Aaron Brown has summed up my missionary experience:
As missionaries, we realize that investigators are unlikely to receive spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of the Church right after the elders sit down on the couch for the first time. Getting spiritual confirmation is a real chore for many, and often doesn’t come for a long time. Thus, we pitch certain “attractive” doctrines to our investigators, betting they’ll find one or more of them to their liking. Eternal families, Baptism for the Dead, you name it. And one of the best selling points for Mormonism, we believe (and I think it’s often true) is “Modern Prophets.”
Too right. I feel like I spent most of my mission flailing around trying to find some initial hook that would make worthwhile the enormous emotional and time commitment of trying to get a spiritual confirmation.
My experience differs in only one regard: some people had no difficulty at all getting a spiritual witness. Our first contact with them was Pentecostal. And we invariably never saw those people again. It was as if our message was the more frightening the more it promised peace, happiness, and the power of the Spirit. Timeo danaos et dona ferentis. As with Aaron B., our successfull investigators were those who found an attractive hook and then worked hard for a spiritual confirmation.
Is my experience typical or not? To steal a line from Lyle, what say ye?