Missions: Commanded to Go: Full-Time Service is Not Just Wise Council

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Naturally young women aren’t commanded to serve missions as they often have the higher work of family creation to participate in. However, for young men, it is a clear duty, just as binding as the law of the sabbath, or the law of tithing, on their eternal salvation. Men can repent of sins such as not serving a mission, but like all sin, the way of sin is always hard, and it is not wise to play games with God. Fear God, and keep his commandments.


-“the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve are united in saying to our young sisters that they are not under obligation to go on missions. I hope I can say what I have to say in a way that will not be offensive to anyone. Young women should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men. Some of them will very much wish to go. If so, they should counsel with their bishop as well as their parents. If the idea persists, the bishop will know what to do. I say what has been said before, that missionary work is essentially a priesthood responsibility. As such, our young men must carry the major burden. This is their responsibility and their obligation. We do not ask the young women to consider a mission as an essential part of their life’s program. Over a period of many years, we have held the age level higher for them in an effort to keep the number going relatively small. Again to the sisters I say that you will be as highly respected, you will be considered as being as much in the line of duty, your efforts will be as acceptable to the Lord and to the Church whether you go on a mission or do not go on a mission.” (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)

-“It does not matter if it interrupts your schooling or delays your career or your marriage—or basketball. Unless you have a serious health problem, every Latter-day Saint young man should answer the call to serve a mission” (Elder Boyd K. Packer in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 61; or Ensign, May 1984, 42). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)

-“There is increasing evidence that some young women are being strongly encouraged to serve full-time missions. Though capable and effective, young women do not have the same responsibility to serve full-time missions as do young men who hold the priesthood. We are grateful that some desire to serve as full-time missionaries, but they should not be made to feel obligated to do so. A young woman should not be recommended for a mission if it would interfere with a specific marriage proposal” (Church Bulletin, 1993, no. 2, p. 2). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)

-“To young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary.” (President Monson’s challenge during the October 2010 general conference)

-“Missionaries are marvelous. They’re called of God by prophecy. . . . They represent the fruits of all that is good within the Latter-day Saint family.” (President Monson)

–“Your mission will be a sacred opportunity to bring others to Christ and help prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior” (Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “Preparing the World for the Second Coming,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 50)

-“We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives . … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God [see D&C 76: 51–52]. No one else can do this” (Elder Oaks, “The Purpose of Missionary Work,” missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1995).

-“After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (Joseph Smith, quoted in Preach My Gospel, 12).

-“Teaching the gospel is more important than other good deeds. You are in the greatest work in the world, and nothing in this world can compare to it. Building homes and bridges is nothing. Building worlds is nothing compared to the lives you are building. The saving of mortal lives isn’t any important accomplishment as compared to what you are doing. You might go out here to one of these cemeteries and raise the dead, even a thousand or ten thousand of them, and you haven’t done anything compared to what you are doing when you are saving people” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball[1982], 547).

-“I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.… I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price” (Elder Holland, “Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 15).

-see also https://www.lds.org/manual/missionary-preparation-teacher-manual?lang=eng
-Reasons to serve a mission from Church Aaronic Priesthood Manual:
1. Because Heavenly Father has commanded us to do so
2. To help people come unto Christ and his church
3. To help people receive the saving ordinances, such as baptism
4. So people can repent of their sins and be forgiven
5. To warn people of the consequences of sin
6. To gather the faithful out of the world
7. To give us a chance to serve and grow
8. To set up the kingdom of God and prepare for the Second Coming
(See https://www.lds.org/manual/aaronic-priesthood-manual-3/lesson-25-every-young-man-should-serve-a-mission?lang=eng)
–“The question is frequently asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer has been given by the Lord. It is ‘Yes.’ Every young man should fill a mission. …
“… Every man should also pay his tithing. Every man should observe the Sabbath. Every man should attend his meetings. Every man should marry in the temple” (President Spencer W. Kimball, “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 8).

–“Some of you say in your minds, ‘Oh well, you just don’t understand my case. My situation is different. I plan to be a great lawyer, or doctor, or athlete, or some other great person. Surely neither you nor the Lord would expect me to leave my studies at such an important time. A mission would interfere with my future plans.’ Others are thinking, ‘Yes, I know about missions, but if you had a girlfriend like mine, you’d never leave her. What will happen to her while I’m gone?’ Yet others of you are thinking, ‘Missions cost so much. I just got this job. I just purchased a car and a stereo. It’s just the time of life when I’m starting to get things together for myself. I can’t drop all that now. I just can’t afford it.’ Then there are also those who are thinking, ‘My situation disqualifies me. I have fallen into transgression and am not participating in the Church. I had always planned on being a missionary, but I slipped and now I don’t live the standards required of a missionary…“If I could speak separately to each of you young men, … I would say with all the power of speech I could generate, ‘Just who do you think you are? What right do you have to match your wisdom with that of God, who through His prophets has issued a firm decree, a solemn mandate, that the restored gospel must be declared to all the world by the voice of His disciples? This means you!… [missionary service] is a marvelous gift of time, a time given when you can experience glimpses of heavenly life here on earth. It is a time of cleansing and refreshing. It is a special time when theHoly Ghost can seal upon you the knowledge of the great plan for your exaltation. It is one of your best opportunities to become a celestial candidate. The highest of all service to others is to teach them truth and bring them into the kingdom of God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, p. 72; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, p. 50).’” (Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, p. 71; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, p. 50).

–“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life” (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” New Era, May 1975, p. 20).

-“The Lord wants every young man to serve a full-time mission. … Not only should a mission be regarded as a priesthood duty, but every young man should look forward to this experience with great joy and anticipation. What a privilege—what a sacred privilege—to serve the Lord full time for two years with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. You can do nothing more important. …Prepare well for a mission all your life, not just six months or a year before you go. We love all of our missionaries who are serving the Lord full time in the mission field. But there is a difference in missionaries. Some are better prepared to serve the Lord the first month in the mission field than some who are returning home after twenty-four months. We want young men entering the mission field who can enter the mission field ‘on the run,’ who have the faith born of personal righteousness and clean living that they can have a great and productive mission. …Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life” (President Ezra Taft Benson Ensign,May 1986, pp. 44–45).

-see also https://www.lds.org/manual/aaronic-priesthood-manual-3/lesson-25-every-young-man-should-serve-a-mission?lang=eng

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