Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our Message

Ezra Taft Benson (second from left) British Mission

Our elders are commanded to go out and find these people; to find the honest, the meek, the humble, and the people who want to know about God. We are sent out with this message to the inhabitants of the earth--to proclaim the glad tidings that the silence which has been unbroken for so many centuries has at last been broken and that God has revealed himself; that he has restored the everlasting gospel in its perfection, with the Holy Priesthood; that he has organized his church according to the ancient pattern. Our elders constantly bear this message and this testimony to the inhabitants of the earth. (George Q. Cannon, "The Spirit of God," Deseret Weekly, [Saturday, 1 October 1892]: 451).

It is a glorious work to carry the message of salvation, to bring souls, honest souls, into the knowledge of the truth and into the Church of Christ, to baptize them for the remission of their sins, and their sins are washed away; as the water washes their bodies, so their souls are cleansed, their spiritual being is cleansed and revived, and they are born unto Christ Jesus, and become part of him, or of his body, the Church; and then by the laying on of hands to confer upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost as a gift from God, the Holy Spirit to be with them as a constant witness, as the abiding testimony, as the light of God, lit up in their souls, and to enable them to come near to the Lord and receive the revelations of his will concerning themselves, but not to govern the Church unless they are so appointed. . .

People of different languages and countries and customs, to whom I have had the privilege of bearing my testimony, who have embraced the Gospel, have received this one spirit, which gives the testimony of Jesus, and it is a reality. . . .

It is the light from the Sun of Righteousness. It is the glory that shines around about them. It fills the soul with peace. It gives them an abiding witness of the life and death and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the divine authority of the elders of Israel who bear this priesthood, and it is a real thing in the soul of man. (Charles W. Penrose, October 1918, p. 20).

This cause in which we are engaged is not an ordinary cause. It is the cause of Christ. It is the kingdom of God our Eternal Father. It is the building of Zion on the earth, the fulfillment of prophecy given of old and a vision revealed in this dispensation. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand A Little Taller, Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2001, p. 119).

The ultimate goal of missionary work in the Church is to invite all the inhabitants of the earth to come unto Christ. Six billion people throughout the world are waiting to hear the message of the restored gospel. We are the people so blessed with the charge and responsibility to carry forth that invitation and message. (David B. Haight, “A Spiritual Adventure,” New Era, [June 2000]: 6).

From the time that Moses came, or shortly afterwards, the elders of the Church began to go to Europe and to the islands of the sea, carrying the message of the restored gospel, and wherever they preached it, and whosoever received it, the spirit of gathering seized their hearts. Then we find the most wonderful thing that has ever occurred in the history of this world, for it then transpired that ‘one of a city and two of a family,” from all the nations of the earth, were leaving the homes of their nativity, their homeland, their families, journeying in the long voyages at that time, because of the slow-sailing vessel methods of crossing the water, to this land. Your presence here is proof that some power heretofore unknown among men has been in operation. For no such gathering like the Latter-day Saints is known elsewhere in the history of the world.

Then there is something very remarkable in the manner of that gathering and the circumstances under which these, our brethren and sisters, our fathers and grandsires, came across the waters from the many lands of the earth to this land of Joseph, the land America. It is true there has scarcely been a month elapse since the time of the first sailing of the Saints, between sailings from some part of the world; so that ships were sailing almost constantly on some of the seven seas, bearing these Saints of God who were coming up to the gathering place appointed for the seed of Joseph in the latter days. Notwithstanding their frequency upon the seas and the dangers constantly apparent. I am informed, nevertheless, that so far as the record goes no ships have gone down on the seas with “Mormon” emigrants or elders coming up to the land of Zion. So remarkable has been this record that it is said that old sea captains looked upon the presence of “Mormon” missionaries or gathering Saints as a better guarantee of safety than any insurance policy. (Melvin J. Ballard, Salt Lake Tabernacle, 28 December1919).

