Words, talks, discourses, and quotes from the prophets and apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to missionary work and mission preparation.

Always in the Middle of Your Mission

Dieter F. UchtdorfPresident Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave some insightful advice for missionaries in his July 2012 message in the Ensign magazine. He said that if you act like every day is the middle of your mission, regardless of whether it is the first day or the last day, then you will approach the work with an optimal level of humility and confidence. Confidence because in the middle you’re not new and inexperienced, and humility because in the middle you still have much to learn and you rely on the Lord’s help.

Here’s how President Uchtdorf said it:

When I speak to our young missionaries, I often tell them they are in the middle of their missions. Whether they just arrived the day before or are to depart for home the day after, I ask them to think of themselves as always being in the middle.

New missionaries may feel they are too inexperienced to be effective, and so they delay speaking or acting with confidence and boldness. Seasoned missionaries who are close to completing their missions may feel sad their missions are coming to a close, or they may slow down as they contemplate what they will do after their missions.

Whatever the circumstances and wherever they serve, the truth is that the Lord’s missionaries are daily sowing countless seeds of good tidings. Thinking of themselves as always being in the middle of their missions will embolden and energize these faithful representatives of the Lord. As it is with full-time missionaries, so it is with all of us (Always in the Middle, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign July 2012).

Reading the Book of Mormon as a Family

Smith family finished reading book of mormonOur family just finished reading the Book of Mormon together. We read one column every night, and it took us about 3 1/2 years.  We have five kids ranging from age 9 to age 11 months, and only two of them can read, but the other little ones like to repeat what we say so they can have a turn. We are trying to teach the children to be reverent, but our nightly scripture reading time is rarely calm. We are teaching them to follow along as others read, and we are helping them recognize and apply the principles taught in the scriptures. I know we are blessed for choosing to read the Book of Mormon together as a family.

There is power in the Book of Mormon. My husband, Jimmy, and I have had experiences teaching our little ones scripture stories in family home evening and morning devotional. The Holy Spirit touches their hearts and they want to hear more. In 1980, Marion G. Romney, a member of the First Presidency, promised this:

Book of Mormon Promise. Marion G. Romney“If, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.” (The Book of Mormon, by Marion G. Romney, April 1980)

Book of Mormon Vision of Missionaries Benson
Question: Do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon? Think back to when you first gained that testimony. What experiences have you had reading the Book of Mormon that have strengthened your testimony? Are there any specific scriptures or stories that helped you in a certain time of life? Record these experiences in your journal.

Book of Mormon Keystone Benson
Challenge: Set a goal to strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon. Study it a little more every day, apply the principles taught in your life, memorize scriptures from it, tell a child one of your favorite scripture stories, or testify to others of its truthfulness. Choose something realistic. You will be blessed.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdI44tP9Y_A[/youtube]

Funny Stories from General Conference April 2012

Funny stories and jokes from our living prophets and apostles from the April 2012 LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City Utah.

Recruiting for the Lord in the Battle between Good and Evil

With the game on the line in the battle between Good and Evil, in the talk from October 2011 LDS General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland serves as a one-man recruiting station for the Lord and missionary work.

What are some of the devil’s tactics in this contest when eternal life is at stake? Here again the experience in the Sacred Grove is instructive. Joseph recorded that in an effort to oppose all that lay ahead, Lucifer exerted “such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak.”

As President Boyd K. Packer taught this morning, Satan cannot directly take a life. That is one of many things he cannot do. But apparently his effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful. Brethren, if that is the case, I am looking tonight for men young and old who care enough about this battle between good and evil to sign on and speak up. We are at war, and for these next few minutes, I want to be a one-man recruiting station.

