LDS Church News

Relief Society: 'By very small means'

By Carole M. Stephens

Relief Society general presidency

Published: Saturday, Aug. 9 2014 12:45 a.m. MDT

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass … and the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6-7).

In recent months, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have repeatedly heard “Hasten the Work.”

President Thomas S. Monson, whom we sustain as the Lord’s Prophet on the Earth today, continues to emphasize, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him …” (“Welcome to Conference,” October 2013 general conference).

In addition to this counsel from our prophet, we’ve been invited by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel, a guidebook for missionary work, which means it is a guidebook for all of us.” He encouraged us, “Read it, study it, and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ” (“Following Up,” April 2014 general conference). And in Preach My Gospel, we learn “there is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission. That mission will last as long as they live …” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 322).

Covenant sons and daughters of God of all ages, working in unity with full-time missionaries, have an incredible opportunity to participate in the work of salvation. Helping the Lord hasten His work requires daily spiritual preparation in small and simple ways. Prayer, scripture study, obedience and service prepare us to “be ready to share.” Elder Russell M. Nelson taught the importance of this kind of preparation when he said, “Your exemplary lives will attract the interest of your friends and neighbors. Be ready to give an answer to those who ask why you live as you do. Be ready to give a reason for the hope and joy that they see in you” (“Catch the Wave,” April 2014 general conference, April 2013).

It was righteous examples, sincere love and acceptance, combined with small and simple acts of service by “ready” friends and neighbors that attracted the interest of my friend Caryn Allen. Transferring to Utah for a good career opportunity, this single mother of a 6-year-old son set some hard-fast rules when it came to Mormons.

1. Never read the Book of Mormon.

2. Don’t let missionaries in the house or converse with them.

3. Don’t engage in religious debate.

The day she, her son and the moving van arrived in Utah, so did six young men who helped her unpack. A neighbor offered to keep her son before and after school so he could play with the neighbor children instead of going to daycare. “Someone” mowed her lawn each week in the summer, and in the winter the snow was cleared off the driveway before she was up in the morning. When her family and friends back home heard about this service, they warned her, “Watch out, they’re trying to convert you!” But Caryn felt loved; she never felt that she was a “project.”

Eventually, Caryn married Scot Allen who was a less-active member of the Church. He loved Caryn and respected her wishes when it came to religion, but when Scot became increasingly active in the Church it worried Caryn. She didn’t want religion to become an issue in their marriage, and she “wasn’t converting … EVER!”