Four Titles

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Of the First Presidency

… We men sometimes identify ourselves by titles. Many of us have multiple titles, and each says something important about our identity. For example, some titles describe our roles in families, such as son, brother, husband, and father. Other titles describe our occupations in the world, such as doctor, soldier, or craftsman. And some describe our positions within the Church.

Today I would like to suggest four titles that I believe apply to all priesthood holders around the world-titles that may help us recognize our individual roles in God’s eternal plan and our potential as priesthood holders…

Son of Heavenly Father

One title that defines all of us, in the most fundamental way, is “son of Heavenly Father.” No matter what else we are or do in life, we must never forget that we are God’s literal spirit children… This basic truth changes the way we look at ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and life itself.

Unfortunately, none of us quite lives up to everything that this title implies, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

It can be discouraging at times to know what it means to be a son of God and yet come up short. The adversary likes to take advantage of these feelings. Satan would rather that you define yourself by your sins instead of your divine potential. Don’t listen to him.

We have all seen a toddler learn to walk. He takes a small step and totters. He falls. Do we scold such an attempt? Of course not. What father would punish a toddler for stumbling? We encourage, we applaud, and we praise, because with every small step, the child is becoming more like his parents.

Now, brethren, compared to the perfection of God, we mortals are scarcely more than awkward, faltering toddlers. But our loving Heavenly Father wants us to become more like Him, and, dear brethren, that should be our eternal goal too. God understands that we get there not in an instant but by taking one step at a time.

Disciple of Jesus Christ

… All who strive earnestly to follow the Christ are called His disciples. Although we recognize that none of us are perfect, we do not use that fact as an excuse to lower our expectations, to live beneath our privileges, to delay the day of our repentance, or to refuse to grow into better, more perfect, more refined followers of our Master.

Remember that [The Church] is built, not for men and women who are perfect or unaffected by mortal temptations, but rather, it is built for people exactly like you and me… Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life would be a dead-end road without hope or future. With the Atonement, life is an ennobling, inspiring journey of growth and development that leads to eternal life in the presence of our Father.

But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold-that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.

It also contradicts the intent and purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency-with all its far-reaching consequences-of each and every one of God’s children. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences. The Church thrives when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen our fellow disciples.

Healer of Souls

Brethren, if we truly follow our Lord Jesus Christ, we must embrace a third title: healer of souls. We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God are called to practice “the healer’s art.” It is our job to build up, repair, strengthen, uplift, and make whole. Our assignment is to follow the Savior’s example and reach out to those who suffer.

… As home teachers, we are healers. As priesthood leaders, we are healers. As fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands we should be committed and dedicated healers. We carry in one hand a vial of consecrated oil for blessing the sick; in the other we carry a loaf of bread to feed the hungry; and in our hearts we carry the peaceable word of God, “which healeth the wounded soul.”

Heir of Eternal Life

The fourth title we all share returns us to the first title in our list. As sons of our Heavenly Father, we are heirs to all that He has. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Think of this, my beloved brethren. We are joint-heirs with Christ!

So does it make any sense that many of us spend so much of our valuable time, thoughts, means, and energies in pursuit of prestige or wealth or to be entertained by the newest and coolest electronic gadgets?

The Lord has put before us the divine promise that “whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods, … magnifying their calling, … [will] receive me, saith the Lord; … and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.”

Knowing this, how can we not willingly and joyfully engage in serving the Lord and fellowmen and living up to our responsibilities in the priesthood of God?

This is a most noble labor that will challenge our every sense and stretch our every ability. Do we desire to see the heavens open and witness the promptings of the Holy Spirit showing us the way? Then let’s take up our sickle and put our back into this great work-a cause greater than ourselves!

Serving God and our fellowmen will challenge us and transform us into something greater than we ever thought possible.

Perhaps you might think that you are not needed-that you are overlooked or unwanted, that you are nobody.  I am sincerely sorry if any priesthood holder feels this way. Certainly, you are not overlooked or unwanted by your Heavenly Father. And I tell you with certainty that you are needed by your Church.

… Perhaps it is true that we are weak. Perhaps we are not wise or mighty. But when God works through us, no one and nothing can stand against us…. This is why you are needed. You have your own special contribution to make, and God can magnify that contribution in a mighty way.

