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Elder Uchtdorf explains why not having all the answers is a blessing


PROVO, Utah — Not having all the answers at all times can be a healthy stimulus to creativity, inspiration and revelation, said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Just as inspiring and revelatory is the ongoing Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the gospel, he said Friday, June 24, at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

“You, in companionship with angels and Almighty God, are engaged in the high adventure of building Zion, gathering Israel on both sides of the veil, and you are making His everlasting covenants known to the world,” he told the new mission presidents and companions. “As fishers of men, you will contribute to this great work in a marvelous and special way.”

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

The blessing of not having all the answers

Beginning his instruction, Elder Uchtdorf suggested something that he admitted may seem counterintuitive — that sometimes not having the answers is a blessing.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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

“We all want answers. You do. I do. Your missionaries do. Your investigators and members of the Church want answers as well,” he said. “And it is frustrating when those answers seem not to be available right away or are not satisfying.”

Personal involvement is essential to finding meaning, and giving people all the answers to every question limits the influence of the Spirit and suffocates growth, he said.

“It is in the wrestling that we emerge from darkness into the light — that we receive divine inspiration and revelation. Our growth and increase often come because of the struggle. The journey is part of the goal.”

Elder Uchtdorf said he was not saying answers already received should be ignored or dismissed. And repeating Joseph Smith’s charge of “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves,” he explained that the wisdom, policies and guidelines that Latter-day Saints have now are all part of teaching “correct principles.”

The ongoing Restoration

Some may think of the Restoration as something that happened in the 19th century during the days of Joseph Smith. But the Prophet penned the ninth Article of Faith, which promises, “God will reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

Elder Uchtdorf acknowledged God referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as His “true and living church” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30) and said: “If something is living, it is growing. Progressing. Developing more and more in the Savior’s way.”

President Russell M. Nelson confirmed the ongoing Restoration when he said: “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”

Said Elder Uchtdorf: “The only way the Church remains living is if it stays connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ, who gives light and life. If we cease receiving divine inspiration — even revelation — we risk dying on the vine.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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

Latter-day Saints are given challenges to help strengthen them and cause them to seek the light of heaven, to force them to be creative and to learn while staying true to divine laws, commandments and values, he said.

“I thank God that we do not have every answer. I rejoice that God has entrusted us, His servants, with an opportunity to seek for answers and to offer our sweat, toil and talents in building and advancing the kingdom of God in any region and culture in this work.”

While the Church and its members have much in common with past dispensations, “still we are unique,” said Elder Uchtdorf. “We live in the fullness of times, a time when God’s people are being gathered together and priesthood keys and divine knowledge have been restored to this great work.”

It is a day when God promised, “Righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth” (Moses 7:62).

The Prophet Joseph said: “Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work.”

And the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: “The Church has done many difficult things, and from these achievements one would not wish to detract. But all the easy things the Church has had to do have been done. From now on it is high adventure!”

Nothing can stop it

Quoting Joseph Smith’s declaration, “The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing,” Elder Uchtdorf said: “Sometimes we struggle to progress because we think we know all the answers and do not need to search for inspiration. Sometimes we do not receive revelation because we have put up umbrellas that block our receiving heavenly knowledge.”

Remember, the end of the story has already been written, he said. “God will prevail. The victory is certain.”

Despite times of discouragement, setbacks, sorrow and distress, “the victorious end of the story is as sure as the coming of the dawn,” he continued. “The Savior has sent His everlasting covenant into the world ‘to be a light to the world … to be a standard for my people … and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me’” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:9).

Counsel to leaders

Elder Uchtdorf offered six guiding points as the new leaders teach their missionaries:

1. Teach your missionaries that they themselves must become their first convert. “Inspire and challenge them to keep striving, and I promise the Holy Spirit will testify to the truthfulness of the Restoration,” he said, adding to encourage missionaries to find answers on their own. “This will help them not only during their mission but throughout their lives.”

2. Teach them to love the gospel and love the Church. “The purpose of the gospel and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to bring all mankind closer to Christ,” he said. “Encouraging and transforming them to lives of holiness and happiness leads to salvation and exaltation.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf 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

3. Teach them to live in private what they teach in public. “We are disciples of Jesus Christ. We are called to lives of holiness, humility and happiness,” he said, adding that missionaries, through their example, “are the greatest visible proof of how the fruits of living the gospel can magnify lives, bring happiness and fill souls with joy.”

4. Teach them that their responsibility is not to convert — that is the role of the Holy Spirit — but to find, teach and baptize. “By opening their mouths and proclaiming the gospel always and everywhere, the missionaries give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to teach on a profound and spiritual level.”

5. Teach your missionaries to see people as immortal sons and daughters of Heavenly Father with immeasurable potential. “Everyone with whom we come in contact — even those who reject this glad message — are infinite, immortal beings of staggering worth and unimaginable potential. We love, acknowledge and respect them regardless of their attitude towards us or the Church. Teach the missionaries to never miss an opportunity to love, share and invite in normal and natural ways.”

6. Teach your missionaries that we live in a rare and precious time — “a time where we are all engaged in the great work of preparing the world for the return of its Savior.”

God will sustain

In the great effort to establish God’s kingdom, Elder Uchtdorf said, “we are called to use our heart, souls and minds as we put our shoulder to the wheel and further the work along. This is our opportunity. Our duty. Our great privilege. Our joy.”

Underscoring the promised sustaining from God, Elder Uchtdorf concluded with his witness that missionary work is of the greatest importance to Heavenly Father. “He wants you to succeed. He has unimaginable blessings in store for you and for those with whom you serve.”

He cited the reassuring words from Doctrine and Covenants 88, verses 42 and 88: “I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you … for 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.”

And the Apostle included mention of Doctrine and Covenants 128:22: “With angels at our side and God supporting our labors, how ‘shall we not go on in so great a cause?’ I know you will.”

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