You've Got 30 Seconds
Recently, when crossing the U.S.-Canadian border on a Sunday morning visit to the Windsor Branch in Ontario, I was asked a surprising question.
After waiting in line, I finally was given the green light to proceed to pull my car up to the border patrol officer's booth. I handed him my passport, and after he scanned it he simply said “The Church Of Jesus Christ.” I was surprised by his statement but answered, “Yes.”
I assumed, but never asked, that my passport must be associated with crossing the Canadian border because I’ve regularly traveled to the Six Nations and Muncey missions, and I’m therefore connected with The Church. Nevertheless, the officer asked where my wife and I were going, and we explained that we were visiting the Windsor Branch for Sunday worship service.
He responded by saying, “The Church of Jesus Christ. That’s a wonderful name for a church.” I smiled and again said, “Yes.” As you may already sense, when interviewed by border patrol officers, I’ve always tried to be respectful, remove my sunglasses, look them in the eye, and give direct but brief answers.
He then asked something I’ve never before been asked by a border patrol officer. He said, “OK, give me a 30-second explanation about your church.”
Wow, I thought, how can I explain our church in 30 seconds? But the clock was already ticking, so I said, “We are a restoration church.”
He quickly stopped me, raising his hand, and said, “That would mean that something was lost that needed to be restored?” I responded, “Yes, and we believe the priesthood authority was removed, the period of time known as the Dark Ages. We also believe that the authority needed to be restored. As a church, we follow the exact teachings of Jesus, just as He set up His church, with the same ordinances and doctrine. We believe in miracles and the gifts, all by power of the Holy Ghost. We believe salvation can only be found through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ by faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end. Finally, we believe the Bible and Book of Mormon to be the Word of God and though misrepresented (by the Mormon church) the Book of Mormon contains a record of the Native American and of Jesus Christ visiting the Americas after His resurrection.”
Although I may never meet this officer again, he now has the address of our Church and can say he has 30 seconds worth of knowledge about The Church of Jesus Christ.
It’s not necessarily the perfect 30-second explanation, but it was a blessing to be asked and to offer a very quick summary of what we believe. For a more complete list, see our Church website.
I hope you might be able to improve this "elevator speech." In my hurry, I forgot to direct him to The Church website, but I do know that before I drove away, he said, “God bless you” to me with a smile on his face! I pray that you’ll soon have the opportunity and liberty to share something similar with someone.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.