Recently, my family and I moved into an area where I was certain that I would have more opportunities to share the gospel with friends, neighbors and co-workers. I decided the following would be helpful:
- Review the basics. I went through the Joseph Smith story and the First Vision in my mind to make sure I remembered all the important parts. I reviewed the plan of salvation, restoration of the priesthood, baptism for the dead and many other common doctrinal questions, as well as the important scriptures that go along with them.This made me feel confident that I could answer questions as they were asked of me.
- Make myself open to questions. I felt a good way to do this would be to hang pictures of the temple in my work cubical. I first hung a copy of the Washington Temple (my home temple district), then a picture of the Salt Lake Temple and finally a picture of Christ in the middle. I was amazed by the number of questions this brought.
- Prepare myself for the kind of questions that might be asked. I did this by reading all of the articles about the Church that were being printed in local papers and magazines, and viewing programs shown on the television. Paying attention to them and their content made me aware of what those who are not LDS in my area were reading and hearing. I then made sure I was familiar with a few scriptures that pertained to the message that was in the article or program.
This helps me be more prepared and feel more confident when answering questions. - Daniel C. Ballstaedt, Columbus, Ohio
What we did:
Articles of Faith
I have lived and worked in the southern states, and all of my co-workers have been of different faiths. I wondered how to approach them and what would be a good opening line. I found the answer in following the prophet's counsel to read the Book of Mormon often. I had just finished reading it on my lunch hour and instead of putting it away in my desk, I set it off to the side. For a book marker, I used the card reflecting the Articles of Faith. A co-worker approached me and asked if that was my book. I said yes and a positive conversation began. She asked what our beliefs were and I handed her the card. She asked if she could keep it. Of course, I replied.
At Church that Sunday I picked up a few copies of the Book of Mormon and set one on my desk at work. When people asked me about it, I asked them if they wanted to read it. To those who said yes, I gave them the book to keep. We cannot light the world if we hide our light from others. My workplace would not allow my making the first move, but I was always ready to answer a question.
Keep a few copies of the Book of Mormon handy. You never know when you might be able to give one away. - Lorraine-Denise Kerrigan, Cherokee Village, Ark.
To share the gospel and answer questions, you must first know the gospel. As in all things prayer and study are the beginnings, coupled with faith. Then we have the confidence and knowledge we will need to do these things.
To be prepared, we must read, pray and listen to the Spirit of God. Seek out these opportunities. - Melissa Current, Concord, Calif.
The Lord knows where our weaknesses are in the gospel. Many times a calling we may not want and would prefer to just say no to is exactly what we need to prepare us for future questions or strengthen our testimony that needs to be borne to someone not of our faith.
A few years ago I was placed in a situation of meeting someone not of our faith who was ready and waiting to hear the gospel. I talked about those things I knew and had a testimony of. Later, I would have the missionaries answer the harder questions.
Today, I really have a testimony of accepting callings. Ten years after that earlier experience, after accepting callings and assignments such as a Sunday School teacher, seminary teacher, sacrament meeting speaker and Primary substitute, I gained the knowledge I needed to answer a lot of those hard questions. We must be willing to let the Lord be our teacher and say yes when the brethren call us to opportunities to gain knowledge. The Lord teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept - and it could be said calling upon calling, assignment upon assignment. - Deanie Martino, Denton, Texas
- Practice sharing gospel concepts in a non-threatening way. Religion may be a topic of conversation whenever there is a group of people. Get comfortable sharing LDS views in a friendly, non-competitive manner. Most people enjoy learning about the LDS perspective.
- Read and study the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, for 30 minutes a day. Through daily scripture study it is easy to become better acquainted with and understand the fundamental doctrines of the gospel. It has been my experience that as I pursue a topic it will not be long until I am asked a question about that gospel subject.
- Don't feel like you must answer all questions before you are ready to share the gospel. Having to research and find answers is a non-threatening way to introduce those not of our faith to LDS literature and resources. - Becky Harris, Barstow, Calif.
Seek for Spirit
The key to preparation is to start now. Gaining knowledge of the gospel comes through reading the scriptures and praying to understand them. When sharing the gospel, the investigator will only come to realize its truthfulness if the Spirit is present to teach and testify of what has been said.
Having the Spirit present when teaching or even preparing takes constant work. It is important to pray for the gift of the Spirit, work for it and study about it. Having the Spirit with me is something I strive constantly for each day. - Staci Diane Kerby, Provo, Utah
When time is right
Since you never know what questions you are going to be asked, you should prepare for everything.
The only way to do this is to study the scriptures and pray about what you read. If you ask for help from the Lord, you will know what to say when the time is right. - Juli Collett, Elfrida, Ariz.
How to checklist:
1 Live gospel; study scriptures, pray for Spirit.
2 Know basic principles of gospel; prepare for various questions that might be asked.
3 Be open to questions; opportunities; let your light shine.
4 Share concepts, LDS perspective in non-threatening ways; be friendly.
Write to us:
Feb. 7 "How to teach children respect for their elders."
Feb. 14 "How to keep a clean home despite a busy schedule."
Feb. 21 "How to supplement your regular income."
Feb. 28 "How to help youth make family a priority."
March 7 "How to deal with neighbor problems."
March 14 "How to make the Sabbath more meaingful."
March 21 "How to rear children in light and truth."
- Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to save more, spend less," "How to build a strong work ethic in children," "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active," "How to avoid greed," "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life."
Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: [email protected] Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.