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Go Back to the Future!

In a new devotional now available for missionaries, an Apostle and his wife encourage these young ambassadors of faith to use technology to help more people know about Jesus Christ.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pled with the faith’s 54,000 missionaries to use the pandemic as a prompt to discover more creative ways to help people learn about the Savior of the world.

“Don’t neglect proven principles and practices from before the pandemic,” he said from a recording studio on Temple Square, “but learn, add and adapt technological advances that the Lord has provided to accomplish His work in your time and in your season.” When pandemic restrictions are lifted, “don’t just go back to the old ways. Go back to the future,” he said. “Move forward and upward as you apply what you have learned during the pandemic.” He said this is essential because “the gospel of Jesus Christ is a universal gospel” and the Church is a global organization that “works and serves in a globally connected online world.”

The Apostle promised missionaries that if they trust God to bless their efforts, they will find those searching for their message. “You will gather the seekers, you will find those with questions about the purpose of life and about life after this earthly existence. You will find the young and the old, the poor and the rich, the educated and the illiterate. You will find people of any nation or language, of any religious or socioeconomic background — everyone. With the help of technology, people might even find you. With a gospel message, there will be no more strangers because all are children of our Heavenly Father. All are brothers and sisters. Please trust God to help you find the right ways, just right for our time and for your location.”Elder Uchtdorf’s wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, said the missionaries should “use the wonders of modern technology to find and teach the gospel with creativity and guided by the spirit. Use them wisely, counsel together, be grateful, let the Spirit guide you in everything you do. You are amazing! The Lord is with you.”

“Future generations will remember you as those who served during the great pandemic,” Elder Uchtdorf added, “the ones who learned to use technology and social media in new and effective ways to proclaim the gospel to every nation and language, and in any circumstance.”

Prior to the pandemic, 62,000 missionaries were serving around the world. Within a few weeks in March 2020, that number fell by 22,000. The return of a steady uptick in missionaries is a welcome boon, Elder Uchtdorf said, because they are the “extended arms of the 12 Apostles” today. He said they are fulfilling the great commandment Jesus gave to the ancient Apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20, New King James Version).

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