The importance of the family, inspired direction from prophets, covenant making and love, were among themes touched on by Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy as he greeted 18 departing couples who will serve in missionary training centers and visitors' centers in various parts of the Church.
Elder Clarke, assistant executive director in the Missionary Department, spoke Jan. 15 in the opening session of the Seminar for New Missionary Training Presidents and Visitors' Center Directors held at the Provo MTC.
Elder Clarke shared five principles, expressing the hope that they would help the newly called companionships in their service.
"The first thing to remember is that the family is the most important organization in this Church," he said.
"For you that are MTC presidents, there will be many missionaries who will go by you that will have never seen an ideal family."
In presenting the second principle, Elder Clarke held up a copy of the Book of Mormon and the missionary guide Preach My Gospel, saying, "Remember that this book is your book, accompanied by this book."
Number three, "I hope we will come to follow the prophets," Elder Clarke said.
In doing so, the MTC presidents and visitors' center directors should remember their missionary purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel by faith in Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, he said.
He urged them to remember that they were set apart as missionaries.
Holding up a missionary name badge of one of the members of the group, Elder Clarke said that as he toured missions he would encourage missionaries to look at their badges every night at bedtime and report what they had been doing with the Lord's name that day.
"The fourth thing I hope we will remember is that what we are doing is about covenants," Elder Clarke said.
"If we can make sure that people live and keep covenants — your missionaries, people that missionaries baptize, people that pass by your visitors' center — we will help [them]return to Heavenly Father."
The last principle Elder Clarke shared was for the couples to remember that everything they do as missionaries relates to the first and great commandment, to love the Lord, and the second, to love one's neighbor as oneself.
"None of what we will do will work if there is not love," he declared.