Did you know that France has 36,000 Mormons? I did not. On the train from Paris to Chartres, I met two young Mormon missionaries, and fell into conversation with one who had been in country only three weeks. Nice guy, straight from Utah, struggling to speak French, but admirably soldiering on. I asked him about his experiences trying to spread his faith among the French. He said so far, they had been mostly positive, though inconclusive in terms of conversions. Most people, he said, simply don’t know what Mormons are, and when they find out, they aren’t really hostile, just distant.

“I make it my mission just to love people and help them,” he told me. “Last week, a group of us got together and cut up a tree that had fallen on somebody’s house. We do service projects like that. If they end up wanting to talk about faith, we’re ready for that. But mostly we just want to serve. That’s how we earn the right to share our faith with them.”

I don’t know if this impressive young man will have any success converting Frenchmen to the LDS faith, but if he does, it will be precisely because he put love and service first, not direct proselytizing.