“At Home in a New Ward,” Liahona, Nov. 1997, 26–27
We are all hosts and hostesses in our individual wards and branches. It is up to us as Latter-day Saints to welcome newcomers, visitors, and investigators and to treat others with kindness. But sometimes we tend to draw a line of privacy around ourselves, and it can be hard to cross that line and be friendly to strangers. Here are some suggestions for welcoming others into our meetings:
We need to regard others as our brothers and sisters and treat them as we would like to be treated. As the Savior said, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12).
When new people come to our wards and branches, we should welcome them, tell them who we are, and try to be helpful and friendly. We need to radiate the happiness we have found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Visitors respond to kind, friendly greetings and to being treated with acceptance. Many nonmembers want to know why we treat them so kindly. The answer, of course, is found in the teachings of Jesus: “As I have loved you, … love one another” (John 13:34).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s counsel applies not only to longstanding friends but also to new acquaintances: “We should lose ourselves in being involved and in being able to take friends from where they are and leave them better” (The Measure of Our Hearts , 114).
We can bless many lives if we resolve to look for opportunities to lift and serve others at church, especially the “strangers … within thy gates” (Deut. 24:14). We can be assured that the Lord will direct us in welcoming and loving his children, that they be “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints” (Eph. 2:19).