Q&A: Questions and Answers


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

“Now that I’ve joined the Church, some of my friends and family are questioning my decision. How do I answer them?”

New Era

  • Joining the Church was the right decision. You can help your family and friends understand that truth, but it may take some time.

  • Share with them your testimony and conversion story. It will be good for them to hear and good for you to recall spiritual experiences you have had.

  • Invite them to church and Church activities, and introduce them to other members.

  • Continue to do things that invite the Holy Ghost in your life so you can be comforted and guided in this challenge.

Being a new member of the Church is challenging enough without criticism or doubts from friends or family members. But getting baptized and confirmed was the right decision, and being a member of the Church is a great blessing. Those who are questioning you just don’t understand that—yet. With your help, patience, and good example, however, they can understand, and even if they don’t approve of your decision, they may at least come to respect it.

It will be good for you to prepare to answer your family’s and friends’ questions. It will give you a chance to think about why you became a member of the Church. You will remember answers to prayers and spiritual experiences you have had. As you share your testimony and conversion story with those who are questioning your decision, you and they will feel the Spirit.

If they are questioning your decision because they’re not familiar with the Church, you could tell them what the Lord told people in His day: “Come and see” (John 1:39). Invite your friends and family to church, to Mutual, to family home evening, to a Church activity. Let them know they are welcome to see what the Church is and does. At these activities, they will meet other Church members and feel the peaceful influence of the Holy Ghost. When they do, they will begin to understand why you became a member of the Church. As they feel the Spirit and have their questions answered, they might even join the Church later, and your testimony and good example will have helped them.

Even though you may have lost some friends because you joined the Church, remember that you have gained a lot of new friends now that you’re a member. Get to know your brothers and sisters in the gospel. They can help you through this challenge. Some have probably gone through what you’re going through.

It’s not your responsibility alone to handle the concerns of those who are questioning your decision. The full-time missionaries, supportive friends and family members, home teachers, and other ward or branch members can help.

Sometimes all you can do is pray for those with beliefs different from yours. Respect their beliefs, and be friendly as you “agree to disagree.”

Most important, stay close to the Lord through daily prayer and scripture study and weekly attendance at church and Mutual. This trial won’t seem so hard when you find comfort and strength in these things. The Holy Ghost can guide you to know what to say and do.

The Lord knows you are going through this trial, and He knows you can handle it. He can guide you to help those who are questioning your decision.

Elder Robert D. Hales

“When new members come out of the world into the kingdom of God, they leave much behind them. Oftentimes they too must leave behind friends and even family as well as social contacts and a way of life that is not compatible with the standards of the Church. “After baptism, the new member of the Church must learn how to become a fellow citizen with the Saints in the kingdom of God through study, prayer, member example, and nurturing.” —Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren,” Ensign, May 1997, 80.

Readers

I would tell them that I had some doubts at first, but I found out that all the bad things I’d heard were untrue and all the good things I’d heard were true. The more I spoke to the missionaries, the more this religion made sense to me. They answered all my questions. I feel very good about my decision to become a member of the Church. Cody D., 14, Texas

Explain to them the feeling you felt—and still feel—when you were baptized and when you read the scriptures and pray. Try to show them how your life changed for the better. And maybe one day, through your influence, they will join the Church. So stay strong. Jasmyn S., 16, New South Wales, Australia

Actually, I was the one who questioned at first. I was a teenager when my mother and brother met with the missionaries. I listened only halfheartedly. But when they joined the Church, I saw that the things they had learned agreed with what I’d been taught my whole life. After I joined the military, I sought out the missionaries, went to meetings, studied and prayed, and then went home to be baptized. The gospel made me happy, and the Spirit told me it is true. Nicole V., 20, Georgia

I tell my friends that I joined the Church because I can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost when I go to church. This not only helps me grow spiritually but also gives me guidance for my school life and daily life. I am grateful that missionaries helped my family join the Church. I found out that when we build our lives on Jesus Christ’s gospel as the foundation, it is the best happiness we could ever have in this life. Fan J., 17, Taiwan

It’s hard when people question your decision. But there’s a difference between others doubting you and you doubting your own testimony. Respond by holding strong to your testimony; that’s the best thing you can do. Sometimes their reaction might not be the best, but the truth will always prevail. Michael W., 17, Alabama

I would tell people that I was baptized because I found out for myself that this is the true Church and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me and want me to return to Them. I believe in eternal life and that one day my family can be together forever. Baptism is the first step on the path that will lead us back to live with Heavenly Father and our family again. The fact that I could ask and receive an answer that this is true comforts me and makes me happy. Ignacio R., 17, Chile

Be careful not to overreact. Talk things through, and be a peacemaker whenever you can. Reassure them that you love them. They don’t have all of the same beliefs you do, but a disagreement doesn’t need to become an argument. Ultimately, they will judge how right your decision is based on the way you act. Give them a chance to see changes for good in you. Ricky J., 19, Idaho

Next Question

“One day I read 1 Nephi 7:12, which says that the Lord is able to do all things for us if we exercise faith in Him. How do we exercise faith in Christ?”

Send your answer, along with your full name, birth date, ward and stake, and a photograph (including your parent’s written permission to print the photo if you are under 18) to:

New Era, Q&A, 11/06
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Or e-mail: newera@ldschurch.org

Please respond by November 15, 2006.

[photo] Photograph by Matthew Reier, posed by models