Bob & Me - A Lesson On Pre-Judging

Bob and I

I can still remember the way the heat shimmered above Bob’s huge motorbike when he parked it on the street outside the house. It was 1970 and I was a new (“greenie”) missionary, in the very first area of my mission, a small country town in Queensland, Australia. Unable to find a flat, my companion and I were boarding in a house, mothered by an elderly lady. Bob was also staying there, having moved to the town recently for his work as a telephone technician. His long flowing hair and casual dress stood in stark contrast to our pressed white shirts and ties.

We enjoyed making friends with Bob. He was a casual, friendly fellow, easy to talk with after a long day of knocking on doors in the searing heat. Each morning we completed our study period, had our prayers and headed out again to find people to teach, in an area that had never had missionaries before. Above all, we hoped to find families who would join the Church and provide a solid base so a branch could be formed in the town.

So when my companion started talking to Bob about the Gospel, I felt we were wasting our time. Sure, Bob was a nice enough fellow, but he smoked! He drank! He rode a motorbike! And he was unmarried! Hardly the type of person I had in mind to become an exemplary, pioneering, member of the Church. How little I knew.

Fortunately my companion knew better than I. We taught Bob the discussions and quickly found him to be unusually receptive to the message of the restoration. We challenged him to begin living the Word of Wisdom, and to prepare for baptism. Despite pressure from his fellow employees and his family not to change his lifestyle, Bob determined to try.

Before my mission was over, Bob, the person I judged unworthy of the Gospel message, was serving his own mission. A year after we baptized him in a muddy creek in that small town he began serving a full-time mission in the Philippines. Later he married in the Temple. He remains active today.

Bob had found the Gospel and embraced it fully, while I had learned a great lesson: we must not judge who the Lord might have prepared to join His Church. God sees what we cannot - the heart of a person. Everyone deserves to hear the Gospel.

Written by Warren P Aston