The missionary of 1936 went forth with encouragement to use his individual talents in ways that, in my experience, were encouraged in theory but not actually supported in practice in my missionary generation. This lesson from the 1936 missionary prep Sunday School class suggests ways individual talents might be used, and outlines the resources available to the modern missionary. And with it, yes, Keepapitchinin is publishing yet another book list! Whoo-hooo!
A well stocked mind, an understanding of the Gospel, pleasant gentlemanly behavior, genuine interest in others’ welfare, and a strong desire to be a worthy messenger of eternal truth, are necessary assets of the successful missionary. The mind that directs the use of the tool is always greater than the tool itself. Yet tools the missionary must have to perform his work to the full satisfaction of all concerned. Every missionary should know his tools, if he expects to do effective work in the mission field.
The Missionary’s Own Tools
There are some tools, so to speak, that the missionary brings with him into the mission field.
For example, he may sing well, and with other elders may form a quartette, which in turn may be invited as has often been the case, to sing at meetings, over the radio or at other places. While the number of contracts made may not be numerous, the performance itself affects many, allays prejudice, and prepares the ground for future sowing.
Another group may know how to play musical instruments in such a manner as to secure public invitation and approval.
Others yet may have a ready pen, which may be used in furnishing the newspapers with articles or news notes – a most effective type of publicity, or others may secure access to the microphone and deliver carefully prepared addresses over the radio.
There are innumerable ways in which the “tools” of the missionary brings with him into the mission field may be used to advance the cause of the Church.
The Standard Church Works
The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are the primary printed tools of the missionary. Every missionary should have these books within easy reach at all times, and should become familiar with them. All other Church literature is based upon these standard Church works. The fundamental sources of gospel doctrine were discussed in last year’s course of study, in Dr. Talmage’s Articles of Faith.
Short printed statements of perhaps a thousand to fifteen hundred words on Gospel subjects are ordinarily called tracts. A large number of tracts are available to the missionary. They should be chosen and used to serve the needs of those who receive them. A person familiar with the Bible would best be supplied with a tract quoting liberally from the Bible, while this would not be the wise approach to a person unfamiliar with the Holy Scriptures. It must always be remembered that wise teaching begins on the level of the student, – then the teacher may lead him into greater heights.
A list of the available tracts accompanies this lesson. Tracts are furnished the missionary free of charge.
When a person has become interested in the message of the missionary, and has read a tract or two, he may desire to read a fuller exposition of the gospel or some of its principles. Pamphlets are such amplified statements of gospel doctrine, practice and history. Some very interesting and useful pamphlets are published by the Church. A list of those most available follows this lesson. A small charge is made for the pamphlets used by the missionary. In most cases the interested friends prefer to pay the pamphlet cost of a few pennies.
Books are larger and more formal treatises on Gospel subjects. As an interested friend continues his investigation, he will call for books to help him. The Church is fortunate in having a series of books to serve the needs of the mission. A partial list is appended. the missionary should advise his friends to read the literature of the Church. The Book of Mormon is a great missionary; the selected revelations from the Doctrine and covenants known as Latter-day Revelation are of deep interest to all sincere investigators, – and the Pearl of Great Price is always a mine of precious truth for those who are just becoming acquainted with the doctrinal wealth of the restored Gospel.
Films and Lectures
The films and lectures spoken of in the preceding lesson are most valuable tools for the missionary. The projector is inexpensive, within the reach of all, it is small and may be carried about easily. The films are furnished at cost or without cost, and as has been said, a picture is always appealing.
The accompanying lectures have been carefully prepared, and make the work of the demonstration easy.
In every mission other helps are found for the use of the missionary. Elders should feel free to write to their mission presidents about the helps needed. Sometimes field experience suggests means for carrying on the work of the Lord to better advantage. Such suggestions should be passed on promptly to the president of the Mission.
Classified Missionary Literature
A large number of publications are available for missionary use. it is the purpose of this series of lessons to become acquainted with some of these interesting tracts, pamphlets and books.
