Personal Online Journal

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Missionary Discussions (1985)

The following is from a web page of a BYU faculty member on what the missionary discussions where about from about 1985 until Preach My Gospel was introduced in 1999.(

What do the missionary discussions teach?

In order to become a member of the LDS Church, generally one must go through a series of 6 lessons, or "discussions" with church missionaries. (There are another 6 lessons after one becomes a member.) Most of the discussions contain a "commitment", or challenge, for the interested party. This is consistent with Christ's statement in the Bible (John 7:16-17) "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

The 6 discussions go something like this:

1st Discussion- very basic intro to Mormon views on God, Jesus, some information on Joseph Smith, specifically his First Vision, and an introduction to the Book of Mormon (with a challenge to read some and pray to ask God if it is true).

2nd Discussion- more details on the mission of Jesus (how he overcame death and sin for us), gospel basics such as faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and a challenge to be baptized.

3rd Discussion- more on Joseph Smith, and the Restoration (restoration of divine authority, as well as restoration of the church), and a challenge to visit the local church services.

4th Discussion- The Mormon view on the purpose of life, called "The Plan of Salvation". This includes doctrine about the pre-Earth life, reasons why we are here, and what we have to look forward to in the hereafter. One focus is on the proper use of our physical bodies, and challenges to live by the Law of Chastity (no sexual immorality) and the Word of Wisdom (certain substances are proscribed) are issued.

5th Discussion- More about becoming Christ-like. An emphasis is placed on overcoming our natural selfish tendencies. Fasting is taught, with a challenge to follow the monthly fast, as well as donating "fast offerings", which are typically the monetary equivalent of the meals skipped during the fast, used to help the needy. Tithing is taught, with a challenge to live the law of tithing after joining the church.

6th Discussion- Teaches about the "three missions of the church" (perfecting the Saints, proclaiming the gospel, and redeeming the dead), and reviews the commitments required for baptism.

This version of the missionary discussions was put into place around 1985, I think. As mentioned, it is very much geared towards "commitments", or the policy of "try it-- you'll like it!"

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