Your ability to contribute is not dependent upon your calling in the Church. Your opportunities for service are endless. If you are waiting on the sidelines, I encourage you to get in the game.

Don’t wait for a particular calling before you become fully engaged in building the kingdom of God. As a priesthood holder, you are already called to the work. Study the word of God daily, pray to Heavenly Father every day, internalize the principles of the restored gospel, give thanks to God, and ask for His guidance. Then live what you learn, first in your family but also in all situations of your life.

In the great Composer’s symphony, you have your own particular part to play-your own notes to sing. Fail to perform them, and with certainty the symphony will go on. But if you rise up and join the chorus and allow the power of God to work through you, you will see “the windows of heaven” open, and He will “pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.  Rise up to your true potential as a son of God and you can be a force for good in your family, your home, your community, your nation, and indeed in the world.

Your Sacred Duty to Minister

Brother David L. Beck Young Men General Presidency

Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, you are beloved sons of God, and He has a great work for you to do. To accomplish this work, you must fulfill your sacred duty to minister to others. 

Do you know what it means to minister? Think about this question while I tell you about a girl named Chy Johnson.

When Chy started high school last year, she became the victim of cruel and thoughtless bullying. She was mistreated, shoved, and taunted as she walked to class-some students even threw garbage at her. You have probably seen people mistreated like this in your school too.

For too many people, the teenage years are a time of loneliness and fear. It doesn’t have to be this way. Fortunately for Chy, there were young men at her school who understood what it means to minister.

Chy’s mother had asked teachers at the school to help stop the bullying, but it continued. She then contacted Carson Jones, an Aaronic Priesthood holder and the starting quarterback of the football team. She asked him to help her find out who was doing the bullying.

Carson agreed to help, but in his heart he felt that he could do much more than just identify the bullies. The Spirit whispered to him that he needed to help Chy feel loved.

Carson asked some of his teammates to join him in ministering to Chy. They invited her to sit with them during lunch. They walked her to class to make sure she was safe. Not surprisingly, with football players as her close friends, no one bullied Chy anymore.

This was an exciting season for the football team. But even with the thrill of an undefeated season, these young men did not forget about Chy. They invited her to join the team on the field after games. Chy felt loved and appreciated. She felt safe. She was happy.

The football team went on to win the state title. But something more important than a football championship happened at their school. The example of these young men has motivated other students to be more accepting, more friendly. They now treat each other with more kindness and respect.

National news media found out what these young men had done and shared their story across the country. What began as an effort to minister to one is inspiring thousands of others to do the same.

Chy’s mother calls these young men “angels in disguise.” Carson and his friends are quick to say that Chy has blessed their lives much more than they blessed hers. That’s what happens when you lose yourself in serving others-you find yourself. You change and grow in ways that would not be possible otherwise. These young men have experienced the joy of ministering and continue to seek opportunities to bless others. They are anxious to extend their ministering in the coming months when they serve as full-time missionaries.

A Need and a Duty

There are thousands of Chy Johnsons throughout the world-people who need to feel Heavenly Father’s love. They are in your schools, in your quorums, and even in your family. Some come to mind quickly. Others have needs that are less obvious. Virtually everyone you know could be blessed in some way by your ministering. The Lord is counting on you to reach out to them.

…You received the power, the authority, and the sacred duty to minister the moment you were ordained to the priesthood… As you love His children, Heavenly Father will guide you and angels will assist you.  You will be given power to bless lives and rescue souls.

Jesus Christ is your example. He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” To minister means to love and care for others. It means to attend to their physical and spiritual needs. Put simply, it means to do what the Savior would do if He were here.

Your Family

Start in your own home. This is where you can do your most important ministering.

Do you want to try an interesting experiment? The next time your mother asks for your help around the house, say something like “Thank you for asking, Mom. I would love to help.” Then watch her reaction. Some of you might want to brush up on your first aid skills before you try this, because you may send her into shock. After you revive her, you’ll find a noticeable improvement in your relationship with her and an increase of the Spirit in your home.

That’s just one way to minister to your family; there are many others. You minister as you speak kind words to family members. You minister as you treat your siblings like your best friends.

Your Quorum

You also have a duty to minister in your quorum.

The priesthood is expanding across the world. Many of you are heeding President Monson’s call to rescue. There are more active Aaronic Priesthood holders today than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet there are still those who are not active and who need you.

