Translation essential in Savior's commission

Appearing to the 11 apostles, the resurrected Christ delivered to them the grand commission to go and "teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19). On another occasion, the resurrected Lord told them to "go. . . into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), and on yet another, to "be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8.)

In a famous address to the Church's regional representatives on April 4, 1974, President Spencer W. Kimball expounded upon that commission, saying: "What is the significance of that phrase 'uttermost part of the earth'? . . . Did He mean all the living people of all the world and those spirits assigned to come in centuries ahead?"

That rhetorical question is answered in a prophecy of the latter days given in this dispensation: "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Doctrine and Covenants 90:11, emphasis added.)

In fulfillment of this prophecy, thousands of Latter-day Saints around the world are engaged in the unceasing labor of conveying the word of the Lord to the earth's inhabitants in their own language. They do this through planning, development, translation, production and management of curriculum materials, including the scriptures, Church magazines, music and other gospel instruction material for the home and Church classrooms. Currently, this is done actively in 102 languages.

The diligence with which the work is accomplished is driven by the urgency of the task. Elder M. Russell Ballard expressed it in these terms while speaking to a satellite fireside for priesthood bearers on May 3, 1992: "Remember, brethren, that we are at war with Satan for the souls of men, women and children. We should be wise as priesthood leaders and employ every possible resource that we have available to help save Heavenly Father's precious children."

Viewed in the imagery of battle, what then is the keenest weapon in the conflict with Satan's forces for the souls of men, women and children? The Book of Mormon prophet Alma observed that "the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just — yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them."

That being the case, those who are engaged in the work of preparing gospel materials to be taken to people in their own language might be regarded as the quartermaster corps of the Lord's army. Acting under the direction of apostles and prophets in accordance with the Savior's commission, they produce and manage the vast curriculum of the Church. And they translate the scriptures, instructional materials, music and spoken word for those whom the Lord has prepared to receive His gospel.

This weekend, in which the faithful will again receive the word of the Lord through His servants at general conference, the Church News looks at several aspects of this mammoth undertaking by way of a package of articles and photos on pages 7-11.

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