“Second- and Third-Sunday Meetings,” Ensign, May 2018
On the second and third Sundays of each month, elders quorums and Relief Societies will learn from the teachings of Church leaders from the most recent general conference. Emphasis should be given to messages from members of the First Presidency and the 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 elders quorum 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 a recent first-Sunday council meeting, or they may choose a message on a different topic, based on inspiration from the Spirit.
Leaders and teachers should find ways to encourage members to read the selected message in advance and come prepared to share gospel truths and ideas about how to act on them. The suggested learning activities below, which are based on principles in Teaching in the Savior’s Way, can help members learn from general conference messages.
President Ballard’s message addresses a variety of topics—including prophets, faith in Christ, the sacrament, and service—and members of your quorum or Relief Society may find different topics especially meaningful. Invite members to share something from this message that inspires them. What invitations or promised blessings do we find in President Ballard’s message? Consider inviting members to ponder for a few minutes what they feel inspired to do as a result of this discussion.
To help members “comprehend the magnitude” of the calling of a new prophet, you could invite members to search Elder Stevenson’s message, looking for truths and insights that help them understand the significance and sacredness of this divine process. Consider inviting members to share what they felt during the solemn assembly in which President Nelson was sustained as President of the Church. You could also draw a heart on the board and ask members to write in it words or phrases that describe the heart and character of President Nelson. What has he taught that has blessed us?
Discussing Elder Andersen’s message could strengthen members’ faith in living prophets. You could invite them to search his message for something that helps them understand why God has prophets on the earth and why we follow them. How have we been blessed because we have a prophet? Members could share how they have gained a testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To inspire a discussion about Elder Bednar’s message, you could write on the board Meekness is … and Meekness is not … Members could then search Elder Bednar’s message and write on the board phrases they find that complete these statements. What do we learn from this message that inspires us to be more meek? What examples of meekness can we think of? How can we apply Elder Bednar’s counsel to become more meek?
Questions are one way to invite pondering. Consider writing on the board a few questions that Sister Oscarson’s message answers, such as How can we involve young women in the Lord’s work? Invite members to search her message for answers to these questions and discuss what they learn. What blessings come when young women are involved in ministering? Perhaps class members could share experiences they have had ministering alongside young women. Based on our discussion, what do we feel inspired to do?
Elder Renlund spoke of Ezekiel’s vision of a temple with water gushing out of it (see Ezekiel 47:8–9). Perhaps a member of the quorum or Relief Society could draw a picture of this vision on the board. How are the blessings of temple and family history work like the water in Ezekiel’s vision? You might invite class members to share blessings of temple and family history work that they have experienced. What can we do to make family history and temple work a more regular part of our lives?
In elders quorum, you might invite quorum members to read the section of Elder Christofferson’s message titled “The Purpose of These Changes.” What can we do to ensure that we accomplish these purposes? In Relief Society, you could ask someone to summarize the changes to Melchizedek Priesthood quorums that Elder Christofferson describes. Sisters could then identify principles implied in these changes that can apply to the work of your Relief Society. In elders quorum or Relief Society, members could discuss what they learn from the story of Brother Goates and how it applies to their work.
Perhaps singing, listening to, or reading the words of “Behold! A Royal Army” (Hymns, no. 251) together might inspire discussion about Elder Rasband’s message. How are priesthood quorums and Relief Societies like a royal army? Members could also look for and discuss the “multitude of blessings” Elder Rasband mentions will come from the restructuring of priesthood quorums. What other blessings have we received—or do we hope to receive—from implementing these changes? How can Relief Societies also more fully receive blessings such as “diversity of gifts” and “mentoring”?
President Eyring tells of two sacrament meeting talks about ministering that impressed him. Perhaps you could ask half of the quorum or Relief Society members to review the words of the 14-year-old boy and the other half to review the story about the home teacher. As they read, members could think of advice they might give a young man or young woman who is newly assigned to minister to someone. How can we “become even more inspired and charitable in our … ministering service”?
To start a discussion, you could write the titles of the four sections of President Oaks’s message on the board. Then invite each member to read one section silently and then write on the board one sentence that summarizes the main message of that section. Members could then share what they feel inspired to do because of what they read. How will our service as priesthood holders or Relief Society sisters improve as we apply the teachings in President Oaks’s message?
