Sunday, October 7, 2007


Joseph F. Smith, an apostle at age 27

As a missionary, you are expected to keep the commandments willingly, to obey mission rules, and to follow the counsel of your leaders. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom. Strive to be obedient to the Lord, the living prophet, and your mission president. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 122).

They [missionaries] need to live their religion, to go forth with pure hearts and clean hands, and then preach the Gospel by the power of God sent down from heaven. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 9 September 1860, 8:178).

Magnify your calling, keep yourself pure and innocent, and your path shall be clear as the horizon. (Brigham Young, History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 6:325).

No man can proclaim the gospel by the spirit of the Living God unless that man is living his religion. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1937).

No matter how much an individual or family may sacrifice for a mission or anything else, unless missionaries choose obedience, consecrating all of their time, talents, and resources in the service of the Lord while they are in the mission field, they cannot fully realize all the great blessings the Lord has in store for them. (Robert D. Hales, Ensign, [May 1990]: 41).

The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and wholesome lives builds an armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you as you proceed through mortality. (L. Tom Perry, “Called to Serve,” Ensign, [May 1991]: 39).

The importance of obedience came home hard to me soon after I was called to be a General Authority. President Ezra Taft Benson telephoned to assign me to speak at a funeral service for a missionary who had lost his life in the mission field. I believe I felt more anxiety in approaching that assignment than I had felt in preparing to speak in general conference. During the course of my preparation, I called the young man’s mission president and asked, “What kind of an elder was he?
“Outstanding,” the president said, “He could have been given any assignment in our mission, and I knew he would have performed well and faithfully. Brother Ballard, I just didn’t have any finer missionary than this young man.”

What a thrill it was to know that that missionary was living worthy of the celestial kingdom on his mission and to be able to assure his family that all was well with their son. I am sure he did not expect that accident to occur. But it happened. He was alive and well in the morning and gone in the afternoon. Gone where? Back to the presence of our Father in Heaven, to inherit all that the Father has. Do you think it was worth it to him to be an obedient, faithful missionary? Infinitely so. (M. Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 2001), pp. 14-15.

That is what I would like to leave for you to think about. Have a good time. That was the slogan we had in the West European Mission: "Have a good time. I would like you all to have a good time.

I said this to a group of missionaries in Germany one day. After the meeting, one of the missionaries came up to me and he said, "President Tanner, I don't think that it is quite fair for you to tell the missionaries to have a good time. You know, the only way they can have a good time is to do their work." I said, "Well, go and have a good time." (N. Eldon Tanner, BYU Speeches of the Year, March 27, 1963, p. 10).

And they had early learned to know that they received joy from these experiences only when they gave their hearts to the work and regulated their lives to missionary standards. Just as the physicist must control all of the factors of his laboratory to insure the success and reliability of his experiment, they had come to know that it was necessary to conform to definite standards in order to succeed in the work to which they had consecrated their time. ("The Counsel of Authority," in The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 15).

One thing must be observed and be before them all the time, in their meditations, and in their practice, and that is, clean hands and pure hearts before God, angels, and men. If the elders cannot go with clean hands and pure hearts, they had better stay here, and wash a little longer. Don't go thinking when you arrive at the Mississippi, at the Ohio, or at the Atlantic, that you will. Purify yourselves, heads to the soles of your feet, then live so every hour. Go in that manner, and in that manner labor, and return again as clean as a piece of pure, white paper. This is the way to go, and if you do not do that, your hearts will ache. (Brigham Young, 28 August 1852).

Missionaries are called not for individual blessings. They are called to preach the gospel, to represent the Church. The blessings come inevitable as they do their duty, and it is most unfortunate if a young man leave your ward to represent the Church who does so unworthy. It injures him, breaks his parents' hearts, reflects upon the ward, and it might blight some souls who otherwise would come into the Church. (David O, McKay, Conference Report, October 1948, p. 175).

If the missionaries would repent of their sins, pray, and labor diligently (knock), the Lord would be with them, and they should not be confounded. (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 288).