Relief Society Lesson 14: How to Share the Gospel Effectively
This lesson has some real gems. My focus will be on truly loving our neighbors and respecting their religious traditions like we want them to respect ours, with a secondary focus on how this helps us share the gospel with those who are seeking. This lesson will be on the heels of Lesson 13: Doing Our Part to Share the Gospel, which could lead to redundancy if it isn’t framed in a unique way.
Opening Story: When I visited Vienna last fall, I toured St. Stephen’s cathedral, one of the most famous and beautiful in the world. The architecture and religious art reminded me even more of how powerful God is, and how small I am. As people around me worshiped, I felt impressed that they were as devoted to God through their religion as I am to God through mine. I also felt the Spirit tell me that God loves them as much as He loves me.
Ask the class members to raise their hands if they have close friends or family members who are devoted to another faith. Ask if they have ever joined their loved one at one of their services and if it was a good experience if they would share it.
What good experiences have you had with people from other churches or religions? How did those experiences increase your understanding and love toward people from other traditions?
Quote on Board ”Our efforts to share the gospel are most effective if we love our brothers and sisters and have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. (my emphasis)” (pg 147)
“This Church is not one that goes about criticising and finding fault with others. . .” (pg 149) In this vein, any missionary work would come from a place of personal experience of our love of the gospel, not by pointing to things we see lacking in their faith.
Quote on Board ”The Golden Rule”
How does this apply to missionary work? How can we practice the Golden Rule when we talk to others about the gospel? (Focus on learning about other faith traditions and what aspects of the gospel we share. Remind class members that the purpose of missionary work is to help people understand why we love the gospel, so we must give them the same gift and seek to understand what they love about their religion).
Quote on Board “Love is the great power to influence this world.” (pg 150)
What does real love for our neighbors look like compared to friendliness with the intention to get them to join our church? Are they mutually exclusive?
Story: When I was in high school I had a friend who was the only Catholic in a group of Mormons. We gave her a Book of Mormon with our testimonies written inside with the best of intentions, only to realize that she was broken hearted. She said, “I thought you loved me for who I was and now I see that you only wanted to change me.” As teenager, I was unprepared for the consequences of my actions. It took me a long time to earn her trust again and help her realize that our friendship was not based on whether or not she joined the LDS church (which, ironically she did after HS when she married a boy after she sent him on a mission).
Story: I once talked to a convert about his conversion. He was looking for something in his life. He wanted a community and something to believe in. When I think of Mormons extending themselves and their beliefs to people like him, I see value in missionary work. There are people in the world searching for something that the church can offer.
Teaching with the Holy Ghost
Quote on Board, “No matter how gifted we may be, or how choice our language, it is the Spirit of God that reaches the heart and brings conviction of the divinity of this work.”(p 154)
When we have the Holy Ghost with us, we may know how to speak so that others will understand our love for them.
How do we keep the Holy Ghost with us when we talk to our non-member friends and family members? ( lead good lives, always be kind and generous and compassionate)
End with a personal story about loving our neighbors as a way to come closer to Jesus by following his example.