How Am I Doing as a Member Missionary?

By Marvin K. Gardner

Assistant Editor, Ensign

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    Take this self-quiz to find out

    You’d really like to go on a mission but your children are small and you don’t retire for thirty more years?

    Or you feel like a total failure in missionary work because you’ve never served a full-time mission?

    Or the very thought of missionary work scares (or bores) you because you just can’t imagine yourself talking about the gospel to anybody?

    Try this self-quiz. It may give you some ideas you hadn’t thought of. And you might find you’re doing better than you think.

    1. Do I welcome new neighbors? Do I become and stay friends with them whether they’re interested in the Church or not?

    2. Can my neighbor see, by looking at my house, clothes, apartment, or car that I have high standards of cleanliness, order, and beauty?

    3. Are my neighbors and I good enough friends that we could call each other for help?

    4. Do I include non-Mormon neighbors in family or church activities?

    5. Do I refrain from gossiping, swearing, or telling vulgar stories?

    6. Do I ever do anything extra nice for my neighbor?

    7. Do I avoid feeling that I’m better than people who drink or smoke?

    8. If I were offered a cup of coffee, do I know how to decline graciously?

    9. Do I correspond with non-Mormon friends or relatives?

    10. Do I send copies of the Book of Mormon or Church magazine subscriptions to non-Mormon friends?

    11. Am I saving money for a mission, and do my children have their own mission savings accounts?

    12. Do I regularly study the scriptures?

    13. Do I pray that nations and individuals will be receptive to the gospel?

    14. Am I honest in my business affairs with others?

    15. Do I contribute to the Church’s missionary fund?

    16. Am I trying to overcome any racial or cultural prejudices I might have?

    17. Do I pray for help in recognizing opportunities to share the gospel?

    18. Do I let people I work with know I’m LDS?

    19. Do I look for appropriate times to bear my testimony to others?

    20. Have I prayerfully selected a non-Mormon friend or family to introduce to the missionaries? Do I send referrals?

    21. Do I ever write letters to missionaries?

    22. Do I refrain from criticizing Church authorities or complaining about meetings, welfare projects, dress standards, etc?

    23. Am I developing missionary skills by serving willingly and well as a home teacher, visiting teacher, or in other callings?

    24. Am I teaching my children basic housekeeping, cooking, and other skills they might need as missionaries?

    25. Does my family pray and study the scriptures together and hold home evening weekly to prepare for missions?

    The ideas in the quiz can be grouped into five kinds of duties the Missionary Department has identified:

    1. “Live—I am living and modeling the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Although you don’t have to do anything extra to be honest, kind, and chaste, example is one of the best missionary tools there is. Ernest Eberhard, Jr., former president of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission, says that when he has asked people why they joined the Church, the answer very often begins, “Well, there was this friend …” President Spencer W. Kimball has said, “No greater service can be given to the missionary calling of the Church than to exemplify positive Christian virtues in our lives” (“Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” International Magazine Conference Issue, in February, March, or April 1979).

    2. “Pray—I pray that the doors to nations and the hearts of men will open.”

    Praying is also already part of our lives. And it’s not difficult to include in our prayers President Kimball’s request: “A serious, continuous petition to the Lord to open the gates of the nations and soften the hearts of the kings and the rulers to the end that missionaries may enter all the lands and teach the gospel” (Address at June Conference, 27 June 1975, p. 3). Three years later, he made that request stronger: “I’m hoping that, beginning now, … we will never think of praying except we pray for the Lord to establish his program and make it possible that we can carry the gospel to his people as he has commanded” (“Fundamental Principles to Ponder and Live,” International Magazine for February, March, or April 1979).

    That’s something everybody can do no matter who or where he is.

    3. “Prepare—I am preparing myself and my children to be missionaries.”

    Preparing ourselves for missions means keeping a mission firmly in mind as we go about living normal lives; working hard, praying, studying, saving money, staying healthy, learning to love and serve others—and teaching our children to do the same.

    4. “Send—I am sending money, copies of the Book of Mormon, Church magazine subscriptions, etc., on missions.”

    Sending contributions to the general missionary fund, mailing copies of the Book of Mormon and giving friends subscriptions to the church magazine, are ways of being actively involved in missionary work without even leaving home.

    5. “Serve—I am serving as a member-missionary by friendshipping non-member friends or families.”

    The first four duties on this list don’t really interrupt our normal life-style. This fifth one takes a little more effort—but it’s certainly worth it; prayerfully selecting someone we’ve already had good experiences with and inviting him to learn more about the Church.