8 things NOT to say when sharing the gospel


1. “I can’t _______”

As Latter-day Saints there are some things we shouldn’t eat, or do, or watch. But that’s the thing. We shouldn’t. It’s not that we can’t. We are choosing a higher path.  Saying “I can’t drink alcohol but if I weren’t Mormon I totally would” shows little faith in the revelations God has given us.  Consider saying “I choose not to _______.” Because in reality, that’s exactly what it is.

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2. “The Bible has mistakes”

We believe The Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, so yes, in a sense we do believe it went through wrong hands.  But that doesn’t mean we should vocalize that to our friends and family not of our faith.  It could turn them off to the idea of learning additional teachings of the restored gospel. The Bible is a beautiful word of God that has so much truth and so much to teach us. But it’s simply one piece in an even bigger puzzle. Let investigators know that we don’t disparage the Bible that we all love.

3. “Your baptism wasn’t valid”

We believe that lack of priesthood equals lack of authority and validity, but that doesn’t mean that baptism before finding the true church was wrong or a waste of time. We need to remind investigators that prior baptisms were vital steps in their path toward finding the gospel and being prepared to commit yourself to the Lord. We need to show Christ-like love and compassion.  Sensitivity needs to be discerned through the Holy Spirit.

PhotoCredit_CeyladeWilkaPhoto Credit: Ceyla De Wilka

4. “I love my church but I don’t agree with _________”

Saying you love the church while disagreeing with the church’s stance on gay marriage or priesthood ordination is a total oxymoron.  That’s like saying “I love my wife but I can’t stand her personality”. When you believe in the church you believe in all its teachings. Sure, at times you’ll question things and at times you’ll have unique perspectives. But the vital key in being a member of the Lord’s church is to remember who calls the shots–Him. KateKelly5. “You’re not allowed in our temples”

Just because it’s true that you need to be a member and prepare yourself for going through the temple doesn’t mean you need to say it in a way that makes someone feel unworthy or unwanted. There are prerequisites to Temple worship that a person outside our faith would not be ready to accept.  You shouldn’t feed a baby meat. Milk always comes first.

6. “You can also find this in the Bible.”

What makes us unique is we have The Book of Mormon.  Trying to convince someone of the Restored Gospel by giving them Bible verses is discrediting the need for The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon, according to Joseph Smith, is the cornerstone of our faith. Without it, there’d be no need for the church we have now. Don’t try to make our church seem more acceptable by taking the value away from The Book of Mormon. Those you are teaching can find those kind of teachings anywhere, so let them know what makes us different and what makes the gospel a restored gospel.

7. “Our Prophet has seen God”

Even though this may be true, it is speculation.  It is true, however, that God communicates with the Prophet who then speaks to us at General Conference.  You should emphasize that Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus Christ– because of that first vision, the gospel was restored to earth. Stay away from doctrine that has been “created” over the years or simply “speculated”.

1stVision

8. “You shouldn’t work on Sundays”

Part of the negativity I’ve heard from those not of our faith is that we’re judgmental.  Just because we believe we shouldn’t work on Sunday doesn’t mean we should criticize others for doing so.  In addition, many members of the church work on Sundays whether for the necessity of the job (nurses, doctors, police officers, military personnel) or those who simply must work Sundays in order to provide for their family. My wife has been working on Sundays for over two years now, and she does so with a joyful heart because she knows that the Lord is pleased when she provides for her family and does what needs to be done. She’s worked hard to eventually get to attend church before heading to work right after, but that wasn’t always the case. And the Lord understands that.

Sharing the gospel is a responsibility–a sacred one. But it’s one that we don’t do alone. The Spirit needs to speak right along with us. Those we’re teaching aren’t under us. They aren’t less educated or less aware. They simply are waiting for truth. So be that mouthpiece. And remember–your words will be remembered for a lifetime.

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33 thoughts on “8 things NOT to say when sharing the gospel

  1. A thought on #5 (or maybe all of them, really): when explaining the gospel to a person who isn’t Mormon, please please please remember that words you use can have a very different meaning to someone who isn’t versed in Mormon-ese. The worst thing to do is to talk to a non-Mormon about temple attendance in terms of worthiness. To the average person, “unworthy” means “bad.” Of course we don’t mean this, so let’s just not say it! I always explain temple recommends to my non-Mormon friends and family in terms of being “ready” to enter the temple, never in terms of worthiness.

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  2. All clear Matt and I am with you with all these 8 points. Using the #1 in a conversation suggest that we do not understand the doctrine of free agency, having said that well I guess all these 8 points boils down to our understanding of the restored gospel and church policies.

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  3. Being a convert I understand these well. For #1 I now say “I don’t _______, anymore” and then explain how I am following God and his teachings by this.

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  4. I agree with all of these, but if I may, I’d like to expand upon #6. I totally agree that we should not disregard the Book of Mormon when teaching nonmembers. But if they’re having difficulty believing something from the Book of Mormon, showing that the Bible has a passage that teaches the same principle can help them accept the Book of Mormon’s teachings, especially if they believe strongly in the Bible. However, we should always use the Book of Mormon first to show how much we rely on it as true and sacred scripture.

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    • Moroni 10:3-5 follow moroni’s promise and expound on your personal testimony of the savior and his true restored gospel as good fruit that is true evidence of his church and his Atonement. I know its true it has changed my life in accordance to his will and I feel his love more than ever and his guidance in my life.

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  5. The Book of Mormon is the “Keystone” of our religion because discovering it’s truthfulness through the Holy Ghost bearing witness to someone who seeks, is the “key” to gaining a testimony of the Church. Jesus Christ is the “Cornerstone” of our religion.

