Raising Ourselves to the Bar

I just finished reading a great mission prep book called Raising Ourselves to the Bar by Brad Wilcox and Russell Wilcox. Here are some of my favorite parts of the book:

  • “When Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve was directing the work in Chile, he said on several occasions, ‘The bar is not an obstacle to get over, bur a vision to reach for.'” (p. x)

God: He Loves Me — Satan: He Loves Me Not

  • Regarding a mission, says Brother Wilcox, “this is a journey that is hard on the shoes, [but] good for the soul.” (p. 2)
  • “Satan, the so-called prince of this world, is reigning with blood and terror…He thinks there is no one to stand in his way. He’d better think again! We are not going to lie down and let him reign unopposed.” (p. 16)
  • “It is on those days when I am feeling very mediocre that I have to remember that the word mediocre comes from the Latin, mediocris, which means ‘halfway up the mountain.’ No one stands on top of a mountain without passing through the halfway point.” (p. 18)

God Parted the Red Sea, and He will Help You

  • “God didn’t remove the Red Sea, but he provided a way for the children of Israel to go through it. In the same way, God doesn’t remove the requirement of mission service or the difficulty of meeting that challenge. Instead, he helps us through it.” (p. 24)
  • “To be successful and effective missionaries, we need to change [TV] channels in our lives and take the focus off our needs, our problems, and our worries (channel one) and put it on the needs of others (channel two).” (p. 28)
  • “When a missionary feels his spirit is willing but his flesh is weak, fasting can strengthen the spirit and remind that weak flesh who is in charge.” (p. 36)
  • “Recounting missionary experiences invites the Holy Spirit in the conversation. Listening to them can stir a young man’s soul and help instill in him a desire to experience these things himself.” (p. 37)


  • “Not only does Seminary provide a welcome daily respite from the worldliness that permeates our schools, but it also plants noble thoughts, an understanding of the scriptures, and a love of the Savior in a young person’s heart.” (p. 57)
  • “It is more beneficial and certainly faith promoting to spend our time studying the gospel rather than reading anti-Mormon materials. Secure people don’t worry too much about what others think of them. It is the insecure who are forever concerned about what ‘they’ say. It is food to be informed, but not dominated, driven, or defined by other’s opinions.” (p. 71)

Resources and Attributes

  • “When it comes to the world of missionary work, it truly is all about who you know. Effective missionaries know their companions, investigators, and the members of the wards and branches in which they serve.” (p. 94)
  • “While missionaries can look good, it is more important that they be good. The Savior cursed the fig tree that looked good but didn’t bear fruit.” (p. 113)
  • “It is not enough to just try to empty our minds of evil or ‘dirty’ thoughts. It is a matter of filling them with goodness, light, perspective, and purpose.” (p. 116)
  • “They will be amazed at the changes they can make when they stop relying on willpower alone and start relying on God’s power.” (p. 122)

Astonishing Skills

  • “This gospel is astonishing. Now get out there and astonish someone!” –Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (p. 147)
  • “In preparing our young people to serve missions, we need to communicate high expectations…Many of our youth are willing to respond when challenged to stretch and give their best efforts–especially when those expectations are given with sincere and genuine concern and love.” (p. 159)
  • “If we feel as though we have to leave our personalities behind when we check in to the MTC, we’re going to have long missions. In D&C 4 we read that we must serve with all our heart, might mind, and strength. That includes serving with our unique personalities as well.” (p. 161)

Going the Extra Smile

  • “People expect missionaries to be happy and outgoing. Missionaries may have knocked on hundreds of doors, but it may be the first meeting for the one opening the next door.” (p. 166)
  • “Russell tells the missionaries that unless they smile, people are not even going to be interested in the language, lessons, and scriptures they are working so hard to learn.” (p. 167)
  • “What should we do to help our children better prepare?…Turn off the TV a little more. Turn off the Nintendo and computer games. What missionaries need are people skills, and those are not developed or honed in front of a monitor.” (p. 172)

You can buy Raising Ourselves to the Bar for as low as $3.00 plus shipping on Amazon.com.

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