Relief Society Lesson 28: Missionary Service: A Holy Calling, a Glorious Work

By Zenaida

From the Life of Joseph Smith

Heber C. Kimball, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, recalled: “About the first day of June 1837, the Prophet Joseph came to me, while I was seated in … the Temple, in Kirtland, and whispering to me, said, ‘Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, “Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation.” ’ ” Elder Kimball was overwhelmed by the thought of such an undertaking: “I felt myself one of the very weakest of God’s servants. I asked Joseph what I should say when I got there; he told me to go to the Lord and He would guide me, and speak through me by the same spirit that [directed] him.”

Joseph showed great trust in Heber C. Kimball by calling him to a mission in England. He was asked to trust the Lord, and was promised guidance similar to the prophet’s. Do you think that promise is in force today?

The missions to England in the early days led by Elder Kimball and later Brigham Young eventually brought 8,000 converts to the fold.

From Nauvoo, Joseph Smith continued to send missionaries throughout the world. Elder Orson Hyde landed in England in 1841 and later continued his assigned mission to Jerusalem. He carried a letter of recommendation from Joseph Smith recognizing “the bearer of these presents, a faithful and worthy minister of Jesus Christ, to be our agent and representative in foreign lands, to … converse with the priests, rulers and Elders of the Jews.” On October 24, 1841, Elder Hyde knelt on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives and petitioned Heavenly Father to dedicate and consecrate the land “for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy prophets.” Elder Hyde then made his way to Germany, where he laid an initial foundation for the growth of the Church there.

Elders Addison Pratt, Noah Rogers, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks were called to the South Pacific. Elder Hanks died en route, but Elder Pratt was able to continue on the journey and many converts were gained from his efforts.

Why was the dedication of Jerusalem necessary? Why was the land dedicated but no mission was established there?

Can we see the fruits of these missions today?

Teachings of Joseph Smith

In December 1840 Joseph Smith wrote to members of the Quorum of the Twelve and other priesthood leaders who were serving missions in Great Britain: “Be assured, beloved brethren, that I am no disinterested observer of the things which are transpiring on the face of the whole earth; and amidst the general movements which are in progress, none is of more importance than the glorious work in which you are now engaged; consequently I feel some anxiety on your account, that you may by your virtue, faith, diligence and charity commend yourselves to one another, to the Church of Christ, and to your Father who is in heaven; by whose grace you have been called to so holy a calling; and be enabled to perform the great and responsible duties which rest upon you. And I can assure you, that from the information I have received, I feel satisfied that you have not been remiss in your duty; but that your diligence and faithfulness have been such as must secure you the smiles of that God whose servants you are, and also the good will of the Saints throughout the world.

“Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.”

How are missionaries asked to conduct themselves? What characteristics recommend us to others?

“Oh, ye elders of Israel, hearken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell; preach and cry aloud, ‘Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.’ Declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone, lest ye be overthrown. … Preach those things the Lord has told you to preach about—repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.”

“I spoke and explained concerning the uselessness of preaching to the world about great judgments, but rather to preach the simple Gospel.”

What is the simple Gospel? Why should we avoid condemning others with judgement?

“The Elders [should] go forth … in all meekness, in sobriety, and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified; not to contend with others on account of their faith, or systems of religion, but pursue a steady course. This I delivered by way of commandment; and all who observe it not, will pull down persecution upon their heads, while those who do, shall always be filled with the Holy Ghost; this I pronounced as a prophecy.”

How should we approach the religions of others? Can we learn from their examples? What can we offer to add their faith?

“Notice this Key, and be wise for Christ’s sake, and your own soul’s sake. Ye are not sent out to be taught, but to teach. Let every word be seasoned with grace. Be vigilant; be sober. It is a day of warning, and not of many words. Act honestly before God and man. … Be honest, open, and frank in all your [dealings] with mankind. [See D&C 43:15; 63:58.]”

We teach the Gospel as directed by the Spirit.

The Prophet spoke at a conference held in October 1839: “President [Joseph Smith] proceeded to give instruction to the Elders respecting preaching the Gospel, and pressed upon them the necessity of getting the Spirit, so that they might preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; to be careful in speaking on those subjects which are not clearly pointed out in the word of God, which lead to speculation and strife.”

What are the things we should focus on when teaching? What is the best course of action when matters of speculation and strife are brought to us?

