Q&A: Questions and Answers


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

I love the gospel, but talking about it with others terrifies me. How can I overcome my fear?

New Era

  • You can overcome fear through developing your faith.

  • Faith requires action. Practice sharing the gospel in situations where you feel comfortable.

  • Seek added knowledge so you can be prepared to answer others’ questions. Preparation will help you share the gospel without fear.

  • Build on your righteous desire to share the gospel as you work to conquer your fear.

Even the best member missionaries are nervous about sharing the gospel sometimes. But they overcome their fear in the same way you overcome any fear—by replacing your fear with faith.

The scriptures are full of encouragement: “Fear not; I will help thee” (Isa. 41:13). “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7–8).

Developing the kind of faith that replaces fear with power and love will take effort and practice. You can’t just wait for faith to come to you. You need to develop it. Start by thinking of small ways to share your testimony. You could write your testimony in a letter. Or you could write your testimony in your journal every day for a week. Once you feel confident expressing your testimony in writing, try bearing it in sacrament meeting, in family home evening, or to a close friend. As you build your testimony-sharing skills, your confidence and faith will grow.

If you are nervous because you think you might be asked questions you cannot answer, a little preparation can help. The Lord told Hyrum Smith, “First seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21).

Read the scriptures and other Church materials to help build your gospel knowledge. Share these resources—pamphlets, magazines, and so on—with others. www.mormon.org is another great place to learn more and to refer others to as well. Pray for added courage. Remember, if you don’t have all the answers, you can always ask someone or do some research.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion” (“Sharing the Gospel,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 7). You have the desire. Now let that desire grow into action as you practice sharing the gospel (see Alma 32).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Do not let fear overcome your efforts. … Fear comes not from God but from the evil one. The adversary of all truth would put into your heart a reluctance to make an effort. Cast that fear aside and be valiant in the cause of truth and righteousness and faith. If you now decide that this will become the pattern of your life, you will not have to make that decision again.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Jan. 1998, 72.

Readers

Your fear is natural. Ask the missionaries if you can go on exchanges with them. Have them teach a discussion in your home, and share your testimony. But most important, ask Heavenly Father for opportunities to share the gospel. He will give you the words He wants you to say. Vikki Hamme, 17, Mountain Home Ward, Springfield Missouri South Stake

I always used to be scared of talking with others about the gospel. But think of your testimony and that wonderful feeling you get because you know the gospel is true. Ask your Heavenly Father for a missionary experience, and pray for His guidance. Then I’m sure you will love to speak about the Church and will want to do so again and again. Dana Jill Barthel, 16, Bonn Ward, Düsseldorf Germany Stake

In seminary, I learned that Jesus Christ has called us to participate in His work. I understood from 3 Nephi 12:13–16 [3 Ne. 12:13–16] that I am a light and also the salt of the earth and that if I love the Lord, I must live by His words. That is how I overcame my fear. Jean Garry Gilot, 17, Carrefour Ward, Port-au-Prince Haiti Stake

The love I feel for this great work has allowed me to talk about the gospel. We need to pray a lot, read the scriptures, attend seminary, and seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Then the words will come. Cesar A. Flores Barrios, 15, Cantaura Ward, El Tigre Venezuela Stake

If you try to talk to a good friend, you will feel more comfortable. If you start by talking about a gospel standard that is easy to explain, it will be easier to share more. Once you talk to one friend, you will be able to talk to anyone! Gretchen Schillemat, 14, Keene Ward, Concord New Hampshire Stake

It doesn’t matter what others think, but it does matter what Heavenly Father thinks. If I were enjoying a wonderful feast and my friends were with me, I wouldn’t ignore them. I also wouldn’t just invite them to read the recipes. I would ask them to eat with me. Kristina M. Harrop, 16, Palmer Third Ward, Wasilla Alaska Stake

I learned to trust the Lord and let the Spirit guide me. You just have to remember that you don’t have to be afraid when the Lord is on your side. The Spirit will help you. Amber Wilson, 14, Parkersburg Ward, Charleston West Virginia Stake

To overcome this fear, I think of how much I wish I had known about this gospel sooner. My friends and family also need to receive it urgently. We must talk with enthusiasm of the activities we participate in, of the joy the gospel brings. Others will desire to know where our happiness and faith come from. Évila Fernanda de Campos, 19, Bragança Paulista Ward, Itatiba Brazil Stake

Our fear will be gone when we are made perfect in love (see 1 Jn. 4:18). Pray diligently for that gift of perfect love, and approach your friends with love. Smile, give a helping hand, and express gratitude. By doing so you can not only overcome fear, you can radiate the blessings of the gospel. Elder Tomohiko Funai, 19, Idaho Pocatello Mission

We can overcome this fear initially by becoming friends, and then we will feel more at ease about bearing our testimony to people so the Spirit can touch them. Anne Diniz, 16, Valentina Ward, João Pessoa Brazil Rangel Stake

One must have a testimony of this gospel to courageously share it with others. Use your testimony as a guide. Search and pray about overcoming your fear. Aaron Michaelson, 13, Southbury Ward, New Haven Connecticut Stake

[photo] Photograph by Welden C. Andersen