Thanks Joni. Sometimes I get so stressed that someone will reject what is the most wonderful part of my life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. You're right, patience is important. We have to let others come to their own understanding and hope that through example and love we have set a good example that one day our neighbors and friends will want to know more.
I am also a convert, and agree with Pam's comment completely. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. thinking about the meeting we had with the missionaries and an investigator yesterday. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I finally got up at 5:15 a.m. -- and this article came up in my e-mail. I don't think that's a coincidence. Thank you, Joni, for providing the answer to prayer this morning.
I suspect that even Church members themselves are at various stages of acceptance and understanding, so why not extend the courtesy of patience to those in our own families and ward families as well? Great article.
I appreciate the sincerity of the author. It reads like many such articles written by people who grew up in the church and by definition cannot know what it's like to be presented with the message of the restored gospel without context. I joined over 30 years ago after moving to Salt Lake City from the East coast. I was semi-active in my Protestant faith, very active as a child, but lifetime Latter-day Saints have a very hard time understanding that for much of the rest of Christian individuals, let alone agnostics or atheists, they claim a religious identity but it does not influence them in the same way. It's certainly not a way of life, nor does it fill one's time with activities throughout the week and too many Saturdays (sorry, sore spot!). In my case and for many, I didn't care about the message of the church. It held little interest because I saw no need for what it offered. My life was fine. I was deep into graduate studies, had a full life with friends, and I saw the future with optimism. I believed in heaven, I said my prayers, I tried to be a good person, and read the Bible now and then. What more did I need? To be told I didn't know what I was missing, which I heard a lot, was meaningless. It was not a compelling vision at all since I was happily content. I responded to much of the message with a "so what?" and "who cares?" I saw nothing that I thought would enhance my life, but would certainly complicate it. Not everyone is a seeker. I needed time to process it intellectually, because that was my way, and once I was satisfied with the church and the Gospel in that way, then I could look at it spiritually. And obviously I received a testimony and joined and active ever since. This is the short version, but my point is don't assume anyone is unhappy with what they currently have, and let them go at their own pace and in their own way.
Well, I'm a convert and I've served two missions with my husband. It's the program to try and get a commitment to baptism even on the first discussion. Until the Prophet changes it or the Missionary committee, etc... That's the way missionaries are challenged to teach people. On my first visit to church, I was asked in the parking lot afterwards by someone I didn't even know, "so...when are you going to join OUR church?" In my mind Insaid, NEVER! LOL. Just goes to show, members' mistakes don't matter. The Lord is in charge!
This is a great article — but the rest of the story is found in Elder Holland’s talk “Missionary Work and the Atonement” in 2000. The whole purpose of missionary work is to bring souls to Christ, to have Him and His Atonement be EVERYTHING to them. That’s what the Book of Mormon is about, that’s what temple work is about. Knowing Him, loving Him, and gratitude for Him is life eternal.
As a convert (many years ago) I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. The decision to join the church may take a long time to make, and each person is different. At times, the missions we have lived in wanted the missionaries to challenge people for baptism on the first or second lesson, and to stop seeing them if they didn't commit to baptism. To me, it's like agreeing to marry someone on the first date. Joining the church is a big step, and people need to be allowed the time to make that decision.
You and Bob
are stellar example
I might add that perhaps you might want to deepen the soil of your friendship before you plant the seeds of the gospel. This is not the only planet on which that they can receive the word of God. The warmth of friendship is the spirit of the Lord beginning to work if it were not so why was the last commandment that Christ gave his apostles thus all of us the one that was the most important: Love they neighbor!
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