At the last General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson, a LDS apostle, gave a talk entitled, “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” In it he talks about how the missionaries can help people in a number of ways. Some of the things he mentions are family history, conquering an addiction, having no sense of purpose in life, family problems, and gaining greater knowledge. And with each topic he has this refrain: “Ask the missionaries. They can help you.”
I thought of that talk recently because some good friends have had a number of talks with some LDS missionaries. (Two sisters made the initial appointment but when they came they were accompanied by an older man – a pattern that continued over the visits.) My friends were upfront about not wanting to convert to Mormonism but wanted to talk to them to hear about Mormonism from official representatives. (This is something that Mormons often encourage people to do.) They remained pleasant with them – a fact appreciated by the missionaries.
But a couple of weeks ago one of the sisters was suddenly transferred to another city. About the same time, the man arrived earlier than the sisters and told my friends that the missionaries couldn’t answer my friends’ questions and that he would be answering them. What was so striking about this is that the questions they were asking were not that difficult. They weren’t asking about obscure LDS doctrines or unfamiliar Bible passages. Many of their questions were in response to things that the missionaries had asked them to read before the next meeting – questions like exactly what does this passage or this statement mean. It soon became obvious that they had not really thought through the very passages they themselves were referencing. Their experience was in striking contrast to what Elder Nelson had stated in General Conference.
I mention this as an encouragement to act kindly towards LDS missionaries and engage them in conversations – especially in conversations that dwell with the major question of what people have to do to live eternally with Heavenly Father. It was obvious to my friends that the sisters were interested in what they had to say about Jesus doing it all for them. In fact, we suspect that the one was suddenly transferred because she was starting to ask questions. We suspect that because numerous returned missionaries have told us that that sometimes happened when they were on their mission.
More importantly, some returned missionaries have told us that it was conversations just like those that planted the seed that eventually blossomed into their believing that they were already worthy before God because of what Jesus had done for them. God’s Word is powerful! The more we make use of opportunities to plant that Word – even with LDS missionaries – the more the Lord is glorified and the more his kingdom will come to more people.
In order to help you do that, we have just produced a small brochure entitled, “Please Open the Door”. If you would like a copy, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get it out to you.