The Scriptures a Powerful and Essential Tool in Missionary Work Says Bishop Caussé
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
The scriptures remain a powerful and essential tool in the sacred work of bringing others to the gospel, said Bishop Gérald Caussé in his June 25 address at the 2013 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.
The First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric spoke of the importance of the scriptures in the conversion of his own family 50 years ago. A pair of young American missionaries visited the Caussé household in France and began sharing the discussions. The family peppered the elders with questions even as they began attending Church meetings.
Bishop Caussé’s parents, Jean and Marie-Blanche Caussé, recognized the good the gospel brought to the lives of members, but they initially turned down repeated baptismal invitations. One evening the elders opened the Bible and asked Mr. Caussé to read James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
As soon as he read those words, Mr. Caussé’s conscience was pricked. He had no further arguments. He knew the gospel was a good thing and that refusing to be baptized was committing a sin. A few weeks later, the Caussé parents were baptized.
“So you see, even in the Caussé family, we have a life-changing scripture that comes from the book of James,” said Bishop Caussé.
The converting power of the scriptures can teach truth and provide clarity, he said.
“During His earthly ministry, Jesus made abundant use of the scriptures. He used them to testify of and explain His mission. He invited His disciples to apply the scriptures to their own lives and use them to find answers to their questions.”
Christ, he added, taught His disciples to use both the scriptures and the Holy Ghost as powerful and absolute proofs of the reality of His life, His atoning sacrifice, and His Resurrection. He would follow that same course of action with His disciples on the American continent.
“Following the pattern set by Jesus Christ Himself, missionaries today can draw matchless power from the scriptures,” he said. “We read in 2 Timothy that ‘all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16).”
Preach My Gospel places the scriptures at the very center of missionary instruction and outlines why the missionaries should use the scriptures as the principal base of their teaching.
“The utilization of the scriptures is more than just encouragement or counsel. It is a commandment given to the disciples of Christ. We read in the Doctrine and Covenants: ‘The elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.’ Then speaking of the holy scriptures, the Lord adds: ‘And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people’ (D&C 42:12, 58).”
Despite the growing numbers of manuals, books, and educational tools at the missionaries’ disposal, the scriptures remain the anchoring source of their instruction. They give authority and validity to their teaching.
“The convincing power of the scriptures explains why they have always been an important element in the history of the believers,” said Bishop Caussé. “When nonbelievers have desired to overturn the doctrine of Christ, they have attempted to do so by attacking it at its very heart—the holy scriptures. In response, each time the prophets have been confronted, they have used their most powerful weapon: the absolute and pure strength of the word of God.”
In a world that is falling more and more into the depths of confusion, the scriptures are a point of reference for the members of the Church and for investigators as well, Bishop Caussé said, and then he added that when missionaries use the scriptures, they invite the Holy Ghost into their teaching.
“But it is not simply about attracting the power of the Spirit during lessons,” he said. “It is important for investigators to realize they need to obtain the lasting and permanent companionship of the Holy Ghost. This will strengthen their conversion and help them remain faithful after their baptism.
“Among the healthy habits that all future members should acquire before their baptism is not only attendance at Sunday meetings but also daily prayer and scripture study.”
The love, study, and mastery of the scriptures are essential elements in being a good missionary, Bishop Caussé concluded.
“The quality and efficiency of personal and companionship study in the morning will largely determine how successful your missionaries will be throughout the day. As they actively search the scriptures, your missionaries will be more effective in their teachings, more bold in their invitations, and more powerful in sharing their testimony.”