Monday, April 15, 2013

Conversion Should Not Be the Central Goal of Service

I spoke in one of the units in our stake a few years ago about how we should recognize, understand and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost outside our church lives - at work, in the community, in our interactions with other religions, at school, etc. To make a long talk short here, I stressed early on that "conversion" can't be our central goal - that unconditional love without expectation of ANY reward or reciprocation, or even acknowledgment, is the highest objective.

I also stated directly that our critics sometimes say we only help others in order to convert them to the Church - and that they are correct in way too many cases. I paused and repeated that slowly - then I went into examples of what I called Telestial, Terrestrial and Celestial service, distinguished exclusively by our motivation and the type of people we serve. I asked everyone to consider who are the "publicans, sinners, lepers and Samaritans" in our own communities and based on our own group standards - the ones who can't pay us back and probably won't join the Church - and start by finding a way to serve someone in one of those categories they naturally wouldn't serve

After all, what good is it if we serve only to make others do what we want them to do.  Do not even the worst sinners do that? 

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