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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

As you prepare, prayerfully study these scriptures and resources, as well as others that have helped you learn about adversity.

1 Samuel 11 Kings 17; Ruth 1; Esther 4; 1 Nephi 5:1–9 (Examples of women in the scriptures who faced adversity)

2 Nephi 2:11 (Adversity is part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us)

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

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

D&C 58:3–4 (After adversity comes the blessing)

D&C 121:7–8 (If we endure adversity well, God will exalt us)

D&C 122:4–9 (Adversity gives us experience and is for our good)

Thomas S. Monson, “I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Linda S. Reeves, “Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Henry B. Eyring, “Mountains to Climb,Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 23–26

Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 39–42

Adversity,True to the Faith (2004), 8–11

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

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:

  • Draw pictures of a piece of coal and a diamond on the board. Ask the young women how diamonds are made from coal (through extreme pressure and heat applied over a long period of time). What does this teach us about adversity?
  • Share with the young women Sister Linda S. Reeves’s story about the Provo Tabernacle (in her talk “Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants”). What do the young women learn about adversity from this story?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women learn about the purposes of adversity. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Read together some scriptures in which the Savior experienced adversity (such as Matthew 4:1–11; 26:38–39; Luke 23:33–34). What can the young women learn about adversity from the Savior’s life? How did He face His trials? Invite each young woman to write down a trial that she or a loved one is facing. Encourage the young women to ponder what they can learn from the Savior’s example that could help with this trial.
  • Invite the young women to think of examples of women in the scriptures who faced adversity (see the examples suggested in this outline). Ask them to read about these women in the scriptures and summarize the story for the rest of the class. What do they learn about adversity from these stories that can help them overcome their own trials?
  • Invite the young women to read about President Henry B. Eyring’s experience building foundations for houses (as told in his talk “Mountains to Climb”). What do they learn from President Eyring about preparing spiritually to face adversity? What are the young women doing now to prepare for adversity they might face in their future?
  • Divide the class into two groups. Invite one group to look for examples in the Book of Mormon of individuals or groups who faced difficult challenges (see, for example, Mosiah 24:8–17; 3 Nephi 1:4–21; Moroni 1). Invite the other group to look through the hymnbook to find a hymn that helps them during their trials. Ask the groups to share what they learn that could help them overcome adversity. 
  • 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 President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee” into sections, and give each young woman a section to read. Ask the young women to look for answers to these questions and to write their answers on the board in the appropriate column. What insights do the young women gain from President Monson’s talk?
  • Ask the young women to read the four paragraphs from Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk “Trial of Your Faith,” beginning with “These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger,” or show one of the videos suggested in this outline. Invite the young women to ponder the question “Why do we have adversity?” as they read or watch. What do they learn from this talk or video that helps them know what to do when adversity comes?

Ask the young women 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 helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

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

  • Find a way to comfort a loved one who is facing a trial by sharing what they learned about adversity.
  • Talk to their families about family members who have overcome adversity.