Photo illustration by Welden C. Andersen
As you talk about the gospel with your friends, remember that how you say something is as important as what you say. Our prophets and apostles have taught us how we can share the gospel with the Spirit and with love.
Share Your Testimony in Many Ways
“You possess a testimony; share it. Never underestimate the far-reaching influence of your testimony. You can strengthen one another; you have the capacity to notice the unnoticed. When you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel, you can reach out and rescue others of your age. …
“You can share your testimony in many ways—by the words you speak, by the example you set, by the manner in which you live your life.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Be Thou an Example,” Ensign, May 2005, 115.
Determine Their Level of Interest
“Speak up about the Church. In the course of our everyday lives, we are blessed with many opportunities to share our beliefs with others. When our … associates inquire about our religious beliefs, they are inviting us to share who we are and what we believe. They may or may not be interested in the Church, but they are interested in getting to know us at a deeper level.
“My recommendation to you is to accept their invitations. Your associates are not inviting you to teach, preach, expound, or exhort. Engage them in a two-way conversation—share something about your religious beliefs but also ask them about their beliefs. Gauge the level of interest by the questions they ask. If they are asking a lot of questions, focus the conversation on answering those questions. Always remember that it is better for them to ask than for you to tell. …
“We should appreciate and approach such conversations with Christlike love. Our tone, whether speaking or writing, should be respectful and civil, regardless of the response of others. We should be honest and open and try to be clear in what we say. We want to avoid arguing or becoming defensive in any way.”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 43.
Act in Love
“The most effective missionaries, member and full-time, always act out of love. … I hope no person we approach with an invitation to hear the message of the restored gospel feels that we are acting out of any reason other than a genuine love for them and an unselfish desire to share something we know to be precious. If we lack this love for others, we should pray for it.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Sharing the Gospel,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 8.
Invite Others into Your Daily Activities
“A sister in France was asked about the secret of her success. She said, ‘I simply share my joy. I treat everyone as if they were already a member of the Church. If I’m standing by someone in line and strike up a conversation, I share with them how much I enjoyed my Church meetings on Sunday. When co-workers ask, “What did you do this weekend?” I do not skip from Saturday night to Monday morning. I share with them that I went to church, what was said, and my experiences with the Saints. I talk about how I live, think, and feel.’ …
“Church literature or DVDs can introduce new friends to the Church. Invitations to hear a family member speak in sacrament meeting or to attend the baptismal service of a family member or to tour a meetinghouse have also been appreciated by those who are not members. From every indicator we have, there is nothing more effective that any of us can do for our friends than to say ‘come and see’ by joining with us in sacrament meeting. Far too many do not know they are welcome to worship with us.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Creating a Gospel-Sharing Home,” Ensign, May 2006, 86–87.
Avoid Debating, Even Online
“Every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior. Discussions focused on questioning, debating, and doubting gospel principles do little to build the kingdom of God. … As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of new media, remember who you are—Latter-day Saints. … Remember that contention is of the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29).”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, July 2008, 63.
Ask Them about Their Lives and Beliefs
“There is a mirror quality to conversation. If we talk about the weather, people respond by talking about the weather. If we talk about sports, they respond by talking about sports. [My] friend says he asks people he meets about their school and listens intently. After they respond by asking him about his school, he tells them about BYU and then shares his testimony of the gospel. Then, in a positive way, he offers to let them learn more from the missionaries. He has been very successful in sharing the gospel. He has also remained on excellent terms with his friends who do not respond to his invitation, because he genuinely loves them and is interested in them.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Be a Missionary All Your Life,” Ensign, Sept. 2008, 47.