Among my own ancestors, among your ancestors, among all the ancestors of all the members of this church there were people of this description, living up to the light that they had, worshipping God to the best of their knowledge, receiving from God a portion of His Holy Spirit, filled with good thoughts and holy aspirations, leading mortal lives, and doing unto their neighbors what they would have their neighbors do unto them. The earth had many, many such people in it, and the various sects had these people in them. And so it is today. Our Elders are commanded to go out and find these people; to find the honest, the meek, the humble, and the people who want to know about God. We are sent out with this message to the inhabitants of the earth—to proclaim glad tidings that the silence which has been unbroken for so many centuries has at last been broken and that God has revealed himself; that He has restored the everlasting Gospel in its perfection with the Holy Priesthood; that He has organized His Church according to the ancient pattern. Our Elders constantly bear this message and this testimony to the inhabitants of the earth. (George Q. Cannon, Salt Lake Tabernacle, 18 September 1892).

Remember, we proclaim to the world a message, the message of the restoration. This message is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that salvation is in him, that because of his atoning sacrifice all men are raised in immortality, and those who believe and obey his laws are raised unto eternal life. This message is that in our day, primarily through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, there has been a restoration of the knowledge of Christ and the knowledge of salvation. And this message is, further, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as now constituted, is the Church and kingdom of God on earth, the one place were salvation is found, the place where men can come to learn the eternal verities in the fields of religion and salvation. (Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, April 1965, pp. 27-28).

The message you carry is a precious and wonderful message. There is no greater message in all the world than this of which you bear testimony. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Mission Presidents' Seminar, Church News, 3 July 1999).

Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think that the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church. When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it. There is no escaping from that. No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received. We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth. That involves our family history and temple work. We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work. And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth. No one ever received a greater or more compelling mandate than we of this Church have received, and we'd better be getting at it. I see that it did so much for me, far greater than the time spent, two years. The things that happened in my life transcend so many other values. I am here today because of that mission, and I plead with you now to make the most of your missions. (Gordon B. Hinckley, New Mission Presidents' Seminar, Church News, 3 July 1999).

The message and commission to these brethren is also of the greatest interest, in many respects similar to the commission the Savior gave his disciples when he sent them forth in their ministry throughout the land of Palestine. Whenever they entered a house and were received, they were to leave their blessing. From such houses as would not receive them and their message, they were to depart speedily, shaking off the dust of their feet as a testimony against them. They were to remember also that one important duty which they were to fulfill and that was to be sure and bear testimony in every instance. If they performed their labors sincerely, humbly and diligently bearing witness of the restoration, then it would be more tolerable for the heathen in the day of judgment, than for that house which rejected the message. If no warning had been left, however, then the judgment would be pronounced against the servant who was expected to deliver it. This statement that it would be more tolerable for the heathen should be considered. If the heathen are to be judged without law and assigned to the terrestrial kingdom (D&C 45:54; 76:72), then the chances for those who rejected the message would imply that they may find themselves in a lower kingdom, when the judgment comes. The elders who delivered the message were also assigned to be judges in the day of judgment against those who rejected their testimony. Missionaries of the Church should realize this fact. They are sent to warn the world, and when they faithfully do their duty, they will stand as witnesses against those who reject them, but if they fail to perform their duty, then those unto whom the message should have been given, will stand up as accusers in their turn, and the unfaithful servants will be condemned. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols., Salt Lake City: Council of the Twelve Apostles, 1957-1950, 2:46-47).

Who have rejected this gospel? The indifferent, those would not take the trouble to investigate it, those who would not take the trouble to bow in submission before and Lord and ask His testimony concerning it, those who thought it beneath them, those who have been too proud, or too rich or too well situated or who for some other reason, have failed to take any interest in this work; these are they who are not members of this Church and who have failed to obey this gospel when they heard it preached in its simplicity and its purity amongst the nations of the earth. Well, now, will this condemnation fall upon this generation because of their inattention to these things. Judgments and calamities will be visited upon the inhabitants of the earth in consequence of neglecting the word of God written in the Scriptures, and also the word of God to His servant in these days. (George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1855-1886, 3 August 1879, 2: 248).

Never have we had the opportunity which we have today to get our message before the world. Almost all over the world the Church is well-spoken of. Never has it been so easy to get a gospel conversation. Never has the Christian world been weaker than it is today. Never has there been a need, such a great need, for what we have. We must share the gospel with others. That is our responsibility--every member a missionary. That is the call of prophets of God. (Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake Utah Emigration Stake Conference, 2 February 1975).

