Missionaries Must Know Repentance to Teach It, Seventy Says
Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
- Missionaries must know the principle of repentance themselves to be able to teach it to others.
- In the Book of Mormon, when the Nephites repented of their sins they prospered. Elder Clarke said this relates to missionaries as well.
“The process of repentance is real; every step is real, and there needs to be someone beside that individual or that missionary, along with the Savior, to help him get through to the end.” —Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy
For missionaries to teach repentance, they must know of the principle themselves, Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy said to couples attending the 2015 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors on January 14.
“Unless they’ve repented they will not know what can happen to people when they start to make changes,” Elder Clarke said.
He added, “The process of repentance is real; every step is real, and there needs to be someone beside that individual or that missionary, along with the Savior, to help him get through to the end.”
Noting that some missionaries only spend a couple of weeks in a missionary training center and that some visitors’ center or historic site directors might have limited time to influence missionaries, Elder Clarke said the process of repentance typically takes place over a longer period of time than that.
“It might be a lifetime; it might be several months, but the process has to come to completion,” he said.
“The thing you can do is give them a vision of what needs to happen and get them on the path,” Elder Clarke counseled. “And then, what I would do, if I were an MTC president and had a few I had gotten onto the path, I would then call the mission president.”
It is important to let the next priesthood leader know what he can do to help in the repentance process, Elder Clarke said.
Citing Helaman 4:2, he noted that when the Nephites repented of their sins, they began to prosper. He applied that to missionaries and their work.
“Shouldn’t our intent be to help missionaries prosper?” he asked.
He further cited Mosiah 27:24, wherein Alma testified that as he had repented of his sins, he had been redeemed of the Lord and was born again. He said the sons of Mosiah had been on a perilous path but through repentance had likewise been born again and become great missionaries.
“How do we help our missionaries feel like those missionaries?” he asked.
Displaying a copy of the missionary handbook, Elder Clarke said it is difficult for missionaries to ask their investigators to make commitments when they themselves are not following their own commitment to follow what is in the handbook.
Turning to the missionary guide Preach My Gospel, Elder Clarke referred to pages 62 and 63, noting the principle “Our faith in Christ and our love for Him lead us to repent, or to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with His will.”