“Emphasis and Reemphasis Send Boys on Missions,” Ensign, July 1979, 73
In the past five years the Monticello Third Ward has sent twenty-six of its eligible twenty-nine young men on missions. One of their young women has also gone.
In the past nine years the Monticello Utah Stake has sent out over 500 missionaries.
What accounts for their commendable success? Bishop Kenneth R. Bailey of the Monticello Third Ward puts it simply: “We just follow the programs of the Church.” So, what programs have they been emphasizing to help their boys go on missions?
Their approach has eight steps, each deceptively simple when taken alone, all powerfully effective when lumped together. Throughout all the steps they emphasize “planning, hard work, and testimony.”
First, the leaders teach the parents to stress missionary work in the home. Leaders also encourage home teachers to talk to the boys about missions, bearing testimony of the joy and growth that accompany missionary service.
Second, the encouragement to go on missions is reinforced in Church meetings, at tithing settlement, and at other such opportunities.
Third, when a boy is initially interviewed to be a deacon, her is invited to fill out a Missionary Recommendation Form. Then, with the bishop’s help, he sets and records his missionary goals. During the bishop’s yearly interview with the boy, the bishop reviews the form and the goals that have been set.
Fourth, priesthood advisers frequently stress mission opportunities in quorum meetings. And the bishop or one of his counselors bears frequent testimony of missionary service.
Fifth, all worthy boys are given the opportunity to serve in Aaronic Priesthood leadership positions. Boys who are not ready are encouraged and challenged.
Sixth, the young ladies in the ward are taught the importance of full-time missionary work for the young men. Their assistance in encouraging the young men, to go on missions is invaluable.
Seventh, recognition is given to the boy who has accepted a call and is departing on his mission, as it is to his family. They are invited to speak at a sacrament meeting just prior to the missionary’s departure. Returning missionaries and their families are likewise honored.
Eighth, special missionary firesides and preparation classes cap the program, further preparing and encouraging prospective missionaries.
“Planning, hard work, and testimony.” Boldly, forthrightly, and consistently witnessing that missions are ordained of God, all members help young men prepare themselves to serve, to resolve firmly and then follow through on that resolve.
As the steps above indicate, successfully sending young men on missions is not the responsibility of anyone person in a ward or stake. It is and must be a concerted group effort. As one, leader in the Monticello Utah Stake said, “I believe that it is through the conscious efforts of all our members that we have been able to establish in the minds of our young men a strong and genuine goal to serve a mission.”
Thanks to Brother Robert L. Day, stake public communications director of the Monticello Utah Stake, for assistance in preparing this article.