"The Fourth Missionary"
By Lawrence E. Corbridge June 22, 2002
Be the Forth Missionary
* Disobedient * He does what he wants to do
* Disobedient * He does what he wants to do * Serves entire mission
* Obedient and worthy * Does his duty * Serves faithfully, but
withholds his heart
* He does what Lord wants, but he wants to do, what he wants to do
* Sacrifices his will for the
* May strive to be the best
* Measures success by
* Obedient and worthy
* Total surrender
*Disciple of Christ
*Measure of success from
* His predominant desire is to do what the Lord wants him to do.
*Either sent home or returns home
*The good he would have
otherwise done, goes undone (fruit)
*Shame and misery
*Impairment of faith
*Hard to fit in
*Inactivity or unproductive
activity in Church
*Is not changed by mission
*The good he would have
otherwise done, goes undone (fruit)
*Impairment of faith
*Is not changed by mission
*Does great good (fruit)
*Enjoys the Spirit
*Conforms his behavior
*Frustration and discontent
*Gains little or no knowledge
*Is not changed by mission
*Does great good (fruit)
*Enjoys the Spirit
*Content and happy
*Benefits immensely from and is changed by mission
*Gains great knowledge
Occasionally we learn something that has a profound influence in our lives. This can be one of those times. If you understand and become the Fourth Missionary, it will change your life. What I have to say to you is not hard to do, but it will change your life, if you apply it. I promise you that.
The characteristics of the Fourth Missionary are among the most important things you will learn while on your mission. If you acquire these characteristics you will be happy, you will have peace of mind, and your knowledge, capacities and talents will expand. If you acquire the characteristics of the Fourth Missionary godly virtues will become a part of you, and the service that you render will change you.
If you don't understand what I have to say, or if you don't apply it, you may live a righteous life, you may do much good, and yet live in quiet frustration and discontent. The good that you do, and the service that you render, will do you little good. The virtues of godliness will not be incorporated into your soul.
What I have to say is based on the doctrines of faith, charity and consecration.
As we talk about the four kinds of missionaries, please understand that I mean no disrespect to the sisters by generally using the masculine pronoun, rather than the awkward form of "he or she". These principles, of course, apply to all missionaries regardless of gender.
You have a choice. You can decide what kind of missionary you will be. More importantly, you can choose what kind of person you will become. Do you think about that? Do you think about and plan for who you want to become?
Your life's greatest work is you
As you entered the mission field you concluded one phase of life and began another. To this point many of you have had the protection and close support of family and church leaders and teachers. Now you have moved into a new phase of life on your own. You are essentially on your own. From this point on, you are wholly responsible for what you do and most importantly for who you become.
For the most part, your life is yet ahead of you. What will you do with it?
What will be your greatest work? What will be your most important creation?
I will tell you. Your greatest work: your most important creation is and will ever be you. What kind of person will you become? By this I do not mean what role in life you will take. I don't mean will you be a cowboy, lawyer, surfer, homemaker, engineer, computer programmer, accountant or the like. I do not refer to what kind of car you will drive; what kind of clothes you will wear; what kind of house you will live in; what kind of spouse you will marry or what kind of family will you raise. I mean, when all of that is removed and there you stand alone, who will you be? I mean, you.
What personality will you have; what strengths; what knowledge; what character; what emotional state; what presence; what qualities; what virtues? What will you look like? What will you sound like? What will it be like to be around you? Who will you be?
Envision and plan for your greatest work.
We plan many things in life. We each live in a house that was built from a plan. Someone first envisioned the house in his mind and a plan was then put to paper.
One of my sons had a poster picture of a Porsche Carrera on his bedroom wall. It is a beautiful creation. The lines and symmetry of its design make it a work of art in the opinion of some. That car began somewhere, sometime ago in someone's head. First, someone saw it in his mind and then put it to paper. Someone envisioned it; then plans were prepared, the work was done, and a beautiful car was created.
Some of you have carefully planned your education. You carefully planned your course selections over these past several years with a view toward college admissions and intended occupations.
All of you at some point made a plan to serve a mission, you followed that plan and here you are. Now, hopefully all of you plan the appointments, activities and goals of each day and week.
We plan many things in life. But, have you planned your greatest work? Have you envisioned who you will become? Do you plan for what kind of person you want to become? Can you see in your mind who you want to be? Do you know?
As you consider what kind of person you want to become, what choices do you have? The choices are more limited than what you might think. Here are most of the choices, but overall they are a choice between the qualities of light or the qualities of darkness:
Do you want to be powerful or weak?
Certain and confident, or afraid and insecure?
Comfortable with yourself or arrogant and abrasive?
Do you want to be filled with light or darkness?
Do you want to have peace or conflict within?
Selfish or generous?
Influential or inconsequential?
Do you want to be free or be a slave?
Happy or miserable?
Do you want to be kind and loving, or mean and cruel?
Honest or dishonest?
Do you want to be forgiving or hard and unforgiving?
Knowledgeable or ignorant?
Do you want to be a person of faith or doubt and fear?
Trustworthy or unreliable?
Hardworking or lazy?
Do you want to be cheerful or despondent?
The first of each of these choices is an attribute of light. They are incorporated into your character as you choose to follow Christ.
