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Commentary —  8 November 2012

The Mormon Culture of Inviting

Auckland, New Zealand — 

Neighbours, relatives and co-workers of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often find that the Mormons in their lives sometimes invite them to do things.  For example, Mormons often invite people they know, who are not Mormon, to share a meal, to read The Book of Mormon, or to come with them to a church service.

To understand Mormons, it is helpful to understand that from young children to long-time members, there is a strong culture of living their faith, as well as inviting others to look into it also.  For engaged Mormons, their religion is a living, growing faith. And the natural flow-on effect from being engaged yourself, Mormons say, is to invite others to consider having similar experiences.

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This Mormon cultural norm is nowhere more evident than in Latter-day Saint scripture, which includes The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.  

The Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi, likened the happiness he experienced through embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ to eating fruit from a tree he called the Tree of Life.  The account reads that after Lehi ate the fruit himself, “it filled [his] soul with exceedingly great joy.”  He goes on to say: “Wherefore I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also.”

That theme, of embracing the faith personally, and then inviting others to do so, is repeated throughout the Book of Mormon, and other Latter-day Saint scriptures.  

One Mormon family that typifies this way of thinking and living are the Pili’s of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

A Filipino air conditioning technician, named Henry, came to their home some years ago, to do some repairs for them.  They hit it off, and over a number of years, knowing that Henry was multi-talented, they invited him back to do other work for them, such as plumbing and electrical jobs.    

“We learned that Henry’s late father was a devout Mormon,” Ali Pili says, “but that Henry himself had not been baptized, nor had he attended a Latter-day Saint service since he was a child.”

“We also found out that another one of his Mormon friends had given him a copy of The Book of Mormon.”

Despite Henry’s love for studying scripture, he was reluctant to read the Book of Mormon.  It wasn’t until his wife Judith and their baby joined him in American Samoa that they started attending Mormon worship services with the Pili’s, and also reading the Book of Mormon.  

The couple, along with Henry’s brother Edwin, began meeting with Mormon missionaries, and decided to be baptized earlier this year.

Ali Pili shares another experience she has had, inviting a person to learn more about her faith.  Her husband gave her a gift certificate to visit a spa.  While at the spa she met Myra, who worked there.  

Ali describes Myra as having “an effervescent personality and a perpetual smile.”

They became friends, and Ali invited her to church. She came. A few weeks later, Ali invited Myra and her husband Richard into their home.  As their friendships deepened, Ali and Falema'o Pili continued to offer the other couple opportunities to worship with them, and to learn about their faith.

In August of this year, Myra and Richard decided to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Ali, sharing her faith comes as naturally as walking down the street or talking with a friend. “If you have something wonderful in your life, that helps you and your family, when you see others who are struggling with the challenges of this world, you want to kindly and gently invite them to look into what we have,” she said.  

“When they do look into it, and when they embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ as we have, you see individual lives and families strengthened.”

Style Guide Note: When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online style guide.

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