… The scriptures teach that Aaronic Priesthood quorums are to sit in council and edify-or build up and strengthen-one another. You edify as you teach gospel truths, share spiritual experiences, and bear testimony. The youth curriculum encourages these kinds of interactions in quorum meetings, but this can happen only when every member of the quorum feels loved and respected. Mocking and teasing have no place in a quorum meeting-especially when feelings are openly shared. Quorum presidencies must take the lead in ensuring that quorum meetings are a safe place for everyone to participate.

… Priesthood holders never use vulgar or filthy language.

They never demean or hurt others. They always build up and strengthen others. This is a simple but powerful way to minister.

At All Times

The work of ministering is not confined to ordinances or home teaching visits or occasional service projects. We are always priesthood men-not just on Sunday and not only when we’re wearing white shirts and ties. We have a duty to minister wherever we stand. Ministering is not just something we do-it defines who we are.

Minister every day. Opportunities are all around you. Look for them. Ask the Lord to help you recognize them. You will find that most consist of small, sincere acts that help others become followers of Jesus Christ.

As you strive to be worthy of the Spirit, you will recognize thoughts and feelings prompting you to minister. As you act on these promptings, you will receive more of them, and your opportunities and ability to minister will increase and expand.

The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy

Elder Tad R. Callister Of the Presidency of the Seventy

… While serving as a mission president I observed that there was a dramatic increase in the spirituality and leadership skills of young men during their mission years… In my mind there are at least three key factors that contribute to such dramatic growth in the mission years: (i) we trust these young men as never before, (ii) we have high but loving expectations of them, and (iii) we train and re-train them so they can fulfill those expectations with excellence.

One might appropriately ask, “Why could not these same principles be employed with deacons quorum presidents? If that were done perhaps the growth would commence much earlier and look more like this. For a moment, may I address how these principles might apply to a deacons quorum president.

First: Trust. We can entrust our deacons quorum presidents with great responsibility. The Lord certainly does – as demonstrated by His willingness to give them keys, meaning the right to preside over and direct the work in their quorum. As an evidence of this trust, we call deacons quorum presidents by revelation, not solely by seniority or any other similar factor. Every leader in this Church, including the deacons quorum president has the right to know, and should know, that he has been called by revelation. This assurance helps him know that God both trusts him and sustains him.

The second and third attributes are interconnected – high expectations and the related training to fulfill them. I learned a great lesson in the mission field: Missionaries generally rise or fall to the mission president’s level of expectation, and so it is with deacons quorum presidents. If they are only expected to conduct quorum meetings and attend Bishopric Youth Committee meetings then that is all they will do. But you leaders can give them a greater vision – the Lord’s vision. And why is vision so critical? Because with increased vision comes increased motivation.

Inherent in every calling in this church is the right to receive revelation. Hence, these deacons quorum presidents need to know they have the right to receive revelation to recommend their counselors, the right to receive revelation concerning rescue of the lost, and the right to receive revelation to train the quorum members in their duties.

A wise leader will teach the deacons quorum president those principles that will be helpful in obtaining revelation…The Lord loves you and wants to reveal to you His mind and will. Could you ever imagine the Lord having a problem He could not solve? I can’t. Because you are entitled to revelation, He can help you solve every concern you have as president of your quorum if you will but seek His help. 

You wonderful leaders might teach this deacons quorum president that revelation is not a substitute for hard work and homework. President Eyring once asked President Lee, “How do I get revelation?” President Lee responded: “If you want to get revelation, do your homework.” The wise leader might discuss with his deacons quorum president some of the spiritual homework he might do in preparing to recommend his counselors.

And finally this wise leader might teach him how to recognize and act upon revelation when it comes… The Savior was born in the relative anonymity of a manger; He performed the most magnificent and incomparable act of all time in the quiet of a Garden, and Joseph received his first vision in the seclusion of a grove. God’s answers come by the still small voice – feelings of peace or comfort, impressions to do good, enlightenment – sometimes in the form of tiny seeds of thoughts, which if reverenced and nourished can grow into spiritual redwoods…

…Next you can let this deacons quorum president know that one of the Lord’s expectations of him is to rescue the lost, both less-active and nonmember. The Lord declared his central mission in these terms: “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Matt 18:11

…You leaders lift these deacons quorum presidents best when you let them lead out, and you step back from the spotlight. You have magnified your calling best, not when you give a great lesson but when you help them give a great lesson; not when you rescue the one, but when you help them do so.

