3 Ways to Avoid Offending People When Sharing the Gospel

3 Ways to Avoid Offending People When Sharing the Gospel

My wife and I were still fairly new members to the Church, but a couple sat in our living room. They were investigators, willing and wanting to be taught about the gospel. When I felt like the timing was right, I explained temple marriage and what it meant to our young, growing family: eternal love and eternal togetherness. Different from other marriages. Different from theirs.

“How is it different?” asked the wife, with just the slightest trace of concern.

“Well…remember in your own wedding ceremony—didn’t the minister say at the end ‘until death do you part’?”

A tentative nod.

“Well, there it is in a nutshell. The minister was admitting that he could only marry you for the period of your life here on earth. Not for eternity. We believe that only in the true Church can you be sealed together for eternity.”

The couple glanced at each other. “So you’re saying,” she said carefully, “that after we die the two of us won’t be married?”

With tender understanding, I repeated my point. “Well, basically, that’s right. We believe that only in the restored gospel can couples be sealed together eternally. Your own minister conceded the point.”

Only the faintest chill entered the room. Barely discernible. In fact, it was probably just my imagination. We finished the discussion with smiles all around and a promise for another visit.

But we never saw them again.

I was disappointed, but in time I understood. They simply weren’t ready. Perhaps one day someone else would reap a harvest from the seeds we had carefully planted. Meanwhile, we prayed for more missionary experiences.

It would be another decade or two before I realized the mistake I’d made that day—my sin, if you will. I was so bent on scoring a doctrinal point that I had done about the worst thing possible: I told them what they believed.

“Your minister said ‘until death do you part.’ So that means…”

We hate it when other people do that to us.

“Oh, you’re a Mormon. So that means you believe (insert distorted half-truth here).”

It’s the same approach I had used with the married couple, and it’s guaranteed to produce the same instantly negative response. Yes, we hate it when people tell us what we believe, but that didn’t stop me that day from doing it to them.

Read the full article at LDSLiving.


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