Do I need to hum a few bars of “We Are All Enlisted”? You know, the line about “We are waiting now for soldiers; who’ll volunteer?” Of course, the great thing about this call to arms is that we ask not for volunteers to fire a rifle or throw a hand grenade. No, we want battalions who will take as their weapons “every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” So I am looking tonight for missionaries who will not voluntarily bind their tongues but will, with the Spirit of the Lord and the power of their priesthood, open their mouths and speak miracles. Such speech, the early brethren taught, would be the means by which faith’s “mightiest works have been, and will be, performed.”

I especially ask the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to sit up and take notice. For you, let me mix in an athletic analogy. This is a life-and-death contest we are in, young men, so I am going to get in your face a little, nose to nose, with just enough fire in my voice to singe your eyebrows a little—the way coaches do when the game is close and victory means everything. And with the game on the line, what this coach is telling you is that to play in this match, some of you have to be more morally clean than you now are. In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for the adversary whenever temptation comes along and then expect to suit up for the Savior at temple and mission time as if nothing has happened. That, my young friends, you cannot do. God will not be mocked.

So we have a dilemma tonight, you and I. It is that there are thousands of Aaronic Priesthood–age young men already on the records of this Church who constitute our pool of candidates for future missionary service. But the challenge is to have those deacons, teachers, and priests stay active enough and worthy enough to be ordained elders and serve as missionaries. So we need young men already on the team to stay on it and stop dribbling out of bounds just when we need you to get in the game and play your hearts out! In almost all athletic contests of which I know, there are lines drawn on the floor or the field within which every participant must stay in order to compete. Well, the Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called “forbidden paths” and expect to guide others to the “strait and narrow” one—it can’t be done.

But there is an answer to this challenge for you every bit as much as there is for that investigator to whom you will go. Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you young men can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. It is the miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you cannot do it without an active commitment to the gospel, and you cannot do it without repentance where it is needed. I am asking you young men to be active and be clean. If required, I am asking you to get active and get clean.

Now, brethren, we speak boldly to you because anything more subtle doesn’t seem to work. We speak boldly because Satan is a real being set on destroying you, and you face his influence at a younger and younger age. So we grab you by the lapels and shout as forcefully as we know how: ‘Hark! the sound of battle sounding loudly and clear; Come join the ranks! Come join the ranks!’

My young friends, we need tens of thousands of more missionaries in the months and years that lie ahead. They must come from an increased percentage of the Aaronic Priesthood who will be ordained, active, clean, and worthy to serve.

We Are All Enlisted by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, LDS General Conference, October 2011

Inspiration from God: President Monson’s Story of Peter Mourik and the Frankfurt Germany Temple

The following is one of my favorite stories from the recent October 2011 General Conference. It is about Peter Mourik speaking at the dedication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple and was related by President Thomas S. Monson during his Sunday morning talk called Stand in Holy Places.

I am always humbled and grateful when my Heavenly Father communicates with me through His inspiration. I have learned to recognize it, to trust it, and to follow it. Time and time again I have been the recipient of such inspiration. One rather dramatic experience took place in August of 1987 during the dedication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple. President Ezra Taft Benson had been with us for the first day or two of the dedication but had returned home, and so it became my opportunity to conduct the remaining sessions.

On Saturday we had a session for our Dutch members who were in the Frankfurt Temple district. I was well acquainted with one of our outstanding leaders from the Netherlands, Brother Peter Mourik. Just prior to the session, I had the distinct impression that Brother Mourik should be called upon to speak to his fellow Dutch members during the session and that, in fact, he should be the first speaker. Not having seen him in the temple that morning, I passed a note to Elder Carlos E. Asay, our Area President, asking whether Peter Mourik was in attendance at the session. Just prior to standing up to begin the session, I received a note back from Elder Asay indicating that Brother Mourik was actually not in attendance, that he was involved elsewhere, and that he was planning to attend the dedicatory session in the temple the following day with the servicemen stakes.

As I stood at the pulpit to welcome the people and to outline the program, I received unmistakable inspiration once again that I was to announce Peter Mourik as the first speaker. This was counter to all my instincts, for I had just heard from Elder Asay that Brother Mourik was definitely not in the temple. Trusting in the inspiration, however, I announced the choir presentation and the prayer and then indicated that our first speaker would be Brother Peter Mourik.

