If you’ve mentioned to others you are investigating the church, or have recently joined it, you may have had someone tell you that you are no longer a Christian. This is, of course, completely false. Why, the very name of your church has the Savior’s name in it: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon is only a nickname, not the real name of the church.
Naturally, you’ll want to try to correct misconceptions, explaining that the Book of Mormon doesn’t replace the Bible, but is, instead additional testimony of the reality and divinity of the Savior. You might show them your LDS edition of the King James Bible. You’ll probably try to answer any questions they might have.
However, the most important way to counter their misconceptions is to live a Christ-like life. Your virtuous life, coupled with the pictures of the Savior on the walls of your home and your public, but not overbearing recognition of His role in your life, will do more to convince your friends that you are a true Christian than any argument you might offer. You’ve not lost your Christianity—you’ve expanded it.
In the April 1998 General Conference, Bishop Richard C. Edgley, who was the First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, suggested that we can turn to Alma 5:14 to find out how to live a Christ-like life: And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” He suggested we continue through the questions Alma asks. These questions, along with others he added, create a checklist of some of the ways we must live in order to be Christ-like.
Bishop Edgley said,
“Yes, the question is, do our outward devotions translate into a Christlike life? It is not enough that we just talk of Christ, preach of Christ, or even prophesy of Christ (see 2 Ne. 25:26). We must live of Christ, for it is by our own personal, everyday living that the Savior will determine whether we are one of His true disciples, a friend.”
People are far more likely to believe your actions than your words. It’s difficult to convince others a person isn’t a real Christian when that person lives a Christ-like life and speaks of the Savior with love. Live as the Savior lived, and as He’s asked you to live, and your friends will soon come to understand your Christianity.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.