“Every Member a Missionary” for 50 Years
Fifty years ago this month, in the spring of 1959, President David O. McKay (1873–1970) addressed members gathered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the 129th Annual General Conference of the Church. As President McKay closed the meeting, he shared his testimony of the restored gospel and left the members a charge that remains in effect today.
President McKay related how in 1923, in response to negative public opinion in the British Mission, the Brethren sent instructions to the members stating: “Throw the responsibility upon every member of the Church that in the coming year of 1923 every member will be a missionary. Every member a missionary! … Somebody will hear the good message of the truth through you.”
“And that is the message today,” President McKay said, extending the challenge to that 1959 audience. “Every member—a million and a half—a missionary!”
He then quoted Doctrine and Covenants 107:99: “‘Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.’
“That is the responsibility of every man and woman and child who has listened to this great and wonderful conference,” President McKay said. “God help us to be true to our responsibility and to our callings.” (See Conference Report, Apr. 1959, 122.)
With the Church growing from 1.5 million member missionaries to more than 13 million, prophets of the Lord have continued to echo the call.
“For years we have remembered the words of President David O. McKay: ‘Every member a missionary,’” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, during the April 2008 general conference. “I am confident that the day is coming that through the faith of the members we will see increasing numbers of people invited to hear the word of God who will then come into the true and living Church” (“The True and Living Church,” Liahona, May 2008, 20).
Saints Encouraged to Put Faith in the Lord’s Financial Plan
Jason and Alanea Hanna faced many financial questions when Jason lost his job. Should they relocate and find another job? Should they try to find a job where they were currently living? After considering several options, they asked the most important question of all: “What would the Lord have us do?”
“We studied talks by prophets and apostles on topics like debt, budgeting, and saving to try to figure out what the Lord wanted us to do,” Alanea explains. “We knew that the Lord’s plan was the best plan and that we would be blessed if we followed it.”
After prayer and contemplation, Jason and Alanea both decided to return to college and finish their bachelor’s degrees. They took out minimal student loans to pay for their education, and both worked full-time to provide for their other expenses. They coordinated their work schedules to ensure that one of them was home with their children. They budgeted carefully, spending their money on the essentials and eliminating fast food, cable TV, and new clothes. Jason even rode his bike to school and work to limit the costs of gasoline and car insurance.
Now Jason works as an engineer. Alanea also completed her degree and is currently fulfilling her responsibilities as a full-time mother of five children. They still live within their means, budget carefully, pay tithing, and live according to the financial counsel of Church leaders. “We’re grateful for the trial and the experience,” Alanea says. “It ended up being a great blessing in our lives and taught us that the Lord will always bless us if we are obedient.”
The Lord’s Financial Plan
The Lord has told His Church, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19). Although members may be faced with financial trials, they can feel secure as they turn away from the philosophies of the world and rely on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the counsel of Church leaders.
In the pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances, the First Presidency asks all Church members to consider their finances and strive to become more spiritually and temporally self-reliant: “We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. … If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve … , you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts.” 1
The pamphlet outlines five basic principles: pay tithes and offerings, avoid debt, use a budget, build a reserve, and teach family members. While living these principles requires patience, temperance, and sacrifice, obedience to the Lord’s financial plan will bring greater peace and joy than individuals and families could ever experience by living the way of the world.
Pay Tithes and Offerings
When Richard Moyer lost his job, he and his family ate food from their home storage, paid bills using their savings, and continued to pay tithing faithfully. Despite his unemployment, Brother Moyer was amazed to see that he made exactly U.S. $1.00 more income that year than the previous one. “I have always attributed that miracle in our lives to paying tithing,” Brother Moyer explains. “The Lord always blesses you when you do the things He wants you to do.”
Blessings that come from sound family finances must be built on the foundation of paying an honest tithe and giving a generous fast offering. Church members have the opportunity of giving back to the Lord a portion of their income with the understanding that their contributions help to build the kingdom of God by building meetinghouses and temples, providing for those who are less fortunate, and sharing the gospel throughout the world.
Members will gain a testimony of this principle by living it. By praying to understand its importance and learning more about how these contributions bless others, members will come to consider paying tithes and offerings a blessing. As members develop the habit of immediately setting aside tithes and offerings when they receive income, it will become a financial priority in their lives.