As I returned to my seat, I glanced toward Elder Asay; I saw on his face a look of alarm. He later told me that when I had announced Brother Mourik as the first speaker, he couldn’t believe his ears. He said he knew that I had received his note and that I indeed had read it, and he couldn’t fathom why I would then announce Brother Mourik as a speaker, knowing he wasn’t anywhere in the temple.

During the time all of this was taking place, Peter Mourik was in a meeting at the area offices in Porthstrasse. As his meeting was going forward, he suddenly turned to Elder Thomas A. Hawkes Jr., who was then the regional representative, and asked, “How fast can you get me to the temple?”

Elder Hawkes, who was known to drive rather rapidly in his small sports car, answered, “I can have you there in 10 minutes! But why do you need to go to the temple?”

Brother Mourik admitted he did not know why he needed to go to the temple but that he knew he had to get there. The two of them set out for the temple immediately.

During the magnificent choir number, I glanced around, thinking that at any moment I would see Peter Mourik. I did not. Remarkably, however, I felt no alarm. I had a sweet, undeniable assurance that all would be well.

Brother Mourik entered the front door of the temple just as the opening prayer was concluding, still not knowing why he was there. As he hurried down the hall, he saw my image on the monitor and heard me announce, “We will now hear from Brother Peter Mourik.”

To the astonishment of Elder Asay, Peter Mourik immediately walked into the room and took his place at the podium.

Following the session, Brother Mourik and I discussed that which had taken place prior to his opportunity to speak. I have pondered the inspiration which came that day not only to me but also to Peter Mourik. That remarkable experience has provided an undeniable witness to me of the importance of being worthy to receive such inspiration and then trusting it—and following it—when it comes. I know without question that the Lord intended for those who were present at that session of the Frankfurt Temple dedication to hear the powerful, touching testimony of His servant Brother Peter Mourik.

My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life.

Counseling with Our Councils

Counseling with Our Councils by M. Russell BallardCounseling With Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family by Elder M. Russell Ballard is one of the great Church books I’ve read. Though it’s not directly related to mission prep, I wanted to share my thoughts about it with you anyway.

Leadership and Problem Solving Pattern

One of the most important things I learned from the book were principles of leadership and problem solving. As I analyzed several of the stories in the book, I discovered what appeared to be an effective pattern of problem solving advocated by Elder Ballard for use by Church councils (and elsewhere). To be clear, this pattern is not explicitly outlined in the book. This is my personal interpretation based on examples throughout the book. The steps in the pattern are:

  1. Problem Awareness: A feeling, data, or other symptoms of a problem are revealed.
  2. Problem Escalation: An event occurs (could be a superior telling you to do something or it could be realization of consequences) that drives you to address the problem.
  3. Problem Assignment: The appropriate people are assigned to investigate the problem.
  4. Problem Discussion: Open and honest conversation is held to get ideas out. Questions are asked, facts and opinions are considered.
  5. Problem Definition: The root problem is clearly articulated and outlined.
  6. Solution Alternatives: Brainstorm potential solutions that are specific and measurable. Discuss them. Evaluate them. Focus on desired results.
  7. Solution Determination: Decide on the best solution. Communicate the decision to and get buy in from people who will have to implement the solution.
  8. Solution Implementation: Do it.
  9. Results Analyzed: Return and report. Make sure the solution is solving the problem.

I have turned these steps into a PowerPoint presentation called Effective Problem Solving through Councils and posted it on SlideShare. Please go there to view or download it. Additionally below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

How the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Counsel Together

“During discussion, they do not push their own ideas but try to determine from the discussion what would be best for the kingdom.”

“They always work from an agenda. The agenda is distributed to each member of the Twelve the night before the meeting so that they have an opportunity to read, ponder, and consider each item in preparation for the meeting.” (p. 47)

“They are men of strong character, men from different backgrounds–they are certainly not “yes” men. They speak as they are moved by the Spirit.”

