The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from
progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done. (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978, 4:536).
I wanted to thunder and roar out the Gospel to the nations. It burned in my bones like fire pent-up, so I [commenced] to preach.... Nothing would satisfy me but to cry abroad in the world, what the Lord was doing in the latter days" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-Day Saint Book Depot, 1855-1886, 1:313).
The Gospel must be preached to the world, that the wicked may be left without excuse. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941, p. 319).
In the early days of the Church, John Taylor was called to go to France, to open the work there. There had not been missionaries in the great nation of France, and this was what he said in 1849: “I am engaged in my Master’s business. I am a minister of Jehovah to proclaim His will to the nations. I go to unlock the door of life to a mighty nation, to publish to millions the principles of life, light, and truth, intelligence and salvation, to burst their fetters, liberate the oppressed, reclaim the wandering, correct their views, improve their morals, save them from degradation, ruin and misery, and lead them to light, life, truth and celestial glory” (Life of John Taylor, p. 208).
It is the same today. You missionaries are here in your Master’s business. You are ministers of Jehovah to proclaim His will to the nations. You have come to unlock the door to a mighty nation, to publish to millions the principles of truth and salvation. How tremendous is your calling! You are going to be here for less than two years; the sister missionaries, less than eighteen months. Make the most of it while you are here. You can’t afford to sleep longer than is needful. You have a great work to do, and if you don’t do it, who will? Don’t waste your time, please. On your narrow shoulders rests this work. Your testimony will make the difference between those who accept the gospel and those who do not. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Brazil Porto Alegre Missionary Meeting, 13 November 1996).
It was in this notable revelation that the missionary work of the Church was formally organized for the first time in this dispensation. Missionary work has been done by this Church from the very beginning of its existence; and perhaps even before the Church was organized. But, when Section 107 was given, missionary work was formally established; the appointment and definition of the Twelve Apostles were clearly made; the labors and functions of the Seventies were clearly set out; and missionary work went forward, from that time on, as never before. (John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1935, pp. 82-83).
Within the space of that twenty year preceding his death, Joseph Smith set in motion a program for carrying the gospel to the nations of the earth. I marvel at the boldness with which he moved. Even in the infant days of the Church, in times of dark adversity, men were called to leave homes and families, to cross the sea, to proclaim the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His mind, his vision encompassed the entire earth. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Joseph the Seer,” Ensign, [May 1977]: 65).
As I have said before, we have been called upon the warn this generation. How was it when we first went to New York, to Philadelphia, to Boston, and to the various states of the Union? We went there and found hundreds of people who were ready to receive the Gospel of Christ. We organized churches throughout the United States, north and south, more especially in the northern and middle states. At that time there was not the feeling that there is today. There were a great many who were willing to open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, and their hearts to understand. The Lord told Joseph Smith that He had set His hand to prune His vineyard once more for the last time, and He commanded him and others to go forth and warn this generation to gather out the honest and meek of the earth, and to prepare for the day of His judgment. And in one place in this book of Doctrine and Covenants, in explaining the parable of the wheat and tares, the Lord says: “Behold, verily I say, that the field was the world, and the Apostles were the sowers of the seed; and after they have fallen asleep, the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign, behold he soweth the tares, wherefore the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness. But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender. Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields; but the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak) lest you destroy the wheat also.” (Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, 6 April 1890, Deseret Weekly, 40 [6 April 1890]: 532-533).
The text … “go ye unto all the world” is really the missionary injunction given by the risen Christ to his Apostles. In effect he says: Consider this work unfinished until all nations shall have accepted the gospel and shall have enlisted themselves as my disciples.
With the same direct commission from the risen Lord who with the Father appeared in person in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the proclamation of the gospel is being made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” as fast as means and personnel can carry it forward. (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1949, 118).
We have a large portion of the world yet to warn. Instead of crowding into English-speaking countries, it seems to me that our Elders must begin to crowd into lands where the English language is not spoken and to exercise faith for the gift of tongues and for the gift of interpretation. These gifts have been given for this purpose. Elders will have to exercise faith before God in acquiring foreign languages so that they can go and warn the people of the earth and carry the glad tidings of salvation to them, because God has said that from every land under heaven there shall be people gathered to swell the host of Zion. Every nationality must be visited; and when we cannot go, as the Lord has told us, we must send His word. . . .
God has commanded us that we must preach the Gospel to every land, to every people,; and where we have men join the Church belonging to a foreign nation, as soon as they are able and qualified they should be sent to their land to bear testimony of what God has revealed to them. . . .The preaching of the Gospel now is like the gleaning of grapes after the vintage is over. That is the comparison used by the Prophet, and a more striking one it is. . . .
We do not expect to convert all the inhabitants of the earth—but we expect to warn them. We expect to gather out every honest soul, and the Lord will deal with the rest. We have to do our duty so that no people will be able to say that they never heard of the work God is doing in the earth. (George Q. Cannon, Deseret News, 18 August 1900).
It was said that at one time the sun never set on the British Empire. That empire has now been diminished. But it is true that the sun never sets on this work of the Lord as it is touching the lives of people across the earth.
And this is only the beginning. We have scarcely scratched the surface. We are engaged in a work for the souls of men and women everywhere. Our work knows no boundaries. Under the providence of the Lord it will continue. Those nations now closed to us will someday be open. That is my faith. That is my belief. That is my testimony.
The little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands is rolling forth to fill the earth (see Dan. 2:31–45; D&C 65:2). (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The State of the Church,” Ensign, [November 2003]: 4).
And then,we are surrounded at home with many to whom it is our duty to preach, for it is just as necessary to preach at home as abroad. (Wilford Woodruff, Salt Lake Herald Church and Farm, [15 June 1895]: 385).
I want to say to you that all those missionaries who have gone out to preach the gospel…have had laid upon their heads, the hands of God’s authorized servants, men who held his authority; and all over the wide world, in every land and in every clime, from the midnight-sun country of the north to South Africa, wherever they have gone, the Spirit of the living God has attended them. From every land and from every clime men and women have received the witness of the Holy Spirit, and have embraced the gospel. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1919, p. 29).
I rejoice at what is occurring in the great missionary efforts of the Church, This work of teaching the gospel to others was the first responsibility laid upon the Prophet Joseph Smith in the opening of this dispensation. It must never be removed from that preeminent position. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, [December 1986]: 3).
No power on earth or in hell can stop this work or thwart the purposes of the Lord to have his soul-satisfying gospel message go to his children. It may take war, commotion, disasters in many forms to bring it about. But the purposes of God will be achieved. His children will hear the gospel of salvation in his own due time. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR A'70, Improvement Era, 73 [June 1970]: 96).
All people on the earth were members of God’s family in the premortal life (see Acts 17:26-20; Hebrews 12:9). We are part of God’s family in this life and can enjoy even greater blessings as members of His family in the life to come. We are all brothers and sisters in the family of God. This knowledge gives us a sense of identity and belonging. It gives us reason to hope for eternal life in God’s presence. We understand these basic truths because of the Restoration. Teaching restored truths to your brothers and sisters is your responsibility and blessing. Like Alma seeking to help the apostate Zoramites, you can pray: “O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious. . .; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee” (Alma 31:34-35). (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 156).
No power on earth can prevent the spread of truth and the preaching of the gospel in every nation. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1972, p.14).
We don’t ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 5:259).
O how I wish that the good people of all denominations might really know what we are seeking to share with them. I meet members of the Catholic, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, the Methodist and all other churches, and I find in these men and women virtues that are most beautiful to me. But I find that they are so rooted in the organizations with which they are identified that when I try to explain to them what they are doing, they seem mystified; they are not able to understand. One man said to me, “Would you have us give up all that we have had, all these blessings that we have enjoyed, to join your church?” I replied, “Not a blessing, not one thing would we ask you to give up. But we do say to you, we will be glad to share with you, if you will permit us to do so, without cost to you, some of the blessings of our Heavenly Father that you have not received in the past and which are now at your very door. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1931, p. 120).
It is necessary that all have the privilege of receiving or rejecting eternal truth that they may be prepared to be saved, or be prepared to be damned. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-Day Saint Book Depot, 1855-1886, 7:139).
I will say to the Latter-day Saint, the Lord has fulfilled, so far all that He has promised unto us. The Lord has called many men—hundreds of men—from the nations of he earth, who have received the Holy Priesthood, the authority by which the God of Israel has always administered in heaven and on earth the ordinances of life and salvation. They have labored faithfully until the present day; they have warned the inhabitants of the earth. All nations under heaven have been visited by the Elders of Israel as far as the doors were open to receive them. The Lord, so far, has warned the world; He has, so far, carried the object of the calling of the sons of men. The Gospel has been preached, and the children of men have heard it in every nation, including our own. They have heard the testimony of these Elders of Israel. And what was the mission given to the Elders? To go forth and deliver the Gospel message to all the world. The people were called upon to repent of their sins to have faith in God, the Gospel, faith to believe and receive these testimonies given to them, they were called upon to go forth and be baptized for the remission of their sins. They had the privilege of receiving the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. (Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, 4 October 1890; Deseret Weekly, 41 [4 October 1890]: 516).
Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons. (Joseph Smith Jr., quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976. p. 316).
I realize the great responsibility that is upon my shoulders. I know that without the help of our Heavenly Father, the organization with which we are identified cannot be successful. No man or group of men can make it successful, but if the members of this Church will continue to keep the commandments of God, live their religion, set an example to the world, love their neighbors as themselves, we will go forward, and increasing happiness will flow to us.
Today as I stand here, I realize that in this city, in the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist, the Baptist, and the Episcopalian, and the other churches, I have brothers and sisters that I love. They are all my Father’s children, He loves them and he expects me and he expects you, to let our lights so shine that these other sons and daughters of his, seeing our good works, will be constrained to accept all the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Think what a marvelous opportunity we have. Thank what a blessing it will be, if we do our part here, as we stand on the other side of the Great Divide, when our Father shall summon his family together, as he will, to have these wonderful men and women, hundreds and thousands of them, who have been our neighbors, and who have watched our lives, stand there and say: “Father in Heaven, we owe it to these thy children, of the humble organization that bears the name of thy Son, we owe it to them that we have understood the truth, and that we are here at the supper of the Lamb.” That is our privilege and blessing. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, 7 October 1945, p. 174).
The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached to all nations for witness and a testimony; for a sign that the day has come, the set time for the Lord to redeem Zion, and gather Israel, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-Day Saint Book Depot, 1855-1886, 3:91).
May [we] realize that this is a responsibility which the Lord has given to his Church in every dispensation,... to teach the gospel to every creature in order that each be left without excuse in the day of judgment, and that all might be redeemed from the Fall and brought back into the presence of the Lord. (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1961, 35).
