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Welcome to the modern age.

July 30, 2007

This week’s topic: the new “Preach My Gospel” missionary discussions

by carrie ann

Have you seen the new “Preach My Gospel” missionary guide? Full color, spiral bound, glossy, interactive, and totally inspired (especially from a designer’s point of view).

Do you remember the old discussions? They were 6 separate pamphlets, two color, in a very 1950’s palette and pedagogy, not interactive, unless you count memorizing as interactive.

My husband and I are both returned missionaries. He served in New Zealand and I served in Scotland. Even though we were in opposite ends of the earth our missions were remarkably similar, accounting for the fact that were in Commonwealth countries. Back in 1995, you bought your little packet of discussions and promptly began memorizing them along with supporting scripture.

In the new discussions, the pedagogy is completely new. Instead of the discussions being like a manual, they are a workbook/journal. In the front cover is a space for your name, your mission and dates of service, a list of areas, companions, and the names and addresses of people baptized and confirmed. How awesome! If I had actually written those things down all in one place…

You will still find an ordered set of lessons for an investigator. Chapter 3 is called “Study and Teach”. This section has 5 sections which contain all the information and commitments extended to investigators. Because of the workbook format, a missionary really can study to topic, writing his or her answers (drawing pictures) and building testimony. I love it.

Learning how to be a missionary teacher was revolutionary for me. My most formative gospel years were spent in Boston, Massachusetts were I had DAILY inquiries about my religion. Teachers and friends had copious questions about my beliefs, my early-morning Bible study class (seminary), my reasons for doing something or not doing something (sex), etc. I wish I knew then what I know now. Being a young person with a budding testimony, I didn’t know where to begin.

Just a few weeks before I left on my mission I was full of gospel fire. I friend of my sister’s asked me to participate in an after school forum at their high school sponsored by their Islamic club (only in Texas will you find religious clubs at school!). I was psyched, all the major local religions were going to be there: Muslims, Born Agains, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Jews, and Mormons! Let me at them! I’ll convert them all. Oh, I had zeal, but I didn’t have a knowledge of HOW to teach the Gospel. So took the 13 Articles of Faith thinking it would be a breeze. It was confusion. Some of those Articles head into pretty deep water.

I so wish I had known the natural progression of teaching the Gospel: God is our Father in heaven, Jesus Christ is His son, the Gospel was restored through Joseph Smith a prophet, Gdd has a plan for us to return to Him, He gave us commandments, you can be baptized and receive all the ordinances needed to return to your Father in Heaven.

IF I had kids, I would make the “Preach My Gospel” a regular part of Family Home Evening instruction. Whether you live in Saturated-Mormonville or not, you and your kids will be asked questions and it’s nice to have a starting point.

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2 comments

  1. When I was a Stake Missionary about 10-12 years ago, we used the pamphlet discussions. My understanding was that they were NOT to be memorized–except perhaps in the sense that missionaries were supposed to remember the major points to be covered.

    By contrast, the discussions I used as a missionary in the late ’70s were supposed to be memorized, although the instructions said you could substitute your own words once you learned the discussion. I still remember the first discussion. “We are happy to meet with you and your family, Mr. Brown. Our message is one of truth and great importance to you and your family. Throughout history, whenever the Lord has had important truths to reveal to his children, he has revealed them through his prophets. Today, we live in a time of trouble and turmoil…


  2. James made it a part of every lesson in YM. I loved that. Don’t we all wish we’d had better answers in hindsight? I often wish I had more chances to share what I believe–thanks for reminding me of the most important oportunity!



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