Dynamic process; always changing
As you consider the question of what kind of person you will become, you must understand the dynamic process of life. You not only can change but you do change all of the time. Sometimes people do not believe this. They excuse their failures and weaknesses by saying: "That's just the way I am." "I am just short tempered, impatient person." I can't get up in the morning. That's just the way I am." "That's my nature." Or, "I'm just shy. That's all. That's just who I am." "I am not really a spiritual person."
To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in your character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the plan of salvation. You are not cast in stone. You not only can change but you do change all of the time. You are a dynamic, changing, evolving being. You are always changing. You never stay the same. You cannot stand still.
You are right now the sum total of what you have thought, said, seen, heard and done. What you think, say, do, hear and see, cause you to change; to change for good or evil; to become either stronger or weaker; to either internalize the qualities of light or the qualities of darkness. You are responsible for who you are and you are responsible for who you will become.
Do you know what kind of person you want to become? Do you see in your mind who you want to be? Do you know?
What manner of men ought ye to be?
Jesus asked a similar question. He said: "What manner of men ought ye to be?" On this particular occasion he was speaking to his Nephite disciples and so he spoke in the male gender, but the question applies to us all, and so, He asks of you: "What manner of men and women ought ye to be?" Then answering His own question he said, "Even as I am."
Jesus Christ not only came to atone for our sins; He also came to show us the way. He is the Way. You not only may become like Him; everything is stacked in your favor to become like Him.
Think of this life as a path on which you never stand still. As you move forward, you incorporate into your being the characteristics and qualities of God. As you move backward you assimilate the qualities of Satan.
Every challenge you face, every hard thing you confront, every bad thing that happens to you, every unfairness, every conflict, every sadness, tragedy, every disappointment and heartache, every temptation and every opposition happens for one purpose only: to give you opportunity to respond by applying in your life the teachings of Jesus. As you do so you are changed to become more like Him.
If you were never presented with some advantage to be gained by dishonesty, such as recognition, or money, or a better grade on a test or avoidance of punishment or embarrassment, you could never develop integrity. If no one ever offended you, you could never learn to forgive or internalize mercy. Were you never wearied by the annoying behavior of another or the repeated failures of someone else you could never become patient. Were you never subjected to the appetites and passions of the physical body for food, for water and for sexual fulfillment you could not develop self-mastery. Without opposition the plan would be frustrated, you could not progress and the purpose of life would be unachievable.
In short when you choose to follow Christ you move forward and assimilate attributes of light; when you do not, you move backward and acquire attributes of darkness.
Can you see, have you seen, who you want to be? What will happen if you don't plan. What will happen if you have no vision of who you want to become?
There are two ways of evolving: deliberately and accidentally. You can either decide who you want to become and deliberately work toward that end, or you can just go with the flow and become whatever life makes of you. In that event, you will become whatever the fickle circumstances and forces of life and society will make of you; whatever is currently considered to be popular or in; whatever is easiest. But, whatever you become accidentally it will not be nearly the full measure of our potential. You will become just someone, somewhere in the middle.
There are four kinds of missionaries. The way of the Fourth Missionary is the only way to become more like Jesus Christ. The way of the Fourth Missionary is the only way to light, intelligence, strength, capacity, peace, contentment, grace, knowledge, power, happiness, mercy, joy and every other good thing.
3. The First Missionary
The First Missionary is disobedient. He does not keep the commandments of God, much less the mission rules.
He does what he wants to do.
He generally does what he wants to do. He likes the idea that he is independent and does things his own way. He thinks that the obedient missionaries are weak. He sees himself as a bit of a rebel, a free thinker and he likes the idea that he is not like them.
Sent home or returns home at his own insistence.
The First Missionary does not complete his mission. He fails. He either is sent home because of his disobedience, or he returns home at his own insistence.
The good he would have otherwise done, goes undone.
The good that this missionary could have done, goes undone, at least by him. The fruit of his service is not harvested, at least by him. Those who would have been changed by his service, go unchanged, at least by him.
Forgoes the personal development that he otherwise would have experienced.
Remember that I said to think of this life as a path on which you never stand still. As you move forward, you incorporate into your being the characteristics and qualities of God. As you move backward you assimilate the qualities of Satan. The first missionary goes backward. He moves in the wrong direction. He forgoes the light, knowledge, strength, intelligence and virtues that would otherwise have been his, and instead develops the qualities of darkness.
He may think that the good life awaits his return, but when he returns there is only shame to greet
Impairment of faith
The First Missionary cannot have faith. Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith that three things are necessary in order for a person to draw down into his life this power that we call faith. "First, the idea that (God) actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will."
The First Missionary cannot have faith because although he may correctly believe in God. He cannot believe in himself. He cannot know "that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to God's will" because it isn't. As a result he cannot exercise faith anymore than Laman and Lemuel could.
That is why, when Nephi asked Laman and Lemuel if they had inquired of the Lord, they responded: "We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us." (2 Nephi l5:8-9). You know what? They were right. Not that the Lord refused them; rather, they could not have faith sufficient to get an answer because they did not know and could not know that the course they were pursuing was pleasing to God, because it wasn't. They were going in the wrong direction.
Do you understand that if you are not doing what the Lord would have you do, you cannot believe in yourself; you cannot believe that you are worthy to receive God's help and guidance in your life? You cannot have faith to pull down the blessings of heaven into your life.
The First Missionary cannot have faith. Not because he does not believe in God; rather, because he cannot believe in himself.
Does not fit in. Inactivity or diminished activity in Church.
