“New Mission Presidents Counseled,” Ensign, Sept. 1987, 78
Speaking to eighty-eight new mission presidents and their wives June 23 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the Spirit as the means to attract new converts.
“With the Spirit, you and your missionaries will perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field,” he said. “Conversion itself is a miracle, and only by the Spirit will we ever realize the harvest of convert baptisms that the Lord expects of us.”
President Benson pointed to the gospel principles of love, work, prayer, faith, obedience, and gospel study as basic to the success of the mission presidents and their wives. He advised them to take time daily to study the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon.
“There is a spiritual power in the Book of Mormon that is unique to all other scriptures,” he said.
President Benson exhorted mission leaders to pray for the Lord’s help. “Plead for it, live for it, pour out your soul to the Lord to receive it,” he urged.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor, accompanied President Benson at the seminar. Nine members of the Quorum of the Twelve, a number of members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric were also present.
Following President Benson’s address, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve and Chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, and Elder Robert L. Backman of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department, also spoke.
After addressing the mission presidents and their wives, President Benson spoke to some 1,400 missionaries training at the center. Again, he emphasized the importance of the Holy Spirit in their efforts. “The Spirit is the most important thing in this work,” he said, “and there is no satisfactory substitute.”