Lesson 35: Wise Choices

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 134–37


Each young woman will understand the need to make wise choices.


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

Suggested Lesson Development



“If a person, whether knowingly, ignorantly, intentionally, or accidentally, touches a hot stove or a bare high-voltage wire, he will be burned to the extent of the exposure. If for any reason he steps in front of a rapidly moving vehicle, even to save another life, he will be injured and possibly killed. Numerous examples could be given to show that we are subject to these laws regardless of who we are or what our intentions might be. We cannot change the laws of nature.

“As we understand the natural laws and respect them, we can apply them to our good. If we violate law, we suffer; and if we obey it, we are blessed!” (N. Eldon Tanner, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], p. 117).


  • How would you react if someone asked you to touch a hot stove or a high-voltage wire? Briefly discuss the consequences.

  • How would you react if someone asked you to do something immoral? Do you know the consequences?

  • How are the laws of nature like the laws of God? (If we violate either kind of law we suffer the consequences; we are blessed if we obey laws.)

We Have the Right to Make Choices and Must Accept Responsibility for Their Consequences


Read the following statement by President N. Eldon Tanner:

“One of God’s greatest gifts to man is freedom of choice.

“At an early period in the journey through life, man finds himself at a crossroad where he must choose one of two great highways—the right, leading to progress and happiness; and the wrong, leading to retardation and sorrow. There exists this eternal law that each human soul, through the choices he makes, will shape his own destiny. Our success or failure, peace or discontent, happiness or misery, depends on the choices we make each day. …

“Recently I was talking to a young man who said, in effect, ‘I’m fed up and tired of being told, “You have to do this,” or “You have to do that.” I want to be free to decide for myself what I want to do.’

“My response was, ‘You are free to choose exactly what you want to do, as long as it does not restrict or impose on the rights or liberties of others, but you must be responsible for your acts and be prepared to take the consequences’” (Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, pp. 83, 116).

Chalkboard discussion

  • When do we see or receive the consequences of our actions?

Help the young women to understand that the consequences of their actions are not always immediate.

  • What are some choices between good and evil that you must make every day?

List the young women’s responses on the chalkboard. (See chalkboard illustration.) Answers might include decisions whether to smoke, take drugs, cheat, use vulgar language, see inappropriate media presentations, date steadily, obey parents, choose worthy friends, obey school rules, neck, or pet.

  • What consequences could result from making a wrong choice in each of the areas listed on the chalkboard? Write the young women’s answers on the chalkboard as shown.

  • What blessings would you receive if you made the right choices? Write these answers on the chalkboard as well.

Chalkboard illustration

Areas of daily decisions

Consequences of wrong choices

Blessings for right choices


Risk to health, shortened life, possible damage to unborn child.

Good health, longer life.


Leads to other forms of dishonesty, weakens character.

Strengthens character.

Teacher presentation

Explain that Satan would have the world believe that to really be free and enjoy life, a person must be able to do anything she pleases. The adversary suggests that we can think as we please, act as we please, and do so without suffering any consequences.

Point out that sin will always bring bondage eventually, not freedom. For example, ask the class members to consider the situation of a young woman who feels that in order to be free, she needs to be able to have sex before marriage.

  • In what ways will she put herself into bondage because of her choice to be immoral? (She will no longer be free to have the Holy Ghost with her at all times; she will not be free to stand with a clear conscience before God without sincerely repenting; she may get pregnant and have the responsibility of bringing another life into the world without a proper home to raise it in.)

Explain that whether we like it or not, when we make a choice, we must accept the responsibility for it and accept its consequences.

Group discussion of case studies

Discuss the following case studies as a group. Ask the young women to answer the following questions for each case study:

  • What should the young woman have done before making her first choice?

  • How did she rationalize her behavior? Whom did she blame?

  • What consequences could she suffer as a result of this choice?

Case Study 1

Peggy has left home to work in another city. She is invited to a party with her colleagues who know nothing of her beliefs and would probably not understand them if they did. She is graciously offered a drink. Rather than embarrass her host and others there, she accepts.

Case Study 2

Amy knows that many of her classmates often cheat on tests and borrow each other’s assignments. She wasn’t able to study for a history exam because she tended the neighbor’s children, so she decided that just this once she would cheat. To her dismay, the teacher discovered what she was doing. She went to her teacher and complained that others were cheating also, that she had never cheated before, and that she would never cheat again. She felt that the teacher was unfair in giving her a penalty.

Case Study 3

Jane was invited to a movie with some school friends, whose family rules and moral standards were as high as hers. Her friends said that they were going to see a movie that Jane knew was acceptable. When they arrived at the theater, the movie was sold out, so they decided to see a different and inappropriate movie. Jane decided to go along, but now she blames the others for making the choice.

Case Study 4

Nancy was invited to a party, and all of her popular school friends were in attendance. One girl told a joke that gave rise to vulgar language, dirty jokes, and obscene insinuations. These seemed to become the main activity of the evening. This type of thing was against Nancy’s standards, but she thought it would be rude to say anything to the others. She found herself participating. After all, she rationalized, she had not started the storytelling. She also thought it would be rude to leave the party.

Teacher presentation

Summarize by reminding the young women that although we are free to make choices, we are not free to choose the consequences.

Righteous Standards and Knowledge Enable Us to Make Wise Choices

Teacher presentation

Have the young women read and mark 2 Nephi 10:23.

Explain that we are not left in darkness to make the choices that Nephi talks about. We have been given laws and commandments and the example of the Savior to help us find happiness and success. We make wise choices as we learn and obey the commandments of God and follow the teachings of our latter-day prophets.


Tell the following story of a family who discovered the importance of having a guide to help them find their way.

Early one morning the Olson family went to visit a large cave. As they moved through the dimly lit caverns, they listened to the guide explain the history of the cave. In one room, the lights went off. The guide said, “Do not panic; we are demonstrating total darkness for you. This is the way it would be if there were no light at all. Before I turn the lights back on, I want to try an experiment. You are now in the deepest part of the cave. How many of you think you could find your way out without lights? I want you to point in the direction you would take and keep pointing until I turn the lights back on.” When the lights were turned on, the people were all pointing in different directions. Without light to guide them, they had lost their way.

Jesus told us, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

  • In what ways is Jesus the light of the world? (He teaches us the things we should do to avoid the darkness of sin; his commandments are like a light to us when we are here on earth trying to return to him.)

Point out that by following the commandments of the Lord given to us through the scriptures, prophets, and personal revelation, we can always make wise choices.

  • What do you think a person who always chose to follow the Lord would be like? Encourage the young women to describe the characteristics of such a person.

  • What do you think a person who always chose evil would be like?


Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Life gives to all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless; or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, colorful, rich. You can soil your record, defile your soul, trample underfoot virtue, honor, and goodness, and thus forfeit an exaltation in the kingdom of God. Or you can be righteous, commanding the respect and admiration of your associates in all walks of life, and enjoying the love of the Lord. Your destiny is in your hands and your all-important decisions are your own to make” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], p. 235).



Explain that the day will come when each young woman will stand before God to be judged according to her choices and deeds in this life. True freedom comes from using our agency to choose obedience, and loss of freedom comes from using our agency to choose disobedience. Close the class by reading the words to the hymn “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free” (Hymns, no. 240).

Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n:
That God will force no man to heav’n.
He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.

Lesson Application

Ask the young women to evaluate the kinds of choices they are faced with from day to day and decide if they are following the light. Encourage them to use righteous standards in making these choices.