Okay, I am not trying to suggest a way for member of the church to kick out those who are interested in the gospel, but rather, I would like to discuss something that we have been always doing, but not realizing that the things that we do would probably influence a person to leave the church.
As Mormons, we are knee on sharing our belief to others, “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places…” (Mosiah 18:9). Undeniably missionary work has a high priority in many LDS members’ lives as the prophets and apostles have constantly reminded us the importance of it. Many members share the gospel to friends, families, and neighbours enthusiastically with a hope that these people will join the church someday. However, we often neglect the feeling of the investigators and impose our ideologies onto them.
When I say “members often neglect the feeling of the investigators”, I am referring to the way we see these people, we see them as object. I sound a bit overgeneralizing, but from my observation, the way members treat investigators are quite systematic – systematic in a way that members have a set of formula on how to treat these people. The formula goes like this: investigators come to church à we befriend them with a purpose to help them to get baptized à the investigators have doubt (it’s okay and normal to have doubt, don’t you think?) à we use every fibre of our soul to counsel them and tell them that getting baptized is the only way out. The result is, either these people stop investigating the church (members are upset, the friend link is broken, and some might even think that these investigators are influenced by Satan) or getting baptized but later on leave the church because they feel they are being forced to do so. Does it sound familiar to you?
So, what about imposing our ideologies? Members often are very kind to introduce, not just the doctrine and the gospel, but also the Mormon culture to the newbies. Even though I am not a newbies anymore, but sometimes I still have this feeling that people are trying to tell me that “THIS IS THE WAY HOW YOU SHOULD LIVE AS A MORMON”, the worst is what these people say is not necessary related to the gospel and it’s just their way of life. Come on, the way you live as a Mormon is not the way how I want to be as a Mormon. Keeping commandments are not always easy for the new comer. So, please please please STOP telling investigators how they should live their lives and what choices they should make, rather, please nourish them with the word of God and let them make the choices and be responsible to themselves.
I am a convert to the Church and I am truly grateful for the missionaries who taught me and the fellow shippers who are genuine, kind, understanding and the most important, they let me be who I am. Those who are interested in the Church, and those new members, deserve the right to figure out for themselves the way they should be. They all, if desire, have the ability to find a personal way to communicate with God. Our roles, as members of the church, should be their sincere friends and show genuine supports no matter what their choices are. They deserve to be treated at PEOPLE, not OBJECT.