Quotes from Church Leaders on Missionary Work

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Purity Precedes Power

"The standard of truth has been erected: no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecution 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 - Church History, Times & Seasons, 1 March 1842, p. 709


As Latter-day Saints everywhere, with personal testimonies of these great events, we accept humbly, gratefully, this major responsibility placed upon the Church. We are happy to be engaged in a partnership with our Heavenly Father in the great work of the salvation and exaltation of his children. Willingly we give of our time and our means with which he may bless us to the establishment of his kingdom in the earth. This we know is our first duty and our great opportunity. This spirit has characterized the missionary work of the church of Jesus Christ in all ages. It has been an outstanding mark of the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times—our time. Wherever faithful Latter-day Saints are to be found, this spirit of unselfish sacrifice for the greatest cause in all the earth exists. In a statement published to the world during the last world war, the First Presidency of the Church declared: "No act of ours or of the Church must interfere with this God-given mandate."

Ezra Taft Benson - Conf. Report, April 1942, p. 91


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 - Conf. Report, Oct. 1975, p. 145


When we have increased the missionaries from the organized areas of the Church to a number close to their potential, that is, every able and worthy boy in the Church on a mission; when every stake and mission abroad is furnishing enough missionaries for that country; when we have used our qualified men to help the apostles to open these new fields of labor; when we have used the satellite and related discoveries to their greatest potential and all of the media—the papers, magazines, television, radio—all in their greatest power; when we have organized numerous other stakes which will be springboards; when we have recovered from inactivity the numerous young men who are now unordained and unmissioned and unmarried; then, and not until then, shall we approach the insistence of our Lord and Master to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Spencer W. Kimball - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 1982, p. 585


As members of the Lord's Church, we must take missionary work more seriously. The Lord's commission to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) will never change in our dispensation. We have been greatly blessed with the material means, the technology, and an inspired message to bring the gospel to all men. More is expected of us than any previous generation. Where "much is given, much is required." (D&C 82:3)

Ezra Taft Benson - Our Responsibility to Share the Gospel," Ensign, May 1985


"Why does the Mormon Church continue to send missionaries out into the world, particularly to Christian countries?" May I read the words of the First Presidency of this Church,...in which they gave answer to this question. "It is our duty, divinely imposed, to continue urgently and militantly to carry forward our missionary work. We must continue to call missionaries and send them out to preach the gospel, which was never more needed than now, which is the only remedy for the tragic ills that now afflict the world, and which alone can bring peace and brotherly love back amongst the peoples of the earth."

Ezra Taft Benson - Conf. Report, April 1942, p. 91


There can be no greater, or more important calling for men 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 - The Sacredness of Our Calling," Millennial Star, 28 June 1875


As a vital link in the conversion process, we should bear our testimonies that the gospel is true; our testimonies may well be the spark that ignites the conversion process. Consequently, we have a double responsibility: we must testify of the things we know, feel, and have felt, and we must live so the Holy Ghost can be with us and convey our words in power to the heart of the investigator.

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 138


A missionary should never permit himself to see a movie or (read) cheap literature, or hear music that tends to interfere with or which dampens the spirit of missionary work. There is ample evidence that rock music is offensive to the Spirit and affects adversely the spirituality of the missionaries and thus the success of the proselyting work.

The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 202


When the Spirit is present, people are not offended when you share your feelings about the gospel.

M. Russel Ballard - Conference Report, Oct. 1986


I had only travelled a short time to testify to the people, before I learned this one fact, that you might prove doctrine from the Bible till doomsday, and it would merely convince a people, but would not convert them. You might read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and prove every iota that you advance, and that alone would have no converting influence upon the people. Nothing short of a testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost would bring light and knowledge to them—bring them in their hearts to repentance. Nothing short of that would ever do.

Brigham Young - Journal of Discourses, 5:327


The Elders would go forth, and each must stand for himself...to go in all meekness, in sobriety, and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified; not to contend with others on account of their faith, or systems of religion, but pursue a steady course. This I delivered by way of commandment; and all who observe it not, will pull down persecution upon their heads, while those who do, shall always be filled with the Holy Ghost; this I pronounced as a prophecy, and sealed with hosanna and amen.

Joseph Smith - History of the Church, 2:431


A missionary who is inspired by the Spirit of the Lord must be led by that Spirit to choose the proper approach to be effective. We must not forget that the Lord Himself provided the Book of Mormon as His chief witness. The Book of Mormon is still our most powerful missionary tool. Let us use it.

Ezra Taft Benson - Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 204


Be guided by the Spirit. I have said so many times to my Brethren that the Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit, and by magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability.

Ezra Taft Benson - Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 205


To be a successful missionary one must have the Spirit of the Lord. We are also taught that the Spirit will not dwell in unclean tabernacles. Therefore, one of the first things a missionary must do to gain spirituality is to make sure his own personal life is in order.

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 198-99


The blessings of having the Holy Ghost in your life are enormous. It will lead, guide, enlighten, show, bless, teach, comfort, testify, witness to, and literally purify you. In your life as a missionary, you cannot succeed in any phase of work without the Holy Ghost. You cannot teach (see D&C 42:14; 50:17-22) or be directed in the work.

Ed Pinegar - Preparing for a Mission, p. 15


A mission is not just a casual thing—it is not an alternative program in the Church. Neither is a mission a matter of choice any more than tithing is a choice, any more than sacrament meeting is a choice, any more than the Word of Wisdom is a choice. Of course, we have our free agency, and the Lord has given us choices. We can do as we please. We can go on a mission or we can remain home. But every normal young man is as much obligated to go on a mission as he is to pay his tithing, attend his meetings, keep the Sabbath day holy, and keep his life spotless and clean.

Spencer W. Kimball - Circles of Exaltation," in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd edition, p. 10


"You…offer them a better way of life with their families. To every married man (you offer) the realization that the greatest treasure he has is the woman to whom he is married and to every woman the realization (as to what) she has to offer concerning her beloved husband, and that their children are to be loved and nurtured and blessed and brought up in the way of the Lord. The whole complexion of this nation would change if there were greater respect and love in the homes of the people, and you have that to offer. You have the great blessing of the House of the Lord to offer to every man and woman who live worthy of this marvelous thing to enter the House of God, to be married in the temple under a contract which time cannot destroy and death cannot break. Life is eternal and that is the great blessing which you have to offer."

President Hinckley - From missionary meeting, San Salvador El Salvador Mission, Jan 23, 1997


"Every one of us has an obligation to fellowship those (converts), to put our arms around them, to bring them into the Church in full activity. It is not enough just to go to Church on Sundays, we must reach out each day. I wish with all my heart that in Costa Rica every man, woman, and child who was baptized would remain faithful and active. And that can happen if all of you make up your minds to reach out and help the new convert. There is no point in the missionaries baptizing people only to have them come into the Church for a little while and then drift off. You have remained faithful, and I thank you for that, but again urge that you make an extra effort to reach out to those who have recently been baptized. They cannot do it alone. They are not strong enough yet. They need your help. God bless you to fellowship the new convert. That is so very, very important. That is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only as we reach out to help others are we truly Latter-day Saints."

President Hinckley - From member fireside, San Jose, Costa Rica, Jan 20, 1997


"Remember, young men, that purity precedes power. The Lord said, 'But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it' (D&C 112:28). Missionaries discover this very early in their missions and make every effort to be worthy so they can serve with power."

Elder M. Russel Ballard - Gen. Conf., Oct. 1990