Lesson 21: Learning to Share the Gospel

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 75–77


Objective

Each young woman will understand her responsibility to share the gospel and gain confidence in doing missionary work.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Provide one candle (a large one would be best) and a small amount of salt.

  2. 2.

    Write out the role-playing situations on slips of paper.

  3. 3.

    Make a candle from stiff paper for each young woman similar to the following:

    candle
  4. 4.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Lord Wants Us to Share the Gospel with Others

Show the candle and the salt. (Do not light the candle, for that would be against Church safety regulations.)

Ask if any of the young women can explain how the Savior compared the members of the Church to a candle and to salt.

After a brief discussion, explain that Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Have a young woman read Matthew 5:13–16 and the first two sentences of 3 Nephi 18:24.

  • What is our light that we are to let shine?

“[There is] a marvelous phenomenon which occurs among men when the light of the gospel illuminates their lives. Almost instinctively, it seems, the light of truth sparks a desire to share. When our minds are expanded by new knowledge, we want others to know; when our spirits are elevated by heavenly influence, we want others to feel; and when our lives are filled with goodness, we want others, particularly those whom we love, to enjoy similar experiences” (Carlos E. Asay, in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, p. 58; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 41).

Scripture

Read with the young women Doctrine and Covenants 123:12. Emphasize that all around us are our brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters of God, who would embrace the gospel if they clearly understood it, but who are kept from the truth because “they know not where to find it.” Our responsibility is to show them.

Every Young Woman Can Learn How to Share the Gospel

Teacher presentation

Explain that we must be able to present the gospel in a positive way, with the help of the Lord’s Spirit, in order to let people know the joy it can bring to them.

Chalkboard discussion

  • What things often hinder us when we try to share the gospel with others? (Write the responses on the chalkboard. They might include the following.)

  1. 1.

    Fear that we might offend people or that people will not like us

  2. 2.

    Lack of ability or experience

  3. 3.

    Lack of knowledge about the gospel

  • How do you think these things can be overcome? (List responses on the chalkboard. Following are some helpful suggestions.)

  1. 1.

    Pray and ask the Lord to help you overcome fear and bless you with the guidance of his Spirit. When you are sincere and loving, you seldom offend people. When you become more concerned about your friend’s salvation than about your own feelings, your fears will diminish.

  2. 2.

    Get to know many different people. Ask questions about them, and find out the things they are interested in. As you become acquainted with them, you can explain how the gospel can help them with their needs and concerns. Express with enthusiasm what the gospel has done for you.

    Generally we must offer sincere friendship to others before we try to teach them. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Usually we must warm our neighbors before we can warn them properly. Our neighbors must experience our genuine friendship and fellowship” (“Report of the Regional Representatives’ seminar,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 140).

  3. 3.

    Study the gospel so that you are prepared to answer questions effectively when the opportunity arises (see D&C 11:21). Be familiar with the story of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Be prepared to testify that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored in its purity, as shown in the following story.

Story

“A Protestant minister … asked one of our missionaries, ‘Why do you proselyte amongst my people? They are all good Christians.’ … And the reply came: ‘If you, sir, knew for certain that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ had shown themselves and spoken again in this time of the world’s history, restoring vital information and also restoring true priesthood authority to man, would you be able to remain silent?’” (Robert L. Simpson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 63; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 46).

Teacher presentation

Explain that it is important not to be defensive when we talk about the gospel. We don’t have to apologize for the commandments of God. They were given by the God of the universe for the benefit of man.

Story

Tell the following story about how Lorenzo Snow, who became the fifth President of the Church, was able to share the gospel with many people.

In 1850, Elder Lorenzo Snow and two companions were sent by Brigham Young to begin the missionary work in Italy. They worked for many months without being able to share the gospel with any of the Italian people. Then, Elder Snow recorded, “the Lord manifested his power in our behalf.” The three-year-old son of the family with whom the missionaries lived became very ill and seemed on the point of death. Elder Snow and his companion saw the boy and realized that this presented an opportunity to show the Italian people the great power and love of the Lord.

Elder Snow and his companion began to fast, and they went to the mountains where they could be alone and pray. Elder Snow recorded: “We there called upon the Lord in solemn prayer, to spare the life of the child. As I contemplated the course we wished to pursue and the claims we should soon advance to the world; I regarded this circumstance as one of vast importance. I know not any sacrifice which I could possibly make, that I was not willing to offer that the Lord might grant our requests. We returned about three o’clock in the afternoon, and having consecrated some oil, I anointed my hand, and laid it upon his head, while we silently offered up the desires of our hearts for his restoration. …

“From that hour he began to amend; and with a heart filled with gratitude to our heavenly Father, I am happy to say, that in a few days he left his bed, and joined his little companions” (Lorenzo Snow, “Organization of the Church in Italy,” Millennial Star, 15 Dec. 1850, pp. 370–71).

As a result of this manifestation of priesthood power, the hearts of many people were softened, and doors were suddenly opened to the missionaries. Many people listened to the gospel message and joined the Church.

  • What did Lorenzo Snow do to soften the hearts of the people he was trying to teach?

  • What can you learn from Elder Snow about the attitudes you should have when sharing the gospel?

Role playing

Following are some examples of opportunities that come to us to share the gospel. Divide the young women into pairs, taking part yourself if necessary. Read each situation and have two young women act out the situation. After each role play, ask class members for other suggestions about how to handle that type of missionary opportunity.

  1. 1.

    You are asked by a nonmember friend, “Do Mormons believe in Jesus Christ?”

  2. 2.

    A visitor you have just met wants to know, “Why are you called Mormons?”

  3. 3.

    A less-active friend wants to know why you do not smoke or drink.

  4. 4.

    You are asked by a recent acquaintance, “What makes your Church different from other churches?”

  5. 5.

    You are sitting next to someone on a bus or plane. How do you interest him in the Church?

Allow class members to share their personal experiences with sharing the gospel. Share your own experiences.

Conclusion

Point out that often we have a better chance of sharing the gospel with our friends than anyone else will ever have.

We should ask ourselves the question, “If I do not share the gospel with my friends, where, when, and from whom will they hear it?”

Testimony

You may wish to conclude by bearing your testimony.

Handout

Give each young woman a paper candle as a reminder of her responsibility to be a missionary.

Suggested Activities

  1. 1.

    Invite the full-time missionaries to come to class to explain how the young women can help them. Make sure they have permission from their mission president to come.

  2. 2.

    As a class, decide on things you can do to reach out to a less-active member of your class.

  3. 3.

    As a class, write down the questions most frequently asked by nonmembers, and assign each young woman to write some good answers and share them in a future class.

  4. 4.

    Plan an activity and invite several nonmember young women.

  5. 5.

    Invite several people to class who can discuss their conversions to the Church. They may want to give some ideas about how to approach nonmembers.