Quotes on Missionary Work

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 (History of the Church, 4:540). — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, July 1995, p. 15

It is well also that we keep in mind that it is all one great program on both sides of the veil and it is not too important whether we serve here or over there, as long as we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  (President Ezra Taft Benson) – President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1993, p. 5

In 1907, the First Presidency presented to the general conference a declaration which includes this statement:  “Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and earth-bound; we contemplate the human race, past, present and yet to come, as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God, we devote ourselves, now, and forever.”  (In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, appendix, p. 16.) – President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, November 1991, p. 18

President George Albert Smith so lovingly suggested:  “We have come not to take away from you the truth and virtue you possess.  We have come not to find fault with you nor to criticize you.  We have not come here to berate you because of things you have not done; but we have come here as your brethren . . . and to say to you: ‘Keep all the good that you have, and let us bring to you more good, in order that you may be happier and in order that you may be prepared to enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father.'”  (Sharing the Gospel with Others, comp. Preston Nibley, Salt Lake City:  Deseret News Press, 1948, pp. 12-13) — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, November 1991, p. 19

My mission was like going into warp speed.  I went in somewhat aimlessly and came out focused, fixed, determined to serve the Lord and all the people I could.  It just changed me forever.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Church News, July 9, 1994, p. 6

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, Wentworth Letters, March 1, 1842; History of the Church, Volume 4, p. 536

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 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.  (Elder George Albert Smith, Conference Report, Oct. 1916, pp. 50-51) Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 12

If the blessings for missionary couples and their families are so plentiful, why are only a few thousand serving instead of the tens of thousands that are so desperately needed?  I believe the four F’s often stand in their way:  Fear, Family concerns, Finances, and Finding the right mission opportunity.

. . .The Lord has said, If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.  Your life is your preparation.  You have valuable experience.  You have raised a family and served in the Church.  Just go and be yourselves.  The Lord has promised that angels will go before you.  You will be told by the Spirit what to say and when to say it in a very natural process as you strengthen young missionaries, testify to investigators and new members, teach leadership skills, and friendship and fellowship less-active members, helping them return to full activity.  You are the testimony, and you will touch the lives of those with whom you come in contact.  Couples normally do not tract and are not expected to memorize discussions or maintain the same schedule as young elders and sisters.  Simply be yourself.  Serve to the best of your ability, and the Lord will bless you. — Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2001 General Conference

Above all else we can live the gospel.  Surely there is no more powerful missionary message we can send to this world than the example of a loving and happy Latter-day Saint life.  The manner, the smile and kindness of a faithful member of the Church brings a warmth and an outreach which no missionary tract or videotape can convey.  People do not join the Church because of what they know.  They join because of what they feel, what they see and want spiritually.  Our spirit of testimony and happiness in that regard will come through to others if we let it.  As the Lord said to Alma and the sons of Mosiah, “Go forth . . . that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.”. . .

When the Lord delivers a person to your view, just chat – about anything.  You can’t miss.  You don’t have to have a prescribed missionary message.  Your faith, your happiness, the very look on your face is enough to quicken the honest in heart. . . . The gospel will just tumble out.  You won’t be able to contain yourself! — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2001 General Conference

Members model what it truly means to be a Latter-day Saint.  Members’ example of the gospel in action has a powerful effect because it makes the restored gospel become much more relevant, meaningful, convincing, and desirable to those observing them.  For example, nonmembers who observe your lifestyle and behavior learn a great deal about your impressive Christian values and are inspired by the fruits of the gospel exhibited in your life.  Therefore, every member should radiate the joy, the confidence, and the warmth of being a part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. — Elder M. Russell Ballard speaking at the MTC, August 29, 1999

I plead with you . . . that you will put your arms around those who come into the Church and be friends to them and make them feel welcome and comfort them and we will see wonderful results.  The Lord will bless you to aid in this great process. . . . — President Gordon B. Hinckley speaking to the saints in Maracaibo, Venezuela

Some who do not understand our spiritual roots are baffled by our missionary program.  They cannot believe young women are willing to devote one and a half years and young men two years to teach religious principles under a rigorous daily schedule with the highest standards of personal discipline while forgoing dating and all other private interests.  Nor can they fathom why such youth work to finance their missions, at times with the help of family or friends, when they cannot choose where or with whom they will serve.

