Words of the Pres. - 2nd

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 26, 2017

Sisters and Elders:

These past several weeks of missionary interviews have impressed upon me the vital characteristics of companionship love and unity in missionary work.  It’s difficult to explain the pure delight I feel when I observe two missionaries function as a truly unified twosome – fused together by charity, loyalty and the power of priesthood authority.  “Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord” (2 Nephi 4:16). A righteous and rock solid missionary companionship is one such thing.

A study of some literary resources revealed some ideas about unity and companionship which enlighten and motivate me.  Let me share a few.

·   “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. (Benjamin Franklin) But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” Any foolish missionary can point out the flaws, defects and faults of a companion – and most do.  A wise missionary discovers the talents, skills and virtues of their companion and builds upon those strengths.

·   And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also” (D&C 84:106).  Every missionary has his or her own spiritual strengths and weaknesses.  Humbling admitting to personal weaknesses while fully appreciating the strengths of a companion empowers a companionship to enjoy a robust synergy.

·   Each missionary earns a reputation in the mission – good, bad or unremarkable.  Be the kind of missionary that other missionaries want to companion with because of what they know of you.

·   Elders and sisters, we need each other [as companions]! As covenant-keeping missionaries, we need to lift each other and help each other become the people the Lord would have us become. And we need to work together to lift [others] and help them reach their divine potential as heirs of eternal life. “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”

I see so much of great companionship unity and love in our mission.  I commend you and admire you for heeding the Lord’s command: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). 

This will be my last Mission President’s message to you in Ang Tinig.   I will miss writing to you each week.  I will feel a deep loss of our correspondence through weekly e-mails, almost monthly interviews and regular face-to-face interaction at conferences, meetings and visits.  For the past three years the happiness, safety and success of Philippines Angeles missionaries has been my purpose in life.  It has been a sacred entrustment and I have loved it.  I have also loved you and will miss each of you.  I take comfort in knowing, “Once and Angeles missionary, always an Angeles missionary.”  God bless you for who you are and what you are becoming.

I could not end this message this mission without expressing my love for my beautiful and devoted asawa and kasama.  Sister Clark has been a most incredible companion and missionary.  She has been a constant beacon of pure gospel light in our mission journey.  Sister Clark helped me recognize several talents, skills and virtues while she cultivated an abundant harvest of her own spiritual gifts, Christ-like attributes and abilities.  She has declined to criticize, condemn or complain when it would have been easy to take a negative view of her situation, her condition or her companion.  When I needed someone to lift me and help me become the person the Lord would have me become, Sister Clark has always been there.  I have the great blessing of ending my mission but keeping my companion – forever.  Next week we will depart this mission more united, more bonded and more in love than we started and far more than we imagined possible.  In Sister Clark I have divine potential because she has made our mission and marriage an exercise in: “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 19, 2017

Elders and Sisters:

Today, a few thoughts on happiness.  Our happiness is the design of all the blessings Heavenly Father gives us—gospel teachings, commandments, priesthood ordinances, family relationships, prophets, temples, the beauties of creation, and even the opportunity to experience adversity.  God is so committed to our happiness that he has a plan for our happiness and Jesus Christ is central to that plan.  Heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son to carry out the Atonement so we can be happy in this life and receive a fulness of joy in the eternities.

For missionaries a special type of happiness awaits us and it is tied to our purpose.  The First Presidency has said, “Every missionary has an important role in helping “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.” (See Preach My Gospel, p.v)

As we develop more Christ-like attributes we feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)  Our own happiness is not enough; we deeply desire that eternal happiness is available to all God’s children.  We call this charity, the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, and we define it as the pure love of Christ.  Without it we are nothing.  With it we can become really, really happy for “it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”

We are commanded to seek after true happiness - "Men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:15, 25).   As Latter-day saints we should be the happiest of all people because of our gospel knowledge.  As latter-day missionaries this is doubly true because our consecrated lifestyle allows us to live “after the manner of happiness.”  We read in Mosiah 2:41 that we “should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.”

Elder and Sisters, as you pursue real happiness please consider a few simple but potent quotes and scriptures to guide your search.

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth.  (Job 5:17)

Behold, we count them happy which endure. (James 5:11)

If there be no righteousness there be no happiness. (2 Nephi 2:13)

Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. (Alma 41:10)

“Be believing, be happy, don’t get discouraged.  Things will work out.”  Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley
  
Mahal kita

President Clark 


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 12, 2017

Elders and Sisters:

Our zone conferences of the past week were glorious gatherings of learning and renewal.  I love to gather with missionaries and let the Spirit instruct.  Today I follow up on two topics I addressed at zone conference by sharing portions of a talk from Elder D. Todd Christofferson given at BYU–Idaho in January 2009. 

What is life like when Christ is at the center?
Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both body and spirit, to the will of the Father. Referring to His Father, Jesus said, “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). His focus on the Father is one of the principal reasons Jesus’s ministry had such clarity and power. There was no distracting double-mindedness in Him.