There never was a set of men since God made the world under a stronger responsibility to warn this generation, to lift up our voices long and loud, day and night as far as we have the opportunity and declare the words of God unto this generation. We are required to do this. This is our calling. It is our duty. It is our business. (Wilford Woodruff, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, [6 July 1880]: 1).
For this gospel that Jesus referred to was to be preached in all the world, it had to be done by his children. And hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint missionaries since that time have been all over the world—some 25,000 of them at the present time—to declare the restoration of the gospel as one of the steps in the preparation for the return of the Savior, for he so indicated that it must be preached in all the world. (LeGrand Richards, Conference Report, April 1978, p. 113).
It is an inspiring experience . . . to witness the manner in which the Lord is weaving the tapestry of his grand design in those foreign parts of the earth. He is gathering his children there as elsewhere—“one of a city and two of a family.” He is remembering the promises made of old as he works among those who have seen so much of poverty and misery and evil and oppression. He is answering the prayers of those who have gone before, and who struggled to establish a foothold for the gospel in those distant places. . . .
. . . The work is becoming very much enlarged. It does require a commensurate accumulation of men and means. It requires an expansion of mind and energy, ability and perseverance. Let us prepare ourselves more diligently for the great assignment which God has laid upon us to carry this work to the children of the earth wherever we may be permitted to go. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, April 1962, pp. 71, 73).
The Elders have also preached through the different nations of Europe so far as they were allowed to do so. In some countries the law would not permit them; but the Lord will yet revolutionize those nations until the door will be opened and the Gospel will be preached unto all. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941, p. 320).
In recent months, I have had the opportunity of traveling in the People’s Republic of China and in the nations of eastern Europe, including Russia. My heart has been touched by the warmth of good people wherever I have gone. All are children of our Father in Heaven. True, there are vast chasms of political and ideological differences. But innately people are the same. They are all sons and daughters of God. They have within their hearts basically the same longings. Husbands love their wives, wives their husbands. Parents love their children, and children their parents. Their minds respond to the same truths if they are given the opportunity to hear them. Speaking of the people generally, they desire peace not war. They desire brotherhood and not conflict. They desire truth and not propaganda. Ours is a great and compelling responsibility, to teach the everlasting gospel to the peoples of the earth. Many gates are now closed against us. But I am convinced that the Lord in his own time will open them, provided we constantly seek and pray for such openings and are prepared to take advantage of them. I do not know specifically the time frame of the Lord’s work, but I do know that we must be anxiously engaged. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, [November 1981]: 5-6).
May the Lord go before us and prepare the way and give us access to the hearts of the people, that good may be done and the kingdom of God roll forth. (Wilford Woodruff, “Correspondence,” Millennial Star, [August 1840]: 93).
The work of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all persons—both here on this earth and in the post-mortal spirit world—continues to accelerate and expand in preparation of the Lord’s triumphant return. Faithful believers on both sides of the veil talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, and prophesy of Christ, so that all my know that redemption comes only through the blood of the Lamb (2 Nephi 25:26). In time, all people will hear the message of Christ and the story of the Restoration—along with its saving ordinances—and all will have opportunity to accept or reject the good news of the gospel. If we do our part to live and teach truth, to emulate Christ in our daily walk and talk, we will be instruments in the hands of God to bring others into the fold. As always, there will be lazy and hardhearted who will choose to walk in darkness at noonday, but those whose hearts are honest will gratefully learn and accept the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1933, p. 25).
Our Father in Heaven, Jesus, our Elder Brother and the Savior of the world, and the whole heavens, are calling upon this people to prepare to save the nations of the earth, also the millions who have slept without the Gospel. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941, p. 319).
One cannot think of the hundreds of millions who have never heard of this work without wondering how our charge to teach all mankind can ever be accomplished. There are nations where we presently cannot legally go. We honor and obey the laws of these nations. But if we will both be alert and patient, the Lord will open the way in the appropriate season. His is the timetable. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Have a Work to Do,” Ensign, [February 1988]: 6).
The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation unto all those who believe it; but it is not the power of salvation to any man who does not believe it. . . . Notwithstanding He was crucified for the sins of the world and His blood was shed for the redemption of mankind; notwithstanding all this, no man on the earth will ever be saved by the Gospel unless he believes it. A man will never be saved in unbelief. The Gospel is not the power of God unto salvation to the unbeliever, but it is destined to save all who believe and obey it. (Hyrum Mack Smith, Conference Report, April 1904, p. 51).
Latter-day Saints throughout the world work side by side with others—regardless of race, color, or creed—hoping to be good examples worthy of emulation. The Savior said, “I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, . . . prepare and accomplish the thing which I have commanded.
“And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and meekness.”
This we are to do with tolerance. While in Moscow in June 1991, in that spirit of preparation and with sincere respect for leaders of other religious denominations, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and I had the privilege of meeting with the presiding official of the Russian Orthodox Church. We were accompanied by Elder Hans. B. Ringger and the mission president, Gary L. Browning. Patriarch Aleksei was most gracious in sharing a memorable hour with us. We perceived the great difficulties endured for so many years by this kind man and his fellow believers. We thanked him for his perseverance and for his faith. Then we assured him of our good intentions and of the importance of the message that missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be teaching among his countrymen. We affirmed that ours is a global church and that we honor and obey the laws of each land in which we labor.
To those with an interest in the fullness of the restored gospel—regardless of nationality or religious background—we say as did Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “Keep all the truth and all the good that you have. Do not abandon any sound or proper principle. Do not forsake any standard of the past which is good, righteous, or true. Every truth found in every church in all the world we believe. But we also say this to all men—Come and take the added light and truth that God has restored in our day. The more truth we have, the greater is our joy here and now; the more truth we receive, the greater is our reward in eternity. This is our invitation to men [and women] of good will everywhere.”
Each of you with a testimony of the truth of the restored gospel has opportunity to share that precious gift. The Lord expects you to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness.” (Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending and Other Favorite Discourses, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998, p. 69-70.
We keep our testimonies by living, praying and being active in the church and by keeping the commandments of God. It is then that the guiding Spirit will be with us, one of the most prized possessions a member of the church can have.
With this testimony, it is the responsibility of all of us to be aware of our obligation to bear witness of the divine mission of the Lord wherever we have the opportunity. If we apply ourselves there are many opportunities to teach the gospel, day by day and hour by hour, wherever we may be. If we have lived for it, if we have prepared for it and if we seek it, the guiding Spirit will give us the ability to teach. Remember, words are just words, in teaching the gospel, unless they are accompanied by the Spirit of the Lord....
Our responsibility is to bring to the world the message of truth, to show the world that within the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ are to be found the solutions to every problem that afflicts mankind. (Harold B. Lee, “Directs Church; Led by the Spirit,” Church News, [15 July 1972]: 4).
We have attained the stature and strength that are enabling us to fulfill the commission given us by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith that we should carry the glad tidings of the restoration to every nation and to all people.
And not only shall we preach the gospel in every nation before the second coming of the Son of Man, but we shall make converts and establish congregations of Saints among them. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Manchester England Area Conference, 1971, p. 5).
The Lord has called me to this work, and I feel as though I will do it. We will send the Gospel to the nations; and when one nation turns us away we will go to another and gather up the honest in heart, and the rest we care not for until we come on Mount Zion as saviors, to attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them (see Obadiah 1:21). (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975, p. 319).
I am reminded that when Christ was on the earth, He said to some men who also knew of His divinity, that there was an obligation upon all such who possessed the knowledge of the existence of God and of the truths of the gospel of Christ. “He that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” [Luke 12:48.] So with this knowledge that the Latter-day Saints possess there comes a mighty obligation. God’s people are spoken of in scripture, ancient and modern, as a chosen people, as a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, as a light set upon a hill. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.” [See Matthew 5:14–16.] (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1910, 47).
You give unto any soul the principles of life and salvation and administer these ordinances to him, and you become an instrument in the hands of God in the salvation of that soul. There is nothing given to the children of men that is equal to it. …
… The Lord [said], “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father.” [D&C 18:15.]...
We have preached the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, as far as the Lord has opened doors for us and we have had the privilege of going. Still the world to-day is full of people who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and while the Priesthood rests upon our shoulders we are still under obligation and are still held responsible for the salvation of the children of men, as far as we have the privilege of bestowing these gifts upon the sons and daughters of Adam. Only think that by embracing the Gospel of Christ we can become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, that we can have part in the first resurrection, and come forth out of our graves and be clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives, and pass into the presence of God and the Lamb and dwell with them eternally in the heavens! Who comprehends this? Do the inhabitants of the earth? They do not....
I realize myself that we are dependent upon the Lord in all things. The Lord is our preserver. He is the author of our salvation. Jesus Christ has laid down His life to redeem us by His blood, and through that we have these blessings bestowed upon us....
There is no calling a man can be called to any greater than to have this right and privilege to go forth and save the souls of men—save them by preaching the Gospel to them, by administering the ordinances of the house of God to them, that they may be prepared themselves to go into the kingdom of heaven and into a celestial glory. …
I think many times that we ourselves do not prize the blessings that we enjoy and that are within our reach. Our hearts should be set upon the building up of the kingdom of God, the Zion of God, and the work of God, while we are here and have power to perform these things. It is our duty as the Presidency and as Apostles, not only to labor ourselves, but to send forth the Elders of Israel to the nations of the earth to proclaim the Gospel. Doors are open to-day among many of the nations for the spread of the Gospel of Christ, and to bring the people unto Christ, that they may receive these blessings. (Wilford Woodruff, Millennial Star, [14 May 1896]: 307–309).
We may wonder how that will come to pass (Section 1:1-5) because we understand that with the best efforts we can make in sending forth and publishing this word there are many who do not hear it. Our two thousand missionaries who are scattered over the face of the earth preaching the Gospel are very few in comparison with the millions unto whom this Gospel is to be proclaimed. But the Lord will reach the hearts of the people, his word will not fail. And I do not understand even from this wording that it is necessary that every heart be penetrated and every ear hear in this life. But if they have not heard, if this opportunity has not come to them through the preaching of the elders and through the things that have been published in the word of the Lord that has gone forth by revelation, the opportunity is going to come to them and they must hear it in the spirit world.
And so the Lord in his kindness and mercy intends to bring these truths of this restored Gospel to every soul, living or dead. In this manner every heart shall be penetrated and every ear shall hear. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1931, p. 16).
Missionary service in the spirit world is primarily effective among two classes: (1) those who have died in ignorance of the Gospel—i.e., those who have lived and died without the law, and who therefore cannot be condemned until they have come to the knowledge and opportunity requisite to obedience; and (2) those who failed to comply with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel in the flesh, and who through the experiences of the other world have come to the contrite and receptive state.
