“Second- and Third-Sunday Meetings,” Ensign, November 2017
On the second and third Sundays of each month, Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies study the teachings of Church leaders from the most recent general conference. Emphasis should be given to messages from members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; however, based on local needs and inspiration from the Spirit, any message from the most recent conference may be discussed.
In most cases, the quorum presidency, group leadership, or Relief Society presidency will select a conference message to study based on the needs of the members, although the bishop or stake president may give input. Leaders may choose a message related to the topic discussed in the first-Sunday council meeting, or they may choose another message based on the inspiration of the Spirit. Leaders and teachers should find ways to encourage members to read the selected messages in advance and come prepared to share insights. The suggested learning activities below, which are based on principles in Teaching in the Savior’s Way, can engage members in learning from general conference messages.
Ask members of your quorum or Relief Society to think about how their lives have been influenced for good by a righteous and faithful woman. Consider inviting a few members to share how this woman illustrates one or more of the characteristics of righteous women outlined in Sister Eubank’s message. What do we learn from Sister Eubank about how we can become “a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days”?
This message can help members who may feel separated from Heavenly Father or from those around them. What would help those you teach understand what a breach is? Maybe you could bring pictures of different kinds of breaches. How does Sister Marriott define breach? What can cause breaches in our relationships with God and others? Invite members to search Sister Marriott’s message for suggestions about what we can do to repair breaches in our lives. Give members time to write down what the Spirit prompts them to do to draw closer to God and others.
What blessings flow into our lives when we understand our divine identity? To answer this question, members of your quorum or Relief Society could review together the stories of Mariama, Renu, and Taiana in Sister Jones’s message. What counsel does Sister Jones give to help us “remember and embrace our divine identity”? Invite members to find and discuss a scripture passage or a quotation in Sister Jones’s message that helps them understand their true worth to God. Invite them to share one of these scriptures or quotations with someone who needs a reminder of his or her divine worth.
One way to review President Uchtdorf’s message would be to divide the quorum or Relief Society into small groups. You could assign each group to read about one of the sisters in President Uchtdorf’s message. Each group could write a letter to that sister summarizing his counsel and share what they wrote with the other groups. What can we do to be more like the third sister? How can we make our quorum or Relief Society a “safe home” for those who are struggling?
How can you help those you teach recognize how God is using them to bless others? You could invite them to review the section of President Uchtdorf’s message titled “God Will Use You,” looking for promises made to those who strive to serve in God’s kingdom despite their weaknesses. Reading this message may also remind members of experiences they could share in which God used them to bless others—or when He used others to bless them. Give members time to ponder what they feel inspired to do because of this discussion.
One way to start a discussion about Sister Oscarson’s message is to give everyone a piece of paper with “Who needs me today?” written at the top. Members of your Relief Society or quorum could take a few minutes pondering and listing answers to this question. Then they could search Sister Oscarson’s message for ideas about how they could serve the people on their list—or add names as inspired. A few could share what they have learned.
How will the members of your quorum, group, or Relief Society act on Elder Oaks’s invitation to “teach [and] live by” the family proclamation, at home, in the community, and at church? Invite them to share ideas with each other. It might also help to search the message for some doctrinal statements from the family proclamation. How do these statements help us respond to “current challenges to the family”? Section IV of Elder Oaks’s message contains some examples of such statements.
Here are some questions that Relief Society and quorum members could have in mind as they review Elder Christofferson’s message: What is holiness? How do we seek after holiness? How does partaking of the sacrament help us in our efforts? Members could share words from Elder Christofferson’s message that help answer these questions. How do we help each other as “fellow Saints” in our efforts to become more holy?
Some of those you teach may feel that they do not measure up when it comes to living the Savior’s teachings. What does Elder Holland teach that can comfort and encourage those who might feel this way? You could invite Relief Society or quorum members to look for something in this message that they might share with someone who is struggling to feel that they are “good enough.” Or they could find something in the message that inspires them to feel “greater love and admiration for [Christ] and a greater desire to be like Him.”
Have any of your quorum or Relief Society members experienced a solar eclipse? If so, you could invite one of them to explain the analogy that Elder Stevenson shares about a “spiritual eclipse.” What obstacles can “block out the magnitude, brightness, and warmth of the light of Jesus Christ and His gospel”? How can social media distract us from “the beauty, warmth, and heavenly light of the gospel”? How do we put on “gospel glasses” that protect us from spiritual blindness? What does Elder Stevenson’s analogy teach us about maintaining a gospel perspective?