President N. Eldon Tanner (1898–1982) of the First Presidency taught that tithing is a commandment with a promise: “As you discharge this obligation to your Maker, you will find great, great happiness, the like of which is known only by those who are faithful to this commandment.” 2 Obedience to this commandment brings peace and security. As Church members pay tithes and offerings they will experience miracles in their lives, as the Moyer family did.
Spending less money than you make is essential to financial security. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that consumer debt is a form of bondage that affects individuals both temporally and spiritually. He said, “We think we own things, but the reality is, our things own us.” 3 For this reason, the First Presidency encourages members to avoid debt with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education.
The Kloosterman family has enjoyed the blessings of being free from the bondage of debt. When Kevin Kloosterman was called as the bishop of his ward in Illinois, USA, his family had some consumer debt. His stake president reminded him of the First Presidency’s counsel, and Bishop Kloosterman left the interview determined to pay off the debt. “We had always … tried to put the Lord first,” he recalls. “In this one case, we hadn’t.”
The Kloosterman family studied the scriptures and modern-day counsel related to finance and debt and took the steps necessary to achieve their goal. It became clear that they were being blessed by the Lord for heeding the counsel of His servants. “There is no affliction in mortality which the Savior cannot heal,” Bishop Kloosterman says. “If He can deliver us from the captivity of sin and death, He can certainly deliver us out of financial bondage.”
If Church members are in debt, they should pay the debt off as quickly as possible. A debt-elimination calendar is a great tool to help individuals create a specific plan to become debt-free. After creating a plan, members can make it a priority by making their necessary payments immediately after paying tithes and offerings. Above all, members should be patient with the time it may take to become debt-free by relying on the Lord for help and striving to follow His commandments.
Use a Budget
Another tool to help members live within their means is a budget. While individuals often think that financial security depends on the amount of money they make, President Tanner taught that controlling how money is spent—whether the amount is large or small—is the source of true financial peace and happiness. “Many people think a budget robs them of their freedom. On the contrary, successful people have learned that a budget makes real economic freedom possible,” 4 he said.
The Jeffrey family, from Illinois, USA, recognizes the freedom that comes from managing their finances with a budget. When the Jeffrey children were very young, the family realized that three of them would be serving missions at the same time. Recognizing the financial strain this would place on the family, their mother, Olga, implemented a strict budget. Along with paying 10 percent of the family’s income to tithing, Sister Jeffrey set aside an additional 10 percent to save for her future missionaries. “I realized that finances could become a stumbling block and that we needed to be prepared to provide the means for our children to serve the Lord,” Sister Jeffrey says.
As the Jeffrey children began leaving on missions, their parents were financially prepared, and the Lord blessed them.
Like the Jeffrey family, Church members can manage their spending by creating a budget. Using a budget worksheet, members can look at their income and spending from the last week or month. By determining where they spend most of their money, they can also look for ways to cut back. Then they can create a budget by estimating income for the next week or month and planning where they want their earnings to be spent. After tracking their spending, members can evaluate whether they complied with the budget and make adjustments for the next week or month.
Build a Reserve
Even when individuals seem to be financially prepared, unexpected trials such as illness, unemployment, or major repairs can cause financial burdens. The First Presidency encourages Church members to prepare for these events by gradually building a financial reserve to be used for emergencies only. Saving a little money regularly, especially in times of prosperity, will help members to prepare for times of financial struggle or unforeseen emergencies.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggests that “after paying your tithing of ten percent to the Lord, you pay yourself a predetermined amount directly into savings. … It is amazing to me that so many people work all of their lives for the grocer, the landlord, the power company, the automobile salesman, and the bank, and yet think so little of their own efforts that they pay themselves nothing.” 5
While planning a budget, members can also determine a specific amount of their earnings to set aside for savings. It does not need to be a large amount. As long as they are consistent in setting aside that money, it will add up quickly. Develop the habit by putting the money into savings immediately after paying tithes and offerings and making payments on any debts. Do not be tempted to spend savings on unnecessary things. Instead, reserve them for emergencies. If Church members strive to discipline themselves, they will be prepared for financial trial. Once they have established a financial reserve, they can continue saving for future needs like missions, education, retirement, and other necessities.
Teach Family Members
Often parents feel hesitant in involving their children in financial matters. However, when we teach family members the principles of financial management and involve them in creating a budget with financial goals, we prepare them for their futures. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled, “Parents need to teach children very early that a solid financial base is a very important element in a happy home.” 6 As members prayerfully study and ponder the principles in the All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances pamphlet, they should think of ways to teach family members and help them to live these principles.
