My brothers and sisters, the Lord has greatly blessed the proceedings of this conference. You have heard the Brethren speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, and if you were listening by that Spirit you have been edified and strengthened in your resolve to keep the commandments.
We have heard much said about the missionary program, and I now ask all who are here today this question: Who is really responsible to do missionary work? President Kimball has indicated that every member should be a missionary. It has been suggested that all should be preparing all the days of their lives to be missionaries, preparing not only to serve full-time missions, but also preparing themselves to teach the word of God to all those who do not yet know the truth.
The Lord said in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38, verses 40 to 41, the following:
“And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.
“And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.” [D&C 38:40–41] It is evident to me that the Lord expects every man, every man, to lift up his voice and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in mildness and meekness. It is also clear that priesthood leaders throughout the Church have the responsibility to assist the members of the Church in fulfilling this missionary responsibility.
Many members ask, “Elder Cook, it’s easy to say, but how do I do it? What can I specifically do now to fulfill my missionary responsibility to warn my neighbors?” May I provide you with two general suggestions.
First, you can stand up for the truth wherever you are, at all times, and in all places. Sometimes our members are fearful to speak up for the truth in clubs, associations, or even, at times, among members of the Church. As the Lord has said, it should be done with boldness but not overbearance. Speak out for the Lord and for his prophet on the vital issues of the day.
For example, I know of a woman, a good woman, who found herself in a very challenging situation. She was at a luncheon with a number of members of the Church; some were active and some inactive; and also a few nonmembers were present. The subject turned to abortion and birth control, and one of the nonmembers voiced for about five minutes some very strong feelings concerning these issues. She indicated, erroneously, that she felt that there is nothing wrong with an abortion, and that there should never be any kind of restriction placed on a man or a woman concerning birth control itself. This good sister in the Church was faced with a difficult challenge of whether to talk about the weather or some other noncontroversial subject, or whether to really speak out and state the truth. This choice woman chose to do the latter. After explaining what the Lord had said concerning both of those issues, she bore her testimony as to her personal feelings. As you might expect, the luncheon concluded rather abruptly. However, afterwards one of the inactive women came over to this good sister and explained that she had never before understood the Lord’s view on those issues and had felt the truth being spoken on that day.
Feel free, when prompted, my brothers and sisters, to bear your testimony of those principles that you know to be true. Sincere feelings conveyed from heart to heart by means of testimony convert people to the truth where weak, wishy-washy, argumentative statements will not.
You could provide friends or others you meet at your work, on airplanes, in stores, or other places you go with a tract, a copy of the Book of Mormon, or other Church literature which would help them in becoming prepared to eventually receive the missionaries and be taught the gospel. How many members desire to be missionaries but go about in their daily activity without any kind of missionary aid, like a tract, Book of Mormon, or other missionary tool?
The Lord seemed to have this particular challenge to his members in mind when he gave to the prophet Alma, at the waters of Mormon, the baptismal covenant that every member of the Church takes upon himself, part of which reads as is recorded in Mosiah 18:9, “Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”
We ask you to do just that, to set aside your fear, and to take strength in the Lord, and to bear your witness to the world of the truthfulness of this gospel.
Now a second suggestion: President Kimball has asked each of us to prayerfully select a family that we might friendship. Listen to his words: “By working together as families, much great work can be accomplished. Father, you are to take the lead. With your family, prayerfully select one or two fine families to friendship. Decide who of all your relatives or friends you will introduce to the Church. Then, as a family, contact them. Perhaps you could plan a family home evening with them on a night other than Monday, or get together with them in any of a number of ways. Then, when these families show interest, arrange through your ward or branch mission leader to invite them and the missionaries into your home to share the message of the restoration. If you will follow this simple procedure, you will bring a number of fine families into the Church.” (Go Ye into All the World, filmstrip.)
Did you notice that President Kimball said to prayerfully select a family or families?
I recall what the Lord said through Alma the Younger in Alma 6:6. “Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.”
Are you praying for those who, as Alma said, “knew not God”?
When we are performing the Lord’s work, we must do it the Lord’s way. I suggest to you that if you prayerfully approach this work and ask your Father in heaven to reveal to you the means by which you might be an instrument in his hands in bringing individuals into the Church, the way will be provided for you to do just that.
Now to those of you who may be listening to the proceedings of this conference who are not yet members of the Church, we say, search out prayerfully the doctrines of this church. Pray about them and you will come to know, as do I, that this is the only true church upon the face of this earth. Talk with members of the Church and learn about the kingdom of God on earth today.
May I remind you all once again what the Lord said to that great Prophet Joseph Smith: “Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, … the Standard of Truth has been erected; 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 of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4:540.)
I bear my testimony that the gospel will be sounded in every ear. This is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. Because the Lord has so declared it, I bear witness that there is a living prophet upon the earth today, and that there is a real urgency, a real urgency, my brothers and sisters, for us as members of the Church to lift our warning voice to all the inhabitants of the earth. May the Lord give us the power to accomplish this purpose as we, with full purpose of heart, obey him. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.