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2014 SEMINAR FOR NEW MISSION PRESIDENTS
Fear Not, I Am with Thee
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
It is wonderful to be among friends. My dear
friends, my beloved brothers and sisters,
Harriet and I are indeed grateful to be with
you as you embark on this great and
marvelous journey to proclaim the Saviors
message to the nations of the world.

As we drove down here this morning, we
were all excited to be with you. We wish we
could give you a hugeach and every one of
you.

Earlier this year as I prepared an Easter
message, the question arose of why the
Church doesnt celebrate more openly the
events surrounding Easter.

When you think about it, as members of the
Church we actually celebrate Easter week
every Sunday by partaking of the sacrament. It
was on the Thursday before Easter Sunday
when the sacrament was established. As we
partake of the sacrament we recommit
ourselves to remember the Saviors sacrifice
and to keep His commandments. At the same
time we are promised to have His Spirit to be
with us at all times and at all places.

Think about what happened during the week
following Palm Sunday and culminating in
Easter Sunday, when Jesus Christ rose
triumphant from the tomb. He broke the
bonds of death and made it possible for all
mankind to be resurrected.

For us as missionaries, as servants of the
Lord, this is the core message we take to the
worldI know that my Redeemer lives.
Make sure that your missionaries never forget
this. Keep this in mind when you and your
missionaries partake of the sacrament on
Sundays and when you invite people to attend
sacrament services with you. Partaking of the
sacrament is a very sacred act. If you explain
to those who seek truth what the gospel and
the sacrament can be to them, you will touch
their hearts.

Because of Christs sinless life and through
the profound miracle of the Atonement, He
created a way for us to be purified and
gloriousa way for us to return to our
Heavenly Father and to receive eternal life.

But it is also interesting what else happened as
a result of His rising from the tomb. This act
of love transformed a band of frightened,
worried disciples into a dynamic group of
fearless missionaries who changed the world.

The events of that day have the potential and
power to do the same for every servant of the
Lord, for every missionary, for every one of
you who is proclaiming and teaching the
gospel of Jesus Christ.


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Please go back with me to the events of that
Easter week in the Holy Land immediately
after the Savior of the world was crucified.
The disciples huddled together afraid, perhaps
in disbelief that their Master was really dead. I
can imagine them looking into each others
eyes and feeling confusion, anger, and
perhaps most of alla profound and
consuming grief.

If you will recall, the day after Christs
crucifixion the chief priests and Pharisees
approached the Roman ruler, Pilate, and said,
Sir, . . . that deceiver said, while he was yet
alive, After three days [he would] rise again.
Command therefore that the sepulchre be
made sure until the third day, lest his disciples
come by night, and steal him away, and say
unto the people, He is risen from the dead.
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Pilate approved that request, and a
detachment of Roman soldiers guarded the
tomb to ensure that no man would steal away
the body.

It was just before dawn
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of that Easter Sunday
morning when the earth began to shake and
an angel of the Lord descended from
heaven, and came and rolled back the stone
from the door. . . . His countenance was like
lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and
for fear of him the keepers did shake, and
became as dead men.
3


Not long after, Mary Magdalene, with a few of
the other women, came to dress Jesuss body.
4

And they found the stone rolled away from
the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found
not the body of the Lord Jesus. And . . .
behold, two men stood by them in shining
garments . . . [and] said unto them, Why seek
ye the living among the dead? He is not here,
but is risen.
5


The women rushed back and told the eleven
and the others with them what they had seen,
but their words seemed to them as idle tales,
and they believed them not.
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However, Peter ran to the tomb. And he
beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves,
. . . wondering in himself at that which was
come to pass.
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After he left again, wonderful Mary
Magdalene remained alone and wept. She had
also been at the crucifixion of the Savior.
There at the foot of the cross she endured the
pain and humiliation of her beloved Lord. She
had looked into His eyes and had watched
Him die. This was on Friday.

That first Easter Sunday morning, it seemed
like the universe was heaping one sorrow after
another on that little band of disciples who
had loved Jesus so deeply.

After a time, Mary Magdalene looked once
again inside the tomb. But this time it was not
empty. She saw two angels in white sitting,
the one at the head, and the other at the feet,
where the body of Jesus had [been] lain. And
they [said] unto her, Woman, why weepest
thou?