Parents can involve family members in creating a budget and setting financial goals. They can teach them the importance of working for an income, prioritizing their spending, and preparing their own budget to track expenses. They can also provide a way for them to pay tithing and to save money for missions, education, or other expenses. Family home evenings can be great opportunities to discuss and teach about financial topics. Each family member can contribute to the family’s overall self-reliance, and the entire family will recognize the blessings that come from following the Lord’s counsel for financial planning.
Blessings of Family Finances
The message of financial preparedness is not new. In this dispensation, Church leaders have encouraged members to prepare themselves by wisely managing their finances and have promised blessings to those who follow this counsel. The First Presidency said: “Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having some money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being.” 7
Families and individuals, both past and present, have witnessed the blessings of peace that result from their obedience to this counsel. As Church members follow the specific guidelines in All Is Safely Gathered In and utilize the other financial counseling the Church offers, they too will experience these blessings in their lives.
The Church has provided online resources in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish to help members manage their family finances, including talks by Church leaders, financial calculators, materials for family home evening lessons, and even an online financial course. For more information, please visit ProvidentLiving.org.
The pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances is available online in 24 languages at ProvidentLiving.org/content/display/0,11666,7587-1-4087-1,00.html.
Photograph by Steve Bunderson
Photograph by John Luke
All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances (pamphlet, 2007).
“Constancy amid Change,” Tambuli, Feb. 1982, 46.
“Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts,” Liahona, May 2004, 40.
Tambuli, Feb. 1982, 46.
“Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 64.
“Providing for Our Needs,” Ensign, May 1981, 85.
All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances.
President Monson Biography DVD Now Available
On the Lord’s Errand, a new DVD about the life and service of President Thomas S. Monson, is now available in 14 languages through distribution centers. The 60-minute video, broadcast between sessions of the October 2008 general conference, includes interviews with President Monson, family members, colleagues, and friends. The available languages include: American Sign Language, Cantonese, Cebuano, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Tagalog.
Virtue Added as Young Women Value
The First Presidency recently announced the addition of the attribute of “virtue” to the Young Women theme and values.
“This addition will assist young women in developing high moral standards,” stated the November 28, 2008, letter from the First Presidency. “We invite parents and leaders to teach the doctrine of chastity and moral purity to help each young woman to be virtuous and worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.”
The list of values within the Young Women theme now states: “Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue.”
Young Women leaders were invited to include immediately the addition of “virtue” as they repeat the theme with their young women.
“Virtue” is also being added to the Personal Progress value experiences and projects. Instructions on how to implement the change will be sent to leaders.
Several years ago I went on a backpacking trip in the Teton Mountains of Wyoming with a group of young women. It was a difficult hike, and on the second day we arrived at the most dangerous part of the hike.
We were going to hike along Hurricane Pass—aptly named because of the strong winds that almost always blow there. We were instructed by a ranger to stay in the center of the path, stay as low as possible on the exposed part of the trail, secure everything in our packs, and move quickly. This was no spot for photographs or for lingering. I was relieved once each of the young women had navigated the spot successfully. And do you know—not one of them asked how close to the edge she could get!
Sometimes as we walk life’s paths, we want to loiter in dangerous places, thinking that it is fun and thrilling and that we are in control. Sometimes we think we can live on the edge and still maintain our virtue. But that is a risky place to be. As the Prophet Joseph Smith told us, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue” (History of the Church, 5:134).
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord gives counsel to one of His precious daughters—Emma Smith—to be faithful and to “walk the paths of virtue before me” (D&C 25:2). The Lord’s advice to Emma Smith is also His advice to all His precious daughters. What are those paths, and what is virtue?
Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity. Virtue includes modesty—in thought, language, dress, and demeanor. Virtue provides an anchor on the path leading to our Heavenly Father’s presence. The paths of virtue lead to happiness in this life and in the life to come. The paths of virtue lead to strong families. The paths of virtue contain the foundation stones for the blessings of eternity. They lead to the temple. No wonder the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
In another revelation the Lord promises each of us that if we let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly, we will have confidence. He promises that our “confidence [will] wax strong” and the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion (see D&C 121:45–46). Living Church standards helps each of us stay on the paths of virtue. Whenever we are worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, we can have the confidence that the daily decisions we make will be correct even when they are difficult.
