Seeds: A Look Back

Seed progression

Thirty-four conversion stories were published last week for the Third Annual Hug a Convert Day. Thirty-four! Each one unique and wonderful. But this year, more than the previous two, there was an unmistakeable thread that ran though many of them. Did you notice?

Many of the conversions came to fruition from a seed that had been planted years, or even decades before. Seeds that were planted by best friends, families, school teachers, missionaries, and even well-placed literature.

For example:

Lesley’s family planted a seed for Joey

A forgotten pamphlet left by missionaries planted a seed for Martha

Jennie’s best friend Shauna planted a childhood seed.

Kathryn’s High School choir director planted a seed.

Chris’ friend – the only Mormon in town – planted a seed.

Caron’s third-grade friend planted a seed.

…and so it was with most of this year’s stories.


This of course, got me thinking about those priceless seeds that have since sprouted and grown into such wonderful testimonies. Each one is a mini Alma 32 lesson.

It is good to know that so many people are out there planting seeds.

There is also the reality that there are many, many people out there killing the seeds before, or after they sprout.

Which are you? A Seed Planter? Or a Seed Killer? Or both, depending on who you are with and what you are doing?

It is kind of a rough thought, isn’t it? An awareness that we might be killing seeds through our behavior?

When we are caught up in our own snow-globe of Mormonism, sometimes we spend out time figuring out ways to justify our lack of obedience, or our poor examples. We cling to quotes like “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.” (link) We can take a breath, and feel reaffirmed that we are trying, and it is OK that we fall short. And it is.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the world does not know that quote, or who President Uchtdorf even is. And they DO judge us, and our faith, based on how we sin. Constantly.

There are those who have a young and tender seed that is obliterated when they see our lapses in obedience, or our hypocrisy in the way we treat our fellow men.

We kill seeds when we go out to dinner on Sunday, or post inappropriate content on social media. We kill seeds when we ignore our neighbors, or are cliquish within the church.

We kill seeds when we use foul language, show a flash of temper, or walk into an R-rated movie, or dress immodestly.

People DO see, and they DO notice. Constantly.

Has the Lord carefully orchestrated a seed to be planted in the heart of one of his precious children, only to have the young sprout killed because of something I said, or did? Probably. (Yes, it stings a little.)

Am I a Planter, or a Killer?

Do I “justify in committing a little sin?” (2 Nephi 28:8)

Or do I plant and nurture seeds as Elder Nelson taught:

“Each member can be an example of the believers. Brethren, as followers of Jesus Christ, each of you can live in accord with His teachings. You can have “a pure heart and clean hands”; you can have “the image of God engraven upon your countenance.”  Your good works will be evident to others. The light of the Lord can beam from your eyes.” (link)

Or in President Monson’s simple teaching:

“You can share your testimony in many ways—by the words you speak, by the example you set, by the manner in which you live your life.” (link)


Having had the privilege of reading and sharing so many conversion stories, I find myself spiritually strengthened. Yet I also find myself asking an introspective question:

If Phil, Susanne, Debbie, Steven or Martha had been dependent on ME to plant the seed of their faith, would they be where they are now?

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  1. Great points here. We can never judge the good we are doing by the results we see now. This is not always the case, but I do find that some people who very easily, casually, and quickly join the Church often find it just as easy to leave it. I have a lot of respect for people who take their time and commit to the gospel when they know they are committed and ready.

  2. I knew several nice Mormon kids through middle school and high school, before I had the discussions and was baptised at almost 16. Although none of them were close friends, I knew they lived their religion. They had a strong impact on my impression of the church, and it was important. Thanks Becky, Jody and Brad, Scott and Diane and all the rest!

  3. In our stake conference last year, the visiting Seventy mentioned in the Saturday adult session (which comparatively few seem to go to but consistently has the best stuff!) that it takes, on average, about 6 contacts/invitations from members of the church before someone accepts an invitation to learn more. It really changed my perspective on missionary work and “success” when he said that it’s just as important to be the second contact or invitation as it is to be the 6th. You don’t see the results, but they’d never get to #6 without you.

  4. All of my missionary work seems to be long-term (over years) as well. I am sure there are those that invite their neighbors or co-workers to church or to hear the discussions and they become members. I read Bro. Clayton Christensen’s excellent book on member missionary work. Yet — could not quite accept that we should go easy on the “doctrine”. Many of the stories told here on MAMM were about doctrine — individuals hearing or learing things that they personally already believed — yet had never been taught before. Next to the BOM, it was the doctrine that appealed to me, and sealed my decision to be baptized 43 years ago.

  5. In my opinion, planting seeds is our most important work on this earth. Carefully chosen seeds . . . selected for the climate where they are planted . . . each is of infinite value. From a smile at another rider on the bus as they eye with my Book of Mormon with a scowl on their face . . . to the way that I respond to the rude driver for cutting me off. Each and every seed has an impact on the future of the Lord’s Harvest. I take my assignment seriously . . . yet . . . I am far from perfect in the performance of my duties. Failure happens but I don’t stop planting seeds. The older . . . more experienced . . . more refined . . . . I become . . . the more urgently and energetically I spread the Word.

    Thanks, MMM, for acknowledging the responsibility of each of us.

  6. As a youth, I was constantly sharing the Gospel with my friends: asking them to come to church and church activities with me; having the missionaries over for dinner and discussions, and trying to live the Gospel as best as I could. One day I noticed how I was ‘losing friends’ because of all of the sharing and inviting. It was very disappointing for me to be constantly sharing, but then never seeing anyone baptized. I can’t remember who told me this, but this person suggested that I was a ‘seed planter’ and that perhaps I would never see a friend be baptized. That difficult for me to understand for awhile and maybe it won’t be that way for the rest of my life, but I am grateful to be a seed planter…and definitely not a seed killer…I’m not perfect, but I try to abide by AofF 13 about seeking after praise-worthy things as well as my PB talking about the best way for me to share the Gospel is by example. At one point in my early 20’s, I put the whole seed planter idea and my PB together and a lot of things made sense. I hope some of the seeds I have planted grew to something great.

    Thanks for the post and for IHACD/week of testimony’s.

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