What Elder Soares taught missionaries about the doctrine of Christ and their missionary purpose

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife Sister Rosana Soares, smile at the missionaries as they depart a worldwide missionary devotional on Jan. 11, 2022. Credit: Screenshot from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broadcast
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to missionaries around the world in a live broadcast Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Credit: Screenshot: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live broadcast

Missionaries can increase their understanding of the doctrine of Christ and implement it into their service to help others come unto Christ, taught Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a devotional broadcast to missionaries around the world on Tuesday, Jan. 11. 

Elder Soares said the Church needs missionaries who are coming unto Christ by living His doctrine and being converted by the power of the Holy Ghost. Then they will be enabled to bring others to Christ.

Elder Soares asked the missionaries to ponder three questions:

  1. “As a missionary, how can your understanding of the doctrine of Christ increase and deepen your conversion to Him?
  2. “As you are starting your mission, what experiences are you having in implementing each of the elements of the doctrine of Christ in your own life?
  3. “How can understanding and implementing the doctrine of Christ increase your desire and ability to help others come unto Him?”

Understanding the doctrine of Christ

Elder Soares reminded the missionaries of President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation from the October 2021 general conference: to listen for pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ and pure revelation.

“The pure doctrine of Christ is powerful,” taught President Nelson. “It changes the life of everyone who understands it and seeks to implement it in his or her life. The doctrine of Christ helps us find and stay on the covenant path. Staying on that narrow but well-defined path will ultimately qualify us to receive all that God has.”

Elder Soares said the doctrine of Christ is the means by which we can obtain all of the blessings made available to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He read 3 Nephi 11:32-33 with the missionaries:

“And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me … the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Sister Kayla Payne at the Provo MTC, who will serve in the Ecuador Quito Mission, was invited to read 3 Nephi 27:13-22 out loud, where Jesus Christ outlined to His 12 Nephite disciples the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

Implementing the doctrine of Christ

Elder Soares explained that experiencing the doctrine of Christ is not a one-time event. Though people experience each of the elements initially — like faith unto repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost — they must endure to the end by continually exercising faith unto repentance, receiving all ordinances, keeping covenants, and living worthy of the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost throughout their lives.

“Exercising faith unto repentance should be a daily habit,” said Elder Soares. “When Jesus asks you and me to ‘repent,’ He is asking us to change the way we live, think, serve, teach, spend our time and treat others, including members, leaders, companions or fellow missionaries.”

Elder Soares explained how President Nelson has taught that repentance is not a punishment, but rather an opportunity to be forgiven, cleansed and sanctified through Christ.

Next, the ordinance of the sacrament enables baptized members to renew their baptismal covenants and it invites the ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost, said Elder Soares. 

“I emphasize again that experiencing the doctrine of Christ brings the power of godliness,” he said.

Declaring the doctrine of Christ unto the ends of the earth

Elder Soares testified that doctrine of Christ is both the “what” and the “why” of missionary work. “Preach My Gospel” chapter 1 records a missionary’s purpose, and it is patterned after the doctrine of Christ. 

It says, “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.”

Elder Soares gave examples of missionaries around the world who listened to the Holy Ghost’s guidance as they shared the gospel with others and invited them to be baptized. 

He told those listening, “As your understanding of the doctrine of Christ deepens and you implement it into your life, your desire to help others come unto Him will increase and you will have power as you invite people to implement His doctrine into their lives.”

A missionary who exercises faith, repents and partakes worthily of the sacrament will be more able to testify of these truths, he explained.

“I invite you to prayerfully consider how you can begin this very night to declare His doctrine, counsel with your companion, teachers and priesthood leaders. They can help you,” he said.

A marvelous call

Elder Soares told the missionaries that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pray for them together and individually.

“You are in our prayers every single day,” Elder Soares said.

Elder Soares told the missionaries that even though he couldn’t see them all, he could feel the Spirit testify to him that every one of them was called of the Lord to serve as His representatives.

“Thank you for accepting this marvelous call to represent the Lord at this point in your life. You can hardly imagine now what this decision will bring into your life and in the lives of so many around the world where you are serving,” he said.

Sister Rosana Soares also spoke to the missionaries. She told them about hearing President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, say that missionary work is not a sacrifice, but a privilege.

“It’s true,” said Sister Soares. “What a privilege to be bearers of the good news of the gospel! I hope you can understand the greatness of your calling and be able to feel the Spirit of the Lord each day.”

She shared an example of a missionary who found joy in her circumstances, and spoke of another missionary who said the best thing in his mission was beside him — referring to the Holy Ghost and his companion. She pointed out how important it is to celebrate differences and have joy.

“Certainly, loneliness, fear and frustration will come to visit us once in a while, but we do not have to allow them to stay, because it’s unhealthy to our souls,” said Sister Soares.

An apostolic blessing

Elder Soares concluded by leaving an apostolic blessing upon the missionaries. He blessed them with increasing faith, a capacity to understand, and the ability to fulfill their purposes as missionaries as they applied the doctrine of Christ in their lives. He also blessed them with the gifts, talents and abilities they needed during their service.

“Above all of the love and admiration I have for you, I trust you and trust in your capacity to deal with the challenges of this time,” said Elder Soares. “You were sent during this time when the Lord is preparing the world for the second coming. He knew you could cope with the challenges of this time. That is why He sent you.” 

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