To preach repentance to the world, to say nothing but repentance unto this generation, is in fact an instruction to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified; it is an invitation to have faith in the Lord and to receive a remission of sins by baptism and the Holy Ghost. That is the only way that repentance operates. Repentance is not just reformation. It follows faith. It includes turning to the Lord and keeping his commandments so as to gain a remission of sins by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. (Bruce R. McConkie, "Seven Steps to More and Better Converts," Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 21 June 1975).

A hundred and thirty years ago, when the elders were assembled in conference to determine whether the revelations should be published to the world, the Lord saw fit to give revelation to his Church, which was also directed to the world. He referred to it as his “Preface” or his “Introduction to His Book of Commandments,” and it is the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants (Section 1:1-2, 4-5).
So our message is a world message. It is intended for all of our Father’s children. When God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ saw fit to come here to earth and appear to the boy prophet, surely such a visitation was intended to bless all of our Father’s children. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1961, pp. 113-114).

The message is divine. I think our keynote was sounded by our Lord and our Savior, who stands at the head of the great army of missionaries worldwide. After His Resurrection, He appeared to His 11 disciples. He could have given them any counsel, any expression, any warning that He chose to give. But what did he say? It’s recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. He said as follows:

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

“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. Amen.”

What a promise! If we respond affirmatively to that sacred call, that binding authority. “I will be with you always, even unto the end of the world.” I can’t think of a greater promise.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said simply this:

“After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (History of the Church, 2:478).

What is the gospel? It is the message we take, a message that declares that an angel flew in the midst of heaven and that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored. If we’ll remember that and the other elements of the message missionaries bear, we’ll be effective. In that message is the Book of Mormon, which is part and parcel of every missionary’s library—internal, what he knows, and external, what he teaches.
The Book of Mormon, the true nature of the Godhead—the world hungers for this message. It’s part of that which missionaries will take to the people.

Another element that I have found very important is that the Church is based on a foundation of Apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone (see Ephesians 2:20). And we emphasize a “living” prophet today. I testify that President Hinckley is such a living prophet—the prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church.

If I could put my finger on that portion of the gospel which seems to penetrate a broader range of the people and penetrate more deeply their hearts and their souls and move them to action, it’s the plan of salvation, or our Heavenly Father’s plan—-where we came from, why we’re here, where we go when we leave mortality.
It’s been my observation that the stumbling block for investigators is not the Word of Wisdom. It isn’t Sabbath day observance. It’s a testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. It’s very important that we declare that message. The message is divine. Remember that. (Thomas S. Monson, “The Five M’s of Missionary Work,” New Era [March 2007]: 42-43).

The gospel of Jesus Christ defines both your message and your purpose; that is, it provides both the “what” and the “why” of missionary work. The Savior defined His gospel to include some very vital and basic doctrines. He came into the world to do His Father’s will, and His Father sent Him into the world to be lifted up on the cross. By His Atonement and Resurrection, all men will be lifted up to stand before Christ to be judged of their works, whether they be good or evil. Those who exercise faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and are baptized in Christ’s name can be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. If they endure to the end, they will stand spotless before Christ at the last day and will enter into the rest of the Lord. Christ will hold them guiltless before the Father. He will be their Mediator and Advocate. Those who do not endure in faithfulness to the end, will be “cast into the fire . . .
because of the justice of the Father.” (See 3 Nephi 27:13-22; compare 2 Nephi 31:10-21; 3 Nephi 11:31-41; D&C 76:40-42, 50-53). Missionaries are to go “in the power of the ordination wherewith [they have] been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel” (D&C 79:1). You have authority to preach the gospel. If you hold the priesthood, you have the authority to administer the ordinances thereof. As you prayerfully and worthily exercise that authority, you will receive spiritual power, which is evident of the reality of your call. Do not be afraid or shy about fulfilling this commission. Just as the sons of Mosiah, you are to teach with the power and authority of God (see Alma 1:2-3). (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 5).

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way. . .that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth” (1 Nephi 3:7).

We ask tremendous things of missionaries. It is so hard for shy and diffident young people to do the things we sometimes ask them to do. But what a marvelous thing that they try. They have the faith to do, the faith to act, the faith to go forward and make the effort. And what a marvelous gift that is to bring home. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field,” New Era, [March 2007]: 4).