In the same way, you and I can put Christ at the center of our lives and become one with Him as He is one with the Father (see John 17:20–23). We could begin by stripping everything out of our lives and then putting it back together in priority order with the Savior at the center. We would first put in place the things that make it possible always to remember Him—frequent prayer, studying and pondering the scriptures, thoughtful study of apostolic teachings, weekly preparation to partake of the sacrament worthily, Sunday worship, recording and remembering what the Spirit and experience teach us about discipleship. There may be other things that will come to your mind particularly suited to you at this point in your life. Once adequate time and means for these matters, for centering our lives in Christ, have been put in place, we can begin to add other responsibilities and things of value insofar as time and resources will permit.  In this way the essential will not be crowded out of our lives by the merely good, and things of lesser value will take a lower priority or fall away altogether.

Though it may not be easy, we can consistently press forward with faith in the Lord. I can attest that over time one’s desire and capacity to always remember and follow the Savior will grow. We should patiently work toward that end and pray always for the discernment and divine help we need (see 2 Nephi 32:9).

We answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action.
We should live conscious of the responsibility we have to answer to Christ for our lives. The scriptures make it clear that there will be a great day of judgment when the Lord shall stand to judge the nations (see 3 Nephi 27:16) and when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ (see Romans 14:11; Mosiah 27:31; 76:110).  That judgment, He states, is based on our works.

Always remembering Him, therefore, means that we always remember that nothing is hidden from Him. There is no part of our lives, whether act, word, or even thought, that can be kept from the knowledge of the Father and the Son. No cheating on a test, no instance of shoplifting, no lustful fantasy or indulgence, no lie is missed, overlooked, hidden, or forgotten. Whatever one “gets away with” in life or manages to hide from other people, he or she must still face when the inevitable day comes that he or she is lifted up before Jesus Christ, the God of pure and perfect justice.   Things do not get “swept under the rug” in the eternal economy of things. Sins do not take care of themselves or simply fade away. They must be dealt with, and the wonderful thing is that because of His atoning grace they can be dealt with in a much happier and less painful manner than directly satisfying offended justice ourselves.

We should also take heart when thinking of a judgment in which nothing is overlooked because this also means that no act of obedience, no kindness, no good deed however small is ever forgotten, and no corresponding blessing is ever withheld.

Elders and Sisters, may God bless us as we strive to center our lives on Jesus Christ and accept responsibility for our daily thoughts and deeds.  These are two of our most important guideposts along the path to true consecration.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 5, 2017

Elders and Sisters:

We won’t fully appreciate the commonplace things of missionary life until we know how and why they exist.  For example, the Book of Mormon becomes all the more precious to us when we understand the sacrifice and fortitude exacted of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the early saints in order to have the book published.  Preach My Gospel is an example of another book, very ordinary to missionary life, probably underappreciated as an inspired text and tool of conversion.

I hope that by sharing a few interesting facts about Preach My Gospel it will be better appreciated, possibly even cherished, by all missionaries.  Consider the following.

1.       Preach My Gospel had its origins in the 1990s as President Gordon B. Hinckley raised concerns with new member retention and returned missionary inactivity.  Said President Hinckley, “There is absolutely no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort.”  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland remembered, “That was the thing that was bothering President Hinckley. . . . Why can a missionary come home and be inactive? How can a missionary come home and go inactive?’” Missionary work should lift young men and women in such a way that it helps them to be spiritually strong for the rest of their lives.
2.      President Hinckley wanted Preach My Gospel to improve missionary teaching.  He felt there were times when missionaries held so closely to a memorized discussion that their recitation of the doctrine became rote. Some missionaries’ presentations had a wooden or mechanical feeling to them. There needed to be a greater attention to the Holy Spirit.
3.      In 2002, it was decided that the message of the lessons had to be the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Ballard felt it was essential for missionaries to teach about the Restoration up front because that message naturally sifted out those who were insincere in their exploration of the Church.
4.      In early drafts other names were considered for the manual including “Obtain the Word,” “Fishers of Men,” and “‘Teach All Nations, Baptizing Them . . . .
5.      The purpose statement in chapter 1, “What Is My Purpose as a Missionary?,” contains the most-revised sentence in Preach My Gospel. It teaches missionaries to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”  This is a prophetic statement of the doctrine of Christ in the twenty-first century, combining elements from the third and fourth articles of faith and including the principle of enduring to the end, which appears in many scriptures.

