Q. How do you tell a non-member about the Church? It’s hard.
This is a tricky question, because every person and every situation will be different. So my main tip would be to try to be aware to the person’s situation and be especially sensitive to your relationship with them. I would try to put your relationship with them first and pray for guidance.
During college, I spent some time in New Zealand, and I ran into this question myself quite often. The way I tried to handle it was, first and foremost, to live the gospel, keep the commandments and standards. Simply by not drinking coffee or not swearing, people noticed that I was a bit different. I didn’t have to advertise that I was a ‘Mormon’.
The friends I was with in New Zealand weren’t members of the church there, but they had had encounters with members there. The non-members’ perception of the Church was negative simply because the local members would befriend the others just so that they would get baptized. When the non-members didn’t express interest in baptism right away, the members would stop trying to befriend them. My kiwi friends did not like that.
When non-members ask me about the Church, I’ve found that the most effective way to ‘proselyte’ would be simply to have a sincere conversation with them about their beliefs. I tried not to make it a one-sided conversation. As I asked them questions about what they believed, and actually listened to what they were saying, the conversation was very meaningful to both of us. Then when they would ask me a question, it was more about what I believed personally (a testimony in conversation form) than it was a prescribed discussion.
I’ve found that people don’t like to be told that they’re wrong, and they don’t like to be preached at, especially when they are receiving unsolicited information.
One of the biggest turn-offs to non-members is an attitude that we as members can ‘save’ them. I try to remember that I’m a sinner, and I need saving, and the only one that has the power to save is Jesus Christ.
This is one opinion, I welcome other comments and suggestions.