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Elder Stevenson offers 6 guiding principles in using ‘Preach My Gospel’


In June 2004, President Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, were attending the annual seminar for new mission leaders at the Provo Missionary Training Center, preparing to serve as president and companion over the Japan Nagoya Mission.

At the same seminar that year, Church leaders introduced “Preach My Gospel,” a 230-page publication overseen by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that prepares and guides full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through every aspect of missionary work into one unified effort.

Fast forward 18 years and 4.3 million published copies, and Elder Stevenson — now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — was teaching the merits of “Preach My Gospel” to the newly called mission leaders attending the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders, praising the publication, sharing personal experiences and offering testimonials from current-serving mission leaders.

Read more talk summaries and see photos from the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders here

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“’Preach My Gospel’ is heavenly,” Elder Stevenson said during his presentation Friday, June 24. “It’s filled with treasures to bless each of you in your ministry and your missionaries as well.”

He began his message by teaching — without script or prompt — the new mission leaders lesson one as outlined in “Preach My Gospel,” sharing the plain and precious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, including a loving Heavenly Father, His plan of happiness, the need for a Savior, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Apostasy and the Restoration, complete with priesthood power and prophets and apostles.

The Apostle used his brief teaching demonstration as an example of the first of five guiding principles regarding the use of “Preach My Gospel.” They are:

  • Thoroughly understand the lessons and teach by the Spirit
  • Your personal relationship with “Preach My Gospel”
  • A Christ-centered mission culture supported by “Preach My Gospel”
  • “Preach My Gospel” as your “go-to” resource
  • “Preach My Gospel” to resolve concerns and answer questions

1. Thoroughly understand the lessons and teach by the Spirit

Elder Stevenson first read Doctrine and Covenants 50:13-14, the basis of the publication’s title: “Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question — unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.”

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He estimated having used the lesson one outline “maybe over a hundred times” in sharing the gospel with others. “For me, there is nothing that demonstrates and personalizes both the blessing and the power of ‘Preach My Gospel’ than to teach the lessons found in Chapter 3 of this inspired guide. Its purpose behind its name comes alive when we teach from it.”

He added: I offer my testimony that this can be done with great effectiveness by each of your missionaries. Understanding the lessons will bless not only those they teach, but each of them — as it has me — throughout their life.”

For the remaining principles, Elder Stevenson used video clips of a half-dozen currently serving couples of mission presidents and companions sharing their experiences and insights.

2. Your personal relationship with ‘Preach My Gospel’

President Greg Droubay of the Virginia Richmond Mission said: “The starting point for us in using ‘Preach My Gospel’ effectively has really been in our own relationship with that relationship. It’s part of our daily study, and in combination with the scriptures, it’s where we go when we are seeking direction about what the mission needs as we seek to improve our efforts to help further the work of the Lord.

“And for us as mission leaders, it’s an important resource to consistently invite revelation. As Kim [Sister Kim Droubay] and I study and learn from ‘Preach My Gospel’ every day, we are able to use it with credibility with our missionaries — and even with spiritual power as we try to help them do the same thing in their lives.”

3. A Christ-centered mission culture supported by ‘Preach My Gospel

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Peter Johnson of the England Manchester Mission said: “’Preach My Gospel’ is so vital to the success of our missionaries to help build their testimony, their understanding of how to do missionary work, the why behind missionary work. From Day 1 where we see the missionaries, we start off in Chapter 1 in our training, in our new missionary orientation, and we talk about the missionary purpose, which is centered and based on the doctrine of Christ. We help them realize that connection — we know they say it in the MTC, that we invite, we help [others] to come unto Christ, but do they know that it is doctrinally based on the doctrine of Christ and faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement?”

President Jeffrey Morrin of the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission added: “We found that the more we talk about and model the principles in ‘Preach My Gospel,’ the more the missionaries are going to do the same.” He added that they focus their training missionaries on “Preach My Gospel” to use in planning and personal and companionship study, with new missionaries directed to the missionary purpose and what defines as a successful missionary, as found in Chapter 1.

President Leonard Woo of the Singapore Mission said his missionaries memorize and internalize a personal pledge, “We are Christ-centered, Spirit-led missionaries.” The mission’s entire training plan is based on “Preach My Gospel,” from zone conferences to leadership training. And the mission emphasizes studying the entire publication and all the associated scriptures.

4. ‘Preach My Gospel’ as your ‘go-to’ resource

President Matthew Hurley of the Idaho Idaho Falls Mission said: “When we do our first orientation, we don’t do a whole lot except get into ‘Preach My Gospel.’ And we teach them and tell them from the beginning what our goal is.  And from the very beginning we have had a goal and that’s to be the best ‘Preach My Gospel’ mission in the world.”

Sister Rita Woo of the Singapore Mission called the guide “a lifesaver” that she loves, quotes and uses frequently. “I find it very helpful as a new mission leader, because I have no mission experience.  I believe I would be lost without it.  … It helps me know what to do.

Sister Droubay added: “In zone conferences or whenever there’s a skill or principle taught and demonstrated, it’s always modeled after a principle found in ‘Preach My Gospel.’ The same approach has been applied in our Mission Leadership Council as we focus on skills and principles.”

5. ‘Preach My Gospel’ to resolve concerns and answer questions

President Christopher Thomas of the Mexico Mexico City Northwest Mission said as he goes out teaching with the missionaries, he sees developing trends and areas where improvement is needed, and then follows up in district councils and zone conferences.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He offered an example: “I noticed that we were not inviting as effectively as we could — I saw invitations that went along the lines of ‘Maybe you would like to get baptized.’ We talked about how that is not what you have been studying in ‘Preach My Gospel’ and that would then become a focus — powerful invitations with a direct question, promised blessings, testifying and following up. That comes from Chapter 11.”

Added President Droubay: “Along with the scriptures, I always have a copy with me in interviews when missionaries are struggling with something personally or some aspect of the work in their area. We open ‘Preach My Gospel’ and search for answers.”

Elder Stevenson suggested a sixth principle — “We go together” — as an emphasis on the companionship of “Preach My Gospel” and the scriptures.

Said Sister Sheryn Thomas of the Mexico Mexico City Northwest Mission: “Our days begin with ‘Preach My Gospel.’  We ask our missionaries to focus their personal and companionship studies in ‘Preach My Gospel’ and in conjunction with the Book of Mormon.”

Elder Stevenson concluded: “I invite you to integrate these principles from Preach My Gospel and internalize them … in your own personal way with your mission experience. …

“I bear witness that ‘Preach My Gospel’ and the scriptures will bless you and your ministry in your field of labor and the missionaries with which you have been assigned.”

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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