There has been a lot of talk recently about Elder Ballard teaching new Mission Presidents that missionaries should not be committing investigators to baptism in the first discussion.
I had that requirement as a missionary in Chile in 1977. We were to commit them to baptism the first discussion. I had several senior companions try this, but I don’t remember anybody committing in the first visit.
When I became senior companion, I changed it up a bit. I did not asked them to commit to baptism, but asked the following: ” if after we teach you several more lessons, and you become convinced that what we are teaching you is true, would you get baptized?”
This may seem like an easy question, but Chile, like all of South America, is/was very Catholic, so many people, when asked that question would say no, even if what we said was true, they would not get baptized because:
- They were already baptized
- Their family would disown them
- They would lose their livelihood
This gave use a quick way to drop people that had no intention of getting baptized, and keep teaching those with an open mind.
Was this right? Should we have stopped teaching people just because they had no intention of getting baptized? To a twenty year old that was looking to get my name on the monthly mission flyer as the top baptizing missionary , it made a lot of senses.
With 40 years of hindsight, and a whole life of experiences, it may have been better to continue teaching them if they were willing, and inviting them to church. Maybe they would have “felt the spirit” and changed there mind?
What do you think? What is the best way to invite somebody to baptism? Should missionaries just wait until the person asks? How long should they wait, six weeks? three months?