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Elder Nash shares 3 principles and 5 how-tos of being converted unto the Lord


PROVO, Utah — The latter-day gathering of Israel depends a great deal on full-time missionaries who not only help others convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ but who also become converted themselves, said Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department.

“Your paramount duty is to help each missionary be ‘converted unto the Lord,’ through their missionary experience,” said Elder Nash, speaking on the opening day of the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

He quoted Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who defined conversion as “a change in one’s beliefs, heart and life to accept and conform to the will of God and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ.”

Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

3 principles of conversion

Elder Nash reviewed three principles of “the miracle of conversion.”

First, believe. Believe that Heavenly Father lives and that each missionary is a beloved child of God called to serve Him; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living Father; and that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God.

Second, stay in the right way. Doctrine and Covenants 35:24 underscores the importance of commandments and covenants: “Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and [God] will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish.”

Third, know and trust God. “When a missionary does missionary things as a means of seeking Christ, he or she will come to know and trust Him, for such a missionary will experience Christ’s presence and power,” Elder Nash said.

Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

5 how-tos for believing, staying and trusting

Elder Nash also shared five how-tos for helping missionaries believe, stay in the right way and know and trust God.

1. ‘Preach My Gospelprovides the structure, order and skills necessary for conversion: Implement it.

“You do not need to reinvent the proverbial wheel,” Elder Nash said, adding, “The more closely the missionaries exercise the self-discipline to live what is given in ‘Preach My Gospel,’ the more they will increase in conversion to the Lord.”

2. Obedience is more powerful when missionaries understand doctrine and learn how to apply gospel principles.

“Obedience becomes more willing and purposeful when the missionary understands the ‘why’ of the doctrine and learns by effort and experience to apply principles with the ‘why’ in mind,” said Elder Nash, quoting “Preach My Gospel” that “true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors.”

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

3. Each missionary is an individual — the most effective way to influence them is one-on-one.

Noting that missionaries come from distinct and varied circumstances, Elder Nash encouraged new mission leaders to “seek to understand by the Spirit where each missionary is and help him or her grow from there.” 

4. Conversion to Christ is the personal responsibility of the individual missionary.

He quoted President Russell M. Nelson: “The truth is that you must own your own conversion. No one else can do it for you. I plead with you to take charge of your testimony. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth. … Engage in daily, earnest, humble prayer. Nourish yourself in the words of ancient and modern prophets.”

5. There must needs be opposition in all things — help your missionaries to plan on it and not be surprised by it.

“Opposition and difficulty are part of missionary life,” Elder Nash said. “Some see opposition as reason to shrink when instead opposition is opportunity. Opposition gives us the chance to exercise agency wisely and grow.”

He noted that three mission leadership couples attending the seminar had faced opposition when seeking visas several months ago. They were thrown in jail unjustly and kept there for days, with no bed, no edible food and no potable water.

“What did they do?” asked Elder Nash. “They prayed, preached the gospel to their cellmates, gave blessings and sang hymns. They were agents, not objects.”

Invitation and promise

“Help each missionary to believe, help each to stay in the right way, and help each one to know and trust God,” invited Elder Nash, adding that such missionaries, those like Alma and others in the scriptures, “will experience and taste exceeding joy, be converted and born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

“Such missionaries will see others born of God, who taste as the missionaries have tasted. Such will be supported under trials and troubles of every kind and will come to know and trust God. They will be changed. They will be converted, transformed. They will become powerful, patient, persistent disciples of Christ, builders of eternal families and of the kingdom of God.”

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