First Presidency Message

Are We Doing All We Can?


Spencer W. Kimball
This message is taken from various addresses by President Kimball and is reprinted with his blessing and by his direction.

Are We Doing All We Can?

Again I am impressed to ask anew the question—is each of us doing all we can to take the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth whom the Lord has placed within our circle of influence?

There is an urgency about this work that I feel some have not sensed, but it is an urgency that is real nonetheless. The Spirit will renew this sense of urgency in the soul of each person who asks God for help in these matters.

“Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.” (D&C 6:3.)

The Lord has advised us, “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.” (D&C 78:7.)

Is there in the Church today anyone who knows not the call of the Lord for “every member to be a missionary”? Is there any family in the Church today that knows not the need for more missionaries?

Our charge to carry the gospel to all nations is divine. We need more missionaries. We need more qualified couples. We need the missionary-age young men of the Church to step forward in even greater numbers than they are doing now so they can assume their rightful responsibility, privilege, and blessing as the Lord’s servants in the missionary cause. How strengthened we and they would be if all young men readied themselves for the Lord’s work!

Members of the Church responded faithfully to the call of a few years ago and we doubled our missionary force. But we hope to now again lengthen our stride, to again quicken our step, and to again move out in greater strength to fulfill the Lord’s commandment.

I wish we could more effectively and faithfully establish in the hearts of all members of the Church the understanding that if a person is old enough to be a member, he is old enough to be a missionary; and he doesn’t need to be set apart especially for that calling. Every member has the obligation and the calling to take the gospel to those around him. We want every man, woman, and child to assume his rightful responsibility. It is very important. For this is the message of the gospel: We receive blessings from the gospel, and then we go out and share those blessings with others.

Now, we are a busy people; but the Lord did not say, “If it is convenient for you, would you consider preaching the gospel.” He has said, “Let every man learn his duty” (D&C 107:99) and “Behold … it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (D&C 88:81.)

We must remember that God is our ally in this. He is our help. He will open the way, for he gave the commandment.

We are sometimes tempted with Habakkuk to cry, “O Lord, how long shall I cry,” for many do not hear. (Hab. 1:2.) And then we remember the Lord’s reply to Habakkuk, “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (Hab. 1:5.)

The day for carrying the gospel to ever more places, to ever more people, is here. Are we ready for the call? With Nephi we must say anew, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Ne. 3:7.)

We must come to think of our obligation rather than our convenience. The time, I think, is here when sacrifice must become an even more important element in the Church. Remember the story of how Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went on their missions to England. They were both ill and poverty stricken, but they accepted the call to serve. The day they were to leave, Brigham Young was so ill that he fell down and could not get up. Heber C. Kimball went over and tried to lift him up but could not because he was so weak. So he called across the street to another brother and said, “Come on over here and help me get Brother Brigham up!” The next day both of them were on the way to their missions.

As I have urged before, we must increase our devotion so that we can do the work that is here for us to do. There are numerous people in the world who are hungering for the Lord and his word. They are thirsting for associations with the Lord’s truths and work, and yet they neither know exactly what they are hungry for nor what will quench their thirst. It is your and my responsibility to quench their thirst.

There is one thing we all may do. We can join in serious, continuous petitions to our Father in Heaven to open the doors of nations and to soften the hearts of people to the extent that missionaries and each of us may be blessed to teach the gospel to all who need and want it.

I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church. We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel. And in your conversations, if you can’t think of anything you feel is important, you can say, “I know that God lives.” That is the greatest testimony in the world. A conversation telling how you acquired such knowledge and what it means to you and what it might mean to someone else is a powerful witness for the Lord.

Some of your acquaintances will be chance ones and others will be persons warmed and cultivated by you because of your sincere friendship and interest in them.

With the opportunities all around us, why should we fear? The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation. All people need it in their lives. The gospel will make new people out of them. It changes and transforms their lives as they live it. People who receive the gospel deeply into their hearts are not the same. They change. And to every person, family, nation, and people which opens its heart or borders to the gospel will come unbelievable blessings. There will come joy and peace to all recipients, and eternal life to those who accept and magnify gospel teachings.