Each of us must receive the word of Christ through the scriptures and the teachings of his chosen servants. We then exercise faith in the word by repenting and being baptized, thus preparing ourselves to receive the cleansing and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost in our lives. We invite each of you, if you have not already done so, to listen prayerfully to the message of our missionaries. (Howard W. Hunter, "An Apostle's Witness of Christ," Ensign, [January 1984]: 71).

When you listen carefully to others, you understand them better. When they know that their thoughts and feelings are important to you, they are more likely to be receptive to your teachings, share personal experiences, and make commitments. As you listen, you will be able to more effectively adapt your teaching to their needs and interests.

Especially listen for the whispering of the Spirit. As others share their feelings with you, thoughts or ideas may enter your mind that are directed by the Spirit. You will also be able to understand what others are trying to express.

While others talk to you, avoid the tendency to think about what you are going to say. Make sure you are really concentrating on the person speaking rather than planning your response. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “More important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more. . . . If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given us—by the Spirit and by our friends” (“Witnesses unto Me, “ Ensign,, May 2001, 15; italics in original).

People also communicate by the way they sit, their facial expressions, what they do with their hands, their tone of voice, and the movements of their eyes. Observe these unspoken messages; they can help you understand the feelings of those you teach. Also be aware of your own body language. Send a message of interest and enthusiasm by listening sincerely.

Do not be afraid of silence. People often need time to think about and reply to questions or to express what they are feeling. You might pause after you have asked a question, after sharing a spiritual experience, or when people are having difficulty expressing themselves. Be sure to give people time to complete their thoughts before you respond and do not interrupt them while they are talking.

When you feel that you understand what is being said, make comments that show you understand, such as “So what you are saying is _______ . Is that right?” or “If I understand, you are feeling that ______ .” When you are not sure if you understand ask the person for clarification.

Some people may tend to dominate the conversation and keep you from teaching the restored gospel. You will need to learn to tactfully take control of such situations. For example, “We appreciate what you are sharing with us, but that is an issue we would like to discuss later. I will ask my companion to write it down so we will be sure not to forget to treat it on a later visit.” Remember, you will help people most by teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, pp. 185-186).

I think I have been a missionary all my life--ever since I was a small boy. I remember one of the first books that I read as a boy that impressed me was the Life of the Prophet Joseph Smith by George Q. Cannon. That book made such an impression upon my mind and caused me in my heart to have such a love for the Prophet Joseph and such a testimony of the truth of his story that I have felt I wanted to tell it to all the world ever since that time.

I was very much thrilled with President [Spencer W.] Kimball's closing remarks in our meeting last Thursday with the Regional Representatives of the Twelve, for he said that he looks for the day when we will bring in thousands of converts. Then I said to myself: Why not? We have the greatest message in all this world. The message we have for the world today is just as important in the sight of the Lord for all of his children as the message was that Peter delivered on the day of Pentecost, when the multitudes were pricked in their hearts and they cried out: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). You remember Peter's answer:

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the mane of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:38-39).

Could there be any greater offer to a searcher after the truth today than to answer the same call that Peter gave to those people upon that occasion when 3,000 were baptized? (LeGrand Richards, CR A'75, Ensign, [May 1975]: 95).

Missionaries, mostly young men, untrained in the ways of the world, go forth with this message of salvation and confound the great and the mighty, because they love the truth. They are proclaiming this gospel; the honest and sincere are hearing it and are repenting of their sins and coming into the church. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1953, p. 20).

Our great need, and our great calling, is to bring to the people of this world the candle of understanding to light their way out of obscurity and darkness and into the joy, peace, and truths of the gospel.

I believe we must not weary in our well-doing. I believe it is time again to ask ourselves the question, what can I do to help take the gospel to others and to the inhabitants of this world? (Spencer W. Kimball, "Are We Doing All We Can?" Ensign, [February 1983]: 5).

You are the heralds of salvation to mankind. The message which you bear must first be understood and observed by you in person, in order that you may the more effectively establish the word in the hearts of others. You have no time to lose. Every moment should be occupied by study or by the proclamation of the word of God. (Joseph F. Smith, Liahona, the Elders' Journal 13:424).

