Questions From April 2016
A review of the questions asked in General Conference talks and three ways they help us as teachers.
Studying the powerful thought-provoking questions leaders ask in General Conference talks can help me improve my teaching in the Come Follow Me Youth Curriculum. Questions are being used with increasing frequency in General Conference; nearly every speaker included questions in their talk! How would studying questions asked by the leaders of the Church help me become more like Christ? How would this study help me ask better questions in Sunday lessons? How would they help me teach more like Christ?
Have you ever been in a class where a question asked was so thought provoking you were left pondering in your heart and mind and couldn’t pay attention to where the lesson led to next? This is the sweetest of all places to be as a teacher and student; knowing that the Spirit is touching hearts and enabling learning. With each lesson that we prepare we pray and search for the right questions that will invite our students to learn, grow, share their testimonies, and create discussion. We know the power of thought provoking questions in the classroom.
The following are questions taken from General Conference talks and three ways they can help us improve as teachers:
1. First, To personally become more Christ-like.
General Conference is a great way for us as teachers to flip the power of questions around and become the student. Pondering on these questions, even just one a day, can improve our capacity to teach as our hearts are softened.
“What if we could really see into each other’s hearts? Would we understand each other better? By feeling what others feel, seeing what others see, and hearing what others hear, would we make, and take, the time to serve others, and would we treat them differently? Would we treat them with more patience, more kindness, and more tolerance?”
(simply use “How” instead of “what if” and “would” to transform into great lesson questions)
Who in my circle of influence could I help today?
What time and resources do I have?
In what ways can I use my talents and skills to bless others?
What might we do as a family?
“What will the Lord have me do to help Him give succor to those in need?”
Let’s ponder this question: “What does the Savior do continually?” He nurtures. He creates. He encourages growth and goodness.
“Who is the greatest leader who ever lived?”—what would you say?
“Who is the greatest follower who ever lived?”—wouldn’t the answer again be Jesus Christ?
My beloved brethren, may I remind you, if there were a perfect woman, do you really think she would be that interested in you?
What legacy do you want to leave your posterity? One of harshness, vengeance, anger, fear, or isolation? Or one of love, humility, forgiveness, compassion, spiritual growth, and unity? Is being right more important than fostering an environment of nurturing, healing, and love? What if some of our traditions don’t have a place in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?
‘Did I do enough?’“Do you believe it or not?”I KNEW it, but did I BELIEVE it?
“Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
“And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
2. Next, to ask better questions in my lessons.
Many of the questions asked by the General authorities are a wonderful template for excellent questions.
What do those words mean to you? Who comes to mind when you think of them?
What would the Lord say to her?”
How do we teach our children to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit?
How do we follow the example of this father and kick off some of the weight of the world we carry, so we can keep our children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water? How can we, as Paul counseled, “lay aside every weight”? How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies—when they are the ones swimming?
How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?
… do we really know it? Do we know it in our mind and in our heart and in our soul? Is our heavenly parentage our first and most profound identity?
When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are—that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust?
Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?
Can you see the relationship between priesthood keys and blessings?
Can you imagine how our families, our communities, and the world at large might change if we all tried to see each other as God sees us?
But what if we could be humble before we walk through that “valley of humility”?
“How does one get humble”?
3. Then, to teach in the style of Christ.
As a church we are beginning to understand the importance and power of questions. It is the way the Savior often started his teachings and our leaders are modeling this in their teachings.
“Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
“Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:17–22).
“come unto Christ.” Isn’t that what this mortal life is all about?
Are you standing with the leaders of the Church in a darkening world so that you might spread the Light of Christ? We have sustained leaders today who, by divine inspiration, have been called to teach and guide us and who are calling out to us to beware of the dangers we face each day—from casual Sabbath-day observance, to threats to the family, to assaults on religious freedom, and even to disputing latter-day revelation. Brothers and sisters, are we listening to their counsel? Have you felt the influence of righteous leaders, those disciples of Jesus Christ who have in the past and continue today to touch your life, who walk the Lord’s path with you?
Are we willing to pray, fast, study, seek, worship, and serve as men of God so we can have priesthood power?
Why would any man waste his days and settle for Esau’s mess of pottage when he has been entrusted with the possibility of receiving all of the blessings of Abraham?
He named faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and diligence. And don’t forget humility! So I ask, how would our family members, friends, and coworkers say you and I are doing in developing these and other spiritual gifts?
How else can we increase our power in the priesthood?
Are you willing to pray to know how to pray for more power?
Are you willing to search the scriptures and feast on the words of Christ—to study earnestly in order to have more power?
Are you willing to worship in the temple regularly?
Are you willing to follow President Thomas S. Monson’s example of serving others?
Why should this matter so much to each of us—young or old, deacon or high priest, son or father?
What can the young elder do to help in the creation of eternal families?. What can you do?
Wherever you go, your priesthood goes with you. Are you standing in holy places?
Do we sometimes become so accustomed to the blessings we have been given as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we fail to fully comprehend the miracle and majesty of discipleship in the Lord’s true Church? Are we ever guilty of being complacent about the greatest gift we can be offered in this life?
Surely, I thought, if man can take the ruins, rubble, and remains of a broken city and rebuild an awe-inspiring structure that rises toward the heavens, how much more capable is our Almighty Father to restore His children who have fallen, struggled, or become lost?
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?Is it possible that Jesus’s purpose, first and foremost, was to teach about the work of the Good Shepherd?
Is it possible that He was testifying of God’s love for His wayward children?
Is it possible that the Savior’s message was that God is fully aware of those who are lost—and that He will find them, that He will reach out to them, and that He will rescue them?
If that is so, what must the sheep do to qualify for this divine help?
So what must w e do?