“Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel” by President Russell M. Nelson is almost a continuation of the talk he gave to the youth in June. In both, he issued challenges and encouraged us to work harder to gather Israel. It makes you wonder if he will give another one like this to the men come April. As you discuss these challenges make sure you keep the conversation upbeat and encouraging not condescending if someone didn’t act on the invitations.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suggests the following for this discussion:
“If you teach Relief Society, consider dividing the sisters into four groups and asking each group to read about one of the four invitations in President Nelson’s message. The groups could discuss what impresses them about the invitation, experiences they’ve had acting on it, and ideas about how to act on it in the future. Then each group could share with everyone what they talked about. If you teach priesthood holders, you might ask them to find statements in President Nelson’s message that indicate how Heavenly Father feels about His daughters. What can we do to support and encourage the sisters’ participation in the gathering of Israel?”
Questions to Ponder
How does understanding how President Nelson feels about women help you understand how our Savior feels about them?
What qualities follow a women’s divine endowment to be a mother? How can you increase and support those qualities in the women in your life?
How does knowing and using your spiritual gifts bring you closer to Christ? Why are we given unique gifts? What are some of your spiritual gifts? How have you been able to nurture them? How have you used them to bless others?
How will ministering in a holier way change the world? How has it changed your world?
Why does the Lord want men and women to remain unique in their roles? How does this make a difference in the world?
When President Nelson says that the gathering of Israel is “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today” how does that inspire you to change? What specifically will you do to help gather Israel? (You may want to reference his talk to the youth in June as well)
If you accepted President Nelson’s four invitations, has it been a sacrifice and blessing? What have you learned from accepting these challenges?
How do President Nelson’s invitations relate to what is going on in the world? Why do you think he is emphasizing a shift from worldly trends?
How would you respond to someone who is discouraged by these invitations?
How do these invitations relate to the change in Sunday church structure? How does this address compare to President Nelson’s words in the past? Are you surprised by these words?
Why is it important to record and follow through with our impressions? What has changed in your life as a result?
Does the Lord expect us to be the same? How can we be unique but still one? Why does the Lord want us to be united?
Where does a mother’s influence matter most? What difference will it make to the rising generation to have a mother who is living her divine endowment?
These are my ideas. My hope is reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.
Search the scriptures for examples of women with strong spiritual gifts. How did they emulate Christ? What difference did they make in the people around them? What can we do today that will have the same influence. Give your class members a chance to search the scriptures and discuss these questions. You can easily prepare a few references and women to discuss beforehand with the book, “Walking with Women in the New Testament.” It’s a great one!
Display pictures of women from the scriptures and modern day Latter-day Saint women. What do they have in common? What are differences? How do each of them emulate Christ? How do we help each other achieve our divine missions?
If you are in Relief Society, invite class members to share their experience with each of the four invitations. Have someone talk about their social media fast, reading The Book of Mormon, attending the temple, and participating in Relief Society. Be sure to review the questions President Nelson asked us to reflect us during our fast. If you are teaching Elders Quorum- have them share what they observed about their home if their wife/daughter participated, or if they decided to do it themselves did.
Review the promises President Nelson gave for those that accepted his challenges. You can have different parts of the room do the different sections then write them on the board. Does knowing these promises make a difference for you? Pass out the promises for the Book of Mormon reading challenge for people to keep with their scriptures. PLEASE NOTE: The file above is compressed so you can easily download all the images and printables. You must unzip it before opening or you will get an error message. If you don’t know how to unzip a file, please see this article.
Conduct your class like a “book club” and discuss what you are learning from reading The Book of Mormon. Share experiences about sharing with your family and friends. You may want to start this conversation before class by sharing one of my images and asking people to share. P.S. Get a free study schedule to go along with your Book of Mormon including a customizable one.
Study spiritual gifts. List on the board as many as you can. Then give class members time to reflect and ponder and write about their own gifts. Have them share if desired. Have someone take a photo of the answers you wrote on the board. Then type it up and share with your class in a follow up email encouraging them to discover and develop their own spiritual gifts.
Display a picture of your nearest temple. As a class, discuss how you can support each other in attending the temple more. Arrange carpools, babysitting, temple prep classes, or a temple book club to more fully fulfill this invitation to regularly attend the temple or study about it if you are not near one. Remember, “regular” will mean different things to different people and that’s okay! You may also want someone that works in the temple regularly to share some of the blessings they have noticed.
Invite a temple and family history worker to come and teach a segment on how to find family names to take to the temple. You can even get people started by using the many apps available today.
Pass out copies of the Relief Society purpose statement and declaration. Divide into groups to study sections, or read sections out loud and discuss them. If there is time, allow class members to work on their own personal purpose statement. You can use my Purpose Statement card included in the downloads and use of these Relief Society Declaration printables:
Printable stylized print by Tied Ribbon
Relief Society declaration and purposes on one sheet by Meet the Makises- Be sure to download the new updated one!
Memphis Adell has a sheet with the purposes and one with the declaration. It’s made to be a half sheet each.
Easy to print declaration from LDS.org
Since Satan is real, discuss as a class how he will try to dissuade and discourage women from fulfilling their divine role. Draw a person on the board and discuss how we can actively arm ourselves daily to combat Satan. Encourage each class member to come up with a personal plan, and to discuss a plan with those they minister to.
End your lesson by reviewing the Relief Society declaration. Have everyone stand and recite it together then share your testimony. You can send a copy of the declaration to a place like Staples and order a blueprint copy of it so it’ll be a nice, big print or have everyone look it up on their phones.