“Affliction Worketh in Us a More Exceeding Weight of Glory”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 81–82


The Lord may call upon us to bear afflictions and tribulations so that we may become as he desires us to be.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    A true Saint is one who separates himself from the things of the world in order to obtain God’s approval.

    1. 1.

      His life is always consistent with gospel ideals.

    2. 2.

      He is a good example, letting the pure light of the gospel radiate through him to enlighten the way for others.

  • B.

    A true Saint is one who renounces evil and endures valiantly every affliction and distress for the cause of Christ.

    1. 1.

      He realizes that earth life is a time for proving.

    2. 2.

      He knows tribulations are one means God has of purifying his chosen people.

    3. 3.

      He allows adversity to bring him closer to the Lord.

  • C.

    The true Saint becomes a “new creature” in Christ by obtaining and retaining forgiveness, and he strives to show himself approved of Christ at all times.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

2 Corinthians

Course Manual

Chapter 37, “Affliction Worketh in Us a More Exceeding Weight of Glory”

Standard Works

Mosiah 3:19; Helamen 3:35. What is the opposite of a “natural man”?

1 John 1:7-9; Romans 6:2-12. How is baptism the covenant of saintliness?

Ether 12:27; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Why are trials necessary in this process?

D&C 95:1, 2. For what purpose does the Lord chasten us?

Alma 14:8-11; Mosiah 17:9, 10, 20. Can suffering and adversity bring about God’s purposes?

D&C 58:2-4. What promise concerning tribulation did the early Saints receive from God?

Abraham 3:24-26; Moroni 8:26; D&C 122:9. What are the blessings of those who are proved in mortality and become saints?

Basic Library

A of F, pp. 109-16. How does one become cleansed from sin?

M of F, p. 153. How does godly sorrow bring one closer to saintliness?

M of F, pp. 188-89. What are the signs of godly sorrow in this letter?

Gos. Doc, pp. 111-12. What qualifies one to be a true saint?

Discourses, pp. 345-53. What is the purpose of every vicissitude through which one must pass?

Gos. Doc., p. 252. How should men live in the kingdom of God?

DS, 3:28-29. Do we bring some afflictions on ourselves?

Teachings, 78. Why do blessings come after tribulations?

Additional Sources

John Taylor in JD, 24:197. What are the purposes of tests and trials?

Marion G. Romney in CR, Oct. 1969, pp. 57-60. How can testimonies grow through affliction?

Media Suggestions

Cassette tape (President Harold B. Lee), A Polished Shaft

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

A True Saint Is One Who Has Achieved Purity and Holiness

The Latin word Sanctus, from which the English word Saint is derived, carries with it the meaning of holiness and purity. Could a person be a member of the Church and not be a saint?

A good method in helping the students determine the criteria by which one would be a true saint is contrast. By using a case study, object, or example and then having the students contrast that with an opposite case study, object, or example various points can be developed and a broad range of information gathered. In the case of this lesson, the teacher could use Mosiah 3:19 as the basis of the teaching method. On the chalkboard he could write natural man and draw from the class the characteristics of this type of person. Once a list has been compiled, it would form the basis with which a contrast could be made with a true Latter-day Saint, listing those characteristics in a column under that title. Once the students understand what constitutes saintliness, the instructor could move into the lesson and show how tribulations help produce these characteristics in people.

The Purpose of Trials and Affliction Is to Produce Saintliness

All people go through trials of some kind, such as social trials (e.g., persecutions suffered by early Saints), physical trials (e.g., disease or deformity), and/or spiritual trials. To assist the student in understanding that trials can assist us to become saints, the teacher could place the following diagram on the board:

Life’s Vicissitudes

life's vicissitudes

The teacher could point out that the diagram represents the spiritual fluctuations good people experience in mortality. Through questions the teacher could draw from the class three points:

  1. 1.

    Earth life is designed to assist mankind to become gods.

  2. 2.

    Some of God’s most favored people have had great trials and spiritual lows (e.g., Job and Joseph Smith).

  3. 3.

    Times of spiritual lows can be important in making us what God wants us to be.

The last point could be expanded by showing that—

  1. 1.

    Christ wants to make us as he is.

  2. 2.

    Christ cannot force us but must let us freely choose.

  3. 3.

    Those times of spiritual dryness, when man is left alone to choose if he really will follow Him, are important to God, for then man shows on his own that he is determined to do as God asks. The Lord wants man to walk in His paths and so shows the way, but He must take away His hand so that man can learn to walk, if he will.

Mortality Is Designed to Prove All People

Students often miss the implications in the Lord’s words “we will prove them.” (Abraham 3:25.) Though earth life is a test for mankind in that they do not know the results, it is not so with God. He has designed mortality as a time of proving, knowing what the results will be. To make his point, one method the teacher might consider using is that of comparison, wherein the students note the similarities between two given things. This concept could be developed by citing the way heat, chemicals, and pressure are necessary in making steel from iron and likening it to the way in which the Lord proves his children. The blacksmith knows what can happen if the right amount of each of the above things is used. It is not a test, for the results are known. Therefore, the metal is proved, not tested, under the fire of the forge and between the anvil and hammer. How has God designed earth life to be a time of proving? What happens to those who yield to God under the furnace of affliction? Did Paul understand this principle? Use some of the scriptures listed in the study sources to show that the prophets tried to help us understand this principle.