• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Coming to Church, Becoming Converted

This month’s Ensign contains a short article that gives six tips for helping investigators when they come to church. In “Coming to Church, Becoming Converted,” Dale M. Valentine (a former mission president who has passed away since writing this article) describes an experience in which he had the opportunity to ask seven converts about the thing that most contributed to their conversion. All of them said it was when they attended church. When he asked them what impressed them and what members could do to help investigators, their comments fell into the following categories:

  • Be united and dedicated.
  • Focus on people.
  • Teach investigators what to expect.
  • Live your religion.
  • Share unique truths.
  • Bear your testimony.

It should be noted that under “share unique truths” they added that we should keep it simple—always good advice.

Recognizing the needs of investigators and trying to meet them is a challenge and duty we should all take seriously when the opportunity arises.

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Do You Want to Go to Primary with Me?

Do you have a desire to share the gospel but find yourself at a loss for how to approach people? This month the Friend magazine includes a story by a young girl whose friend asked her a simple question during recess. In “Do You Want to Go to Primary with Me?” you can read about how this girl and her mother reacted to this question and where it eventually led.

The lesson for us is that we should not hesitate to extend the simple invitations that can make all the difference to those we care about. I suppose it’s one of those ways of becoming like a little child, as the Savior asked us to do.

Now, if only elders quorum were as much fun as Primary. Maybe if we brought some crayons and coloring pages.

Now Is the Time

In the July New Era is an article called “Now Is the Time” about young Latter-day Saints in Ukraine, a country where the Church itself is still quite young. The stories of how they gained a testimony of the restored gospel and how they are learning to serve and lead in the Church are inspiring.

It’s always great to see the modern pioneers around the world and to consider that the Church is still very much a first-generation Church in many places. For those of us whose families have been in the Church for several generations, reading stories like this can put our own membership in a different perspective.

On a side note, if you pay attention to the publication information in the New Era, you’ll notice that the author of this article, Janessa Cloward, was an editorial intern at the New Era earlier this year. The New Era obviously did not send an intern to Ukraine to write the article. She seems to have collected the information and photographs from Church-service missionaries serving in Ukraine. So she didn’t need an expensive trip or an interpreter or translator to get the story. So, all things considered, it worked out well.

Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet

July 2008 EnsignThis month the Ensign has reprinted Elder M. Russell Ballard’s now-famous address at BYU–Hawaii last December, titled “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet.” After Elder Ballard gave this address, there was a great deal of discussion about it in the bloggernacle, as well as a fair amount of self-congratulatory back-patting. So, for those who missed it the first time, I would simply like to highlight the things Elder Ballard warned us against when we “join the conversation” about the Church on the Internet.

  • “Discussions focused on questioning, debating, and doubting gospel principles do little to build the kingdom of God.”
  • “There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs.”
  • “There is no need to become defensive or belligerent.”

So what should we do? Elder Ballard says, “We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the prompting of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven.”

Wise words. We would all do well to heed them.

Why the Book of Mormon?

In this month’s New Era, President Henry B. Eyring begins his message by saying, “When I was a young man I wondered why the Lord needed to have the Prophet Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon to begin the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The rest of this article, titled “Why the Book of Mormon?” answers this question. President Eyring began finding answers when he started his service as a missionary. He focuses on four main answers: it is a powerful missionary tool, it testifies of Christ, it brings the Spirit, and it teaches and invites. As always, President Eyring offers simple but profound insights.

I believe that many other returned missionaries can tell similar stories of how their understanding of and relationship with the Book of Mormon grew through their missionary service. I know mine did. And, yes, I think that I now understand better why the Lord introduced the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the Restoration. This “marvelous work” is indeed both a strange and a wonderful thing, and it deserves much closer attention than most in the world are willing to give it.

Come unto Christ

In this month’s special issue of the Ensign on the Savior, President Henry B. Eyring discusses a pattern he has observed among those who accept the invitation to come unto Christ. In “Come unto Christ” (also available on the new Web site JesusChrist.lds.org) President Eyring mentions three truths the Holy Ghost has manifested to people he knew who came unto the Savior. President Eyring is a man who is very close to the Spirit, and the pattern he describes shows how the Spirit works on us to helps us become perfected in Christ. Basically, it leads from belief to action to total conversion. It is in that last step that he speaks of retention of converts. He gives what I believe to be an important insight:

“We sometimes speak of retaining members as if we held them in. We can and we must be a friend to those who have made the choice to come unto Him. They can become discouraged when trials come, as trials always do. Yet we must remember that the best and surest friends they have are the Savior and His Father, who is also their Father. Heavenly Father and the Savior will send them the Holy Ghost to comfort them and confirm their faith if they are humbly obedient.”

I believe that this is true of all who have come unto Christ, whether they were baptized last week or 80 years ago, whether they are converts or lifelong members.