7

Overcoming Opposition

My Plan for Returned Missionaries


Have an opening prayer.

Report:

Let’s start by introducing ourselves to the group and sharing our experiences in working to keep our commitments this past week. As part of your introduction, please share the following:

  • Your name

  • Your mission

  • How long you’ve been back from your mission

  • An insight or question that came from keeping your commitments this past week

The Lord’s Blessings

Read:

President Thomas S. Monson taught the following:

“None of us makes it through this life without problems and challenges—and sometimes tragedies and misfortunes. … Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith” (“Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 89, 92).

The Lord has taught us that facing opposition is a necessary part of our mortal experience. Trials and opposition present us with opportunities to build faith and forge strong character. Without trials we can never become what our Heavenly Father needs us to become.

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin

“Mercies and blessings come in different forms—sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7). All things means just that: good things, difficult things—not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 35

Watch:

“Jarem Frye: Amputee, Innovator, Mormon.” (No video? Read the script below.)

 

Jarem Frye: “We found out that I had bone cancer [in my knee] and from there it was a whirlwind. We were rushed into the hospital and had lots of tests done. We had no idea what to expect. …. I was given three options: an artificial knee joint, a donor bone replacement, and amputation. I evaluated the options and I chose amputation.

“I got a really good phone call [when] I had only been home from the hospital for a day. It was my best friend. I answered the phone, and he said, ‘Hey man, are you coming to the school dance tonight?’ And I said, ‘Dude, I just lost my leg!’ And his reply was, ‘Oh, yeah, I forgot. So are you coming?’ From that moment I got out of bed and said, ‘I’m living life. I’m not going to stop.’ I was told that I wasn’t going to be able to ride a mountain bike anymore, that I wouldn’t be able to rock climb or do any of the things that mattered most to me then. But since that time I’ve been able to do all those things. I’ve just never given up. I’ve never accepted that I can’t do something.

“As a 14-year-old, being told that I could die at any time and watching friends that I met in the hospital actually not show up anymore because they passed away, and seeing how fragile life really is—that can be rough. … But it taught me a lesson that I’ll never forget: when things get hard, when you don’t know where to turn and you don’t have a logical answer, I have an answer that has proven itself through experience—that things will be okay. God loves me and He wants what’s best for me and He’s mindful of all of us, and if we’ll just trust Him, we’ll be all right. We’ll be all right.”

Discuss:

What is the role of trials and opposition in Heavenly Father’s plan? How can you prepare to face challenges and trials as you push forward to accomplish your goals and plans?

Read:

At times when we plead for relief from physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual difficulties, the Lord may increase our resolve and resilience to endure (see Mosiah 24:14–15). For a time, He may also allow us to suffer innocently, like Job, so He can turn us into gold (see Job 23:10). Blessings poured out from heaven may provide us a greater capacity to change our circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else (see Malachi 3:10).

Ponder:

How has the Lord blessed you in your trials and challenges?

Activity: (5 minutes)

Divide into groups of three and discuss the following question: What blessings have you received through your trials and challenges?

Opposition from the Adversary

Watch:

“Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence.” (No video? Read the script below.)

 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “You will recall that the book of Moses begins with him being taken up to ‘an exceedingly his mountain’ where, the scripture says, ‘he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses.’ …

“This experience is remarkable by every standard. It is one of the great revelations given in human history. It stands with the greatest accounts we have of any prophet’s experience with divinity.

“But Moses’ message to you today is, ‘Don’t let your guard down.’ Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous illuminating moment, or the opening of an inspired path is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over. What happens to Moses next, after his revelatory moment, would be ludicrous if it were not so dangerous and so absolutely true to form. …

“‘… Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

“‘… Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God [the very phrase used by Joseph Smith], he received strength.’ …

“… We cannot sign on for a moment of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless.

“In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and had received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that not only had their troubles not ended, but that some of them had only begun. …

“Then came this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you…: ‘Cast not therefore away thy confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. …’

“In LDS talk that is to say, ‘Sure it is tough—before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined.’ …

“… Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. … Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. … Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you” (“Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence” [Brigham Young University devotional, Mar. 2, 1999, 2–4), speeches.byu.edu).

Discuss:

How have you stayed on course during challenges and opposition?

Read:

Satan works constantly to lead us off course and keep us from accomplishing the Lord’s work and plan. He desires to deceive, confuse, distract, and dissuade you. He wants you to justify sin. He does so by appealing to any weakness of the flesh, including pride and desires for personal gain or ambition. He will confront you and attempt to make you question your beliefs and your identity as a child of our Father in Heaven. As you strive to make and keep spiritual commitments in your life, he will attack you, as he did Moses (see Moses 1:12–22, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 4:1–11), Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15), and many others.

Ponder:

How can you prepare to defend yourself against the various ways that Satan will attack you?

Activity: (5 minutes)

Divide into new groups of three and discuss the following question: What actions do you intend to take to protect yourself against Satan’s lies and attacks?

Activity: (15 minutes)

Individually read and ponder the doctrines in the table below.

  1. Read “Satan’s lies about doctrine” to understand various methods Satan uses to attack or prevent faith in these precious truths.

  2. Read additional teachings about avoiding Satan’s lies, as found in the third row of the table.

  3. Write in your study journal additional lies that Satan uses to deceive, distract, and dissuade us from embracing the Lord’s doctrines.

 

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Doctrine

God is my Father, and He knows me and loves me.

Christ has power to deliver me back to my Father.

Because I am a child of God, I can be blessed with all of the gifts and talents necessary to return to live with Him.

Satan’s Lies about Doctrine

God doesn’t answer my prayers.

It’s too hard to tell the difference between the Spirit and my own thoughts and emotions.

I need to do this on my own.

This is just who I am; there is no need to repent.

I am nobody special and don’t have many talents.

I am not really spiritual; I don’t fit in with the members of the Church.

The Lord cares more about men than women.

Read Teachings about Avoiding Satan’s Lies

Moses 1

David A. Bednar, “In the Strength of the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 76–78

Sheri L. Dew, “You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory” (Brigham Young University devotional, Dec. 9, 2003), speeches.byu.edu

Moses 7

Discuss:

What insights have you gained from this activity?

The Savior and Overcoming Opposition

Read:

A great scriptural insight about enduring opposition comes from the Savior Himself. The Father asked Him to descend through and below all things. The scriptures teach that as He approached Gethsemane, He became ‘sore amazed’ (Mark 14:33) at the sacrifice asked of Him. He desired “that [He] might not drink the bitter cup.” However, He endured, gave glory to the Father, and “partook,” or submitted and “finished” all that the Father asked of Him (D&C 19:18–19).

To fulfill the Father’s plan for your life and to reach your great potential, you will need to rely on Jesus, who overcame all things, to endure and accomplish whatever the Father may require of you.

To prepare for the hardships that will come, you can build habits that will strengthen you.

The Savior in Gethsemane

Ponder:

What can I do this week to establish or maintain habits that will empower me to rely on the Savior and overcome the opposition that I will face?

Discuss:

What action do you feel impressed to take that will bring you closer to the Savior and help you overcome opposition?

Commit:

  • On your mission, when you worked with others to strengthen their faith, what did you do to help? Create a plan to protect yourself spiritually from opposition to your faith.

  • Share what you learned today with another returned missionary, another young single adult, or a member of your family.

Choose an action partner for this week and take two minutes to share with each other the commitments that you feel impressed to work on. Decide how you will follow up with each other during the week.

Have a closing prayer.