The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Present With Faith

Presenting the message with faith means a couple of things.  First of all, it means that the missionaries are supposed to try to feel confident that the investigator will believe what they are being taught and will make and keep the commitments that lead to baptism.  It also means the missionaries are supposed to present the message with certainty that their message is true, without regard to whether or not they honestly feel certain that it is true.  The Missionary Guide gives some examples of what they mean by this:

Less Effective
"I am pretty sure that Joseph Smith is, or was, a Prophet of God."

"Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God."

Less Effective
"We think that baptism is very important."

"To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must be baptized and become members of the Church of Jesus Christ."

Less Effective
"I've been a member of the Church for almost four years now.  The gospel is the best thing that I have come across so far."

"The Lord has testified that this is 'the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth' (D&C 1:30).  I know that this is true."

The less effective examples contain words that show doubt, such as "pretty sure," "think," and "best thing so far."  The effective examples contain words that show confidence in the doctrines, such as "I know" and "we must." (Missionary Guide, pp. 88)

Not only do the less effective examples show doubt, they also show honesty.  When somebody projects more confidence in their position than they really have, they are being dishonest.  Dishonesty in the name of faith is still dishonesty.  When missionaries do this, I assume they are trying to do what they believe is their responsibility.  But the church should be ashamed of itself for pressuring the missionary with doubts to project more confidence in his message than he really has. 

Present the Message Clearly
They will attempt to be clear in their presentation--varying the pitch of their voice, being enthusiastic, enunciating the words clearly, varying the speed and pitch of voice to show different emotions, maintaining good eye contact.

Personalize the Message
This step is one of the hardest for the missionaries to do effectively.  The idea is to modify the presentation of the message for the age and background of the person receiving it.  Simplify the language for somebody who needs it, and spend more or less time on the various principles so that the investigator will understand what the missionary says and grasp the teachings without getting bored.


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