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Question

 

Gramps,

Why are some people baptized and become active and others baptized and become inactive ?  As individuals, as wards, as missionaries, or as individual members who pay attention ?

Theodore

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Answer

 

Dear Theodore,

Much of our success in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is learning to ask the right questions, and you have asked one of the most important questions Latter-day Saints can ask themselves.

Retaining new members is a difficult but crucial task that all members share.

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave the quintessential address on this topic in February of 1999 called “Every Convert is Precious.” He outlined three things every new convert needs:

1. A friend

2. A responsibility

3. Nourishment with the good word of God

If we are in positions of responsibility such as the teacher, advisor, bishop, or home teacher of a new convert we can help with the second two, but each and every one of us can be a friend.

Many new converts come from difficult backgrounds. These backgrounds helped them open their heart to the Gospel. But Latter-day Saints who come from backgrounds of abundance may find these new converts to be an unnatural choice for a friend. But we must open our hearts and homes and make honest connections with the new members of our wards and branches. Our friendships must go beyond a warm smile and sincere welcome in the hallway.

You must also recognize, however, that every new member will face trials of their faith, and ultimately we all have our own agency. Nothing we can do can force new converts to remain active. So we should focus instead on what we can do, be true, sincere, good friends.

Best wishes in your efforts to fellowship new members.

 

Gramps

 

 

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