Such youth are joined by couples who leave comfortable homes, grandchildren, and recreation, often multiple times, for distant parts of the world to live under the most humble circumstances.  A few learn a foreign language; many experience vastly different cultures, accepting challenges they are not sure they can cope with.  Yet these youth and couples return from service given at great personal sacrifice, thanking the Lord for the privilege. There is nothing like it in the world. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Correct Principles,” Ensign, May 1993, p. 32

What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the church. . . . We don’t need spiritually weak and semi-committed young men.  We don’t need you to just fill a position – we need our whole heart and soul. . . . This isn’t a time for spiritual weaklings.  We cannot send you on a mission to be reactivated, reformed or to receive a testimony.  We just don’t have time for that. . . . These expectations are high.  We understand that, but we do not apologize for them.  They reflect the Lord’s standards.

If you find yourself wanting in worthiness, resolve to make the appropriate changes, beginning right now. . . . The bar that is the standard for missionary service is being raised.  The day of the “repent and go” missionary is over. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 6, 2002

If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness.  We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.  (Ensign, Nov. 1991, 59) — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “Come to Zion! Come to Zion!” Ensign, November 2002, p. 95

Elder [J. Golden] Kimball’s introductory meeting with President [B. H.] Roberts was a memorable one, providing him and his companions with a missionary challenge from an unexpected direction.

“The first time I ever saw Elder Roberts was either in Cincinnati or St. Louis.  He had been chosen as president of the Southern States Mission to succeed John Morgan.  I left for Chattanooga, Tennessee, with 27 elders assigned to the Southern States.  There were all kinds of elders in the company – farmers, cowboys, few educated – a pretty hard-looking crowd, and I was one of that kind.  The elders preached, and talked, and sang, and advertised loudly their calling as preachers.  I kept still for once in my life; I hardly opened my mouth.  I saw a gentleman on the train.  I can visualize that man now.  I didn’t know who he was.  He knew we were a band of Mormon elders. The elders soon commenced a discussion and argument with the stranger, and before he got through they were in grave doubt about their message of salvation.  He gave them a training that they never forgot.  That man proved to be President B. H. Roberts.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1933, p. 42) — Max Nolan, “J. Golden Kimball in the South,” New Era, July 1985, p. 6

“When I arose to speak at Brother Benbow’s house, a man entered the door and informed me that he was a constable, and had been sent by the rector of the parish with a warrant to arrest me.  I asked him, ‘For what crime?’  He said, ‘For preaching to the people.’  I told him that I, as well as the rector, had a license for preaching the gospel to the people, and that if he would take a chair I would wait upon him after meeting.  He took my chair and sat beside me.  For an hour and a quarter I preached the first principles of the everlasting gospel.  The power of God rested upon me, the spirit filled the house, and the people were convinced.  At the close of the meeting I opened the door for baptism, and seven offered themselves.  Among the number were four preachers and the constable.  The latter arose and said, ‘Mr. Woodruff, I would like to be baptized.’  I told him I would like to baptize him.  I went down into the pool and baptized the seven.  We then came together. I confirmed thirteen, administered the Sacrament, and we all rejoiced together.

“The constable went to the rector and told him that if he wanted Mr. Woodruff taken for preaching the gospel, he must go himself and serve the writ; for he had heard him preach the only true gospel sermon he had ever listened to in his life.  The rector did not know what to make of it, so he sent two clerks of the Church of England as spies, to attend our meeting, and find out what we did preach.  They both were pricked in their hearts, received the word of the Lord gladly, and were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The rector became alarmed, and did not venture to send anybody else.” — As cited in Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, p. 118; Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis-2 Samuel, pp. 279-80

 I . . . 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. . . . He has endowed them . . . with authority to call upon men to repent of their sins, and to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and then He has told them to lay hands on the people thus believing, and thus being baptized, and to confer upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, 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, as before stated, will be held responsible to God for their rejection of the Gospel, and not to us. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 24:289

It is estimated that it took 117 years, from 1830 to 1947, to attain one million members. Then it took sixteen years, from 1947 to 1963, to reach the second million members, and then nine years, 1963 to 1972, to attain the third million.  It will probably take about four or five years to move up to the four million mark, and then we can guess what the future holds.

