Merry Christmas. This week we will be studying Elder Perry’s talk about having the courage to bear testimony and help people understand who we are. After spending the last while reflecting on the gifts we’ve received from the Savior, this talk seems a perfect way to consider how to give a gift to Him— by sharing His gospel. If you remember, he spoke about how we do temple open houses to invite people who are unfamiliar with the Church to learn more about it. He then teaches us to use the same model as we share information with others.
|Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear by Elder L. Tom Perry|
“There are a number of things that we can do—that you can do—to advance an understanding of the Church. If we do it with the same spirit and if we conduct ourselves in the same way we do when we host a temple open house, our friends and our neighbors will come to understand us better. Their suspicions will evaporate, negative stereotypes will disappear, and they will begin to understand the Church as it really is.”
What about this talk stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.
11 thoughts on “GCBC Week 13: “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear” by Elder L. Tom Perry”
I think E. Ballard did a great job of explaining how talking about the Church can be easier than we frighten ourselves into thinking. His advice to engage in conversations (they ask about our beliefs, we ask about theirs) and how it is better “to be asked than to tell” is spot on. If we are able to keep the interactions low-key and open-ended, our friends/co-workers/neighbors will feel more comfortable to continue to dialogue if they are really interested. Sharing the gospel doesn’t always result in a baptism. I think every positive interaction we have with non-members that shows them that we are followers of Christ and regular people doing the best we can will help to draw them closer to the gospel.
I liked, “The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is unlike anything else you will share with others. In the information age, it is the most valuable information in all the world.”
I know that the gospel is true but I have a hard time sharing it with others sometimes. I think if I remember this quote it might help me have more courage in sharing. I also love the other pointers he gave about a two way conversation and the promise at the end of the talk that the spirit of love & courage will be your companion as you share the gospel.
What if you opened up the religious dialogue with your friends by asking them about their believes? You don’t even have to wait for them to talk to you about religion. You could just ask them 🙂
I’m putting myself out there a little bit with this reply. I realize that this talk is about missionary work, but something else hit me as I’ve been reading it – I’m being selfish in many ways. This is not a ‘pity me’ reply, so bear with me.
Meg Ryan put it perfectly in You’ve Got Mail – I live a small life. I have deliberately cut myself off from people in my ward, neighborhood, old friends. Because of these choices I’ve made I am probably one of the last ones anyone would call or seek out for questions, comfort or fun. I have used all the good excuses – don’t want to be hurt, blah, blah, blah. My phone never rings except when kids or family calls. You get the picture.
I have been happy with my life – just the loneliness side is hard. I have a great family and spouse. Life is not horrible in any way, shape or form.
As I read this talk, I realized how wrong this was of me to cut myself off. How small I am being with my life by not seeking out opportunities to “share my light”. I’m not helping create unity in my ward or neighborhood by hiding my light.
I’m thankful for this talk and the insight this has given me. I’m thinking about some goals that would put me out of my comfort zone a little bit and maybe create some better things. I need friends and someone out there might need something I can give. I need to try.
How funny is it that a talk about missionary work would have a deeper personal meaning to me?
Thank you again for the GC book club.
Great thoughts. I get what you’re saying, and I like it.
Amy, I totally get what you are saying! I am the same way. I am naturally shy and being a teacher for 12 years I was not ALLOWED to talk about my beliefs so I am having trouble adjusting. A couple things I have done are 1) filled out my profile on mormon.org and 2) be more open about my beliefs on my blog. Both of these things terrified me but it is getting a little easier! Thanks for sharing!
I thought the wording in the second to last paragraph of his talk was interesting: “I promise you that if you will respond to the invitation to share your beliefs and feelings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a spirit of love and a spirit of courage will be your constant companion, for “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). Instead of saying we will be blessed with a spirit of love and courage, and then we can be ready to share our beliefs, he said if we respond to the invitation to share our beliefs, a spirit of love and courage will be our constant companion. It reminded me of John 7:17 “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” Heavenly Father always helps us, but He wants us to show faith and be willing to act.
I love that! Thanks for pointing out the sequence there. I always need that reminder that faith comes first.
Sorry I am coming to this conversation so late. December was a beast. I had to slow down to get through the turbulence.
I really enjoyed Elder Perry’s talk – I love to talk about the gospel, and I especially love to learn about the gospel from non-LDS people. I have always been a firm believer that truth can be found anywhere, not just from the pulpit of the Conference Center. If we are in tune with the Spirit, we can find the things that will be true to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt the spirit in math and science classes.
But I digress.
My point is, I love talking to members of other faiths. It is interesting to see how other people practice their faith and the joy that a testimony of Jesus Christ can bring into any life – not just members of the Church. We do not have a monopoly on truth as members of the Church. There’s an old missionary object lesson where they have all the principles and doctrines of the gospel written on paper cups, and they build a pyramid with the cups (Jesus Christ’s ministry – and the fullness of the gospel). Then they knock down all the cups (the apostasy) and then build a bunch of “mini” pyramids with sets of the plastic cups (all the different churches that sprang up during the Dark Ages). The first time I saw this was when I was in middle school, and it was like an “aha” moment for me – from that moment on I realized that people who are not of our faith can still have correct and true doctrines of the gospel – they just might not have all of them. And the fascinating thing is, there are a lot of folks who don’t have the fullness of the gospel who do a bang up job of living the gospel. Mother Teresa. C. S. Lewis, to name a few prominent ones. I have several friends that I could name here as well.
With that in mind, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking our friends about their beliefs. If they can see that we are interested in what they believe, and not merely trying to “convince” them of “the error of their ways” we can probably build bridges that will be useful later if/when they are prepared to receive the gospel.
If you aren’t sick of my thoughts already you can read the rest over here.
December was a busy month over here as well, and January’s not much better! But that’s the way it is. And I’m determined to complete my goal of commenting on all these talks. So, you may get a few today!
“Missionary work” is not something I’m comfortable with, and I don’t really know why, because as Elder Perry reminded us, it’s the most important information in the whole world, and it’s a message of love and peace. I think I’m just wrapped up in my own little world, concentrating on helping my children and fulfilling ward responsibilities, that I don’t make the time to get to know others outside of my immediate circle. However, that can always change.
I also loved his reminder that even when we’re at home, because of the wonders of the internet, we can influence people around the world. That’s an amazing thought! So, maybe with time and effort, my circle can be enlarged. That’s another amazing thought.
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