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JON - I think I heard Elder Holland or a general authority speak on being bolder in our conversations with our less active family members, PM familes and Friends. That we are no longer in the time of cuddling along but are to declare with boldness and to find the elect. I know as we (senior missionaries) were told in the MTC to search the less actives in prayer, then challenge them in a bold way to return to the church to partake of the forgiving grass of the sacrament and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. More or less "are you in or out". We are to find those who are still elect and have a testamony hidden in years of in activity and hurt feelings. It has worked.
I guess my question is: Is there any quotes or scriputre that relates to this I may quote. I am trying to impress those in the West to be more avid about getting less active familes active again. After return from the South on a mission, I find it very weird that the West does not even know the commandment of the Prophet for the Rescue Program. Appathy toward new converts and keeping retention. I need your intelligence to help me drive this home at home in the west. Is'nt true we have 68% less active in the world, out of which 45-50% are in america. Thats our family and friends becuase we are not opening our mouths or our hearts and friendship to get them back.

JOEL - John the Baptist said of Jesus:

"Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matt 3:12)

As the end time draws near I believe that the Lord wants us to increase or efforts to help others decide whether they are wheat or chaff. We must boldly declare as Paul did,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).

M Russell Ballard said:
"Here, then, is an important key to our success in accelerating the Lord’s work. As active members of the Church, and especially as priesthood and auxiliary leaders, we need to do more to assist in the process of conversion, retention, and activation. We know that faithful members desire to serve, but sometimes we lose sight of the essential outcomes that our faith and works ought to produce in strengthening the commitment of our Father’s children to the gospel. Bishops, you are the key. You give the vision and invite your ward council to help you strengthen the spiritual conversion of those investigating the Church as well as all of your members. Encourage council members to constantly think about the specific things they can do to assist you in helping your ward members and their nonmember friends to better know and understand the gospel. Now is the time for members of the Church to be more bold in reaching out to others, helping them to know the Church is true. (Now Is the Time, M. Russell Ballard, November Ensign 2000)

President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled:
“It is not an easy thing to become a member of this Church. In most cases it involves setting aside old habits, leaving old friends and associations, and stepping into a new society which is different and somewhat demanding.
“With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things. …(Conference Report, Apr. 1997)

"What I say next you have heard me say before, and you have heard others speak of it. I hope we keep talking about it and then doing something about it. I do so because I am so concerned with it.
With the increase of missionary work throughout the world, there must be a comparable increase in the effort to make every convert feel at home in his or her ward or branch. Enough people will come into the Church this year to constitute more than 100 new average-size stakes. Unfortunately, with this acceleration in conversions, we are neglecting some of these new members. I am hopeful that a great effort will go forward throughout the Church, throughout the world, to retain every convert who comes into the Church.
This is serious business. There is no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort. The two must be inseparable. I am satisfied the Lord is not pleased with us. I invite you, every one of you, to make this a matter of priority in your administrative work. I invite every member to reach out in friendship and love for those who come into the Church as converts. (Ensign, Nov 1997)

“I think the Lord would be very pleased if we would get on our knees, each of us, and pray to Him and ask Him to help us bring someone into this Church. And then when that occurs, you stay so very close to that individual until he or she becomes well grounded in the faith so that there will be no falling away after they’ve come into the Church.” (Regional conference, Oahu, Hawaii, 22 January 2000)

Read the talk "Members Are the Key" By Elder M. Russell Ballard (Ensign Sep 2000)

And now for some scriptures:

"And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also." (D&C 84:106)

"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;" (Ezek 34: 6, 8, 10)

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:4-7)

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John 21: 15-17)

Here are a few reasons why less-actives are affraid to come back:

1. Fear. Many are afraid they will not fit in or that there are members in the ward who know their past and won't want to associate with them. They might feel embarrassed because of their lack of gospel knowledge or they might have a word of wisdom problem that might be obvious to others. They're afraid that they might be asked to fulfill a calling that is too hard for them or that they might fall away again into inactivity in the future.

2. A lack of faith. Some might posess a faith in God and the Bible but may be lacking in faith on subjects uniquly Mormon such as the Word of Wisdom, Temple ordinances, or tithing. They feel their testimonies are too weak to be successful in the church. Some may have had some sort of tragedy happen in their lives or an unpleasant experience with another member (or church leader) that has weakened their faith.

Here are eight key factors suggested by Elder Don L. Searle for helping less-active Latter-day Saints participate fully in gospel ordinances and opportunities.

"1. Positive experiences with active Church members are critical. True friendship often resolves negative feelings toward the Church and other members.

2. People are most likely to respond to those they trust. Newly activated members say they respond best to members who are willing to make sacrifices for them and accept rather than judge them. It is important for them to sense that an active member’s efforts are genuine and not merely the fulfillment of duty.

3. The three most important attributes a member seeking to help others back into activity can have are sharing, friendliness, and commitment. Here, sharing means a willingness to discuss one’s own experiences. Friendliness means having a friendly, trusting attitude. Commitment means consistency in visiting and fulfilling promises.

4. Members helping others become active feel a responsibility for them. They care about their spiritual lives.

5. There are four distinct aspects of reactivation: (a) Determining why an individual is not participating fully in the Church; (b) helping the less-active person learn to overcome problems through obedience to gospel principles; (c) helping the person become accepted and involved in the community of Latter-day Saints; and (d) helping the less-active member sense that the Lord accepts and forgives him or her of repented sins. Priesthood leaders often must be involved in this aspect of activation.

6. Less-active members need help from active members in interpreting their experiences in terms of the gospel.

7. Activation often involves re-introducing less-active members to spiritual experiences. These members need to be placed in situations where they can feel the Spirit of the Lord and understand how it can lead them to truth.

8. Building people’s confidence in their own ability to improve is an important part of activation."

While it is true that we have been encouraged to be more bold in our efforts to bring people back into church, we have to remember that we can't force anyone to heaven. They must have the desire and make the choice to come back. While some may be ready to come back and only need an invitation there are others who may interpret our efforts as harrassment. So we must be ever sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to know when to say something and when to keep our mouths shut.

A good shepherd will not force his sheep to go where he wants them to go. The sheep will only have to hear his voice and will want to follow him.

"To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." (John 10:3-4)

We are promised eternal blessings when we assist in the salvation of others. The following scripture does not only apply to those who help in new convert baptisms, but also to those who help in the reactivation or retention of a fellow member:

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" (D&C 18: 15-16, See also 1 Pet 5: 2,4)

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