What does this mean to us?  It means that if the members of the Church do real proselyting in their home wards that the number of converts could grow to astronomical figures and even hasten the time when the Lord will be returning to the earth in His second advent.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1976, p. 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 4) Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 244

Once the disparity in knowledge between Latter-day Saints and the rest of the world begins to sink in, Elder Ballard said he thinks Church members will need to place increased focus on sharing the gospel with as many people as possible.

“We have a big job ahead of us,” Elder Ballard said. “We have a tremendous responsibility as members of the Church.  We’re going to have to learn to be more effective in our ability to share what we know to be true with the world. . . .

“Somehow if we could get into our minds how much we have because of the gospel, we would be shouting from the rooftops the message of the Restoration, the light and knowledge that we are blessed to live by because of the Restoration.” — M. Russell Ballard, “Treasure Truth and Prepare for the Future,” Church News, February 13, 2010, p. 3; from fireside address at BYU-Idaho, January 30, 2010

When others disagree with our stand we should not argue, retaliate in kind, or contend with them. . . . Ours is to explain our position through reason, friendly persuasion, and accurate facts.  Ours is to stand firm and unyielding on the moral issues of the day and the eternal principles of the gospel, but to contend with no man or organization.  Contention builds walls and puts up barriers.  Love opens doors. . . . Contention never was and never will be an ally of progress. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1978, pp. 7-8

In explaining the purpose of the missionaries in Europe and throughout the world, he would often say, “Keep all the good things that you have, keep all that God has given you that enriches your life, and then let us share something with you that will add to your happiness and increase your satisfaction.”  (Conf. Report, Oct. 1950, 8) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 28

. . . in a little while you will find another prophecy will be fulfilled, and that is the prophecy that Jesus made to the three Nephites who, having power over death, are still living upon this continent.  He spoke to them of a time when they would perform a great and mighty work among the Gentiles; and that has not yet been fulfilled, but it will be.  You will find that many districts where the Elders of Israel cannot reach will be penetrated by these men who have power over death. . . . My testimony is that these men are going abroad in the nations of the earth before the face of your sons, and they are preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive the Gospel.  They are administering to those who are heirs of salvation, and preparing their hearts to receive the truth, just as the farmer prepares the soil to receive the seed.  The Lord has promised that He would send his angels before the face of His servants, and He does so. — John W. Taylor [apostle and son of Pres. John Taylor], Conference Report, October 1902, p. 75

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 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. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51

We have a calling, not merely to build the Church of Christ and to save ourselves therein, but also a commission to save the whole world.  We are, as it were, set apart, consecrated for that great purpose.   All of Israel must remember, every man or woman who enters the waters of baptism must keep in mind, and every child that comes into the Church must be taught that by the ordinance of baptism we accept the great and divine commission to serve the Lord in building his Church. It will then be easy to keep the commandments of God, to lay aside or meet courageously the temptations that face us.  To stand alone, saying selfishly, “I have received the gospel; it is good to be a Latter-day Saint” will not be doing our duty; but, when we say, “Now, I have received this great blessing.  I shall pass it on to others”; there comes the flowering in the hearts of men of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, October 1946, p. 14

If we truly understood the Atonement and the eternal value of each soul, we would seek out the wayward boy and girl and every other wayward child of God.  We would help them to know of the love Christ has for them.  We would do all that we can to help prepare them to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 86

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask,  Why is this so hard?  Why doesn’t it go better?  Why can’t our success be more rapid?  Why aren’t there more people joining the Church?  It is the truth.  We believe in angels.  We trust in miracles.  Why don’t people just flock to the font?  Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?

You will have occasion to ask those questions.  I have thought about this a great deal.  I offer this as my personal feeling.  I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.  Salvation never was easy.  We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head.  How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?  It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
            Now, please don’t misunderstand.  I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced.  That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious.  But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
            For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, March 2001, p. 8

I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church.  We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel.  And in your conversations, if you can’t think of anything you feel is important, you can say, “I know that God lives.”  That is the greatest testimony in the world.  A conversation telling how you acquired such knowledge and what it means to you and what it might mean to someone else is a powerful witness for the Lord.

Some of your acquaintances will be chance ones and others will be persons warmed and cultivated by you because of your sincere friendship and interest in them. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Are We Doing All We Can?” Ensign, February 1983

We are called Mormons.  Many people look upon us as a singular sect as they cry: “Delusion, false prophets, polygamy,” as once was so common; or “Racists, antiwomen, patriarchal dictators,” as some now say; or “Worshipers of Adam and deniers of Christ and his grace,” as others falsely acclaim; or whatever sophistry of the moment will sow the seeds of prejudice among those who otherwise might learn who we are and what we believe.