“When the President of the Twleve senses a unity taking place concerning the item on the agenda,he may ask for a recommendation …[which] summarizes the feelings of the total Council.” (p. 48)

Local Presiding Councils

“Generally, Church leaders teach principles, not practices. Inspired stake, ward, and family council members learn to convert principles into appropriate practices through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.” (p. 59)

“Functioning successfully as a council doesn’t mean making group decisions. It simply means the council leader draws from the various abilities, insights, experiences, and inspiration of council members to help make good decisions under the influence of the Spirit. While we seek unanimity, the final decision is always up to the council leader.” (p. 68)

“One young bishop I know was taught this important concept…We had lots of great activities, and our meetings were always well planned and executed…but we didn’t seem to be accomplishing anything of real, lasting significance in the lives of the members of our ward. We were so busy being busy.” (p. 71)

“The principle thing that should matter most to all Church councils:bringing souls to Christ and securing them with spiritual witness and testimony.” (p. 75)

“Councils are for counsel and the exchange of ideas, not just reports and lectures. Free and open discussion is critical…Leaders should work to establish a climate conducive to such openness where every person and group is important and every opinion is valuable.” (p. 112)

Women’s Involvement in Councils

“A wise stake president or bishop will see his auxiliary presidents as spiritual leaders rather than as organizers and party planners. Too many women leaders are underutilized and unappreciated, at times because priesthood leaders don’t have a clear understanding or an enlightened view of the significant contribution the sisters can make.” (p. 92)

“In one such meeting when we were talking about the worthiness of youth to serve missions, President Elaine Jack, then serving as the Relief Society general president, said, ‘You know, Elder Ballard, the sisters of the Church may have some good suggestions on how to better prepare the youth for missions if they were just asked. After all, you  know, we are their mothers!'” (p. 94)

Specific Measurable Outcomes

In Elder Ballard’s section on holding effective meetings and he talked about the need to focus on “specific, measurable” outcomes. He said, “ when an assignment is delegated, it should normally be communicated in terms of ‘what’ rather than ‘how’; that is, the person receiving it should be accountable for the result to be achieved rather than the specific methods used. This allows him or her to seek inspiration and to exercise creativity…in accomplishing the task that has been delegated.” P. 125

Family Councils

“Family rules and procedures are more likely to be accepted and followed if all family members have been given the opportunity to participate in the discussions and agree to the rules” (p. 155)

In “the family council, the things that really matter are loving motivations, an atmosphere that encourages free and open discussion, and a willingness to listen to the honest input of all council members–as well as to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit as it comes to confirm truth and direction.” (p. 157)

“Governance through councils is more than just a good idea; it is God’s plan.” (p. 169)

 

 

Mission Prep from General Conference October 2011

Thomas S. Monson, Mormon ProphetThomas S. Monson: Dare to Stand Alone

“Once we have a testimony, it is incumbent upon us to share that testimony with others. Many of you brethren have served as missionaries throughout the world. Many of you young men will yet serve. Prepare yourselves now for that opportunity. Make certain you are worthy to serve.”

“May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”

L. Tom Perry: Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear

“Speak up about the Church. In the course of our everyday lives, we are blessed with many opportunities to share our beliefs with others. When our professional and personal associates inquire about our religious beliefs, they are inviting us to share who we are and what we believe.”

“Today’s “manner of conversation” seems to involve the Internet more and more. We encourage people, young and old, to use the Internet and the social media to reach out and share their religious beliefs.”

“I promise you that if you will respond to the invitation to share your beliefs and feelings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a spirit of love and a spirit of courage will be your constant companion, for “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). This is the time of expanding opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. May we prepare ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities given to us to share our beliefs.”

