Spirit vital for missionaries, says John Bytheway


    By Suzanne Briggs

    Satan is desperate to take away a missionary”s sword of the spirit and leave him or her defenseless in the mission field, said John Bytheway at the Mission Prep Club meeting Thursday, March 27.

    Bytheway spoke to pre-missionaries in the Jesse Knight Humanities Building.

    Bytheway, an author and former religion professor at BYU, currently works as an assistant to Sheri Dew at Deseret Book.

    He talked about the importance of having the spirit on the mission because it is a missionary”s only offensive weapon.

    “The gift of the spirit is so priceless and most of us are living so far beneath it to have it with us constantly,” he said. “The spirit is what characterizes this great generation of missionaries.”

    He said Satan will tell 10 truths to fit in one lie to take the sword of the spirit away from missionaries.

    Janice Treasure, 19, a freshman from Sammamish, Wash., majoring in elementary education, appreciated what Bytheway said about keeping the sword the spirit constantly with people.

    “Without the spirit, you have nothing and can”t be as successful in the mission,” Treasure said.

    Bytheway said they are the greatest set of missionaries the Church has ever sent, but that comes with greater temptation.

    “Missionaries should not start preparing a month before they leave on their mission,” Bytheway said. “They should start when they are born.”

    He said when people understand the doctrines, then they will have no problems with the rules, and that is how people keep the spirit.

    Bytheway used an analogy about a tree to emphasize this point. He said the leaves represent the rules, the branches represent the principles and the trunk represents the doctrines.

    “When we read the doctrine of the Atonement and the principle of reverence, then we have no problem following the rule,” Bytheway said.

    Jennifer Moore, 20, a senior from Holladay, Salt Lake County, majoring in history, really liked the analogy Bytheway used to illustrate how to follow the rules by the spirit.

    “When you understand the doctrine behind the principle and the rule, then you truly understand why you follow the rules,” Moore said. “You don”t do things because someone is telling you to do something but because you love God.”

    He said people need to fill their minds with thoughts of Christ, their hearts with love of Christ and their life with service to Christ.

    People seek after these things and fill their lives with the spirit until worldly things distract them, Bytheway said.

    He told the pre-missionaries to get prepared and jump into their mission with two feet.

    “Every night when you go to bed, you want to be able to tell Heavenly Father you worked hard that day,” he said. “You want rest to be a necessity, not a desire.”

    The Church does not have time to baby-sit missionaries, but they need missionaries focused on the work.

    “This is sweet work, and your whole goal is to keep the spirit with you,” Bytheway said.

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