Oftentimes it seems to us that these cries from shallow minds and these self-serving statements of those who resent our rapid growth and increasing influence in the world and these voices whose social and political views we do not espouse are but another evidence of the truth and divinity of the work itself.  The devil is not dead, and as his voice was once raised in cries of “Crucify him, crucify him,” so it now shrieks in shrilling hysteria against Christ’s people in this day.

We feel it is not too much to ask, in this age of enlightenment and open dialogue, to let us be the ones who tell who we are, what we believe, and why our cause is going forward in such a marvelous way. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, October 1979

I am not surprised that comparatively few people join the Church from among the large number on whom the missionaries call.  There’s no faith.  On the other hand, I am amazed that so many do.  It is a marvelous and wonderful thing that thousands are touched by the miracle of the Holy Spirit, that they believe and accept and become members.  They are baptized.  Their lives are forever touched for good.  Miracles occur. A seed of faith comes into their hearts.  It enlarges as they learn.  And they accept principle upon principle, until they have every one of the marvelous blessings that come to those who walk with faith in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It is faith that is the converter.  It is faith that is the teacher. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 2001

Under the inspiration of the Lord and the courageous action of Joseph Smith, the first Latter-day Saint missionaries ever to serve beyond North America brought  the restored gospel to the British Isles in 1837.  Heading that first group of elders was Heber C. Kimball, who set a great example for all newly called missionaries.  Humbled by the responsibility and fully aware of his limitations, he poured out his heart in prayer.

“O, Lord,” he cried, “I am a man of stammering tongue, and altogether unfit for such a work; how can I go to preach in that land, which is so famed throughout Christendom for learning, knowledge and piety; the nursery of religion; and to a people whose intelligence is proverbial!” 

But rising from his knees and accepting his duty, he said, “The moment I understood the will of my Heavenly Father, I felt a determination to go at all hazards, believing that He would support me by His almighty power, and endow me with every qualification that I needed” (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945, p. 104). Surely God responded to the faith of that young elder, because Brother Kimball and his companions were endowed “with every qualification” they needed. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “New Frontiers for New Pioneers,” New Era, November 1992, p. 6

All my life, from the time I have been a young boy and as far back as I can remember, I have had experiences feeling of the Holy Ghost. . . . But I’ve never felt what I have felt as I have participated in the assigning of missionaries.

We go into a room, and it will be a two or three hour session and sometimes longer.  Because of technology, it is possible for us to have your picture and the information about you displayed.  And then quickly, on that same screen, all the missions of the Church with all of their needs are displayed.  Within minutes, and sometimes less than a minute, the impression comes so powerfully that it would be, if it were a single instance, something that you would never forget.  Can you imagine setting there for hours at a time, having that happen time after time without interruption?  I testify to you that it is real.

In a world so large, the Creator somehow not only knows you but loves you enough to ensure that your call is where He needs you to go to teach the Children of our Heavenly Father. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Called of God,” Devotional Address delivered at the Provo Missionary Training Center, August 26, 1997

Although I left for my mission partially relying on the borrowed light of the faith and testimony of excellent parents, wonderful neighbors, and good teachers and leaders, I soon lost myself in the service of others, I worked hard, and I was obedient.  As a result, I experienced what President Hinckley experienced on his mission.  He said, “Something happened inside me in England that was so significant and deep-rooted that I have never gotten over it.  It is the same thing I have seen happen to thousands of other young men and women who commit themselves to the Lord, and their faith in Him becomes their anchor.  Everything good that has happened to me is a result of what happened while I served in that land” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 64). — Elder Jay E. Jensen, BYU Devotional, March 10, 2009

Mission of the Church:  If I were to ask you about the mission of the Church, I hope you would not say it is to proclaim the gospel and redeem the dead and perfect the Saints. That is not the mission of the Church.  The mission of the Church is to invite all to come unto Christ.  There is a perfect alignment between the central message and the invitation of the Book of Mormon and the overarching mission of the Church.  We perform the work of inviting all to come unto Christ in three major arenas.  If we are inviting those who have not yet received the ordinance of baptism to come unto Christ, we are proclaiming the gospel. If we are inviting those to come unto Christ who have already received the ordinance of baptism, we are laboring to perfect the Saints.  And if we are assisting those who have passed through the veil to come unto Christ, we are redeeming the dead.  There is only one work: inviting all to come unto Christ. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Come Unto Christ,” Religion Symposium, Ricks College, January 29, 2000