There is an old saying: Do not die with your music still in you. In like manner I would say to you adult leaders, do not get released with your leadership skills still in you. Teach our youth at every opportunity; teach them how to prepare an agenda, how to conduct meetings with dignity and warmth; how to rescue the one, how to prepare and give an inspired lesson and how to receive revelation. This will be the measure of your success – the legacy of leadership and spirituality you leave engrained in the hearts and minds of these young men.

If you deacons quorum presidents will magnify your calling, you will be instruments in God’s hands, even now, for the Priesthood in the boy is just as powerful as the Priesthood in the man when exercised in righteousness. And then, when you make temple covenants and become the missionaries and future leaders of this Church, you will know how to receive revelation, how to rescue the one, and how to teach the doctrine of the kingdom with power and authority. Then, you will have become the youth of the noble birthright…

We Are One

President Henry B. Eyring Of the First Presidency

The Lord made it clear at the very start of this last dispensation that we were to take the gospel to all the world… Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling, or location, we are as one called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls until He comes again.

Now, you members of the Aaronic priesthood… the Lord’s command includes you.

  Since you know that the Lord always prepares a way to keep His commandments, you can expect that He will do that for each of you.

Let me tell you of how He did it for one boy who now holds the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.  He is 16-years-old.  He lives in a country where the missionaries first arrived just a year ago.  They were assigned to two cities, but not to the city where the boy lives.

When he was very young, his parents brought him to Utah for safety.  The family was taught and baptized by the missionaries.  He was not baptized into the Church because he was not yet eight years of age. 

His parents were killed in an accident.  So, his grandmother had him return to his home, across the ocean, back to the city where he had been born.

He was walking on the street in March just a year ago when he felt that he should speak to a woman he did not know.  He spoke with her in the English he still remembered.  She was a nurse sent by the mission president to his city to look for housing and medical care for the missionaries who would be assigned there soon.  He and she became friends as they talked.  When she got back to the mission headquarters she told the missionaries about him.

The first two elders arrived in September of 2012.  The orphan boy was their first baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  By March of this year he had been a member for four months.  He had been ordained a priest in the Aaronic priesthood and so could baptize the second convert to the Church.  He was the first priesthood pioneer to gather other children of Heavenly Father with him to establish the Church in a city of approximately 130,000 people.

On Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, the Church membership there had grown to six members in that city.  He was the only local member who attended the meeting that Sunday.  His knee had been injured the day before, but he was determined to be there.  He had prayed that he would be able to walk to Church.  He shared the sacrament with four young elders and a missionary couple.

That story does not seem remarkable unless you recognize in it the pattern of God’s hand in building His kingdom.  I have seen it many times… 

There is a new deacon in this meeting here tonight.  I was with him on the same Easter Sunday that the priest, whom I spoke of previously, walked to his one-member meeting.  The deacon beamed as his father said that he would be in this priesthood meeting with him tonight.  His father was a great missionary in the same mission where his grandfather had been the president…

I spoke with that deacon’s bishop to learn what experiences he might expect in meeting the charge of the priesthood to work in the gathering of souls for the Lord.  I knew the ward was filled with seasoned and devoted members.  The bishop was enthusiastic as he described how the ward mission leader tracked the progress of investigators.  He gets that information from regular contact with the missionaries.

The bishop and his ward council discuss every progressing investigator.  They decide what they can do for each person and their families to help them become friends before baptism, to include them in activities, and to nurture those who are baptized.  He said the missionaries on occasion have enough appointments to teach that they take Aaronic Priesthood holders as companions.

The ward mission plan includes the goals of the quorums to invite those they know to meet with the missionaries.  Even the deacon’s quorum presidency is invited to set goals and plan for their quorum members to help bring those they know into the kingdom of God.

Now, the deacon in the strong ward and the priest in the new and tiny member group may seem to have little in common with each other, or with you.  And you may not see much similarity with your experience in building up the Church with what I saw as miracles in New Mexico and in New England.  You might even see what the bishop has done in the new deacon’s ward as a discouraging example to the priest without a branch president and with only the memory of his parent’s faith for his personal missionary heritage.

