Teaching Simple Message of the Restoration Increases Conversions
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- Teach the message of the Restoration in a simple yet powerful manner.
- Pray for the Spirit's guidance and presence as you prepare to teach.
“When we simplify and intensify the message of the Restoration, we invite, in a powerful way, the presence of the Spirit.” —Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy
The message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is remarkable, simple, and powerful, said Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy on January 12.
“It is spiritually powerful,” said Elder Zwick, Assistant Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “It is one of the most important conversion tools we have.”
Speaking during the 2016 seminar for new missionary training center presidents and directors of visitors’ centers and historic sites on the topic “The Message of the Restoration,” Elder Zwick said, “Too often Church members complicate the story line in their minds or blitz beyond this powerful and simple first lesson. Its sacred truths must be simplified and intensified.”
The converting power of the message of the Restoration establishes the spiritual foundation for everyone seeking truth, he said.
Showing a video of his 6-year-old granddaughter sharing her testimony of the Restoration, Elder Zwick said this powerful message is so simple that it can be taught by a child. Teachers do not need to complicate or compound the message, he added.
“The message of the Restoration can be given with clarity. You do not need to manufacture the Holy Ghost,” he said. “When we simplify and intensify the message of the Restoration, we invite, in a powerful way, the presence of the Spirit.”
Quoting Doctrine and Covenants 42:14–17, Elder Zwick said:
“And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach. …
“And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;
“For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things.”
Elder Zwick then invited two returned missionaries—Colton S. Ward, who served in the Texas Fort Worth Mission, and Dallas M. Doane, who served in the Philippines Bacolod Mission—to demonstrate teaching the message of the Restoration to Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Devonna Arnold.
“The simplicity and power in the message shared by Elder Doane and Elder Ward brought an emotional response from both Elder and Sister Arnold and to all of us as we witnessed the power of their testimonies, given in a simplified and intensified way,” said Elder Zwick.
Elder Brent D. Ward and Sister Esther Jane Ward, who will serve in the Oakland Temple Visitors’ Center, said they learned from watching the missionaries that teaching is more about what is felt than what is said.
“I thought the message was simple and easily understood. It was brief and powerful,” said Sister Ward.
President Steve Ashton and Sister Wendy Ashton, who will serve in the South Africa MTC, said they could feel the truth of what the missionaries were teaching. “There is nothing more powerful than a personal testimony,” said Sister Ashton.
Elder Zwick asked the group of Church leaders to identify the fruits of the Restoration, which include temples and saving ordinances, prophets and revelation, the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Book of Mormon, priesthood keys, and the gathering of Israel. “The message of the Restoration affects us in everything we do,” Elder Zwick said.
Elder W. Craig Zwick speaks during the 2016 seminar for new missionary training center presidents and directors of visitors' centers and historic sites. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.