The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Finding Out


"Finding out" means learning what the investigator is thinking and feeling in response to the message.  The first skill in "Finding Out" is listening. This is one of the sections of the Missionary Guide that I really like--I can't find anything in this section to criticize.  The missionary is taught to not only listen to the words the investigator says, but also to look for non-verbal clues, to try to read the investigator's body language, and to restate the investigator's comments to help the investigator clarify his thoughts and to verify that the missionary understands where the investigator is coming from.

Ask Appropriate Questions

This is another good section of the Missionary Guide.  The missionary is taught to ask questions in the following situations:

  • When prompted by the Spirit.

  • When indicated in the right column of the discussions.

  • When the investigator seems confused or uncertain.

  • Before teaching in order to become acquainted--to learn about the investigator's family, work, and interests.

  • After teaching a principle to find out if the investigator understands and believes what you have taught.

  • Before you teach a discussion or principle to learn about the investigator's beliefs. (Missionary Guide, pp. 110)

When finding out whether or not the investigator understands what they are teaching, they are taught not to ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no.  Rather, they should ask for some sort of an explanation of the doctrine.

They are also taught to avoid questions that manipulate the investigator to give the answer that the missionary wants to hear.  The questions should show interest in the investigator's thoughts and feelings, should maintain an equal relationship, and should be simple.

Ask Additional Questions

This section deals with the situations when the investigator seems hesitant or uncertain about what he is being taught.  The missionary is taught to ask more questions and listen to the answers so that he can learn what the investigator is thinking.  This is supposed to be done in a way that shows the investigator that the missionary cares about him or her and doesn't make him or her feel like he or she is being interrogated.

The "Find Out" chapter of The Missionary Guide is my favorite chapter.  The missionaries are taught to really try to understand what the investigator is thinking and feeling, and to ask clear, non-manipulative questions.

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