Inspirational Thoughts
October 2003

“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Oct. 2003, 2–5

First Presidency Message

Inspirational Thoughts

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Missionary Process

“The missionary process is fourfold: (1) finding the investigator, (2) teaching the investigator, (3) baptizing the worthy convert, (4) fellowshipping the new member. … It is important that 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, the man or the woman whom you baptized is an active and faithful and devoted and worthy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (missionary meeting, Houston, Texas, 20 Sept. 1998).

Sharing the Gospel

“In behalf of the missionaries … , I want to plead with the Saints to do all that you possibly can to provide referrals [of people] whom they might teach. You will be happy if you do so. Everyone that you see come into the Church because of your effort will bring happiness into your lives. I make that as a promise to each of you” (fireside, Pusan, Korea, 21 May 1996).

You Never Can Foretell the Consequences

“You never can foretell the consequences of that which you do. And the man or the woman, or the boy or the girl, on whom you call today, with whom you speak, with whom you may leave a Book of Mormon, who may turn you down, may later become interested and come into this Church. … Strange are the ways of the Lord in touching the hearts of people. You never can tell the consequences of that which you do” (missionary meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, 22 Mar. 2002).


“It is so important, my brethren and sisters, to see that [newly baptized members] are converted, that they have in their hearts a conviction concerning this great work. It is not a matter of the head only. It is a matter of the heart and its being touched by the Holy Spirit until they know that this work is true, that Joseph Smith was verily a prophet of God, that God lives and that Jesus Christ lives and that They appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, that the Book of Mormon is true, that the priesthood is here with all of its gifts and blessings. I just cannot emphasize this too strongly” (missionary meeting, Bogotá, Colombia, 8 Nov. 1996).

This Church Expects Something of People

“This Church expects something of people. It has high standards. It has strong doctrine. It expects great service from people. They don’t just idly go along. We expect them to do things. People respond to that. They welcome the opportunity to be of service, and as they do so, they grow in their capacity, in their understanding, and in their qualifications to do things and do them well” (interview with ORF [Austrian] television, 6 Nov. 2001).

Feeling Welcome

“We ought to see that everyone who joins this Church is made welcome, is made to feel at home, has friends in the Church, and has something to do in the Church with which he can grow in faith and faithfulness” (meeting, Aruba, 16 Mar. 2001).

An Encouraging Word

“We have such an obligation to those who are baptized into the Church. We cannot neglect them. We cannot leave them to stand alone. They need help as they become accustomed to the ways and culture of this Church. And it is our great blessing and opportunity to afford that help. … A warm smile, a friendly handshake, an encouraging word will do wonders” (regional conference, Ensign/Rose Park, Utah, 28 Feb. 1999).

Putting Our Arms around Them

“They [the missionaries] still have an obligation to nurture and help those they have baptized—to befriend them, to write to them, to give them encouragement. But greater than that is your responsibility, my brethren—as bishops, as stake presidents, as elders quorum presidents—to put your arms around these people and make them feel comfortable and at home and warm and happy. It is an imperative” (regional conference, Woods Cross, Utah, 10 Jan. 1998).

Constant Nurturing

“Every convert needs a friend in the Church, someone who will be close to him, someone who will answer his questions, someone who will look after him and keep him coming. He needs a responsibility. He needs something to do. He won’t grow without responsibility. He must have a responsibility. We must take care of those who come into the Church as converts. They need constant nurturing in the gospel” (regional conference, Woods Cross, Utah, 10 Jan. 1998).

Build People’s Spirituality

“If I were a bishop or stake president today, what would I do? I think that I would try to put my major efforts on building the spirituality of the people. I would work as hard as I knew how to work in building their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in God our Eternal Father, in the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of this work and what it means and what it is all about. I would encourage my people to read the scriptures, to read the Book of Mormon, to read the New Testament. I would urge them with all the capacity I have to read quietly and thoughtfully and introspectively, if you please. I would urge them to read the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” (regional conference, Eugene, Oregon, 14 Sept. 1996).

Remember the Individual

“We must look after the individual. Christ always spoke of individuals. He healed the sick, individually. He spoke in His parables of individuals. This Church is concerned with individuals, notwithstanding our numbers. Whether they be 6 or 10 or 12 or 50 million, we must never lose sight of the fact that the individual is the important thing” (interview with Deseret News, 25 Feb. 2000).

I Have a Testimony

“I have a testimony, real, burning, and vital, of the truth of this work. I know that God our Eternal Father lives and that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior and my Redeemer. It is He who stands at the head of this Church. All I desire is that I go forward with this work as He would have it go forward” (stake conference, Washington, Utah, 20 Jan. 2002).

Ideas for Home Teachers

After you prayerfully prepare, share this message using a method that encourages the participation of those you teach. A few examples follow:

  1. Gather six to eight small pieces of wood or plastic. Invite family members to build something using these small objects. Then ask what “building blocks” we might use to build personal spirituality. Label the small objects with some of President Hinckley’s suggestions in this message. How might each suggestion build faith in Jesus Christ?

  2. Read the first four statements, and discuss ways family members and missionaries in your area can work together.

  3. Read “Feeling Welcome” and the three statements after it. Invite family members to tell about experiences they have had assisting a new member. Read “Remember the Individual,” and bear testimony of the Savior’s love.

A Light unto Their People, by Stewart Anstead

Far left: photograph by Welden C. Andersen; other photographs by Steve Bunderson; posed by models