It is unreasonable and vitally opposed to both letter and spirit of the Holy Scriptures to assume that neglect or rejection of the call to repentance in this life can be easily remedied by repentance hereafter. Forfeiture through disobedience is a very real loss, entailing deprivation of opportunity beyond all human computation. Refusal to hear and heed the word of God is no physical deafness, but a manifestation of spiritual disease resulting from disease. Death is no cure for such. The unrepentant state is a disorder of the spirit, and, following disembodiment, the spirit will still be afflicted therewith.
What ages such an afflicted one may have to pass in prison confines before he becomes repentant and therefore fit for cleansing, we may not know. The unrepentant hosts who rejected the Gospel in the days of Noah remained in thralldom until after the crucifixion of Christ. (See 1 Peter 3:17-20.) The Prophet Amulek admonished the people to repent while opportunity permitted. Consider his inspired appeal:
“Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
“For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; . . (Alma 34:32-34.)
Revelation in the current age confirms the earlier scriptures in emphasizing the fact that mortality is the probationary state, and that the individual achievements or forfeitures in this life will be of eternal effect, notwithstanding the merciful provision made for advancement in the hereafter. The celestial kingdom of glory and eternal communion with God and Christ is provided for those who obey the Gospel when they learn of it. The lower or terrestrial state will be the inheritance of such as “received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it” (D&C 76:74). Yet lower is the telestial abode of the less deserving; and deepest of all, the awful banishment of the sons of perdition (See D&C 76). (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1919, pp. 258-259).
During the twenty years and more that I have served as a General Authority. I have seen in a very personal and intimate way a miraculous opening and strengthening of the work in some of the great nations of Asia. We now have well over a hundred thousand members with strong wards and stakes in lands where only twenty-five years ago we scarcely dreamed of entering. The Lord, moving in his mysterious way, has unlocked those doors and touched the hearts of the people. That process is at work today in other lands. I am convinced of this, although the progress may appear almost imperceptible. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, [November 1981]: 6).
Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before—-farther geographically, and farther in density of coverage. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, “Come over . . . and help us.” He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray as did Peter, “And now Lord, . . . grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak they word.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Always a Convert Church, Ensign, [September 1975]: 2).
In the New Testament we read that Peter, the head of the Church after the Savior’s resurrection and ascension, was informed in a vision that the gospel is for all mankind. He said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34–35.) This same message appears in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants. Every soul is to have an opportunity to hear and then accept or reject the gospel. (M. Russell Ballard, “The Hand of Fellowship,” Ensign, [November 1988]: 28).
The Lord has restored the Priesthood in our day for the salvation of Israel. Does he design to save anybody else? Yes; he will save the House of Esau, and I hope to live until I see Mount Zion established, and saviors come up to save those poor, miserable beings who are continually persecuting us—-all who have not sinned against the Holy Ghost. Our labor is to save ourselves, to save the House of Israel, to save the House of Esau, and all the Gentile nations—-every one that can be saved. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975, p. 319).
We must continue until all the righteous are gathered out, until all men are warned, until those who will hear shall hear, and those who will not hear shall also hear, for the Lord has declared that there shall not be a soul that shall not hear, nor a heart that shall not be penetrated. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1919, p. 90).
The work is not new to us. We and our predecessors, have carried it forward for more than one hundred years. It was the first enterprise undertaken by those of sacred memory who initiated the lofty cause to which we give our allegiance. So soon as the first revelation of the latter days came to them, they lost no time in carrying the message to neighbors and adjacent communities. When the Church was organized, they accepted most literally the revelation that its mission should be to preach the Gospel “. . . unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.” (D&C 133:37.)
That was their work. In their poverty and weakness they accepted it with such boldness and enthusiasm, fortitude and sacrifice, as history has seldom recorded.
Their faith and confidence were marvelous. They trusted God, and they did not trust in vain. They knew that he had said that “The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones” (D&C 1:19), and that “the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” (D&C 1:23.). With this assurance our forbears went forth. They assumed their obligation and it superseded everything else. Families were left without a competence, ofttimes in the care of relatives and neighbors and friends. Businesses were sacrificed. Such accumulation as they had were expended for the cause. If I were asked to name the outstanding, distinctive, organized accomplishment of the restored Church of Christ in the last century, I would without hesitation set forth its phenomenal missionary labors. Nothing more characterizes the altruism of the gospel that it teaches; nothing more deeply signifies the devotion and sincerity of its members.
The enormous cost of the service has been widely distributed, shared by nearly every family in the Church. Many families have sent forth more than one missionary, and not infrequently has a home kept one or more missionaries in the field continuously for ten or a dozen years, sometimes for a quarter of a century. I know of no way of securing comparable data from other religious bodies, but I venture the assertion that no such church at any period in history for a century of time has ever given to a missionary service such a proportion of its membership and its available resources. (Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1945, p. 53).
It would be difficult to imagine anything more exciting to do as a young man, woman, or couple in the world today than to be a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The message of the restored gospel we share is absolutely vital. It is from God our Eternal Father for every one of His children on earth and is centered in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. When that message is understood and lived, it can replace turmoil with peace, sorrow with happiness and provide solutions to life’s persistent challenges. (Richard G. Scott, “Now Is the Time to Serve a Mission!” Ensign, [May 2006]: 87).
We can't move with a 1947 Utah Church! Could it be that we are not prepared to take the gospel because we are not prepared to take (and they are not prepared to receive) all of the things we have wrapped up with it as extra baggage? (Boyd K. Packer, quoted in Dialogue 21 [Fall 1988]:97).
This kingdom will continue to increase and to grow, to spread and to prosper more and more. Every time its enemies undertake to overthrow it, it will become more extensive and powerful; instead of decreasing it will continue to increase; it will spread the more, become more wonderful and conspicuous to the nations, until it fills the whole earth. (Brigham Young, Conference Report, April 1852; Journal of Discourses, 1:203).
Can you not see many nations yet to hear the truth--Jew as well as Gentile! India and China both awakening, Russia but in the throes of the birth of a new nation, a new religious freedom it must be. God will overrule it, for that people must hear the truth, and the truth in simplicity. Truly there is much for the Church to do in the coming century! (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1930, p. 82).
I know, my brethren and sisters, that the sweetest work in all the world is the work in which we are engaged in helping to save and exalt the souls of the children of men. There isn’t anything so important, so precious, so enjoyable, so soul-satisfying. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1953, p. 39).
The ends of the earth are now beginning to inquire after the name of Joseph Smith, and many people in many nations are rejoicing in the gospel restored through his instrumentality.
Since the beginning of this dispensation, the testimony of Jesus, as revealed to Joseph Smith, has been preached in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, most of Europe, and the islands of the Pacific.
In recent years there has been an almost unbelievable expansion of the work in Mexico, in the Central American countries, in South America.
And Asia is now being opened to the message of the gospel in a way that surpasses anything of the past. The Church is established in Japan and Korea, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and we are getting started in Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.
And the day will come, in the providence of the Lord, when other nations, now closed to the message of truth, shall have their doors opened to us, and the elders of Israel will go in to tell the honest in heart in those nations about Christ and the gospel of his kingdom that has come upon the earth in this day through the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, 2 October 1970).
I shall be very happy when I can know that...the people on every island and continent, both the high and the low, the ignorant and intelligent, have received the words of eternal life, and have had bestowed upon them the power of the eternal Priesthood of the Son of God. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975, p. 320).
But while we have done little in the preaching of the word to the people of the earth, our labors have but commenced in this direction. It needs but slight consideration to remind us of the millions of people who have yet to hear this Gospel preached unto them before the end comes. Many nations are without teachers of the truth today. Many nations are without Elders of the Church. Yet we are told that the testimony must go forth in the latter days to the end of the earth; that all kindreds, and nations, and tongues and people must hear these glad tidings, and must receive or reject the same as they are moved upon by the spirit which possesses them. In contemplation of this great work which still lies before us, how industriously we should be engaged in warning our neighbors, and in sending forth the written word where it is impossible for the truth to be carried by the servants of God, that in the day of God’s judgment the people may be left without excuse. (Abraham H. Cannon, Salt Lake Tabernacle, 25 December 1892).
Let’s return to “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” The hymn certainly talks about outward acts of service. Interestingly enough, all of the verses could also speak metaphorically about the greatest service we can perform for others: sharing the gospel message—giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, freeing the soul from the prison of ignorance. During His mortal ministry, the Savior used all of these examples as metaphors for “the living water” and “the bread of life” that He brought into the world.
Certainly, there is no greater service we can render in this life than to share the gospel message with those who are sincerely seeking truth. Of course, there are many ways to share the gospel. Many missionaries have proclaimed the gospel as I did during my first mission, standing on street corners and preaching at the top of our lungs. This was a great experience and an important character builder, but it wasn’t an especially effective way of bringing people to Christ. Far more effective is the sharing that takes place when faithful Latter-day Saints live the gospel in dynamic ways, sending out positive, faith-affirming messages to any and all who experience the power of their example.
Although we should be pleased to testify to the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to any and all who will hear our message, there are times when all that we can hope to accomplish is to help those who are not members of the Church better understand our basic beliefs. At such times, increasing understanding is every bit as worthy a goal as increasing conversions. Many people know a little about us and are curious about us but are not ready to change their lifestyles or make eternal commitments. We need to be prepared to teach them in ways that they can understand and appreciate, even if they are not prepared as yet to respond to spiritual promptings and to accept the gospel in their lives. (M. Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2001], pp. 134-135).
I pray the Lord that we may have power to convert these Lamanites to the Gospel of Christ. It is true it has been a hard work up to the present to get their minds open to comprehend these things, though many of them have been baptized; yet a great work is to be done among them. Our brethren should remember this, and treat them kindly. Let us do what we can to make them happy and comfortable while we are with them. It is our duty to do what we can for their benefit, and to give them the Gospel. (Wilford Woodruff, St. George Stake Conference, 13 June 1892).
The Gospel will inspire us to do good and forsake evil. It will inspire us to love our neighbor and to live near to God; to be true to ourselves, true to our fellow creatures, true to our covenants, and in every respect reliable and worthy of the confidence of our fellowmen. It may be said that there are men in the world who are all this without the Gospel—men who are reliable, honorable, true to their friends, pure in their lives, and in every respect praiseworthy, and such as God would delight to acknowledge as His children. Now, you show me a man of this character in the world, though he is beyond the pale of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or of any religion, and I will show you a child of God. I do not care who he is, nor what his profession is. I tell you God has many noble men in this world that are not Latter-day Saints, and that know nothing about this work that we are engage in. It is in search of these that the Elder are sent out among the nations of the earth from time to time, and these are they who are brought into the fold of Christ when they have the opportunity of hearing the Gospel. I have thought that there were still just as good fish in the sea of mankind as had ever been caught by the Gospel net. (Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake Stake Conference, 3 September 1892).
