“President Benson Counsels New Mission Presidents in Annual Seminar,” Ensign, Sept. 1986, 76
President Ezra Taft Benson spoke to sixty-eight new mission presidents and their wives at the annual seminar for mission presidents held June 25, 26, and 27 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He challenged them to accelerate member-missionary work and to make greater use of the Book of Mormon in their efforts.
President Benson advised leaders to use the Book of Mormon as “the center of our personal study, our preaching and missionary work. We are not yet doing all that the Lord would have us do. Of this we must repent.
“The Book of Mormon must be the heart of our missionary work in every mission of the Church.”
President Benson noted that more people are now being baptized—a direct result of an increased use of the Book of Mormon during the past year. “I promise you that you will have more and better converts in every mission of the Church if you will teach and inspire your missionaries to effectively use the Book of Mormon as the great converter,” he said.
President Benson instructed the mission presidents to “let members know that the Lord will sustain them in their missionary responsibilities if they just have the faith to try.” He also told them to “share with the members the joy they will experience by finding and fellowshipping friends and neighbors for your missionaries to teach.”
President Benson encouraged the new presidents to love the work and work hard because “it is a time for harvest, not a time of gleaning.” He also underscored the importance of faith on the part of the missionaries. Developing faith will give missionaries the “absolute, unquestioning assurance that this is the work of God, that it is true, that it is a work of power, a work of miracles, a work of wonder,” he said.
In his address, President Benson urged mission leaders to “exemplify faith in their own lives” in order to help build faith in their missionaries. He advised them to “do good and wonderful and significant things as those who have been called by the spirit of revelation and prophecy and set apart by the laying on of hands.” He promised the mission presidents that if they would do this, they would have a tremendous impact on lives ever afterward.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Quorum of the Seventy also attended the seminar. President Hinckley and President Monson addressed the mission presidents, as did other General Authorities.