The mission of the Church is to save souls. It is to teach the gospel to those who are willing to listen wherever they may be. . . . There is no greater work.
There is no more important work. There is no more compelling work than this which the God of heaven has given us responsibility for accomplishing”(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 21).
The mission of the Church has also been defined:
“And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear.” (D&C 1:4, 11).
Obedient to that instruction, and from the beginning of the Church, there have been missionaries sent to all parts of the world. Today we have increasing numbers of missionaries, mostly younger men, who have been schooled from their childhood to prepare themselves for a call to serve as missionaries.
From a handful of missionaries, in the early days of the Church, this number has been increased to over 17,000 serving today, each at his own expense, or at the expense of his immediate family, for a period of two or more years, each with a conviction in his heart that one so called has the divinity of his calling in his mind as he may go forth unto any part of the world to which he may be called. (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1973).
He will come with the body of flesh and bones in which His Spirit was tabernacled when he ascended from Mount Olivet. One of the characteristic features of the Church concerning that great, and in the language of the scriptures, both glorious and terrible event, is its nearness. It is close at hand. The mission of the Church is to prepare the earth for the coming of the Lord. (James E. Talmage, Conference Report, April 1916, p. 126).
We mean by the Gospel just what Paul said about it. He said: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth.” (Romans 1:16.) The Savior said that those who rejected it and would not have the Gospel would be damned, or, in other words, would come under very great condemnation. If you do not like the word damned, use the word condemnation, because both words mean exactly the same thing, only one is a little more expressive than the other. And so we find that salvation is to come through obedience to the Gospel. (Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, October 1932, p. 8).
The gospel is nothing to be ashamed of. It is something to be proud of. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” wrote Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:8). Opportunities for sharing the gospel are everywhere. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, [May 1999]: 105–6).
Near of the end of his earthly ministry, the resurrected Jesus instructed his disciples in these 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." (Matthew 28:19-20). That instruction is in force today and is the mandate for General Authorities, missionaries, and other members of the Church to travel to the four corners of the world teaching the gospel.
Proclaiming the gospel to all mankind is a fundamental part of the mission of the Church. As those of you know who have supported full-time missionaries, the Church devotes very substantial resources, in time and money, to missionary work.
This big world is filled with billions of people. Today more than 35,700 full-time missionaries are combing the earth looking for those of our Father's children who will listen to the message of the Restoration. These dedicated servants of the Lord are serving in 221 missions and are teaching the gospel in 64 different languages. We expect that approximately 245,000 converts will baptized during 1988. This number is impressive; however, approximately that same number of people are being born in the world every day. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'88, Ensign, [November 1988]: 28).
We have been called upon to warn the nations. We have been called to go forth without purse or scrip. We have had to travel abroad, swim rivers, wade streams, travel on foot, and visit the nations of the earth in various ways, to preach the Gospel unto them. We have been obligated to do this, for we have been called to do it, whether we were popular or unpopular. If we had not done this, we would have been condemned; the Lord would have cut us off and raised up a people that would perform His work. These thousands of Elders, gathered out from the nations of the earth, upon whose shoulders rests this Priesthood, are instruments in the hands of the Almighty God, and are called to go forth to warn this generation; and their testimony will rise up in judgment against this generation and condemn them, and I declare it in the name of Jesus Christ, as an Apostle of the Lamb of God in this day and age of the world. (Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, 6 April 1890; Deseret Weekly, 40 [6 April 1890]: 532-533).
We have laid upon us as a people a greater charge, a greater responsibility than any other people have ever had in the history of the world. We are responsible for the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who have lived upon the earth, to all who now live upon the earth, and to all who will yet live upon the earth. No other people have had so great a responsibility as that. God bless the faithful Latter-day Saints who carry in their hearts the love and respect of the great doctrine of the eternity of the family, and tremendous doctrine of vicarious work for the dead. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand A Little Taller, Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2001, p. 326).
The mission of the Church, and individually of its members, is to save; to bring back those who are on the path leading to destruction and place them again in the light and peace of fullness of the gospel. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Liahona,The Elders Journal, 30:469).
There must be, in every organization, and especially in a Church possessing the philosophy of man's place in the universe, a great cementing purpose. In the Church of Christ this is the desire to bring about the highest joy for all mankind.
Men's earth-career is designed to enable him to acquire more power, more development, and therefore more joy. In the nature of existence, it is impossible for an intelligent being to attain the highest degree of joy unless other like beings moves along with him. The Great Plan will succeed only if all, or at least a majority of those who accepted it are saved. The Church, a part of the Great Plan, must have as its main purpose the saving of all human beings. All must be saved! The work of the Church cannot be completed until all have at least heard the truth and have been given the chance to accept it. There can be no talk of a few souls before the throne of God, with the many in hell. The great mission of the Church must always be to bring all men into a knowledge and acceptance of the truth. This is the cementing purpose of the Church. (John A. Widtsoe, A Rational Theology, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1915, p. 122).
In the Church we use the word fellowship to describe our efforts (1) to encourage less-active members to return to full activity and (2) to help new converts make the transition into the Church following baptism. I believe those meanings are valid, but to me the word fellowship has a much broader connotation. I believe we members do not have the option to extend the hand of fellowship only to relatives, close friends, certain Church members, and those selected nonmembers who express an interest in the Church. Limiting or withholding our fellowship seems to me to be contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior offered the effects of his atoning sacrifice to all mankind. He said, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (D&C 18:10.)
Can we justify doing less? Let me give you a few examples that illustrate my message.
Near the end of his earthly ministry, the resurrected Jesus instructed his disciples with these 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.” (Matt. 28:19–20.) That instruction is in force today and is the mandate for General Authorities, missionaries, and other members of the Church to travel to the four corners of the world teaching the gospel.
Proclaiming the gospel to all mankind is a fundamental part of the mission of the Church. As those of you know who have supported full-time missionaries, the Church devotes very substantial resources, in time and money, to missionary work.This big world is filled with billions of people.
Today more than 35,700 full-time missionaries are combing the earth looking for those of our Father’s children who will listen to the message of the Restoration. These dedicated servants of the Lord are serving in 221 missions and are teaching the gospel in 64 different languages. We expect that approximately 245,000 converts will be baptized during 1988. This number is impressive; however, approximately that same number of people are being born in the world every day. (M. Russell Ballard, “The Hand of Fellowship,” Ensign, [November 1988, 28).