Our two thousand missionaries who are scattered over the face of the earth preaching the Gospel are very few in comparison with the millions unto whom this Gospel is to be proclaimed. But the Lord will reach the hearts of the people, his word will not fail. And I do not understand even from this wording that it is necessary that every heart be penetrated and every ear hear in this life. But if they have not heard, if this opportunity has not come to them through the preaching of the elders and through the things that have been published in the word of the Lord that has gone forth by revelation, the opportunity is going to come to them and they must hear it in the spirit world.
And so the Lord in his kindness and mercy intends to bring these truths of this restored Gospel to every soul, living and dead. In this manner every heart shall be penetrated and every ear shall hear. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1931, p. 16).
Well, it’s growing because it has a commission to go in the world and teach the gospel, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We consider that a divine commission, and we are pursuing it very aggressively; and at the same time, while in that process, we think we are doing good. We think we are improving people’s lives. We think we are causing them to stand taller and straighter and be better people, and when all is said and done. I guess that is the purpose of our religion. We are trying to do our part and do it in a very aggressive but practical and hardheaded way, if you please, so that we build on a strong foundation for the future. (Gordon B. Hinckley, National Press Club Address, Washington D.C., 8 March 2000 quoted in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2: 2000-2004, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 470-471).
As Christ went to preach deliverance to the captives, the opening of the prison to them that were bound, to declare the accepted year of the Lord, as Isaiah predicted (Isaiah 61:1, 2) so His servants, clothed with His authority, will preach the Gospel to “every creature,” until “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, to the glory of God the father.”
That is the kind of Gospel the Latter-day Saints believe in. They are not so narrow and contracted in their ideas as some people imagine. The Gospel that we have received takes in all humanity. Those who have lived upon the earth in former days—-those that dwell among the nations today—heathens, Christians, Mohammedans, Jews, all people everywhere, at some time, whether in this world or in the world to which we are all hastening, will hear the sound of the one Gospel and have an opportunity of receiving it or rejecting it for themselves, of their own volition and through their individual agency. (Charles W. Penrose, Salt Lake Tabernacle, 15 May 1892).
You know, in going out in a great field, where some of the land is high and some low, that which is on the knolls ripens the quickest, while down in the swales it doesn’t get ripe so quick. It is just so with this great vineyard of the Lord and field of the world. There are spots and places where it is ripe sooner than others. But we want to prepared and ready that when the summer is on we may gather in the harvest. When the springtime comes we want to cast in the seed—-the word of the Lord, that we may by and by, in the autumn, realize a great in-gathering, a harvest of souls, to Zion, that shall increase and extend and multiply, till we will be building other temples, other stakes, and multiplying the wards of Israel throughout the land. (Franklin D. Richards, Conference Report, 5 April 1896).
Christ’s oneness with the Father and his role in saving Israel under the hand of his Father will bring great remorse to those who rejected Christ and sold themselves for naught. Christ said, “My people shall know my name; in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak. And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: They God reigneth!” (3 Nephi 20:39-40.)
These familiar passages, written first by Isaiah but spoken of and inspired by Jehovah himself, are often applied to anyone—especially missionaries—who bring the good tidings of the gospel and publish peace to the souls of men. There is nothing inappropriate about such an application, but it is important to realize—-as the prophet Abinadi did—that in its purest form and original sense, this psalm of appreciation applies specifically to Christ. (See Mosiah 15:18-19.) It is he and only he who ultimately brings the good tidings of salvation. Only through him is true, lasting peace published. To Zion, in both the bold and new Jerusalems, it is Christ who declares, “Thy God reigneth!” It is his feet upon the mountain of redemption that are beautiful. (3 Nephi 20:40.) (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006, pp. 271-272).
Why do the peoples of the world stand in jeopardy? Because they cannot be saved without their families and their associates. They will continue to stand in jeopardy until the gospel is taken to them in such a way that they are willing either to receive it or reject it. This responsibility also places us in jeopardy as far as missionary work is concerned if we don't share the gospel with them. (Spencer W. Kimball, "The Things of Eternity--Stand We in Jeopardy?" Ensign, [October 1977]: 4-5).
There can be no greater or more important calling for man than in which the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are engaged, when in the discharge of their duties as missionaries to the world. They stand as teachers, counselors and leaders to the people. They are commissioned with the word of life, and "the power of God unto salvation," to minister unto this proud, conceited, self-righteous, but benighted and degenerate world. (Joseph F. Smith, "The Sacredness of Our Calling," Millennial Star, [28 June 1875]: 408).
I remember that in revelation after revelation given just before the Church was organized, and in its early days, that men came to the man whom God had chosen as his prophet, and asked that he inquire of the Lord what was the most important labor for them to perform. Uniformly, the answer came that the greatest and most profitable labor in which they could engage was to bring souls to knowledge of the gospel. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1916, p.32).
A journalist from one of our papers in the Far West heard something about our missionary program and she said to me, "Are you people out to convert the whole world?" I replied, "Well, I remember the injunction of the Master that we were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. What do you think that means to us?"
These missionary labors will be expanded in the Lord's own way, barriers will be broken down, and the honest in heart in every nation will hear the gospel in their own language, looking forward to the fulfillment of the prophecy that eventually "the word may go forth unto the ends of the earth, . . . in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, . . . that every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language." (D&C 90:9-11). (Harold B. Lee, Manchester England Area Conference, 29 August 1971, p.140).
The humble missionaries are going forth into the world, bearing their burden and declaring the word. There will be some people who will hear the voice of the elders; others will hear the voice of the Book of Mormon; others again, will hear the voice of the Doctrine and Covenants, others the voice of the Pearl of Great Price and others still, the voice of a tract. Thus will the knowledge of the gospel be spread to all nations, and will be preached to every creature. (Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, April 1909, p. 93).
The day for carrying the gospel to ever more places and people is here and now. We must come to think of our obligation to share the message rather than of our own convenience. Calls from the Lord are seldom convenient. The time is here when sacrifice must become an even more important element in the Church. We must increase our devotion so that we can do the work the Lord has for us to do....The parting words of the Master to His Apostles just before His Ascension were, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15–16.)
We must not falter nor weary in well-doing. We must lengthen our stride. Not only is our own eternal welfare at stake, but also the eternal welfare of many of our brothers and sisters who are not now members of this, the true Church. I thrill to the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith in a letter that he sent to the Church from Nauvoo on September 6, 1842: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward. … Courage...and on, on to the victory!” (D&C 128:22.) (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1982, p. 5; Ensign, [November 1982]: 5-6.)
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The prophet emphasizes that the Savior knew the bounds of the earth when he said that. He did not say to go only to Egypt or Greece or the Arab world or Rome; he knew of all the nations that existed then, and the nations that would emerge. He, the Creator, knew what growth would take place then, today, and in the future. (David B. Haight, "Your Purpose and Responsibility," Speeches of the Year 1977, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1978, p. 130).
As I have traveled to and fro in the world bearing this message, my soul has been filled with joy, and my eyes have been dimmed with tears, when I have seen how perfectly men’s lives may be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have seen how those who were discouraged, those who were in darkness, those who questioned the purpose of their being, and when they have had taught to them the glorious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have changed, they have learned to be happy, to be contented, to be satisfied, to be enthusiastic in believing and teaching the gospel that was proclaimed by Jesus Christ when he dwelt upon this earth and traveled in Galilee.
Brethren and sisters, the world does not understand that, but it is our mission to assist them to understand it, and it is not with egotism, it is not with arrogance, but with charity for all, with loving tenderness, that his message is sent forth. (George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, ed. Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996]: 140.)
Here on earth, missionary work is crucial to the gathering of Israel. The gospel was to be taken first to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:6; 15:24.) Consequently, servants of the Lord have gone forth proclaiming the Restoration. In many nations our missionaries have searched for those of scattered Israel; they have hunted for them "out of the holes of the rocks"; and they have fished for them as in ancient days. (See Jeremiah 16:16.)
The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be "brought to the knowledge of the Lord"(3 Nephi 20:13) without leaving their homelands. True, in the early days of the Church, conversion often meant emigration as well. But now the gathering takes place in each nation. The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion (See D&C 6:6; 11:6; 12:6; 14:6.) in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people "shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise." (2 Nephi 9:2.) "Every nation is the gathering place for its own people." (Bruce R. McConkie, in Conference Report, Mexico City Mexico Area Conference 1972, 45.)
The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is "the pure in heart." (D&C 97:21.) Zion is wherever righteous Saints are. Publications, communications, and congregations are now such that nearly all members have access to the doctrines, keys, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel, regardless of their location.
Spiritual security will always depend upon how one lives, not where one lives. Saints in every land have equal claim upon the blessings of the Lord. (Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, October 2006).
Family history is a powerful too resource to use in finding those whom the Lord is preparing to receive the restored gospel. Pray to be aware of opportunities to use family history in your finding efforts. People typically have spiritual feelings as they talk about families. People feel the Spirit as they are taught about the doctrine concerning why we do family history work. In addition, convert retention is enhanced as new members are able to search their family roots and perform sacred ordinances in behalf of their ancestors. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, pp. 165).
Using all the latest inventions and equipment and paraphernalia already developed and that which may follow, can you see that perhaps the day may come when the world will be converted and covered? (Spencer W. Kimball, "When the World Will Be Converted," Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 4 April 1974, p. 13. See also Ensign, [October 1974]: 13).
The time will come when we will penetrate the very center of the great empire of China. We will go into India, and into South America, and into every nation under heaven. The Lord our God will prepare the way, and there will be enough come out of these nations to redeem their dead throughout all the generations that are past and gone. The day will come when we will go into Turkey, into Africa, and into every part of the earth. I never look upon one of these maps in our Sunday School, whereon is shown the trail of the Apostle Paul in his ministry, from city to city, without having a desire in my heart to perform a similar work, that some day a red line on the map might show my labors in the ministry; for I know that the gospel must go into all the world for a witness, unto every creature. (John W. Taylor, Conference Report, October 1901, p. 30).
When the Lord calls an individual or a class of individuals out from the world, it is not always with an object to benefit that particular individual or individuals. The Lord has not in view merely the salvation of a few people called Latter-day Saints, who have been or who may be gathered into these valleys, but the salvation of all men, the living and the dead. (Lorenzo Snow, Journals of Discourses, London: Latter-Day Saint Book Depot, 1855-1886, 23:338).
We must look after the individual. Christ always spoke of individuals. He healed the sick, individually. He spoke in His parables of individuals. This Church is concerned with individuals, notwithstanding our numbers. Whether they be 6 or 10 or 12 or 50 million, we must never lose sight of the fact that the individual is the important thing. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Deseret News Interview, 25 February 2000).
Taking the message of the gospel to the world appeared to be a super-human task. Little do we know, however, what the Lord has given and will yet give to aid in proclaiming the gospel to the world. (Spencer W. Kimball, Church News, [10 April 1965]: 18).