All over the world young women are living lives of virtue and purity. It shows in your eyes and radiates in the light that shines forth from your countenances. But in a world that surrounds us with sights and sounds, music and messages that are less than virtuous, it can be difficult to hold onto virtue. What about those who have made mistakes along the way?
President Monson has said: “If any of you has slipped along the way, there are those who will help you to once again become clean and worthy. Your bishop or branch president is anxious and willing to help and will, with understanding and compassion, do all within his power to assist you in the repentance process that you may once again stand in righteousness before the Lord” (“Examples of Righteousness,” Liahona, May 2008, 65).
Never has there been a time in the history of the world when virtue is more needed. The blessings and promises of being virtuous will help you be free and happy and worthy to enter the Lord’s holy temples. For this reason we have added “virtue” to the Young Women values and theme. Each week when you repeat the theme, I hope you will be reminded of what it means to cherish virtue.
New LDS Maps Available in 16 Languages
The service, which allows anyone to search on the Internet for the nearest Latter-day Saint place of worship, is available in Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
Current search options allow visitors to search for the nearest place and times of worship by entering an address or by identifying a location on a map. Additional contact information, including phone numbers, unit information, and driving directions, is also available through links to specific unit Web sites.
Visitors can also find more information regarding language-specific wards and branches, student wards, and young single adult units.
The meetinghouse locator was first available online to residents in the United States and Canada in May 2001. Worldwide coverage was made available in August 2008, and translation into 16 languages was released in December 2008.
Additional Sharing Time Ideas, April 2009
The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the April 2009 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see
I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is my Savior. A few days in advance, ask two or three older children to come to Primary prepared to bear their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Write on the board: “In the premortal life I chose to _____ _____ _____.” Ask the children to remember from last week’s discussion the choice they made in the premortal life (follow Jesus Christ). Repeat the sentence together. Tell the children that their choice to follow Jesus Christ shows that they had a testimony of Him in the premortal life and that their testimony will grow as they continue to learn about Him in this life. Use the chalkboard to teach enrichment activity 2 in
lesson 30 of the Primary 7 manual. Use John 14:6 to reinforce the idea that just as the ladder provides the only way out of the pit, Jesus Christ provides the only way to eternal life. Hand out a paper and a pencil or crayons to each child. Invite the children to draw a picture of a way they can follow Jesus Christ. Emphasize that scriptures, good music, and the testimonies of others can help build and strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Invite the children you asked beforehand to bear their testimonies.
By following Jesus Christ, we will be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again. Have the children try to draw something unfamiliar (for example, an unusual animal or flower). Then provide a picture of the object, and have them draw it again. Discuss how models help us. Then explain that on the wall of President Thomas S. Monson’s office is a favorite painting of the Savior. He said, “When facing difficult situations, I often look at it and ask myself, ‘What would He do?’ Then I have tried to respond accordingly” (in Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Thomas S. Monson: In the Footsteps of the Master,” supplement to the Liahona, June 2008, 2).
Give each class one or more scripture references that illustrate the Savior’s example. Have class members read to discover what Jesus did to be an example, and have them suggest ways they can follow that example. Possibilities: John 19:26–27 (showed concern for mother); John 13:14–15 (served others); Acts 10:38 (went about doing good); Matthew 4:23 (taught the gospel); Mark 1:9 (was baptized); Luke 2:52 (grew in wisdom); Mark 10:14–16 (loved little children); 3 Nephi 17:15–17 (prayed).
For younger children: Match pictures showing Jesus’s example with pictures of children following His example. Possibilities:
Gospel Art Picture Kit 206 (Childhood of Jesus Christ) with 2-23 (son helping father) from Primary 2 picture packet; Gospel Art Picture Kit 242 (Jesus and His Mother) with 1-46 (children with their grandmother) from Primary 1 picture packet; Gospel Art Picture Kit 212 (Sermon on the Mount) with 607 (Young Girl Speaking at Church); Gospel Art Picture Kit 208 (John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus) with 2-20 (baptism) from Primary 2 picture packet; Gospel Art Picture Kit 205 (Boy Jesus in the Temple) with 617 (Search the Scriptures); Gospel Art Picture Kit 216 (Christ and the Children) with 2-49 (family on picnic) from Primary 2 picture packet; Gospel Art Picture Kit 225 (The Last Supper) with 604 (Passing the Sacrament); 1-64 (Christ praying with the Nephites) with 1-9 (girl praying) from Primary 1 picture packet.