Yesterday, I taught the Missionary Work lesson in Relief Society. I probably could have used twice the time: it was a VERY lively discussion. At the beginning of it, I asked everyone to write down one topic or question about the Church they dread people asking them because they don’t feel like they have an adequate answer. I thought you might be interested to see what made the list (in reverse order of popularity):

• Meaning of baptism
• Tithing
• Where are the plates now?
• Explaining garments
• Our position on grace vs. works
• Our beliefs about suicide
• Church position on gay marriage and related political involvement
• Word of Wisdom
• Why can’t everyone go into the temple?
• Priesthood issues: racial discrimination, women having priesthood, and what is the priesthood?
And the winner with 12 nominations:
• Polygamy!

I had intended to take some top issues and crowd-source some possible answers, but we ran out of time. I think the key is just to have thought through the issue, removing Mormon jargon or understanding from the givens of the conversation. Many people just haven’t taken that step, and therefore avoid talking about that issue or their religion in general.

The groups in Relief Society yesterday was quite diverse in age, socioeconomics, and church experiences, ranging from investigators to BIC types. We also have 3 language groups represented and a healthy mix of returned missionaries and not. We are working and retired and stay-at-homers. Happily and unhappily married, widowed, divorced, single, childfull and childless: we covered just about everything, I think.

Are there any issues you are surprised to see listed or omitted? What would have made the list in your corner of the world?