Lesson 13: Sustaining Priesthood Bearers

Young Women Manual 1, (2002), 52–55


Each young woman will learn the importance of sustaining priesthood leadership.


  1. 1.

    Prepare a copy of the following questionnaire for each young woman (you may want to duplicate the copy on page 55).

    Name the following priesthood officers who serve you:

    The President of the Church __________

    Members of the Quorum of the Twelve __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________

    The stake or mission president __________

    The bishop or branch president __________

    Your home teachers __________, __________

    Who is your immediate priesthood leader? (Be sure the young women understand that this is their father, if he holds the priesthood.) __________

  2. 2.

    Bring a pencil for each young woman.

  3. 3.

    Prepare for each class member a copy of the eight numbered questions from the article by Sister Ardeth Kapp (see page 55).

  4. 4.

    Assign a young woman to present the story about President Ezra Taft Benson’s family (see pages 53–54) Invite other class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

  5. 5.

    If it is available in your area, prepare to show “The Blessings of the Priesthood,” in Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).

Suggested Lesson Development

We Can Sustain Priesthood Leaders


Distribute a pencil and the questionnaire to each young woman. Ask them to name each priesthood holder on the sheet in the space provided. When they are finished, ask them whether they sustain and support these priesthood leaders.


  • What does it mean to support and sustain someone?

Chalkboard discussion

One of the dictionary definitions of the word support is “to promote the interest or cause of” or “to uphold or defend as valid or right: advocate.” The word sustain means “to give support or relief to.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 7th ed. [Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1973], pp. 1171, 1174.)

Write these definitions on the chalkboard.

Below the definitions, write the words Why and How to. Underneath, list in a column each priesthood leader on the questionnaire (see the sample illustration on page 53).

Support: “to promote the interest or cause of” or “to uphold or defend as valid or right: advocate.”

Sustain: “to give support or relief to.”


How to

President of the Church


Quorum of the Twelve


Stake president




Home teacher



  • What are some of the reasons the Lord has asked us to support and sustain our leaders? What are some of the ways we can do this?

For each priesthood leader, ask the young women to name at least one reason why they should support him and several ways they can do this. List these responses beside the priesthood leader’s name. Encourage the young women to think of specific ways to support each leader. For example, instead of listing, “Do what the bishop asks,” they might list, “Willingly accept an assignment to speak in sacrament meeting and prepare carefully for it.”

Scriptures and quotation

To help the young women understand why they should support their priesthood leaders, have them read the following scriptures and quotation: Doctrine and Covenants 1:38; Doctrine and Covenants 112:20; 2 Chronicles 20:20; and Amos 3:7.

“The prerogative of sustaining the priesthood is held by women as well as by men. There can be little inspiration and no progress, either in the home or in the Church organization where the women do not sustain the priesthood” (Matthew Cowley, Matthew Cowley Speaks [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], p. 194).

We Can Give Support by Praying for Our Leaders

Point out that one important way we can help our leaders is by praying for them.


Invite the assigned class member to share the following story of how one young woman was impressed by Elder Ezra Taft Benson’s family as they strengthened him in his priesthood role:

“The first time [I came] to the Salt Lake Tabernacle for a general conference of the Church I was awed by the immensity of the building, but even more by the room-filling presence of the General Authorities who were assembled there.

“In my growing-up years, many of them had visited our small branch in Montana. We had no television, nor could we receive conference on the radio. So we looked forward to each visit as a special blessing. They had, it seemed to me, a power and faith above other men.

“Then on [that] April day … I discovered one source of a General Authority’s strength.

“I was seated with the six children of Elder Ezra Taft Benson, one of whom was my college roommate. My interest heightened when President McKay arose and announced the next speaker. I watched respectfully as Elder Benson, whom I had not yet met, walked toward the microphone. He was a big man, well over six feet tall. He was a man with a Ph.D., a man internationally known as the United States Secretary of Agriculture and a special witness of the Lord, a man who seemed serene and sure, one who had addressed audiences throughout the world. Suddenly a hand touched my arm. A little girl leaned toward me and whispered urgently, ‘Pray for Dad.’

“Somewhat startled, I thought, ‘This message is being passed down the row, and I am to pass it on. Shall I say, “Pray for Elder Benson”? Shall I say, “You’re supposed to say a prayer for your father”?’ Sensing the immediate need to act, I leaned over and whispered simply, ‘Pray for Dad.’

