Heber J. Grant: Success through Reliance on the Lord
“Lesson 23: Heber J. Grant: Success through Reliance on the Lord,” The Presidents of the Church: Teacher’s Manual, 110
Class members will understand that reliance on the Savior brings blessings.
1. See that each class member has a copy of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.
2. Prepare to show the picture of Heber J. Grant included in the lesson.
3. Prepare a sign saying: Story to Be Continued.
4. Obtain music for a vocal solo.
5. Prepare a poster of the following: “With the help of the Lord I will do the best I can, and … with His help I have no fear at all but what I can get along.” Heber J. Grant.
Suggested Lesson Development
• What does it mean to rely on someone or something? (It means to trust, lean on, believe in, depend on, follow, confide in, or look to.)
Show the picture of Heber J. Grant in the lesson.
Although Heber J. Grant’s life was not easy, he was very blessed and through faith, determination, and desire overcame many challenges. He achieved great success but seldom, if ever, took credit for those successes. And he is known to have said that with the help of the Lord he could do anything and get along fine in this life.
The Savior Blesses Our Lives When We Turn to Him in Humility
“In the fall of 1880, a short time before [Heber J. Grant’s] 24th birthday, he was [called] by President John Taylor to preside over the Tooele Stake. … This appointment came as a great surprise to [him], but he did not murmur about accepting it [he lived in Salt Lake City, over thirty miles from Tooele]” (Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 280). Heber J. Grant felt inadequate and knew nothing of the duties that would be required of him. Nevertheless, he accepted the calling and did very well.
President Grant recalled: “ ‘As a boy, without experience, never having spoken in public in my life, for any length of time, never ten minutes at once, I was called to preside over a stake of Zion. I remember preaching and telling everything I could think of, and some of it over twice, and [I] ran out of ideas in seven minutes and a half by the watch. …
“ ‘The next Sunday I did not do any better. I ran out of ideas in six or seven minutes. The next Sunday I did the same. The following Sunday I took a couple of [brethren who were excellent speakers] with me and went away down to the south end of Tooele county, the farthest settlement, to the little town of Vernon [approximately sixty miles from Salt Lake City]. … There was a little log meetinghouse, and, as I was walking to meeting with … John C. Sharp, who was then the bishop of the Vernon ward, I looked around and said: “Why, Bishop, there is nobody going to meeting.”
“ ‘ “Oh,” he said, “I think there will be somebody there.” … The meetinghouse was not in sight. When we reached the top of the hill, I saw a number of wagons around the meetinghouse, but I did not see a soul going to meeting. “Well,” I said, “there are some wagons there, but I don’t see anybody going to meeting.” He said: “I guess there will be somebody in the meetinghouse.” We walked into the meetinghouse two minutes to 2 o’clock, and the house was full, every seat occupied, and we were the last people to come in. At 2 o’clock promptly, we began the meeting. … [When it came time to speak,] I got up to make my little speech of five, six or seven minutes. …’ ” (Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], pp. 224–25).
Hold up the sign: Story to Be Continued.
You Have Been Asked
Proceed into the class activity, “You Have Been Asked.” Give one class member the music for the vocal solo. Ask the person to sing the song unrehearsed.
Discussion and chalkboard
You may hear comments such as: “I can’t do this!” “I don’t know how!” “I’ve never done this before!” “I need help!”
Write some of their comments on the chalkboard. When the person has had an opportunity to express himself, liken his feelings to what Heber J. Grant must have felt when he received the call from President Taylor to serve as president of the Tooele Stake. Review the first part of his experience and stress these points:
1. Heber was only twenty-three years old.
2. He had never spoken in public in his life for any length of time.
3. He was frightened to address people.
4. He knew nothing of his duties.
• What did President Grant do in his “You have been asked” situation? (Allow the class members to respond.)
• Ask the soloist: In what ways was President Grant’s situation similar to your situation? (An underlying feeling of inadequacy, lack of experience, and fear of the unknown could be similar elements in both situations.)
Conclusion of the Story
Finish reading or retelling President Heber J. Grant’s experiences in Tooele.
