President Gordon B. Hinckley taught that “the mission of the Church is to save souls. It is to teach the gospel to those who are willing to listen wherever they may be. … There is no greater work. There is no more important work. There is no more compelling work than this which the God of heaven has given us responsibility for accomplishing” (“Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 21).
You are preparing to accept a God-given responsibility. The work you will do as a missionary will be in fulfillment of the Savior’s commission to “teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Your purpose as a missionary is to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end” (Preach My Gospel , 1).
Each chapter in this student manual is organized to assist you, the prospective missionary, in developing Christlike attributes and in teaching doctrines and principles of the restored gospel with power and authority of God (see Alma 17:3). Some chapters will also help familiarize you with personal and missionary conduct and basic mission organization. Chapters are organized using the following main headings:
Introduction. This section briefly introduces the topic of each chapter.
Doctrines and Principles to Understand. This bulleted list of doctrines and principles suggests what students should come to understand, accept, and apply in their lives.
Supporting Scriptures and Statements. This section provides specific teachings on each of the doctrines and principles listed under “Doctrines and Principles to Understand.” As you study these, you may want to mark your personal scriptures and make notes to help you remember what you learn. It is recommended that you begin a study journal in which you record gospel insights learned from your study. Many missions instruct missionaries to keep such a journal, so this will give you a start on this useful missionary tool. Your study journal is separate from the “Notes and Impressions” section, although you may want to record some of your notes from this section into your study journal.
Points to Ponder. Spend a few moments reflecting upon answers to the questions in this section. You may want to record your insights in your study journal.
Suggested Assignments. These assignments provide opportunities to apply what you have learned and thus strengthen your preparation with actual experience.
Recommended Additional Reading. These readings, mainly from True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), will enhance insight and reinforce principles covered or referred to in each chapter.
Notes and Impressions. Use this section, provided at the end of each chapter in the student manual, to write down information and impressions you receive during the class. Recording your thoughts and feelings will enhance your learning and retention of important principles and experiences. You may want to later record some of these notes and impressions in your study journal.
If you are enrolled in a missionary preparation course, take this student manual and your scriptures to each class. It is recommended that you have a copy of True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (item 36863) for the recommended additional readings. Published by the Church and recommended by the First Presidency, this booklet contains gospel topics arranged alphabetically.
An additional resource is the guide to missionary service, Preach My Gospel (2004; item 36617), used by missionaries around the world. The Missionary Preparation Student Manual corresponds with Preach My Gospel in principle and philosophy. It has been carefully written to prepare you with an understanding of the doctrines and principles upon which the missionary program and Preach My Gospel are centered. Using this student manual and participating in a missionary preparation course will help prepare you for full-time missionary service, where Preach My Gospel is the core training resource.
Subjects covered in both this student manual and Preach My Gospel include understanding the call to serve a mission; learning to study and teach the gospel; teaching about the Apostasy, the Restoration, and the importance of latter-day scripture; understanding, recognizing, and teaching with the Holy Ghost; developing Christlike attributes; and using time wisely. Subjects in Preach My Gospel that are not covered in this student manual include learning another language, helping people make and keep covenants, preparing people for baptism, and working with members. Cooking and housekeeping skills, detailed mission organization, and budgeting are also not addressed in this student manual.
Your preparation will help you meet the challenge to become a spiritually strong missionary, as expressed by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church. We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries who, like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, are ‘exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity’ and who are ‘true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted’ (Alma 53:20)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 50–51; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 47).