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missionlwc1 (Elder Clayton ** )

Elder and Sister L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy

Tuesday devotional,  April 16, 2019

Sister Clayton:

  • Thank you all for what you all bring to the mission field.
  • Life is peaceful here in the MTC, but very tempestuous elsewhere.  Commotion can come from various sources.
  • Cherish your “Noah’s Ark” experience here at the Missionary Training Center.
  • You have probably heard that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned down yesterday.  That tragedy has caused me to think about commotion.
  • Notre Dame had survived 800 years of peace and turmoil.  The three aspects of surviving chaos are assessment, maintenance, and repair.
  • In last year’s Hurricane Michael in Florida, one house survived the very ‘eye of the storm’.  The reasons why it withstood the storm are:
    • The owners built it on 40-foot pilings (firm foundation)
    • They used extra-long and extra-strong screws throughout the home
    • The outside stairs were ‘break-away’ so that the walls would not be damaged
    • Minimum space under the eaves and the roof, minimizing under-drafts
    • Poured concrete and extra reinforcing bars throughout
  • The owners of the home said the extra cost and extra effort paid off.  The extra safeguards preserved their home.  No ‘minimum standards’ applied to this home.
  • The storm you are going to face is the battle for the souls of mankind.   The opposition will be fierce.
    • Deep pilings?  Holy habits, prayer, scripture feasting, attending meetings
    • Deep screws?  Surrounding yourself with good friends and family
    • Break-away stairs?  Jettison the things that are not needed in your spiritual lives right now.  Keep your lives simple.  Cleave unto truth.
    • Small eaves?  Don’t tolerate a “it’s not that bad” attitude in yourself or others.  My husband was good before his mission, but he came back a saint.  Also, don’t tolerate an “accidents ready to happen” approach in your life.  Build upon the ROCK.
  • We need you, we believe in you.  I love you without having met you personally, due to who you are and who you will become.

Elder Clayton:

  • We salute you.
  • Recently in Papua New Guinea, a man noticed a new church and decided to break into it to steal anything valuable.  He stole several things, including a Bible, a copy of the Book of Mormon, and ‘Teachings of the Prophets’.  He decided to read the Book of Mormon and was converted to its teachings.  He eventually confessed and apologized, requested the missionaries, and he and his family were all baptized into the Church.  His daughter left the Provo MTC just last week to serve a full-time mission.
  • When Elder Clayton’s son was serving his mission in Thailand, he had his own copy of the Book of Mormon stolen while he and his companion were eating lunch at a restaurant.  A young woman had stolen it, read it, and she sought out the missionaries to return the stolen book and to ask if she could get her own copy.  She was converted and baptized.
  • We don’t use the Book of Mormon frequently enough or as effectively as we could.  We need to learn to use the Book of Mormon better in our work
  • My purposes in this talk are to emphasize the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion, to emphasize how it can help us in our missionary work, how a testimony of the Book of Mormon can lead to conversion, and how the Book of Mormon can help in convert retention.
  • The role of the Book of Mormon:
    • It is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ
    • It is the instrument by which the gathering of the House of Israel will be accomplished
    • It is the most effective tool in missionary work
    • It is evidence and proof of the truthfulness of this latter-day work
    • The Book of Mormon will do most of our missionary work for us if we will utilize it properly
    • Use the Book of Mormon to help people have spiritual experiences.  Read it with them.  Explain it to them.  Bear testimony of it.  Anyone can receive the witness.
    • Begin with yourself.  You must know of its truthfulness.  Ask God to reveal this knowledge to you.
  • Understand the mighty promises of the Book of Mormon
    • The promises are sure and steadfast.
    • The Book of Mormon is ‘book-ended’ with promises, both in the Introduction and in Moroni 10
    • I am often asked, “We have an investigator who is reading the book and praying and is not receiving an answer.  What should I do?”  The answer is always the same — some part of the process is being overlooked, ignored, or misapplied.  The process includes receiving, reading, pondering, real intent, sincere heart, asking in the name of Christ.  Go over these with the investigators and discover what is lacking.  The problem lies in the process, not in the promise.
    • I have been asked about the phrasing in Moroni 10:4 — “…if these things are not true…”  Why does it say NOT true instead of just TRUE.  This was a way of emphasizing in the Semitic languages.  See 1 Nephi 15:15 and Moroni 10:27 for other examples of this phrasing.
    • Sincere investigators will “feel” that the book is true, as described in D&C 9.
  • How should you use the Book of Mormon in your work?
    • Encourage investigators to read in from the beginning, including the Introduction, the testimonies of the witnesses, and other preliminary information.
    • Use personal experience to bolster their faith.  Tell them how the Book of Mormon has influenced your life for good.  Let Christ speak to them through the words of the Book.
    • Gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon is key.  It really doesn’t matter what else an investigator does in their search for the truth — if they don’t gain a testimony of the Book, they will not be true converts, they will not truly know.
    • Helaman 15:7-8 gives the beautiful pattern of conversion using the scriptures.
    • Apply the promises in the lives of those you teach.  Pray with them, read with them, emphasize the importance of a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in the Lord.
  • George Q. Cannon said, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it was true and he was commanded of God to do so.”
  • Let the Book of Mormon be your great friend, and a noble ally.

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