Relief Society Lesson: Power to Overcome the Adversary

Link to the Talk by Elder Peter M. Johnson

Link to Elder Peter M. Johnson’s bio at the Church website

Elder Peter M. Johnson

First, let us all celebrate that this is the first talk by an African American General Authority in the history of General Conference. That is both really great and also really disappointing that it took over 40 years since the reversal of the priesthood and temple ban for this to happen.

As I was reading this talk, one of the things that really stood out to me was Elder Johnson’s very affirming statements. A sampling:

  • “Thank you for your goodness. You are wonderful; you are beautiful.”
  • “You are elect sons and daughters of God. You have the power to overcome the adversary.”
  • “My dear friends, please do not let anyone steal your happiness. Do not compare yourself to others.”

Elder Johnson outlines 3 “D’s” that the adversary uses to keep us from reaching our full potential: deception, distraction, and discouragement. For this lesson, I’d probably draw 3 columns on the board with these headings.

Deception

Elder Johnson tells the story in Moses where Moses is told he is God’s son and then Satan comes and calls him “son of man.”

The Lord’s words to Moses apply to you and to me. We are created in God’s own image, and He has a work for us to do. The adversary attempts to deceive by having us forget who we truly are. If we do not understand who we are, then it is difficult to recognize who we can become.

Discussion Questions: Have you experienced times in your life where you feel like you’ve lost understanding of who you are? How do you remind yourself of your divine nature? How can you help others feel their own divinity?

Distraction

In our day, there are many distractions, including Twitter, Facebook, virtual reality games, and much more. These technological advances are amazing, but if we are not careful, they can distract us from fulfilling our divine potential. Using them appropriately can bring forth the power of heaven and allow us to witness miracles as we seek to gather scattered Israel on both sides of the veil.

Discussion Questions: How have you used technology to “bring for the power of heaven?” Have you been a witness to miracles from technology?

Discouragement

We may get discouraged when we compare ourselves to others or feel we are not living up to expectations, including our own.

Discussion Questions: Theodore Roosevelt said that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” To what extent do you find that true or false in your life?

Overcoming the 3 D’s

So how do we do it? How do we find this peace, remember who we are, and overcome the three Ds of the adversary?

Elder Johnson answers that question with:

  1. “Remember that the first and great commandment is to love God with our heart, might, mind, and strength.”
  2. “Second, pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus Christ every day, every day, every day.”
  3. “Third, read and study the Book of Mormon every day, every day, every day.
  4. “Lastly, prayerfully partake of the sacrament every week, every week, every week.”

Discussion Questions: Have these helped you in your life to remember your full potential? Are there other things you’ve done that have help you? How can you help your ministering sisters to also feel the love of God and their divine nature? Your neighbors?

TopHat

TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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