When I ponder her answer, I can feel the
unimaginable, profound sorrow she must
have endured. She replied, Because they have
taken away my Lord, and I know not where
they have laid him.

It was then that she sensed there was
someone behind her. She turned and saw a
man who spoke to her. Woman, He said,
why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?



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Mary thought that perhaps the man was
someone who worked in the gardenperhaps
he might have seen what had happened at the
tomb. And so she said, Sir, if thou have
borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid
him, and I will take him away.
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Can you feel the pain in her words? Can you
feel the desperation?

Can you feel the pleading of a disciple who
loved her Master, who had helped pull His
lifeless body from the cross, who had
wrapped him for burial and laid him to rest?

And what of Jesus Christ who now stood
before her? Can you imagine the Saviors
anguish at seeing someone He loved so deeply
engulfed in such grief? And can you also
imagine His joy for the message He was about
to impartthe message that would change all
mankind forever?

He spoke one word to her. I can almost hear
it. He spoke with such tenderness, such love,
such joy. Mary, He said. And that one word
opened her eyes.

She had heard Him say her name before. She
recognized His voice. The Man she had
followed and listened to stood before her.

Master, she said. And she went to Him but
He forbade her to touch Him, saying that He
had not yet ascended to His Father.

But He asked her, Go to my brethren, and
say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and
your Father; and to my God, and your God.
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My dear brothers and sisters, my dear friends,
you all know the story of what happened next:
how the Savior appeared to His disciples, how
He invited them to touch Him and see for
themselves that He lived.

He tarried with those who loved and followed
Him, and He opened up the scriptures
Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he
expounded unto them in all the scriptures the
things concerning himself.
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He appeared to more than 500 people
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during that time and shewed himself alive
after his passion by many infallible proofs, . . .
speaking of the things pertaining to the
kingdom of God.
12


It is remarkable to me how things changed
after that day. Before His death, Jesuss
disciples were mostly in the role of witnesses
and followers. They observed and learned,
and they witnessed the Saviors acts and
teachings.

But everything changed for them after Christ
rose from the tomb. The great senior Apostle,
Peter, is of particular interest to me. Here was
a man who was no stranger to adversityhe
was a mans man. How often had he steadied
the rudder of his small fishing vessel during a
threatening storm? How often had he
bartered with shrewd merchants for the price
of his fish?

And yet, what do we see in this rock of a
man prior to the Resurrection? Among other
things, we see fear!

When he stepped out of his boat on the Sea
of Galilee and walked on the water toward the
Savior, we see the beginnings of great courage
and faith. But when he saw the wind
boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink,
he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
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Later, only a few hours before Christ was
taken prisoner, the impulsive Peter boasted of
his faithfulness. Although all shall be
offended, yet will not I,
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he proclaimed to
the Savior. And when Jesus prophesied that
Peter would deny Him three times that very
night, the great fisherman became even bolder
and proclaimed, If I should die with thee, I
will not deny thee in any wise.
15
And the
other Apostles were quick to echo his words.

Peter was one of the closest friends of the
Savior. That terrible night of Jesuss trial,
Peter stood beneath the palace attempting to
learn of what was happening when a maid
approached and said, Thou also wast with
Jesus of Nazareth.
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Fear overtook him at that critical moment.
Mark, who knew Peter well,
17
would later
record the events of that night. Possibly on
Peters instructions did Mark tell the story in
all its humiliating detail.

Mark writes of Peters denials and even says
that Peter began to curse and to swear,
saying, I know not this man of whom ye
speak.
18


Peter later wept and agonized over that
betrayal. With a broken heart, he pleaded with
God for forgiveness. How could he have been
so weak? How could he have allowed fear to
make him deny the man whom he knew was
the Christ, the Son of the living God?
19


But from the moment Peter saw the risen
Christ, he was transformed. He was a
different man. Along with James and John, he
was a true leader.

