The lessons that missionaries are instructed to teach investigators are
contained in their training manual, Preach My Gospel. There are five lessons.
The first four lessons are taught before the investigators are baptized
members of the church. After baptism, the first four lessons are
taught again, and the fifth one is taught as well. The manual
instructs missionaries to teach these principles in their own words.
That is what I've done here--paraphrased the principles from the lessons into
my own words.
As they teach the
lessons, they will ask you to keep various commitments. If you make
the commitments they ask of you, you will agree to live all of the required
aspects of the Mormon lifestyle and will agree to be baptized.
While the missionaries want you to understand and embrace the doctrines
they teach, they are more interested in you making and
keeping the commitments. In fact, their main objective is to get you
to make and keep the commitments that lead to dedicated membership in their
church. When they ask you to make a commitment they tend to put you on the
spot, asking for an immediate yes or no answer to a question that can have
serious consequences and shouldn't be made without serious forethought.
Because of that, it is wise for you anticipate the commitments they will ask
of you and to be prepared to respond.
But in order to do that, you should take a moment and clarify in your own
mind why, specifically, you are talking to them. Their objective is to
convert you into a dedicate Mormon. What is your objective?
Objective, Strategy, and Tactics
Integrity: Are you one of the few that is
truly dedicated to the truth, or would you rather just keep on believing
what is comfortable regardless of whether or not it's true?
Why Study Mormonism? Is there a better
use of your time (as well as of mine)?
It Matters What We Believe by A poem by Sophia Lyon Fahs.
How Much Study Is Required to make a
quality decision regarding Mormonism? Consider this.
How to Investigate: Some ideas
about how to plan your course of study of the church.
Why Study Their Tactics? This is a
succinct explanation as to why the investigator can't rely exclusively on
the representatives of the church for truth about Mormonism. It also
explains why the investigator understand.
The Commitment Pattern is a specific
model for achieving conversions that was detailed in the missionary's
official training manual The Missionary Guide. It was heavily
emphasized in missionary work from the late 80's through mid 2004.
When The Missionary Guide was retired in the summer of 2004 and was
replaced with Preach My Gospel, the term and strict communication
format of the Commitment Pattern became passť.
Nevertheless, the essential elements of the Commitment Pattern are
alive and well in the new manual, even if they aren't laid out in such a
rigid fashion. The Commitment Pattern in a nutshell is to first
prepare the investigator to feel the Spirit. When the investigator
feels the spirit, ask him or her to make a commitment. Then
follow-up to help him or her keep the commitment. The following
links give more details about each of these steps:
Build Relationships of Trust
Help Others Feel and Recognize the Spirit
Present the Message
Difficult Questions: How are
missionaries trained to respond to difficult questions, such as questions
Strategy: The Missionary Guide
teaches the missionaries "The purpose of missionary work is to help
more people become converted, baptized, and qualified to return to our
Heavenly Father." (Missionary Guide p. 167, emphasis added)
The eternal welfare of souls is in the hands of missionaries, and this
section discusses how they go about maximizing the number of souls they
help qualify to return home to God.
Commitments: The goal of the missionaries is to lead you to
baptism and dedication to the church by making and keeping a series of
commitments that lead there. These are the commitments.
Baptismal Interview: After you have
finished the discussions, the leader of the missionaries who taught you
will give you a baptismal interview. Its purpose is to make sure you
are ready for Baptism. This is the leader's instructions for the
interview, including the sample interview questions.