Friday, August 27, 2010

Learning the Discussions Does Not Convert

In the early days of the Church, the initial focus was on two "simple" things - the Book of Mormon and the calling of a new prophet. The earliest missionaries didn't "teach about" the Book of Mormon much; they gave someone a copy and asked them to read it. They didn't give them selected passages to teach specific doctrines; they had them read it cover to cover, while praying about it as they read.

Reading Moroni 10:3-5 came at the end of over 500 pages of reading about God's mercy to the people in those 500 pages. It came after reading over 500 pages where Jesus and The Father are mentioned well over 1000 times, in pages that reflect on the mercy of God from Adam and Moses through their day on to ours.

If I could change one thing about our missionary "program", it would be to encourage our members to invite people to attend church with them and read the Book of Mormon cover to cover - only introducing them to full-time missionaries after they had expressed interest in learning more.

As I read "Preach My Gospel", the central message I get is that there are certain things that need to be accepted prior to baptism, but
understanding and believing in God's grace and mercy and turning to Him with a sincere heart and open mind is what converts - not being "taught the discussions".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we offer baptism too cheaply. It seems in some missions all you need to do is hear the discussions, come to church once and promise to keep the other commitments AFTER baptism. When getting baptized is so easy can we be too surprised when new members walk away just as easily. I'm not suggesting frustrating those who genuinely want baptism but reading the BoM cover to cover may be a good indication of intent.