President Thomas S. Monson shared the following experience:
“When I was approaching my eighteenth birthday … , I was recommended to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. Mine was the task of telephoning my stake president, Paul C. Child, for an appointment and interview. He was one who loved and understood the holy scriptures. It was his intent that all others should similarly love and understand them. Knowing from others of his rather detailed and searching interviews, my telephone conversation with him went something like this:
“‘Hello, President Child. This is Tom Monson. I have been asked by the bishop to seek an interview with you.’
“‘Fine, Brother Monson. When can you visit me?’
“Knowing that his sacrament meeting time was six o’clock, and desiring minimum exposure of my scriptural knowledge to his review, I suggested, ‘How would Sunday at five o’clock be?’
“His response: ‘Oh, Brother Monson, that would not provide us sufficient time to peruse the scriptures. Could you please come at two o’clock, and bring with you your personally marked and referenced set of scriptures’” (Inspiring Experiences that Build Faith , 193).
Young Thomas Monson discovered that an interview with the stake president was more than just an “interview”; it was an occasion for studying and learning the gospel.
If you conduct interviews, the following principles can help you.
Remember that the Lord knows the members with whom you meet. He knows their needs, worries, strengths, and weaknesses. Often the Spirit will prompt and teach you as you prepare to help individuals and families.
The Lord said, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85). As you study the scriptures, be open to the possibility that certain passages may be precisely what someone needs to hear in an interview. An experience shared by a bishop illustrates this truth:
“One Monday morning I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants concerning repentance and forgiveness. Divine truth flooded into my mind and heart, especially concerning forgiving oneself. I had never considered that the truth ‘I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men’ (D&C 64:10) could apply to oneself.
“I finished my reading for that morning and went about my work. The next evening I met with a couple whose marriage was weak. As I spoke with them, the sister explained something that had occurred to her as a young girl when she broke a civil law, the consequences of which could have resulted in court action at that time. Thirty years had passed, and what occurred was of no consequence today, but she still felt the burden of guilt. Instantly this verse from the Doctrine and Covenants came to mind and brought peace to a troubled soul. What a testimony to me that daily scripture study paid such a quick dividend.”
As you rely on the scriptures in conducting interviews, you should bear testimony of them. You may also share experiences to show how the principle being discussed has blessed your life and the lives of others.