After this missionary returns home he feels like he does not fit in. It is hard for him to remain active in the Church. Every sacrament meeting that involves a missionary farewell or report; he is reminded of and haunted by his failure. He feels like he does not measure up and that he never will. He typically becomes inactive, or is relatively unproductive in his involvement in the Church because of his lack of faith; because he does not believe in himself.
4. The Second Missionary
Like the First, the Second Missionary is also disobedient. He does not keep the commandments of God, or the mission rules.
He does what he wants to do.
He also does what he wants to do.
Serves the entire term of his mission.
Although the Second Missionary is disobedient, he makes it to the end of his mission without being sent home, or without going home at his own insistence.
The good he would have otherwise done, goes undone.
This missionary is ineffective; in fact, he is counterproductive. The good that this missionary could otherwise have done, goes undone, because he is not worthy of the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, and without the Spirit he can do no good. The hit of his service is not harvested, at least by him. Those who would have been changed by his service, go unchanged, at least by him.
Forgoes the personal development that he otherwise would have experienced.
Like the First, the Second Missionary goes backward. He moves foolishly in the wrong direction. He foolishly forgoes the light, knowledge, strength, intelligence and virtues that otherwise would have been his, and instead he assimilates the qualities of darkness.
Although the Second Missionary completes his mission, he fails as well. True, he does not have the public shame that the First Missionary has, but he is ashamed in his heart. He looks back on two years of service with regret. The legacy of his mission is regret. He gives two years of his life in exchange for which he gets regret. What a bad bargain!
Impairment of faith
The Second Missionary cannot have faith anymore than the First. He cannot know "that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to God's will" because it isn't.
If you are not doing what the Lord would have you do, you cannot believe in yourself; you cannot believe that you are worthy to receive God's help and guidance in your life. You cannot have faith to pull down the blessings of heaven into your life.
The Second Missionary cannot have faith. Not because he does not believe in God; rather, because he does not believe in himself.
The Second Missionary is miserable. As Alma taught his son Corianton, "...wickedness never was happiness." Not now, not ever. It cannot be. The Second Missionary is miserable and will always be so, until he chooses to turn around and move in the opposite direction.
Does not benefit personally from mission.
This missionary does little good and does not benefit from his mission even though he makes it to the end. He drags down his companions and other missionaries around him. He wastes his time and the time of those who have to tend him. The First and Second Missionaries require most of the time and attention of the mission president and mission leaders, and yet benefit the least from it.
5. The Third Missionary.
Obedient and worthy
The Third Missionary is obedient and faithful. He is worthy.
Does his duty; serves faithfully, but withholds in his heart.
Among those who are obedient, there are two ways to live the gospel, or to serve in the Church: the hard way and the easy way. These two ways are represented by the Third and Fourth Missionaries. The way of the Fourth Missionary is actually, in the end, easier.
The hard way, is the way of the Third Missionary. He lives the gospel, and serves in the Church, with what I call the "bite-the-bullet" approach, the "grin-and-bear-it" or "gut-it-out" approach. He is obedient and he does what he is supposed to do. He does his duty. He gets through it and then, at long last, he gets about doing what he wants to do. That is the Third Missionary.
The Lord has admonished: "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." D & C 4:2. The Third Missionary serves only with his might and strength, but he withholds his heart and mind.
He does what the Lord wants him to do, but he wants to do what he wants to do.
The Third Missionary does what he is supposed to do, but he doesn't like it, because he wants to get through with what he is supposed to do, so he can get about doing what he wants to do. He does what the Lord wants him to do, but in his heart he remains focused on what he wants to do. In his head and in his heart, he withholds. In his head and in his heart he is not true. He is conflicted. He is frustrated that the gospel and the Church are forever calling on him to do things that he does not want to do. There is a constant tension, a constant conflict internally, between what he wants to do and what the Lord wants him to do. There is a constant struggle between the natural man and his divine nature. He gives his time, energy and talents to the work well enough, but he does not give himself he does not give his head, or his heart.
Sacrifices his will for the Lord's will.
The Third Missionary admirably sacrifices his will for the Lord's will.
Measures his success by comparison to others.
This missionary generally measures his success by recognition and comparisons of his performance in relation to others. He may even strive to be the best missionary in the mission, better than everyone else, but he wonders why people don't acknowledge and reward his service and sacrifice more.
b. Consequences What are the consequences that flow from the Third Missionary's service?
Does great good. Fruitful missionary.
The Third Missionary is a successful missionary as measured by the transformation that occurs in the lives of other people. By his service and sacrifice the Lord accomplishes His purposes and many lives are changed. Many people are baptized as a result of his labors.
Enjoys the Spirit of the Lord.
He is blessed with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost that others may be blessed. He receives the Spirit to find and teach with convincing power those who are prepared to accept the gospel. But although he is given power to bless others, that same Spirit does not in turn prove to have much effect upon him personally.
Changes his behavior.
While the Third Missionary changes his behavior, his character or nature does not change. He adapts his behavior to conform to the rules of the mission and to the commandments of God. His nature or character, however, is not changed to become more like the Lord.
Although the Third Missionary is obedient, he is frustrated, discontented and at times resentful, because of the internal conflict between what he wants to do and what he is supposed to do.
