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How can I be in the world but not of the world?

“Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it's growing ever wider” (Thomas S. Monson, “Priesthood Power,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 66). The Lord wants us to remain true to His standards and not partake of the evils of the world. At the same time, He expects us to be a good influence on those around us.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and other resources will help the young women recognize that their examples can help others remain true to the Lord’s standards?

2 Kings 6:14–17 (Elisha’s servant realizes that he is not alone)

Matthew 5:14–16 (We should let our light shine)

John 15:19; 1 Nephi 8:24–28 (Those who follow Christ are often mocked and hated by the world)

1 Nephi 15:23–25; Alma 34:39; Helaman 5:12; D&C 10:5; 27:15–18; 87:8 (How to be in the world but not of the world)

Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Robert D. Hales, “Stand Strong in Holy Places,Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 48–51

Quentin L. Cook, “Being in the World but Not of the World,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 53–55

Elaine S. Dalton, “Remember Who You Are,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 120–23; see also the video “Deep Beauty”

“Message to the Youth from the First Presidency,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), ii–iii

Videos: “Bloom Where You’re Planted” “Dare to Stand Alone,” “The Lost Purse,” “195 Dresses”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Ask the young women if they have ever heard the phrase “We should be in the world but not of the world.” What does this mean to them? What experiences can they share related to this principle? Invite them to share ways the Savior was in the world but not of the world. When did He face temptation and overcome it? Encourage them to share scriptures that show how Jesus Christ resisted temptation. How does His example inspire the young women?
  • Show “Dare to Stand Alone” (or read 2 Kings 6:14–17), and invite the young women to share similar experiences they have faced and how they were blessed as they stood up for the Lord’s standards. 

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women understand how they can be in the world but not of the world. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the young women to read the scriptures listed in this outline (individually or as a class) and discuss what they learn about overcoming temptations. How do they live the Lord’s standards when the world tempts them to do otherwise or makes fun of them for having high standards? How have they felt when they have lived the Lord’s standards and resisted temptations? What experiences can they share?
  • Invite each young woman to select one of the standards in For the Strength of Youth or one of the values in Personal Progress. Ask her to study her standard or value and then share with the class a summary of it and how living it has helped her to be in the world but not of the world.
  • Invite the young women to read Exodus 20:3–6, and ask them how these scriptures apply to us in our day. Read section I of Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “No Other Gods” as a class. Consider bringing to class several objects that represent the six priorities that Elder Oaks mentions, and ask the young women to match the objects with the priorities. As they make a match, discuss ways someone could overcome putting this priority above serving our Heavenly Father. How can putting God first impact how we pursue our other priorities in life?
  • As a class, read Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk “Stand Strong in Holy Places” or Elder Quentin L. Cook’s article “Being in the World but Not of the World,” or watch one of the videos suggested in this outline. Invite the young women to look for and discuss answers to the following question: How do we live in the world but not be of the world? Ask the young women to share experiences in which they let people know they are committed Latter-day Saints and live their beliefs. 
  • Write on the board the following headings: “What does the world want us to be?” and “What does the Lord want us to be?” Invite the young women to suggest answers to these questions. Ask them to continue pondering these questions as they read or watch together Elaine S. Dalton’s talk “Remember Who You Are.” Invite them to write on the board answers to the questions as they find them in the talk. What experiences can they share about being what the Lord wants them to be?
  • Ask the class to make a list of commandments that might be difficult for young women their age to keep. Invite each young woman to choose one item from the list and use the scriptures, For the Strength of Youth, and her own experiences to give advice on how to overcome temptation to disobey this commandment.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to be in the world but not of the world? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Work on Choice and Accountability value experience 2 or 3 in Personal Progress.
  • Watch or share the videos listed in this lesson with a family member or friend and share how they feel about them.

If appropriate, invite the young women to share what they feel inspired to do as a result of this lesson.