No longer was he afraid. From that moment
on he boldly testified that this Jesus hath
God raised up, whereof we all are
witnesses.
20


Peter fearlessly spoke in public placeseven
the temple itself. Peter, along with John, was
taken into custody and the next day brought
to the rulers, elders, and scribes for
interrogation. Annas the high priest was there,
and so was Caiaphas. It must have been an
intimidating groupa group that held Peter
and Johns lives in their hands.
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But any trace of the old, fearful Peter had by
now disappeared in the magnificent refiners
fire of that Easter morning. Peter bravely
confronted those who condemned himthe
very men who had slain His Lordwith
miracles performed in the name of the Lord.
When he healed the lame man, he was asked
by what power and through whose name he
had done this.
22
Peter proclaimed: Be it
known unto you all, and to all the people of
Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God
raised from the dead, even by him doth this
man stand here before you. . . . There is none
other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved.
23


Such courage and boldness were not expected
by the rulers of the Jews. The scriptures say
that they marveled how these unlearned and
ignorant followers could be so bold.
24


These scholars of the law finally decided that
the best course of action was to threaten them
that they speak henceforth to no man in this
name . . . [or] speak at all nor teach in the
name of Jesus.
25
For Peter and John, this was
their opportunity to leave Jerusalem without
penalty.

Whether it be right in the sight of God to
hearken unto you more than unto God, judge


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ye, the disciples said with boldness. For we
cannot but speak the things which we have
seen and heard.
26


From that Easter Sunday morning on, Peter
was a new man. He had been born again. For
the rest of his life, Peter faced threats, ridicule,
hatred, and humiliation. But he did not back
down. He feared no man. Nothing kept him
from fulfilling his mission to raise his voice as
a witness of his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not know for certain what happened
to this magnificent servant of God toward the
end of his life. Tradition suggests that he was
arrested in Rome and imprisoned. The Roman
authorities had to keep changing his guards
because Peters bold testimony had the effect
of converting them nearly as fast as they could
bring new ones in.
27
Thats a true missionary!

Tradition also suggests that Peter was
crucified at Rome, head down, because he did
not feel worthy to be crucified in the same
way as his Master and Redeemer.
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Now, I ask the question: What does this have
to do with your sacred callings to proclaim the
gospel of Jesus Christ? What does this have to
do with your responsibilities to lead our
missionaries?

My dear brothers and sisters, it has everything to
do with you. This is the core of your calling.
Each day you put on your nametag, your
badge of honor, you declare to the world that
you are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Like Peter, you have taken upon yourselves
the name of the Lord and the great
responsibility to spread the happy and
glorious news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The ancient Apostles were charged by the
Lord to teach and baptize all nations,
teaching them to observe all . . . I have
commanded.
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You are called to do the
same. In this way you and your missionaries
are the extended arm of the Twelve Apostles,
with the same promise that the Lord will be
with you, even unto the end of the world.

Every day of your mission you are faced with
choices similar to what Peter had to make.
Like Peter, you have the same question before
you: What kind of witness will you be?

Among the 86,000 missionaries serving today
there are many who, like Peter, are fearless in
proclaiming the truth. They approach each
day with renewed vigor. Even in the face of
ridicule, apathy, and hatred they raise their
pure and joyful voices to proclaim the gospel
of Jesus Christ.

Of course, there are also some who are afraid,
as Peter once was. But in a sense, we are all
like Peter. We each can see the fruits of
Christs life, Atonement, and Resurrection in
our discipleship.

The life-giving waters of the everlasting
gospel are before us. Will we take just a few
sips through a pinched straw? Or will we
allow these waters to spring up inside of us,
filling us with renewed energy and divine
power?

During your mission, will you allow your fears
to get the better of you? Will you give only a
portion of your potential to the work before
you?

I am confident that I am speaking to those
who serve God with all [their] heart, might,
mind and strength. You are called to the
work. And each day you serve your Savior by
[thrusting] in [your] sickle with [your] might,
. . . [bringing] salvation to [your] soul.
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To illustrate the potential and options for
your missionaries and for you, let me share
with you the experience of one missionary
who seems to embody the fearless disciple we
all want to be.

Three decades ago, a recently baptized
member of the Church whom I will call Elder
Strong accepted a call to serve as a missionary
in Great Britain. When he left his home, his
mother and father begged him not to serve a
mission.

