The Point of Sharing the Gospel

I was really disappointed by a recent article on Mormon Mentality entitled “The Missionary Work I Didn’t Do.” The author details speaking to a neighbor who expressly told her that she was dissatisfied with her Church. Because she feels that the Church is sexist, she concluded that it would have nothing to offer her neighbor and failed to invite the missionaries or pass along a Book of Mormon.

The think this, unfortunately, completely misses the point of missionary work. We do not simply offer a social club, moving services, or opportunities for fellowship. There are lots of great places one can go to get all of those things. Instead, we offer individuals something that they can get nowhere else. We offer ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation performed with proper priesthood authority. There is no greater blessing that we can offer our friends and neighbors.

As Elder Oaks explained:

            We do not preach and teach in order to “bring people into the Church” or to increase the   membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. We honor and appreciate the many ministers and others who are involved in  the kind of ministry that makes bad men good and good men better. That is important, but we offer something more. One can qualify for the terrestrial kingdom instead of the telestial kingdom without the aid of this Church. We are concerned with a higher destination. (Why do we do Missionary Work? June 23, 1992).

As I convert, it really bothers me how many people take for granted the blessings of the Gospel and their membership in the Church. Many of them have ancestors who endured persecution, crossed the plains, and sacrificed all things for the truths of the Gospel. Those ancestors understood how precious the Gospel of Jesus Christ was. They understood how important it was to belong to a church with proper authority to baptize and with the power to seal in heaven what is sealed on earth. Those brave pioneers went across the world sharing the gospel because they understood how precious the gospel was. Some even died to secure their progeny the blessings of being born in the covenant.

And yet, some cannot even bring themselves to share the Gospel in such an ideal circumstance. They become so focused on the little specks and flaws that she sees in the Church, that they completely miss out on the beautiful architecture of the restored Gospel. How tragic and how sad.

Frustratingly, the author concludes by saying that “The one benefit that our church does offer if baptism for the dead. After she dies, I’ll make sure her work gets done. By a man, of course.” Of course, that neighbor will have a chance to hear of the restored Gospel in the next life as will every person who does not hear of the gospel. But by failing to act now, we deprive our neighbors of knowledge of the plan of salvation, of saving ordinances, of all of the joy the Gospel brings in this life. Of course, in the eternal perspective, this deprivation will simply be a blip. Maybe now was not the time. Maybe the neighbor would have rejected it. But one day each of us will stand before God and before this we failed to help along the way and be held accountable for our failures to act.

Ultimately, we will be held accountable because as Elder Oaks explained, “[t]he intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion.” If our response to the missionary opportunities that God places before us is to ask “What could the church possibly offer,” we are in serious spiritual jeopardy. If we do not appreciate the blessing of the Gospel enough to share it, we will slowly but surely lose our light and testimony.

I pray that we will all realize the great importance of missionary work and that we will all realize what a precious gift we have in the Gospel. As Elder Oaks said: “No one else can do this. Other churches cannot do it. Good Christian living cannot do it. Good faith, good desires, and good reasoning cannot do it.” We have a great opportunity and a responsibility if we only are willing to embrace it.



10 thoughts on “The Point of Sharing the Gospel

  1. I didn’t bother commenting over there. They really should rename the blog to “Ex-Mo Mentality.” LIZ hasn’t posted anything but negative rants about church leaders, doctrine and people for as long as I can remember. What does the church have to offer us? That’s a valid question. I think the better question is “what do we have to offer Christ?”

  2. Sad indeed that she cannot see the salvation the church offers. Her soul is just as lost and confused as her neighbor’s. Sounds like pride to me.

  3. It was this sort of thinking that got feminists excommunicated in the 1980s. There is no better way of proclaiming that progressivism is your real religion and the Church is your sidepiece.

    That said, how many of us have refrained from speaking to a neighbor for equally bad reasons? Fear, lethargy, maybe because we didn’t like our current set of missionaries, lack of trust in the Lord, or something like that. I admit that publishing an article online to chortle about it compounds the offense a lot.

  4. My problem hasn’t been lack of wanting to or seeing value in talking about the Church. Give me an opportunity and as can be seen online I can talk about whatever a person is interested in discussing. My main weakness is opportunity. Yes, there are people all around me, including those less active who could use some encouragement. How do we bring it up casually? Who do we bring it up with? As a shy person who rarely speaks unless spoken to, I would have to become a fresh faced cold call missionary again.

  5. I have been granted some extraordinary opportunities to bear witness. I have found that engaging in casual conversations with seat mates on planes and buses, as appropriate, often results in the other person asking me questions that provide an opportunity. I have sometimes felt that my presence in certain situations was no accident. For example, with several hours to comfort and counsel a woman traveling to meet an estranged daughter, both of us felt the hand of God in our encounter. As the time for landing approached she asked me about my faith and was surprised when I said I am Mormon. I was the first she had ever knowingly met. We hugged like sisters when we parted.
    On the other hand I have made many flights without establishing anything more than polite accord with seat mates. Were these missed opportunities, or could an attempt to become friendly be resented?

  6. jettboy, some opening lines:

    1. “What church do you got to?” Then let them ask which church you go to.

    2. “i’m giving out free bibles today. Would you like a free bible?” Always keep an inexpensive bible ($2 plus s/h at in your car along with a BoM. Put passalong cards and local meetinghouse info in both the bible and BoM. Whether or not they accept the bible, also offer a free BoM, saying “we believe both”.

    Once you’re willing to open your mouth, the Lord will start dumping opportunities in your lap. But you do need to prime the pump, take the leap of faith, so to speak, by creating your own opportunity at first, and then occasionally.

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