By Suzette Smith

The Gospel Doctrine lesson #45 manual objective is “To help class members understand some of the blessings that will come to those who overcome the trials of mortality through their testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Our Objective

To discover more about the symbols used in our religious worship, and to cultivate a deeper testimony of the Savior’s Atonement and its power to overcome Satan’s influence.


John was one of the Savior’s original Apostles. He was banished to Patmos for bearing testimony of Jesus Christ. While there, John was visited by an angel and given a revelation that he recorded in letters to the seven branches of the Church in Asia. These letters became the book of Revelation.


The Apostle John came out of a culture that used symbolism extensively in its language and literature. If we remember that many of the images in the Book of Revelation are symbolic and represent people, things, or concepts, the book becomes easier to understand.

As LDS Saints, we see some symbols in our weekly worship such as parables in the scriptures and the ordinance of the sacrament; however, the place most rich in symbols is our temple. The temple can only be understood by understanding symbols. The more we learn about symbols in our scriptures (such as here in the Book of Revelation), symbols of Jewish worship, and symbols of the Atonement, the more we will understand the temple and the covenants we make there. A deeper understanding of the temple can make it a rich place of worship and a place of power and strength.

This lesson can be used to explore symbols in greater depth.


Some of the writing in Revelation (Revelation 2-3) are to the seven branches of the church in Asia. These writings warn against sin and temptation and encourage saints to overcome weakness.

Overcoming weakness may not always mean removing a particular weakness, but rather to allow God’s help and Christ’s atonement to fill in the gaps that are created by weakness. Our weaknesses may be with us throughout our lives, but they can be a way to glorify God. Through God’s grace our weaknesses are made strong. Through Christ’s atonement, we can be made strong.

The Woman and the Dragon

The woman described in Revelation 12:1–2, 5 represents the Church of God. The child she brings forth represents the kingdom of God—the government that will exist on the earth during Jesus Christ’s millennial reign. The dragon represents the Devil (See Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:7; see also Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:229.).

The woman goes through pain to deliver and bring forth the Kingdom of God. She confronts the Devil. And flees into the wilderness to protect the Kingdom. Why is it important that a woman does these things: delivering, confronting, and protecting?

Overcoming Satan through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Satan and the powers of evil fought against God in the pre-earth life. That fight continues on earth today(Revelation 12).

There are two powers on the earth and in the midst of the inhabitants of the earth—the power of God and the power of the devil. … When God has had a people on the earth, it matters not in what age, Lucifer, the son of the morning, and the millions of fallen spirits that were cast out of heaven, have warred against God, against Christ, against the work of God, and against the people of God. And they are not backward in doing it in our day and generation. Whenever the Lord set His hand to perform any work, those powers labored to overthrow it” President Wilford Woodruff (in Deseret Evening News, 17 Oct. 1896, 9; quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 56; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 43).

We (as individuals and the church) will overcome Satan by the power of the Atonement (Revelation 12:11). We will struggle individually and collectively to resist temptation to overcome weakness – and ultimately, it will be Christ’s power that saves us and the church. This is a great opportunity of teachers to share personal experiences and testify of Christ’s saving power.

Related Mormon Women Project Interviews

Finding a Lifeline, Rhyll Anne Croshaw

It’s a really basic testimony and belief that God loves me, that He knows my pain, and that He is there with me. I’ve also discovered that no matter how hard we try, we cannot change somebody else. Somehow I thought I could fix my husband, but I couldn’t make him give his will to God. I can’t even do that with my own children. All I can do is work with God.

The Power of a Snowflake, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill

Just as women are in the most vulnerable position during wars, they are also in a key position to lead this challenge against violence. They are with their little children before those children are socialized to hate. And if they could get started teaching peace, not just one woman with one child, but dozens of women with dozens of children, and hundreds of women and millions of women… I get a little emotional. We’ve got to figure out a way to fill the world with these abilities. Women have got to believe they can change the young hearts around them, and that if they do so, the momentum will build and peace will ripple through homes and neighborhoods and even countries. Peace will triumph, quietly and tenderly.

Other Related Women’s Voices

To Look, Reach, and Come Unto Christ, Anne C. Pingree

I love the symbolism of women reaching out to touch the Savior. We long to be close to the Lord, for we know that He loves each of us and desires to encircle us ‘eternally in the arms of his love.’ His touch can heal ailments spiritual, emotional, or physical. He is our Advocate, Exemplar, Good Shepherd, and Redeemer. Where else would we look, where else would we reach, where else would we come but to Jesus Christ, ‘the author and finisher of our faith’?”

Steadfast and Immovable, Ellen W. Smoot

Yes, at times we are beset by troubles and pain and grief. But we must not surrender. We must not retreat. Eliza R. Snow, the second president of the Relief Society, penned these words:

“ ‘I will go forward. … I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance. … And the ‘testimony of Jesus’ will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality, and communicate to my understanding the glories of the Celestial kingdom.’

Looking for additional perspectives on this lesson? We recommend Mormon Sunday School, Meridian Magnetize and LDSLiving.Finding a Lifeline