We feel a renewed sense of urgency about our missionary responsibility. We are determined that these meetings will move each of us—-and through us the entire membership of the Church—-to higher levels of performance in our sacred duty to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world. (Dallin H. Oaks, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 5 April 1985).
I ask how righteousness and truth are going to sweep the earth...I will answer. Men and angels are going to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work. (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 2:260).
It amuses me to hear our elders sometimes, almost boastingly, relate how they dumbfounded the Christian ministers. While this is true in many cases, it is also true that we do not always meet the learned, intelligent preachers of the world. These educated men treat our elders indifferently and will not deign to meet them. They put me in mind of the Pharisees that wrapped their robes around them as they stood on the Temple steps for fear the Apostles' clothing might touch them. We will yet measure arms with the most learned and greatest men of the world, as our seventies will find their way among the nations and peoples. As Paul stood before King Agrippa so will the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand before kings and queens and the great men of the world. (J. Golden Kimball, Conference Report, October 1901, p. 57).
True, there are peoples in Europe--in Germany and Russia, for instance--to whom the gospel has hardly yet been preached. There is a vast work to be done. Besides, we have the continents of Asia and Africa, Australia and South America. To all these countries the Lord will yet send his servants, and the work rests upon the Saints. Should they fail in this, the disapproval of God will fall upon them. The Lord is working through his Spirit, and the nations of the earth will see the power of God. It is well for the young men especially to consider the work that is before them if they remain faithful. Opposition they will meet, but the Lord will be with them, and they will gain eternal exaltation. (Abraham H. Cannon, Talk about Missionary Work in the South Seas, Deseret Weekly, [Saturday, 2 September 1893]: 344).
None will escape having this gospel preached to them and all have the privilege of obeying it if they choose. For this purpose the servants of God are sent out to preach the gospel that all may be made acquainted with the fact that God has again spoken from the heavens and that he has restored his gospel. No coercion will be used in this work; men will be asked to embrace it with kindness, but they can choose whether or not they join hands with us. (Charles W. Penrose, "Preaching the Gospel to all Men," Deseret Weekly, [Saturday, 21 December 1895]: 22).
Proselyting the gospel in nations of the world only occurs when a member of the First Presidency or the Twelve dedicates the land for that purpose. [See D&C 107:35.] The Church works within the laws of each nation to ensure that Church practices do not conflict with the law or the customs of that nation. We do not proselyte where the laws of that country prohibit the practice. (Ezra Taft Benson, "150th Year for the Twelve," Church News, [27 January 1985]: 3).
The Lord will break down the barriers. As the elders go forth he will open the way before them, and they will be the means of bringing souls into the fold. There are regions which seem almost impenetrable at present, but if we are zealous in our labors, if the spirit of our calling rests upon us, and our souls are filled with ardor, the Lord will open the way for the preaching of the gospel in lands now closed to the bearers of the gospel. (George Q. Cannon, "Condition of Church and People," Deseret Weekly, [Saturday, 10 November 1894]: 642).
We all have confidence that when we have fully prepared ourselves, the Lord will provide a way for us to take the gospel to those lands now closed to our missionaries. President Spencer W. Kimball has said, “Somehow, brethren, I feel that when we have done all in our power that the Lord will find a way to open doors. That is my faith.” We all share this faith. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents' Seminar, 27June 1974).
We believe, as the time draws near, the Lord will hasten his work, and nations will soon be gathered into the fold for Christ. The work urges and is becoming very much enlarged and extended, and requires a commensurate accumulation of men and means, and expansion of mind and energy, ability and perseverance. The Lord, our God, is our strength, and under this accumulation and weight of care and business, has hitherto given in grace and strength, according to our day and generation, has sustained us in every time of need and preserved and delivered us from the hands of our enemies. Blessed forever be his holy name; great and wondrous are his ways. Let all nations give heed to his servants, for they are preparing the way for his coming; yea, when he shall come in power and great glory, to take unto himself a kingdom, prepared and make ready in the due time of the Lord; for this is the Lord's work; woe be unto him who putteth forth his hand, his influence, his energies, or any of his powers to oppose it. (Brigham Young, letter to Samuel W. Richards, who was presiding over the European Mission, Millennial Star, 15 [29 October 1852]: 106-107).
Take Jacob Zundell and Frederick H. Maeser, and tell them never to drink of ale, wine, or any spirit, only that which flows right out from the presence of God; and send them to Germany; and when you meet with an Arab, send him to Arabia; when you find an Italian, send him to Italy; and a Frenchman, to France; or an Indian, that is suitable, send him among the Indians. Send them to the different places where they belong. Send somebody to Central America and to all Spanish America; and don't let a single corner of the earth go without a mission. (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 5:368).
Some years ago President Brigham Young sent missionaries to China, Siam, and the East Indies. The brethren accomplished but little in Siam and China, but a few converts were made in India, and some of them came here to these mountains. We might think the trip was a failure, on the whole...Even so the Lord moved upon his servant Brigham to send missionaries to the Orient. If their mission accomplished no great good, it did, at least, help to prepare the way, in a small degree; and now, the servants of the Lord, Apostle Heber J. Grant and his associates, through God's assistance, have been successful in opening up the work in the Japanese empire, and persons have been brought to a knowledge of the truth, and others are inquiring. We shall find, I believe with all my heart, that the opening of the Japanese mission will prove the key to the entrance of the gospel in the Orient. (Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1902, p. 52).
Ten times ten thousand missionaries and more have left farm and factory, shop and store, and the halls of higher learning.--voluntarily and at their own expense--to devote three hundred thousand man years of service in preaching the gospel.
Ten times a hundred thousand and more have believed their message.
Ten times ten million and more have heard the warning voice.
But with it all, we have scarce commenced the assigned labor. We have yet to preach the gospel to the ten times two hundred million people in Russia, China, India, Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and so on.
But this we shall assuredly do, for we are on the Lord's errand; we are engaged in his work; he has decreed its over all success and triumph; and none can stay his hand. (Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, April 1969, p. 143).
We will not be so egotistical, or so vain, or so narrow in our hearts as to suppose that the Lord has no other people upon the broad face of the earth than this people; but we will concede that in every nation, among every tongue and every people the Lord has men and women who honor him in their hearts, who love him, and who are seeking to keep his commandments according to the knowledge which they possess and the understanding which they have. All honor be to them! We do not despise them, neither will we reject them nor cast them out. It is this class of people that the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are sent forth to hunt up and to gather out from the nations of the earth; and whenever they are found and the Spirit of God has power to reach them, when they hear the voice of the Good Shepherd they know it, and they are willing to render obedience to that voice and to the commandments of God. I verily believe that there are thousands and tens of thousands, and perchance millions, of the children of men today who know nothing about the truth of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and who have perhaps scarcely heard of the Book of Mormon, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who are today, so far as they have knowledge, the children of God and are blessed of Him, and are acknowledged and owned of Him as His children, We most cheerfully acknowledge this great truth--for it is a truth. If it were not, we would cease to send our elders to hunt them out from the nations of the earth. (Joseph F. Smith, "Discourse--Salvation for the Living and the Dead," Deseret Weekly, [Saturday, 11 February 1893]: 227).
Now, I do not understand that we are serving God with all our might if we forsake his children, or if we spend so much of our time selfishly building up ourselves, accumulating things of this life, and leaving his children in darkness, when we could bring them to light. My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first, to keep the commandments of God, as they have been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them. It makes little difference when I go to the other side, whether I have been a man of wealth in this world or not, unless I have used that wealth to bless my fellow men. Though I be a wanderer in this world, and suffer for the necessities of life, if by reason of the knowledge that my Father has given me I devote myself to the instruction of his children, to planting in their hearts, to dissipating the errors that have come to them by tradition, I believe when I go to the other side that I will find a bank account that will be beyond compare with what I would have if I lived for the things of this earth alone. I read a portion of the section 4 and I want to read that last verse again: Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work (D&C 4:2-3).
It is not necessary for you to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth. Begin on the man who lives next door by inspiring confidence in him, by inspiring love in him for you because of your righteousness, and your missionary work has already begun. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51).
Your purpose in teaching the commandments is to help people live the gospel by exercising faith in Jesus Christ and repenting as they prepare for baptism and confirmation. By obeying the commandments, people will grow in their testimony of the gospel, show that they have “broken hearts and contrite spirits,” and begin to repent of all their sins (see Moroni 6:1-4; D&C 20:37). (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 71).
But, whatever men may do, I feel that nothing can be done to stop the progress of the work of the Lord. This is the gospel restored unto the earth, and it must be preached unto all nations. John, in describing the mission of the angel that should come with the everlasting gospel, tells us that his proclamation was to go to all nations--none should be exempt. None had the gospel, it has to be restored and preached to all. And this has become our mission, brethren and sisters; we must do this work. (Joseph F. Smith, "Editor's Table," Improvement Era, [14 November 1910]: 77).
During the entire period to which I have referred the first great responsibility resting upon the Church had not for a moment been forgotten, nor neglected. When asked by his disciples for a sign by which they might recognize the approach of the time when he would come in power and glory in the latter days, the Redeemer said, among other things: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to every creature and then shall the end come [Matthew 24:14]." In a revelation given to the Church, at a very early day, the Lord said: "This gospel shall be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and the servants of the Lord shall go forth saying in a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him that make the heavens and the earth, the sea, and the fountains of water." [D&C 133:37-39.]
While in poverty and distress, in the midst of persecution or when blessed with peace and plenty, the Church has not for a moment neglected this first great command. Its missionaries have gone into every civilized country of the world, where entrance was permitted, bearing witness to the people that a light had broken forth among those who sit in darkness, which was the fullness of the everlasting gospel, and warning the people to prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his paths, that they might be prepared for his kingdom and coming. (Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1922, p. 39).
We have launched a prayer campaign throughout the Church and hope that all people, parents, youth, and children, will join in a serious continuous petition to the Lord to open the gates of the nations and soften the hearts of the kings and the rulers to the end that missionaries may enter all the lands and teach the gospel in the approved way.
While it looks difficult, it is not impossible. We repeat the words given to Abraham and Sarah, when she was promised a son; and she was already ninety years old, barren and past the period of childbearing. And when she laughed, thinking it a ridiculous promise, the voice said "Is anything too hard for the Lord? Sarah shall have a son." (Genesis 18:14). And she had a son.
Perhaps the Lord is testing us to see if we can supply the missionaries. So our universal prayer should have the two requests: (1) that we may get all of the missionaries that are needed to cover the world as with a blanket; and (2) when we are prepared, the Lord will open the gates. Is anything impossible for the Lord? We shall do our part and know firmly that the Lord will do what he has promised when the time is right. (Spencer W. Kimball, "Insights from June Conference," Ensign, [October 1975]: 70).