But there is one way in which we are one in our charge in the priesthood.  We sanctify ourselves and fulfill our individual duties to the commandment to take the gospel to all of our Heavenly Father’s children.

We share experiences in the way in which the Lord builds His Kingdom on earth.  In His Church, with all the wonderful tools and organization we have been given, there is still a fundamental truth taught by prophets of how we are to fulfill our priesthood mandate of missionary work.

… When it was announced in 2002 that missionary work would become the responsibility of the bishops, I marveled.  It seemed to me they were already carrying a load close to their limits in ministering to the members and directing the organizations in the ward.

One bishop I knew saw it not as an added duty but as an opportunity to draw the ward together in a great cause where every member became a missionary.  He called a ward mission leader.  He met with the missionaries himself every Saturday to learn about their work and to encourage them.  The ward council found ways for organizations and quorums to use service experiences as missionary preparation.  And as a judge in Israel he helped young people feel the blessings of the Atonement to keep them pure.

Recently I asked him how he explained the surge of convert baptisms in his ward and the increase in the number of young people ready and eager to take the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the world.  He said it seemed that it was not the duty anyone performed.  It was the way they became one in their enthusiasm to bring people into the community of Saints that brought them such happiness.

 For some it was that and more.  Like the sons of Mosiah they had felt the effects of sin in their own lives and the marvelous healing of the Atonement within the Church of God.  Out of love and gratitude for the Savior’s gift to them, they wanted to help everyone they could to escape the sadness of sin, feel the joy of forgiveness, and to gather with them to safety in the kingdom of God.

It was the love of God and the love of their friends and neighbors that unified them to serve the people.  They desired to take the gospel to everyone in their part of the world.  And they prepared their children to be worthy to be called by the Lord to teach, to testify, and to serve in other parts of His vineyard.

Whether it is in the large ward where the new deacon will perform his duty to share the gospel and build up the kingdom or in the tiny group far away where the new priest serves, they will be one in purpose.  The deacon will be inspired by the love of God to reach out to a friend not yet a member.  He will include his friend in some service or activity in the Church, and then invite him and his family to be taught by the missionaries.  To those who are baptized he will be the friend they will need.

The priest will invite others to join with him in the tiny group of Saints where he has felt the love of God and the blessed peace of the Atonement. If he continues faithful in his priesthood duty, he will see the group become a branch and then a stake of Zion will come to his city.  There will be a ward with a caring bishop. 

Stand Strong in Holy Places

Elder Robert D. Hales Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

… Satan desires to have you, and sin lieth at the door.  How will you resist his aggressive tactics?  Put on the whole armor of God. 

…I could not have imagined how far and how fast the world would move away from God-given doctrine, principles, and commandments.  And yet, the standards of Christ and His Church have not moved.  As He said, “the truth abideth forever and ever.”  When we understand and accept this, we are prepared to face the social pressure, ridicule, and even discrimination that will come from the world, and some who call themselves friends. 

Most of us know someone who would say, “If you want to be my friend, you’ll have to accept my values.”  A true friend doesn’t ask us to choose between the gospel and his or her friendship… A true friend strengthens us to stay on the straight and narrow path…. Staying on the gospel path of commandments, ordinances, and covenants protects us and prepares us to do God’s work in this world.  When we obey the Word of Wisdom, our agency is protected from addictions like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.  As we pay our tithing, study the scriptures, receive baptism and confirmation, live for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, partake of the sacrament worthily, obey the law of chastity, prepare for and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and make sacred temple covenants, we are prepared to serve.

In the temple we are prepared and promise to live the law of consecration.  Able young men begin to live this law by seeking a mission call-giving a tithing of the first years of their lives in the full-time service of the Lord.

As we press forward along the path, we build progressive spiritual strength -strength in using our agency to act for ourselves… Use your agency to develop yourself personally.  As you discover your gifts and talents, remember that parents and mentors may assist you, but you must let the Spirit guide you.  Choose and act for yourself.  Be motivated from within.  Make a plan for your life, including education or vocational training.  Explore interests and skills.  Work and become self-reliant.  Set goals, overcome mistakes, gain experience, and finish what you begin. 