President Boyd K. Packer said Preach My Gospel was “designed beyond the veil and put together here.”  It not only helps missionaries to know what to teach.  It also teaches them how to become great missionaries. Everyone involved in the project acknowledged the hand of God in putting the manual together. Elder Richard G. Scott stated in the April 2005 general conference, “Those who participated in its development are witnesses of the inspired direction of the Lord through the Holy Ghost in the conception, framing, and finalization of the materials in Preach My Gospel.” That we may faithfully and effectively use Preach My Gospel daily in our missionary labors is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 29, 2017

Dear Elders and Sisters:

What think ye of Christ”? This thought-starting question found in Matt. 22:42 was the stimulus for discussion during our April-May personal interviews.  The many well thought-out answers I received were inspiring and informative to me as your mission president.  I was so very impressed with the depth and sincerity of feelings expressed in all of your responses. 

Today I have several observations about the thoughts missionaries in the Angeles Mission have about Jesus Christ.   First, it is plain that most of you have given considerable pondering and introspection to this inquiry.  You have sought diligently words of wisdom out of the best books; seeking learning, even by study and also by faith. (See D&C 88:118)  You have gained knowledge of Christ, his doctrine and his mission both through temporal and spiritual means.

Second, your answers to this question bring poignant and profound feelings to your soul.  I sense that you not only know about Christ, you truly know Christ.  You have had personal life-changing experiences with him and his Atonement.  You know of his goodness and love.  He is a friend and confidant.  He is your Savior and Redeemer.  So many of you, like Elder Bruce R. McConkie, know that the most important doctrine you can declare, and the most powerful testimony you can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I close this message with the powerful words of Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  As a special witness of Christ he taught what we all must come to know: “Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten and Beloved Son of God. He is our Creator. He is the Light of the World. He is our Savior from sin and death. This is the most important knowledge on earth, and you can know this for yourself, as I know it for myself. The Holy Ghost, who testifies of the Father and the Son and leads us into truth, has revealed these truths to me, and He will reveal them to you.”

Sisters and Elders, Jesus issued the challenge “What think ye of Christ?” The Apostle Paul challenged the Corinthians to “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). All of us should answer these challenges for ourselves. Where is our ultimate loyalty?  What, when and why do we think of Christ?

Mahal kita
President Clark



Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 22, 2017

Napili kong ibahagi ngayon ang isang paboritong topic— Ang Propetang si Joseph Smith. Iginugol ko ang aking buhay sa pag-aaral at pagpapatotoo sa kanya. Alam ko na siya ang propeta ng panunubalik.

Nagsimula ang pagnanais ko tungkol kay Joseph Smith noong bata pa ako sa Sunday School Class. Siniabi ng Guro na isang bagay na nagulat at nagtaka ako. Sinabi niya “Si Joseph Smith at ang Unang Pangitain ay ang mahusay na ‘Pagtalon ng pananampalataya’ na ang bawat membro ng simbahan ay dapat makamit ang patotoo.” Hindi ko naisip dati na si Joseph Smith ay mahalaga. Sinabi niya sa akin na kapag hindi ako naniwala sa kwento ni Joseph Smith hindi ako magkakaroon ng malakas na patotoo sa ibinalik na ebanghelyo at simbahan. Ito ang nagbigay sa akin ng motivation na matuto ng lahat patungkol kay Propetang Joseph Smith.”

Ilang taon na ang nakalipas ginawa ni President Gordon B. Hinckley ng isang katulad na pahayag tungkol kay Joseph Smith.   Sinabi niya:  Ipinapahayag natin na walang equivocation na ang Diyos Ama at ang Kanyang Anak, ang Panginoong Jesucristo, ay nagpakita sa batang si Joseph Smith.

"Ito ay ang paraan na sa tingin ko tungkol dito. Ang ating buong lakas ay nakadepende sa bisa ng pangitain. Ito ay nangyari o hindi ito nangyari. Kung hindi totoo, ito ay isang panloloko. Kung totoo, ito ay ang pinaka-mahalaga at kahanga-hangang trabaho sa ilalim ng langit."

Nalaman ko, mga kapatid, na ang gawain at Simbahan ito ay hindi isang panloloko. Alam ko na ito ay simbahan ng Diyos at tayo ay nasa pinaka-mahalagang gawain sa ilalim ng langit.  Ang kwento sa buhay ni Joseph Smith ay isang kwento ng himala ipinanganak siyang mahirap. Sila ay nagpalipat lipat dahil sa mga maling pagbibintang at kinulong ng walang kadahilanan. Pinatay siya noong siya ay 38 years old. Pero sa pagitan ng 20 years pagka matay niya, natapos niya ang isang gawaing walang sinuman ang makagagawa. Isinalin at inilathala ang aklat ni Mormon isang talaan na naisasalin sa maraming wika at tinatanggap ito ng mga tao sa buong mundo bilang isang salita ng Diyos. Ang paghahayag na kanyang natanggap na kanyang naisulat ay isa ring banal na kasulatan para sa lahat.

Hindi natin sinasamba ang propheta, Joseph Smith. Ang Diyos ang Amang walang hanggan at ang nabuhay na muling si Jesucristo an ating sinasamba. Pero pinapahalagahan natin ang propeta nirerespeto natin siya iginagalang natin siya bilang isang instrumento sa kamay ng Diyos sa pagpapanumbalik sa mundo ng katotohanan at kabanalan ng ebanghelyo.

