He related the story of Joseph Smith's Brother, Samuel, going on a mission. Through his entire mission he only gave away 2 Book of Mormons. He felt discouraged at time on his mission because of this and did not see the fruits his labors on his mission. One of those books was eventually shared by the man he gave it to with Brigham Young and Parley P. Pratt and their families were converted.
“Prepare well for a mission all your life, not just six months or a year before you go." (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 45)
As I was researching this quote I found that it was given in a talk at the same conference where the solemn assembly was held to sustain President Ezra Taft Benson. He was the prophet when my family joined the Church. What I hadn't realize that when we joined the Church had just been called as president of the Church a month before at General Conference. I recall many people kept mistakenly referring to President Kimball when they were trying to refer to President Benson and having to correct themselves. Much like I am doing now as I type and try to refer to President Benson and keep typing President Hinckley and how people recently have trouble making the shift from the prophet being Hinckley to being President Monson.
The speaker quoted from M. Russell Ballard's talk from the priesthood session of October 2002 General Conference where he talked of the bar being raised for those young men that can serve missions. The bar being a standard of worthiness. Elder Ballard also stated, "Consequently, if we are 'raising the bar' for your sons to serve as missionaries, that means we are also 'raising the bar' for you."
The speaker listed a few things that parents can do to prepare a missionary.
- Family Scripture Reading
- Seminary Attendance
- Teach them to do their laundry and cook simple meals
- Be a good home teacher
He talked of couple missionaries and their value. He also talked of the blessings that we receive at home while they are in the mission field.
He read some of the opportunities for couple missionaries that are on the Church's web site.
He quoted from Elder Russel M. Nelson's talk, Senior Missionaries and The Gospel. "No senior missionary finds it convenient to leave. Neither did Joseph or Brigham or John or Wilford. They had children and grandchildren too. They loved their families not one whit less, but they also loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him. Someday we may meet these stalwarts who helped to establish this dispensation. Then will we rejoice that we did not seek the shadows when a call to missionary service came from the prophet, even in the autumn years of our lives."
2nd Speaker - Preparing Our Families to Receive Temple Blessings
She said that a parent's "paycheck" is seeing your child enter the celestial room of the temple after having received their endowments.
President Howard W. Hunter counseled, "Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple."
President Hinckley said, "If there were more temple work done in the Church, there would be less . . . selfishness, less . . . contention, less . . . demeaning [of] others. The whole Church would increasingly be lifted to greater heights of spirituality, love for one another, and obedience to the commandments of God" (Teachings, 622).
The speaker stated that the temple is a place for revelation. She also said that Satan tries to keep us from going to the temple.
3rd Speaker - Wife of the President of the Ogden Mission
We get busy with the temporal things of the gospel that we sometimes miss the really great spiritual things.
D&C 19: 18
18 Which asuffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might bnot drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
How much suffering does it take to make a god tremble?
The mysteries of God are those things that can only be understood by revelation. You have to be willing to pray until you get an answer.
3th Speaker - President of the Ogden Mission
Two major things that hold missionaries back when they get to the field.
- Unresolved moral issues from before their mission.
- A lack of a work ethic.
The mission president stated that we cannot tell whose heart will open and whose will remain closed. It reminded me of the first real investigator I saw on my mission. I was there with my trainer and while the zone leaders were teaching the investigator. They were trying to commit him to baptism and he didn't feel like he was ready. As I listened to the guy talk I was thinking the missionaries were wasting their time. He just didn't seem like he was going to budge. They knelt down and asked him to offer a prayer and ask Heavenly Father if he should be baptized. He said he would pray, but he didn't yet feel baptism was the way to go. As he prayed he went silent. I opened my eyes a little to see what was going on and the guy was crying. He finished the prayer and said that he would be baptized. I was shocked. It is true. You just don't know whose heart will open.
4th Speaker - The Stake President
He stated that through pain and suffering comes growth.
He spoke of "preventative medicine" for preventing spiritual infections.
He quoted from President Packer's talk, Our Moral Environment from General Conference April 1992, "The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible."