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Elder Dale G. Renlund assures missionaries they need not be perfect to share Christ’s perfect message

PROVO, Utah — Elder Dale G. Renlund shared a message on Tuesday, March 23, with missionaries gathered in training centers across the globe that was equally grounded in doctrine and common sense: You don’t have to be a perfect messenger to deliver the perfect message of Christ.

“Elders and sisters, we have a perfect message,” he testified in a devotional originating from the Provo Missionary Training Center and broadcast to MTCs around the world.

“That perfect message centers on the Lord Jesus Christ, on Heavenly Father and His plan and on the Restoration of the gospel in its fullness. That is the perfect message. That is what we preach. That is what we get to when we are at our strongest — and you are the perfect messenger, even if you are imperfect in some ways.”

God, he added, “has commissioned you, just the way you are, to go out and invite people to come unto the Savior. And then He expects you to do your best and try to get better over the course of your mission and throughout your life.”

Sister Ruth L. Renlund, left, smiles as she is surprised by the missionaries in the Provo Missionary Training Center singing “Happy Birthday” to her before she and her husband, Elder Dale G. Renlund participated in a devotional at the MTC in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Sister Ruth L. Renlund, left, smiles as she is surprised by the missionaries in the Provo Missionary Training Center singing “Happy Birthday” to her before she and her husband, Elder Dale G. Renlund participated in a devotional at the MTC in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Credit: Adam Fondren, for the Church News

A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Renlund was joined at Tuesday’s devotional by his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund.

Some missionaries, he observed, might ask if the people they are teaching will believe the perfect message of the gospel message even when they realize they are being taught by imperfect messengers.

“The truth is, they can believe [the message] because it is true.”

God has long foretold that His message of salvation would be delivered by imperfect people, said Elder Renlund. 

The first section of the Doctrine and Covenants reveals “the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19).

The Savior, he added, performs “His own work” through the weak and unlearned.

“[The Lord’s] grace is sufficient for the meek … . You are His perfect messenger,” Elder Renlund assured the missionaries. “You are the ones that He has called and sent forth to give His message.”

Some may ask why the Lord chooses to call imperfect people to share His gospel with the world. “I don’t have a good answer,” said Elder Renlund. “But He does not want the messenger to get in the way of His perfect message.”

Wherever missionaries are called to serve, their message is the same: A modern-day prophet, Joseph Smith, restored knowledge about the plan of salvation, which is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and is fulfilled by living the principles and ordinances of the gospel.

“Whatever it is that you are talking about, always center on the message of the Restoration. Get back to the Sacred Grove,” taught Elder Renlund.

Missionaries are not called to debate reason or logic. Instead, they are called to share the defining message of the Restoration. As they do that, they will receive power and strength. “Your message is that God has called a prophet in these latter days and that ordinances have been restored to the earth that make it possible for people to be saved.”

While no missionary is perfect, they do have an obligation to do all they can to get better, he said. “That’s why you are at a missionary training center — to try and learn how to get better. But don’t fret and obsess about not being perfect. Worry about trying to be better. Seek to be better disciples of Jesus Christ. Seek to become better teachers.”

Read more: Serving a mission is like learning to ride a bike, President Bingham tells training missionaries

Remember that Jesus Christ has “all power” through His atoning sacrifice. He uses that absolute power to advocate the cause of His followers who exercise faith in Him and follow the covenant path home to the Father.

In ancient times, the resurrected Christ sent His apostles to go out into the world and teach and baptize people in His name. The prophetic call extended to latter-day missionaries today carries that same significance. Like the apostles, the missionaries have the authority to preach Christ’s gospel. They too are promised spiritual power.

“The meaning of the word ‘apostle’, from the Greek, is simply someone who is sent,” taught Elder Renlund. “You have been called and sent, as well. … In this regard, you are just like the Twelve. You have authority to preach. You are the perfect messenger, even if you think of yourself as weak, simple or unlearned.”

Make a friend with the Savior by following His commandments and sharing His gospel, he concluded. Trust in the Savior and treasure up His words of life.

Obedience brings safety, promises Sister Renlund

Tuesday was a special day for Sister Renlund — it was her birthday. When she and Elder Renlund arrived at the Provo MTC for the worldwide devotional, the missionaries sang “Happy Birthday” for their special guest.

Sister Renlund was clearly thrilled to be spending her holiday with the missionaries. She said she is excited for the many missionary adventures that await each sister and elder gathered in the MTCs.

There is safety, she added, in following the commandments and mission rules. Be careful not to rationalize or justify “why the rules don’t apply to you.”

“The reality, dear friends, is that we risk our spiritual lives when we start to rationalize why God’s laws don’t apply to us. Or why we can escape spiritual peril if we are crafty enough or clever enough. But that’s not the way life works. 

“The commandments have been given to protect each of us.”

Remember that Jesus Christ obeyed His Father in all things. He is the perfect example of obedience. Exercise agency by following His example of submitting to the Father’s will and keeping His commandments.

By obeying the commandments and following mission rules, added Sister Renlund, “you effectively can steer around the traps the devil would lay for you that would derail and waylay you from your divine destiny.”

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