He is like a person described by the Christian author C.S. Lewis, who is honest and dutifully pays his taxes hoping that there will be enough money left over for him to live on and to use as he wants, afterward. "As long as we are thinking that way, one or other of two results is likely to follow. Either we give up trying to be good, or else we become very unhappy indeed. For, make no mistake: if you are really going to try to meet all the demands made on the natural self, it will not have enough left over to live on. The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you. And your natural self, which is thus being starved and hampered and worried at every turn, will get angrier and angrier. In the end you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, 'live for others' but always in a discontented, grumbling way-always wondering why the others do not notice it more and always making a martyr of yourself." (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, p. 167).
Contentment, peace of mind and happiness are always just out of reach, ahead of him. All the while he labors he thinks and wishes that things could be the way they used to be, snowboarding or wake boarding, or with his friends, or girlfriend, or driving his car back home, instead of tracting along a hot and dusty street 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Little does he know that things can't be, and will never be, the way they used to be. Life is always changing; it never stays the same. All the while he labors he thinks that he will be happy and content when he is transferred, or when he gets a new companion, or when P-day comes, or when he is made a senior companion, or district leader, or particularly when he completes his mission and returns home. He thinks that he will be happy when he can get done with what he is supposed to do and finally do what he wants to do. Little does he know that actually he is choosing to never be happy at all.
Does not benefit personally from mission.
Here is the heart of this talk. Here is what you must understand. Although the Third Missionary does great good, the good that he does, does not benefit him personally.
How can this be? This curious phenomenon of not benefiting personally from one's service and sacrifice, is described in some of the most beautiful and profound passages of scripture. Turn to I Corinthians 13.
1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
These beautiful passages of scripture seem to say that even if one has great capacities, gifts and talents, such as the gift of eloquence, the gift of prophesy, the gifts of knowledge and faith, and yet if his heart is not right, if he does not have charity, he is nothing.
Moses saw God face to face, experienced His presence, saw the workmanship of God's hands, felt and witnessed His greatness and glory, and when it was all over, he said: "Now; for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10). Could it be that in comparison to the greatness and glory of God, Moses saw that man in his weakness is nothing?
Mormon described this same condition of spirit when he described many of the Nephite people living at the time of Christ's birth: "Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, and they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. O how great is the nothingness of the children of men..." (Hel. 12:6-7).
Ammon said: "... I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things..." (Alma 26: 12).
The Lord also revealed to Joseph Smith, that without faith, hope and charity we can do nothing. "And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing." (DC 18:19).
More importantly, these verses in Corinthians that speak of "charity" say that even if you give all of your goods to feed the poor, even if you give your body to be burned, lay down your life for the truth, if your heart is not right, you will not profit by it. Good will be done, the poor will be fed, and the truth defended, but the good that you do, will do you no good, unless your heart is right. Unless you have charity..
Probably no one has taught this sobering truth more clearly than Moroni. He said:
For behold, God hath said a man being evil (heart) cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift (two years of service), or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. (Moroni 7:6-9). (See also Moroni 10:4.)
This is kind of discouraging news! How can this be? Surely this can't really be true. Aren't we to be judged by our works, and if our works are good, will there not be blessings poured out upon us? Isn't that a basic tenet of the gospel?
The answers to these questions, are to be found in understanding what it means to "profit" from our good works and what is the central blessing of mortality.
The purpose and central blessing of life is change. It is to be changed to become more like Jesus Christ. It is to incorporate into your character, the qualities of His character. It is to move from one degree of intelligence and capacity to the next, and from there to the next, until you see God face to face and know Him as He knows you.
(Holding up the scriptures)...none of this makes much difference unless it gets inside of you. All of this is only marks on pieces of paper bound together in leather; it has no intrinsic value, unless it becomes you. The purpose and essential blessing of life is to be changed to become more like the Lord, to realize the full measure of your divine potential.
This process of change, this process of evolving, becoming, is the object of the gospel. Change is the design of faith in Christ, repentance and baptism. Redemptive change happens by the power of the Holy Ghost. But it happens only if and when your heart is right. It happens only if you do not fight against God. It happens only if you unconditionally surrender your will to the Lord.
Maybe more than anyone, Alma had much to say about the relationship between the heart, good works and prosperity. Alma explained to his son Corianton what he called "the law of restoration". He said that if your works are good and the desires of your hearts are good, you will be "restored to that which is good", or in other words you will "profit" as Paul said, or benefit from the good that you do.
3. And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4. And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, everything to its natural frame- mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption-raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other-
5. The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
6. And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.
Again, Alma said:
"...for I know that he (God) granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction...he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience." (Alma 29:4-5).
In these verses Alma essentially says that you will get what you want. If you want a "mess of pottage" then that is all you will get. If you want light, intelligence, strength, capacity, peace, contentment, grace, knowledge, power, happiness, mercy, joy and every other good thing, then you may have those too. It is up to you. Whatever you want.
You cannot be spiritually changed against your will. It is contrary to agency. It is also contrary to the nature of things. It just can't happen.
Alma also said to Corianton:
11. And now my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or 1 would say in a carnal state...they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12. And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
Don't misunderstand Alma's language. Don't misunderstand his use of the word "nature". Don't think that "nature" means the way you are forevermore. That is a vicious and false doctrine. It is contrary to the true doctrine of hope. The truth is that our nature can change. That is what this is all about. You may permit the Lord to change your nature if you give yourself to Him and to His work. He cannot work on what he does not have, and He cannot have you, unless you give yourself to Him.