Russell M. Nelson: Covenants

“Ours is the seed foreordained and prepared to bless all people of the world. That is why priesthood duty includes missionary work. After some 4,000 years of anticipation and preparation, this is the appointed day when the gospel is to be taken to the kindreds of the earth. This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel. And we get to participate! Isn’t that exciting? The Lord is counting on us and our sons—and He is profoundly grateful for our daughters—who worthily serve as missionaries in this great time of the gathering of Israel.”

Jeffrey R. HollandWe Are All Enlisted

“I am looking tonight for missionaries who will not voluntarily bind their tongues but will, with the Spirit of the Lord and the power of their priesthood, open their mouths and speak miracles.”

“In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for the adversary whenever temptation comes along and then expect to suit up for the Savior at temple and mission time as if nothing has happened. That, my young friends, you cannot do. God will not be mocked.”

“The Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things!”

“My young friends, we need tens of thousands of more missionaries in the months and years that lie ahead. They must come from an increased percentage of the Aaronic Priesthood who will be ordained, active, clean, and worthy to serve.”

“We need thousands of more couples serving in the missions of the Church. Every mission president pleads for them. Everywhere they serve, our couples bring a maturity to the work that no number of 19-year-olds, however good they are, can provide.”

“What greater gift could grandparents give their posterity than to say by deed as well as word, “In this family we serve missions!””

W. Christopher Waddell: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

“Prophets, seers, and revelators assign missionaries under the direction and influence of the Holy Ghost. Inspired mission presidents direct transfers every six weeks and quickly learn that the Lord knows exactly where He wants each missionary to serve.”

“Through your devoted service and willing sacrifice, your mission will become holy ground to you. You will witness the miracle of conversion as the Spirit works through you to touch the hearts of those you teach.”

“Arrive on your mission with your own testimony of the Book of Mormon, obtained through study and prayer…Arrive on your mission worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost…Arrive on your mission ready to work.”

Kazuhiko YamashitaMissionaries Are a Treasure of the Church

“I would like to express my sincere love, respect, and feeling of thankfulness for all the returned missionaries who have served around the world. I am sure that those you helped convert have not forgotten you…I am one of those converts. I was converted at 17, when I was a high school student…When I was 17, I didn’t really have a good understanding of the messages that the missionaries had been teaching me. However, I had a special feeling about the missionaries, and I wanted to become like them. And I felt their deep and abiding love.”

“I would now like to say a few words to the missionaries currently serving missions around the world. Your attitudes and the love that you show toward others are very significant messages. Even though I didn’t immediately grasp all the doctrines that the missionaries taught me, I felt of their great love, and their many acts of kindness taught me important lessons. Your message is a message of love, a message of hope, and a message of faith. Your attitude and your actions invite the Spirit, and the Spirit enables us to understand the things that are important. What I want to convey to you is that through your love, you are imparting the love of God. You are a treasure of this Church. I am so very thankful to all of you for your sacrifice and your dedication.”

“I also would like to talk to you future missionaries… It is necessary to bring three things with you on your mission: 1. A desire to preach the gospel. The Lord wants you to search for His sheep and seek them out. People all over the world are waiting for you. Please go quickly to where they are. No one strives harder than missionaries to go to the rescue of others. I am one of those rescued. 2. Develop your testimony. The Lord requires your “heart and a willing mind.” 3. Love others, just like Elder Swan, who brought his father’s coat and his father’s love for Japan and its people with him on his mission.”

“And for those of you who don’t know how to prepare to serve a mission, please go and see your bishop. I know that he will help you.”

David O. McKay’s Life Long Example of Missionary Work

David O. McKay Childhood Home Huntsville UtahToday I visited Huntsville, Utah and the childhood home of our ninth LDS Church President in these latter days, David O. McKay. While there, we read a little bit about his life and teachings, and I was struck by the great example of missionary work that he exhibited throughout his life.

