Timely counsel from members of the twelve

The following are excerpts from addresses given by members of the Council of the Twelve at the Mission Presidents' Seminar, June 22-27, at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Comments of Elder David B. Haight were included in the June 26 issue of Church News.

Help them come to know truth

They [the missionaries] cannot teach that which they do not know, and you could do much for them if you teach them the patterns of discipline and organization and efficiency. But that could not equal in a tiny percent what you could do for them if you caused them to gain a knowledge of the doctrines and a knowledge of the truth that are found in the scriptures and the revelations. . . . And if you teach it right, angels will attend you. If you teach it properly, you will speak with the tongues of angels. If you teach it properly, they [missionariesT will read and will know that they have heard His voice, and have that revelation.

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Victory - more vital than a win

This has to do with you ultimate victory. There isn't anyone here who doesn't want to have a victory. I think that is more important than a win. . . . Regardless of what we achieve, regardless of disappointment, regardless of heartaches, regardless of great successes, I think what we want more than anything else is victory, the way our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ measure it. Not in the score. Not in the length. Not in the achievements, but total victory when you put all the ingredients together.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

`Their joy will be real'

From the four corners of the earth we've gathered together the best group of mission presidents that's ever been assembled in the history of the Church. . . . I hope you realize the power of your personal influence as you spread yourselves throughout the world during these next three years.

You can see your influence indelibly imprinted on perhaps as many as a quarter of a million souls during the rest of your lifetimes with the service you are performing here in the mission field. The power of your influence cannot be underestimated as you go forward and serve. Then when you think of the joy of adding one soul to our Father in Heaven's kingdom, think of the great joy that will be yours on this special missionary experience.

Elder L. Tom Perry

Book of Mormon - a keystone

We are all aware of Joseph Smith's statement that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. The keystone keeps an arch in place; without a keystone the whole arch will collapse. Why is the Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion?

The Book of Mormon is central to our history and theology. It is the text for this dispensation. Nothing took priority over getting the Book of Mormon translated and published. Everything was held until that was accomplished. There were no apostles until it came into being. Ten days after its publication the Church was organized. Publication of the Book of Mormon preceded missionary work because Samuel Smith needed to have it in hand before he could go forward as the first missionary of the Church.

Both Section 17 and 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants indicate that the Brethren could not pretend to know the divinity of the latter-day work until the Book of Mormon was translated.

Elder James E. Faust

Prophet has place with ancients

The precious Book of Mormon came through not from Joseph, the Seer. It came to him by the "gift and power of God." But though it was not "his" book, Joseph was its remarkable translator! It was actually the book of prophets who had long before preceded him. By means of his intensive labors of translation, Joseph has let these prophets speak so eloquently for themselves - to millions of us! More printed pages of scripture have come through Joseph Smith than from any other human.

Once the Prophet Joseph hoped aloud that he might so live amid his suffering, that one day he could take his place among Abraham and the "ancients," hoping to "hold an even weight in the balances with them." (Personal Writings of Joseph Smith by Dean Jessee, p. 395.) Joseph so triumphed, which is why we can rightly sing of Joseph's being "[CTrowned in the midst of the prophets of old." (Hymns, No. 27.)

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Unity increases strength

In the Church, we work together, and we're stronger when we do. We don't solo. The Lord so counseled, "Bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me." (D&C 43:9; see also D&C 82:15.) You beloved mission presidents and companions already know that you are more secure when you are united in your partnership. And this calling will unify you even more than you were before. Likewise, a mission presidency of three is stronger when a president and his counselors are happily bound together as one. Time and time again, you will find that missionaries, when properly united as companions, gain strength beyond the sum of their own strength as individuals.

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Missions of Church harmonious

The proclaiming of the gospel does not stand independent of perfecting the Saints or redeeming the dead, nor they of it. All three are are harmonious parts of one unified mission of the Church. Missionary work must be done so as to "establish" the Lord's Church. For this reason we must conduct our efforts so as to grow from centers of strength. In this way, the baptism of one person leads on to the perfecting of that Saint, to the ordinances that seal a family in the holy temple, and to the redeeming and sealing of dead ancestors and their families. We must conduct our missionary work in that spirit of unity and wholeness. Baptisms are not enough.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Holy Ghost conveys knowledge

We have to master the ability to have the Holy Ghost as our companion and to recognize that He is the teacher, He is the comforter, He is the one that conveys spiritual knowledge and spiritual truth from one party to another party and He does that by working with wonderful 19-year-old elders and 21-year-old sisters. And He does that through languages that you [missionariesT never dreamed you'd have to learn. You'll find yourselves out in the world, speaking in tongues, so to speak, foreign to you today.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

Representatives of Christ

The most important aspect that I know of in working with missionaries is to help them understand who the Savior is, and that they are agents in the hands of the Lord to invite the people to come unto Him. And that their mission is to be a representative of Jesus Christ, fully empowered and inspired to know what to do, and to have the capacity to do it.

As you teach missionaries the skills and all about the program, make sure they all know the Savior and who He is, what His atonement means, and what their relationship is to Him, and His to His Father.

Elder Richard G. Scott

One soul precious as another

The role of missionaries has expanded in recent years to include convert retention and activation. . . . The salvation of souls is not compartmentalized. One soul is as precious as another. We are as interested in less-active members as we are a non-member.

It is also wise to teach missionaries that the process of bringing one person to Christ often has a ripple effect that involves many people. Wise mission leaders will teach their missionaries to take advantage of a contact's intertwined social network. Convert retention and activation should always be considered as finding opportunities.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

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