There are many nations in the world that will not give us permission to go into their countries, and so the country is sterile and desolate, whereas it could be full of good, faithful citizens for that country. And so we are asking you, the parents, to teach your boys and girls to pray. Always pray for the missionary work.
Pray for the administrators of the nations that they will be impressed by the Lord to open their national doors to the teaching of the gospel of faith and truth. You and I know the gospel is true. We know that any city or any country that has a large number of Latter-day Saints in it is blessed and benefited. The kings will be supported and sustained. The Presidents will be sustained. We, you and I, are a loyal people, and when the governing bodies of the nations open their doors, then a flood of righteousness goes into their country, and people like you are the ones who sustain their leaders. So have the children pray every day for the missionary work and for the missionaries. (Spencer W. Kimball, San Jose, Costa Rica Area Conference, 23 February 1977, p. 6).
I have a fervent hope that in our family prayers, every night and morning, and in all the prayers in our missions, whenever we pray, that we will pray that the gates may be opened and the doors be unlocked for the teaching of the gospel in these countries. I hope there would hardly ever be any prayers offered without asking the Lord to make possible our expanding into the nations of the world to teach the gospel to them. (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 20 June 1975, p. 8).
We should continue to pray individually and in our homes and in our councils and meetings and petition the Lord to assist us to find a way to reach the hearts and minds of leaders of nations--China, Russia, eastern European countries, middle eastern countries--yes, all countries that are now closed or have restrictions on the teaching of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that the work might go forward in all the world as has been commanded. Our Father does and will hear our prayers--of this I am certain. But we must ask in faith, nothing wavering. Then we must be prepared to enter once the gates are opened. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 30 March 1979, p. 6).
It is wonderful what we can do as we practice a little ingenuity. You ought to take advantage of every opportunity in the world to speak with people about why we are there and what we are doing and give them some taste of a gospel message. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “`Totally unnecessary to lose any of those who are baptized,'” Church News [4 July 1998]: 4).
You are on the Lord's errand. You've each been set apart, and with that comes a great blessing. The Lord will make you equal to your assignment as you put your trust in Him. (Thomas S. Monson, “Missionaries are called of God: 'Army of the servants of the Lord' are acting out of divine authority,” Church News [Saturday, June 30, 2007]: 6).
Now, brethren, you have been set apart, you have received your errand from the Lord. Go to, and may God bless you and be with you. I have no fear whatever that the candle lighted in Palestine years ago will never be put out. It will shine more brightly always. This is the work of the Lord. We are doing his service. He has commanded us specifically and over and over to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, every corner of the earth, every nation, every tongue, and that includes many that we have never touched yet. We are unknown among many, many of the people of the world, and it is time now that we began to gird up our loins and go forward with a new dedication to this great work. (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 20 June 1975, p. 10).
This day of God's power—we are waiting for it, this day when we baptize a nation in a day. Hail that day! Oh, our beloved Father in Heaven, bring about the day when we may be able to bring in large numbers as Ammon and his brethren did, thousands of conversions, not dozens, not tens or fives or ones, thousands of conversions. The Lord promised it; He fulfills his promises. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 April 1975, p. 20).
The saving of souls, including our own soul, is the one great labor of all others that is most valuable and important, and that will bring to us the blessings of our Father and the good will of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,1941, p. 31).
Wilford Woodruff, later to become a President of the Church, went down from the Potteries and baptized a whole community numbering six hundred and more and about 60 ministers. He did not know it could not be done. He did not know that there was any limit. He did not know that two or three or four or five people, converts, was satisfactory. He only knew the word, "all." (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 25 June 1976, p. 11).
What has been done up to this point is relatively slight compared to what must yet be. We have the promise that the Church is going to be upon all the face of the earth when the Lord comes. This has not yet come to pass. (Bruce R. McConkie, "Seven Steps to More and Better Converts," Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 21 June 1975).
When we have increased the missionaries from the organized areas of the Church to a number close to their potential, that is, every able and worthy boy in the Church on a mission, when every stake and mission abroad is furnishing enough missionaries for that country; when we have used our qualified men to help the apostles to open these new fields of labor; when we have used the satellite and related discoveries to their greatest potential and all of the media--the papers, magazines, television, radio--in their greatest power; when we have organized numerous other stakes which will be springboards; when we have recovered from inactivity the numerous young men who are now unordained and unmissioned and unmarried; then, and not until then, shall we approach the insistence of the Lord and Master to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Spencer W. Kimball, "When the World Will Be Converted," Ensign, [October 1974]: 4).
The overall objective to be accomplished in missionary work, temple work, providing for the needy, and bringing up our children in righteousness has always been the same; only our methods to accomplish these objectives have varied. Any faithful member in this dispensation, no matter when he lived, could have found righteous methods to have carried out these objectives without having to wait for the latest, specific Church-wide program. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 382).
I have a strong impression that missionaries will not be withdrawn from the nations of the earth, and that the temples will not be closed, but that the work will progress and go on from this time henceforth with greater force and strength than it ever has done before. (John R. Winder, Conference Report, April 1903, p. 57).
When I reflect on the condition of the world, when I witness the multitudinous problems than can be solved by the gospel of Jesus Christ, I feel to cry out as did Alma: "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
"Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." (Alma 29:1-2).
From the times that Samuel Smith put a few copies of the newly published Book of Mormon into his knapsack and tried to distribute them in the communities of his area--even before the Church was organized--from that time until the present there has never been a season when this Church has not engaged in missionary work. (Gordon B. Hinckley, "There Must be Messengers," Ensign, [October 1987]: 2).
But all of us acknowledge that we have barely scratched the surface. We have a mandate laid upon us from which we cannot shrink. It is the charge from the Lord himself to teach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The field is white, but the laborers are relatively few.
You will recall that Alma gave up the judgment seats so that he might have time and strength for a greater work: "And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people...that me might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." (Alma 4:19).
For this same reason, the world today needs the power of pure testimony. It needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if the world is to hear that gospel, there must be messengers to teach it. (Gordon B. Hinckley, "There Must be Messengers," Ensign, [October 1987]: 2).
We are not interested in numbers. They are secondary. We are interested in warning the nations of the world. I believe we have not scratched the surface. We are like the person who said, "Pull up the ladder, I'm aboard." (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 October 1974, p. 13).
President [Marion G.] Romney called to the attention of the General Authorities the other day a verse in Moses (7:62) which noted how righteousness and truth "would sweep the earth as with a flood." This spreading of the gospel will occur, therefore, in a time of great iniquity; righteousness and evil will exist side by side. We must not, therefore, fail to do our part to help the gospel cover the earth, even though the circumstances around us may be very difficult and trying. (Spencer W. Kimball, "Lengthening Our Stride," Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 October 1974, p. 6).
But now, the gloomy cloud is burst, and the gospel is shining with all the resplendent glory of an apostolic day; and that the kingdom of the Messiah is greatly spreading, that the gospel of the Lord is carried to divers nations of the earth, the scriptures translating into different tongues; the ministers of truth crossing the vast deep to proclaim to men in darkness a risen Savior, and to erect the standard of Emmanuel where light has never shone; and that the idol is destroyed, the temple of images forsaken; and those who but a short time previous followed the traditions of their fathers and sacrificed their own flesh to appease the wrath of some imaginary god, are now raising their voices in the worship of the Most High, and are lifting their thoughts up to him with the full expectation that one day they will meet with a joyful reception in his everlasting Kingdom! (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 2:6).
In the closing two verses of Matthew is given the account of the final appearance of the Master to the eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee. His parting words give emphasis to the importance of his teachings and confer the great commission to others to teach all persons, in these simple, understandable words:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:19-20).
The emphasis is on the words teach and baptize. Following this scriptural admonition, missionaries of the Church, both young and old, are in the world teaching the principle of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the other principles of the gospel to all who will hear. This is according to the pattern established by the Master himself as recorded by Mark: "And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two." (Mark 6:7). They went forth and bore witness of his divinity in those days, over 1,900 years ago, and devoted ambassadors of today bear the same witness as they go into the world "two and two."
The nations of the world will be blessed by the message of the gospel they carry, and every person who has an honest desire for the truth will learn to know the true and living God and that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind by his atoning sacrifice, if he will give heed to the message. (Howard W. Hunter, CR A'75, Ensign, [May 1975]: 39).
The early apostles at first did not know that the gospel was for everyone, for the Gentiles. Then Peter had a vision. He saw a vessel full of all kinds of creatures and was commanded to kill and to eat. But he refused, saying they were common and unclean. Then the voice said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (See Acts 10:9-16). That vision, and the experience they had immediately following, convinced them of their duty; thus began the great missionary work of all Christianity. (Boyd K. Packer, CR A'84, Ensign, [May 1984]: 42).
Missionary work is a great challenge, especially when we realize that approximately 4.7 billion people live on the earth today. The earth's present population gain is "150 new persons per minute, 9,100 per hour, 218,000 per day and 79.6 million per year...
"If you are 50 years old, the world's population has more than doubled in your lifetime." ("Global Population Growing by More Than 200,000 a Day," U.S News and World Report, 23 July 1984, p. 52).
At the present time, more people are born in one day than are baptized into the Church in one year. The magnitude of our missionary task can appear to be overwhelming. Yet the assignment to the members of the Church is very clear. We are to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every human soul. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'84, Ensign, [November 1984]: 15).
I am not discouraged because I recognize that our numbers are still relatively small. Some one has said that there is but one Latter-day Saint to every ten thousand in the population of the world. It would seem an almost impossible task to disseminate the principles of truth with such a minority. But I remember that old saying that "God and one man are a majority" and I have confidence to state that if we keep ourselves in line with our duties; if we fully live these principles of the truth that we are charged to teach, God will give us power. He will magnify our work. He will make our messages reach into the far corners of the earth. He will sustain his own. (Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1940, pp. 37-38).
Heavenly messengers came to restore the authority of the holy priesthood and important keys essential to the opening of the final gospel dispensation. The Church was organized in 1830. Immediately, in response to divine command, missionary-messengers began to carry the important message of salvation throughout the world. It is a world message intended for all of God's children. (Ezra Taft Benson, Title of Liberty, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964, p. 88).
We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.
Isaiah said that many in latter times would say: "Come . . . let us go up . . . to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." (Isaiah 2:3; 2 Nephi 12:3). Is there any greater cause than to teach others the gospel so that they may be united in walking in the ways of the God of Israel? Will we so live His commandments that others will see that the ways of the God of Jacob are distinctive from the world? That is our challenge. Let us then make his cause our cause. (Ezra Taft Benson, "Zion Shall Flourish Upon the Mountains," Days of '47 Committee Luncheon, Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 July 1982).
The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families. By living the principles of the restored gospel, families are strengthened and can experience peace, joy, and a sense of belonging and identity.
