Pres. Hunter, Pres. Monson address new mission leaders

The Savior's atonement is the foundation of missionary work, President Howard W. Hunter told new mission presidents and their wives at the annual New Mission Presidents' Seminar, June 21 at the Missionary Training Center.

President Hunter delivered the keynote address, his first formal address since becoming president of the Church June 5. His theme of missionary work based on the atonement is one that he frequently discusses with mission presidents.He spoke to 92 new presidents and their wives, including two who were called just a few days previously to replace presidents with recently developed health problems. The new presidents hail from 12 countries and will serve in 39 nations. They are among 305 mission presidents who preside over some 48,500 missionaries worldwide.

Following President Hunter's address, President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First presidency, spoke to the new leaders. President Hunter and President Monson then went to the auditorium where more than 2,200 missionaries were assembled, and spoke to them as well. (See report on page 4.)

In his remarks, President Hunter emphasized that those who have partaken of the Atonement are under obligation to bear faithful testimony of the Lord and Savior.

He said a preliminary question might be, "What is the objective of our missionary endeavor? Nephi's answer was to help non-members enter the gate into the pathway of eternal life through the gateway of repentance and baptism. (See 2 Ne. 31:17-18.) He said Nephi's testimony implies a conversion on behalf of the persons baptized. "They have repented, been baptized, and then received the remission of sins by the power of the Holy Ghost," President Hunter said.

"But then Nephi asks: `After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him,

now, note these words:T relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.' (2 Ne. 31:19.)

"What does it mean to rely wholly on the merits of Him who is mighty to save? It means that no man or woman can receive eternal life without the Atonement of Jesus Christ being fully efficacious in his or her life."

President Hunter referred to Mosiah 4:2-3 as an example of how people can know they have received forgiveness of their sins.

President Hunter spoke of the sorrow he has felt as he has stood in the Garden of Gethsemane and has contemplated the suffering and agony of the Savior as He took upon Himself the pains and sins of all mankind. He told of standing beneath Golgotha and thinking of the crucifixion that led to the Savior's mortal death, but which brought to pass His and all mankind's immortality. He spoke of standing in front of the Garden Tomb and thinking of that glorious day of resurrection when the Savior emerged from the tomb, alive, resurrected, immortal.

"Through these experiences I've felt to pour out my soul in thanksgiving and appreciation to our Heavenly Father for the love which He and His Son have given to us through the glorious atoning sacrifice."

President Hunter said, "Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others."

He said examples abound in the Book of Mormon that illustrate that principle: Lehi desired that his family should also partake of the fruit of the tree, symbolic of partaking of the Atonement. (1 Ne. 8:12) When Enos experienced his conversion and received a forgiveness of his sins, he had a desire for the welfare of his brethren. (Enos 1:9.) The sons of Mosiah, receiving a forgiveness of sins through the Atonement, labored for years among the Lamanites to bring them to Christ. (See Mosiah 28:3.)

"A great indicator of one's personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others," President Hunter said. "For this reason the Lord gave an obligation to every member of the church to be a missionary."

President Hunter bore testimony that the Atonement "represents His great love for us. The call to share the gospel with others represents our great love for our Heavenly Father's children as well as for the Savior and what He did for us.'

President Monson said that D&C 4:3 - "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work" - reflects his own feelings. He spoke companionably to new presidents and their wives about the joys, rewards and benefits of missionary work.

He said when he and his wife, Frances, were leaving 35 years ago for their mission in Canada, Elder Harold B. Lee, then of the Council of the Twilve, told them to remember two things:

"First, `Whom God calls, God qualifies.'" President Monson counseled the mission presidents, "You have been called by Heavenly Father, and He will qualify you.

"Second: `When you are on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to the Lord's help.'"

He said those two statements would bring comfort to the mission leaders' souls and would give them confidence that God will be with them.

He invited them to share with their missionaries a great promise found in D&C 84:88: "`I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.'"

He spoke of a phrase from Luke 9:62, which speaks of the servant who has "put his hand to the plough." President Monson said, "You have put your hand to the plough of our Lord Jesus Christ, to lead your great missionaries in His harvest fields."

President Monson reflected on the occasion when the Savior gave instructions to his disciples from whom He was about to depart. "Of all the instructions that the Lord could give His brethren, what did He choose to say to them on that very tender occasion?" President Monson asked. "What was uppermost in His mind? What was the thought He wanted them to carry? What was the duty he desired each one to fulfill? It is found in Matt. 28:19-20: `Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.'"

President Monson spoke of the message all missionaries bear: "Jesus is the Christ. God lives and we pray to Him. We're never alone." He said missionaries, through the message of the plan of salvation, go out with answers to the universal questions: "Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going after we die?"

President Monson counseled the new mission leaders not to worry excessively about their homes and families left behind while they go to serve the Lord. He said they could derive comfort in the Lord's words to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who were engaged in His work: "`Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends. Sidney and Joseph, you families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power. Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.'" (D&C 100:1-2)

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