A Marvelous Work for You
July 2012

“A Marvelous Work for You,” New Era, July 2012, 40–42

Gospel Classics

A Marvelous Work for You

George Albert Smith, eighth President of the Church, was born on April 4, 1870. He was called as an Apostle in 1903 and became President of the Church in 1945. He died in 1951 on his 81st birthday. At the time this conference address was given in 1916, the world was in the midst of World War I and George Albert Smith was an Apostle.

Adapted from an address in Conference Report, Oct. 1916, 46–51; capitalization, paragraphing, and punctuation have been standardized.

President George Albert Smith

It is not necessary for you to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth.

Our Heavenly Father knew what was coming when in this latter day He restored the gospel in its purity. He knew of the apostasy in the world among His children and that they had departed from the plain truth, and in His great mercy, He revealed this latter-day work. …

Today this body of people, this little handful of God’s children, have the responsibility of proclaiming the truth to the millions who are in darkness. This is a great labor. … We have the privilege of proclaiming the truth and teaching His gospel. He has led people from all portions of the earth, one here and another there, they have been pricked in their hearts, have investigated and received the truth, and their anxiety has been for those from whom they descended, the people of their own race. Missionaries have traveled throughout the earth as a result, and the truths of the gospel of our Lord have been proclaimed in a convincing manner to many hundreds of thousands of our Father’s children. When I speak of the mission field, I realize the great work that is to be accomplished.

I am impressed, my brethren and sisters, with the importance of preparing for the work. It is not sufficient that a boy signify his desire, because of his confidence in his parents, to do what they would have him do, go into the world and preach the gospel; it is not sufficient that he answer the call that our Heavenly Father makes from time to time through His servants for mission service; but it is also necessary that he qualify for the work, search the scriptures, and learn what the Lord would have him know. It is important that our sons and daughters become established in their faith and know as their parents know that this is our Father’s work. …

A dozen men qualified for the work are worth more in the mission field than a hundred who are ignorant of the truth and who themselves have to be taught before they are capable of explaining it to others. The opportunity to teach the gospel will increase … , and preachers of the true gospel will be in demand. I know of no better field in which to qualify than right here at home.

Do you realize, brethren and sisters, that … there are [millions of] people who know very little about the gospel of Jesus Christ? They are our neighbors, they are our Father’s children, they are identified with other churches, or else they do not belong to any church, but I think I am safe in saying that ninety percent of them have no idea what the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. … If we, as members of the Church, were keeping the commandments of God, if we put upon the truth the value that we ought, if our lives conformed to the beauties of its teachings, so that our neighbors, observing our conduct, would be constrained to seek after the truth, we would be doing splendid missionary work. …

If the gospel of Jesus Christ does not make me a better man, then I have not developed as I should, and if our neighbors not in this Church can live among us from year to year and see no evidence of the benefits that come from keeping the commandments of God in our lives, then there is need for reform. … Men and women take for granted that they know what we believe. Many of them have come into our midst prejudiced beforehand, and for some reason, we do not seem to think enough of their souls to go out of our way to do a little planning to get into their homes and to remove that prejudice and teach them the plain truth. …

It is my firm conviction, my brethren and sisters, that unless we stir ourselves more than we are doing, that when we go to the other side of the veil, we will meet there men and women who have been our neighbors and associates and lived among us, that will condemn us because we have been so inconsiderate of them in not telling them of the truth of the gospel of our Lord. … I believe that the mission field … at home … is the best that we can find anywhere. Many people here, if we will go to them and teach them the truth, will see the beauties of the gospel, because they see some of the fruits of “Mormonism” in the lives of its members, and I feel that we ought to sense the importance of this work. We spend most of our time, many of us, seeking the things of this life that we will be compelled to leave when we go from here, yet there are the immortal souls all around us whom, if we would, we could teach and inspire to investigate the truth and implant in their hearts a knowledge that God lives. What treasure in all the world could be so precious to us, for we would have their gratitude here and their everlasting and eternal appreciation in the world to come. It is a most important mission. …

One of the very first revelations that was given by our Heavenly Father, as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, reads as follows:

“Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

“Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” [D&C 4:1–3].

It is not necessary for you to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth. Begin on the man who lives next door by inspiring confidence in him, by inspiring love in him for you because of your righteousness, and your missionary work has already begun. …

Brethren and sisters, let us do the missionary work that is at our doors. … Let us be unselfish in our lives; let us prepare for the work and go out into the world and proclaim the truth, when the opportunity comes, and be the means in the hands of our Father of drawing His children back to Him by teaching them the beauties of His gospel.

Photo illustrations by Ryan Stoker and Christina Smith

Photo illustration by Cody Bell