With the passing of Elder Richard G. Scott this past week, I had an opportunity to reflect on how his teachings inspired me over the years. One experience in particular had a profound impact on me and many others.
While I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Seattle, Washington area, Elder Scott visited our mission. I’ll share the experience as written in my missionary journal with additional commentary as necessary.
Friday, Oct. 15
Elder Richard G. Scott: With him are Elder Hammond of the area presidency and Elder Hammond’s second councilor. I got to shake [Elder Scott’s] hand and tell him my name and where I am from. [Elder Scott did this for every missionary there in the meeting. He wanted to shake everyone’s hands, look in their eyes, and then base his remarks on the impressions he received. It was a remarkable experience; I felt him understand who I was through the Spirit. There was such great power in his gaze that I knew he knew my soul.]
[He taught – these are summaries and not necessarily exact quotes]: “Set aside concerns and be led by the Lord. When there is an interchange of teaching, those teaching and those listening better can feel the Spirit. You hear and write down [i.e., take notes of the promptings from the Spirit]. You learn by what you feel and what you see.”
How you can learn by what you can observe [i.e., we can learn from people by watching them]:
- Elder Kimball was teaching and set a handkerchief down and then the cup, so not to damage the finish – [Elder Scott learned] the power (value) of tithing and respect for the Lord’s property.
- Pres. Packer holds his scriptures to his heart [when carrying them].
It is vitally important that we know the Bible, it is filled with truth. D&C 50:21-22. We do not all learn the same thing [the Holy Ghost teaches us what we need to learn]. A missionary has two parts – spiritual [power] and technical [knowledge and skills]. They are interrelated and cannot be separated. You can have a powerful testimony of truth but if you don’t know how to share it, the Lord cannot do His work.
[Other observations and encouragements]
- You need to always keep growing.
- Make the decision once, then use your energy to keep doing it.
- Set goals.
- Study doctrine.
- Study the Savior and His life. He is the greatest motivator. The greatest motivation for enduring growth and most certain avenue for true happiness results when Father in Heaven and the Savior are at the head [center of our lives] and their teachings are the guide for our decisions.
[At this point in the meeting, Elder Scott took a break from teaching and had my mission president and his wife teach as well as those in the area presidency. Then Elder Scott taught again.]
9:30 yesterday – in temple during their meeting, he called Elder Hammond. There was a change in plans and Elder Hammond instantly accepted [i.e., attending and speaking at this meeting was a last minute change for Elder Hammond]. Be willingly obedient to the Lord.
Make sure you have a companionship inventory weekly.
Who I am [as a full time missionary]:
- I have been called of Christ through His prophet by revelation to be a missionary to teach and testify of Christ.
- I have been commissioned to bring souls to Christ through baptism and place them on the path to Celestial glory.
- I have the right to be inspired what to do and have power to do it.
- I am an authorized servant of Jesus Christ.
[About my mission president]: Pres. Larson is growing to fill his mantle. [We can ask ourselves] “Am I filling my mantle?”
- People see the mantle [of a missionary]. Do not worry about the limits of the mantle. The Lord called you, He will prepare a way.
- Must be clean and willing.
- You can’t do it by yourself or all at once.
- Remember who you are and never go back to where you were.
- Keep growing.
- How to gain confidence as a missionary: Nobody knows how much confidence you have, take all you want.
- Know that there is a God in Heaven and your call is inspired.
- Believe that the Lord will guide you and will build you.
- Just decide to do it.
- You cannot walk with one foot in the kingdom and one in the world.
- Satan tries to get us on a path that is close to the Lord’s, then we justify a bit more and then we are way off [over time].
- Do not let things come into your ears, mind, or eyes that will desensitize you [to the Spirit].
- Draw your boundaries.
How to be led by the Spirit:
- D&C 8:2-3, Enos 1:3 – starts with feeling or impression
- Enos 1:4 – ponder, read, think, and pray
- Enos 1:5 – your life changes
In order to be led more powerfully by the Spirit I must:
- Exercise faith in Christ
- Be diligent in keeping the commandments
- Helamen 10:3 – ponder the things of the Lord
- Serve and work
- Without wearying, declare the word of God
- Seek the Lord’s will
- Do not fear
I was touched greatly by the meeting. The thing that impressed me the most was having Elder Scott look into my eyes and know that he knew me as the Savior does. Then, Elder Scott took the impressions he received about my needs and the needs of all there to guide his remarks. It was a special experience.