Age 8: Helped His Family While His Father Served a Mission

“When [David O. McKay] was eight years of age, his father received a call to go on a mission. To accept such a call for two or three years away from home was no easy decision to make. Another baby was on its way, and plans had been made to enlarge the house and furnishings. The responsibilities of running the farm were too great to be left to his wife, so when David showed the letter calling him to a mission, he said: ‘Of course it is impossible for me to go.’ Jennette read the letter, looked at her husband, and said decisively: ‘Of course you must accept; you need not worry about me. David O. and I will manage things nicely!’ . . .In the absence of his father, the boy David quickly redirected his energies to chores and farm work. Circumstances thus helped to produce a maturity beyond his physical years” (Llewelyn R. McKay, Home Memories of President David O.Young David O. McKay, about age five McKay [1956], 5–6).

Age 23: Mission to Scotland

When he was 21, David O. McKay entered the University of Utah where he debated, played the piano in a musical group, and played on the football team. There he Emma Ray Riggs, whom he later married. He graduated in 1897 as president and valedictorian of his class and was offered a teaching position. He also, at that time, received a call to serve a mission. The call of the Lord to serve as a missionary may have came at an inconvenient time, but he left all that was dear to him and went to his ancestral Scotland.

Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part

Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy PartWhile serving in Stirling, Scotland, David O. McKay had an experience that affected the remainder of his life. He and his companion had been in the town for a few weeks, but had had little success. They spent part of a day walking around Stirling Castle and Elder McKay was feeling homesick. He later recalled: “As we returned to the town, I saw an unfinished building standing back from the sidewalk several yards. Over the front door was a stone arch, something unusual in a residence, and what was still more unusual, I could see from the sidewalk that there was an inscription chiseled in that arch. I said to my companion: ‘That’s unusual! I am going to see what the inscription is.’ When I approached near enough, this message came to me, not only in stone, but as if it came from One in whose service we were engaged: ‘Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.’ “I turned and walked thoughtfully away, and when I reached my companion I repeated the message to him. “That was a message to me that morning to act my part well as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is merely another way of saying . . . ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 7:21.)” (Cherished Experiences from the Writings of David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [1955], 174–75).

He resolved that he would act well the part of a committed missionary. The stone was later acquired by the Church and is now in the David O. McKay exhibit in the Museum of History and Art next to Temple Square.

Age 47: Missionary Travels Around the World

In December 1920, Elder David O. McKay left on a world tour that helped shape his experience and prepared him to preside over unprecedented growth in Church membership. “Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose, and several of the Apostles laid their hands upon President McKay’s head and blessed him and set him apart as ‘a missionary to travel around the world’ and promised him that he should be ‘warned of dangers seen and unseen, and be given wisdom and inspiration from God to avoid all the snares and the pitfalls that may be laid for his feet’; that he should also ‘go forth in peace, in pleasure and happiness and to return in safety to his loved ones and to the body of the Church,’ he has experienced the protecting care of our Heavenly Father in all his global ministry” (Clare Middlemiss, comp., in McKay, Cherished Experiences, 37).

Age 77: Sustained as President of the Church

David O. McKayOn April 9th, 1951, David O. McKay was sustained as the ninth President of the Church during general conference. On that day, he said: “It is just one week ago today that the realization came to me that this responsibility of leadership would probably fall upon my shoulders. . . “When that reality came, as I tell you, I was deeply moved. And I am today, and pray that I may, even though inadequately, be able to tell you how weighty this responsibility seems.” Soon after being called as the prophet, he set out on a tour of missions around the world. He eventually traveled over a million miles, traversing the earth like a modern Paul. Missionary work accelerated as every member was encouraged to participate in missionary efforts.

Age 85:  Every Member a Missionary

In the April General Conference of 1959, President McKay said: “In 1923 in the British Mission there was a general instruction sent out to the members of the Church advocating… ‘Throw the responsibility of the Church that in the coming year of 1923 every member will be a missionary. Every member a missionary. You may bring your mother into the Church, or it may be your father; perhaps your fellow companion in the workshop. Somebody will hear the good message of the truth through you.’ And that is the message today,” President McKay said, extending the challenge to that 1959 audience. “Every member—a million and a half—a missionary!” (Conference Report, Apr. 1959, 122.)