Testifying is the purest form of human communication.  The deepest meaning, the deepest conviction of one’s soul is being given to another through the medium of the Holy Spirit. — Stephen R. Covey, Ensign, October 1977, p. 53

It is my hope and my belief that the Lord never permits the light of faith wholly to be extinguished in any human heart, however faint the light may glow.  The Lord has provided that there shall still be there a spark which, with teaching, with the spirit of righteousness, with love, with tenderness, with example, with living the Gospel, shall brighten and glow again, however darkened the mind may have been.  And if we shall fail so to reach those among us of our own whose faith has dwindled low, we shall fail in one of the main things which the Lord expects at our hands. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1936, p. 114

In a little while you will find another prophecy will be fulfilled, and that is the prophecy that Jesus made to the three Nephites who, having power over death, are still living upon this continent.  He spoke to them of a time when they would perform a great and mighty work among the Gentiles; and that has not yet been fulfilled, but it will be.  You will find that many districts where the Elders of Israel cannot reach will be penetrated by these men who have power over death. . . . My testimony is that these men are going abroad in the nations of the earth before the face of your sons, and they are preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive the Gospel.  They are administering to those who are heirs of salvation, and preparing their hearts to receive the truth, just as the farmer prepares the soil to receive the seed.  The Lord has promised that He would send his angels before the face of His servants, and He does so. — Elder John W. Taylor, Conference Report, October 1902, p. 75

I desire to so exemplify the teachings of our Lord, and I presume all my brothers and sisters feel as I do, that when we stand in the presence of the Great King, after the labors of this life shall have been completed, and we answer to him for the time that we have spent here on earth, that there will be none who can truthfully say we were careless about dividing the truth with any of our Father’s children, that none will be able to say of us that we knew these things were true but made no effort to explain them to our neighbors.

Surely we would be condemned if one of our associates in life should stand in the presence of the Great Judge and say of us that we could have taught him the gospel, if we had made an effort, but that because of our neglect he would be deprived of a place in the celestial kingdom.  Let none of us, my brethren and sisters, be justly accused in that way. Unto us much has been given, and of us much will be expected by our Father in heaven. We cannot be indifferent to the teachings of the gospel, we must not drift down the stream of life without an effort.  Every day we should do something worth while. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1921

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.” — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October, 1975

Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, 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, Wentworth Letter, March 1, 1842

Certain people and organizations are trying to provoke us into contention with slander, innuendos, and improper classifications.  How unwise we are in today’s society to allow ourselves to become irritated, dismayed, or offended because others seem to enjoy the role of misstating our position or involvement.  Our principles or standards will not be less than they are because of the statements of the contentious.  Ours is to explain our position through reason, friendly persuasion, and accurate facts.  Ours is to stand firm and unyielding on the moral issues of the day and the eternal principles of the gospel, but to contend with no man or organization. . . . Ours is to be heard and teach.  Ours is not only to avoid contention, but to see that such things are done away. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1978, p. 8

Our leaders have consistently counseled us “to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith.  There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies.

It is equally important that we be loving and kind to members of our own faith, regardless of their level of commitment or activity.  The Savior has made it clear that we are not to judge each other.  This is especially true of members of our own families.  Our obligation is to love and teach and never give up.  The Lord has made salvation “free for all men” but has “commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.” — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Our Father’s Plan – Big Enough for All His Children,” Ensign, April 2009

President Brigham Young in one of his discourses informed the Elders that they were not sent out to preach a salvation for the terrestrial or telestial kingdom, but to bring people to repentance and into the celestial kingdom of God, and that is our mission and responsibility to the people of the earth.  Every soul will receive a reward according to the law he obeys.  If it is the celestial law, he will receive a celestial glory; if it is a terrestrial law, he will receive a terrestrial glory, and if it is a telestial law, he will receive a telestial glory. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “Church History and Modern Revelation,” pp. 60-61