I am well aware of the fact that some people take a little umbrage at what they think is presumption on our part in sending missionaries amongst them. They think that we should labor as some of the churches of the day labor, amongst the semi-civilized people of heathen nations, who have not come yet to recognize a knowledge of the Lord and Savior of men. We send our missionaries not only to such, but also to those who count themselves enlightened Christians. Our missionaries go with a message, not with a command. They go in the spirit of persuasion, asking only a hearing, a respectful hearing; for they have something of worth to present. Our missionary system would scarcely be justified had we nothing definite to present, nothing more than minor differences in ritual or creed such as distinguishes some of the great denominations of the day. I would not blame people becoming impatient over such relative trifles; but we have something that can be found amongst no other people upon the face of the earth. (James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1924, p. 138).

We do not send missionaries out to assail or attack members of other churches, or the sects and denominations as organized bodies. We send them out to preach the positive doctrine of the restored gospel, which is the doctrine of the ancient gospel, speaking thus of the gospel according to the period of its preaching upon the earth. (James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1924, p. 139).

The Church of Christ, through its multitude of missionaries, goes out into the world to remove ignorance and superstition, to let in the light of truth for the freedom of mankind. (Stephen L. Richards. Deseret News, [Saturday, 27 April 1929]: Section 3, p. V).

Having received the gospel in its fullness, with the authority to administer the ordinances to the willing and worthy convert, the Latter-Day Saints are armed as soldiers of the cross, and, with our trust in God, we are resolved on going forward, knowing that our cause is just and true, and that the truth will ultimately prevail. (George F. Richards, "The Power of Restored Truth," Deseret News, [Saturday, 21 February 1925]: Section 3, p. VII).

There is no more welcome voice to the honest in heart than the voice of the true messenger preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1961, p. 34).

We need missionaries to match our message. (Ezra Taft Benson, "The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God," Regional Representatives’ Seminar, Provo, Utah, 4 April 1986).

We are the messengers, and we have the acceptable message. (Spencer W. Kimball, Area Conference Report, August 1974, p. 141).

If I but had a way of sending a message to the homes the missionaries visit and the people they contact in their labors, I would appeal to them--all of them--to listen with an open mind, and with a measure of patience. I can assure any who will, that preconceived prejudices will disappear, and appreciation and gratitude will arise for the unselfish, friendly service of these ambassadors of truth. (Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1954, p. 96).

The Elders of Israel especially feel the prejudices of people bearing down upon their spirits; but when they once open their mouths and say that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, such a flood of light at once comes upon them, that they are ready to ask no odds of all the world. (Brigham Young, Special Elders Conference, 29 August 1852 quoted in The Mind and Will of the Lord, Brigham Young, compiled by Harold W. Pease, Springville, UT.: Bonneville Books, 1998, p. 95).

With the opportunities all around us, why should we fear? The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation. All people need it in their lives. The gospel will make new people out of them. It changes and transforms their lives as they live it. People who receive the gospel deeply into their hearts are not the same. They change. And to every person, family, nation, and people which open its heart or borders to the gospel will come unbelievable blessings. There will come joy and peace to all recipients, and eternal life to those who accept and magnify gospel teachings. (Spencer W. Kimball, "Are We Doing All We Can?" Ensign, [February 1983]: 4).

Our message is a world message. The obligation is ours. The Lord expects us to carry his message to the inhabitants of the earth. Possibly never before in the history of the world, has there been a greater need for the simple, but divine message of the restored gospel. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, 7 April 1945, p. 110).

The message we declare includes the glorious assurance that in the end righteousness, peace, and happiness will come to the inhabitants of the earth. (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1964, p. 126).

Our great mission is to declare this message with such simple clarity and inspired conviction that men of all lands will hearken, investigate, and obtain a saving witness for themselves. (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1964, p. 126).

The appearance of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ to the boy prophet is the greatest event that has occurred in this world since the resurrection of the Master. As the restored Church of Jesus Christ, we humbly and gratefully bear this witness to all men. This message is a world message. It is the truth, intended for all of our Father's children. Members of the Church throughout the world bear this solemn testimony.

Today thousands of faithful missionaries throughout the nations freely carry this all-important message to the world. Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of mankind, the Redeemer of the world, the very Son of God. He is the God of this world, our advocate with the Father. Today these missionary-messengers of truth and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormon Church--bear witness that God has again spoken from the heavens, that Jesus Christ has appeared again unto man, that the resurrection is a reality. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 26).

