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Excerpts from a talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen

2016 Seminar for New Mission Presidents
June 25, 2016

First, keep your teaching and goals of finding and baptizing converts front and center, no matter
where you serve.
We all realize that the number of converts we baptize is not dependent solely upon us and our
missionaries. Depending upon where your mission is in the world, people are more or less prone
to accepting the gospel. It has always been this way. I remember President Gordon B. Hinckley in
one of our first meetings said to me, “Brother Andersen, if you can build the gospel in France, you
can build it anywhere.” The years we spent in Brazil were years of amazing miracles as we
witnessed whole families come into the Church.
Your number of convert baptisms is not determined only by you or by your missionaries. There
will be more converts baptized in some parts of the world than in other parts. But I again emphasize
the first principle: wherever you are, finding and baptizing coverts should be constantly in your
missionaries’ minds and hearts.
The Savior spoke often of baptism. He began His earthly ministry being baptized Himself and
finished His earthly ministry by commanding His Apostles to “go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
In 3 Nephi 11, the Savior gave one of His strongest teachings on the doctrine of baptism. You will
remember that He appeared to the people as they were gathered together around the temple in the
land Bountiful. As the scriptures teach: “He stretched forth his hand and [said]:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ . . . I am the light and the life of the world.”
The multitude was overcome. As they recovered, the Lord bid them to come forward and to thrust
their hands into His side and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet.
Then, in the next 20 verses, Jesus spoke of baptism 11 times. Listen to the power of His words and
look for the word baptize as I read these serval verses:
“And the Lord commanded [Nephi and others] that [they] should arise. And [they] arose and stood
before him.
“And the Lord said unto [them]: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am
again ascended into heaven.
“. . . On this wise shall ye baptize . . .
“. . . Whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name,
. . . Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
“And . . . these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, . . .
“Having authority given me of Jesus Chirst, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
“And then shall ye immerse them in the water . . .
“And this is my doctrine, . . . and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere,
to repent and believe in me.
“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall
inherit the kingdom of God.
“And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned . . .
“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little
child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”
Then He gives this warning: “This is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my
rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
“And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, . . . buildeth upon
a sandy foundation.”
I again emphasize the second principle: Baptism, no matter how difficult, no matter how frequent
or infrequent, cannot be set aside or diminished. It is central to our purpose and prominent in the
doctrine of Christ.