In 1834 Joseph Smith preached in a schoolhouse in Pontiac, Michigan. Edward Stevenson was present and recalled the experience: “It was on those school grounds where two Mormon Elders introduced the restored Gospel in the year 1833; and in 1834 Joseph Smith the Prophet preached with such power as had not there ever before been witnessed in this nineteenth century. … I can very well remember many of the words of the boy Prophet as they were uttered in simplicity, but with a power which was irresistible to all present. …

“With uplifted hand he said: ‘I am a witness that there is a God, for I saw Him in open day, while praying in a silent grove, in the spring of 1820.’ He further testified that God, the Eternal Father, pointing to a separate personage, in the likeness of Himself, said: ‘This is my Beloved Son, hear ye Him.’ Oh, how these words thrilled my entire system, and filled me with joy unspeakable to behold one who, like Paul the apostle of olden time, could with boldness testify that he had been in the presence of Jesus Christ! …

Joseph was always ready to present his testimony, even while in jail. He took opportunity to share his beliefs even when it was most inconvenient for him.

How can we look for ways to share our own faith? How can we make personal connections with people? How can we show love and respect for those who do not share our faith? How can we teach with respect and avoid being taught the ways of the world? In what ways do women add to the work of spreading the Gospel? How does the Spirit influence your personal sharing of your testimony?

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58 Responses

  1. jackie says:

    Why was the dedication of Jeruselum necessary?

  2. EmilyCC says:

    Zenaida, I love your question about examples from other religions and how we can learn from them. Great lesson with lots of good questions to start discussion!

  3. lora says:

    good question jackie, I was wondering the same myself
    and did they dedicate other places as well?

  4. collin says:

    I have the same question as Jackie and Lora. Does the dedication of a geographic area make the people receptive to the gospel? (The mission I served in might indicate not, but maybe Europeans would be even less receptive if their countries hadn’t been dedicated.)

    Another thing that I’d like to hear people discuss is how we can prepare people we know to hear the gospel. Frankly, I don’t think most of the people I associate with regularly (work colleagues, etc.) are ready to hear the gospel and I feel like I’d be damaging our relationship by trying to force it, which would prevent me from being able to do the ‘soft’ missionary work of being a good example, being a Mormon they don’t see as weird or aggressively religious (I work in a very secular profession). How can I soften people? How do I know when is the time? Is my hesitance just lack of faith?

  5. *camille says:

    If anyone is interested I have a great Missionary Jeopardy game that I made to go along with this lesson. The message this week I have felt impressed to share is that missionary work is easy…something we can do everyday!!! We don’t have to wait for those “perfect” moments and we shouldn’t be afraid of what we love most. Being a missionary means being an example of our Savior, remembering people’s names & interest, being open about our church activites (“yeah, I’m headed to our church temples tonight with my husband” or “I’m going to a really cool Women’s meeting at my church on Wed…it’s called Enrichment”), being ACTIVE in our wards…who around us might need help but just may not show it? I’m hoping that Sisters (myself included) can make more efforts daily to plant little seeds that someday might make a big difference.
    i.e. When my grandparents were visiting friends in Provo Utah some 30 years ago (they were from Indiana)…they drove through BYU campus and though, this looks like a good school. They jumped out of the car and started walking around when a young student, asked if she could help them find something. They told her they were just visiting and they had an 18 year old son who was about to go off to college. She spent the next 3 hours showing them all around campus….which ultimatly lead them to sending thier son, a non-member, to Brigham Young University. That son is my dad. I continaully wonder about this young lady and only wish she knew the impact she has had on our family, temple marriages, baptisms, missionaries, generations…it’s just amazing.
    Yours in Relief Society. *Camille

  6. Sally says:

    Zenaida, I like how your questions enables us to apply this lesson into our own lives.

    I also enjoyed reading Camile’s comments and I’m very interested in her Missionary Jeopardy game. How can I contact her?

  7. Robin Ibarra says:

    Camille, You can’t tease us like that! If you have a
    game to share, you have to tell us where we
    can get ahold of it. Sounds like fun.

  8. mb says:

    Collin wrote: “I have the same question as Jackie and Lora. Does the dedication of a geographic area make the people receptive to the gospel?”

    As you know, dedicatory prayers are a tradition in the commencement of mission work in a new land, the commencement of worship in a newly opened church building, and the commencement of worship in a newly opened temple. They are an act of consecration of the work that will be done in those areas or buildings.

    So, no, it doesn’t mean that the inhabitants will necessarily be more open to the gospel, but it is an indication of the willingness of those who are called to work there to consecrate their efforts to the Lord. And it serves to invoke the divine assistance of the Lord in the work they are about to commence and the attendance of the Holy Spirit in their efforts. It also pleads for specific blessings to be poured out upon the land and its inhabitants.

    You can read the dedicatory prayer in it’s entirety here:

    The breadth of the scope of the prayer and the blessings invoked reach far beyond missionary work, which only is mentioned briefly and rather obliquely.

    Interestingly it is not just a dedication of Jerusalem, but of the holy land, then known as Palestine, in general.