“I watched that whisper move along the row to where Sister Benson sat, her head already bowed.

“Many times since that day I have remembered that message—Pray for Dad, the patriarch of the home. Pray for him as he serves as district president or home teacher. Pray for him when he becomes executive secretary of a civic group, when his business flourishes, or when he takes a cut in salary. Pray as he gives counsel in family home evening. Pray for Dad who works long hours so that Jerold can go on a mission and Diane can go to college. Pray for him as he speaks in sacrament meeting or gives Mother a blessing that she might be made well again. Pray as he baptizes William or gives a tiny, newborn baby a name and a father’s blessing. And in the evening, should he come home tired or discouraged, pray for him. Pray for Dad in all that he might do—the small things and the great.

“As years have passed, general conferences have come and gone, and each time President Benson has stood to speak, I have thought, ‘His children, who are scattered across the continent, are united now in prayer for their father.’

“And I have come to believe that the brief message that passed along the row … years ago is the most important message a family can share. What extraordinary power and faith any man can have to meet the daily challenge of his life if somewhere in the world his daughter or son is whispering, ‘Pray for Dad’” (Elaine S. McKay, “Pray for Dad,” New Era, June 1975, p. 33).

Emphasize that sustaining and supporting priesthood leaders is more than raising one’s hand. It means praying for them, speaking well of them, and obeying them.

We Can Strengthen Young Priesthood Holders

Teacher presentation

Point out that a young woman’s obligation to support priesthood holders does not include only those who are her leaders. She may have a great ability to strengthen and sustain young men her own age.


Tell the following story, or ask an assigned class member to tell it:

A young elder who had been called to serve a foreign mission spoke in his ward sacrament meeting. Many young people were in attendance, including a large number of young women.

“In his closing remarks I began to sense the powerful influence friends had had on this young man who was spiritually mature beyond his years. After expressing gratitude for family and loved ones, and before his final testimony, he grasped the pulpit on either side and leaned forward. He dropped his head just a moment. Then, looking up, he quietly said, ‘And I give thanks to all my friends, especially you girls in the audience who have kept the standards and encouraged me to do the same.’ His voice deepened as he continued, ‘Thank you for your influence that has helped me prepare for a mission’” (Ardeth G. Kapp, “By the Way She Is,” New Era, Sept. 1976, pp. 10–12).


  • What are some of the ways that the young women might have influenced this missionary?

  • What part could they have played in his decision to serve a mission?

  • How can your attitudes and behavior influence a young man’s decision?


Explain that young women have the ability to positively influence priesthood bearers in their responsibilities. Read the following words from Sister Ardeth Kapp, which describe ways in which this influence is shown:

“Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, [1] do the young men you associate with know that you have a standard of excellence from which you will not depart? [2] Do they know by what you say and do that you honor and respect your parents and that [3] you follow the counsel of the leaders of the Church? [4] Do they know you will delay dating until after you are 16 because a prophet of the Lord has given that direction? [5] By your actions do they know that you have made up your mind to be good and that you will not weaken? [6] Can they look to your friendship to gain confidence and respect for themselves? [7] Will your language, your dress, your choice of entertainment, music, books, and movies help the young men who associate with you develop admiration and respect for womanhood? As young men are exposed to the world’s distorted role of womanhood, [8] can they see in you the refinement and sweetness that encourage an attitude of reverence, respect, and honor for that sacred calling?

“Strange that I had not realized before, but it is not as a young woman encourages a young man to go on a mission that her greatest influence is felt. Rather it is through her actions as she reveals her commitment and testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives evidence through her power and influence in the advancement of good” (“By the Way She Is,” p. 13; numbers added).

Lesson Application


Give each class member a copy of the eight questions suggested by Sister Kapp. Ask her to take it home and prayerfully analyze herself and her actions. Suggest that the young women place the handouts in their books of remembrance and that they occasionally refer to the list and evaluate themselves.


Handout for lesson activity

Name the following priesthood officers who serve you:

The President of the Church __________

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________, __________

The stake or mission president __________

The bishop or branch president __________

Your home teachers __________, __________

Who is your immediate priesthood leader? __________