Even though it broke his heart to see his
parents so troubled, Elder Strong felt peace in
his heart about his decision because he would
be serving the Lord. From the moment Elder
Strong stepped off the plane in England, he
began putting his entire effort into serving the
Lord. It didnt take long before he began
developing a reputation as one who was
fearless. And he worked so hard that other
missionaries started calling him the
workhorse, because he would pull his
companions with him each day.

This kind of dedication wasnt all that easy on
his companions. Let me mention one specific
new missionary whom I will call Elder Green.
Elder Green didnt like Elder Strongs style of
missionary work. Elder Strong insisted that
they get up earlyeven earlier than the
handbook saidand as soon as they were out
the door, they began speaking to people about
the Church.

When they walked to the center of a town to
street contact, they stopped people in the
open-air malls and everywhere. Elder Green
was absolutely terrified and later wrote, I had
given half-hearted attempts. Nothing had
come of it and I was becoming depressed,
irritable, and downright discouraged.

Elder Strong, on the other hand, approached
one person after another in his own special
way and had many fruitful conversations.

When asked how he was able to do this, Elder
Strong said, I fear no man. He really
seemed to have no fear at all.

Seeing that Elder Green had plenty of fear,
Elder Strong one day asked him, Elder, do
you know who you are?

Elder Green considered this a typical Sunday
School question and responded, I am a child
of God.

But Elder Strong smiled, opened his Book of
Mormon to 3 Nephi 5:13, and read: Behold,
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of
God. I have been called of him to declare his
word among his people, that they might have
everlasting life.

Then he looked at his junior companion and
said, Elder, you are a disciple of Christ! You
fear no man!

Something in those words seemed to
empower Elder Green, and he felt suddenly
energized. He walked to the front door of a
health club and watched a strong body builder
coming out of the door. He decided to test
out his newfound courage on this giant of a
man.

This is how he described the experience: I
stumbled through my dialogue and looked like
an absolute rookie, then this man responded
to the invitation to share a lesson with him
with a surprising yes. Over the next three
weeks, this impressive investigator accepted
the gospel and was baptized.



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Still, Elder Green did not like this bold style
of missionary work, and he argued with his
companion about it continually. But Elder
Strong kindly responded, Elder, I fear no
man, and that includes you. I will baptize with
you or without you. I prefer with, but that is
up to you.

And then he said something else: The Lord
tells us to be bold but not overbearing. Being
overbearing is showing boldness without love.
When people know and feel your love, you
can never be too bold!

One day Elder Green made a very insensitive
comment about another religion. Elder Strong
tried to talk to him about this, but Elder
Green didnt care for that inconvenient
conversation. When the two missionaries
finally arrived at home that night, the junior
companion quickly jumped into bed, hoping
his body language would signal the fact that
he was not interested in talking.

But Elder Strong came over to the side of his
bed and said, Elder, there are two reasons
why missionaries get along as a
companionship. Either they are working
together as humble, obedient, and loving
companionships or they get along because
they are both doing the wrong things.

And then he added, When missionaries dont
get along, when they fight and argue, it is
often because one missionary wants to do
what is right and the other doesnt care. He
paused for a moment and then said, We do
not get along, so I ask you tonight; please tell
me, are you trying to do what is right?
Perhaps I am choosing what is wrong and I
need to change.

That was all he said.

Elder Green felt the Spirit while his
companion spoke. And, as the darkness of
night surrounded him, tears came to his eyes.
He had mocked Elder Strong for many of his
methods, but he realized that night that he was
the missionary who was not caring enough.
Their conversation transformed him as a
missionary.

Elder Green said that the two months he
spent with Elder Strong were eventually the
most important and formative days of his
mission experience.

Elder Strong believed that his responsibilities
while serving as a missionary were quite
simple. He was to listen to the Spirit and to
find and speak to people. When he wasnt
finding or speaking to people, he was to try to
find and speak to people. Preaching the
gospel is all he desired to do.

Elder Strong was never an assistant to the
president. He was never a zone leader. But he
trained many new missionaries. Training new
missionaries is one of the most important
leadership positions in the mission field.

In the mission where these two missionaries
served, missionaries averaged two or three
baptisms over a period of two years.

During the course of his mission, Elder
Strong baptized many, many more. The
number of baptisms is not always a sign of a
good missionary. But Elder Strongs example
as a missionary is worth following because it
teaches that we must work hard, depend upon
the Lord, seek and follow the Spirit, have
faith, be obedient, and fear no man.