As Alma says, happiness is the product of righteous works and righteous desires, desiring to do what the Lord would have you do. If your secret, heartfelt desires are rather to do what you want to do, rather than what the Lord wants for you, you will not be happy, and you will not profit from even your good works, because you will be in a state that is "contrary to the nature of happiness". You can't be in a condition or state that is opposite to your nature. You can't be in a state of happiness, whether now or in the eternities, if you don't want to do the things that lead to happiness, even if you do those very things. Do you hear this? You can't be happy if you don't want to do the things that lead to happiness, even if you do those very things.
Mormon recorded that the more humble part of the people in the day of Helaman and his sons, Nephi and Lehi:
...did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God. (Helaman 3:35)
Do you see, how important the desires of your heart are? You can do the very things that should produce happiness; but if you are all the time fighting them within. if you are all the time wishing. and hoping and wanting to do your own thing, you will not be happy, because your state, your frame of mind, will not be conducive to happiness. Your frame of mind will be contrary to the nature of happiness, and it will be for you as though you never did those good things at all.
Your world is in your head. Get your head right and your heart will follow, and you will be right.
Another example of this same principle is found in Section 58 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 29:
But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
Again, one might think this a bit odd. Here is one who does what he is commanded to do. He is after all, obedient, and yet he is damned. Why? Primarily, because his heart is not right. He thinks his way is better, and so he has a doubtful heart, and he is damned. Does "damned" mean condemned to hell? No, it means that he does not progress. He is not changed to become more like the Lord because his heart is not right. As Paul said his good works "...profit him nothing."
In a similar vein Paul also taught in 2 Corinthians 9:6:
6. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
I remember when I first came across this scripture. It must have been a bad day, or worse yet maybe my heart was in a bad way. I remember thinking, "Oh man! It isn't enough that I give and give and give, but now I have to smile when I do it, or it's not any good? What's next? Life blood?" That is how Missionary Number 3 thinks. Resentment.
Why does God love and want us to become cheerful givers? Is it that He doesn't want any grumps in His house? No, it isn't that He wants a house full of happy campers. Rather it is that you can't be changed to become like him against your will.
It comes as no surprise that the disobedient missionaries, the First and Second Missionaries, are not changed. It is not surprising that they do not incorporate into their character, the qualities of godliness. But it may be surprising and even disturbing that the Third Missionary does not change either. After all he is faithful and obedient. The Third Missionary is valiant and he does much good. But do you see that in his head and in his heart he fights God, just like the First and Second Missionaries do?
It isn't that God withholds this great blessing of change from the First, Second and Third Missionaries. Rather it is that they refuse to accept it. They cannot be spiritually changed against their will. It is contrary to the law of agency, free choice.
Alma also said to Corianton, that we may partake of the waters of life freely and be satisfied, if we choose to, but if we don't want it we will not be compelled to drink. "Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come..." (Alma 42:27)
It is up to you. You cannot be changed to become more like God, if within your heart you fight against God; if within your heart you resist, resent and hold fast to what you rather would do.
Gains little or no knowledge.
Alma also said that those who "harden their hearts" learn very little.
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:11)
Although the Third Missionary does the Lord's will, his heart is hardened against it. As a result he learns little. It is not that God necessarily withholds knowledge from the Third Missionary; rather it is that so long as he fights against the Lord in his heart, he is not in a condition to receive it.
6. The Forth Missionary
As we begin to talk about the differences between the Fourth Missionary and the others it is important that you not put him on a high pedestal. It is important that you not think of him as nearly perfect, just short of exaltation. It is important that you not think the characteristics of this missionary are beyond your reach. It is absolutely critical that you know, that each one of you knows, that you can be the Fourth Missionary. In fact, the way of the Fourth Missionary is in the end, easier.
He is not perfect. He has weaknesses. He struggles and may have his times of sorrow, disappointment and discouragement. He is a lot like the Third Missionary. There really is only one small difference between the two. But although the difference is slight, the consequences are enormous.
What are the characteristics of the Fourth Missionary?
Obedient and worthy
Like the Third Missionary, he is obedient and worthy.
Total and unconditional surrender
Unlike the Third Missionary, the way of the Fourth Missionary is what I call "unconditional surrender". In addition to giving his time, talents and energy to the Lord, the Fourth Missionary gives himself. He gives his will to the Lord. He surrenders all of his desires, his dreams, his wishes to the Lord. In his heart and in his head he lets go of what he wants to do. His wants to do the Lord's will.
Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis the Lord says to us: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You. All of you. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man. but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart." (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, p. 167)
Let me be clear that I am not talking just about giving up evil desires, but rather all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams, whether good or evil. All of it together. For example, I desire to provide for my family; I want to be with my sons when they get married; I would like to be with my parents in their last years; I enjoy rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering; I want to climb Mount Rainier; I like snow skiing and water skiing; I enjoy being with my family; I like being the teacher's quorum advisor; but I am called to serve a mission. These are all good desires. You have other desires equally good or better. The Third Missionary gives up doing those things. The Fourth Missionary gives them up in his heart as well. They are overcome and swallowed up by his predominant desire to serve the Lord.
