Lesson 25: Obedience

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 91–93


Objective

Each young woman will better understand the principle of obedience.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Optional: Prepare a small handout for each young woman. See the sample at the end of the lesson.

  2. 2.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Obedience Is the First Law of Heaven

Chalkboard discussion

Write on the chalkboard: Obedience is the first law of heaven.

  • Why must we be obedient in order to return to heaven? (Unless we have a willing and obedient spirit, we will not obey the laws that will lead us back to heaven.)

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read Jeremiah 7:23–24.

  • What happens to the disobedient? (They go backward, not forward.)

Quotation

Read the following quotation by Elder James E. Talmage: “Obedience is the means of progress, advancement, growth, development” (“Heaven’s First Law,” in Sunday Night Radio Talks, 2 Mar. 1930 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., n.d.], p. 1).

Teacher presentation

Explain that one of the primary aims of science is to discover additional laws. When scientists discover these higher laws and obey them, marvelous things can happen. The successful landing of men on the moon is an example of the importance of obedience. Men spent years concentrating on discovering and obeying the natural laws that governed gravity, jet propulsion, and other things. Their obedience resulted in the successful landing of a man on the moon.

Quotation

Read the following quotation:

“May we not conclude that obedience, in and of itself, is a source of power … ? Man can achieve naught of excellence in matters material or spiritual except through the exercise, the utilization, of that supreme form of energy, obedience” (James E. Talmage, “Heaven’s First Law,” p. 4).

Scripture discussion

Explain that just as we receive benefits from obeying natural laws, we receive benefits from obeying spiritual laws. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith important doctrine about the power of obedience. Read Doctrine and Covenants 130:18–19.

  • How can we gain more knowledge and intelligence? (By diligence and obedience.)

Now read Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.

  • How does the Lord say we progress and receive blessings?

Explain that the Lord wants his children to progress and grow spiritually. He knows that this is possible only through obedience to eternal laws. The following scripture makes this clear.

Read with the class Doctrine and Covenants 82:8–10.

  • What does this passage tell us about the power of obedience?

Explain that obedience is so essential to our eternal progression that it has been called the first law of heaven.

Obedience Comes from Trust in God

Scripture discussion

Read Moses 5:5–7.

  • Why do you think Adam obeyed the Lord even when he didn’t understand the reason? (He trusted the Lord enough to know that the Lord would ask only what was right.)

Ask the young women if they have been obedient at times when they did not understand the reasons. Have them share their experiences.

Teacher presentation

Explain that some people criticize others for being “blindly obedient” to God or his prophets. In reality, those who obey the Lord do so because they love and trust him.

They have learned to trust him through their experience with him.

Quotation

Read the following quotation by Joseph Smith:

“Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 256).

Story

The following story illustrates this point:

“One spring morning [Ephraim K. Hanks] was at work, building an adobe house in [Salt Lake City]. The basement was almost completed and he was just beginning to lay the sun-dried brick when Brigham [Young] drove up in his carriage and said, ‘Ephraim, how thick is that rock wall?’

“Ephraim answered that it was eight inches thick.

“Brigham said, ‘Tear it all down, Ephraim, and build it twice as thick.’ Then, … he turned his carriage around and drove away.

“Eph had been hauling rock from Ensign Peak for many days, and had paid a mason a good price to lay it in lime mortar. He dreaded the extra work and expense of doing it all over again. …

“Nevertheless, Eph re-contracted with the stone mason to double the wall and the next morning started hauling rock again.

“A month later, they had laid on this sixteen-inch wall much adobe brick and mud. As they were putting up the rafters, a terrific storm started. Rain fell in sheets, causing streamlets of water to run in all directions. In a few minutes the basement of the new house was flooded, but the sturdy, thick walls stood safe and strong, supporting the house. A few days later when the water had drained out and they finished laying the rafters, Eph drove in the nails to the tune of ‘We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet’” (Sidney A. Hanks and Ephraim K. Hanks, Scouting for the Mormons on the Great Frontier [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1948], pp. 79–80).

Teacher presentation

Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. …

“Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of—the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousandfold more than we offer him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience” (Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 7 Dec. 1971], pp. 3–4).

  • Why do you think that obedience is the key to freedom?

Explain that true obedience to God is not blind obedience. It is obedience born of trust in God.

Blessings Come to Us When We Are Obedient

Scripture discussion

  • What blessings can come to us when we are obedient?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.

  • Why do you think the obedient are more at peace in this life?

Teacher presentation

Explain that happiness and peace are some of the blessings of obedience. Obedience also allows us to become the kind of person God wants us to be. Read the following quotation from President Heber J. Grant:

Quotation

“There is a still small voice telling us what is right, and if we listen to that still small voice, we shall grow and increase in strength and power, in testimony and in ability not only to live the gospel but to inspire others to do so.

“My most earnest prayer is that every man and every woman will get it into his and her heart that they are in very deed the architects of their lives” (“The Path of Safety,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1937, p. 735).

Story

The following story explains some blessings that came to a Church member because of her obedience:

In a small town in Belgium, the missionaries met a widow and her four young children. The family received the gospel with gladness and expressed a desire to be baptized. When the young mother learned about tithing, however, she was concerned, for they had barely enough money to live on. She showed the missionaries her budget and explained that every penny went for necessities.

How could they spare 10 percent and still live? Even the missionaries shook their heads in dismay. Expressing their faith in the Lord and in his promise to open the windows of heaven, the missionaries asked her to put her trust in the Lord. The mother and oldest child agreed and were baptized. For four months they struggled, but somehow they paid their tithing.

Then in the fifth month a letter came from the Belgian government explaining that the pension the woman was receiving because of her husband’s death had been miscalculated. Not only would they be sending a substantial increase, but they enclosed a check for all the back money due her. Truly the Lord kept his promise.

Teacher presentation

Explain that blessings are not always given to us immediately. The Lord sees this life from an eternal perspective and knows what is best for us.

Conclusion

Scripture and teacher summary

Read John 14:15, 21.

Explain that the blessings that come from obeying the Lord are great. They are worth far more than any sacrifice we have to make to keep his commandments.

Handout

You may wish to give a small card to each young woman with Obedience and the following scripture references written on it: Jeremiah 7:23–24; Doctrine and Covenants 130:18–21; Doctrine and Covenants 59:23; Doctrine and Covenants 82:8–10; John 14:15, 21; and 1 Corinthians 2:9. Ask the young women to study the scriptures during the week and try to be more obedient to the Lord’s commandments.