Church News and Events

Elder Zwick Encourages Leaders to Commune with the Spirit

Contributed By By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 11 February 2013

Elder W. Craig Zwick displays the scriptures and the missionary guide Preach My Gospel as instruments at the disposal of the departing couples at the Seminar for New Missionary Training Center Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors on Wednesday, January 16.  Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.


Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy is a land surveyor by profession. As such, he is well acquainted with the tools (he prefers to call them instruments) of that work, such as a total station on a tripod, with which a highway can be designed within an hour with “every contour imaginable.”

A member of the Missionary Executive Council, Elder Zwick on January 16 addressed 18 couples gathered for the 2013 Seminar for New Missionary Training Center Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors held at the Provo MTC. He drew a comparison between the instruments he uses as a surveyor and the topic of his address, “the power of the Spirit in conversion and repentance.”

He cited the Savior’s words to the multitude as recorded in 3 Nephi 19:9: “And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.”

“That multitude had been through every range of challenge, not unlike your missionaries, coming from different backgrounds, varied and unusual,” Elder Zwick said, commenting on that passage. “Some of them had lost homes. There had been some devastation. We know that many had perished. And they could have prayed for anything.”

That is a powerful reminder to those who lead missionaries, he said, “that the Spirit will make the difference” and that “it’s the Spirit that teaches, and the high and mighty, even those prideful of heart, will change as the Spirit directs.”

He testified, “The Spirit will give you very specific instruction and will bless your lives and the lives of your missionaries in ways that you can’t even imagine. I treasure the gift of the Holy Ghost. I pray that you will also treasure this great gift and that you will always help your missionaries to understand and be worthy so that they might also benefit from that gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Elder Zwick cited scriptures that outline the process of drawing on the power of the Spirit in conversion. He quoted Alma 17:2–3, which pertains to the missionary experience of the sons of Mosiah: “They had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”

He also cited Doctrine and Covenants 4:5–7, which gives several attributes, including faith, hope, charity, and love, that qualify one for ministry in the Lord’s service.

Elder Zwick spoke of attending the funeral of a bishop, whose wife recounted that after his death, she set about to retrieve the contacts file from her husband’s cell phone. In the process, she observed that he had set a reminder to himself on a Thursday to prepare for his fast on the following Sunday.

“Imagine the kind of bishop he was, with that much anticipation and that much love and that much concern about his task,” Elder Zwick remarked. “It was a huge lesson in qualifying for the Spirit. We do it with anticipation. And I think that’s what section 4 teaches us so very well.”

Citing Doctrine and Covenants 46:2, Elder Zwick shared an experience he had, prior to his own calling as a General Authority, in which he visited President Boyd K. Packer, then Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, at Elder Packer’s home. The visit was to alleviate a threat that was being posed by a flooding stream on President Packer’s property. After the problem had been resolved, President Packer invited Brother Zwick to come with him to a pond on the property. It was the spot, President Packer said, where he came to study, ponder, and have the Spirit teach him regarding his leadership role.

“And then, in the quietness of the moment, he looked me straight in the eye, and he said, ‘Craig, where’s your pond?’ ”

Elder Zwick mused, “He was really saying, ‘Do you have a quiet place where you can go [to commune with the Spirit]? If you don’t, create it.’ ”

Elder Zwick suggested that his listeners also need to have such a quiet place and that they need to encourage the missionaries in their charge to do so as well.