Addressing the importance of the family with those you meet each day will help you find people to teach. Most people have a natural interest in families. In many finding situations, you can quickly relate what most people know about the family to the message of the Restoration. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, pp. 160-161).
We must do more! We must lengthen our stride so that we may fulfill the commandment of our Savior to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15).
If you haven't seen the beautiful mural on the first floor of [the Church Office] building, you should make it a point to do so before you leave today. You will see on the east wall of the foyer a painting there, sixteen and one-half feet high and sixty-five feet wide. It portrays the Savior standing on the Mount of Olives just before his ascension, as he gives his final instructions to his Apostles: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28: 19-20).
We are here to fulfill that commandment of the Lord that all the world may hear the message. It is for all the world, the inhabitants of all nations. The Lord has also told us that they are to hear the gospel in their own tongue. Speaking to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said: "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel...in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ." (D&C 90:11.)
It is for every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and that includes the minorities in English-speaking areas. Don't overlook them, brothers and sisters, or the Lord will hold us responsible.
We know that under the direction of the Lord this work will go forward to the blessing of all his children. Where there are now thousands of the faithful, there will be missions, and whereas The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-say Saints is now established in eighty-one nations, it must and will cover the whole earth until men everywhere shall bow the knee and confess that Jesus is the Christ!
Let us all press on confidently in this work as we look forward to the glorious promises ahead. Through our faithfulness all that God has promised will be fulfilled! (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 20 June 1980).
In the New Testament, we read that Peter, the head of the Church after the Savior's resurrection and ascension, was informed in a vision that the gospel is for all mankind. He said, "Of truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons; But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-35). This same message appears in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants. Every soul is to have an opportunity to hear and then accept or reject the gospel. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'88, Ensign, [November 1988]: 28).
We are to take the gospel to every person. Without exception, without excuse, without rationalization, we are to "go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mormon 9:22). (Ezra Taft Benson, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 5 April 1985).
My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first to keep the commandments of God, as they have been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father's children who do not understand them. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, p. 50).
Why is it that Latter-day Saints are enabled to convert people? It is because they have the truth to offer, because they have no doubt in their minds regarding the divinity of the work in which we are engaged. (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, comp. by G. Homer Durham. Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941, p.104).
God has restored the gospel for the purpose of bringing life and immortality to light; and without the knowledge of the gospel there is no knowledge of life and immortality; for men cannot comprehend these principles only as they are made known unto them....When the heavens were opened and the Father and Son appeared and revealed unto Joseph the principles of the gospel, and when the holy Priesthood was restored and the Church and kingdom of God established upon the earth, there were the greatest blessings bestowed upon this generation that it was possible for man to receive. If they could comprehend it, it was the greatest blessing which God could confer upon humanity. (John Taylor, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, [4 October 1881]: 1).
This is the Church of Jesus Christ. Millions of our Father's children do not know anything about it, but they are his children just the same, and he expects us to do our best. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1949, p. 9).
When people choose not to investigate the restored gospel, your work is not wasted. Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants. He often reaches out to His children through you. Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them and may plant seeds that future missionaries and members of the Church will harvest.
When people do not accept the gospel, do not be discouraged. You have raised a warning voice. You have given them a clear choice. Disciples of Christ feel sorrow when people choose not to repent, but they maintain a vision of who they are and what they are doing. They continue to diligently move forward.
· Build up the Church by finding “them that will receive you” (D&C 42:8).
· Seek for and follow the Spirit when finding.
· Church members—including those who are active, less active, prospective elders, and recent converts—are your best resources for finding people to teach, baptize, and confirm.
· Develop a strong relationship with the bishop and the members.
· Teach when you find, and find when you teach.
· Be aware of unplanned finding opportunities.
· Pray for opportunities to do good and to preach the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
· There are many ways to find people to teach. Avoid focusing on just one or two approaches. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 170).
We could go out into New York and Philadelphia and Chicago and the other cities and preach the gospel to the Jews as we do to the as we do to the Gentiles, and then give them an opportunity to hear the gospel. They must hear the gospel; they must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master, and that day, I think, cannot come until we, the witnesses of Jesus Christ, get busy and present the message to them. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 April 1975, p.19).
The great missionary goal for the Church has been set for us by the Lord. He said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15).
This goal should govern all our decisions and our plans. However, if we are to achieve this long-range goal, we must learn to set up and accomplish short-range goals that will move us along the way. If we do not consciously select our goals, we may be controlled by goals not of our own choosing--goals imposed by outside pressures (such as the expectations of others) or by our habits (such as procrastination) or by our desire for the approval of the world. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 27-28 June 1974).
Yes, you remember when the missionaries were taken out of Europe a few years ago, there were many who sat in the scorner’s seats who said: “Why, that is silly. During the last war we did not have all the missionaries taken out.” But those who thus spoke forgot that Brigham Young had voiced the word of the Lord some years ago when he said:
“Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people? . . . All we have yet heard, and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached.”
Now mark you this:
When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermons that will preached by fire and sword, tempests, earthquake, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction (Sec. 29:14-21; 43:21-29, 45:26-45; 63:32-35; 88:87-94).
And it is a matter of record that hardly had the last missionary been called home until all hell seemed to break loose in Europe, in veritable fulfillment of the prophecy that had been given. When likewise the missionaries were called from the island missions of the sea we heard the same clamor, criticizing these brethren because they were doing things that seemed to some members of the Church to be not necessary, and yet we see the great wisdom displayed in what already had been done. (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1942, pp. 124-128).
Even the tragedy of war cannot stop the work of the Lord to carry the gospel to "every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Even during the dark days of war, the First Presidency had declared that, "no act of ours or of the Church must ever interfere with this God-given mandate." This also applies to all of us today. Yes and with increased urgency. (Ezra Taft Benson, Stockholm Area Conference, 18 August 1974).
Going to foreign countries, the Lord breaks down the barriers. Sometimes we have to fight to get right up to what appears to be a stone wall, and then he melts the wall down, and he'll melt down the Iron Curtain, and he'll shatter the Bamboo Curtain when the time is ripe, in order that this great message of salvation will reach all of our Father's children. (Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake Emigration Stake Conference, 2 February 1975).
But I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter. Why should He break down the Iron Curtain or the Bamboo Curtain or any other curtain if we are unprepared to enter? (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Uttermost Parts of the Earth, “ Ensign, [July 1979]: 2).
Again was given the divine injunction for authorized servants to be sent forth to the East and to the West, to the North and to the South that “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; That faith also might increase in the earth; That mine everlasting covenant might be established; That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” (D&C 1:20-23.)
In Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that “behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” (D&C 4:1-2.)
When this revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph, he was only 23 years of age. The Book of Mormon was not yet published, no man had been ordained to the priesthood. The Church was not organized; yet the statement was made and written without qualification that “a marvelous work [was] about to come forth among the children of men.”
Another significant feature of this revelation, and of others given about the same period, is the naming of essential qualifications of those who were to participate in the bringing about of this marvelous work. These qualifications were not the possession of wealth, not social distinction, not political preferment, not military achievement, not nobility of birth; but a desire to serve God with all your “heart, mind, mind and strength”—spiritual qualities that contribute to nobility of soul. I repeat: No popularity, no wealth, no theological training in church government—yet “a marvelous work [was] about to come forth among the children of men.” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1966, p. 86).
To me it is a thing of wonder that at a time when our people were struggling to gain a foothold in these mountains, they put the spread of the gospel ahead of comfort, security, the well-being of their families, and all other considerations. Across the broad prairie between the mountains of the West and the Missouri and Mississippi rivers there were two bodies of Latter-day Saints moving in opposite directions. Missionaries traveling to the eastern states and Europe passed converts gathering from those lands to the Zion of the West. There were likewise a movement to the West Coast and across the Pacific, with elders going to Hawaii, even to Hong Kong, China, Siam, Ceylon, and India. This was all part of this grand vision of an Ensign, to the nations. It has gone on ever since, and it goes on today at an accelerated pace. In a hundred nations missionaries of the Church are teaching the doctrines of the kingdom.
They are building the kingdom across the world. They are touching for everlasting good the lives of all with whom they work, and generations who come after them will be affected by what they do today. They are fulfilling the declarations of ancient prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord concerning the "marvelous work and a wonder" that should come to pass in the dispensation of the fullness of times. (Isaiah 29:14). (Gordon B. Hinckley, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 53).
This “marvelous work and a wonder” has come to pass and has spread all over the world where there has been religious liberty; and from every land and from every clime honest, faithful, God-fearing men and women have heard the sound of the true voice of the shepherd through his servants who have gone forth to proclaim the Gospel. And man of great influence have been gathered into this Church. Men like John Taylor, who presided over the Church, heard the Gospel in a foreign land; the parents of George Q. Cannon, and many other leaders in this Church, heard the sound of this Gospel and embraced it and gathered to Zion, and labored with all the power and ability that they possessed for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Year by year this great and wonderful work has rolled on and we are becoming known as a God-fearing people, as a people with a destiny that is sure to be fulfilled. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1929, p. 9).
The Savior will come in judgment for rewards for the righteous and destruction for the wicked. When he begins his millennial reign, there must be a cleansed earth to receive him. He will not reign over a sinful world. Hence wickedness will be overthrown, wars will end, and peace will come.
For such a vast and world-shaking appearance, a worldwide preparation is required. The people--those who will survive the great events of that day--will have to be taught, as the people in the Meridian of Time were taught by John the Baptist. A modern people must be prepared to receive the Lord.
This preparation will come only through a worldwide preaching of the restored gospel "in the hour of God's judgment." The scriptures say it would be brought to earth by angelic ministry (see Revelation 14:6-7) and then be preached in all the world as a warning to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
This preaching will convert the righteous who earnestly look forward to Christ's coming, and they will join his Church. It is to be by the same means used by John the Baptist.
To carry on the work in an orderly manner, the Lord fully restored his Church and priesthood in our day, and decreed that missionaries should go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, just as in ancient times.
All of this was done under the immediate direction of the Savior himself, who sent holy angels to minister to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Joseph was the Lord's forerunner to begin the preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord. This work still goes on under the direction of the living prophets who have succeeded Joseph, and it will continue worldwide until the Lord says "enough." Then he will come.
Millions of people now converted to the restored gospel are preparing to meet him. When the time comes, they will be ready. (Mark E. Peterson, Malachi and the Great and Dreadful Day, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983, p. 21).
The Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us. He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him.
I saw again the power of keeping covenants through a chance conversation with a man I sat down next to on a trip. I had never met him before, but apparently he had seen me in the crowd because his first words after I introduced myself were, “I’ve been watching you.” He told me about his work. I told him about mine. He asked about my family, and then he told me something about his. He said that his wife was a member of the Church and that he was not.
