During the General Conference of October 2010, President Monson made an appeal to the entire church in his opening message “…to the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who will be Elders, I repeat what the Prophets have taught for many years. Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a duty of the priesthood; it is an obligation that the Lord expects of us who receive so much from Him. Young men, I admonish you to prepare to serve as missionaries. Keep yourselves clean, pure, and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and your strength. Study the scriptures whenever possible; participate in the Seminary or the Institute. Try to know well the missionary guide Preach My Gospel.” (Liahona, Nov 2010, page 5)
The greatest qualification for missionary service is worthiness
The Lord expects every young man to prepare himself spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially for missionary service. But in his words, President Monson referred to the candidates for missionary service, initially mentioning the greatest the qualifications for the service, “worthiness” (every young man worthy…)
In order for a young man to be qualified with respect to worthiness, he needs to have clean hands and a pure heart. This means that he needs to be morally clean from every aspect and fully worthy to represent the Lord, Jesus Christ. The Lord warned the Prophet, Joseph Smith about those who serve in His kingdom when he said “Go ye out from the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. (D & C 38:42).
Attaining worthiness for missionary service
To attain that level of worthiness, candidates for missionary service need to lead an exemplary life. In the Missionary Hand book, page 3, we read the following: “You were recommended as a person worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, it will be your duty to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance, keeping the commandments, obeying the mission rules, and following the counsel of the president of the mission”…For you to represent the Savior worthily, it will be necessary to attain that level of worthiness. Parents, the leaders, as well as the candidates for missionary service themselves, have the sacred responsibility of working on that preparation and of making every effort for every young man to reach that elevated standard in order to be a true representative of the Savior. If it is necessary to make some corrections, this should happen well before the person is recommended for missionary service. Genuine repentance can take some time and perhaps the missionary will be required to take more time in preparation. But repentance is necessary so that we may be clean and pure, as President Monson taught us.
Invitation of the Savior to repentance
The invitation of the Savior to repentance is an invitation from a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to seek a more elevated way of life, and to feel the happiness of keeping the Commandments. What a marvelous privilege we have of abandoning sin and becoming close to Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the Gospel removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience (The Liahona, Nov/2009 – Elder Neil Andersen).
There is much that can be done to adequately prepare yourself to serve the Lord. I would like to summarize some recommendations based upon the teachings of the Prophets through the years that have helped some of the best missionaries whom I know to serve with the highest standard of worthiness, as recommended by President Monson.
Pray every day. Ask Heavenly Father to help you to be worthy.
Keep the Commandments, daily
Attend and pay attention in classes of the Seminary and the Institute
Study the scriptures every day, especially The Book of Mormon. Apply the promise of
Moroni described in Chapter 10 verses 3-5
Learn to be responsible; magnifying any calling or assignment you receive.
Be worthy of a Temple recommend, and perform vicarious baptisms whenever possible.
Receive your patriarchal blessing and read it, regularly.
Go to Church every Sunday and feel the Spirit during the meetings.
Go out with the full time missionaries and observe their conduct
Bear your testimony whenever possible
Study the guide for missionary service “Preach My gospel.”
Attend the courses, “Teaching the Gospel”, and “Missionary Preparation.”
Study the “Missionary Handbook” in order to understand the directives contained in it
and commit yourself to following them.
Have regular interviews with the Bishop in order to assure yourself of your worthiness.
Full time missionary service is a privilege; it is a service offered to God and His Church. Missionaries will be called by prophecy and the laying on of hands by those who have the authority (5th Article of Faith) to invite people to come unto Christ, helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, through repentance, through baptism, through receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and through persevering until the end. Only those who are worthy of fulfilling it [a mission] will be able to perform it in the Lord’s way, and will demand faith, desire, and consecration.