Advice to girls in “the mission field” offered by Katherine B. Cannon of the YWMIA General Board:
Girls Should Help the Missionary Honour his Priesthood
It is a wonderful thing to be a girl, especially a Latter-day Saint girl, for all the wealth of eternity can be hers. No one but herself can keep her from the highest glory in the Celestial Kingdom. She must live our heavenly father’s teachings each day. She must help those around her to do the same.
In God’s great plan, young people of the same age should enjoy associating together on a social basis. However, there is an exception to this rule: Young boys who are called as missionaries to serve the Lord for a set period of time, are not to socialise during these years in the established sense of the word. Their minds should be on our Heavenly Father’s work, and it is the place of all young LDS girls to help, never hinder them.
Missionaries are called of God and set apart as His servants. god tells us “let them go two by two and thus let them preach …” (D. & C. 52:10.) Now these choice young people are sent two by two that they might give each other strength and be a witness one for another. They wear the cloak of authority to teach in the name of Jesus Christ, and they have been promised, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also. I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D. & C. 84:88.)
This wonderful spirit that these young men and women radiate makes us feel that they are very “special,” and we can see that they differ from other young people who do not have this special calling. Our missionaries become very dear to us as they do to all members of the Church and to those people to whom they teach the Gospel.
Many times, as they speak, girls are led to believe that they are interested in them personally, are “in love” with them. THIS CAN NEVER BE during the mission years! These young men are called of the Lord and set apart to dedicate a certain number of months to His service. during this time they are relieved of all other responsibilities except of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world. The Lord has commanded them to go forth with an eye single to his Glory!
The missionary and his family sacrifice much as he goes into the mission field.
There is only joy and gratitude in all their hearts because of his wonderful call to serve His Heavenly Father. it is a difficult task for these young men in their vigorous youth to subdue and overcome their natural physical inclinations. yet because of their great love for the Gospel and their knowledge of its truthfulness, and they put on the Armour of God and go out into the world as soldiers in the Army of the Lord. They have pledged themselves to follow the rules, and in return they are clothed with the spirit of our heavenly Father and given this promise: “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end, you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
To desert a post in the army can mean to surrender life itself. to do so in the Army of the Lord can mean to give up life eternal. The missionaries love the members for their dedication to the Church. Because of this mutual dedication, singleness of purpose, and interest, it is only natural that the members, contacts, and missionaries should be drawn close together. However, in this there is grave danger. For instance, young girls often interpret this love and dedication as a personal attraction. IT CANNOT BE. This is a missionary’s sacred calling, and no young girl in the mission field should cause these young men to waver in their singleness of purpose.
Girls must be strong in their dedication to the Church and help the missionaries honour their priesthood and remember who they are and why they are in the mission field. Every member of the Church prays daily that the missionaries will be protected from harm and evil and that they will fulfill their callings.
It is every mother’s prayer that her son might be as pure gold, for gold is the only element which will not mix with another element. While they are missionaries, it is the united prayer of the church members that each and every missionary will be pure gold. Everyone should work hard to have these prayers come true. Missionaries are only human. They are young boys just like your very own brothers. Girls must think seriously about how they would like their brother to be treated if he were called to leave his home and family and dedicate two years of his life to his Heavenly father’s work. They must think how their mother would worry about him and how all would pray that he be kept from harm.
Being young, he might find it difficult not to waiver at times, especially if he is tempted by the girls. The Lord would surely be disappointed in him if he stepped down, as would his parents, his brothers, his sisters, his friends, the entire Church. Each missionary needs our help and support and our prayers that his glorious calling might be fulfilled. each missionary needs our help to stand firm and straight in his purpose.
Girls must help to keep them strong and stalwart soldiers as they travel over the battlefields of the world holding aloft their swords of truth and right. The girls’ policy must always be to keep themselves aloof and apart from the missionaries emotionally while they are in the service of the Lord, that there will be no temptation placed in their paths. Girls should never seek to be alone with a missionary. Missionaries should not be invited socially to girls’ homes. Even though they are called of God and set apart as His holy servants, they are still only young men filled with all the appetites of youth. How terrible would be a girl’s condemnation if she were the reason for a missionary to fail in his duty.
A girl’s mission is almost as great as theirs, and she must dedicate herself to help them succeed, remembering always that they are special tools in the hands of the Lord and they cannot function properly without complete dedication of purpose. This is the responsibility of every LDS girl living in a mission field, and our Heavenly Father will bless each one as she helps Him keep these young men in the path of righteousness.