Brothers and sisters I am blessed and excited to be here to speak to you, today in my talk I will reference David A. Bednar’s most recent talk in the October general conference, and also the standard works of the church, but I will also quote some of the minds of the world, as I believe there is more good in the world than bad.
To start , rock legend Steven Tyler once said: “If you have a candle, the light won't glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine.”
The 14th Dalai Lama said: “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”
And Pythagoras simply stated: “Friends share all things”
It’s clear that even the world agrees the sharing of knowledge is an act of love, unmatched by any other gift that could be received. Sharing knowledge is a powerful way to come closer to your friends, and to feel more passionate and stronger about what it is you share.
There are currently over 88,000 Young men and women currently serving full time in the 406 missions throughout the world.
Missionaries were a feature of the Church from its earliest days, fanning out to Native American lands, to Canada and in 1837, beyond the North American continent to England. Not long after, missionaries were working on the European continent and as far away as India and the Pacific Islands. It is apparent that the efforts of the church have been aimed directly at lovingly sharing this the truths we know with even nation, and people across the face of this planet that we all share.
Why? The world is almost constantly questioning our missionary motive.
Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to share what they believe and to invite others to learn about their church?
Love. Love is one of the greatest commandments the lord has given us, he said to us, to love one another. As put by David A. Bednar, we do not receive prizes or bonus points in a heavenly contest. We are not seeking simply to increase the numerical size of the Church. And most importantly, we are not attempting to coerce you to believe as we do. Our invitations to you are not an attempt to diminish your religious tradition or life experience. Bring all that you know is true, good, and praiseworthy—and test our message. We do not believe, as depicted by the media of the world that anyone who isn't Mormon is going to Hell. This is something I find great comfort in. We do however know that this gospel enriches our lives right? But the greatest thing we are aware of, is that if any person on this planet, reads even a few verses of the Book of Mormon, and prays to know whether or not it is truth, even persistently will receive a witness and know. We do not convince people, our missionary training centers are not a marketing expo where we discuss sly and sneaky tactics to get into your homes and preach at you. We simply knock on the door…
And we say here is this amazing thing I found. And I want you to find it too.
Brothers and sisters, I would like to talk about your role in the missionary effort. Let’s start simply by saying that all of you are in close contact with people every day that are not members of this church. You work with them, you are in classes with them, you are in families with them, you are best friends, you may be the closest contact that most of these people have with our church. This is cool as well as scary. It is cool because it is a sense of responsibility that can help you be a part of an incredible journey for someone. It is scary because what if we mess it up. What if we say something wrong. We commonly say things like “my knowledge of the gospel is not deep enough to share, I will just leave it to someone else and be one of those 7 statistical contacts that bring people closer to the church”. But fear is a product of our minds, like a fire billowed by the adversary himself. Fear is the enemy missionary work. It will stop you from being honest about what you did on Sunday, it will paralyze you when opportunities to share come up. But honestly it is a responsibility that only you can undertake. It is no coincidence that you know them and see them 3 times a week. God placed you there. He said, The things that you have been through not only make you qualified for the job, but you a CHOSEN for the job. Your collection of experiences and your mannerisms and your personality are EXACTLY what that person needs. so before you let fear take over your mind, you must remember that you are that persons miracle, you are the answer to prayers you didn't know they were saying. Be brave brothers and sisters.
To put things in perspective, missionaries are also placed in certain places by god. It’s difficult though because it takes a certain kind of person, ready to the gospel to allow to guys in a suit and tie stop him in a grocery store and try to teach them. These young boys are complete strangers, how am I to trust them. Missionaries contacting a person without fellowshipping or referrals from the local branch members is like trying to approach an agitated adult grizzly bear that escaped from the zoo with a tranquilizer gun and not get your face chewed off. But as a member who is in close contact with this person you have the know how to approach them tenderly and with love, you know their needs, you know their opinions already. The point I am trying to make is that the ward is not here to help the missionaries do missionary work, but the missionaries are here to help the ward do work. These elders and sisters rarely baptize by tracting, or street contact. They need referrals.
They need the members of this church to come to them and say, I have this friend, and I love them dearly and I think the church would bring them great joy. Its hard to do that though, it requires faith, courage, and most importantly trust in the elders and sisters of this ward. how do you do that? well you do it like you gain anyone elses trust, spend time with them, go out and teach with them, become friends with them. you want to know that your friends will be taken care of? go to every single lesson. You are not butting in on the elders time with the investigator, they would love to have you there because there is a little tracking box in their planners labels member present lessons taught. They need you there, and I am not referring to the elders, but the investigator needs you there. they need a friend they can ask questions. confide in. be honest with. and not only will your friends learn about the most wonderful gospel of the church, but you will be closer to them.
At the end of the day this church is either true or it is false. There is no grey area. And we are under the eye and scrutiny of the whole world. We cannot afford to be scared. Is it so hard to believe that after Christ died his church and his apostles disappeared? no, that has been proven and is accepted by the world and religious community. If so then how could it be hard to believe that in modern day the lord chose A 14 year old by to bring this church back to the earth? that is no more wild than the parting of the red sea, or any other bible story. God frequently called on the youth to be sentinels and even prophets of his gospel, from David to Nephi. And why is it so absurd that god speaks to a prophet today? why would he cut us off? why would he stop talking to us. God loves us, and throughout all time he has called someone through each dispensation to lead his church, and even sent his son. So fear not when speaking to others about church. you have a testimony, so why are you scared. you had to be converted too, whether you were raised in the church or not. And conversion isn't a change in who you are. In scientific terms, conversion is not a change in matter or mass, but rather what we call it. When looking at a 12 inch ruler, when converted to feet the length of ruler does not change, but our mindset does.
Sharing the gospel is not a new addition to the Gospel of Christ
Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been and always will be valiant missionaries. A missionary is a follower of Christ who testifies of Him as the Redeemer and proclaims the truths of His gospel. it is commanded that we share.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).
Brothers and Sisters, the work is no longer hastening, it has hastened, and only through courage can we keep up, on through our faith and testimony can we hold up those 88,000 missionaries. I am excited to go on a mission. I am excited to share my knowledge with other people, and I do have a testimony of this church.