I remember watching the tv show “The Munsters” as a child and loving their family dynamics. Everybody was weird to some degree, but they all had a place. “The Addams Family” had family members that were not even human. They intrigued me.
Sometimes our families can feel dysfunctional, or we feel like we don’t fit in with the neighbors, or we have that one family member that everybody knows marches to their own beat. No family is perfectly ideal all the time, but we can love and support one another.
It is natural to want to share your interests and successes with people you care about. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have so many amazing opportunities to help us grow and develop, why wouldn’t we want to share our personal interests and achievements with family members, whether members of the same religion or not?
If you worry about how to introduce the gospel to someone you know and love but who doesn’t understand our dedication to the Lord, you are not alone.
You might start by telling them that you have a deep love and reverence for the Savior Jesus Christ and because of those feelings, you have committed to serving Him throughout your life. Some of the ways you serve Him may be in callings, speaking in church, ward activities, ministering, service opportunities, or even volunteering as a full- time missionary. Be open about your desire to serve Him. Share your excitement for the things you are involved in within the framework of the gospel.
You might invite your loved one to participate in a ward service project. Working towards a charitable purpose helps people feel useful and brings joy. If you are speaking in a sacrament meeting, you can invite them to come in and listen. When preparing to serve in a calling or as a missionary, you may be questioned why you are willing to give up so much time. What a beautiful way to teach them about the great plan of happiness and the importance of the Savior’s role in that plan.
However you approach it, please do so with love and compassion, refraining from judgment or condescension. Your love for Jesus Christ will be reflected in your countenance and help them feel comfortable asking questions.
President James E. Faust once recounted how President Ezra Taft Benson and then President of Brigham Young University, Jeffrey R. Holland were able to lease the land for the Jerusalem Center. He said, “[they] agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge, the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that non-proselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, “Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?”1
The people there recognized the light in the faces of the students at the Jerusalem Center. That light of Christ draws attention. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught about sharing our light. He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)
As you love and serve Him with all your heart, your family members will want to know more about what makes you so happy, courageous, bright, kind, compassionate, etc. Whatever it is that draws them to ask questions, know that you are allowing the Savior to shine through you.
- “The Light in Their Eyes”, President James E. Faust, October 2005 General Conference