I’ve been trying to share the gospel with friends and acquaintances for years, but have never watched any of them step into the waters of baptism. I hope I have that opportunity one day.
My husband had that opportunity last month.
A quickly developed friendship at work soon brought inevitable conversations about the gospel. My husband’s friend had some pressing questions about the LDS faith. They were excellent questions deserving of honest answers, which my husband was thankfully able to provide.
The Church, especially in recent years, has encouraged us to become more informed about Church history, Church policies and especially Church doctrine. This is to deepen our personal conversion as well as to become a source of truth for inquiring friends who are not of our faith. The internet is full of answers – some true, some partly true and some false. We, however, must know what the true doctrine is in its purest, undiluted form.
The Church has published 11 essays on topics that may be controversial, difficult to understand, difficult to explain or frequently misunderstood. It is imperative that we familiarize ourselves with the content of those 11 essays.
In a recent address given to seminary and institute teachers, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the quorum of the twelve apostles stated that it is crucial that teachers “know the content in these essays like you know the back of your hand.” Elder Ballard went on to say…
“As you teachers pay the price to better understand our history, doctrine, and practices—better than you do now—you will be prepared to provide thoughtful, careful, and inspired answers to your students’ questions.”
“It is important to not pass along faith-promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of the doctrines and practices of the past. Drawing from the words of living prophets and apostles and keeping updated on current Church issues, in addition to doing the things that bring the Spirit into a person’s life, help teachers to teach clearly difficult doctrines and assist in answering questions and concerns.”
I believe this can apply to all of us, seminary teachers or not. If we want to be effective member missionaries, we must do the same. We should try to learn the full width, depth and breadth of the gospel and church we profess to love. We must come to know the beautiful, pure, naked truth about subjects such as:
- Are Mormons Christian?
- Becoming Like God
- Book of Mormon and DNA Studies
- Book of Mormon Translation
- First Vision Accounts
- Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple and Women
- Mother in Heaven
- Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints
- Race and the Priesthood
- Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham
The above topics are the subjects of the 11 essays Elder Ballard referred to. They can be found by going to lds.org and choosing “gospel topics” under the “learn more” section of the “scriptures and study” tab. On the right of the gospel topics page you will find a link to explore the essays. (Or you can click here, or on any of the subjects above.)
As we study the gospel more in-depth, I believe we will not only be more prepared to share the gospel with others, but more desirous to do so! As I have made the doctrine in these essays a matter of personal study, I have felt the Holy Ghost bear witness to me that it they are each perfectly and entirely true.
It is all true!
It is wonderful!
And it needs to be shared.
My husband’s knowledge of gospel principles, doctrine and policies, coupled with his deep testimony of the truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was enough to encourage his friend to pray about the doctrines they discussed. The Spirit testified of truth, and this good man chose to be baptized. His testimony is now inspiring others and he looks forward to the day when he will bring his family to the temple where they will be sealed together forever.
It is ours to discover,