Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles directed his remarks Sunday afternoon to individuals who are not members of the Church who might ask, “Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe and to invite me to learn about their Church?”
“Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been and always will be valiant missionaries,” he explained. “A missionary is a follower of Christ who testifies of Him as the Redeemer and proclaims the truths of His gospel.”
Individual members of Christ’s Church, he said, have accepted the Savior’s divine commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Elder Bednar said when Church members invite others to learn with the full-time missionaries, they are not trying to “sell” a product or “receive prizes or bonus points in a heavenly contest.”
“We are inviting you to hear the restored truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can study, ponder, pray, and come to know for yourself if the things we are sharing with you are true.”
To those who might respond, “But I already believe in Jesus and follow His teachings,” Elder Bednar said, “Just as Jesus beckoned two of His disciples to ‘come and see’ (John 1:39), so we urge you to come and see if the restored gospel of Jesus Christ enlarges and enriches that which you already believe to be true.”
Sharing the gospel is more than a spiritual duty, Elder Bednar explained. It is also “a reflection of how important these truths are to us.” To illustrate, Elder Bednar shared a personal experience in which he and his wife, Susan, watched as their two little boys played outside. When the younger boy was slightly injured, his older brother brought him inside and carefully administered to his scratches. Afterwards, the injured brother gathered the ointment and bandages and began to bandage the arms of his friends.
“Many of us as adults behave in precisely the same way when we find a treatment or medication that alleviates pain with which we have long suffered, or we receive counsel that enables us to face challenges with courage and perplexities with patience. Sharing with other people things that are most meaningful to us or have helped us is not unusual at all.”
The prophet-leader Lehi from the Book of Mormon illustrated the same pattern when, in his dream of the tree of life, he partook of the fruit — a representation of “the love of God” which was “most joyous to the soul” — and immediately desired to share it with his family (1 Nephi 8:11-12, 15).
“Lehi’s instant response to partaking of the fruit of the tree and experiencing great joy was an increased desire to share with and serve his family. Thus, as he turned to Christ, he also turned outward in love and service,” Elder Bednar said.
Another example includes Enos, who, after praying and receiving a remission of his sins, prayed for the welfare of his family, friends and associates (Enos 1:4-9).
“The enduring lesson we learn from these two episodes is the importance of experiencing in our personal lives the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as a prerequisite to heartfelt and authentic service that stretches far beyond merely ‘going through the motions,’ ” he said.
In conclusion, Elder Bednar said, “The invitations we extend to you to learn about and test our message grow out of the positive effects the gospel of Jesus Christ has had in our lives. Sometimes we may be awkward or abrupt or relentless in our attempts. Our simple desire is to share with you the truths that are of greatest worth to us.”