…Above all, have faith in the Savior!  Fear not!  As we diligently live the gospel, we become strong in the Lord.  With His strength we are able to reject the anti-Christ who says, “Eat, drink, and be merry,” for God “will justify [you] in committing a little sin; . . . there is no harm in this . . . , for tomorrow we die.”  In the strength of the Lord we are able to stand against any philosophy or creed that denies the Savior and contradicts the great, eternal plan of happiness for all of God’s children.

… Sometimes we become the lightning rod and we must “take the heat” for holding fast to God’s standards and doing His work.  I testify that we need not be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine.  We may experience misunderstanding, criticism, and even false accusation but we are never alone… Ironically, standing strong sometimes means avoiding and even fleeing from the world.  The Savior declared, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” 

… Consider how the Savior stood strong:

As a young man, Jesus faithfully went about His Father’s business teaching the gospel to the learned men in the temple.  Throughout His ministry, He accomplished the work of the priesthood-teaching, healing, serving, and blessing others.  When appropriate, He boldly stood against evil, even cleansing the temple.  And He always stood for truth-whether with words or with dignified silence.  When the chief priests accused Him before Caiaphas, Jesus wisely and courageously refused to respond to untruth and held His peace.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Savior and Redeemer did not shrink from drinking the bitter cup of the Atonement.  And on the cross He suffered again to do His Father’s will, until at last He could say, “It is finished.”  In response to the Savior’s perfect obedience in standing strong, our Heavenly Father declared, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name.”

Come, All Ye Sons of God

President Thomas S. Monson Of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

… The holy scriptures contain no proclamation more relevant, no responsibility more binding, no instruction more direct than the injunction given by the resurrected Lord as He appeared in Galilee to the eleven disciples.  Said He: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

This divine command, coupled with its glorious promise, is our watchword today as it was in the meridian of time.  Missionary work is an identifying feature of [The Church].  Always has it been; ever shall it be… 

…The challenge is to be more profitable servants in the Lord’s vineyard. This applies to all of us, whatever our age, and not alone to those who are preparing to serve as full-time missionaries, for to each of us comes the mandate to share the Gospel of Christ.

May I suggest a formula that will ensure our success: First, search the scriptures with diligence; second, plan your life with purpose (and, I might add, plan your life regardless of your age); third, teach the truth with testimony; and fourth, serve the Lord with love.

Let us consider each of the four parts of this formula.

First, search the scriptures with diligence.

The scriptures testify of God and contain the words of eternal life.  They become the foundation of our message.

The emphasis of the Church curricula is the holy scriptures, programmed and coordinated through the correlation effort. We are encouraged, as well, to study the scriptures each day both individually and with our families.

Brethren, search the scriptures with diligence.

Second in our formula: Plan your life with purpose.

Preparation for a mission begins early. In addition to spiritual preparation, a wise parent will provide the means whereby a young son might commence his personal missionary fund…

…Brethren, as you plan with purpose your lives, remember that your missionary opportunities are not restricted to the period of a formal call. For those of you who serve in the military, such time can and should be profitable.  Each year our young men in uniform bring many souls into the kingdom of God by honoring their priesthood, living the commandments of God, and teaching to others the Lord’s divine word.

Do not overlook your privilege to be missionaries while you are pursuing your formal education. Your example as a Latter-day Saint will be observed, weighed, and ofttimes emulated.

Now to the third point in our formula: Teach the truth with testimony.

Obey the counsel of the apostle Peter, who urged:  “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” Lift up your voices and testify to the true nature of the Godhead.  Declare your witness concerning the Book of Mormon.  Convey the glorious and beautiful truths contained in the plan of salvation.

… The final point in our formula is to serve the Lord with love. There is no substitute for love.  Successful missionaries love their companions, their mission leaders, and the precious persons whom they teach.In the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord established the qualifications for the labors of the ministry.  Let us consider but a few verses:  “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day…

“And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

“Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”  Well might each of you within the sound of my voice ask himself the question,  Today, have I increased in faith, in virtue, in knowledge, in godliness, in love?

Through your dedicated devotion at home or abroad, those souls whom you help to save may well be those whom you love the most.

Brethren, may each one of us search the scriptures with diligence; plan his life with purpose; teach the truth with testimony; and serve the Lord with love.

The perfect Shepherd of souls, the missionary who redeemed mankind, gave us His divine assurance:  “If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”