Lesson Helps

FHE: Withholding Judgment

Conference Talk:

For more information on this topic read “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, May 2012, 70.


"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!" (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign, May 2012, 70). 


“Kindness Begins With Me,” Children’s Songbook, p. 145.


"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things" (Romans 2:1).

Object Lesson:

Materials needed: A watermelon.

Procedure: Let the group see the melon. Point out that it’s hard, plain, and maybe even a little scuffed up on the outside. Its outward appearance doesn’t give a hint as to the treat that is inside.

Split the melon and show the red, juicy fruit. As the group is eating the melon, draw a parallel between the watermelon and people. Many don’t dress, act, or appear as we do; but if we are willing to look beyond surface appearances, it will be worth our effort. We can find qualities of humor, kindness, intellect, and much more. Sometime we’ll still find a few annoying habits, just like the seeds, but it is a simple matter to overlook them. Then we can truly enjoy the most important part of a person.

(Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, Power Tools for Teaching, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 39.) 


Heber J. Grant

There stand out in my life many incidents in my youth, of wonderful inspiration and power through men preaching the gospel in the spirit of testimony and prayer.

I call to mind one such incident when I was a young man, probably seventeen or eighteen years of age. I heard the late Bishop Millen Atwood preach a sermon in the Thirteenth Ward. I was studying grammar at the time, and he made some grammatical errors in his talk.

I wrote down his first sentence, smiled to myself, and said: “I am going to get here tonight, during the 30 minutes that Brother Atwood speaks, enough material to last me for the entire winter in my night school grammar class.” We had to take to the class for each lesson two sentences, or four sentences a week, that were not grammatically correct, together with our corrections.

I contemplated making my corrections and listening to Bishop Atwood’s sermon at the same time. But I did not write anything more after the first sentence—not a word; and when Millen Atwood stopped preaching, tears were rolling down my cheeks, tears of gratitude and thanksgiving that welled up in my eyes because of the marvelous testimony which that man bore of the divine mission of Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, and of the wonderful inspiration that attended the Prophet in all his labors.

Although it is now more than 65 years since I listened to that sermon, it is just as vivid today, and the sensations and feelings that I had are just as fixed with me as they were the day I heard it. Do you know, I would no more have thought of using those sentences in which he had made grammatical mistakes than I would think of standing up in a class and profaning the name of God. That testimony made the first profound impression that was ever made upon my heart and soul of the divine mission of the Prophet. I had heard many testimonies that had pleased me and made their impression, but this was the first testimony that had melted me to tears under the inspiration of the Spirit of God to that man.

During all the years that have passed since then, I have never been shocked or annoyed by grammatical errors or mispronounced words on the part of those preaching the gospel. I have realized that it was like judging a man by the clothes he wore to judge the spirit of a man by the clothing of his language. From that day to this the one thing above all others that has impressed me has been the Spirit, the inspiration of the living God that an individual had when proclaiming the gospel, and not the language; because after all is said and done there are a great many who have never had the opportunity to become educated so far as speaking correctly is concerned. Likewise, there are many who have never had an opportunity in the financial battle of life to accumulate the means whereby they could be clothed in an attractive manner. I have endeavored, from that day to this, and have been successful in my endeavor, to judge men and women by the spirit they have; for I have learned absolutely, that it is the Spirit that giveth life and understanding, and not the letter. The letter killeth.

(Leon R. Hartshorn,Classic Stories from the Lives of Our Prophets, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1971], 214.)


Find a selection of 15 to 20 small interesting objects, arrange them on a tray and cover with a towel.

Uncover the tray and place it where all family members can see it. Give everyone one minute to memorize the contents of the tray, then cover it up again.

Give everyone a paper and pencil. Ask them to write down all of the objects that they can remember.

Review everyone’s answers. Point out that everyone remembered different items. We are all unique and see things a little bit differently, but no one is right or wrong.

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