This doesn't mean that the Fourth Missionary abandons his dreams altogether. It doesn't mean that the only course for him to follow is to serve a mission and then teach seminary all his life, although that is a noble profession. He may still go to college and then to medical school; he may still perfect a back flip on a snow board; he may still play on a college athletic team; he may still return and marry his girlfriend, but not now. He boxes up all of those plans, wishes, wants and desires and puts them on a shelf in his closet at home with all of his clothes and other things. When he returns he will unpack all of the boxes. He will find that some of the clothes he doesn't want anymore, and he will give them away. When he unpacks the box of his wants, wishes, dreams and desires he may find that there are also some of those he doesn't want anymore either.
As in all good things, Jesus showed the way of the Fourth Missionary.
39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
34. Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
30. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
38. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
(3 Ne. 27:13)
13. Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you-
that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
This way, the Lord's way, is in the end, easier. It is easier to give yourself to Him, to surrender your will to His, than it is to fight the fight within. It is easier to give yourself to Him, than it is to wrestle in your heart and soul between what you want and what the Lord wants, between the natural man and your divine nature.
Now don't freak out about this. Don't think that I am teaching you some grand, higher law that only the most elect of the most elect can live. If you believe that you believe a false doctrine. The doctrine of Christ is the doctrine of faith and hope. You can do this. You can shift from the Third Missionary to the Fourth Missionary. It is as easy as changing your mind, because that is where it's at.
If you're not happy, if you are frustrated or resentful, look inside. It is within you. Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is within you." It is in your head and in your heart. It starts in your head and then your heart follows. You only need say to the Lord in your head, "I give up. I surrender. I won't fight anymore. Here it is. Here are my desires. Here is my will. I want only to do what you want me to do. That's enough for me. That's all 1 want, because it is the only intelligent thing to do."
The truth is that it doesn't take eons of time to do this. Our nature, our hearts, our desires can be changed almost immediately upon the attainment of knowledge. Our nature can change almost immediately as we come to understand true doctrine. In this instance, as you come to understand that the only way to light, intelligence, strength, capacity, peace, contentment, grace, knowledge, power, happiness, mercy, joy and every other good thing, is to follow Christ, then you will want to follow Him because it is the only intelligent thing to do. Not because you are a saint, not because you are better than others; rather, because you are more intelligent than others. It is the only intelligent thing to do. When you understand that, then you will forget about yourself, and your will. and your only desire will be to do the Lord's will.
The Fourth Missionary lives the law of consecration.
There are those who give of their means, their time and talents, and then there are others who give themselves. Sacrifice, it seems to me, is the first - consecration, less common, is the second.
Sacrifice implies doing one thing at the expense of another thing that has equal, or maybe greater, appeal. One bites the bullet and sacrifices his time and talents, his girlfriend, concerts, friends, cars, education, TV, movies, music, and even gum for two years.
The Fourth Missionary understands that, as King Benjamin taught, the Lord is never in our debt. He knows that God always blesses us many times more than the measure of what we give. Jesus said, a hundred times more. "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life." (Matt. 19:29).
For the missionary who understands the benefit of this bargain, there is nothing of equal or greater appeal than to do the Lord's will. Everything pales by comparison. There is for him, therefore, really no sacrifice, no choice, only free will, intelligent giving, only consecration.
One who consecrates, gives himself. In addition to giving his time, means and abilities, he gives himself, his heart, his mind, his will. He gives himself.
The voice of Christ said to the Nephite people:
O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart. (3 Ne 10:6).
In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time, two years, and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him.
Jesus spoke of this matter of giving or consecrating yourself in different words. He spoke of losing yourself. He said:
25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:25, 26)
The Fourth Missionary is the only one who can lose himself in the work, because he forgets his own concerns, he lets go of what he wants. When he lets go he then is free to think of others. He is the only one who does not count the cost. He doesn't itemize and total all that he has left behind to serve a mission. He does not count the cost. He forgets about it. He forgets himself. He loses himself.
On one occasion after I received the call to be your mission president I was thinking about the consequences of the call. I started to think about the financial consequences, leaving my sons behind, my mother and father in poor health, the impact on my law practice, the consequences regarding our family and our home, and the prospect of leaving behind rock climbing and skiing and other passions, and the impression came to me, actually the words came to me, "don't count the cost." The Fourth Missionary doesn't count the cost.
Another way to say this is that the Fourth Missionary has charity. Don't think that charity means money that we pay to help the poor. The quality of charity is described at times as "unconditional love" or "the love of Christ". Let's return to I Corinthians 13 to better understand what charity is.
4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself: is not puffed up,
5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
The Fourth Missionary, the one who has charity, "seeketh not (his) own". He does not seek to do his own will (thing). He doesn't envy. That means that he is content with what he has and what he is doing. He does not envy or wish to be somewhere else, doing some other thing.
6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11. When I was a child, I spake as a child (probably selfishly), I understood as a child, I thought as a child (thinking only about my own selfish interests): but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Seek for this gift and quality of charity. Work for it. Pray for it. Moroni said:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; (changed) that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.
Disciple of Christ
Jesus said that this single quality of charity is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
As part of the restoration the Lord revealed the calling and mission of the Twelve. He charged Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to find these twelve disciples and said: "And by their desires and their works you shall know them." (DC 18)
The Third Missionary is a faithful laborer in Christ's work. The Fourth Missionary is a disciple of Christ.
His measure of success comes from within.