Pero ipinahahayag natin ng walang pagdududa [equivocation] na ang Diyos Ama sa Langit at ang kanyang anak na si Jesucristo ay nagpakita ng personal sa batang si Joseph Smith.   Alam ko na ang Diyos Ama at ang kanyang anak ay nagpakita ng personal sa batang si Joseph Smith. Alam ko na siya ang propeta ng panunumbalik.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 15, 2017

Elders & Sisters:

At our most recent zone conferences I taught you about suggested measures of Consecration in our lives.  I promised to provide these measures in written form for you to consider during personal studies.  Prof. Robert L. Millet of BYU published an article from which I derived these measures.  I have modified them somewhat for our purposes and provide them today to remind us of what Consecration means in our lives.

Hopefully, applying these measures will encourage and develop “Consecration,” that is, deep and complete conversion to God and His Church and the gospel. While such dedication is surely the product of consistent and sustained gospel living, it is natural to question what does it look like in day-to-day living? How might we know if we are becoming truly consecrated? What might we begin noticing in our own discipleship? Here are a few thoughts to consider.

1. There begins to develop within our hearts a desire to do more to further the work of the Lord and to be better people than we are. This seems to be what Abraham felt when he wrote of how he had previously been a follower of righteousness but had felt the need “to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge” (Abraham 1:2).

2. We begin to view commandments, laws, [Missionary Handbook] and Church directives differently, to no longer see them as guard rails, barricades, or hindrances to life’s enjoyments, but instead as helps, guides, and kind gestures of a benevolent Father in Heaven. John the Beloved explained that “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome, oppressive]” (1 John 5:3).

3. We see prideful and selfish behaviors in ourselves and others as offensive to the Spirit and God.  We feel repulsed at the thought “me-centered” indulgences.  Instead we find comfort and spiritual power in a contrite heart and sincere humility. We follow the words of Alma: “See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom.” (Alma 38:11)

4. Our personal gospel study becomes more and more enlightening and faith affirming, so that each day we are fed and spiritually strengthened.  Sabbath worship and especially the sacrament becomes the capstone for a spiritually productive week.

5. Our physical possessions cease to hold possess of us. “Things” become less significant and controlling as the importance and preeminence of people increases in our lives.  Foolish jealousies and unrighteous comparisons are banished from our thoughts.

6. We begin to feel a deeper sense of love for and loyalty toward the apostles and prophets [Mission President], those charged to guide the destiny of the kingdom of God. As the Lord explained in modern revelation (D&C 1:38; 21:5), their words truly become His words. Their counsel becomes His counsel.

7. Personal sacrifice to build the Kingdom of God and build up others becomes a quest; a real source of happiness. We feel joy in giving of our time, talents and resources in fulfilling covenants.  We know that sacrifice really does bring forth the blessings of heaven.

Consecration brings about an understanding of the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel that is as stimulating and satisfying to the mind as it is soothing and settling to the heart.  In this sacred process, the work of the Almighty is hastened—within our own souls.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 8, 2017

Sisters & Elders:
Several years ago in the state where Sister Clark and I lived an interesting phrase started appearing on signs, bumper stickers and advertisements.  It was three simple words: “Start Seeing Motorcycles” It caught my attention because it was so plain yet powerful.  It turns out that “Start Seeing Motorcycles” is a common safety campaign found across the United States.  It’s intended to cause drivers of larger vehicles to increase awareness of motorcycles on the road. The message is: start sharing the road with motorcyclists.  (Something I’ve learned much about driving in the Philippines.)  Start Seeing Motorcycles is a way to bring attention to people that are often overlooked.

START SEEING MIRACLES
This little phrase is so effective I thought I would borrow from the campaign to encourage all of us to start seeing something important around us – Miracles.  As we “share the road” of life with others we should give more attention to miraculous occurrences.  This can include miracles received, miracles seen and miracles needed.  We will recognize miracles if we seek them – ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Church authorities teach: “A miracle is an extraordinary event caused by the power of God. Miracles are an important element in the work of Jesus Christ. They are a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Faith is necessary in order for miracles to be manifested” (Guide to the Scriptures, 165).  If miracles cease it is because faith has ceased.

Seeing miracles in our lives is an essential step in experiencing more miracles.  I believe there are many miraculous acts and events around us every day.  For example, if we are observant we will see miracles in:
·       The swift and unexplained recovery of a missionary from illness or injury.
·       The sudden but temporary bestowal of the gift of tongues during a missionary lesson.
·       A missionary’s inexplicable encounter with a long-lost inactive member who had been praying for someone to help them back to church.
·       An unexpected but timely and comforting letter from family or a friend.
·       The birth of a testimony in the heart of a long hardened investigator.

