In the late 1950's we were instructed to set a baptismal date on the first lesson. I did one time when I felt the spirit and he was baptized then and I suppose I did it a few more times, but many of us did not. I recall one time when a non-member husband agreed after years to listen to the missionaries. I said to my senior companion that this is one case where we should not try to set a baptismal date on the first lesson, but he didn't listen to me and spent 5 minutes hammering on this poor man trying with high pressure tactics to get him to commit to a baptismal date in a few weeks. The man resisted and of course never let us back. I was not surprised that many members were afraid to refer their friends to the missionaries.
Brother Frye and Brother Thorley: Thank you very much for your comments. We have, indeed, had similar experiences. Things are changing.
Gary Lawrence is one of my favorite commentators, "hitting the nail on the head" more often than not. I couldn't agree with him more on this subject. For example...
Near the end of my mission to Argentina, I was interviewed by Apostle Spencer W. Kimball. He had in front of him a record of my baptisms. "Elder Frye", he said, "this is astonishing. You have three times the average number of baptisms for an Elder in this mission. You're all on the same program, so what's the secret to your success?" My answer? "Not following the program!"
Well, he didn't like that answer, but I told him what I was doing different than what was prescribed in the lessons, which included following the promptings of the Spirit by not adhering tightly to the lesson plan outline and not being pushy, especially the latter.
Excellent article. I wish I had understood this when I was a full time missionary. I am making an assumption that you have had experience with this and may have a lot more helpful information. As a salesman, I was in a training meeting that taught that we should point out the "you benefits" of a product rather than just demonstrate features. I believe this would help when "discussing" the Gospel with others. Comments?
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