Lesson 15: Unity and Brotherhood in the Priesthood

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 49–51


Objective

Each young man will discover that there is great strength in developing unity and brotherhood as holders of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed: scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Obtain a three- to six-foot length of rope and several strands from another piece of rope (one strand for each young man).

  3. 3.

    Study Psalm 133:1; Doctrine and Covenants 38:24; and Doctrine and Covenants 51:9.

Suggested Lesson Development

Priesthood Holders Should Help Each Other Feel Welcome

Story and discussion

Have the young men listen to the following story of a soldier who asked his superior officer if he might go out into a dangerous area between the trenches to bring in a seriously wounded comrade.

“‘You can go,’ said the officer, ‘but it’s not worth it. Your friend is probably killed, and you will throw your own life away.’ But the man went. Somehow, he managed to get to his friend, hoist him onto his shoulder, and bring him back to the trenches. The two of them tumbled together and lay in the bottom of a trench. The officer looked very tenderly on the would-be rescuer, and then said, ‘I told you it wouldn’t be worth it. Your friend is dead, and you are wounded.’

“‘It was worth it though, sir.’

“‘How do you mean “worth it”? I tell you, your friend is dead.’

“‘Yes, sir,’ the boy answered, ‘but it was worth it, because when I got to him he said, “I knew you’d come”’” (A Story to Tell, comp. General Board of the Primary Association and Deseret Sunday School Union Board [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1945], p. 28).

  • Why do you think it was worth it to the young soldier?

  • In what ways can priesthood holders show this kind of loyalty to one another?

Story and discussion

Relate the following story:

Tom and Bill had both just moved to a large city. The Aaronic Priesthood quorums from their new ward were having a swimming party at the beach. Brother Johnson had just signaled that it was time to eat, so most of the young men were hurrying toward the fire. Tom and Bill, who were new in the ward, were swimming out beyond the breakers. They were out away from the main group because the young men in the ward seemed too busy to make them feel welcome. Neither of them had lived in a large city before, and each felt lost among so many strangers.

“Let’s get out and eat,” said Bill.

“Go ahead,” said Tom. “It’s the first time I’ve ever gone swimming in the ocean, and I’m having too much fun to stop now.”

“Well, I’m hungry, so I’m going to eat,” said Bill, “but you’d better come on out soon.” As Bill waded from the water, he thought he heard a strange cry. “It was probably just someone at the campfire, or maybe a seagull,” Bill thought to himself.

Brother Johnson handed Bill his dinner as he walked up to the group. “Where’s Tom? Isn’t he with you?”

“No,” responded Bill. “He wanted to swim a while longer.”

Hesitating only long enough to alert the rest of the young men to the danger that Tom might be in, Brother Johnson ran toward the water. He saw a hand waving desperately above the water about fifty yards away. As Brother Johnson dived into the water, he became aware of four or five other rescuers swimming at his side. With the assistance of the young men, Brother Johnson was able to return Tom safely to the shore and to the other anxiously awaiting young men.

  • How could this potential tragedy have been avoided? (By someone making friends with Tom and remaining with him. The young men in the quorum could have been more involved in making Tom and Bill feel welcome.)

  • Do you know of any experiences when someone has been left out of a group?

  • Have you ever been left out yourself?

  • How do you feel when you have been left out, and no one seems to want to be your friend?

This may be a good time to discuss any less-active young men who are commonly left out for some reason. Help the young men understand their responsibility to help all Aaronic Priesthood holders feel welcome.

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read 1 Peter 3:8 while the other young men follow in their scriptures.

  • What does it mean to be of one mind? (To be unified in doing righteous things.)

  • In what way was Bill and Tom’s quorum not of one mind? (They did not include Tom or Bill in the group.)

Thought questions

Ask the following questions, and have the young men silently consider how they would respond to each question:

  • Are we of one mind?

  • Do we have compassion for each other?

  • Are we courteous?

  • Do we show genuine concern?

Personal experience

Share with the young men a personal experience in which you felt alone. Tell the young men how the experience affected you and how it was resolved. If possible, the example should show how a quorum or quorum member was instrumental in helping you feel a part of the group.

Showing Love and Brotherhood for Each Other

Object lesson

Give each of the young men a strand of rope that you have taken from a larger piece of rope. Ask each one to break his strand by pulling on both ends of it (the strands should be thin enough for all to succeed). Now ask the young men to bring their broken strands to the front of the room and lay them next to each other. Show a length of strong rope and ask two young men to pull on opposite ends of the rope to try to break it. After a short time of trying, have them be seated.

  • Why were you able to break the strands and not the rope? (The rope has more strands and is interwoven.)

Compare the rope to the quorum. Help the young men realize that when they unite together, the quorum becomes strong. When they are not of one mind, the quorum is weak, like the individual strands of the rope.

Chalkboard activity

  • What can we do to increase the brotherhood and unity of our quorum?

As the young men discuss their ideas, write their responses on the chalkboard. Suggestions might include doing service projects as a quorum; playing team athletics together; having a testimony meeting; working together to reactivate a member of the quorum; performing priesthood responsibilities together; and doing recreational, spiritual, or educational activities as a quorum.

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 38:24 while the other young men follow in their scriptures.

  • How are we all brothers? (We are all children of our Heavenly Father and brethren in the priesthood.)

  • What does it mean to esteem our brother as ourself? (To watch out for him, help him.)

Scripture

Have a young man read John 10:17–18.

Tell the young men that our Savior loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. Indeed, he performed his greatest act of love and sacrifice as he atoned for our sins. Emphasize that one of the best ways we can show gratitude for his love is to show love for the members of our quorum.

Conclusion

Adviser presentation

Explain that young men can serve the Lord in their priesthood callings by being friendly, helpful, and interested in each other. We should respect one another’s privacy and personal feelings, but we should also remember not to do anything that would make a fellow priesthood holder feel alone or unwanted.

As the story about Tom and Bill illustrated, we need each other. A young man nearly drowned because he was on his own without support from his group. Less-active young men can “drown” spiritually for the same reason. There is safety in companionship. We are all brothers and should treat each other with kindness.

Challenge

Review the counsel about friends given on pages 12–13 of For the Strength of Youth. Challenge the young men to take at least one action during the week to build quorum brotherhood. They may perform the action either as a quorum or as individuals. If the young men perform the action individually, talk with them privately during the next week to have them report their success. If they choose a quorum activity, devote a few minutes of quorum instruction time the following Sunday to discussing the success of the activity.

Testimonies

Share your testimony with the young men about the importance of priesthood brotherhood. Allow those young men who would also like to bear their testimonies to do so.