Because we love the Lord, we should be spiritually sensitive to moments when the powerful and important truths of the gospel can be shared with others.  Perhaps more importantly, however, we should seek at all times to purify ourselves and to lead such worthy lives that the Light of Christ emanates from us in all that we say and do.  Our day-to-day lives should stand as immutable witness of our faith in Christ. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 1, 2000

Truly, of all the errors mortals could make, God’s plan of salvation is the wrong thing to be wrong about! No error could be more enormous or more everlasting in its consequences!  No wonder this Church and its people go to such great lengths and expense to share the fulness of the gospel concerning this plan.  No wonder the Lord wants this plan taught plainly and repetitively.  And why not?  It is God’s plan – not ours!” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1984, p. 22

No person is, nor can he be, justified in rejecting these teachings and commandments which have been revealed by the Lord, on the basis that he does not know they are true, because everything the Lord does or says has within itself the evidence of its own authenticity, and every person is divinely endowed with the means to discover that evidence and know for himself that it is true. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1976, pp. 120-21

What did Ammon say?  “Be of good cheer” (Alma 17:31).  Now, we may read this as a story about some shepherd trying to round up some missing sheep, but the message is much more powerful and significant than that. . . . Ammon not only led the force to recapture the sheep, he drove away the evil men who caused the problems; and his heroic efforts persuaded the king to follow him and to follow the Savior.  Ammon teaches us that no matter our circumstances, we can be an example to others, we can lift them, we can inspire them to seek righteousness, and we can bear testimony to all of the power of Jesus Christ. — Elder Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1997, p. 82

We need the continuing faith to declare to the world that Jesus lives today, that He is our Savior, our friend, the Son of God, and that His church and kingdom are available to all today.  God does live.  Jesus is one with the Father.  It takes self-discipline not only to know but also to declare these truths.  With God’s love and help all of these things are possible, and they will bring peace and joy to each of us as we know and understand the real meaning of Christmas.  An attitude of “come and see” makes it possible for cherished memories and mountains to overshadow losses and valleys in our quest for the joyous. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Come and See,” New Era, December 1989, p. 7

The day appointed for the departure of the Elders to England having arrived, I [stopped at] the house of Brother [Heber C.] Kimball to ascertain when he would start [on his journey], as I expected to accompany him two or three hundred miles, intending to spend my labors in Canada that season.

The door being partly open, I entered and felt struck with the sight which presented itself to my view.  I would have retired, thinking that I was intruding, but I felt riveted to the spot.  The father was pouring out his soul to . . . [God, pleading] that He “careth for sparrows, and feedeth the young ravens when they cry” would supply the wants of his wife and little ones in his absence.  He then, like the patriarchs, and by virtue of his office, laid his hands upon their heads individually, leaving a father’s blessing upon them, . . .  commending them to the care and protection of God, while he should be engaged preaching the Gospel in a foreign land.  While thus engaged [in giving those blessings] his voice was almost lost in the sobs of those around [him], who [were trying in their youthful way to be strong but having a very hard time doing so.] . . . He proceeded, but his heart was too much affected to do so regularly. . . . He was obliged to stop at intervals, while . . . big tears rolled down his cheeks, an index to the feelings which reigned in his bosom. My heart was not stout enough to refrain. In spite of myself I wept, and mingled my tears with theirs.  At the same time I felt thankful that I had the privilege of contemplating such a scene.”  (Story told by Elder Robert B. Thompson and quoted in Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball (1945), 108-9) — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Our Most Distinguishing Feature,” Ensign, April 2005

When that time comes, when you go down through the ages of eternity, that is a long time, you will have the love and the gratitude of every man, woman and child to whom you have been instrumental in bringing eternal happiness.  Isn’t that worth while?  We may spend our lives here and acquire a few hundreds or thousands of dollars, we may have flocks, herds, houses and lands, but we cannot take these with us to the other side.  They are not necessary to eternal life, they are only necessary for us here, but if we have earned the gratitude and the love of God’s other children, that will flow to us forever.  Think what that will mean!  When the time comes that this world shall be cleansed and purified by fire and becomes the celestial kingdom, all impurity, and everything that is not desirable having been swept away how gratifying it will be to find that we have companionship with those we have served in mortality, have inheritance with, and be directed by Jesus Christ our Lord forever – is not that worth while?  Isn’t it a joyful opportunity?  (Sharing the Gospel with Others, sel. Preston Nibley [1948], 214-16; address given Nov. 4, 1945, in Washington, D.C.) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 132

