The dare may not have been serious, but I took it.
I was a little stressed out. I was on the prom court, so I had to turn in a biography to be read to the entire school. What did other people honestly want to hear about me? I wasn’t popular like everyone else selected for the honor of being on the prom court. Did anyone really care?
“Shelby, you’re a funny guy! Just be yourself,” my friend Sammy said.
Then Derek chimed in, “You’re always talking about your church. Why don’t you say something about that?”
“Why don’t I just offer everyone a free Book of Mormon?” I joked. “That would be a bit different.”
Everyone laughed and dared me to actually do it.
I scribbled something down and turned it in to be read at the assembly.
The day of the assembly came, and I was still nervous. I didn’t exactly hang out with the “popular crowd” on the weekends. Most of the kids onstage had been prom royalty on multiple occasions so for them, this was routine.
Soon kids began filing into the auditorium. The assembly started and the class president began introducing the prom court. One by one, members of the court stood and walked down the aisles of the auditorium while their biographies were read.
Then my turn came. Nervously, I stood and escorted my date down the aisle. I could hardly take the anticipation as I waited for them to get to the part about the Book of Mormon. How was everyone going to react? What would people say about me?
Finally I heard the announcer read, “One of the most important things to Shelby is his church. If anyone would like a free copy of the Book of Mormon, feel free to just ask him, and he’ll be happy to get you a copy.”
Some people snickered. I imagined kids thinking, “There he goes again. He’s always talking about his church.”
But to my surprise, three students took me up on my offer! That week, three friends came up to me and asked if they could have a copy of the Book of Mormon.
I made sure they each got a copy and asked if they’d like to meet with the missionaries. Only my friend Joel said yes.
Joel started coming over to my house a couple times a week to meet with the missionaries. It was really fun. The missionaries were great teachers. The things they taught about—the Apostasy, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon—just made so much sense. Joel seemed to agree.
One day the conversation moved to baptism. The missionaries looked at Joel and said, “Joel, will you follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority?”
Oh no. My mind started racing. What in the world had I done? Missionaries just asked Joel to be baptized! What would he say or think? Would this ruin our friendship?
But then Joel said, “That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Yes. I think it’s something I want to do.”
I really liked what I was hearing. Joel continued to take lessons at my house and was eventually baptized.
Looking back, I wish I had been a better missionary in high school. It’s so easy. All I did was randomly ask if anyone wanted a Book of Mormon. Three kids took me up on the offer, and one was baptized.
Sharing the gospel can be easy, but it is also a skill that only comes through prayer, scripture study, talking with more experienced members, and plain old practice.
We need to pray for those experiences and then follow the Spirit and open our mouths when those opportunities come.
After seeing the excitement missionary work can cause, I want to to share the gospel with people for the rest of my life.
Share your experience
Have you ever given someone a Book of Mormon? Share your experience below.