Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Worth of a Soul

Spencer W. Kimball, Northern States Mission

The Prophet Joseph Smith was given the divine message: “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God (D&C 18:10). Such is the philosophy expressed by the Redeemer in the seemingly paradoxical statement “. . . he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). The meaning of this becomes clear in the light of another passage which says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). Just to be associated with men striving toward such an aim is a joy, and to assist them in this quest, an inspiration. If you are true followers of the Savior, you are striving to serve your fellowmen in love. (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1966, p. 108).

There is nothing in all this world that can be compared to the value of a human soul, redeemed, sanctified, and made worthy to receive the blessings of God our Father. There is no investment which you men can put your money or your time into that will pay you so well in time or in eternity as to invest in a human soul, whether that shall be in the missionary field or at home, in the care of those precious ones who have come under our supervision. We have already heard scripture from the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein he declared that the worth of souls is great in his sight, and if we should labor all our days and as the result of that labor bring, save it be but one of those precious souls, how great will be our joy! I know that I need not convert you to the fact that this is a true doctrine, but we constantly need to be appealed to, to be willing to give ourselves and our means in the accomplishment of this, the greatest work there is in all the world. (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October 1925, p. 129).

In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan...We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became not merely the Father's work, and the Savior's work, but also our work. (John A. Widstoe, "The Worth of Souls," Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, [October 1934]: 189-190).

And how are we to determine the value of souls? This matter has been determined for us also by revelation. The souls of men are so precious in the sight of God that He gave to the world His Only Begotten Son, that by the shedding of His blood He might draw all men unto Him. That is why the great Prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith, and these others, John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and the rest, were called to bring souls unto Christ. And if one of these men should labor all his days, and bring save it be one soul unto Christ, and that one should be his wife, what great joy he would have with his wife in heaven. Then if he should labor all his days, and bring unto Christ the souls of his wife and his children, and one else perchance, how great would be his joy in heaven with his wife and children. (Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, 7 April 1901, pp. 7-8).

A single soul saved is of more value than the wealth or intelligence of the world, because without salvation our wealth or intelligence will be of no particular value to us. (Heber J. Grant, Liahona, the Elders' Journal, 21:180).

At present the message of peace is heralded to the world by more than 5000 duly commissioned servants of the Lord, representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mission of these ambassadors is to cry repentance unto this generation as well as to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. Should this message be rejected, the Lord has warned the people as follows:

“For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

“And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

“And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:89-91).

As representatives of our Heavenly Father, we admonish people everywhere to turn unto the Lord and forsake evil, lest His judgments overtake them. Only through a return to the teachings of the Master can peace come to the world and the kingdom of God be made ready for the return of the Prince of Peace to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (The First Presidency: George Albert Smith, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay, Deseret News, [14 December 1949] ).

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord proclaimed to John and Peter Whitmer, "The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people that you may bring souls unto me (D&C 15:6)." Your greatest desire, as newly called mission Presidents, should be to bring souls unto him, converted souls taught by excellent missionaries in your field of labor. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

And when you are preach the gospel on foreign missions,...take a course to save every person. There is no man or woman within the pale of saving grace but that is worth saving. There is no intelligent being, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost, but that is worth, I may say, all the life of an Elder to save in the kingdom of God. (Brigham Young, Discourse, 17 February 1861, in Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-Day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 9:124).

I congratulate you and myself on being engaged in the work of the Lord--the greatest and grandest and most glorious work in which man, angels, or Gods can be engaged. All that we know, all that we have heard that has come from our Father in Heaven and from his Son Jesus Christ, pertains to the salvation of the souls of men. As the Father walked and talked with his servant Moses, He explained to Moses, "behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man [Moses 1:39]." Accordingly a council was called in Heaven where the plan of man's salvation was considered, and Jesus, the First-born of the Father in the spirit, came forward with a proposal to do the will of the Father. Said He: "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever [Moses 4:2]." He was chosen as the Savior of the world and by him, under the direction of the Father, the world was created and made and all things therein. We sanctioned the plan of salvation and our resolves without a doubt were that we would abide by that plan in all particulars, that in the end we might be like our Father and dwell with him in his kingdom; and the morning stars sang, and we, the sons of God, shouted for joy in this great plan, all looking toward the saving of the souls of our Father's children--all of us, for the prophet Joseph tells us that we were all there in the Council of Heaven, that we saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it. Then it is not going too far, I think, to say that this is the noblest work in which even the Gods can be engaged. And what an honor it is, and we should so regard it, to be privileged to work with the Father and for the Father in the accomplishing of his purposes, looking to the saving of souls. I wonder if we fully appreciate this honor. (George F. Richards, Conference Report, April 1943, pp. 63-64).

You remember, the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph: “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and
come unto him” (D&C 18:10-11.)

The Lord said to Moses: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39.) This is our first interest as a Church—to build character, to save and exalt the souls of the children of men. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1953, p. 39).

Missionaries are engaged in the greatest work in all the world--saving the souls of our Father in Heaven's children. They have been called by inspiration and revelation at this time for a sacred and holy purpose. They are serving exactly where the Lord wants them, for them, they are in the best mission of the Church, they cannot fail in this work, and they have been called to succeed and succeed they will. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

We spend most of our time, many of us, seeking the things of this life that we will be compelled to leave when we go from here, yet there are the immortal souls around us whom, if we would, we could teach and inspire to investigate the truth and implant in their hearts a knowledge that God lives. What treasure in all the world could be so precious to us, for we would have their gratitude here and their everlasting and eternal appreciation in the world to come. (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 49-50).

Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were. (Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978, 2:229).

Since baptism is essential there must be an urgent concern to carry the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. That came as a commandment from him. His true servants will be out to convert all who will hear to the principles of the gospel and they will offer them that one baptism which he proclaimed as essential. . . .

The powerful missionary spirit and the vigorous missionary activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becomes a very significant witness that the true gospel and that the authority are possessed here in the Church. We accept the responsibility to preach the gospel to every person on earth. And if the question is asked, "You mean you are out to convert the entire world?" the answer is, "Yes. We will try to reach every living soul."

Some who measure that challenge quickly say, "Why, that's impossible! It cannot be done!" To that we simply say, "Perhaps, but we shall do it anyway." (Boyd K. Packer, CR O'75, Ensign, [November 1975]: 97).