President Thomas S. Monson has called upon Latter-day Saints to continue in our faith and prayers that “areas where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel” will be opened (see sidebar on page 25). He was present at the landmark meeting in 1974 when President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) called upon Church leaders to lengthen their strides and enlarge their vision in magnifying the missionary program worldwide and “in finding the keys that have apparently been lost to many nations wherein we can open those worlds.”1
President Monson promises that miracles can occur as we continue in our faith and prayers. He knows from experience that this is true. In the years following President Kimball’s plea, he saw a dramatic increase in the number of missionaries and convert baptisms.2 He witnessed the opening of many areas as Latter-day Saints obeyed President Kimball’s request to pray that the nations of the world would open their doors to the preaching of the gospel. President Monson was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple. He witnessed the opening of many countries to the gospel after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.3
He and all latter-day prophets since the Restoration of the gospel know that these words written by the Prophet Joseph Smith in March 1842 are true: “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.”4
Let us unite our faith and prayers so that areas now closed will open and miracles will occur as we accept the challenge from President Monson.
Left: Statue of Samuel H. Smith, by D. J. Bawden
Right: Embarkation of the Saints at Liverpool, by Ken Baxter
Left: photograph of 1882 meetinghouse courtesy of Church History Museum; above: The Promise, by Al Rounds
Below left: Building Now for Eternity, by Sylvia Huege de Serville, Fourth International Art Competition
Below: Lehi’s Dream, by Araceli Andrade, Seventh International Art Competition
Top: photograph of Nigerian baptisms in 1978 by Janath Cannon
Above: Ordination in Sierra Leone by Latter-day Saints, by Emile Wilson
Right: Baptism in Sierra Leone, by Emile Wilson
Top left: The Lamanites Blossom Like the Rose in the Desert, by Maria Gladis Barrientos de Monterroso, Third International Art Competition
Left: Joseph Smith’s First Vision, by Januza Mostyl, courtesy of Church History Museum
Top right: photograph of President Hinckley by Gerry Avant
Top center: Unfading Missionaries, by Jueling Chen, Fourth International Art Competition, may not be copied
Right: Dedication of Russia, by Emin Zulfugarov
“I would ask that your faith and prayers continue to be offered in behalf of those areas where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely at this time. Miracles can occur as we do so.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2009, 6.
In 1964 Joseph William Billy Johnson read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and found them to be the true word of God. Soon he was constrained by the Spirit to go from door-to-door sharing the message. Eventually he built up 10 congregations with over 1,000 believers. In June 1978 he had a strong impression to listen to the British Broadcasting Corporation on the radio. He recalled, “I heard the message of President Spencer W. Kimball that all worthy males in the world could receive the priesthood. I burst into tears of joy.”
See E. Dale LeBaron, “Steadfast African Pioneer,” Ensign, Dec. 1999, 45.
Japan: The Church Grows in Asia
Top far right: photograph of missionaries in Japan courtesy of Church History Museum
At a fireside in Tokyo, Japan, in 1996, President Gordon B. Hinckley told members about the visit of Elder Heber J. Grant, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to Japan in 1901: “He and three other missionaries … went to a quiet and secluded place and dedicated Japan for the preaching of the gospel.”
After noting the growth of the Church in Japan (home to more than 123,000 members today), President Hinckley said, “If President Grant were here now, he would weep with gratitude.”5
Spencer W. Kimball, “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 3.
See “Status Report on Missionary Work: A Conversation with Elder Thomas S. Monson, Chairman of the Missionary Committee of the Council of the Twelve,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 8.
See Garold and Norma Davis, “Behind the Wall: The Church in Eastern Germany,” Tambuli, Feb. 1992, 12; Ensign, Apr. 1991, 22.
History of the Church, 4:540.
“President Hinckley Visits Asian Saints, Dedicates Hong Kong Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1996, 74.