President Nelson Instructs Mission Leaders on Personal Priorities and God’s Purposes

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 8 July 2017

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on June 28 in the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Article Highlights

  • The major priorities of mission presidents are their spouses and families, their missionaries, and local members.
  • The holy purposes of mission presidents are God’s purpose, priesthood blessings, and the Book of Mormon.

“The day will come when [your missionaries] will sit in chairs that we now occupy. Persuade them to become devout disciples of the Lord. Teach them to be obedient to the laws of God and man. As they so live, they will be protected, physically and spiritually.” —President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

On the concluding day of the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, focused his counsel on “personal priorities” and “holy purposes.”

“Personal priorities include the privilege of being missionaries,” he said. “As such, we teach the doctrine of Christ. We testify of God and Jesus Christ. We are all disciples of the Lord.”

Personal priority number 1: spouse and family

“Dear presidents and sisters, remember: your highest personal priority is your spouse—husband and wife and wife to husband,” he declared. “Your commitment to each other is eternal.”

Use all appropriate means, he added, to keep in contact with children and grandchildren. Loyalty to the Lord and love for family are not to be competitive—they are synergistic.

“An eternal family is the end. The Church is the means to the end. We are building eternal families!”

Personal priority number 2: missionaries

The missionaries, said President Nelson, collectively constitute the lifeblood of the next generation.

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, greet new mission presidents and their wives during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on June 28 in the Provo Missionary Training Center.

“The day will come when they will sit in chairs that we now occupy,” he said. “Persuade them to become devout disciples of the Lord. Teach them to be obedient to the laws of God and man. As they so live, they will be protected, physically and spiritually.”

The missionaries come from diverse backgrounds. Some are from multigenerational Latter-day Saint families. Others are relatively recent converts. Some enjoy the support of their parents. Others do not.

“To one and all, you will be models to follow. Let your love show—for each other and for them. You will be models of mutual courtesy and kindness. They will strive to be just like you. Not only that, your missionaries will love you and remember you forever.”

Mission presidents and their wives must help each missionary to teach repentance and prepare converts for baptism.

“As each one does so, his or her most important convert will be himself or herself. That transition is marvelous to behold.”

Many of the missionaries have learned to integrate faith, emotion, and intellect in a way that will bless their lives forever. Others will need help.

“You can be their ‘lifesavers,’” said President Nelson.

Over the years, the mission presidents and their companions will find joy watching their missionaries return home and reach their great potential.

Personal priority number 3: local leaders and members

Learn to love the local leaders and members. Lift and inspire them.

“Your success will be multiplied greatly as you harness the power of the members with whom you serve,” he said. “Teach your missionaries that their best friends in the unit to which they are assigned will be the ward or branch mission leader and the ward or branch temple and family history consultant.”

President Nelson then focused on “holy purposes” that are unchanging and eternal.

Holy purpose number 1: God’s purpose

“God’s purpose—His great objective—is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children,” he said. “We are His agents. Thus, His purpose becomes our purpose.”

The missionaries assist the Lord in helping people realize the possibility of eternal life. “Help your missionaries to understand that eternal life—the kind of life that God lives—is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God.’ It is a conditional gift based upon obedience to essential ordinances and covenants.”

Holy purpose number 2: blessings of the priesthood

Priesthood ordinances are essential to the salvation and exaltation of God’s children.

“You presidents will administer priesthood ordinances and blessings to sisters and brothers who chose to come unto the Lord and follow Him,” he said. “Bless them with your example, your love, and your benevolent authority.”

Holy purpose number 3: the Book of Mormon

President Nelson called the Book of Mormon “a miraculous miracle” whose purpose is to bring all people to Jesus Christ. It is the instrument by which the promised gathering of Israel will be accomplished.

“And the Book of Mormon is also the tangible and irrefutable evidence that Joseph Smith is the prophet of this last dispensation—the dispensation of the fulness of times, the dispensation when the world is to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord.”

The Holy Ghost, he concluded, is the “true teacher” that brings about true conversion.