May we all follow the example of this great modern day prophet. Be willing to sacrifice all that is necessary to serve a full-time mission. Be a member missionary and dedicate our lives to the building up of the kingdom of God.

Here are a couple of good videos on the life of President David O. McKay:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo39QrcafjA[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8iHsl-blrY[/youtube]

Missionary Service Requires Sacrifice – The Sid Going Rugby Story

Also see the Mormon Messages for Youth video on Sid Going called Your Day for a Mission

Below is the transcript from Elder Neil L. Andersen’s April 2011 General Conference talk, Preparing the World for the Second Coming:

“Missionary service requires sacrifice. There will always be something you leave behind when you respond to the prophet’s call to serve.

“Those who follow the game of rugby know that the New Zealand All Blacks, a name given because of the color of their uniform, is the most celebrated rugby team ever. 3 To be selected for the All Blacks in New Zealand would be comparable to playing for a football Super Bowl team or a World Cup soccer team.

“In 1961, at age 18 and holding the Aaronic Priesthood, Sidney Going was becoming a star in New Zealand rugby. Because of his remarkable abilities, many thought he would be chosen the very next year for the national All Blacks rugby team.

“At age 19, in this critical moment of his ascending rugby career, Sid declared that he would forgo rugby to serve a mission. Some called him crazy. Others called him foolish. 4 They protested that his opportunity in rugby might never come again.

“For Sid it was not what he was leaving behind—it was the opportunity and responsibility ahead. He had a priesthood duty to offer two years of his life to declare the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Nothing—not even a chance to play on the national team, with all the acclaim it would bring—would deter him from that duty.

“He was called by a prophet of God to serve in the Western Canadian Mission. Forty-eight years ago this month, 19-year-old Elder Sidney Going left New Zealand to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Sid told me of an experience he had on his mission. It was evening, and he and his companion were just about to return to their apartment. They decided to visit one more family. The father let them in. Elder Going and his companion testified of the Savior. The family accepted a Book of Mormon. The father read all night. In the next week and a half he read the entire Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. A few weeks later the family was baptized.

“A mission instead of a place on the New Zealand All Blacks team? Sid responded, “The blessing of [bringing others] into the gospel far outweighs anything [you] will ever sacrifice.”

“You’re probably wondering what happened to Sid Going following his mission. Most important: an eternal marriage to his sweetheart, Colleen; five noble children; and a generation of grandchildren. He has lived his life trusting in his Father in Heaven, keeping the commandments, and serving others.

“And rugby? After his mission Sid Going became one of the greatest halfbacks in All Blacks history, playing for 11 seasons and serving for many years as captain of the team.

“How good was Sid Going? He was so good that training and game schedules were changed because he would not play on Sunday. Sid was so good the Queen of England acknowledged his contribution to rugby. He was so good a book was written about him titled Super Sid.

“What if those honors had not come to Sid after his mission? One of the great miracles of missionary service in this Church is that Sid Going and thousands just like him have not asked, “What will I get from my mission?” but rather, “What can I give?”

“Your mission will be a sacred opportunity to bring others to Christ and help prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior.

“…Recently while I was visiting the Australia Sydney Mission, do you know whom I found? Elder Sidney Going—the New Zealand rugby legend. Now age 67, he is once again a missionary, but this time with a companion of his own choosing: Sister Colleen Going. He told me of a family they were able to teach. The parents were members but had been less active in the Church for many, many years. Elder and Sister Going helped rekindle the family’s faith. Elder Going told me of the power he felt while standing at the baptismal font next to the father of the family as the oldest son, now holding the priesthood, baptized his younger brother and sister. He expressed the joy of witnessing a united family pursuing eternal life together.

Funny Stories from General Conference April 2011

Funny stories and jokes from our living prophets and apostles from the April 2011 General Conference in Salt Lake City Utah.