This missionary strives to be a faithful representative of Jesus Christ. He measures his success by the peace that comes into his heart from time to time when he can honestly say," I am doing my best. I have a lot of weaknesses and a lot to learn. But I am withholding nothing from the Lord. I am serving with all of my might, mind, heart and strength. I am faithful and giving it all I have to give." At the end of his service this missionary wants to look back over his two years, and be able to say to himself and to the Lord, "I have no regrets; I did my best".
The Fourth Missionary does not so aspire to become a "great" missionary; rather he aspires to be a "servant". He knows that "greatness" implies his performance in relation to others. He knows that the critical measure is his conduct in relation to his own abilities and in comparison to his past performance. While he fully understands and does not resent the need for statistics, numbers and measurements, he is not motivated by the praise or recognition of men. He is motivated by his desire to give himself and all that he is and has, to the Lord and to his work, however, that may compare with others. He knows that Jesus taught his disciples who at times aspired to the honors of men, that "whosoever will be great among you...shall be servant of all." He said: "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:43-44).
His dominant desire is to do what the Lord wants him to do.
The Fourth Missionary's dominant desire is to do what the Lord wants him to do.
But don't think that this one is always filled with the Spirit and ready to rush headlong into what the Lord would have him do. Don't think that he is always whistling a happy tune, skipping down the road, looking for another door to be slammed in his face. There are times when he doesn't like it either; there are times when he doesn't want to go either. He gets tired and discouraged too. The sun and the rain beat down upon him just like the other three.
Don't think that just because you may become discouraged or because you may not want to go either, that you are, therefore, not the Fourth Missionary.
Lehi said: "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." (2 Ne 2:11.) Life is hard at times, and missions are hard, for the Fourth Missionary as well as for the first three.
Elder Holland teaches that a great swimmer once said when asked his secret of success: "1 kick when 1 don't want to kick, and I stroke when I don't want to stroke." Like the First, Second and Third Missionaries there are times when the Fourth Missionary doesn't want to kick and doesn't want to stroke either. The difference between the Third and Fourth Missionary is that the Third Missionary will kick and stroke because it is his duty, because that is what is expected of him and he will hate and resent it, while the Fourth Missionary will kick and stroke because he knows that it is the only intelligent thing to do.
Even Jesus, the One Perfect One, prayed: "Father let this cup pass from me..." There were things that He too did not want to do. Those desires that He "...even God, the greatest of all...might not drink the bitter cup and shrink..." (DC 19:18) did not diminish Him; in fact, they made Him greater.
Does great good. Fruitful missionary.
Like the Third Missionary the Fourth Missionary is a successful missionary as measured by the transformation that occurs in the lives of other people. Like the Third, many people are baptized as a result of his labors, new members are nourished, and other members become more actively involved.
Enjoys the Spirit of the Lord.
Like the Third Missionary, the Fourth Missionary is blessed with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, to find and teach with convincing power those who are prepared to accept the gospel.
His nature is changed.
Like the Third Missionary, the Fourth Missionary adapts his behavior to conform to the rules of the mission and to the commandments of God. But, unlike the Third Missionary, the Fourth Missionary's nature, his character, is changed.
Contentment and happiness
Unlike the Third Missionary, the Fourth Missionary is content, happy, and from time to time, experiences profound joy. He is at peace with who he is and what he is doing. As in Psalms 40:8 he says: "I delight to do thy will. O my God: yea. thy law is within my heart."
Benefits immensely from mission.
Unlike the Third Missionary, the Fourth Missionary profits immeasurably from his mission. Unlike the Third, the good that the Fourth Missionary does benefits him greatly. Unlike the Third, he is changed. The qualities of godliness are incorporated into his character. The virtues of mercy, integrity, spirituality, humility, kindness, virtue, diligence, patience and love become more than principles; they become attributes of his own character.
Do you see that only in losing yourself, may you find yourself; only by enriching others, may you be enriched; only by giving, may you receive; only in surrendering, may you become free?
This may be what King Benjamin was referring to when he said that without exception when you keep God commandments you are immediately blessed.
"...all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if you would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. *** he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him..." Mos. 2:22, 24.
Similarly Amulek said:
...if you will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. (Alma 34:31).
How is it that we are immediately blessed for our obedience? Generally we think that blessings are realized only over time. For example, the prophet Ether said: "...ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6). Another example of how time, diligence and patience playa role in realizing the fruit of our labors is found in the teachings of Alma about the seed (Alma 32). Here Alma compared the gospel to a seed and said that we can realize the fruit or benefit of that seed only after a season of caring and nourishing the seed. (Alma 32). Moses said that the people of Enoch were exalted "in process of time" (Moses7:21). How then are you blessed immediately for your obedience?
“The answer is that there are blessings and then there are blessings. Some blessings you wait for; others are immediate and invariable. One way that you are immediately blessed is that you are changed, and change maybe the greatest blessing of all. You are the sum total of all that you have thought, done, said, seen, heard and felt in this life and before. You change immediately with each good thought, each good act, every good word changes you for the better. When you willingly obey the principles of the gospel, you are changed by the Spirit of God to become incrementally more like Him. The degree of change with each small act of obedience may be small, but it is real and immediate. The full, cumulative and perfect realization of this process of change or sanctification happens only over time, but make no mistake that you are always changing, and that the effects of your obedience are immediate, whether for better or for worse, depending upon the voice you chose to follow.
