'Invitation to come back' set tone for the prophet's administration

Barely one month had passed in the administration of President Ezra Taft Benson when the First Presidency issued at Christmas time in 1985 an "invitation to come back."

The message was directed to Church members who were less-active, who had become critical and prone to find fault or who had been excommunicated because of serious transgressions."To all such, we reach out in love," the statement read. "We are anxious to forgive in the spirit of Him who said: `I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.' (D&C 64:10.)"

The message was significant not only for its tone of love and conciliation on the threshold of a new year and a new First Presidency, but also because it foreshadowed things to come, consonant with the mission of the Church, which was to invite all to come unto Christ through the ordinances of the gospel.

Those things to come included creation of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, revamping of stake mission efforts and forging of a stronger partnership between stake and full-time missionaries, direction to priesthood quorums to more diligently strengthen and shepherd the less-active, continued construction of temples, and acceleration in the work of redeeming the dead. (Please see article on this page highlighting significant events in President Benson's administration.)

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