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  6. As a convert, I appreciate these great suggestions. Please keep in mind too, fellow members, that words like “priest,” “deacon,” “bishop,” “stake,” and “fast” (et al) have other meanings to folks not of our church. Don’t speak in Mormon lingo and assume everyone understands. They don’t!

    About working on Sundays – never be smug about your commitment not to work Sundays. The first job that ever required me to work on the Sabbath was … The LDS Church!

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  7. Just one point for number 6. We are told that the Book Of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, That my word will be established out of the mouth of two witnesses. So it is important that we respect The Bible and the Book of Mormon equally. If this is the restored church people need to know what was restored, why and how and for that you need to build on what they already know and for most it is The Bible. The first witness. The Bible and the Book Of Mormon are hand and glove. We should be conversant with both because both talk about Jesus Christ and His teachings and some passages from the Book Of Mormon are quotes from the Old Testament. You cannot discredit the Book of Mormon by quoting from The Bible when it contains the same scripture readings. In counselling you are best to start where the client is at rather than where you think they should be.

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  8. I thought this list was pretty pedestrian with some of the suggestions being a bit off themselves. I’ll give one example: I was not aware we believed the Bible went through the “wrong” hands. Would those be the “wrong hands” that devoted their lives to preserving and passing it on? I’m sorry, but this persistent and pernicious myth/dogma just needs to DIE already. Joseph used the word “translate” in a way that differs significantly from our modern usage. Better put, at times things that have happened or been revealed have been lost to the sands of time. Some vital things. The Lord has therefore restored these in modern times through new scripture.

    SMH.

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    • There’s a great article in the National Geographic explaining the process the original writings went thru. It was truly an eye-opener. You be the judge.

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  9. My first comment was apparently lost, but I’d like to register my disagreement with #4. “When you believe in the church you believe in all its teachings.” is simply not true, and hasn’t been since the beginning. This is especially relevant given a recent Jana Reiss column. I’ll see if I can find it.

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  10. #4 -> “I love my husband, but I hate when he watches pornography”
    “I love my husband, but I hate when he humiliate me in public”
    “I love my husband, we both work, and I hate when I have to do the laundry alone because I am a women”

    If we follow your explaination, if a women says one of this 3 sentences, she has to divorce ? Or she is not allowed to be vocal about it ? Or she is not allowed to pray about it ? Or she is not allowed to ask her husband to pray about ?

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  11. One of the major things that non-Mormons find to be a problem with LDS policies is that sooner or later, people realize that they are being deceived in a variety of ways, large and small. This list only makes that problem worse. If you can’t be fully open, honest, and accurate in what you say about your beliefs, it eventually makes people think that something is very wrong.

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  12. Stop with the Milk nonsense – continue and you will be a LIAR – “There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.”
    lds.org gospel principles chapter 31 honesty-

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    • First Steve, I’ve been in MANY different Churches and one thing I have found to be consistently true in every faith is; you must learn to crawl before you walk. No loving faith overloads the investigator or new comer. Even our Savior taught his disciples little by little. Do you really think Peter would have followed if Jesus had walked up and said, “Hey Peter, I’m the son of God, your Savior, the long awaited Messiah, follow me”? RIGHT! This simply is not a valid argument on any level. Teaching in this manner is a common principle from teaching math to teaching faith. Don’t believe me? Try explaining calculus or physics to a group of five year old kids and see if they’re still interested in learning math afterwards. 🙂

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  13. Okay… so basically lie about everything you and your church stand for to make it look interesting, your ‘milk before meat’ thing right? and none of you find that the least bit deceptive? This is the only reason such deceiving churches as mormonism still exist today

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    • No Nate, not lie. Same comment for you as Steve. I’ve been in MANY different Churches and one thing I have found to be consistently true in every faith is; you must learn to crawl before you walk. No loving faith overloads the investigator or new comer. Even our Savior taught his disciples little by little. Do you really think Peter would have followed if Jesus had walked up and said, “Hey Peter, I’m the son of God, your Savior, the long awaited Messiah, follow me”? RIGHT! This simply is not a valid argument on any level. Teaching in this manner is a common principle from teaching math to teaching faith. Don’t believe me? Try explaining calculus or physics to a group of five year old kids and see if they’re still interested in learning math afterwards.

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    • Tito, we’re human beings, that means we all have an opinion. That doesn’t mean they should all be expressed openly. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Heavenly Father does, but that doesn’t mean I run out and tell the world about my grievance. Father is willing to hear our opinions about the way things are being done at any time, and if you are a person of faith, there’s no higher authority or office to gain audience with. Why continue to grumble at lower levels? Take it to Heavenly Father, I can assure you; your opinion will be duly noted and will be taken under consideration. In the mean time, you look much less like a malcontent, if you hold your tongue.

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  14. All of these are spot on except for number 6. When on my mission, we were taught to teach from both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, showing importance of both. Of course, specifically teaching from the Book of Mormon more frequently because it is for this day and age, but the Bible was still to be used frequently as well because we needed show that the Book of Mormon and The Holy Bible go hand in hand, and there are a lot of stories in the bible that obviously aren’t in the Book of Mormon that are very useful in helping both Investigators and members in their circumstances. I can honestly say there were a lot of people I taught that, if I didn’t use the Bible as a source other than the Book of Mormon, they never would have listened. There’s a reason we have both(: it even talks about that in Preach My Gospel, which is the source of which we should all look to so we can study to our fullest on how to be a Missionary and how to use the scriptures to teach the gospel correctly.

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  15. Pingback: 8 things NOT to say when sharing the gospel - LDS SMILE

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