In a 1959 general conference address, the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, David O. Mckay, admonished members of the Church with a phrase now familiar and famous among Mormons: “every member a missionary.”
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt 24: 14).
In the October, 2007 General Conference, Mormon Apostle, M. Russell Ballard gave guidelines for sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, with this preface:
“It is not easy to explain something as vast as the Church or as wonderful as the restored gospel to people who know little or nothing about us. Even questions on one specific aspect can be difficult to answer because every question seems to be connected to other questions.”
To simplify the process, Elder Ballard encouraged the saints to remember fundamental aspects of an effective explanation–two of which are Facts and Fruits. Within these two categories, the Apostle gave examples of information that could be shared with non-LDS friends. Here’s a summary:
* The term “Mormon” is a nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the Church are often referred to as “Mormons,” “Latter-day Saints,” or “LDS.” The term “Saint” means “member of the Church.”
* The Church was restored in 1830 in upstate New York with Joseph Smith as its first prophet and president. Today it is headquartered in Salt Lake City, with President Gordon B. Hinckley as prophet.
* There are currently over 13 million Mormons in 176 countries and territories. About 6 million members reside in the United States, making the “Mormon” Church the fourth largest Christian denomination in America.
* Mormons complete a new chapel every working day. Members pay a 10 percent tithe of their income, which makes the building of these new chapels possible.
* Local congregations called “wards” are led by volunteer, unpaid members of the Church. Both men and women accept callings to serve in leadership positions.
* Mormons are well represented in politics and government; for example, in the United States there are 16 members in Congress from both political parties. Latter-day saints also serve in high and trusted positions throughout the world in business, medicine, law, education, media, sports, and entertainment.
* One of the fruits of being a member of the LDS Church is a longer life. Studies show that practicing Mormons are healthier and therefore live longer than the national average. In 1833 the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the Word of Wisdom–a way of living that ensures a long and healthy life.
* Those who are married in and attend the temple regularly have a divorce rate far below the national and world average.
* Mormons achieve an educational level that is higher than the national average.
* Over 70,000 members of the Church volunteer at their own expense to serve for 18 to 24 months in humanitarian efforts, Church service assignments, and full-time missionary service throughout the world.
* The LDS Church places strong emphasis on self-reliance and a solid work ethic; it encourages active involvement in communities and in providing service to others.
* The “Mormon” Church continues to donate substantial money, goods, and services to humanitarian causes around the world, including untold hours of labor donated by members to assist in disaster cleanup and relief.
In addition to Facts and Fruits, Apostle Ballard identified two other aspects that can help organize and simplify effective explanations of “Mormon” belief; the four facets are: Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits. Read the entire talk!