Auxiliary Perspectives

From the Relief Society General Presidency

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The Power of Service in Conversion and Retention

Recently, a sister shared the story of her conversion. She said: “My mother spent my growing-up years in a hospital. My father worked hard to raise us and provide for us at the same time. It was not easy—for him or for us. But we were blessed to know a dear Latter-day Saint sister who sent us a loaf of bread every time she baked. When she bottled fruit, she sent some to us. She often came over while we were away and cleaned our home.

“We were not members of the Church then. In fact, none of us joined the Church while she was alive. But because of her example, all four of us children are now active Church members. I hope that somehow she knows what a powerful influence she had on us.”

The Lord declared, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:39). We invite all Relief Society sisters to lose themselves in service to others. Genuine friendship and service are invaluable in conversion and retention efforts. Following are ways sisters could involve themselves:

  • Pray to be guided to someone the Lord has prepared to receive the gospel.

  • Help nonmembers learn about their ancestors through the resources at Church Family History Centers™.

  • Visit new converts and ensure they have dedicated visiting teachers.

  • Accompany investigators and new converts to Church meetings and activities.

  • Organize ways for new converts to participate with strong sisters in compassionate service and other activities.

President Hinckley has said: “In this process [of finding those who will listen to the gospel message] we need not be offensive. We need not be arrogant. The most effective tract we will carry will be the goodness of our own lives” (“Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, 107).

Mutual: A Missionary Tool

Mutual provides a missionary opportunity that can open spiritual doors to less-active members and investigators. During Mutual, youth and leaders can fellowship young people who hesitate to attend church on Sunday. All youth should feel they belong here.

When Mutual is well planned and includes both opening exercises and meaningful activities, young people feel the Spirit of the Lord and know that they are loved and accepted. Opening exercises are essential because they provide opportunities for learning the hymns, giving talks, sharing talents, and inviting the Spirit of the Lord.

Mutual also provides an opportunity to demonstrate that living the gospel is a happy pursuit that can be invigorating and fun. It is a time to develop and strengthen friendships that can continue at school, in the home, and throughout life. It is a training ground for young leaders—where they can learn to successfully fulfill a wide variety of responsibilities. Whether the youth are tying quilts, playing soccer, or singing in a musical production, Mutual will be irresistible and rewarding if they feel the Spirit of the Lord, love, and acceptance!

Mutual should be as varied as the young people who attend. When there is a balance between music and drama, sports, home arts, service, and other activities, the youth gain a variety of experiences that will benefit them the rest of their lives. When Young Men and Young Women activities reinforce the principles taught during Sunday lessons, those activities will strengthen young people’s lives and establish a firm foundation upon which they can build their futures.

As we follow President Gordon B. Hinckley’s counsel, we will make sure each member has “a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’” (“Converts and Young Men,” Ensign, May 1997, 47). Mutual can be a powerful influence to accomplish this great work.

[photo] Photo by Steve Bunderson

The Work of Primary—Helping Convert and Retain Our Children

The Savior said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). The conversion of little ones to the gospel of Jesus Christ begins as they understand that they are children of God and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them.

During the year 2000, we will be teaching children the importance of baptism. Their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ begins as children prepare to be baptized and understand what it means to keep their baptismal covenant. Their conversion continues as they show their love for the Savior by following His example.

Children are precious new converts. President Gordon B. Hinckley has encouraged us to provide each convert with “a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’” (“Converts and Young Men,” Ensign, May 1997, 47).

Every child and every adult leader and teacher in Primary will be strengthened by receiving the three blessings identified by President Hinckley. Primary is a natural place for these blessings to be realized. Prayerfully consider what you can do in your Primary to be a part of this important effort, including:

  • Inviting every child enrolled in Primary to participate.

  • Planning activities and Sunday lessons to ensure that all who attend and serve in Primary have a friend, a responsibility, and are nurtured by the “good word of God.”

  • Praying to understand how you can help each child and adult worker in Primary.

Helping to convert and retain children by building testimonies is the work of Primary. Thank you for making Primary a safe, happy place where children and all who serve there can feel the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the joy of being members of the Church.

[photo] Photo by Michael McConkie

The Worth of a Soul

On 1 April 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley and the Sunday School general presidency opened a time capsule sealed by the Deseret Sunday School Union superintendency in 1949. The box was filled with Sunday School photographs, teaching materials, and other items of historical value. After viewing the materials in the box, President Hinckley announced that a new time capsule would be sealed later this year, to be opened 50 years from now.

Sunday School itself is much like a time capsule, something of a treasure box. Into it we place our faithful service with the assurance that as we do so, others will take from it a better knowledge of the gospel and a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Among the great treasures that Sunday School can preserve are the testimonies of Church members. Those who come with fragile, new testimonies, those who are now reclaiming their testimonies after a period of time, and those who are building their existing testimonies should come away from Sunday School with increased spiritual strength, with greater faith in the Lord and in His Church, and with a determination to endure in faithful gospel service.

That is our opportunity as leaders and teachers in Sunday School. To share the gospel—and see our efforts bear fruit—is one of the most sublime experiences we can have. Testimonies are treasures. Let us care for them carefully by doing the following:

  • Prepare lessons well, keeping individuals in mind who may be struggling with their testimonies.

  • Bear our testimonies often, with power, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

  • Involve each member in the class as opportunity presents itself.

Know that our Heavenly Father loves each of His children and values each so highly that He gave His Only Begotten Son so they could return to His presence. One of our joys is to participate in and build testimonies of the great plan of redemption.

[photo] A worker polishes a Sunday School time capsule to be opened 50 years from now. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey.)