The United States Army says "Be all that you can be". But neither the Army nor you know all that you can be. The Lord says: "Let me make of you all that you can be." As measured by men's standards Army Rangers are impressive, but when compared with what the Lord can make of you, compared to the realization of your divine potential they truly are nothing. The realization of your amazing, astounding, and true potential happens only in the hands of the Lord. But you and only you can place yourselves in those masterful, loving hands.
Just give it up. Surrender your will to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. Turn it all over to Him; all of your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever, ever, in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God.
I think that President David O. McKay once said something like this: "The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart" That is the battleground between what you want and what the Lord wants. If you surrender, if the Lord wins, you win also. If you win, if your will prevails, you and the Lord both lose. The only way to win is to lose. Lose yourself in the Lord's work, and you will win beyond your wildest imaginations, for "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (I Cor 2:9).
Gains great knowledge.
Unlike the Third Missionary, profound knowledge is given to the Fourth Missionary. Alma said: "...and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." (Alma 12:10).
This missionary is redeemed.
In Alma 12:34-36, Alma teaches that if you repent and if your heart is right you will be redeemed through the atonement of Christ.
34. Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.
35. And whosoever will harden his heart and will do iniquity, behold, I swear in my wrath that he shall not enter into my rest.
36. And now, my brethren, behold I say unto you, that if ye will harden your hearts ye shall not enter into the rest of the Lord...
Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity. And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye ifye have no hope. And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh of iniquity. And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me. (Moroni 10:20-23).
Amaleki lived in bridge of time between Enos and King Benjamin. He recorded only 8 verses which are recorded in the Book of Omni. He said:
And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved. (Omni 1:26).
As I said before, The Lord admonished: "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." DC 4:2. (Also DC 6, 11, 12, and 14). The Third Missionary serves only with his might and strength, but he withholds his heart and mind. The Fourth Missionary serves with all his heart and mind in addition to his might and strength. As a result he is forgiven of his sins through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Nephi said: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved."
I am guessing that generally speaking, out of 100 missionaries 5 will be the First Missionary, 20 will be the Second, 70 will be the Third Missionary and 5 will be the Fourth Missionary. You can all be the Fourth Missionary. Decide now to be the Fourth Missionary.
(New missionaries: talk about not serving a 12 month mission).
Don't think that you can't do this. Often we are deceived to think that the gospel is harder than what it is. Life is hard, not the gospel. You can do what I have explained to you today. Do you hear that? You can. If you don't, it will only be because you choose not to, not because-you can't, not because it is too hard.
The way of the Fourth Missionary is actually the easiest way. This way is free of frustration. It opens the heart to the Lord, and His power then flows freely without compulsion or constraint.
There is no aspect of the gospel of Christ that is beyond your capacity. Not nearly. There is nothing about what I have said that you cannot do. You not only can be changed to become more like Christ, the whole of the plan of salvation is designed in favor of your success. The plan of salvation is not a level playing field. It favors you. It favors not only your success but the success of each and every one of God's children. Everything has been organized to maximize your opportunity to succeed.
If you think you cannot be the Fourth Missionary you do not understand the doctrine.
Alma was absolutely right when he said: "...it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass (Liahona), which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land...O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way...see that ye look to God and live..." (Alma 37:45-47.)
Jesus said: "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt. 11 :28-30. It is easier to walk with the Lord than it is to labor against Him.
Speaking of the righteous Lamanites living at the time of Christ Mormon says: "And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words."
Now. a word of caution. The Fourth Missionary is not a fanatic. He does not try to be truer than true. He does not think himself to be better than others. He does not view himself as an elite member of the Lord's army. On the contrary he becomes increasing aware of his many weaknesses, he becomes increasing humble, while at the same time he grows in faith and stature before God. He experiences what the Lord said: "And if men come unto me I will show them their weakness." (Ether 12:27).
Just stay on the path. Give yourself to the Lord and lose yourself in His work. You will do great good, and the good that you do, will bless and benefit you, forevermore.
Now. I have this last question for you. The Second, Third and Fourth Missionaries, all give two years of their lives. They all give equally their time, and energy. They all eat the same food. They all face the same challenges and encounter the same fears. They all sleep in the same quarters. They all walk the same dusty roads in the heat of the afternoon. They all leave behind girlfriends, and sports, and school and everything that was or could have been for these two years. They all conclude their missions. They all go back and speak in sacrament meeting and go on with their lives. My question is this: Why do all of that and not benefit personally by it? Why?
Do you see that I am not talking: about obedience: rather I am talking to you about intelligence. I am telling you that there is only one intelligent wav to serve a mission; the wav that will bless. and benefit. And change, and uplift, and empower, and ennoble you; your life, your spirit, your character, you. That is the way of the Fourth Missionary. It is the only intelligent way to go.
Now you know. Now you can choose. It is up to you. Serving as the First or Second Missionaries is not acceptable. I expect you to be at least Number Three. If you are smart you will chose to be Number Four.
If I have an army of #3 Missionaries I will look like a successful mission president. I will go home to a ticker tape parade along South Temple Street. Throngs of people will line the streets and chant my name in praise and wonder, but in truth, in my heart I will know that I failed. I do not just want you to look the part of a disciple of Christ; I want you to be a disciple of Christ. My primary mission is you. My focus is you. My concern is your happiness, and I know that neither the First. Second or Third Missionary is happy and content, nor can he be. You need to be the Fourth Missionary, not for me, but for you. It is the only intelligent thing to do. It is up to you.