and doctrinal teachings within the Church. Many times, cultural teachings have crept in and disguised themselves as doctrine, which leads to perplexing situations and uncomfortable course corrections.
President Nelson makes a distinction between covenants and core gospel truths vs. methods and procedures. Policies, methods, and procedures may change – the underlying truth does not. It’s an important sound bite to be aware of:
“Current adjustments in temple procedures, and others that will follow, are continuing evidence that the Lord is actively directing His Church.”
He also says, “Under the Lord’s direction and in answer to our prayers, recent procedural adjustments have been made. He is the One who wants you to understand with great clarity exactly what you are making covenants to do. He is the One who wants you to experience fully His sacred ordinances. He wants you to comprehend your privileges, promises, and responsibilities. He wants you to have spiritual insights and awakenings you’ve never had before. This He desires for all temple patrons, no matter where they live.”
Rather than think past temple procedures were “wrong” or needed correction – consider that our collective latter-day understanding of the temple grows line upon line, precept upon precept. We are ever moving towards more power and more significant benefit for us all.
Possible questions: How do you feel about going to the temple? Do the possible changes make you feel apprehensive or excited? Why? Why are the temple changes being made (to increase clarity and understanding)? If the temple is central to the gathering of Israel, is it also of major importance in your life? (hint: you are of the house of Israel)
Quote #5 (go more often)
This is a beautiful closing statement by President Nelson
If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often—not less. Let the Lord, through His Spirit, teach and inspire you there. I promise you that over time, the temple will become a place of safety, solace, and revelation.
And to each of you who has made temple covenants, I plead with you to seek—prayerfully and consistently—to understand temple covenants and ordinances. Spiritual doors will open. You will learn how to part the veil between heaven and earth, how to ask for God’s angels to attend you, and how better to receive direction from heaven. Your diligent efforts to do so will reinforce and strengthen your spiritual foundation.
My husband and I recently went to the temple after a long absence (a significant move halfway across the US and other difficult circumstances made it hard to go previously.) I can testify with amazement, how much empowering grace settled upon my soul just being there. Both my husband and I were so touched, we made a commitment to each other to go at least twice a month from here on out. I dearly hope you get to experience the temple soon if it has been a while.
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about the prophet and the temple.
What a valuable lesson to be sharing with your group of Saints. Have faith in what you feel drawn to teach and emphasize – you were asked to give this lesson for a reason. Don’t be afraid of initial silence as people think the questions through. Good luck as you teach or participate during your Relief Society or Elders’ Quorum!
Note: If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.”