The following classified list includes the publications most commonly used in the mission field. They are equally valuable at home and would be useful additions to any Latter-day Saint library.
[Note: “Zion’s Printing & Pub. Co.” referred to in the following list was the press located at Independence, Missouri, headquarters of the Central States Mission, which printed Liahona: The Elders’ Journal and many of the other mission-related publications for all of the North American missions.]
1. Rays of Living Light No. 6, by Charles W. Penrose. 8 pages. Zion’s Printing & Pub. Co.
2. Why Mormonism No. 1, by B.H. Roberts. 16 pages. Zions.
3. My Reasons for Joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Bryce Thomas. 32 pages. Zions. (Excellent).
4. The Reign of Antichrist, by J.M. Sjodahl. 137 pages. Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City. (Pictures of the falling away of the primitive Church and the setting up of new doctrines. Relates crimes committed in the name of Christianity.)
5. Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, by B.H. Roberts. 449 pages. Deseret Book Co.
6. The Great Apostasy, by James E. Talmage. 124 pages. (To be given to those who desire further information. Good for missionaries and advanced investigators.) Zions.
7. The Right Relationship of Church and State, by A.W. Ivins. 21 pages. Zions. (The Catholic Church in Mexico. A true picture of an apostate church in action. Very good.)
1. Rays of Living Light No. 4, by C.W. Penrose. 8 pages. Zions. Note: – Authority is fundamental to the existence of the Latter-day Saint Church. You will find it discussed in practically all the Mormon literature when the Restoration and the Principles of the Gospel are explained.
1. Rays of Living Light No. 3, by C.W. Penrose. 8 pages. Zions.
2. Baptism, the Birth of Water and Spirit, by Orson F. Whitney. 16 pages. (Good for those who are converted but do not see the necessity of baptism. A most excellent tract for procrastinators.)
3. Is Baptism Essential to Salvation? and
4. Baptism, How and by Whom Administered. Zions. Note: – Baptism is discussed in most tracts and pamphlets dealing with the first principles of the Gospel.
Book of Mormon: –
1. Reference Sheet. 1 page. (Should go with each Book of Mormon.)
2. Two Lectures, by James E. Talmage; 32 pages. Zions. (Very good for prospective readers of the Book of Mormon.
3. Why I Believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, by W.A. Morton. 32 pages. Zions. (An inspirational pamphlet. Highly recommended.)
4. Rays of Living Light No. 8. 8 pages. Zions.
5. Manuscript Found; Solomon Spaulding Story
6. Suggestions for Book of Mormon Lecture, by David A. Smith. 106 pages. Zions. (Indian traditions and archaeological material supporting the Book of Mormon claims.)
7. Indian Legends, by James W. Lesueur. 339 pages. Zions.
8. Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon, by John A. Widtsoe and F.S. Harris, Jr. 198 pages. Zions.
Church History: –
1. Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story. 24 pages. Zions. (The best we have of his life. It is brief. Very good for investigators.)
2. Divine Mission of Joseph Smith, by John a. Widtsoe. 21 pages. Zions. (Shows Joseph Smith as a great Restorer. The language is plain and clear. Excellent to show the fine character of the Prophet.)
3. Brigham Young, the Man and Leader, by Preston Nibley. 16 pages. Zions. (Interesting style. Story form. Highly recommended.)
4. Mormonism, Its Origin and History, by B.H. Roberts. 78 pages. Zions. (Treats the subject in a philosophical way, including both doctrine and history. Good for non-members who are interested in the Church.)
5. A Brief History of the Church, by Edward H. Anderson. 245 pages. Zions. (Written from the Mormon point of view.)
6. Essentials in Chuch History, by Joseph Fielding Smith. 655 pages. Deseret Book Co.
Doctrines of the Church: –
Note: – Tracts and pamphlets that cover the whole subject.
1. Mormon Doctrine Plain and Simple, by C.W. Penrose. 63 pages. Zions. (Excellent book for investigators who have already read considerable. Deals with the First Principles, the Plan of Salvation, Restoration, Marriage, Degrees of Glory and Exaltation. Very Good.)
