Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

My best friend is not a member of the Church, but recently she attended a few activities with me and really enjoyed herself. Lately I have been feeling that I should talk to her about the Church. How can I do this without jeopardizing our friendship or making her feel uncomfortable?

New Era

  • Sharing something important to you can be intimidating.

  • If you assume your friend will be uncomfortable, and make the decision not to talk to her about the Church, you may miss out on an opportunity to help her learn about the gospel.

  • Sharing the gospel is one of the most important things you can do in this life.

  • If your friend is uncomfortable talking about the Church, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be her friend.

Being kind and inviting your friend to Church activities are the first steps to sharing the gospel. If you have felt impressed to talk to your friend about the Church, the Spirit is prompting you to take the next step.

Sharing something important to you can be intimidating. Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Seventy said he believes “the fear of rejection or the fear of hurting a friendship are the more common restraints to sharing the gospel.

“But are these fears valid? When you extend to a friend an invitation to meet with the missionaries, you are offering to share something that is most valuable and cherished. Is that offensive? … When we offer to share the gospel, friendships are strengthened, even though the friends may not embrace the gospel message” (Ensign, Nov. 2000, 81).

Sharing the gospel is one of the most important things you can do in this life. You shouldn’t assume that talking to your friend about the Church will make her uncomfortable. Give it a try. Share how you feel and ask her what she thinks. Remember, you aren’t forcing her to learn about the Church; you are inviting her.

Accepting or rejecting that invitation is a decision you should let your friend make for herself. If you assume she will be uncomfortable, and make the decision not to talk to her about the Church, you may miss out on an opportunity to help a friend learn about the gospel. If she accepts your invitation, you may have the opportunity to help someone embrace the gospel.

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15).

If your friend is uncomfortable talking about the Church, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be her friend. Continue to invite her to activities and try to make her feel comfortable. And just because she rejects your invitation this time doesn’t mean she has completely rejected the gospel or your friendship. She may just need more time.

Elder Oaks further illustrates what it’s like to hesitate to share the gospel with our friends:

“Consider that you are invited to a friend’s house for breakfast. On the table you see a large pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice from which your host fills his glass. But he offers you none. Finally you ask, ‘Could I have a glass of orange juice?’

“He replies, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I was afraid you might not like orange juice, and I didn’t want to offend you by offering you something you didn’t desire.’

“Now, that sounds absurd, but it is not too different from the way we hesitate to offer up something far sweeter than orange juice. I have often worried how I would answer some friend about my hesitancy when I meet him beyond the veil” (Ensign, Nov. 2000, 81–82).

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“I encourage you to build personal, meaningful relationships with your nonmember friends and acquaintances. Interest in the gospel may come later as a natural extension of a good friendship. … If they are not interested in the gospel, we should show unconditional love through acts of service and kindness, and never imply that we see an acquaintance only as a potential convert” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, 30). —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve

Readers

Just keep being a good example and keep bringing your friend to church. Sooner or later, she will see that what you have is awesome and want the same for herself. Don’t be afraid to share the greatest gift that you have with others.

Lesha Froberg, 17 Bellingham, Washington

Be loving and compliment your friend for her efforts to choose the right. She will be able to feel the Holy Ghost more easily if she knows you love and respect her. Remember, Christ’s gospel is all about love.

Jed Henry, 17 Angola, Indiana

When you want your friends to know how you feel, remember to just be yourself. When they see that you are comfortable and happy about sharing your ideas with them, they are able to feel comfortable as well.

Elder David Doncouse, 20 Australia Sydney South Mission

My best friend also is not a member of the Church. I wrote her a note with my testimony and stuck it in a copy of the Book of Mormon. I now pray and fast that her heart will be touched and she’ll want to know more.

Genevieve Bonner, 16 Springville, Utah

Obviously these feelings are promptings from the Holy Ghost, and we should never ignore them. Tell her that you care about her. Tell her about your religion, and bear your testimony.

Joey Price, 12 Kayenta, Arizona

[photo] Photography by Welden Andersen. Posed by models