Orson Scott Card on selecting missionaries for referrals

One of the most important things that full-time missionaries do is build relationships with LDS church members in their area.

We all know the statistic that says that investigators are more likely to join the church if they're taught the gospel in the home of a member.

But just as cold medicine doesn't cure a cold, it only blocks an obnoxious symptom, so we've found that merely teaching lessons in a member's home is not the key.

The key is that when an investigator already has good friends inside the church, he is much more likely to join the church and remain active for life. Maybe it would be better if people joined the church on the basis of their testimony alone, and remained converted whether they are welcomed into a ward or not.


From a full-time missionary's point of view, it can sometimes seem that ward members are lazy or forgetful -- that we don't care about the missionary work. If we cared, we'd keep the missionaries well-supplied with referrals.

But it's not that simple. To us members, these aren't "referrals." Nor are they "first discussions" or "baptismal commitments," statistical fodder for your weekly reports to the mission president.

They're our friends.

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