Marcus V., a priest from Washington, USA, is a busy young man. He’s student body president and football team captain, and he participates in other sports, academic pursuits, and interests such as the drums and drama. But despite his busy schedule, he is an active member of his priests quorum, and he makes time to do his duty to God.
In March 2011, Marcus made a plan in his Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet that read simply, “Invite a friend to youth conference.” On the day before youth conference, though he’d thought about the plan often, he hadn’t invited anyone yet. At lunch, he casually asked if anyone wanted to come to youth conference. To his surprise, one friend did. This friend, Jesse, came to what turned out to be a great youth conference. “The testimony meeting was extremely powerful,” says Marcus, “and people Jesse knew from school were standing up and sharing their feelings about the gospel.” At the end of the conference, Jesse asked for a Book of Mormon.
Marcus gave him a copy, and Jesse started reading right away. “Jesse ran track with me,” says Marcus. “We’d go running together and talk about the Book of Mormon and what he’d read.”
When Marcus invited Jesse to church, he accepted. He started coming to church and Mutual and meeting with the missionaries.
One day Jesse was reading the Book of Mormon at school, and the boy next to him, his friend Kelly, asked him what he was reading. After a conversation about the Book of Mormon, Jesse invited Kelly to Mutual that night.
Before Mutual the missionaries talked with Kelly. They asked if he wanted to come sit in on a discussion with Jesse. The discussion “contradicted everything I’d ever been told about the Church,” Kelly says. “I had a bunch of misconceptions about the Church. It started to change my point of view.”
Kelly and Jesse both continued to meet with the missionaries, and Marcus was there as much as possible.
“It was a really happy time for me,” Marcus explains. “I felt that when I was at school I could always do the right thing because I was not only responsible for myself, but I was also responsible for these friends I was helping come to the gospel.” Kelly says Marcus supported him through it all. “He answered all my questions, and he was a really good friend. He encouraged me to keep going, but he didn’t push.”
Just a few weeks after his first missionary discussion, Kelly committed to baptism and asked Marcus to baptize him. Marcus relates the baptism to Doctrine and Covenants 18:15, which says, “If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”
“I felt that joy,” he says. “It was indescribable, so full of light and happiness.”
Kelly knows that the gospel has changed his life. “I make positive choices now,” he says. “I have good friends. I feel better knowing the truth and that God is real. I’m excited for the future now.”
Marcus invites young men to “make Duty to God a priority. It’s really a booklet to make young men into missionaries. Value it, ask your friends about it, talk about it, be thinking about it all the time.” Just as Marcus’s plan made a difference for Kelly and for Jesse, who continues to study the gospel, your plans in Duty to God can change lives. But it’s not just about making plans, it’s about carrying out your plans, living the gospel, and doing your duty to God.
“It’s not enough to focus on making sure that you’re not doing the wrong things,” Marcus says. “You have to focus on doing good things, on being actively engaged in a good cause [see D&C 58:27]. You have to focus on the light, and then the dark will have no influence over you.”