Purpose: To demonstrate the importance of living life with the optimism of hope.
Scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).
Hymns: “The Light Divine” (Hymns no. 305), “Hope of Israel” (Hymns no. 259).
PMG Quote: “Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance” (p. 117).
Key Term: Hope – “The confident expectation of and longing for the promised blessings of righteousness. The scriptures often speak of hope as anticipation of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Lesson: In 1859, the British ship Alacrity encountered dense fog while transporting Latter-day Saint pioneers between South Africa and Boston. Visibility was extremely low, and the Saints, fearing for their lives, prayed and fasted for divine assistance. Because he was unable to navigate the ship by the stars, the captain climbed to the top of the mast to search for an opening in the fog. Suddenly the mist cleared long enough for him to see sandbars off of Nantucket, straight ahead. He had just enough time to change the ship’s course and avoid disaster.
The miracle experienced by the Saints on the Alacrity is one of many inspiring stories of those who crossed oceans and plains in their hope to reach Zion. Despite tremendous afflictions, including sickness, malnutrition, exposure, and exhaustion, most pioneers remained optimistic and determined. This type of attitude is what Nephi described as “having a perfect brightness of hope.”
Hope, a trait deeply entwined with faith and charity, is what helps us to look past our daily difficulties toward a happier future. Hope increases with the nearness of the spirit and is important because it helps us trust in the Lord while enduring to the end. Those without hope struggle through trials and often give up. President Ezra Taft Benson taught that hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Those with deep and abiding hope will see “divine pattern and purpose” no matter what trials or blessings life may bring.
Exercises: Prayerfully select one or more of the following exercises to supplement the lesson.
Ñ Teach: Explain the principle of hope and why it is important.
Testify: Describe a personal experience or feelings you have about having hope in Christ.
? Invite: Practice inviting those you teach to make commitments related to having hope (i.e., repenting).
® Role Play: Use the following question to role play a gospel discussion with a friend or family member. “Why is it important to have hope?”
Open Your Mouth: In the upcoming week, start a gospel conversation with someone by asking them, “How do you maintain hope with all the bad things happening in the world?” Probe to learn what specific behaviors they feel are necessary to build hope in Christ.
Activity: Place several household objects (e.g. key, pencil, small toy, etc.) inside separate socks. Tie a knot in the top of each sock or secure with a twist tie. Give each family member a pen and paper. Pass the socks around, allowing each person to feel the contents. The player writes his/her guess of what is in each sock. Show the contents of the socks after everyone has written down their guesses. Remind family members the scriptures tell us to have “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:32).
Additional Resources: 1. There are numerous conference talks on hope, including “The Infinite Power of Hope” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (October 2008), “The Joy of Hope Fulfilled” by M. Russell Ballard (October 1992), and “Brightness of Hope” by Neal A. Maxwell (October 1994). 2. A poem, “Hope”, was published in the September 2010 Friend magazine. 3. “Good Things to Come” is a Mormon Channel video based on a personal story about hope told by Jeffrey R. Holland.