Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Remember" as a Missionary Principle

As I've said previously, my mind wanders to and fro trying to understand everything a little better as I go about my daily life. What grounds me, however, are my experiences - things that are so vivid and unexplainable that I simply can't let my mind move me away from them. When you have experienced the truly miraculous, everything else is secondary.

For example, I would assert that the core of this experiential conviction is summarized perfectly in the foundational missionary verse we too often overlook while quoting those that follow. We speak constantly of the "challenge" written in Moroni 10:4-5 (read here), but when I attended Seminary so long ago, the verses we memorized included Moroni 10:3 (read here). In that verse, we are told to "remember" *before* we ponder and pray. We aren't told to read, ponder and pray; we are told to read, *remember*, ponder and pray - and we are told explicitly to remember how merciful the Lord has been throughout history. In effect, we are told to "experience" vicariously His grace and mercy toward others - that He has spoken to people for thousands of years - and use their experiences to help us come to believe that we can have a similar experience. Their experiences serve as the foundation for our faith in the possibility of our own.

I think we do a terrible disservice to our religion and its missionary effort when we preach "read, ponder and pray" apart from our collective, experiential memory - when we make gaining a testimony an intellectual, or even strictly prayerful, process void of contemplation and reflection on previous experience (both our own and others'). So, the next time you are sharing a "missionary moment" with someone, please remember to help them "remember" by sharing how merciful the Lord has been to you and others before you ask them to read, ponder and pray - or even attend Church with you. Testify of His grace and mercy first; of the things that He has taught you second; of the fact that He can do the same for them last. Too often we short-circuit that process and deprive both ourselves and others of an amazing experience.


Louann and Bari said...

Thanks- this is the perfect time of year for that message.

Mama D said...

Profound insight. I love the word "remember." It is what helps me stay grounded in my faith and hope! Thanks for sharing this so eloquently!

ANTSYLLI said...

You inspire me yet again! I have often overlooked that part of the equation, but there are many times that we are asked to remember. You are right that it is essential to the process and by employing it we gain much more. Thanks.