“Using Preach My Gospel to Teach New Members,” Ensign, Sept. 2010, 46–47
Jeanne Condon has been a religious person for as long as she can remember. As a child she experienced severe illness, but during that time she received a heavenly message of strength and hope that she was not going to die but would live to do the Lord’s work.
At 27, following her military service, Jeanne joined a Christian faith, of which she was a devout member for more than 20 years. She even served as a missionary for that faith, teaching regularly from the Old and New Testaments.
When Jeanne went online in mid-2007 to order a new copy of the Bible, she came across information about the Church. “She wondered, ‘What do the Mormons believe?’” Jeanne used a search engine to find out. When she read the Articles of Faith, she felt drawn to learn more. She requested a copy of the Book of Mormon, found the location of the nearest meetinghouse, and attended church the following Sunday, before the missionaries had even had a chance to visit her at home.
From there, Jeanne says, she “just fell in love with the Church.” She was baptized on September 7, 2007.
Within a few months Jake and Hillary Stone were assigned to review the new-member lessons with Jeanne using Preach My Gospel.
Jake had served a mission in the New York New York North Mission where he had worked with many members of Jeanne’s former faith, so he “really looked forward” to teaching and getting to know Jeanne. “Jeanne had a solid foundation in the scriptures,” Jake says. “At that point she was already teaching the Gospel Principles class.” But she wasn’t as familiar yet with Church history or the Book of Mormon. “Preach My Gospel was great because it offered self-contained lessons—like the lesson on the Apostasy, for instance—that let us build on the biblical teachings she already knew and link them together with the things she was still learning.”
Hillary notes that Jeanne’s scriptural foundation made her an eager student. “We’ll start with the beginning scripture in a chapter of Preach My Gospel,” Hillary says, “and Jeanne will read all of the verses thoroughly and take notes along the way. And with the way that Preach My Gospel backs everything up with scripture, it’s been a great way to teach the lessons.
“I didn’t serve a mission,” Hillary continues, “and I grew up in the Church, so before we met Jeanne, I didn’t really know what a new member needed to learn. It’s been interesting—and good—for me to have the outline that Preach My Gospel provides. There are things I’ve always known and perhaps have taken for granted, so to have them spelled out has helped me a lot.”
Jeanne says she also appreciates having a book that organizes gospel teachings by subject. “I just think it’s a wonderful study guide,” she says.
“Preach My Gospel is, of course, the latest standard in missionary teaching tools,” Jake notes, “but it’s not just missionaries or new members who need to learn and teach the basics of the gospel. All of us can benefit from focusing on the basic teachings. Studying Preach My Gospel is great because it reaffirms the things you know (or that you have forgotten that you know) and does a lot to rekindle your testimony. It’s really a study guide for lifelong membership.”
Hillary also appreciates the book’s focus on foundational principles. “Because of Preach My Gospel, when I go to prepare a lesson or a talk, I am more willing to talk about the basic principles than I was before. I used to think, ‘I don’t need to talk about that; I should find something new.’ But I’ve realized with Preach My Gospel that the basics are so important.”
Jeanne says that the more she learns from Preach My Gospel, the more gratitude she feels for having found the gospel. “So many blessings have come into my life because of the Church,” she says. “That first Sunday, I felt that I was in the right place. And I still feel that I’m in the right place.”