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Why do we have adversity?

As part of Heavenly Father’s plan, we must experience adversity during mortality. In some cases, adversity comes as the result of our own poor choices or the choices of others. Other trials are simply a natural part of our mortal experience. Though they are difficult, our challenges can help us grow spiritually and become more like Jesus Christ.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What impressions do you receive as you study?

2 Nephi 2:11 (There must be opposition in all things)

Mosiah 23:21 (God gives us adversity to test our faith)

Ether 12:27 (God gives us weakness so that we will be humble)

D&C 101:1–9 (Some adversity comes because of our own poor choices)

D&C 121:7–8; 122:4–9 (Trials give us experience and are for our good)

Yoon Hwan Choi, “Don’t Look Around, Look Up!Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 90–92

Dallin H. Oaks, “Opposition in All Things,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 114–17

Koichi Aoyagi, “Hold on Thy Way,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 126–28

Neil L. Andersen, “Spiritual Whirlwinds,Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 18–21; see also the video for his talk “Spiritual Whirlwinds”

Adversity,True to the Faith (2004), 6–10

Videos: “God Will Lift Us Up,” “The Priesthood Can Strengthen Our Families in Trials,” “Rebuilding Lives”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to review the doctrine from last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Ask the young men to think of and write down one thing they learned last week and share it with the quorum. Use this as a starting point for introducing this week’s lesson.
  • As a quorum, review Elder Neil L. Andersen’s description of a tree growing in a windy environment (in his talk “Spiritual Whirlwinds” or in the video “Spiritual Whirlwinds”). What does this analogy teach the young men about adversity? Invite them to search the talk, looking for counsel that they feel will help them withstand spiritual whirlwinds.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help quorum members learn about the purpose of adversity. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your quorum:

  • Bring a chain or a picture of a chain to class. What would happen if one of the links in the chain were to break? How can we ensure that we will be a strong link in the chain of generations within our eternal family? Invite the young men to search for how Elder Yoon Hwan Choi answered this question in his talk “Don’t Look Around, Look Up!” starting with the paragraph that begins, “All of us are in the middle of an eternal family.” How did Elder Choi and his family look to Christ in the stories he shared? What are some times when “it’s not always easy to look up”? What suggestions did Elder Choi give in the last paragraph of his talk to help us “always look up to [Christ]” during adversity?
  • Invite the young men to read the story in Elder Koichi Aoyagi’s talk “Hold on Thy Way,” beginning with the paragraph where he describes the car accident. What does this story teach the young men about why we face trials in this life? Consider inviting a young man ahead of time to share an experience when he or another member of his family grew or was strengthened through a trial. He could also share a story from his family history that teaches this principle.
  • Ask each young man to write down a trial he or a family member is having. Invite the young men to search the scriptures in this outline or others they know of to find something that teaches why we have adversity. Invite them to share what they find. How could this scripture help them overcome the trial they wrote down?
  • Read together the first two paragraphs of “Adversity” in True to the Faith. What is the role of adversity in Heavenly Father’s plan? Assign each quorum member one of the remaining three sections about adversity in True to the Faith, and ask the young men to prepare to teach the rest of the quorum what they learn from their section. Encourage them to share a story or personal experience related to what they read.
  • Draw a line down the middle of the board, and write “Why do we have adversity?” at the top of one column and “How can we face the challenges in our lives?” at the top of the other. Divide Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Opposition in All Things” into sections, and give each young man a section to read. Ask the young men to look for answers to these questions and to write their answers on the board in the appropriate column. What insights do the young men gain from the talks? You could also show one of the videos suggested in this outline to help the young men find additional answers to the questions on the board.
  • With permission from the bishop, invite fathers of the young men to share with the quorum how Jesus Christ has helped them overcome trials. What did they learn from their experiences with adversity? Ask the fathers to share a scripture as part of the discussion.

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand why we have adversity? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could:

  • Lead a discussion about how the quorum can fulfill their priesthood duty to help others in their trials. They could record plans to assist them in the “Serve Others” section of their Duty to God books.
  • Share his testimony of how the Savior has strengthened him in times of trial.