The sacred charge of Jesus to His apostles, "to go and teach all nations" (see Matt. 28:19-20), has been re-emphasized in this dispensation, and the world stands in constant need of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, President Thomas S. Monson said at the priesthood session Saturday evening.
"Almost everywhere one looks there appears an . . . erosion of spirituality and of compliance with eternal commandments. One sees a blatant disregard for the precious souls of mankind," said President Monson, who was sustained in the solemn assembly in the Saturday morning session as first counselor in the First Presidency.
"It is almost as though the faces of many have been turned away from Him - even the Lord - who solemnly declared: `The worth of souls is great in the sight of God' (D&C 18:10)," said President Monson. "The gentle words, `Come, follow me,' fall on many with stopped ears and closed hearts. Such seem to be attuned to another voice."
He told the priesthood gathering: "The harvest is truly great. Let there be no mistake about it; the missionary opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants on the stage of priesthood service."
He admonished Aaronic Priesthood holders to prepare for their full-time missions and suggested a formula: Prepare with purpose, teach with testimony and labor with love.
"Brethren, all of us can participate, as may our wives and children, in bringing souls to Christ through cooperative effort with the stake and full-time missionaries," he said.
Returning to the three-point formula he suggested, he told of being on a flight and meeting an off-duty flight attendant. She was reading a copy of A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards. Finding she was not a member of the Church and had received the book from a friend, he told her he had assisted Elder Richards in preparing the book for publication. He answered her questions about the gospel and asked if he could have missionaries call on her.
He arranged for two sister missionaries to visit her. Months later, a stake president called to say she had just been baptized. Then she came on the line to thank him for sharing his testimony with her.
"As tears filled my eyes and gratitude to God enlarged my soul, I thanked her and commended her on her search for truth," he recounted.
"I sat silently for a few minutes after replacing the telephone receiver. The words of our Savior coursed through my mind: `And whoso receiveth you, there will I be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up.' (D&C 84:88.)
"Such is the promise to all of us when we pursue our missionary opportunities and follow the counsel and obey the commandments of Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior and King."