We well understand, elders and sisters, that faith precedes miracles. “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them.” (Ether 12:12)  There is no need for us to wait, hoping that we one day will be fortunate enough to see a miracle.  We can and should seek them through faith, work and prayer.  Today is the day to start seeing and then making miracles happen.  As stated in the Book of Mormon, "God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings" (Mosiah 8:18).  Miracles are an essential and expected part of missionary work.  Let’s make them happen!

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 1, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

Several days ago Pope Francis, world leader of the Catholic Church, gave a surprise lecture for the website TED talks. His message included a call for greater humility. “The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly,” said the pontiff.  “You will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness. Through humility and concrete love, power becomes a service, a force for good.”

The Pope’s words speak truth and offer wisdom to us as Latter-day Saint missionaries.   We missionaries of the Lord’s true Church have been endowed with power.  Not political, financial or social power, but with real power – from on high.  Missionaries are to go “in the power of the ordination wherewith [they have] been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel” (D&C 79:1). Preach My Gospel teaches us of missionary power, in several forms.  For example, our studies and planning help us teach with spiritual power. (PMG, p. viii). As authorized representatives of Jesus Christ, we can teach people with power and authority. (PMG, p.2)   The gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of the Restoration of must be taught by missionaries with divine power—the power of the Holy Ghost, who is the third member of the Godhead. (PMG, p.3)  Put simply, missionaries teach with the power and authority of God (see Alma 17:2–3), even the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21).

Recognizing this power, the Papal admonition takes on more meaning. “If you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness, you will end up hurting yourself and those around you.”   True humility is to recognize gratefully our dependence on the Lord—to understand that we have constant need for His support.  Humility is an acknowledgment that our talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that we know where our true strength lies. We can be both humble and fearless. We can be both humble and courageous.  (See True to the Faith.) Spiritual power linked with humility is sanctifying and supernal.  It leads to complete consecration.

Jesus Christ is our greatest example of power and humility. During His mortal ministry, He always acknowledged that His limitless strength came because of His dependence on His Father. He said: “I can of mine own self do nothing. … I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).  Humility, including submission to the will of the Father, is a vital step to reaching true consecration.  Remember, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:6, 10).  This month as we study “Consecration Through Humility” let’s open our minds to the great enabling power that comes through humbling ourselves before our Maker.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 24, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

One of my favorite gospel authors is President Tad R. Callister, formerly of the Quorum of the Seventy.  He currently serves as Sunday School General President and continues to write enlightening and edifying books and articles.  I love his unassailable reasoning and lawyerly writing style.  A talk given in the Provo MTC in October 2008 is a beautiful discussion of what it takes to be a consecrated missionary.  Today I share a few wonderful quotes from this talk to complement our current study of obedience and consecration.

“What is a consecrated missionary? It is a missionary who is willing to lay everything on the altar of sacrifice and to hold nothing back. It is a willingness to give every ounce of energy, every conscious thought, and every drop of passion to this work – to submit our will to God’s will whatever it may be. Every missionary who has been to the temple has covenanted to consecrate his all. The book of Omni records the depth and breadth of that covenant: “Yea, come unto me, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him” (Omni 1:26).
The law of consecration is the law of the temple, it is the law of the celestial kingdom, and it is the law of a celestial mission.”

“A consecrated missionary puts on the altar of sacrifice any streak of disobedience he may possess, however large or small it may be. He has an unrelenting quest to be exactly obedient. King Lamoni recognized that Ammon was a consecrated missionary, for he said: “Even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them” (Alma 18:10).”

“When I first entered the field as a mission president, I met several times with a missionary who was struggling with obedience. One day in frustration he blurted out: “What then is it you want me to do?” I replied: “You have missed the point. It is not what I want you to do, it should be what do you want to do?” There was a moment of silence and then he made this insightful observation: “You are not just asking me to change my behavior; you are asking me to change my nature.” He was so right.”

“If you only change your behavior, then you will be the same person you were when you left home, subject to the same problems that plagued you then. But if you change your nature you will go home a new man or woman, with the power and discipline to conquer your old Goliaths. If you only get up at 6:30 am because your companion does, you have merely changed your behavior. If you get up whether or not he does, you have changed your nature. If you speak good words but entertain bad thoughts, you have only changed your behavior. If you also change your thoughts you have also changed your nature.”

“With the Lord’s help we can transform our natures. King Benjamin gave the key as to how we can do it. We must become “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mos 3:19). 

“One missionary, upon going home told me that he slept in one morning. His companion said to him, “It’s time to get out of bed.” This missionary responded, “I don’t want to.” His companion replied, “It’s not about what you want, it’s about what the Lord wants.” The missionary said; “I have never forgotten that – a mission is about that the Lord wants, not what I want.  That is the key – to submit our will to God’s will.”