It is not the purpose of this Church to make statements that would hurt the feelings of those who do not understand things.  This Church is not one that goes about criticizing and finding fault with others, but in the spirit of loving kindness and the desire to be helpful, its representatives carry the Gospel message to the nations of the earth.  (Conf. Report,  Oct. 1931, p. 120) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 149

In truth, we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  We are all in need of mercy.  In that last day when we are called to the judgment bar of God, do we not hope that our many imperfections will be forgiven?  Do we not yearn to feel the Savior’s embrace? It seems only right and proper that we extend to others that which we so earnestly desire for ourselves. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Are My Hands,” Ensign, May 2010, pp. 68-70

We are missionaries every day in our families, in our schools, in our places of employment, and in our communities.  Regardless of our age, experience, or station in life, we are all missionaries. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 44

This cause will roll on in majesty and power to fill the earth.  Doors now closed to the preaching of the gospel will be opened.  The Almighty, if necessary, may have to shake the nations to humble them and cause them to listen to the servants of the living God. Whatever is needed will come to pass. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

When the light dawns and it finally comes to you that this gospel really is true and the work matters and that God is not going to come down and do it Himself; we will realize that we are the only hands He has got, and that we are the only feet He has got.  When somebody knocks on those doors, it is with our knuckles.  When we make contact on the street, it is our voice out there on that street corner.  When we work with the less-active, Moroni and Mormon and Alma and Joseph Smith are not going to come down and go in that door and do that teaching; it is you and it is me.  It is just people who get up, like we get up every morning and do the work of the Lord the way those men and their wives did it in the era and in their day and in their age, and in their time, but now it is our time.

When we come to know this, then we will get on with the work. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The Gospel must be preached to the world, that the wicked may be left without excuse. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 317

If to all eternity you could praise God, through the means of saving one soul, I may say the least or most inferior intelligence upon the earth, pertaining to the human family – if you could be the means of saving one such person, how great would be your joy in the heavens!  Then let us save many, and our joy will be great in proportion to the number of souls we save.  Let us destroy none. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:124

My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first, to keep the commandments of God, as they been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them.  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. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51

The mighty change of heart the less active need to experience is, finally, the individual’s to make.  But our love can be a catalyst as these, our brothers and sisters, in Shakespeare’s phrase, “unthread the rude eye of rebellion, and welcome home again discarded faith.”  (King John IV, act 5, scene 4.) 

Honest acceptance accompanied by love and service are never more felt than in those moments involving death, divorce, career changes, illness, or moves – when an individual’s world, in some way or another, has been shaken.  So often these events put us in circumstances wherein we are, to use Alma’s phrase, “in a preparation to hear the word.”  (Alma 32:6)      

Again, I refer to Jesus’ words:  “Unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent . . . and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.” 

Note that the resurrected Jesus, having completed a perfect mortal ministry, gives us this counsel clearly reflecting the style and substance of his leadership and charity, reminding us that we know not who will return and repent.  Note, too, that without belaboring it, the sequence is first the return, then a completion of the process of change in a nurturing and ministering environment.  The Lord said He “shall heal them,” but we “shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”  This is a wondrous scripture, full of wisdom and direction and consolation.  We should not forget that for many in the Church who do not yet have the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, they must believe on the words of those of us who do know.  (See D&C 46:13–14.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Continue to Minister,” Ensign, June 1987, p. 10

A favorite saying of mine often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi reads, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”  Implicit in this saying is the understanding that often the most powerful sermons are unspoken.

When we have integrity and live consistently by our standards, people notice.  When we radiate joy and happiness, they notice even more.

Everyone wants to be happy.  When we members of the Church radiate the light of the gospel, people can see our happiness and sense the love of God filling and overflowing in our lives. They want to know why.  They want to understand our secret.