Again, why should we fear? Sharing the gospel brings peace and joy into our own lives, enlarges our own hearts and souls in behalf of others, increases our own faith, strengthens our own relationship with the Lord, and increases our own understanding of gospel truths. Perhaps almost more comes to us than to those to whom we introduce the gospel.

I know of no home that is not revitalized when the spirit of missionary work becomes part of that family’s way of life. There is a concern to be healthy so we can be of constant service, a concern to manage our resources so we can be of assistance, a hunger to learn the gospel so we can be a more effective witness, a desire to be in tune with the Spirit so we can receive its continual whisperings and guidance. We need to prepare to receive these blessings. Let us prepare ourselves and take the necessary steps to be missionaries in our daily lives. Let us also prepare for the day when we may either go on missions ourselves or help someone else to go.

I have said before that we are asking for missionaries who have been carefully trained and prepared through the family and the organizations of the Church. Our young men ought to be trained so that they will want to go on missions, not that they feel they have to, but that they should want to go. Serving a mission is an obligation, that is true, but it is something that they ought to have a deep desire to do for themselves, for other people, and for Heavenly Father.

It is well for parents to start preparing their sons to save money early in their lives. Let them have the spirit of saving. Let them also have the spirit of studying and praying about the gospel, of seeing for themselves how the gospel works in their own lives and in the lives of those around them. Let them have the spirit of service throughout their growing years and the experience of helping others discuss the joys of the gospel message in their lives. Let them use their seminary and institute classes and experiences as a training ground for acquiring spiritual knowledge of great value to themselves and others. Let them prepare by keeping their lives clean and worthy and by wanting with all their heart to help the Lord take the gospel to those who are ready for it.

If we prepare in this manner, our preparations will bring many blessings and spiritual rewards, and soon our preparations will become our regular life-style. As with a person and a family, so with a quorum, ward, or branch. Almost nothing can have such a powerful effect on a priesthood quorum or Church group than that which comes by being a vital part of friendshipping and fellowshipping and making someone an important part of the Church. The joy and fellowship and love among all concerned increases many times over.

In the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing.” (D&C 128:22.)

The Lord has said, “For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.” (D&C 82:14.)

We look to the day when Zion can be fully built, but the Lord reminds us: “But first let my army become very great.” (D&C 105:31.)

While we are powerfully and energetically enlarging the Lord’s army, we remember also President Brigham Young’s prophecy: “The kingdom will continue to increase, to grow, to spread and prosper more and more. Every time its enemies undertake to overthrow it, it will become more extensive and powerful; instead of its decreasing, it will continue to increase, it will spread the more, become more wonderful and conspicuous to the nations, until it fills the whole earth.” (Journal of Discourses, 1:203.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith has assured us with great clarity: “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” (History of the Church, 4:540.)

Our great need, and our great calling, is to bring to the people of this world the candle of understanding to light their way out of obscurity and darkness and into the joy, peace, and truths of the gospel.

I believe we must not weary in our well-doing. I believe it is time again to ask ourselves the question, what can I do to help take the gospel to others and to the inhabitants of this world?

Ideas for Home Teachers

Some Points of Emphasis. You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussion:

1. We need more missionaries. We need more couples. We need the missionary-age young men of the Church to step forward in even greater numbers. We are asking for missionaries who have been carefully trained through the family and the organizations of the Church.

2. If a person is old enough to be a member, he is old enough to share the gospel with those around him; and he doesn’t need to be set apart especially for that calling.

3. The day for carrying the gospel to ever more places, to ever more people, is here. We must think of our obligation rather than our convenience.

4. The Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many millions of persons who are ready to enter into his Church. Prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel.

Discussion Helps

1. Relate your personal feelings and experiences about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask family members to share their feelings.

2. Are there scriptural verses or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?

3. Would this discussion be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the quorum leader or bishop concerning missionary work?

[photos] Photography by Eldon Linschoten