The sign of a good missionary is also
manifested in how one lives and honors
gospel principles in the many years after the


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mission. The fruits of a successful mission can
be seen in the lives of our returned
missionaries. It is how gospel values are
applied as a husband or wife, as a father or
mother, and as a son or daughter of Heavenly
Father. It is enduring joyfully as disciples of
Christ that will eventually show the success of
a mission, long after the missionary badges
have been retired.

Dear presidents and sisters, as you begin this
new and exciting journey as disciples of
Christ, I invite you to consider the example of
the Apostle Peter, who overcame his fears and
became a courageous missionary and leader of
the Church. We can learn not only from
Peter, but also from all missionaries who have
the same kind of commitment and
dedicationmissionaries like the many you
find in all the missions around the globe,
missionaries like those who will serve with
you.

Each day let us remind ourselves that we are
disciples of the Savior Jesus Christ. And
because He is with us, we do not fear.

Jesus of Nazareth lives! He is the rock of our
salvation. Today, I bear witness that He lives.
I know Him. I know that my Redeemer lives.
I know this beyond any doubt, beyond
question, beyond debate. He lives! He is the
Son of the living God. He guides this work.
He cares about you. He knows the silent,
unspoken prayers of your heart.

As He inspired Peter, John, and all disciples
who followed Him, He will lift up and inspire
you. If you dedicate your work and will to
Him and put your worries and fears in His
hands, He will make you a great witness and
disciple of Him, of His gospel, and of His
Church. He will make you strong in testimony
and fearless of heart. He will make you great
mission leaders and great missionaries.

Christ the Lord is risen! He stands at the helm
of His Church and His work.

I bear witness that we have a living prophet
again on the earth, our beloved President
Thomas S. Monson.

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I give
you a blessing that as you incline your hearts
and minds to the Savior, He will surely lift you
up and strengthen you. He will visit you with
knowledge, peace, and courage. He will
lighten your sorrows and your load. He will
bless your family at home, even your extended
families. He will take care of you and the
things you worry about. He will prepare the
way for you and send His angels to surround
and uphold you. He will help you to
overcome fear. He will help you rise up and
become even greater men and women of
God.

My dear fellow servants, please know how
much I love you. I am grateful for you. I pray
for you. Today and always the Savior calls out
to you:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not
dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
Ill strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee
to stand, . . .
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
31


My dear friends, dear brothers and sisters,
may you feel that strength and that courage as
you serve as His emissaries is my prayer and
my blessing. I do this in deep gratitude for
each and every one of you and in the name of
our Master, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



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1
Matthew 27:6364.
2
See John 20:1; see also Matthew 28:1.
3
Matthew 28:24.
4
See Luke 24:1.
5
Luke 24:26.
6
See Luke 24:911.
7
Luke 24:12.
8
John 20:1013, 15.
9
John 20:1617.
10
Luke 24:27.
11
See 1 Corinthians 15:6.
12
Acts 1:3.
13
Matthew 14:30; emphasis added.
14
Mark 14:29.
15
Mark 14:31.
16
Mark 14:67.
17
See 1 Peter 5:13.
18
Mark 14:71.
19
Matthew 16:16.
20
Acts 2:32.
21
See Acts 3; 4:17
22
See Acts 3:110; 4:7, 22.
23
Acts 4:1012.
24
See Acts 4:13.
25
Acts 4:1718.
26
Acts 4:1920.
27
See www.bartleby.com/210/6/291.html. St. Peter readily understood this vision to be meant of
himself, and taking it for a reproof of his cowardice, and a token that it was the will of God he
should suffer, returned into the city, and, being taken, was put into the Mamertine prison with St.
Paul. The two apostles are said to have remained there eight months, during which time they
converted SS. Processus and Martinian, the captains of their guards, with forty-seven others.
28
See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_peter#Death. Origen wrote: Peter was crucified at Rome with
his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer. This is why an upside down cross is
generally accepted as a symbol of Peter, with the interpretation that he would not have considered
himself worthy enough to die the same way as his Savior.
29
Matthew 28:20.
30
Doctrine and Covenants 4:24.
31
How Firm a Foundation, Hymns, no. 85.