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12 Misconceptions About Member Missionary Work

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Originally posted by Jeremy Goff.

Are one of the 12 misconceptions about missionary work holding you back from sharing the Gospel? Here are 12 misconceptions about missionary work. We either tell ourselves these things, or we’ve been told them by others. Once we understand these are misconceptions, we can overcome them, and receive the blessings of sharing the Gospel. And, once we are true member missionaries, we truly will unleash an army that would make hell itself shake in fear.

1st. It’s the missionaries job, not mine.

This is the most common misconception, “It’s not my duty, it’s the missionaries” it has taken hold in the culture, and stems from the idea that missionaries do the missionary work. But the doctrine is they are to help us do our missionary work.

When I was a missionary, I was talking with a ward mission leader and he asked, “What is your goal in this area Elder Goff?” and I replied, “We are here to help the members in their missionary duties” He replied “That is a nice propaganda line” I replied “That’s the doctrine” he replied “where does it say that?” I told him “April 2008 Elder Bednar.”

This Ward Mission leader was humble, and he read the talk, then the following fast Sunday he stood up and bore his testimony about our conversation he then told the congregation (paraphrasing) “It is not propaganda, it is doctrine, I’ve had it wrong my whole life, we’ve all had it wrong, let’s do our duty”

Here is what he read that changed his mind.

“A common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!” -Elder David A. Bednar April 2008

Sharing the Gospel is every members duty.

2nd. We are “helping” the missionaries, in “missionary work”.

When the missionaries ask for help teaching a lesson, or for a ride, we often think to ourselves “Do I have time to help the missionaries?” Often the reply is nope, I am too busy. We should be rethinking this to “Do I have the time to keep my covenants? Do I have time to help hasten Salvation?” or “Do I have time to teach my family I am a disciple of Christ?” When we approach the work of Salvation as a covenanted duty we find added measures of the spirit to help us in all other endeavors of life.

I’ve seen marriages mend, children embrace the gospel, finances turn around, and people and families find greater joy and happiness. Do you want those things? Then, put your shoulder to the wheel of the work of Salvation.

3rd. I must be perfect to share the Gospel, or I am a hypocrite.

 No one except Christ is perfect. The thought we must be perfect to share the Gospel comes from Satan. He’s afraid of the good we will do, and is trying to stop us. The thought that one should wait to get better before going to the hospital makes no sense. The key with sharing the Gospel, we just need to be trying, and say, “Come with me, as I try to be better”. If we are trying, then the Spirit will validate our words, and we will find chances to share the Gospel, and we will be genuine.

One of the best member missionaries I’ve ever known was a lady named Ruth. She struggled with smoking and drinking, and never came to church. We started teaching this lady and she started trying to keep the commandments, she stilled smoked, drank, and rarely came to church, but she was trying. She realized living the Gospel alone is hard, jokingly I said then get your friends to do it also. And she did. She started inviting all of her friends to join with her! From this one less active lady over 15 referrals, and four of her friends were baptized!

imperfect people in the church

“Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.”

Elder Jeffery R. Holland. April 2013

4th. I need to know everything about the Gospel.

 We must study the scriptures, but you don’t need to be an expert to share the Gospel. When someone asks about the Gospel they want a personal testimony of why you believe, and what you believe. You should know “why” you believe. When it comes to the “what” of the Gospel, the doctrines of the Gospel are vast and can take a life of learning, to just scratch the surface. There is nothing wrong with replying to a question “I don’t know, let me find out. I’ll talk with the missionaries and get back to you” this shows them the missionaries can help answer the “questions of the soul”.

In many faiths, questions are discouraged. But, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints questions are encouraged.  The Gospel is all encompassing, and because it is so large there is nothing wrong with the fact you’re still learning about the Gospel, we all are! Just keep learning, and sharing.

Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

Read the rest of the points at Jeremy’s blog. 


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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