That leads them to ask questions such as “Why are you so happy?” or “Why do you always have such a positive attitude?”  The answers to these questions, of course, lead perfectly into a conversation about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “A Word for the Hesitant Missionary, Ensign, February 2013

Many beautiful lessons might be drawn from this passage of scripture, but I have only time to dwell upon one.  It tells me that Providence is over all, and that he holds the nations in the hollow of his hand; that he is using not only his covenant people, but other peoples as well, to consummate a work, stupendous, magnificent, and altogether too arduous for this little handful of Saints to accomplish by and of themselves.  Alma seems to have thought, for the moment, that man was doing God’s work for him, instead of which it is God, who is doing his own work, and using men as his instruments.  Nor is he limited in the choice of instruments to his own people.  He sways the scepter over all nations, and they are all playing into his hands, knowingly or unknowingly.  Alma knew this, but had momentarily lost sight of it. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, “God Uses Men as His Instruments” General Conference, April 1921

All down the ages men bearing the authority of the Holy Priesthood – patriarchs, prophets, apostles and others – have officiated in the name of the Lord, doing the things that he required of them; and outside the pale of their activities other good and great men, not bearing the Priesthood, but possessing profundity of thought, great wisdom, and a desire to uplift their fellows, have been sent by the Almighty into many nations, to give them, not the fulness of the Gospel, but that portion of truth that they were able to receive and wisely use.  Such men as Confucius, the Chinese philosopher; Zoroaster, the Persian sage; Gautama or Buddha, of the Hindus; Socrates and Plato, of the Greeks; these all had some of the light that is universally diffused, and concerning which we have this day heard. They were servants of the Lord in a lesser sense, and were sent to those pagan or heathen nations to give them the measure of truth that a wise Providence had allotted to them….

And not only teachers – not poets and philosophers alone; but inventors, discoverers, warriors, statesmen, rulers, et al. These also have been used from the beginning to help along the Lord’s work – mighty auxiliaries in the hands of an Almighty God, carrying out his purposes, consciously or unconsciously. . . . — Elder Orson F. Whitney, “God Uses Men as His Instruments” General Conference, April 1921

In April 1830, Samuel Smith [Joseph’s brother] began traveling to neighboring towns in New York to preach the gospel and introduce people to the Book of Mormon.  He had little success, though he did sell a copy of the book to a man named Phinehas Young.  In June 1830, Samuel was set apart by the Prophet Joseph to take a missionary journey to the east.  He walked 25 miles the first day and stopped at many houses, but the people treated him unkindly and would not listen.  The next day he left a copy of the Book of Mormon with John P. Greene, a Methodist minister.  John Greene’s wife, Rhoda, was Phinehas Young’s sister.

Facing rejection from almost everyone he contacted, Samuel felt that his mission had not been very successful.  However, the books he left with Phinehas Young and John P. Greene led to their conversion and the conversion of many others.  For example, Phinehas Young and Rhoda Greene had a brother named Brigham, who was converted and later became the second President of the Church.  Brigham Young’s friend Heber C. Kimball also joined the Church.  He later served in the First Presidency.  Both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were instrumental in the conversion of thousands in the United States and England. Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Lesson Manual, Lesson 11, 2013

It’s easy to say, “The time isn’t right.”  But there is danger in procrastination.  Years ago I worked for a man in California.  He hired me; he was kind to me; he seemed to regard me highly.  I may have been the only Latter-day Saint he ever knew well.  I don’t know all the reasons I found to wait for a better moment to talk with him about the gospel. I just remember my feeling of sorrow when I learned, after he had retired and I lived far away, that he and his wife had been killed in a late-night drive to their home in Carmel, California.  He loved his wife.  He loved his children.  He had loved his parents.  He loved his grandchildren, and he will love their children and will want to be with them forever.

Now, I don’t know how the crowds will be handled in the world to come.  But I suppose that I will meet him, that he will look into my eyes, and that I will see in them the question, “Hal, you knew.  Why didn’t you tell me?” — President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, November 1998, p. 33

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 all 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. It is a most important mission. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, p. 130

. . . in a little while you will find another prophecy will be fulfilled, and that is the prophecy that Jesus made to the three Nephites who, having power over death, are still living upon this continent.  He spoke to them of a time when they would perform a great and mighty work among the Gentiles; and that has not yet been fulfilled, but it will be.  You will find that many districts where the Elders of Israel cannot reach will be penetrated by these men who have power over death . . . . My testimony is that these men are going abroad in the nations of the earth before the face of your sons, and they are preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive the Gospel.  They are administering to those who are heirs of salvation, and preparing their hearts to receive the truth, just as the farmer prepares the soil to receive the seed.  The Lord has promised that He would send his angels before the face of His servants, and He does so. — Elder John W. Taylor, Conference Report, October 1902, p. 75