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 17, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

In the days leading up to every transfer day missionaries throughout the mission wonder and worry over whether they will be transferred.  It is human nature to ponder over the unknowns of our missions and transfer assignments have always been a subject of speculation.  Even Ammon and his fellow servants wondered about what they would encounter as they went to the land of the Lamanites. It’s also normal that pre-transfer guesswork evolves into post-transfer questioning over the “why” of mission assignments. “Why was I sent to ______?”  Why did the President leave me here for another transfer?  “Why wasn’t I asked to be leader or trainer?”  Many hours of missionary time are spent in such inquiry; some of it appropriately and some unwisely.

The answers to most transfer queries are known or knowable.  A simple, sincere inquiry of the President or of God will enlighten the missionary and help him/her better understand the Lord’s will and His ways.  Some answers are harder to discover and will take time and spiritual homework to be resolved.  Others questions simply are not answerable with the information we have available.  So we wait and develop faith and patience.

Elder David A. Bednar’s talk in this month’s General Conference expertly explains some of the mysteries of how missionary assignments are made.  His teaching is helpful to missionaries questioning their assignment to a specific mission or within a mission.  He said:
Each mission call and assignment,… is the result of revelation through the Lord’s servants. A call to the work comes from God through the President of the Church. An assignment to one of the more than 400 missions…comes from God through a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, acting with the authorization of the Lord’s living prophet. The spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attend all mission calls and assignments.”

Elder Bednar went on to explain that the Lord does “care deeply” about where His servants labor.  He stated that, “because the work of preaching the gospel is the Lord’s work, He inspires, guides, and directs His authorized servants.” Those “authorized servants” include mission presidents as they work every six weeks to place missionaries in the area and the assignment that the Lord directs.   All mission presidents are empowered by priesthood keys, conferred upon him by an apostle, to the spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attendant to making assignments within his mission.

I love this teaching by Elder Bednar regarding missionary assignments. “As missionaries strive to be ever more worthy and capable instruments in [the Lord’s] hands and do their best to fulfill faithfully their duties, then with [the Lord’s] help they “cannot go amiss”—wherever they serve. Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.  We would do well to recall that going where the Lord wants us to go is a prerequisite to becoming what he wants us to be.

Elders and Sisters, nothing affirms the reality of ongoing latter-day revelation more powerfully than seeking to discern the Lord’s will as I fulfill my responsibility to assign missionaries to their respective areas in in mission. Every six weeks the transfer process is a sobering revelatory experience for me. I witness that the Savior knows and is mindful of each of us one by one and name by name.  If you find yourself troubled about the “why’s” or “when’s” of past or future transfers I encourage you to first trust and obey.  Becoming a valued instrument in God’s hands in bringing souls to the Christ will surely require that we develop strong faith and patience in the master craftsman of our lives.  With trust and obedience the promise is true: Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. (D&C 4:7)

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 10, 2017

Elders & Sisters:

This month’s Mission Training Plan turns our attention to the gospel principle of obedience as a requirement of becoming consecrated.  The Prophet Joseph Smith, in teaching obedience, said that whatever God requires is right, though we may not know the reason until much later.  This is a critical lesson of missionary life and gospel living.  Sad are those that spend their time in wasted criticism and defiance of heaven-sent rules and commandments.  Blessed are those that exercise the faith necessary to overcome natural man stubbornness and obey.  (See Helaman 10:4, Mosiah 2:22 and Alma 49:30) 

Study of the Christ-like attribute of obedience reveals that obedience is an act of faith and we may be required to do things we do not completely understand or like (PMG, p. 122).  President Boyd K. Packer taught, “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. … We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see”. 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie expertly tied the principles of obedience and consecration together. “We are commanded to live in harmony with the Lord’s laws, to keep all his commandments, to sacrifice all things if need be for his name’s sake, to conform to the terms and conditions of the law of consecration.  We have made covenants so to do—solemn, sacred, holy covenants, pledging ourselves before gods and angels.  We are under covenant to live the law of obedience.
We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice.   We are under covenant to live the law of consecration.  With this in mind, hear this word from the Lord: ‘If you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.’ (D&C 78:7.)  It is our privilege to consecrate our time, talents, and means to build up his kingdom. We are called upon to sacrifice, in one degree or another, for the furtherance of his work. Cheerful, willing obedience is essential to salvation; so, also, is service; and so, also, are consecration and sacrifice.

President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the difference between reluctant obedience and willing obedience:  “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power”.  I would add that it is in that moment that consecration becomes a reality, not just an aspiration.  Missionaries who learn to happily, faithfully obey receive power from on high and put themselves on the road to consecration.

Elders and Sisters, we need to value the power of faithful obedience as we build consecrated mission lives.  Elder Dennis Neuenschwander made this very personal and applicable to missionaries when he said:  “Mission rules are important in the same way commandments are important. We all need to keep them, understanding that they give us strength, direction, and limits. The smart missionary will learn the intent of the rules and make them work for him. Your mission is a time of discipline and single-minded focus [consecration].”

