What is the ABC in proclaiming the gospel? It’s a rather simple yet deep concept. Always Be Christlike in proclaiming the gospel. Most people simply think of this idea as being respectful and kind to those you share the gospel with. In their views, being Christlike is to listen with your ears and your heart to the other person and their views, no matter how different their philosophies may be. It is true that you want to show respect to others as they should show respect to you, and you should listen to others, as you would want them to listen to you. However, this is a part of being Christlike that most tend to overlook as they are sharing the gospel, which is simply conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel without the sugar-coating for the sinful.
Now I know that sounds a bit harsh to call those who you are speaking with the “sinful”. Being sinful is simply performing actions that are against God’s will. Paul, in writing to the Romans, simply stated the same concept that I present to you today; “[f]or all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We are all sinners in one form or another, however, not all of humanity has had the opportunity to exercise the “way to escape” (1 Cor. 10:13) as we have today by being members of Christ’s church.
It is our duty as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to provide that escape to those who “dwindle in unbelief” (1 Ne. 12:22). We must press forward boldly into the darkness of the world and “Let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).
To simply sugar-coat the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, as not to offend anyone is also a sin. “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom 10:11). Why sugar-coat the simple truth, that Christ has restored His church upon the earth today? That message of love and hope is not the meat before the milk as Paul describes to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:2). It is “the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
As of late I have witnessed many people in our faith succumb to this new type of general acceptance of all faiths and religion. That it’s ok to believe the precepts of men, as long as they are mingled with scripture. The mantra in this new movement goes something like “Well, at least they are doing their best” or “Well, at least they believe in Christ, most people don’t even believe in Him anymore”. These types of cop-outs have no business in the salvation of souls upon this earth.
In the first book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, Nephi is shown by an angel two churches. He writes:
“And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the bother is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” 1 Nephi 14:10
Did the angel state to Nephi, “Well, there are tons of churches, and most of them are pretty right about Christ, but there is only one that is the right church”? The answer is no. There was no sidestepping occurring in that passage of scripture. The angel was frank and straightforward with Nephi. One church is of the Lamb of God; the other is of the devil. We should follow the angel’s example of profess the truth in its simple and precious fashion. There is no need to be timid with our testimonies.
In the instance of the first vision, in which Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ both appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820, Christ instructed Joseph to join none of the churches. Joseph writes:
“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” Joseph Smith History 1:19
Where did Christ say “Well, the men are doing a pretty good job, and they remember some of the stuff I told them, so it’s all good, we’ll just have you add upon what they are doing?” Again the answer is no. Christ was direct in his answer to Joseph’s question. Joseph should join none of them, for they all teach the doctrine of men and yet they deny the power thereof. What power does Christ speak of? He speaks of the Holy Priesthood that He personally bestowed upon His apostles of His time. That power was lost due to unrighteousness, “[a]nd others will [the devil] pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Ne. 28:21). Through Joseph Smith, the Holy Priesthood was restored to the earth with a promise to never be taken from the earth again. That priesthood and authority to act in His name resides in the worthy male members of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is no other church/faith or religion that holds the keys, rights, and authority to act in God’s name, save it be the LDS church.
Where did we lose our way in this message? The message is simple. All churches that don’t have the proper authority to perform ordinances in the name of Jesus Christ, are not of the Church of the Lamb. They are not authorized to perform such works, and as such “deny the power thereof”. “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost” (2 Ne. 28:31).
This message will be hard for those to hear. It will be incredibly difficult for those to look at something they have known their whole lives as the truth, only to have someone tell them that it’s not. However, Christ has instructed “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). It is not up to us to worry about how someone will take the truth. It is simply up to us as Latter-Day Saints to provide the pure message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We need not to water down the message to conform to society’s ever changing standards. Nor do we need to dumb it down to the point where essential truths are replaced with erroneous assumptions. We need to steer clear in allowing ourselves too worked up and nervous about sharing the gospel, in fear of losing friends, loved ones, business associates and the like. If we are testifying of Jesus Christ and His plan of Salvation for us, then who can be against us? Who can overcome the Almighty God that we worship?
If our peers can’t handle your testimony of Christ, then they were never of your fold in the first place, they do not listen with their hearts and minds to the promptings of the Spirit of the Lord as you testify and they are not yours to worry about. The Lord will continue to direct them and guide them through their life to have the opportunities to hear the Spirit of Truth that the Lord has blessed humanity with. Regardless of their choice to listen, it is our duty to present the promises given to us by Heavenly Father as they were intended; simple, plain and direct.
May those that have the duty to share the gospel, do so without fear, but be filled with love and compassion for that person and help them to see the light that they don’t comprehend. (see John 1:5).
And for those who are not a member of Christ’s restored and true church, may you one day fall to your knees and pray to God to ask Him of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5). Also you should follow the promise of Moroni from the Book of Mormon:
“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:3-5
I testify to you, this day that God does live. That our Heavenly Father knows each of us by name and we are His children. He has provided a straight and narrow way for us to return to Him, and we must open our minds and hearts to hear His promptings. There is a restored church upon this earth that has the ability to return us to our Heavenly Father, to avoid the pitfalls of the devil, and to enrich our lives as we have the ability to be together forever as a family. I testify that no other church on this planet can baptize for the remission of your sins, except in the LDS church where the keys and rights are held to perform such an ordinance. I testify that in order to be together forever as an eternal family where even death cannot separate is found in the sealing power of the priesthood in the holy temples of the Lord that are a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. May you heed my message and step out of the darkness into our Father’s arms of Mercy and Safety. I promise you these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tony Mucci is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is originally from Los Angeles, California and currently resides in Orem, Utah. He is an entrepreneur for Eklect Enterprises and a student at Utah Valley University majoring in Software Engineering. Tony has been a member of the church since 1991, and his parents were converts to the church in 1984. He served a full-time mission in the Colorado Denver North Mission from 2003-2005 where he earned multiple awards, including the Gold Award in the Gospel Scholarship Program. After his mission service, he has held different auxiliary positions in the church, from Nursery to Bishopric and is currently the Elder’s Quorum teacher in his local ward. Tony has been married to his wife Liz since 2009 and has two furry babies, Sophie and Saki.