To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,
As we have reflected on our email to you last week, it has occurred to us that some may wonder that if we are "agents to act," why should we need to council and commit each other to do certain things. If you have had that question, we want you to know that we believe it is a thoughtful, sincere question and one deserving of a equally thoughtful answer.
Why Do We Teach?
As you all are aware, one of the primary purposes for our mortal existence is to learn to exercise agency in righteous ways. As Lehi teaches his sons in 2 Ne 2, the only way this can happen is if we are "sufficiently instructed" (v.5). One thing we must remember is that it is impossible for righteousness to be chosen if righteousness is not taught (v.16). That is why the Savior's last admonition to His apostles was to "teach all nations" (Matt 28:19).
What Do We Teach?
The Savior doesn't simply say that we should teach, He continues by telling us what we should teach by saying: "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt 28:20). He then promises us that as we are found in the path of duty to fulfill these commandments, He will be with us.
In our day, through both latter-day scripture and latter-day prophets, this council has been expanded to "preach repentance." As we have discussed previously, the way we preach repentance is to teach faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. As missionaries and, in time, as future parents and church leaders, we have been taught that one of the primary ways we teach repentance is to invite others to make and keep commitments (PMG Ch 11).
How Do We Teach?
In His visit to the Nephites, one of the last things Jesus taught His disciples was to do "that which ye have seen me do" (3 Ne 27:21). This is why we spend so much effort in our mission to learn to teach "after the manner of the Master."
In addition to teaching by word, one of the most powerful ways for us to teach is by the way we act. This is one of the reasons the Savior taught the Nephites, "what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am" (3 Ne 27:27). Elders and Sisters, we need to regularly ask ourselves this question, "Do my words, my actions and does my appearance make me easily identifiable as a disciple of Jesus Christ?" If the answer is "no" we must repent. Because we can't afford to let these things keep us from fulfilling our divine commission to teach.
Who Do We Teach?
The answer to this question may be obvious, but we want you to remember that we teach those we love and we love those we teach. Often, the people closest to us are the people we find hardest to teach, but are the people we can influenced most profoundly. We need to remember that teaching is one of the greatest expressions of love. This is why the Savior spent His life teaching.
We feel lucky to be associated with such powerful teachers. We are excited that so many of you understand that we commit because we love and because we love, lives and eternities are being changed forever!
We love you!
President and Sister Mortensen
We attended District Meeting last Friday in the Tomball District and were inspired by the great leadership of Elder Myers and the missionaries in that district. We love District Meeting!