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What does it mean to sustain my Church leaders?

As members of the Church, we have the opportunity to sustain those the Lord has called to serve. We raise our hand to indicate that we sustain the General Authorities and officers of the Church and each of the leaders in our wards and stakes—including Young Women class presidencies. Sustaining leaders involves more than just a raised hand—it means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, obey their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What will inspire the young women to sustain their Church leaders?

Exodus 17:8–12 (Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’s hands)

D&C 21:1–6124:45–46 (Those who hearken to the voice of the Lord’s servants will be blessed)

1 Nephi 18:8–20; D&C 84:23–25 (Examples of people who rejected their leaders)

1 Kings 17:8–162 Kings 5:1–14 (Examples of people who followed the counsel of the Lord’s servants)

Henry B. Eyring, “Called by God and Sustained by the People,” Ensign or Liahona, June 2012, 4–5

Russell M. Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 74–77

James E. Faust, “Called and Chosen,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 53–55

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:

  • Write the title of this lesson on the board, and ask the young women to think of other words that mean the same thing as sustain. Then invite them to list on the board the names of leaders in the ward, including presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, and their Young Women class. What are the young women doing to sustain these people?
  • Ask the young women to read Exodus 17:8–12 individually, and invite one of them to summarize the story in her own words. How does this story relate to us as we sustain our Church leaders? How are we like Aaron and Hur when we sustain our class president and other leaders?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women understand what it means to sustain Church leaders. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Before class, invite the young women to read Elder Russell M. Nelson’s talk “Sustaining the Prophets” and come prepared to share something from the talk that inspires them to sustain President Thomas S. Monson.
  • Divide the class into groups, and assign each group a section of President James E. Faust’s talk “Called and Chosen” or Doctrine and Covenants 124:45–46. Ask them to look for blessings promised to those who sustain their leaders and warnings to those who don’t. Invite them to share what they find. If they review the talk, ask them to share stories from the talk that illustrate these blessings and warnings.
  • Invite some of the young women to find an example of people in the scriptures who rejected their leaders, such as Laman and Lemuel (see 1 Nephi 18:9–14) and the children of Israel (see D&C 84:23–25). Ask the rest of the young women to find examples of people who followed the Lord’s servants, such as the widow of Zarephath (see 1 Kings 17:8–16) and Naaman (see 2 Kings 5:8–14). Ask them to share their stories and explain what they teach about the consequences of rejecting or honoring Church leaders.
  • Invite the young women to read President Henry B. Eyring’s article “Called of God and Sustained by the People,” looking for examples of ways we sustain our Church leaders. Bring copies of Church magazines, and ask the young women to find and share pictures in the magazines that represent ways to sustain Church leaders. What could the young women say if they hear someone criticizing one of their leaders? What do they do to sustain their leaders, including their class presidency? Invite the class president to share her feelings about her calling and the young women she serves.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand what it means to sustain Church leaders? 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:

  • Pray for their Church leaders.
  • Express gratitude to a Church leader who they feel magnifies his or her calling.