Why do Mormon missionaries go and give 1 ½-2 years of their young adult life in service, and at their own expense? These young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) have testimonies of Jesus Christ, and they want to follow His admonition to “feed [His] sheep” (John 21:16). They also have the witness that the great commission, given by the Savior Himself, is still in effect and is more pertinent today than ever before.
What is the Great Commission?
The great commission was the invitation or commandment given by the resurrected Lord to his disciples, instructing them to spread the gospel to all nations:
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:16-20).
Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the True Church?
So why do Mormons, particularly Mormon missionaries, try to “convert” others to their specific belief system? As a Mormon myself, I believe that there is truth to be found in all things; however The Church of Jesus Christ has the complete package–the fullness of Christ’s gospel. In fact the late Mormon prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, said:
We recognize the good in all people. We recognize the good in all churches, in their efforts to improve mankind and to teach principles that lead to good, stable, productive living. To people everywhere we simply say, ‘You bring with you all the good that you have, and let us add to it. That is the principle on which we work’ (interview with Philippines Television, 30 April 1996).
What Makes The Church of Jesus Christ different?
What can Mormons add to your already good beliefs? Current apostle, David A. Bednar, spoke of this difference by quoting Joseph Smith:
In December of 1839, while in Washington, D.C., to seek redress for the wrongs done to the Missouri Saints, Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee wrote to Hyrum Smith: “In our interview with the President [of the United States], he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Receive the Holy Ghost, Ensign, Nov. 2010).
Mormons believe baptism is to be done by immersion, as in biblical times (See Matt. 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:38, Col. 2:12). And after someone is baptized he or she can then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. The Holy Ghost is then a most essential aspect of receiving all of the gifts of God because…
He is the Holy Spirit of Promise (see Ephesians 1:13; Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, 18-19, 26). In this capacity, He confirms that the priesthood ordinances we have received [like baptism] and the covenants we have made are acceptable to God. This approval depends on our continued faithfulness (See Gospel Topics, Holy Ghost).
I Want to Serve a Mission
I was swept off my feet by my adorable husband before I was old enough to serve a Mormon mission as a young adult–a decision I have never regretted. But fortunately older couples can go on missions, too! We are already preparing for that temporally and spiritually–and we are so looking forward to that day! But do you have to serve a mission to be a missionary? Absolutely not! Christ invites everyone to follow Him, be His disciple, and to “feed [His] sheep.” Mormon leaders are especially counseling every Mormon to spread the gospel to friends and neighbors in a more dedicated effort than ever before.
Why do I want to be a missionary? For me, when I love something so much, I want to share it with the people I love. For instance, I love my bed. If there were people that I loved, or even people that I came in contact with that didn’t know that beds existed, I would eagerly want to share with them the great news about beds. Now, I love the gospel of Jesus Christ way more than I love my bed. So when people don’t have the gospel, of course my heart yearns to share it with them.
Some words to express the feelings of my heart:
Follow His words, Feeding His sheep
Brings me to life, fully complete.
Sharing truth, teaching redemption
Offering His children a holy ensign.
Unto all nations, to the ends of the world
Is where you will find my banner unfurled.
I love Him so dearly, His messages too
That’s why I must share them with each of you.
I invite you to partake more fully of Christ’s gospel by meeting with Mormon missionaries–they can help you! Taking part in the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has truly been the greatest blessing I could ever have received; through it I not only have the opportunity to receive the blessings of eternity (including my favorite of being with my family forever), but also because I can share those blessings with all those that I come in contact with. This great blessing is available to all who desire it. I witness that the great commission is still in full force, and that Jesus Christ greatly desires each of His disciples to bring others closer to Him in order that they might also partake of His redemptive power. One thing that I have noticed is that in expressing truths about Christ helps me to fortify my beliefs in Him.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.