Thus, the necessity and importance of missionary work is emphasized in the teachings of the Church.

Dedicated missionary service returns a dividend of eternal joy which extends throughout mortality and into eternity - Thomas S. MonsonModern day revelation as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 112:28 teaches, “But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it.” Additional instructions are given in Doctrine and Covenants 84:62, “Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ (Latter-day Saints) emphatically profess that the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ was not merely for a choice few, but rather all people can have the opportunity to partake of its wondrous blessings. Therefore, following in the footsteps of our Great Exemplar who admonished His disciples, ““Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), they count it a privilege to be able to share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with any and every person they meet.

Everyone should be Involved in Missionary Work

Everyone should be actively engaged in missionary work. Like the original twelve apostles, every person who professes to be a modern day disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, is commissioned to take the message of the gospel to all corners of the earth. The gospel is a messenger to prepare the way before the Lord. Said the Savior,

 And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me (Doctrine and Covenants 45:9).

The Savior further admonished, “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81). And so, as the message is carried throughout the world, the rallying cry of the Lord’s royal missionary army should echo that of the prophet Jeremiah, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:29).

All are called to Send Forth the Message of the Gospel

David O. Mckay, the 9th President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, exhorted, “Every member a missionary!” In addressing the early Saints of the Church, he proposed a profound question – a question that remains applicable in this dispensation of time. He said, “The world is hungry to hear the truth. … We have it. Are we equal to the task—to the responsibility God has placed upon us?” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1945, 113–14.)

The Master commanded His disciples to:

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. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).

Considering the commandment given by the Savior to His disciples, President McKay taught,

The text … “go ye unto all the world” is really the missionary injunction given by the risen Christ to his Apostles. In effect He says:

Consider this work unfinished until all nations shall have accepted the gospel and shall have enlisted themselves as my disciples. …

With the same direct commission from the risen Lord who with the Father appeared in person in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the proclamation of the gospel is being made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” as fast as means and personnel can carry it forward (In Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 118.)

Responding to the subject of the magnitude and urgency of missionary work, and why everyone needs to be involved, Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second highest governing body in The Church of Jesus Christ), in his 2006 General Conference address titled “Prophets in the Land Again”, commented:

As surely as the rescue of those in need was the general conference theme of October 1856, so too is it the theme of this conference and last conference and the one to come next spring. It may not be blizzards and frozen-earth burials that we face this conference, but the needy are still out there—the poor and the weary, the discouraged and downhearted, those “[falling] away into [the] forbidden paths” we mentioned earlier, and multitudes who are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” They are all out there with feeble knees, hands that hang down, and bad weather setting in. They can be rescued only by those who have more and know more and can help more. And don’t worry about asking, “Where are they?” They are everywhere, on our right hand and on our left, in our neighborhoods and in the workplace, in every community and county and nation of this world. Take your team and wagon; load it with your love, your testimony, and a spiritual sack of flour; then drive in any direction. The Lord will lead you to those in need if you will but embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been taught in this conference. Open your heart and your hand to those trapped in the twenty-first century’s equivalent of Martin’s Cove and Devil’s Gate. In doing so we honor the Master’s repeated plea on behalf of lost sheep and lost coins and lost souls (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again”, Ensign, November 2006).

Why Mormon Boys Serve Missions

Indeed a great work has begun, and the preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is the responsibility of all followers of Christ. In The Church of Jesus Christ it is a specific duty for men who hold the priesthood. Latter-day Saint theology teaches that the priesthood is the authority given to worthy male members of the Church to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. Latter-day Saints further believe and teach that the same priesthood authority that existed in Christ’s original Church exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.

Scriptures teach that the “field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:4). Wherefore, any young man of the priesthood who has a desire to go on the Lord’s errand and labor in His vineyard preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is called to the work. And as Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, has taught, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord will qualify,” and “When you’re on the Lord’s errand, you’re entitled to the Lord’s blessings.”

As these young priesthood holders diligently prepare to “embark in the service of God” they are reminded that they must be willing to serve God with all of their heart, might, mind and strength, and if they do so, they are promised that they will be able to “stand blameless before God at the last day” (See Doctrine and Covenants 4:2). Scriptures further teach that the qualifications for the work are “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God” (See Doctrine and Covenants 4:5).

While serving as a Mission President in Australia, the late Bruce R. McConkie wrote concerning being on the Lord’s errand:

I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Master and he has chosen me to represent him. To stand in his place, to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My voice is his voice, and my acts are his acts; my words are his words and my doctrine is his doctrine. My commission is to do what he wants done. To say what he wants said. To be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work.

During the Priesthood Session of the April 2013 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ, President Monson poignantly asked the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, “Young men, are you ready to respond? Are you willing to work? Are you prepared to serve?” [1] He further admonished the young men,

At best, missionary work necessitates drastic adjustment to one’s pattern of living. It requires long hours and great devotion, selfless sacrifice and fervent prayer. As a result, dedicated missionary service returns a dividend of eternal joy which extends throughout mortality and into eternity. The challenge is to be more profitable servants in the Lord’s vineyard. [1]

During the course of his remarks, President Monson also shared a four-point formula that would ensure anyone embarking on a mission success in the mission field. Those four points are: search the scriptures with diligence, plan your life with purpose, teach the truth with testimony, and serve the Lord with love.

Why do Mormon boys serve missions? Answer: to preach the message of the restored gospel, and through that message and the testimony and witness of the Holy Spirit, bring precious souls – men, women, and children unto the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the missionary who redeemed the precious souls of all mankind, gives this blessed assurance as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16:

15 And 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!

16 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!

The words of Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, puts this entire discussion into its proper frame. Said he,

The standard of truth has been erected; No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

About Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.

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