    And in response to one of your good questions, Zenaida, there was missionary work done in the holy land in the latter part of the 19th century. One elder, Adolf Haag, died while working as a missionary in Haifa in 1892 of typhus and is buried in a cemetery there. Haifa was then part of the Turkish mission.

    The mission headquarters were moved to Allepo Syria where it was called the Armenian Mission and then later to Haifa in 1928 where it stayed for a year. It reopened and closed a number of times under a number of different geographical names during the first half of the 20th century as political situations permitted.

    You can read more about the history of mission work in Palestine here:

  9. ruth says:

    I would love to receive the Jeopardy Game.

  10. Sarah says:

    I want the game from Camille too. . This site has really helped me plan and organize how I teach. Thank you!

  11. Roxie says:

    I would like Camilles Jeopardy Game. It sounds great

  12. Carine says:

    Thanks for giving us, Relief Society teachers, usable ideas. And yes, Camille, I am interested to receive that Jeopardy game too, sending a big thank you your way.

  13. ruth says:

    How do we get in touch with you to request the
    Jeopardy game?

    Thanks, Ruth

  14. Zenaida says:

    Thanks mb for the link! After reading through the dedicatory prayer, it really doesn’t seem like a dedication of a mission at all.
    “to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets — for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name”

    He goes on to bless the land and leaders, to establish peace and prosperity.
    I’m curious to know the content of other dedicatory prayers inaugurating missions.

  15. mb says:

    If you type the words

    mission dedicatory prayer

    in google, you should be able to find links on the first few pages to texts of dedicatory prayers for Taiwan, Finland, China and Thailand.

  16. Sarah says:

    Has anyone been able to get the game from Camille? Thanks

  17. Kathleen Johnson says:

    Camille – I love creative people. I would love a copy of your Jeopardy game.

  18. Natalie says:

    Camille, Great comments on the lesson. I have
    enjoyed reading the outlines for the lessons
    the past couple of months. They have helped
    greatly. I would also like a copy of the game.
    Thanks for all you do.

  19. Linda Snow says:

    Hi. I would also like the Jeopardy Game. Thanks!

  20. kim says:

    Could I get a the jeopardy game too?? thanks. kim

  21. Wendy says:

    Hi Camille – I too would really like a copy of the game jeopardy. Thanks for your great ideas. Wendy

  22. Meagen says:

    Has anybody heard from Camille about the Jeopardy game? I still haven’t but really want the game!

  23. Sue says:

    Great game idea. I would love a copy. I have to teach this lesson Sunday.

  24. Sue says:

    My email was not attached to my comment above.

  25. Margo says:

    I am hoping to follow suit and request if possible a copy of the game as well. This is just terrific

  26. Dottie says:

    I know you are bombarded with requests, but I sure would like the jeopardy game also.

  27. Ana says:

    Please add me too! Seems like it would be easier to put the link up, Camille–You’ve got quite the list to email! lol!

  28. Melissa says:

    I would love a copy of the Missionary Jeopardy, how do I go about getting one?

  29. Jerry Young says:

    I am starting to prepare lesson 30 (..Valiant..)and plan to connect this lesson 28 (Missionary)I recently presented to support the concepts. Both lessons deal with our obligations and interactions with others.

  30. Sarah says:

    Has anyone heard from Camille? Does anyone know how to contact her?

  31. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for all your help. I be teaching this lesson soon. Could I please have a copy of your game.

  32. Debra Pendleton says:

    Camille, could I also please get a copy of the jeopardy game. Thank you so much.

  33. Meagen says:

    I have been asking for the jeopardy game for about 3 weeks now and have not received anything. Why not just attach whatever it is to the article? Why post “extras” if you can not deliver?

  34. Jana says:

    Meagen and other commenters:
    Speaking as a permablogger on this blog…I have no idea who Camille is–she’s not a regular commenter on our site. None of us here at The Exponent have her Jeopardy game or we would have posted it.

    I suggest that the rest of you stop leaving your email addresses in the comments–I’m afraid you’ll only end up getting a lot of spam messages from internet trolls and no Jeopardy game from the elusive Camille.

  35. Lane says:

    I had the same concern after I posted it. Is there a way to delete my e-mail off the site?

  36. Ruth says:

    I would also like a copy of the Jeopardy game … I will be teaching this lesson this coming Sunday, March 8. Thank you so much!

  37. Colleen says:

    I would like to “echo” Shar’s comment regarding how helpful Camille has been and what a blessing she has been to many people by being willing to share her creativity. It is so nice to be able to share ideas and try to make our teaching more effective. I, too, am saddened by some of the negative comments toward someone who has such a great spirit and willingness to help others.

    I certainly understand concern over leaving e-mail addresses “wide open” on the web. I’m wondering if there is another way to share?

