Minerva Teichert, Record of the Jaredites, Brigham Young University Museum of Art.


Ether 12:33–37

For Younger Missionaries


  • What does Ether 12:37 say about how we measure success in missionary work?
  • How do we develop love for the people we hope to invite to hear the gospel?

We Succeed When We Invite

We succeed as member missionaries when we invite people to learn and accept truth. We give them the opportunity to exercise their agency.

We have observed this general pattern—one in four people we invite to learn more say “yes.”… [I]nviting people really is easy because you succeed when you invite, regardless of how it turns out!

When the background of our invitations is love, every invitation is a success because it is an expression of our love for others. God’s love for His children is completely unaffected by the choices they make, and we too can love people regardless of their responses to our invitations (Clayton Christensen. “We Cannot Predict & Should Not Judge,” The Power of Everyday Missionaries. [accessed Dec 7, 2013]).

What Is Success?

Nothing succeeds like success. My faith deepens every time I invite someone. This is a key reason why making a single initial invitation, like Ben did, can be so important: because it helps you feel the seed grow (see Alma 32). As the seed grows, you begin to believe that God can actually help you find someone to hear the missionary discussions, if you will just do your part and invite. This understanding has made missionary work much easier for me.

I learned this principle even more deeply a few years ago when I had a conversation with a friend at work, Wes Lambert. Wes spoke of the influence that the Mormons he had known at the Harvard Business School had had on his life. “Because of you guys, I decided it wasn’t right to live with my girlfriend, so we got married. Because I saw how much happiness your children brought you, we decided to have kids—we now have two. When I saw that your families are so important to you that you don’t work weekends, I stopped working weekends too. I’ve even started going to temple on Saturday. But there’s still one difference between you Mormons and me. It’s clear that you do what you do because you love God. I’m going to church because I fear God.”

Statistically, about five of every ten people that members of the church refer to missionaries end up taking one or more missionary discussions. And of those five who take a discussion, one is baptized.Data collected by Clayton Christensen from ten stakes in New England, 2002-2003

I replied that he was right: We do what we do because we love God. Later that day via email, I invited him and his wife to our home so that we could explain how we had come to know and love God. I promised Wes that he could know and love Him too.

A couple of days later I saw Wes and asked if he’d be willing to do this. He thanked me very graciously for caring enough to offer, but then turned me down flat. “We’re committed to the traditions of our church, and I have hope that I can find what you’re offering within
our tradition.”

I was crushed. But in the midst of that feeling, I was filled with a very strong impression—almost as if an unseen person were standing beside me—that Jesus loved Wes Lambert. His love for Wes was completely unaffected by the fact that Wes had just rejected this opportunity to learn of Him. Jesus loved Wes so deeply that He already had suffered for all of the sins that Wes might commit—in the off chance that Wes might accept Him when invited to do so. This is how I know that we succeed when we invite (Clayton M. Christensen, The Power of Everyday Missionaries, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013, 23–24).


We Succeed When We invite


He Sent His Son


  • How does it make you feel when you receive a gift from a friend?
  • Can you imagine how your friend would feel if you were able to give the gift of the gospel?


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