If people ask why we send missionaries to Christian nations, what should I tell them?
Photo illustration by Sway Chavez
For many people who are not members of our Church, “missionary work” means going to a far-flung land where, for instance, non-Christians can be taught about Christianity and where humanitarian aid work can be performed. So when they find out that our Church is doing “missionary work” right in their neighborhood, they may wonder why.
The message our missionaries share is for all the world, so we send them to all the world. We believe that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, including Christ’s Church and the priesthood authority necessary to perform ordinances, such as baptism. Only in this Church is the gospel fulness restored. Because all people need to hear this message, including those in places where there is a long tradition of Christianity, we send missionaries to all people.
When is it not appropriate to share spiritual experiences?
Sharing our spiritual experiences with those who are open to hearing them is a wonderful way to build the faith and testimony of others. If you feel prompted to tell about an answer to prayer, for instance, others will have more faith that their prayers can be answered. But if you have had an unusual or deeply personal spiritual experience, it is wise not to share it unless the Holy Ghost moves you to do so.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said:
“I have learned that strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently. And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction, or correction. …
“I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others. …
“We are, I believe, to keep these things and ponder them in our hearts.”1
People sometimes ask me about temple garments, occasionally in disrespectful terms. What should I say to them?
First of all, when people use disrespectful terms to refer to temple garments, it is entirely appropriate for you to kindly ask them to show more respect, since the garments are sacred to us.
Also, you may want to point out that members and clergy in many other religions wear specific articles of clothing to represent their personal faith or their official responsibility, so the fact that our religious practice includes special clothing is really not unusual.
To explain the significance of temple garments, you can say that they are simple, modest underclothing given to adult members of the Church as part of special ceremonies in our temples. In these ceremonies, we commit ourselves to live the way Jesus Christ would have us live, and the garments are a constant physical reminder of this personal, spiritual commitment. In this way, garments can help protect us against temptation and evil.