Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Smiling in Missionary Service

When I worked at San Diego State University we hired a consultant to come and help do focus groups with employees on ways of improving our relations with people we came in contact with. The employees decided that smiling was so important and wasn't done enough that they actually wrote it in to the job descriptions that all of us should smile each day. They said this made people we were dealing with feel better and the employee have better customer satisfaction. This simple thing is something that missionaries should do each and every day. The missionary carries the good news so they should be happy. Happy people tend to smile since they are bringing a glad message to those they encounter. Investigators associate smiling with a happiness or joy for missionary service and are more inclined to listen to our message.

Happy people just naturally smile. We even teach our primary children no one likes a frowny face change it for a smile. Make the world a better place by smiling all the while. Scientific evidence says that smiling has some therapeutic health results, which include: smiling makes us attractive, smiling changes our mood, smiling is contagious, smiling relieves stress, smiling boosts your immune system, smiling lowers your blood pressure, smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin, smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger, smiling makes you look more successful, and smiling helps you stay positive.

There is nothing more depressing than seeing a missionary who has a frown on his face instead of a joyous countenance. The message that missionaries bring is one about eternal life. In D&C 18:15-16 it says "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great shall be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me."

Joe J. Christensen said:

If you’re not happy, you should be. Here’s why.

Let’s try an experiment. Are you ready? SMILE. Force it if you have to, but smile. I’m guessing many of you, when you receive the invitation, will immediately smile very naturally and normally. It’s something you do with regularity. You must be basically happy people by nature.

I’m also assuming there were some of you who at least were obedient and were just barely able to get the corners of your mouths up—not too much, mind you—to fulfill the assignment.

Odds are there were probably a few of you who didn’t smile at all, and it makes me wonder why. Ask yourself, “Am I really a happy person?” If you are not, and if it is difficult for you to smile, then analyze yourself. Know there is help available. Some of it can come from recognizing that difficulties are part of life. There are ups and there are downs, which reminds me of this little account shared by Elder Marion D. Hanks:

“A father [is] aboard an airplane on a short business trip. He has with him his five-year-old son and is almost wishing his son were not there because it is a very rough trip. There are downdrafts and updrafts and head winds alternating with tail winds, and some passengers are feeling a bit queasy. Apprehensively, the father glances at his son and finds him grinning from ear to ear. ‘Dad,’ he says, ‘do they do this just to make it fun for the kids?’ ” (Ensign, Nov. 1990, p. 38).

How many times in the scriptures does the Lord command us to “be of good cheer” or “lift up your heart and rejoice” and be exceeding glad? We should remember that it is a commandment and not merely a suggestion. (See D&C 78:17–19; D&C 31:3.)

This has to be the most marvelous time in the history of the world to be alive. It is true, there are many problems. But there are so many blessings for which we should be grateful.

Even though it is a simple concept missionaries should try smiling more on their missions as it will attract more people to the gospel. Try it you might get good results from it.

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