“Wherefore, Go Ye and Preach My Gospel”

Doctrine and Covenants 80:1–3

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Stephen Burnett: Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice.
2 And inasmuch as you desire a companion, I will give unto you my servant Eden Smith.
3 Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.

Elder David A. Bednar said:

“Section 80 of the Doctrine and Covenants is a record of a mission call to Stephen Burnett extended by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1832. Studying this call to Brother Burnett can help us to (1) understand more clearly the distinction between being ‘called to the work’ as a missionary and ‘assigned to labor’ in a particular place and (2) appreciate more completely our individual and divinely appointed responsibility to proclaim the gospel.

“Verse 1 of this section is a call to serve: ‘Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Stephen Burnett: Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice’ [D&C 80:1].

“Interestingly, verse 2 informs Brother Burnett about his assigned missionary companion: ‘And inasmuch as you desire a companion, I will give unto you my servant Eden Smith’ [D&C 80:2].

“Verse 3 indicates where these two missionaries are to labor: ‘Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss’ [D&C 80:3].

“I do not believe that the phrase ‘it mattereth not’ as used by the Lord in this scripture suggests that He does not care where His servants labor. In fact, He cares deeply. But because the work of preaching the gospel is the Lord’s work, He inspires, guides, and directs His authorized servants. As missionaries strive to be ever more worthy and capable instruments in His hands and do their best to fulfill faithfully their duties, then with His help they ‘cannot go amiss’—wherever they serve. Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.”

(“Called to the Work,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 68.)

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