I assure you my fellow servants that the promise of John 14:21 is true:  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Let’s set our sights on consecration and achieving that last measure of obedience in our lives.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 3, 2017

Elders and Sisters:

Our 9th Article of Faith states a very basic truth about continuing revelation.  It’s a simple, beautiful yet profound statement which should give hope to all who believe in a loving God.  It reads:
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

In the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, this is a remarkable “declaration that the heavens are open, that divine guidance is as real today as it was for the ancient house of Israel, that God our Heavenly Father loves us and speaks His will through a living prophet”.  As Latter-day Saint missionaries it is our clear and certain testimony that the heavens are open again and that God speaks to His prophets and apostles. God hears and answers the prayers of His children.  This great precept of our religious faith is the message we deliver every day as we teach the Restoration.

Much of what God has revealed is found in the scriptures of this Church; the four standard works.  The Restoration has greatly enhanced the volume of scriptural wisdom, light and truth that has been revealed to us.  We are warned not to “wrest” the scriptures. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction. (Alma 13:20)  Dictionaries say the word wrest is to twist, force, or divert to an unnatural or improper use.   We must make generous and proper use of the scriptures in our work. 

What the Lord “does now reveal” can be found in the words of living prophets and apostles.  The flow of heaven-sent knowledge through authorized oracles of God has probably never been greater. His willingness to respond to our earthbound pleas for guidance and direction in these latter-days is powerful evidence of God’s love for us.  He does not shut us out our turn us down when we ask with real intent, having a full purpose of heart to hear and act upon the direction he gives – whether given through personal revelation or His chosen representatives.

I want you to know that I know that revelation is real and active.  The holy scriptures are robust confirmation that God reveals His will and His ways to His children.  In our day we have General Conference messages and inspired manuals such as Preach My Gospel as proof that He does now reveal light and knowledge.  God’s past practice and our faith help us to know that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.  Next weekend we can pay close attention to General Conference to learn more of these important things for our time and your mission.

Here is a great General Conference quote to ponder:  “If you listen with the Spirit, you will find your heart softened, your faith strengthened, and your capacity to love the Lord increased.”  President Henry B. Eyring.  Let’s get ready for conference.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 27, 2017

Dear Elders and Sisters:

During our missionary interviews this month I’ve asked missionaries to tell me which Christ-like attributes they are striving to develop in their lives.  By an overwhelming margin the most common answer is patience, with humility being a distant second.  This has caused me to wonder why our missionaries place such a high value on patience.  Why is it sought after more than other cherished attributes such as faith, charity or obedience?  These are the kind of things I ponder pray to understand.

No doubt, patience is worthy of our efforts to obtain it.  Preach My Gospel tells us: Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.  You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships, especially with your companion. You must be patient with all people, yourself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses.

We should covet patience because, as President Monson said:Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”

Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue.  But, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace. Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them.

President Uchtdorf taught an essential principle for missionaries to remember as we work to develop patience.  He cautioned that patience is, “far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort”.  There is an important concept here: “patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

Sisters and elders, if we are not careful we can get side-tracked or even stopped in our progress by just waiting for more patience.  Simply hoping for more patience might become an excuse for failed diligence.  Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work. The Lord expects you to work diligently—persistently and with great effort and care. Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. (See Preach My Gospel)  In truth, these two great Christ-like virtues must be developed together.  We must remain diligent, doing all that we can do, as we develop the capacity to endure trials without becoming angry or frustrated.  I commend the many missionaries who are vigilant in pursuit of patience.  May God bless your efforts and enable you through the Atonement.  But let us also be faithful, acting in all diligence, not just waiting for good things to happen.  In tandem, patience and diligence will form a powerful force in a missionary’s life and character.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 20, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

By now your zone and district leaders have already started talking about the great month of April just ahead. Our baptismal goals for the month are so robust and secure for the whole mission that we’ve decided to pursue the goal to baptize 200 converts in April.  If we all do our part, this is well within our our reach.  I invite all missionaries to join together in an outpouring of faith and supplication this coming Fast Sunday as we fast and pray for success in “Baptize 200” for April.  God will hear and answer our prayers.  He already knows of our desires.  He is generous in granting the righteous requests of his missionaries.  Now our works must match our faith and heart-felt appeals for divine help in our missionary labors.

My pondering over this great goal of 200 baptisms took me to the book of Alma, specifically 58:10-11.   I saw wonderful parallels in the exercise of faith and prayer between us and Helaman’s stripling warriors.

“…we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and…yea, and also give us strength …for the support of our people.  Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”

Elder David A. Bednar said this about these verses and how Heavenly Father responds to our prayers. “Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals.”  (General Conference, October 2013)

We, like the stripling warriors have and will pray for success in reaching our baptismal goals.  Interestingly, the answers to these prayers may not immediately produce golden investigators or perfect referrals. Instead, God, in His great wisdom, grants faithful missionaries assurance that He will be with them, give peace to their souls, and great faith and hope for their success.  Thus, we like the sons of Helaman can take courage, become fixed with a determination to prosper, and go forth with all of our might to find, teach and baptize. (see Alma 58:12–13). Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings missionaries might want, but they are precisely the blessings we need to press forward and succeed in our quest.

