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We Are One

Henry B. Eyring

I pray that wherever we are and whatever duties we have in the priesthood of God, we will be united in the cause to bring the gospel to all the world.

The Lord made it clear at the very start of this last dispensation that we were to take the gospel to all the world. What He said to the few priesthood holders in 1831 He says to the many now. Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling, or location, we are as one called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls until He comes again. He said to those first laborers in the vineyard:

“And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.

“And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.

“And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”  D&C 38 : 40-42

Now, you members of the Aaronic Priesthood can see that the Lord’s command includes you. Since you know that the Lord always prepares a way to keep His commandments, you can expect that He will do that for each of you.

Let me tell you of how He did it for one boy who now holds the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. He is 16 years old. He lives in a country where the missionaries first arrived just a year ago. They were assigned to two cities but not to the city where the boy lives.

When he was very young, his parents brought him to Utah for safety. The family was taught and baptized by the missionaries. He was not baptized into the Church because he was not yet eight years of age.

His parents were killed in an accident. So his grandmother had him return to his home, across the ocean, back to the city where he had been born.

He was walking on the street in March just a year ago (2012) when he felt that he should speak to a woman he did not know. He spoke with her in the English he still remembered. She was a nurse sent by the mission president to his city to look for housing and medical care for the missionaries who would be assigned there soon. He and she became friends as they talked. When she got back to the mission headquarters, she told the missionaries about him.

The first two elders arrived in September of 2012. The orphan boy was their first baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By March of (2013) he had been a member for four months. He had been ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood and so could baptize the second convert to the Church. He was the first priesthood pioneer to gather other children of Heavenly Father with him to establish the Church in a city of approximately 130,000 people.

On Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, the Church membership there had grown to the huge number of six members in that city. He was the only local member who attended the meeting that Sunday. His knee had been injured the day before, but he was determined to be there. He had prayed that he would be able to walk to church. And so he was there. He shared the sacrament with four young elders and a missionary couple—the total congregation.

That story does not seem remarkable unless you recognize in it the pattern of God’s hand in building His kingdom. I have seen it many times.

I saw it in New Mexico as a young man. For generations the prophets have told us that we must help the missionaries find and teach the honest in heart and then love those who come into the kingdom.

I have seen for myself what faithful priesthood leaders and members can do. In 1955 I became an officer in the United States Air Force. My bishop at home gave me a blessing just before I left for my first station, which was in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In his blessing he said that my time in the air force would be missionary service. I arrived in church on my first Sunday at the Albuquerque First Branch. A man walked up to me, introduced himself as the district president, and told me that he was going to call me to serve as a district missionary.

I told him that I would be there for training for only a few weeks and then I would be assigned somewhere else in the world. He said, “I don’t know about that, but we are to call you to serve.” In the middle of my military training, by what appeared to be chance, I was chosen from hundreds of officers being trained to take the place in headquarters of an officer who had died suddenly.

So, for the two years I was there, I worked in my office. On most evenings and every weekend, I taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to people the members brought to us.

My companions and I averaged more than 40 hours a month in our missionary service without once having to knock on doors to find someone to teach. The members filled our plates so full that we often taught two families in an evening. I saw for myself the power and the blessing in the repeated call of prophets for every member to be a missionary.

On the last Sunday before I left Albuquerque, the first stake was organized in that city. There is now a sacred temple there, a house of the Lord, in a city where we once met in a single chapel with Saints who brought friends to us to be taught and to feel the witness of the Spirit. Those friends felt a welcoming home in the Lord’s true Church.

I saw it next in New England as I went to school. I was called as the counselor to a great district president who had been brought from disinterest in the Church to a man of great spiritual power. His home teacher loved him enough to ignore his cigar and see what God could see in him. The district president and I drove over the hills and along the shores to visit tiny branches that dotted Massachusetts and Rhode Island to build and bless the kingdom of God.

In the years I served with that great leader, we watched people draw friends to the Church by their example and by their invitation to listen to the missionaries. To me the growth of those branches seemed slow and faltering. But on the Sunday I left, five years later, two Apostles came to organize our district into a stake in the Longfellow Park chapel in Cambridge.

Years later I returned to conduct a stake conference there. The stake president took me to see a rocky hill in Belmont. He told me it would be a perfect place for a temple of God. One stands there now. When I gaze on it, I remember the humble members I sat with in tiny branches, the neighbors they invited, and the missionaries who were teaching them…

We sanctify ourselves and fulfill our individual duties to the commandment to take the gospel to all of our Heavenly Father’s children…

In the 1959 April general conference, President David O. McKay taught this principle, as have the prophets since his day, including President Thomas S. Monson. President McKay related in his closing comments that in 1923 in the British Mission, there was a general instruction sent out to the members of the Church. They were told not to spend money on advertising to combat the bad feelings of the people against the Church. President McKay said the decision was: “Throw the responsibility upon every member of the Church that in the coming year of 1923 every member will be a missionary. Every member a missionary! You may bring your mother into the Church, or it may be your father; perhaps your fellow companion in the workshop. Somebody will hear the good message of the truth through you.”

And President McKay continued: “And that is the message today. Every member—a million and a half—a missionary!