After he came to trust me, he said something like this: “You know, there is something in your church you should fix. You need to tell your people when to quit.” He explained that he and his wife had been married for 25 years. She had been a member of the Church since childhood. In their years of marriage she had only once stepped into a building of the Church, and that was to tour a temple before its dedication, and then only because her parents had arranged it.
Then, he told me why he thought we ought to make a change. He said that in those 25 years of married life, in which his wife showed no interest in the Church, visiting teachers and home teachers had never stopped coming to their home. He told of one evening when he went out to walk his dog alone only to find the home teacher happening by with his dog, eager to visit with him.
He told, with a touch of exasperation, of another night when he came home from a long business trip, put his car in the garage, and then came out to find his home teachers standing there, smiling. He said to me something like, “And there they were, right in my face, with another plate of cookies.”
I think I understood his feelings. And then I tried, as best I could, to tell him how hard it would be to teach such teachers to quit. I told him that the love that he had felt from those many visitors and their constancy over the years in the face of little response came from a covenant they had made with God. I told him about the baptismal covenant as Alma described it in the Book of Mormon. I didn’t quote these words, but you will remember them as Alma asked those he had taught whether they wished to be baptized:
“And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life” (Mosiah 18:8–9).
Those home teachers and visiting teachers understood and believed that the covenant to be a witness and to love were intertwined and that they reinforced each other. There is no other way to explain what had happened. My new friend recognized that the visitors had genuine concern for him and for his wife. And he knew their caring sprang from a belief that impelled them to come back. He seemed, at least to me, to understand that those visitors were driven from within by a covenant they would not break. As we parted I think he knew why he could expect that there would be more visits, more evidence of caring, and more patient waiting for the opportunity to bear testimony of the restored gospel. As we parted, I realized that I had learned something too. I will never again see home teaching or visiting teaching as only programs of the Church. Those faithful teachers saw what they were doing for what it really was. Such work is an opportunity, not a burden. Every member has made the covenant in the waters of baptism to be a witness for God. Every member has made a covenant to do works of kindness as the Savior would do. So any call to bear witness and to care for others is not a request for extra service; it is a blessing designed by a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They have provided such calls as well as other settings, sometimes without a formal call, all for the same purpose. Each is a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a covenant people, and each is an opportunity for which you agreed to be accountable. Each is a sacred responsibility for others accepted in the waters of baptism but too often not met because it may not be recognized for what it is.
The power of that covenant to love and to witness should transform what members do in other settings across the world. One of the most important is in the family. Prophets in our time have consolidated our meetings on Sunday to allow time for families to be together. The prophets have also been inspired to help us reserve Monday night for family home evenings. Those opportunities require choices. In thousands of homes the choices made are guided by the covenant to comfort those that stand in need of comfort and to stand as witnesses of God. (Henry B. Eyring, “Witnesses for God,” Ensign, [November 1996]: 30).
We cannot rest nor relax. The Lord commissioned his twelve apostles when he was leaving the earth. With Judas Iscariot having fallen, he called his other eleven apostles to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. He said to them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:15-16). Of course, that includes a great deal of work in the meantime. The extent of the work is stated in terms of every creature, every person, every man and woman, every kindred and nation, and neighbor, and that involves you and me. (Spencer W. Kimball, Dortmund Germany Area Conference, 7 August 1976, p. 21).
We do not need to baptize all the world, but we do need to warn them and bring to their attention, in an effective manner, the blessings available to them, and the regrets and deprivations which will follow a rejection of the plan of salvation. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 545).
The missionary work of the Latter-day Saints is the greatest of all the great works in all the world. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1921, p. 5).
The opportunities are greater today. In most of the missions we have a much better atmosphere in which to work. It is different than it was as recently as forty years ago. There seems to be less bigotry in the world. There is more tolerance. And some of the larger churches have experienced difficulties filling the spiritual needs of their members. There is dissatisfaction among a great many Christian people. They are not happy with what they have, and, therefore, respond readily to the message of the restored gospel. (Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Visit with Gordon B. Hinckley," New Era 3 [June 1973]: 30-31).
We are really serious about this, brothers and sisters. We are not just fooling. This is important. It is the Lord who said, "Go ye into all the world." We haven't touched the world yet.
We have missionaries working in quite a number of countries. There are seventy countries probably receiving the gospel; but we have hardly touched the world. Just think of the millions of people in East Pakistan, for instance. When the great flood came there due to the disturbances of nature, they died by the thousands. Of course, we are going to have to take care of them after they die, too, but we ought to get some of those missionaries to people who are hungering for the truth now.
Now the Lord is able. He is powerful. It is possible for him to prepare the way. (Spencer W. Kimball, Glasgow Scotland Area Conference, 21 June 1976).
We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today.
Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction.
Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace.
Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.
Isaiah said that many in latter times would say: "Come... let us go up... to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths..." (Isaiah 2:3.)
Is there any greater cause than to teach others the gospel so that they may be united in walking in the ways of the God of Israel?
Will we so live His commandments that others will see that the ways of the God of Jacob are distinctive from the world?
That is our challenge. Let us then make his cause our cause. (Ezra Taft Benson, "Zion Shall Flourish Upon the Mountains," Days of '47 Committee Luncheon, Salt Lake City, 24 July 1982).
My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first to keep the commandments of God, as they have been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, p. 50).
Let us reach out to the world in our missionary service, teaching all who will listen concerning the restoration of the gospel; speaking without fear, but also without self-righteousness, of the First Vision; testifying of the Book of Mormon and of the restoration of the priesthood. Let us, brothers and sisters, get on our knees and pray for the opportunity to bring others into the joy of the gospel. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, 2 April 2000).
Missionaries are to testify of Christ and invite all to come unto Him that they might be saved. Providing specific instruction about the Savior is important for those who know little of nothing about Him. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is designed to help all people know that “Jesus is the Christ . . . manifesting Himself unto all nations (title page of the Book of Mormon). One of the most effective ways to teach and testify of the Savior is to read together the Book of Mormon. Passages from other standard works can also be helpful. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 47).
“Just two short years ago, I did not have any purpose in life. When I walked the streets, I was scared that people would ask, ‘How are you?’ Finally, two missionaries helped me find the love of Christ. I will find people who have the same feelings I had and show them the purpose of life.”
Mormon wrote, “Perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moro. 8:16). When prospective missionaries learn of life’s purpose and of the Lord’s love, they gain the courage to act in spite of fears. In doing so, they learn the fears were an illusion, a creation of their minds. The Lord repeatedly assures missionaries that He will give them strength to succeed in the face of obstacles. “He that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom” (D&C 52:17.)
President Harold B. Lee often stated, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.”
One young man spoke to his bishop about his fear that he would not be able to learn the discussions or to teach the gospel. He perceived himself as a poor representative of the Lord. Moses, Jeremiah, Enoch, and others had feelings of inadequacy about their callings. The Lord promised them, however, that he would strengthen them and give them the words that they should say (see Ex. 4:11–12; Jeremiah 1:7–9; Moses 6:32–34.)
Missionaries today have the same promise if they will conquer their fears and open their mouths. “Lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” (D&C 100:5–6). (David B. Haight, “A Spiritual Adventure,” New Era, [June 2000]: 6).
May God bless this great missionary program. May he bless each of us with the spirit of missionary work prompted out of love for our fellowman. I testify that this work is true and that the results of all our efforts today will one day fill the world with wards, stakes, and many millions of our Father's children whose souls are saved in His kingdom. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR A'85, Ensign, 15 [May 1985]: 8).
Missionaries are not alone in benefiting from Preach My Gospel:
• One mission president’s wife studied and pondered every word in Preach My Gospel, including every scriptural reference. She then did something she had lacked the courage to do—she invited a close relative to study and ponder the Book of Mormon. That individual accepted her invitation and has been greatly benefited.
• Another family uses Preach My Gospel to help prepare their children for missions. They reported: “Our 17-year-old was the first to get an assignment. As expected, he looked for the shortest segment in the book. His lesson, however, was a 20-minute heartfelt expression of the principles, complete with scriptures and testimony.”
• From a father preparing a son for missionary service: “Preach My Gospel has … given me perspective and clearer understanding of the purpose of life, my duties and responsibilities as a member of the Church, as a father, and as a husband....It has also given me concrete tools to better pursue that journey.” His son was called to be a missionary yesterday.
Much good has been accomplished in the brief seven months since Preach My Gospel was introduced, but the best is yet to come as we all become more proficient in the use of this extraordinary missionary tool.
I encourage you to use these materials in your presidencies, priesthood executive committee meetings, and ward councils to assure that those who take upon themselves the covenants of baptism receive throughout their lives the full fruits of Church membership. Through the use of the new Progress Record for individuals preparing for baptism, missionary and member efforts can be powerfully coordinated. I am confident that more new converts will find it easier to fulfill their desire to remain active, as members and missionaries work together using the principles in Preach My Gospel. (Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Preach My Gospel,” Ensign, [May 2005]: 29).
Missionaries should do all they can to ensure that converts remain faithful. You may recall that the sons of Mosiah were so effective in their teaching, with “the power of God working miracles in them,” that “as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away” (Alma 23:6). We trust that your efforts will be as fruitful. As you teach potential converts, make sure they have a sufficient foundation of faith, understanding, conviction, and commitment to keep themselves faithful when they become members of the Church. Please be certain there is coordination with the ward mission leader and stake missionaries so that new converts are warmly fellowshipped by ward or branch members. (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997, p. 252).
All fellow members in this most important work--we must not slacken our hands, in this work. Not only is our eternal welfare at stake, but also the eternal welfare of many of our brothers and sisters who are not now members of this Church. (Spencer W. Kimball, "It Becometh Every Man," Ensign, [October 1977]: 7).
I think every member of the Church has the capacity to teach the gospel to nonmembers. I was told the other day of a crippled woman, homebound, who spends her days in a wheelchair, who has been the means of bring thirty-seven people into the Church. . . . We need an awareness, an everyday awareness of the great power that we have to do this thing.
Second, a desire, I think many of us realize that we could do it, but we lack the desire. Let every man single out another, a friend. Let him get on his knees and pray to the Lord to help him bring that man into the Church. I am satisfied as I am of anything that with that kind of prayerful, conscientious, directed effort, there isn’t a man in this Church who could not convert another. . . .
Third, the faith to try. It is so simple. . . . This is not complex. It is simple. We have in the Northern Far East Mission of the Church today a beautiful and capable Japanese girl, born in Honolulu. I said to her, “Were your folks members of the Church?” “No, they were Buddhist.” “How is it then that you are here?” She said, “I had a high school friend who took me to Mutual once a week and then gave me a tract to read.” That girl went on to the University of Hawaii and then to Illinois Wesleyan University, from which school she was graduated. Today she is a missionary in Japan. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Ready to Harvest,” Improvement Era, [July 1961]: 508).