Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert, The House of the World, BYU Museum of Art, for non-commercial use only.


1 Nephi 11:1–23

For Younger Missionaries


  • Note the questions asked by the angel: “What desirest thou?”; “What beholdest thou?”; etc. How did the angel answer Nephi’s questions? What other questions can you find that were asked by the angel?
  • What did this manner of teaching accomplish beyond what just giving an answer would have done?
  • How can we incorporate this kind of inquiry-teaching into our gospel conversations with friends?

Discovering Their Questions

When you have an opportunity and you’re talking to somebody, and they don’t look like a Mormon, how can [you] tell if they might be interested? About a year ago, I met a guy through a strange set of situations. He was about my age, he was raised in Minneapolis, he’d gone to Cal-Tech in Pasadena, and then came to Harvard to go to the Harvard Business School. And when I talk to people, I always use Mormon words in my conversation, so they know I’m a Mormon. And so he picked up that really quick. He said, “Oh, you’re a Mormon?”

I said, “Yeah.”

He said, “You know, I don’t know much about your church, but I haven’t been to church for nearly 30 years.”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “Well, the churches that I went to could never answer any of my questions, and I just decided that I need to answer the questions and religion can’t do it, so I’ve been focused on science. Science isn’t doing a very good job either, incidentally.”

I said, “You know what would be fun for me, is could we just set a time to have lunch together, and I would like you to bring to that meeting a list of questions. And I don’t want you to have picky little questions about the Mormon Church, per se; I want you to list big questions—questions that you couldn’t get answers to that have caused you never to go to church again. And I’d like to just talk with you about your questions and understand why these are important to you. And,” I said, “if you wouldn’t mind, we have a couple of missionaries for our church that I might want to invite to have lunch with us, in case they could help me to give our answers to the questions.”

And he said, “Yeah. This would be kind of fun.”

So when we met for lunch, he pulls out four copies of this list of 19 questions. And these were very interesting questions, like “Why in the world do all of the churches baptize people? What is the meaning of baptism, and why does God want you to be baptized?”…

So we started at the beginning, and the wonderful missionaries put together answers to these questions. And I remember when they finished the first questions, I saw Steven pull out a pencil and click that off the list.

And I said, “Why did you click that off?”

And he said, “They answered my question.” And he said, “Why can the Mormon Church answer these questions?”

And so we described how the gospel had been restored, and he said, “Huh. Can we meet again to go after question number two?”

[I]f I had attempted to tell Steven Elliott, “I want to have lunch, and I want to tell you everything you need to know in order to … that I think you need to know,” we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. And if I had said, “The guy has not been in church for 30 years; he’s not religious,” I would have missed it….

[I] define whether someone is religious or not by whether they have questions. That’s my definition of a religious person. There are a lot of people who have a lot of answers and no questions, and I don’t bother with them. But when I have an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ now, I always ask, “When we come together, would you please bring the questions that you have not been able to get answers to?” And I just bet you … that if you pick up the average person on the street that doesn’t look like they’re a Mormon, and are not committed to this church or any other church, and you find a way to sit down and ask them, “Do you have any questions about religion that you just haven’t been able to get satisfying answers to?” I bet you that most of the people that you have that conversation with have really interesting questions on their mind, which then gives you an opportunity to help teach them what they want to know. Because if you try to teach people, most people will learn when they’re ready to learn, not when we’re ready to teach them (Clayton Christensen, “Try a ‘Front-Line’ Approach in Sharing the Gospel,” LDS Business College Devotional, January 24, 2012).


Search for Truth—Noelle


I’m learning the Ways of Jesus


  • How does learning of Jesus make us better missionaries?
  • Can you think of a kid at school or in your neighborhood who just needs a friend? Could you be that friend?
  • Do you have friends with disabilities that you could help and be a friend to?


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