President Nelson invites priesthood holders to “rise up” and use the priesthood to bless Heavenly Father’s children. Invite members of your quorum or Relief Society to search the examples he gives and discuss how they help us understand how the priesthood can be used to bless their families and others. What experiences can we share when we have been blessed by priesthood power? How can we help others or ourselves have the faith to use the priesthood of God to “minister in His name”?
Sister Aburto’s message provides an opportunity for your quorum or Relief Society to evaluate how well you are working in unity to do the Lord’s work. To help members do this, you could show pictures of monarch butterflies, the Savior’s visit to the Nephites (see Gospel Art Book, 82, 83, 84), and the Church’s humanitarian work (see LDS.org). Members could search the message and discover how Sister Aburto used these examples to teach about the purposes and blessings of working in unity. What can we do to work “with one accord”?
To increase our desire and ability to receive the Holy Ghost, President Eyring shares several personal experiences and gives specific direction. After reviewing his experiences, what similar memories can members of your quorum or Relief Society share when the Holy Ghost touched their hearts or affirmed truth? Perhaps members could list on the board the guidance that President Eyring shares to help “open our hearts to receive the ministration of the Spirit.” How will following his direction help us in own lives and in our families? in our quorum or Relief Society?
President Oaks’s message contains metaphors that teach how small and simple things can have a powerful effect for good or evil. These metaphors include tree roots, a team of rowers, rope fibers, and dripping water. Members could read these metaphors and discuss what they teach about the power of doing small and simple things consistently. What are the small and simple things that bring the influence of the Holy Ghost into our lives? Invite members to ponder what they are impressed to do to follow President Oaks’s counsel.
In his message, President Nelson pleads with us to increase our “spiritual capacity to receive revelation.” To help members follow his direction, you could write questions like the following on the board: Why do we need revelation? How can we increase our capacity to receive revelation—both individually and as we counsel together? What blessings did President Nelson promise if we will seek revelation? Divide members into groups, and invite each group to find and share answers to one of the questions.
What can members of your quorum or Relief Society learn from Elder Gong’s message about our covenants and the Atonement of Jesus Christ? You could invite members to search the message, looking for blessings that the Savior’s Atonement and our covenants—working together—offer us. Then consider asking questions like the following about what they found: How do our covenants and the Atonement work together to “enable and ennoble” us? What do they help us hold on to and let go of?
Elder Soares’s message can inspire us to act in faith when we feel inadequate in doing the will of the Lord. How did Elder Soares receive comfort and assurance when he received his new calling as an Apostle? What did he learn from his experience of being called as a mission president? What can we learn from his experiences? Give members time to share experiences when they felt unsure about something the Lord wanted them to do. What did they do to find the faith to move forward?
As members of your quorum or Relief Society learned about changes to the “priesthood and Relief Society ministering concept,” what questions did they have? Elder Holland’s message may provide answers. Members could look for gospel principles that Elder Holland teaches are the foundation of these changes. What invitations do we find in his message? What blessings are promised? How can these new ways of ministering help us become “true disciples of Christ”?
In her message, Sister Bingham invites us to ask ourselves questions that can guide our ministering efforts. Members could discuss how these questions could guide their efforts and then look for answers to Sister Bingham’s question, “So what does [ministering] look like?” You might spend time reviewing some of the examples Sister Bingham shares of individuals ministering and invite members to share examples of their own. What do we find in Sister Bingham’s message that increases our understanding of why and how we minister?
How would we help someone understand that the atoning sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ were the most important events in the world’s history? Invite members to ponder this question as they read portions of Elder Uchtdorf’s message. What do they find that would help explain why these events are so important to them? After this discussion, class members could talk about what it means to them to “behold the man.” How have we learned to “behold the man”?
You could begin your discussion of Elder Cook’s message by inviting a member to summarize the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland Temple. According to Elder Cook’s message, what responsibilities does the Church have that are related to these keys? How are these responsibilities manifest in the Church today? Write the words righteousness, unity, and equality on the board, and ask members to share insights they gain about each of these principles from Elder Cook’s message. How do these principles help us fulfill the Church’s sacred responsibilities?