You will find so-called Mormonism to be a growing, vibrant, dynamic, and challenging church, indeed a way of life, touching upon every avenue of living, every facet of life.

By divine commandment we are a proselyting church. ...missionaries are abroad in the world today, unselfishly giving of their time, means, and talents to spread this message of the restoration. They are in most nations of the free world. Their message is to all mankind everywhere--to the world of the Catholic, the Protestant, all the so-called Christian world; to the world of the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Jew, the Shintoist, the follower of Confucius--to all people of all races and all creeds.

We invite all to heed the message of the Latter-day Saint missionaries. No message you will ever hear will have greater impact for good in your lives, both here in mortality and in the hereafter. (Spencer W. Kimball, CR A'76, Ensign, [May 1976]: 7).

The appearance of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ to the boy prophet is the greatest event that has occurred in this world since the resurrection of the Master. As the restored Church of Jesus Christ, we humbly and gratefully bear this witness to all men. This message is a world message. It is the truth, intended for all of our Father's children. Members of the Church throughout the world bear this solemn testimony.

Today thousands of faithful missionaries throughout the nations freely carry this all-important message to the world. Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of mankind, the Redeemer of the world, the very Son of God. He is the God of this world, our advocate with the Father. Today these missionary-messengers of truth and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormon Church--bear witness that God has again spoken from the heavens, that Jesus Christ has appeared again unto man, that the resurrection is a reality. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 26).

Our message to the world today is the restoration of the gospel. Paul said, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8)." Now that is quite a statement, but Paul was not at all backward in indicating what he thought of those who didn't teach the truth that had come to them through the Savior and his teachings.

Now I realize, as I stand here today before this great multitude and all those who are listening in on television and radio, that I will come under the damnation that Paul spoke of, if I am not preaching the same gospel that Paul preached; but I bear witness to you today that we have the only true, living church upon the face of the earth that the Lord recognizes that has divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. (LeGrand Richards, CR A'75, Ensign, [May 1975]: 95).

I wonder if we really appreciate the great importance of the missionary system of the church. I have often said to me it is the greatest organization or institution in the world---without it the kingdom could not be built. (LeGrand Richards, Conference Report, October 1953, p. 78).

I couldn't help thinking as I sat through these meetings: Isn't it really a pity that it is so hard for truth to get its boots on and to be able to reach the honest in heart of the earth? If they just knew what we have--if their eyes were opened to see and understand! How wonderful it would be for all of our Father's children who really want to do right, if they could know the truth, instead of having to wait, many of them, to get it, possibly in the eternal worlds....

And I thought, if the world could only know how the Lord has crammed the earth with heaven, and how every common bush is afire with God, through the restoration of the gospel. We have heard it referred to today. "A marvelous work and a wonder." (LeGrand Richards, Conference Report, April 1950, p. 107).

You may be asked, as our missionaries often are, why they are trying to force a new religion on people who already are Christians instead of trying to convert those who do not believe in Christ.

Our answer to the world is the same as that given by Isaiah in the Old Testament when he foretold the apostasy. These are the words: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (Isaiah 24:5.)

Yes, the apostasy made necessary a restoration of the gospel, and we now have the same organization, that existed in the church which Christ established, and we teach again the same gospel which he taught, and we have the same responsibility which he gave to his disciples to take the gospel to all nations, kindred tongues, and people. (See D&C 133:37). (N. Eldon Tanner, Buenos Aires Area Conference, 9 March 1975, p. 56).

I further wish to state to the Twelve and to the Seventies, and to the Elders that they are not responsible for the reception or the rejection by the world of that word which God has given to them to communicate. It is proper for them to use all necessary diligence and fidelity, and to plainly and intelligently, and with prayer and faith, go forth as messengers to the nations, as the legates of the skies, clothed upon with authority of the Holy Priesthood. . . .

And when they have performed their labors and fulfilled their duties, their garments are free from the blood of this generation, and the people are then left in the hands of God their Heavenly Father. For the people...will be held responsible to God for their rejection of the gospel, and not to us. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1855-1886, 24:289).

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).

There can be no greater or more important calling for man than that 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, Millennial Star 37 [1875]: 408).