2. Why I am a Mormon, by Charles W. Penrose. 16 pages. Zions. (Very good.)
3. Strength of the Mormon Position, by Orson F. Whitney. 48 pages. Zions. (In a very interesting way the author makes the strength of Mormonism clear by strikingly bringing out its strong points.)
4. Voice of Warning, by Parley P. Pratt. 120 pages. Zions. (Excellent material. Can be given at any time.)
5. Mr. Durant of Salt Lake City, by Ben E. Rich. 127 pages. Zions. (In conversational form. Interesting.)
6. Life’s Greatest Questions, by D.M. McAllister. 31 pages. Zions. (What am I? Why am I here? After Death, What?)
7. Latter Day Revelation. 175 pages. (Selections form the Doctrine and Covenants. Very useful for missionaries.)
8. Articles of Faith, by James E. Talmage. 529 pages. (All missionaries should have it.)
9. Philosophical Basis of Mormonism, by James E. Talmage. 32 pages. Zions. (Students will appreciate this.)
10. What is Mormonism, by John A. Widtsoe. 68 pages. Zions. (Excellent; appeals to practical minded.)
11. What Mormons Believe by Charles W. Penrose. 16 pages. Zions.
1. The Law of Tithing, by Stephen L. Richards. 8 pages. Zions. (Very clear and logical. Highly recommended.)
2. The Lord’s Tenth, by James E. Talmage. 16 pages. Zions. (Exposition of the law of tithing as practiced in ancient times, and today.)
3. Fast Day and Fast Offerings, by Charles A. Callis. 4 pages. Zions. (Good to be given with the “Law of Tithing.”)
1. The Marriage Institution, by James E. Talmage. 18 pages. Zions. (Gives the Mormon point of view of marriage.)
2. Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage, by Joseph Fielding Smith. 94 pages. Zions. (A controversy with R.C. Evans of the Reorganized Church.)
1. What Others Say, compiled by John A. Widtsoe. 32 pages. Zions. (An excellent book. Can be given at any time to explain what non-members say about the Mormons.)
2. The Truth About the Mormons (Brief – Similar to What Others Say.) 4 pages. Zions.
3. Facts for Thinkers, by Joseph A. McRae. Zions. (General statement of principles.)
4. Rays of Living Light No. 12, by Charles W. Penrose. 8 pages. Zions.
Missionary Literature: –
Note: – Literature especially profitable for missionaries to read.
1. Elders’ Manual. 64 pages. Zions. (Necessary for all missionaries.)
2. Tracts and Tracting, by John A. Widtsoe. 21 pages. Zions. (All missionaries should read.)
3. On Tracting, by B.H. Roberts. 22 pages. Zions.
4. The book that Has Helped Most in Business, by Bruce Barton. 13 pages. Deseret Book Co.
5. The Successful Missionary, by John A. Widtsoe. 77 pages. Zions. (You should read.)
6. Do Men Believe what Their Church Prescribes, by Rulon S. Howells. 158 pages. Deseret Book Co. (A brief, but clear summary of the beliefs of the different churches.)
7. Missionary Themes, by Nephi Jensen. Three books of 168 pages each. Deseret Book Co.
8. Are We of Israel, by George Reynolds. 135 pages. Zions. (The book is divided into two parts, the second part dealing with the “Book of Abraham.” This second part is especially good for investigators.)
9. Rational Theology, by John A. Widtsoe. 190 pages.
10. In Search of Truth, by John A. Widtsoe. 120 pages.
11. Program of the Church, by John A. Widtsoe. 283 pages.
Personality of God: –
1. Why Mormonism, No. 2, by B.H. Roberts. 16 pages. Zions. (Good for the investigator – Gives reasons and Bible references.)
2. The Lord Hath Spoken, No. 2, by B.H. Roberts. 8 pages. Zions.
Revelation, Need of: –
1. The Lord Hath Spoken, No. 1, by B.H. Roberts. 8 pages. Zions.
2. Rays of Living Light Nos. 3 and 9, by Charles W. Penrose. 8 pages. Zions.