"It is difficult to imagine anything more exciting to do as a young man, woman or couple in the world today than to be a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," began Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve during the Sunday afternoon session.
Encouraging missionary service, he said, "Exciting fields of labor the world over allow the inspiration of the Lord to call young men and women and devoted couples to challenging, exciting assignments conditioned to each personal need and capacity."
Preparation for young potential missionaries should begin in the home where they have instilled in their minds and hearts "the concept of 'when I go on a mission,' not 'if I go on a mission,' " Elder Scott said.
Further preparation can take place in seminary and institute, and through the motivation of bishops and branch presidents.
Speaking of a valuable tool available to help in missionary preparation, Elder Scott said, "The power and effectiveness of the guide Preach My Gospel for missionaries, leaders, members and parents is manifest by the fact that just under 1 million copies have been distributed thus far. Are you benefiting from your own personal copy?"
Speaking of his own mission, he said, "I grew up in a home with very good parents, but my father was not a member and my mother was less active. After my mission, that changed. They became strong members and served devotedly in the temple, he a sealer, she an ordinance worker. But as a young man . . . I had no way to judge personally the importance of a mission. I fell in love with an exceptional young woman. At a critical point in our courtship, she made it very clear that she would only be married in the temple to a returned missionary. Duly motivated, I served a mission in Uruguay."
Though his mission was not easy, he said it was during that time that he gained a testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel, and learned to be led by the Spirit.
"Most importantly, all that I now hold dear in life began to mature in the mission field," Elder Scott emphasized. "Had I not been encouraged to be a missionary, I would not have the eternal companion or precious family I dearly love. I am confident I would not have had the exceptional professional opportunities that stretched me to the limit. I am certain that I would not have received the sacred callings with opportunities to serve for which I will be eternally grateful. My life has been blessed beyond measure because I served a mission."
Telling young men they will also be extraordinarily blessed for serving a mission, he counseled, "I urge you not to pray to know whether you should go, rather ask the Lord to guide you in whatever may be necessary to become a worthy, empowered full-time missionary."