Let’s reinforce and reaffirm our resolve to deliver the souls He has prepared for baptism.  We should have ample confidence in ourselves and the Lord as we are on his errand.  We have done the preparatory work to find and teach scattered Israel.  Remember, those that be with us are much greater than those that are against us.  Doubt not; fear not.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 13, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

This week we’ll continue to learn about the spiritual gift of recognition of answers to prayer.  Again, I will draw heavily from the book “Preparation Precedes Power” by LDS educator, author and former mission president Randy L. Bott for instruction to help us better discern  answers to prayers.

People who pray sincerely hunger to receive answers to their heaven sent pleadings. In the depths of deep desire to know God’s will and ways we may find ourselves discomforted by fears of self-deception.  We might wonder:  “How do I know I wasn’t just talking myself into thinking I had an answer since I usually work things through intellectually?”  The Lord addressed such concerns in teaching Oliver Cowdery about recognizing answers to prayer.  In D&C 6:23 the Lord reminded Oliver of feelings and signs he had received in connection with answers to his prayers.  “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”  Only the Prince of Peace can bring such peace.  Neither we nor the devil can duplicate that inner peace of mind that passes all understanding. 

The Lord similarly schooled Oliver in D&C 8:2-3 when Oliver again mistrusted his ability to discern answers.  Said the Lord: “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation.  Not “mind OR heart” but “mind AND heart” constitute a valid answer to prayer.  Neither we nor the adversary can manipulate both the mind and heart.  When the Lord communicates an answer he provides the double witness of both the heart and mind that we can have confidence in the answer received.

In another Section of the Doctrine & Covenants the Lord again teaches Oliver Cowdery a way to verify that an answer to prayer is of God. “I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.” (D&C 9:9) The “it” we must study is the problem we are facing or the decision we are required to make.  Elder Melvin J. Ballard taught this, “If it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong that shall turn your heart away from the thing that you had contemplated”.

Remember also, Elders and Sisters, God never uses doubt and fear as a negative answer.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)  A few other scriptures reinforce this point.  “Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.” (D&C 67:3)  “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” (D&C 6:36)

Elders and Sisters, answer to prayer is our lifeline to our Heavenly Father.  Like any loving father, he wants to communicate with us, giving us answers to help us be happy and safe.  Our Heavenly Father is always ready to hear and answer our prayers. The power of our prayers depends on us.  Our prayers for guidance will be only as effective as our efforts to be receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  Heavenly Father is pleased when we get on our knees and ask for help and then get on our feet and go to work.  The Savior taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President's Letter
March 6, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

One of the most challenging abilities for most missionaries to develop is to regularly and accurately recognize answers to prayers.  The question is often asked, “How do I tell if I’m answering my own prayers or if it the Spirit?”  Well known LDS educator, author and former mission president Randy L. Bott in his book “Preparation Precedes Power” devotes an entire chapter to answering this question.  Since I repeatedly hear these type of questions from missionaries I’ll share with you some of Brother Bott’s instruction to help us all better recognize answers to prayers.

The Lord said: “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.” (D&C 42:61)  The Lord is faithful and true to His word and revelation does flow in response to sincere prayers.  But answers don’t come if we don’t ask with real intent (full purpose of heart) and in faith.  The starting point is in asking.  In D&C 6:14 we read: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit.”  The Lord seldom initiates the conversation.  Answers don’t come to prayers that are not offered.  So missionaries must be certain to remember to: “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.”

Every prayer is answered so the problem we face is recognizing the Lord’s method for answering our pray.  He communicates to us in different ways for His purposes and our learning.  Brother Bott explains: “The first sign you are receiving answer to prayer is … the answer to prayer always motivates to action!”  When you feel prompted it may just be a thought or an impression.  For example, it might be to visit a certain family or avoid traveling a certain street or teach a certain principle to an investigator.  Missionaries must learn to follow such promptings – promptly!

The second way to recognize an answer to prayer is described in D&C 6:15.  “Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.”  D&C 11:13 further explains:  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy.”  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.”  These scriptures and teachings inform us that often the Lord answers prayers as soon as we ask.  Even in the middle of our prayer, if we are spiritually attuned enough to feel the Spirit.  Because the Lord may act so promptly upon our request we should pause during or after prayer and give the Lord time to respond.  If we listen carefully we can experience “sudden strokes of ideas” or “enlightening” of our thoughts.  We will recognize in this personal revelation real answers to prayer.

Elders and Sisters, please start now to assess your prayer practices and try to incorporate some of this knowledge in your prayers.  Next week I will continue to share more about how we recognize answers to prayer.

Mahal kita
President Clark

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