“President Kimball Wants Missionary Force Doubled,” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 79
President Spencer W. Kimball has requested that the current number of missionaries serving worldwide—26,800—be doubled.
Speaking at the conclusion of a five-day mission presidents’ seminar, President Kimball told some seventy-two new mission presidents and their wives that as the Church approaches one thousand stakes, the lands of the world need to supply their own local missionaries as fast as possible. He said that the day will come when many nations will also have a surplus to send elsewhere. “That day, we hope, is not too far off.”
President Kimball again stressed the great need for missionaries:
“In a population survey that came to my attention, we read that there were many, many nations … that have hardly been touched with the gospel at all. We are therefore making an appeal for nearly doubling or more than doubling the missionaries of the world,” he said.
“We would ask every Latter-day Saint woman who gives birth to a boy child that she begin training him for his mission, encouraging him to save the money that comes into his hands and work in little jobs which will bring money to him that can be saved for that purpose. If his mother and family teach him these missionary needs from his infancy, he will grow up with a feeling of receiving gladly his missionary term.”
President Kimball expressed disappointment that only 20.1 percent of all eligible young men in the Church are serving missions. “This makes me very sad indeed,” he said. “I am a bit disappointed or at least surprised.”
President Kimball also encouraged members and missionaries to teach members of numerous minority groups and ethnic communities throughout the world.
“In view of recent revelations—the blacks holding the priesthood—we can now use many more missionaries in the United States, where we have a great abundance of these people, because there are many areas that will be needing missionaries.”
He cited figures indicating that millions of foreign-born persons live outside their homelands, and he instructed mission presidents to make certain that these people are taught the gospel. “Wherever they live, they’re important to us,” he said. “If they are sons and daughters of God, they need the gospel of Jesus Christ.”