A Period of Challenge and Growth

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 88–89


  1. 1.

    President Ezra Taft Benson gave renewed emphasis to the Book of Mormon and its importance in the lives of Latter-day Saints.

  2. 2.

    Church leaders continued to receive inspired direction concerning the organization of the Church as it expanded worldwide.

  3. 3.

    Church leaders addressed major issues affecting the home, the nation, and various parts of the world.

    Suggested Approaches

  • Discuss with students the invitation issued by President Benson and his newly called counselors for those who had strayed to come unto Christ and come back into the fold (see “An Invitation to Come Back,” Church News, 22 Dec. 1985, p. 3; see also student manual, p. 602).

  • Discuss President Benson’s counsel to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon (see Conference Report, Apr. 1987, pp. 104–8; or Ensign, May 1987, pp. 83–85) and to cleanse the inner vessel (see Conference Report, Apr. 1986, pp. 3–6; or Ensign, May 1986, pp. 4–7).

  • Discuss President Benson’s address on pride (see Conference Report, Apr. 1989, pp. 3–7; or Ensign, May 1989, pp. 4–7). Discuss the influence that pride has on people. Ask: How does the Book of Mormon help us identify and avoid pride? Ask students what the following statement means to them: “In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, p. 3; or Ensign, May 1989, p. 4).

  • Tell students that President Benson addressed several talks to specific groups while he was President of the Church. Many of these talks are included in his book, Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990). Read the following titles of talks listed in the book’s table of contents:

    • “To the Young Men of the Priesthood”

    • “To the Young Women in the Church”

    • “To the Mothers in Zion”

    • “To the Fathers in Israel”

    • “To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church”

    • “To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church”

    • “To the Children of the Church”

    • “To the Elderly in the Church”

    Discuss the faith it takes to follow the counsel of the living prophet. Testify of the blessings that come through obedience.

  • Review President Benson’s statements to the mothers in Zion and the fathers in Israel (see Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice, pp. 25–47; see also student manual, pp. 604–5). Discuss the counsel he gave to mothers and fathers. Ask: What are the two sacred responsibilities a father should take upon himself? Read the following statement.

    Elder Harold B. Lee “A man came in to see me and said that he had heard that some man appeared mysteriously to a group of temple workers and told them, ‘You had better hurry up and store for a year, or two, or three, because there will come a season when there won’t be any production.’ He asked me what I thought about it, and I said, ‘Well, were you in the April conference of 1936?’

    “He replied, ‘No, I couldn’t be there.’

    “And I said, ‘Well, you surely read the report of what was said by the Brethren in that conference?’

    “No, he hadn’t.

    “‘Well,’ I said, ‘at that conference the Lord did give a revelation about the storage of food. How in the world is the Lord going to get over to you what he wants you to do if you’re not there when he says it, and you do not take the time to read it after it has been said?’

    “We live in a changing world. The Lord is going to keep his people informed, if they will listen. As President Clark said in a classic talk that he gave, ‘We do not need a prophet; we need a listening ear’ (see Conference Report, Oct. 1948, p. 82). That is the great need of our generation” (“The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982], p. 109).

    Ask how this statement relates to President Benson’s counsel to parents and others. Testify that we must have a “listening ear” for the words of the living prophet.

  • Review with your students some of the moral issues the First Presidency spoke out on in the 1980s (see student manual, pp. 605–7). Ask: Which of these issues affect members of the Church in our area?

  • Discuss some of the important changes in Church government and policy that occurred during President Benson’s administration (for example, the discontinuance of stake seventies quorums, the call for more missionaries, and clarification of some responsibilities of bishops; see student manual, pp. 607–8).

  • Discuss the events related to the opening of Eastern Europe to missionary work (see student manual, pp. 611–13). Ask: What changes made it possible for many people in Eastern Europe to learn about the Church?

    Theme Sources

  • Mark E. Petersen, “President Ezra Taft Benson,” Ensign, Jan. 1986, pp. 2–13.

    An overview of the life of the Church’s thirteenth President.

  • Ezra Taft Benson, “Joy in Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, pp. 2–5.

    President Benson shares his testimony of Jesus Christ.

  • Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, pp. 3–7; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, pp. 4–7.

    President Benson counsels the Saints to study and live the principles taught in the Book of Mormon.

  • Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, pp. 89–91; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, pp. 76–77.

    President Benson expresses to Elder Scott that the Church needs to use the Book of Mormon as the Lord intended.

    Additional Sources

  • Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning: A Modern-day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988).

    A collection of President Benson’s sermons on the importance of the Book of Mormon to the Latter-day Saints and the world.

  • Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1987, Spring 1987.

    Two volumes commemorating the introduction of the gospel to Great Britain, in honor of the sesquicentennial of the first missionaries arriving there.

  • Mark E. Petersen, “Ezra Taft Benson: ‘A Habit of Integrity,’” Ensign, Oct. 1974, pp. 15–29.

    A biographical sketch of President Benson.

  • Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987).

    A full-length biography of President Benson.

  • Boyd K. Packer, “President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor,” Ensign, Feb. 1986, pp. 2–9.

    A biographical sketch of President Gordon B. Hinckley.

  • Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Thomas S. Monson: Man of Action, Man of Faith, Always ‘on the Lord’s Errand,’” Ensign, Feb. 1986, pp. 10–17.

    A biographical sketch of President Thomas S. Monson.