President Grant said:
“ ‘I got up to make my little speech of five, six or seven minutes, and I talked for forty-five minutes, with as much freedom and as much of the Spirit of the Lord as I have ever enjoyed in preaching the Gospel during the forty years that have passed since then. I could not restrain the tears of gratitude which I shed that night, as I knelt down and thanked God for the rich outpouring of His Holy Spirit. …
“ ‘I received another lesson the next Sunday for which I have been just as grateful, although not as happy over it. I went to Grantsville, the largest ward in the Tooele Stake of Zion, and I approached the Lord with much the same attitude as Oliver Cowdery when he told the Lord, “I want to translate.” … But, failing, he was later told, he did not study it out, and he did not pray about it, and he did not do his share. I told the Lord I would like to talk again to the Saints in Grantsville [as I had done in Vernon]; I got up and talked for five minutes, and I perspired as freely, I believe, as if I had been dipped in a creek, and I ran out of ideas completely. I made as complete a “fizzle,” so to speak, of my talk, as a mortal could make. I did not shed any tears of gratitude, but I walked several miles away from that meetinghouse, out into the fields, among the hay and straw stacks, and when I got far enough away, so that I was sure nobody saw me, I knelt down behind one of those stacks and I shed tears of humiliation. I asked God to forgive me for not remembering that men could not preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with power, with force, and with inspiration only as they are blessed with power which comes from God; and I told him there, as a boy, that if he would forgive me for my egotism … , I would endeavor to remember from whence the inspiration comes’ ” (Nibley, The Presidents of the Church, pp. 225–26).
Heber J. Grant spoke many times to the people he loved in the Tooele Stake as he counseled them in the gospel. “ ‘Among other things,’ ” he said, “ ‘I told the people that [when I accepted the call to lead the stake], I knew nothing of the duties [pertaining to that calling], but with the help of the Lord I would do the best I could, and that with his help I had no fear at all but what I could get along’ ” (Nibley, The Presidents of the Church, pp. 224–25).
• Why had President Grant been so successful in one experience and yet failed so miserably in the other? (He was humble and went to the Lord for help in one experience. In the other experience he supposed the Lord would just help him without applying himself nor asking for the help he needed.)
• How will you react in the future when you perhaps are called to a position or asked to do something you do not feel qualified to do?
Together with the class read aloud President Grant’s words on the poster: “With the help of the Lord I will do the best I can, and … with His help I have no fear at all but what I can get along.” Heber J. Grant.
The Lord wants us to acknowledge him and rely on him for strength as we confront challenges in this life. We are promised blessings when we keep that principle.
Have Faith in the Savior and Keep the Commandments
President Grant tells the following experience in his own words regarding how the Lord blesses us when we keep his commandments and rely on his divine help.
“ ‘I remember as a young man I had $50.00 in my pocket on one occasion which I intended to deposit in the bank. When I went on Thursday morning to fast meeting—the fast meeting used to be held on Thursdays instead of Sundays—and the bishop made an appeal for a donation, I walked up and handed him the $50.00. He took five of it and put it in the drawer and gave the $45.00 back to me and said that was my full share.
“ ‘I said, “Bishop Woolley, by what right do you rob me of putting the Lord in my debt? Didn’t you preach here today that the Lord rewards fourfold? My mother is a widow, and she needs $200.00.”
“ ‘He said, “My boy, do you believe that if I take this other $45.00, you will get your $200.00 quicker?”
“ ‘I said: “Certainly.”
“ ‘Well, he took it.
“ ‘While walking from fast meeting to the place where I worked, an idea popped into my head. I sent a telegram to a man asking him how many bonds of a certain kind he would buy at a specified price within forty-eight hours. … He wired back that he wanted as many as I could get. My profit on that transaction was $218.50.
“ ‘The next day I walked down to the bishop and said: “Bishop, I made $218.50 after paying that $50.00 donation the other day and so I owe $21.85 in tithing. I will have to dig up the difference between $21.85 and $18.50. The Lord did not quite give me the tithing in addition to a four to one increase” ’ ” (Presidents of the Church [Religion 345 student manual], pp. 176–77).
Read together Doctrine and Covenants 82:10: “I, the Lord, am bound when you do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”
• Why are we sometimes afraid, or just lack enough faith, to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments when he has promised us such great blessings when we do obey them? (Allow varied answers and bring out that our blessings are not always immediate, as they were in the last example from President Grant’s life. However, the Lord always keeps his promises: he cannot lie.)
As we continue to be obedient to gospel principles, blessings will come and our trust in our Father in Heaven will increase. As we trust in and rely on the Savior, blessings do come into our lives. And as our trust in the Lord and our obedience grow, our reliance on the Lord becomes more a constant part of our life and we draw nearer our Father in Heaven.
Testimony and Challenge
You may wish to share a personal experience with the class concerning your reliance on the Savior. Bear your testimony to the truthfulness of this principle of the gospel.
Challenge class members to rely on the Savior. As difficult situations develop in their lives, challenge them to seek the Lord for strength and to rely on him for answers and help.
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