    At any rate, Camille, if you read this, I want you to know how much you are appreciated. I am certain you are a great blessing to the sisters in your ward. Thanks for your commitment to teaching.

    For those in charge of The Exponent, thank you for such a great resource! I check this site every month for help and information for the lessons I am presenting, and I am always able to find something that helps me as I prepare. I appreciate your time and efforts.

  38. Vee says:

    Did anyone have any success in getting the Jeopardy game from Camille? If so, please forward. Thanks.

  39. Jana says:

    Note: The posts that included email addresses have been removed from the comments on this post as a courtesy to our readers. As I’m sure you know, leaving your email address in a blog comment not only leaves you vulnerable to spammers, but also to viruses and phishing scams.

  40. Colleen says:

    Just an FYI….yes, Camille did send the Jeopardy game. For those of you who didn’t receive it earlier, she had been out of town. EVERYONE deserves to get away once in awhile and I hope she had a great time! Thanks to Camille for sharing.

    In the future to avoid all the e-mail addresses issue, etc. I’m wondering if there is another way to share things like that? Any ideas?

  41. Jana says:

    We’re asking for those with lesson helps to send them to the Exponent Blog email address (see the lesson posted today, as an example) rather than sharing email addresses in the comments. Another solution would be for those with lesson helps to post them on their own blogs and then leave links in the comments on the lessons here.

  42. Alaine says:

    Any other suggestions from some of you who have already taught lesson 28 – missionary work? Where is the game posted?

  43. Evelyn says:

    Can you tell me where the jeapardy game is posted? Thank you so much….you all are WONDERFUL!!!!!!

  44. Shelley says:

    Colleen, if you were able to get a copy of the jepardy game from Camille for lesson 28 could you post a link or let us know how to get a copy without posting our emails?

  45. Jamie Hamblin says:

    I would like a copy of the game too! How can I get it?

  46. Rebecca K says:

    Make it yourself ladies.

  47. EmilyCC says:

    Jana, since we have so many posts already scheduled, I took out the option of having people email us with their teaching resources, which we said we’d try to post.

    I think you made an excellent suggestion about people creating their own blogs and doing something like what we’ve done here–because I certainly want all the help I can get on lessons!

  48. Jana says:

    Good call, Emily! 🙂

  49. Elaine says:

    Is it too late to ask where I can get this “jeopardy game”??

  50. Kimberly says:

    I would LOVE the jeopardy game!! I just came across this web-site while preparing my lesson for this sunday! How would I get it? I’ve seen many people ask for it.

  51. Vee says:

    Is there a link for the Jeopardy game? Without email addresses, I don’t see how it can be acquired. Forgive me for my lack of tech savvy.

  52. Karen Davidson says:

    Would love to recieve the game for my lesson tomorrow! Hope I’m not too late.


  53. Caroline says:

    Sorry, women. Unless Camille puts up her email address or a link to where the game can be accessed, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

    But not to despair…. I think we’ve put up some great ideas and questions to use to facilitate a good discussion.

  54. Elaine says:

    So then if we want to share ideas with each other eg: the “so called Jeopardy Game” how are we supposed to do it without putting our email addresses on this comment form?? I am teaching this lesson tomorrow but I gave up on the “game” cos I never read any more about it or that anyone actually got it??

  55. amelia says:

    elaine and all:

    your email address is required for the comment form, but it doesn’t get published.

    here’s how we suggest someone (like Camille, who has so generously offered to share) who has something to share handle it:

    1. create their own blog (very easy to do with where they share their lesson prep.


    2. if you want to share here, post a comment stating that you have something to share and leave your own email address spelled out (for example jane at gmail dot com). spelling out an email address cuts down on the potential for spam etc. only the person who has something to share should leave an email address. that way people who want the game, outline, etc. can email her directly rather than leaving comments asking her to email them.

    these options streamline the process for everyone and allow exponent comments to be about lesson content rather than filling them with requests for lesson aids.

  56. Trisha says:

    I know it’s an old subject now but… Did anyone figure out how to get the game?

  57. *Camille says:

    OH my! I got on this morning to check out to see if there had been any prep for the upcoming lesson and saw on the comments on this old lesson and I feel really, really horrible. I was out of town after I posted me Jeopardy game and also pregnant…I had a baby a little while back and either I had pre-pregnancy no brain or I was a little nusy. Im really turly sorry for all of those that requested the game, I would have luved to share it. Thanks for the information on how to share ideas and thoughts….sounds like that will make it easier.
    AGAIN, really sorry! *Camille

  1. May 17, 2016

    […] comments in comparison to other kinds of posts.  Apparently, after Zenaida posted her lesson plan, Missionary Service: A Holy Calling, a Glorious Work, a commenter offered to share a Jeopardy game she had written to accompany the lesson.  Her […]

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