Elder Cook’s message reminds us of the importance of striving to be humble in various ways. One way to discuss what he teaches is to divide members into two groups. Ask one group to look for suggestions in Elder Cook’s message that might help us develop humility, and the other group to look for ways that people manifest pride. Invite each group to share their description with the other group. Members could also share ways they can show more “everyday humility” in their lives and consider how this humility might help them prepare to meet God.
To encourage discussion about Elder Rasband’s message, it might be helpful to invite a few members to bring a sewing pattern, a blueprint, or a recipe and talk about why these are helpful. What examples or teachings from Elder Rasband’s message inspire members to recognize God’s design for their lives? Perhaps class members could share experiences in which they saw that the Lord was directing their lives. What have they done to show God that they “treasure” His direction? Why is it important to recognize God’s “divine design”?
President Nelson invited members to think about three questions: (1) “What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?” (2) “What would you not know?” (3) “What would you not have?” Invite members of your quorum, group, or Relief Society to ponder these questions and share how they would answer them. What do they find in this message that inspires them to value the Book of Mormon more than “diamonds or rubies”?
How can you help members of your quorum or Relief Society understand how the priesthood helps make the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement available to them? You might write these two headings on the board: “Why we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ” and “How the priesthood ‘delivers’ the blessings of the Atonement to us.” Then invite members to search Elder Renlund’s message, looking for phrases to write under each heading. How do the priesthood and its ordinances help fulfill Heavenly Father’s purposes for His children?
Invite members to search President Uchtdorf’s message and identify how the presence or absence of divine light can affect our lives. You could invite members to study some of the scriptures that President Uchtdorf references and identify truths related to spiritual light. What does the metaphor about the eclipse teach us about the role of agency in seeking spiritual light? What can we do to share Jesus Christ’s divine light with others, especially with our families and with “our youth, who are seeking light”?
Invite the members of your quorum or Relief Society members to share experiences in which they needed to develop faith that their calling or another’s calling came from God. How did they exercise their faith? How did they come to learn that the calling was from God? Invite members to search President Eyring’s message and identify truths he learned from personal experience that can help us trust and be patient with ourselves and others whom the Lord has called.
Sister Bingham’s message can help members of your Relief Society or quorum understand how to find joy, despite life’s difficulties, as we come unto Christ. One way to discuss her message might be to draw a path on the board leading to the word joy. Invite several members to write on the path a suggestion from Sister Bingham’s message that leads to true joy. Encourage members to consider ways they can act on Sister Bingham’s counsel. Invite several members to share their thoughts.
To help members of your Relief Society or quorum discuss Elder Bednar’s message, you could put pictures on the board to represent the Sabbath, the temple, and our homes. Invite members to read the corresponding sections of Elder Bednar’s message and write on the board how the Sabbath day, the temple, and our homes help us focus on God’s promises to us. What things in our lives might pull our attention away from these promises? What steps can we take to make sure that we remember them?
President Eyring’s message can help those you teach find the courage and faith to do good in the world. You could invite a few members to summarize the examples of faithful people President Eyring shares. What do these examples teach us about how to serve others? What do these examples suggest about ways we can serve as a quorum or Relief Society?
Another way to discuss this message is to review the blessings that President Eyring saw from following President Thomas S. Monson’s counsel to study the Book of Mormon. What blessings have we seen from studying the Book of Mormon?
To begin a discussion about Elder Ballard’s message, you could invite someone to share an experience when they had a destination but discovered they were on the wrong route. How do examples like these relate to our personal “trek” back to Heavenly Father? Members could then search for counsel and warnings that Elder Ballard gives that can help us know if we are headed in the right direction in our own lives. Give members time to ponder their own paths and to discuss ways we can help and encourage others in their “trek” back to Heavenly Father.
Perhaps members of your Relief Society or quorum could share an experience in which a general conference message felt particularly meaningful to them. Why were these messages meaningful? What does Elder Andersen teach about the significance of general conference messages and the effort and process involved in preparing them? How should this knowledge affect the urgency with which we study and heed these words? Consider making a list of invitations from the most recent conference. What have we done to act on these invitations?