Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
No Matter Our Differences09270_000_019
My father and his family were members of another church. But before I was born, my father joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His parents and the rest of their family remained active in their church, and our family was active in the LDS Church.
I learned about my cousins’ faith by seeing their Sunday activities and how they prayed, and watching them participate in a nativity scene at their church at Christmas. They never came to our Church, but they learned about what we believed by seeing how we kept the Sabbath day holy and had family home evening. I could see how the things that were taught in my home added to what was taught in their home. It strengthened my testimony of the restored gospel.
I learned about the goodness that can be found in people of different faiths. This helped me grow up with a better understanding of other people in the world.
When I returned home from my mission, my grandmother was dying of cancer. She wanted to know what would happen after this life, so I taught her the gospel. She didn’t join the Church, but I had faith that the testimony I shared with her about Heavenly Father’s love for her and about life after death would have an impact on her in the next life.
After she passed away, my family went to the temple for her. I know that because of the work we did for her in the temple, she and my grandfather can be together forever—and I can be with them! The differences that we had can be resolved by knowing the truth and having the gospel be a part of our lives.
Children, you might not think that you have an influence on your grandparents or family members who are not members of the Church. But you have more of an influence than you think. Love your family members. Never underestimate the power of always loving your family, no matter what their religion is.
Elder Schwitzer has talked to many people about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We can do the same. Here are some ways Elder Schwitzer suggests we can share the gospel with our friends and family members.
Find beliefs that you both accept. If your friend believes in God, say, “I believe in God too.” Then tell about the things God does for you and how important He is in your life.
Share differences in a positive way. For example, you could explain how you feel about keeping the Sabbath day holy. You might say, “I go to church on Sunday to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel. I notice that you go to church too. Isn’t it great that we both try to keep the Sabbath day holy by doing things to worship Him on that day?”
Listen and show respect. If you want a friend or family member to listen to you, be considerate and listen to what he or she believes also. Learn about the good things in his or her religion.
Remember to ask for the Holy Ghost to be with you. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. Pray that the Holy Ghost will be with you and your friend or family member as you talk about your faiths.
Be a good friend or family member. You should always love others, even if they don’t believe the same things you do. This does not mean that you should participate in an activity that is against your beliefs. Kindly decline the invitation without offending them. Simply say, “No, thank you. That’s not for me.”
Illustration by Dilleen Marsh