Saturday, January 10, 2009

You knew. Why didn’t you tell me?

That's the take-away quote from Elder Eyring's First Presidency Message in the January 2009 issue of the Ensign magazine.

I was rather shocked (in a nice way) to read it, because that very thing has been on my mind for the past few years.

In context (bolding mine, notes mine):
For instance, at some moment in the world to come, everyone you met in this life will know what you know now.1 They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is to choose to enter into the gate by baptism at the hands of those with authority from God. They will know that the only way families can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the temples of God on this earth. They will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you.

It’s easy to say, “The time isn’t right.” But there is danger in procrastination. Years ago I worked for a man in California. He hired me; he was kind to me; he seemed to regard me highly. I may have been the only Latter-day Saint he ever knew well. I don’t know all the reasons I found to wait for a better moment to talk with him about the gospel. I just remember my feeling of sorrow when I learned, after he had retired and I lived far away, that he and his wife had been killed in a late-night drive to their home in Carmel, California. He loved his wife. He loved his children. He had loved his parents. He loved his grandchildren, and he will love their children and will want to be with them forever.

Now, I don’t know how the crowds will be handled in the world to come. But I suppose that I will meet him2, that he will look into my eyes, and that I will see in them the question: “Hal, you knew. Why didn’t you tell me?3

1. Romans 14:11; Philip. 2:11; Mosiah 16:1; Mosiah 27:31; D&C 76:110; D&C 88:104.
2. 1 Cor. 13:12;
3. D&C 88:81

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At 1/10/2009 10:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just reading this talk for my hometeaching appt. tomorrow and was struck by the same thing. Incredible to think about that and ponder on the encounters we will have.

At 1/13/2009 06:47:00 AM, Blogger SilverRain said...

I've heard this before and wondered about it. I think there is a balance between this thought and the ones I share below. I know its purpose, but it seems that guilt is not the best motivator to share the gospel. The scriptures teach that your joy shall be great if you preach the gospel and bring souls to him. I think that joy and love for the other person are far better motivators.

While I fully agree we shouldn't procrastinate and should be willing to speak up when prompted (and pray to be prompted), I live my life and make no secret of my LDS faith or that my faith is an integral part of my life.

I think the point of this message and others like it is to not deny the Spirit when you feel impressed to share, and that you should be sensitive to those who might listen, not that you should wield your faith like a sword or set it up as a hoop for someone to jump through to be your friend. In the end, each man and woman is responsible for his or her own salvation, and no one will be able to point the finger at another and say "If they would have told me, I would have listened."

So, I guess my return question would be "why didn't you ask?"

At 1/14/2009 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Bookslinger said...

In the end, each man and woman is responsible for his or her own salvation, and no one will be able to point the finger at another and say "If they would have told me, I would have listened."

The first part there does not logically imply the second part.

True, the Lord won't deny the blessings in future worlds to someone based on a third-party's actions or inactions in mortality.

But what goes on in this world often is dependent on what third parties do or don't do. In this life/world, we do have power to influence, or at least inform, others.

The claim "If they would have told me, I would have listened" may very well be true in a lot of circumstances.

You do make an excellent point about not attacking others with our faith like a sword.

However, I can personally testify that the flow of spiritual promptings to share the gospel come only _after_ an individual starts sharing the gospel on their own. Not with the same person. But rather, if you pick out someone with whom to share, then after you have shown that you are willing to share the gospel message, the Spirit will point out more people, and create opportunities for you.

In other words, you have to "prime the pump" or take the first step, as a demonstration of faith, and then the inspiration faucet gets turned on, and more opportunities with other people pour out.

Letting other people come to you and initiate the question is fine for many people, as long as you give off the right signs that you have a message to share.

But most people who don't have the gospel, even those who are ready for it, don't actively seek out, and don't know where to look. They're waiting for "the ball to bounce their way."

And if you are around such passive people, and you passively wait for them to initiate contact (for the ball to bounce your way), nothing will happen.

There does exist a good balance of how to initiate contact or a conversation that maintains respect.

The problem in our Western society is that we have relegated religious topics to "out of bounds" status, and most of us believe that it is improper to initiate such conversations.

My experience with over 1,000 contacts is that one can properly inititiate a contact or a conversation with respect.

Only 10 to 15% of the contacts I've had have been prompted. And I believe one reason that the promptings come is because I don't always wait for a prompting. Faith _precedes_ the miracle.

At 1/16/2009 03:19:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I found this article inspiring in several ways. It was sort of like a slap in the face to what I need to be doing. Thanks for posting it here.

At 1/16/2009 02:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I trust God to give us every good gift in the afterlife; it is His pleasure to give us the Kingdom, just as much happiness and eternal bliss as we can receive. However, people are suffering in this world today, for lack of the knowledge of God's love and the empowerment of the restored Gospel and ordinances. We have the opportunity to share peace in this world, as well as joy in the next one. My witnessing to others is completely this-world oriented, because I know how miserable and confused I was before coming to Christ.

At 1/16/2009 04:50:00 PM, Blogger Bookslinger said...

Karunya, Are you the famous singer from India? I went to your concert in Indianapolis a few years ago.

At 1/18/2009 06:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, I'm the infamous librarian from Delaware. *smile* It's a pretty name though, isn't it? It means "kindness".


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