Dear brothers and sisters, I add my voice to that of President Thomas S. Monson and others in praising those who have responded to a prophet’s call for more worthy missionaries. Now an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm for missionary work is sweeping the entire earth. Since President Monson’s historic announcement last October, thousands of elders, sisters, and couples have been called, and many more are preparing.1 Now we get questions like “What are you going to do with all these missionaries?” The answer is simple. They will do what missionaries have always done. They will preach the gospel! They will bless the children of Almighty God!
More of you young men and women will catch this wave as you strive to be worthy of mission calls. You see this as a wave of truth and righteousness. You see your opportunity to be on the crest of that wave.
You teenagers, embrace your new curriculum and teach one another the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Now is your time to prepare to teach others about the goodness of God.
Young men and women, your education is ever important—to us, to you, and to God. Where feasible, if you wish to attend a college or university after your mission, we encourage you to apply to your institution of choice before beginning your mission. Many institutions of higher learning will grant an 18- to 30-month deferral to prospective missionaries. This will enable you elders and sisters to serve without worrying about where you will begin your advanced education. We are very grateful to leaders of educational institutions who are making such planning possible!
You parents, teachers, and others, catch the wave as you prepare our rising generation to be worthy of missionary service. Meanwhile, your exemplary lives will attract the interest of your friends and neighbors. Be ready to give an answer to those who ask why you live as you do. Be ready to give a reason for the hope and joy that they see in you.2 When such questions come, you might respond by saying, “Let’s ask the missionaries! They can help us! And if you desire, I will be at your side as the missionaries respond and teach you.”
You adults, catch the wave with help for the spiritual, physical, and financial preparation of future missionaries. Pinching pennies for piggy banks becomes part of your practice. You senior couples, you plan for the day when you can go on your mission. We will be most grateful for your service. Until then, perhaps some of you could send your dollars on missions by contributing to the General Missionary Fund, as suggested by President Monson again this morning.3
Increasing numbers of selected men and their dear companions catch the wave as they are called to preside over missions of the Church. In that service they will shape the destiny of generations born and unborn. Mission presidents hold keys of responsibility for the welfare, safety, and success of their missionaries. After consulting with stake and district presidents in his mission, each mission president assigns missionaries to serve in specific stakes, wards, and branches.
Stake presidents and bishops catch the wave as they spend more and more hours interviewing prospective missionaries. These priesthood leaders hold keys of responsibility for missionary work in their units, and they inspire members to participate.
Brothers and sisters on each ward council are beginning to catch the wave. On that council is the ward mission leader.4 I would like to speak specifically to each of you ward mission leaders. You have been called by your bishop to lead missionary work in the ward. And some of you are so successful that an assistant has also been called to help you. Along with others on the ward council, you identify less-active members, part-member families, and interested neighbors. You meet regularly with assigned full-time missionaries. You advise and assist the missionaries. Please help them to fill their daily planners with focused and meaningful teaching opportunities. This is your responsibility. Your role is crucial, truly crucial to the success of this work. If you catch the wave with faith and enthusiasm, others will also. You, as the ward mission leader, are the connecting link between members and missionaries in this sacred work of rescuing God’s children.5
Our inquiring friends and neighbors not of our faith can also catch the wave. We encourage them to keep all that is good and true in their lives. And we invite them to receive more, especially the glorious truth that through God’s eternal plan, families can be together forever.6
This wave of truth and righteousness is wondrous! It is not man-made! It comes from the Lord, who said, “I will hasten my work in its time.”7 This wave is empowered by a divine announcement made 193 years ago. It consisted of only seven words: “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”8 Uttered by Almighty God, that announcement introduced a young Joseph Smith to the Lord Jesus Christ. Those seven words launched the Restoration of His gospel. Why? Because our living God is a loving God! He wants His children to know Him and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent!9 And He wants His children to gain immortality and eternal life!10
For this glorious purpose, our missionaries teach of the Restoration. They know that some 2,000 years ago, the Lord established His Church. After His Crucifixion and the death of His Apostles, men changed the Church and its doctrine. Then, after generations of spiritual darkness, and as predicted by previous prophets,11 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ restored the Church, its doctrine, and its priesthood authority. Because of that Restoration, knowledge and essential ordinances for salvation and exaltation are again available to all people.12 Ultimately, that exaltation allows each of us to dwell with our families in the presence of God and Jesus Christ forever!
I cannot speak of the Restoration in tempered tones. This fact of history is absolutely stunning! It is incredible! It is breathtaking! How amazing is it that messengers from heaven came to give authority and power to this work?
Our Eternal Father and Jesus Christ made multiple appearances to the Prophet Joseph Smith.13 Under Their direction, other heavenly messengers came, each with a specific purpose. For example:
The angel Moroni revealed the Book of Mormon.14
John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood.15
Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood.16
Moses bestowed keys for the gathering of Israel.17
Elias conferred keys of knowledge about Abraham.18
Elijah restored keys of the sealing authority.19
In addition, the Restoration added knowledge that Saints had anciently. The Lord provided a new book of scripture. To the Holy Bible, He added the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is a record of prophecies and the ministry of the resurrected Lord to the people of ancient America. It explains God’s great plan of happiness20—the plan of salvation.21 The Book of Mormon is in full harmony with the Bible. Both sacred records affirm the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of His Atonement.22
The Restoration fulfills many biblical prophecies. For example, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains.23 The exodus of Mormon pioneers to the mountains of western America is a fulfilling saga of sacrifice and faith. Isaiah also foretold that God will do “a marvellous work and a wonder.”24 That is now being fulfilled by the sacred work of our growing army of missionaries.
Old Testament teachings about tithing have been restored.25 As a result, more tithe payers are blessed because of their obedience. References to Melchizedek are clarified by scriptures of the Restoration.26 Prophecies that the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) and the stick of Judah (the Bible) would be as one in God’s hand have now been fulfilled.27
The Restoration also clarifies New Testament scriptures. Its reference to baptism for the dead is now better understood.28 Ordinances for our deceased ancestors are now performed vicariously in 141 temples throughout the world! There is no other way to offer salvation to our ancestors who died without a knowledge of the gospel!29 John the Revelator’s vision of “another angel [flying] in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth,” foretold the mission of the angel Moroni and the Book of Mormon.30
The Book of Mormon is the centerpiece of the Restoration. It was written, preserved, and transmitted under the Lord’s direction. It was translated “by the gift and power of God.”31 The book of Doctrine and Covenants contains many additional revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Through him we have received more pages of scripture than we have from any other prophet. In what must have been a wistful moment, he said to the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.”32
Together, members and missionaries invite all to learn of God, of Jesus Christ, and of His gospel. Each inquiring individual should seek earnestly and pray fervently for the assurance that these things are true. The truth will be manifest by the power of the Holy Ghost.33
I thank God and His Son, Jesus Christ, for the Restoration and its power to propel a magnificent wave of truth and righteousness across the earth. May we catch this wave and fulfill the Lord’s command to take the gospel “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,”34 I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.