Church Councils in the Work of Salvation

Jeffrey R. Holland

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


 
Jeffrey R. Holland

Thank you, Elder Ludlow.

Seated on the stand with us are members of the Quorum of the Twelve, of the Quorums of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and our general auxiliary presidencies. Their spouses are seated on the playing floor here in the Marriott Center. In a sense, these and all of us represent your ward and stake councils and the work we are all doing together. Here at Church headquarters, we counsel widely on all of the major decisions regarding missionary work—and all of the work. For instance, as we considered lowering the missionary age of service, we counseled with all the presiding councils and quorums of the Church, including the presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary. Their counsel and advice were crucial in that decision. That is how we hope it is in your stake and ward councils: hearing everyone, the brethren and the sisters, on all vital issues, including the ever important matter of member missionary work.

So in the spirit of all this, we are grateful to meet with you in something of a worldwide stake and ward council meeting. We hope to give you our best direction and guidance regarding the work of salvation in your wards and stakes. We are particularly grateful to have with us those on whose shoulders so much of the work of salvation directly rests: Area Presidencies, Area Seventies, stake presidents, bishops, high councilors assigned to missionary work, ward mission leaders, members of stake and ward councils, and, of course, missionaries and mission presidents gathered throughout the world. What a remarkable team you make, and we are thrilled to participate with you in such a historic broadcast.

We welcome those who have joined us by satellite or via the Internet. For example, we are joined by President James Matsumori and his missionaries in the Washington D.C. North Mission. President Matsumori, how are you?

PRESIDENT MATSUMORI

We are doing great, Elder Holland.

ELDER HOLLAND

Well, you look great, especially Sister Matsumori.

SISTER MATSUMORI

Thank you.

ELDER HOLLAND

Thank you for meeting with us today with members of your mission leadership council, which we can see on the screen. We are grateful to have you with us. President and Sister Matsumori, give our love to all of your missionaries. And Sister Matsumori, all the Primary children of the Church miss you. They send their love.

Today, President Matsumori represents all 405 mission presidents across the world. We are grateful for all those mission presidents and their wives who are now serving, for those who are completing their service in a just few days (and this is a tender time for them), and those who are gathered here tonight at the very beginning of their service in our mission presidents’ seminar.

We are also joined by President Marco De Loayza Guillen of the Lima Peru Magdalena Stake. Buenas tardes, presidente. Les agradecemos su presencia hoy.

PRESIDENT DE LOAYZA

It's a great privilege for us to be with you, Elder Holland. Thanks a lot.

ELDER HOLLAND

What a wonderful day in which we can have a live transmission from Peru to Provo. There is something poetic about that.

Thank you, President, for taking the time to meet with us today. Our best to Sister De Loayza and all of the members of your stake.

He represents, as a stake president, the many wonderful stake presidents who are gathered around the world in their stake councils. We appreciate so much the faithful service of these brethren and sisters.

Also with us today are Bishop Ofeina Unga of the Hauula Fourth Ward of the Laie Hawaii Stake and his ward council. Aloha, Bishop! How is the weather in Hawaii?

BISHOP UNGA

It’s beautiful. We have rain, we have sun, and we have wind.

ELDER HOLLAND

Welcome to Hawaii—it’s beautiful and we have rain. We love you, Bishop. Thank you, and all the other faithful bishops and ward councils who are participating with us today. We’re grateful you have your ward council there.

As the Lord reveals His will to us, there will continually be improvements in the way we perform missionary work. We have met this afternoon to share some of those improvements with you. Additional information and guidance will flow to you through the members of the Quorums of the Seventy, who have clearly defined responsibilities for missionary work.

When Christ first established His Church, He “appointed other seventy … and sent them … before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come” (Luke 10:1). In our time, the Lord commanded the Twelve to “call upon the Seventy … instead of any others” and noted that “the Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world” (D&C 107:38, 25). Missionary work has always been fundamental to the call of a Seventy. In some way or another, everyone here reports to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve through the Seventy.

Look to them for instruction and guidance. Look to them for an example of how the work of salvation should be accomplished.

For each of you, one particularly important Seventy is the Area Seventy who presides over the coordinating council where you live. Direction and guidance regarding the work of salvation will come to you through your Area Seventy in that council, where stake and mission presidents counsel together regarding member missionary work. In fact, when coordinating councils were first implemented, they were called “Member Missionary Coordinating Councils.” That is an important piece of history to remember. Please be sure that each council retains an emphasis on this essential part of the work of salvation.

I pray that we may all be touched and taught by the messages that will be shared today. I bear witness that this is our Heavenly Father’s work and that He has a profound personal interest in it. I testify that as you act upon the direction that will be given here today, you will also come to know how intimately He is involved in this effort. You will feel Him guiding you and lifting you and directing you to do that which, on your own, is far beyond your capacity but that with Him is always possible. Of this I testify in the name of His Beloved Son, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Now, brothers and sisters, it will be our great privilege to hear from Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, followed by a musical number, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.”

Elder Perry.