Missionary, Family History, and Temple Work

From an address given at the seminar for new mission presidents on June 25, 2013. Read the full article.
—Elder David A. Bednar

Hearts and Priesthood Ordinances

  • Preaching the gospel and seeking after our dead are two divinely appointed, interrelated responsibilities.
  • These responsibilities relate to our hearts and priesthood ordinances.
  • The Lord’s purpose is to invite all to come unto Christ.
  • Enabling the exaltation of the living and the dead is the purpose of temples.
  • Priesthood ordinances are the pathway to the power of godliness and are essential to fully “come unto Christ and be perfected in him” (see Moroni 10:30−33).


  • This divine doctrine suggests two important implications for our work in the Church.
  • We must not give undue emphasis to separate categories of the work.
  • The spirit of Elijah is central in and vital to the work of proclaiming the gospel.
  • Moroni’s instructions to Joseph Smith had two themes, the Book of Mormon and the role of Elijah in the Restoration.
  • The Book of Mormon changes hearts and the spirit of Elijah turns hearts.
  • We must capitalize better on this potent combination.


  • Hearts and conversion: turning to the fathers prepares a heart for the mighty change.
  • Hearts and retention: Turning strengthens the changed hearts.
  • Hearts and reactivation: Turning softens hearts once changed.
  • Hearts and valiant missionaries: Those who have experienced both are more converted, consecrated, and valiant.

Summary and Testimony

  • We are witnesses of the Lord’s hastening His work.
  • This is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
  • We should be grateful and humble to know this.
  • One of the greatest influences on convert retention is the spirit of Elijah.
  • See, hear, and remember the importance of your service.

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