On June 22, 2023, President Russell M. Nelson announced a second edition of Preach My Gospel, saying, “It contains some of the best instruction I have ever seen to help people accept the Lord’s invitation to come unto Him.”
Just think of that—this new edition has “some of the best instruction” the prophet has ever seen to help people come unto Christ. That alone is a compelling reason to start getting into Preach My Gospel. But a powerful invitation from President Nelson makes studying the manual a no-brainer. He said:
“I invite you to enjoy the enrichment to your own testimony that the updated Preach My Gospel manual can provide. You will sense the privilege it is to assist our Father in Heaven in His holy work. As you study and apply the teachings from Preach My Gospel second edition, from the scriptures, and from the living prophets, you will be blessed. Your own testimony will be enriched. Your capacity to share the Savior’s gospel will increase.”
So you’re all in and ready to start studying—but what exactly is new with the second edition, and what are some of the reasons the changes are so meaningful? There are too many highlights to capture them all, but here are seven updates from the cover through the first five chapters that might make a difference in your studies as you seek to share the gospel.
1. A new subtitle emphasizes who Preach My Gospel is really for.
The first change to be aware of in the second edition of Preach My Gospel is the manual’s change in subtitle from “A Guide to Missionary Service” to “A Guide to Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” While at first that might not seem like a significant change, the new subtitle reflects an emphasis on how Preach My Gospel is not just for missionaries—it’s for members too.
In his announcement, President Nelson reminded Latter-day Saints how important it is that they participate in missionary work, saying, “As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the sacred and covenant responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and bless the lives of all of God’s children.” The new edition of Preach My Gospel can be a valuable resource to help members fulfill that covenant responsibility.
2. The introduction is more user-friendly for members and for those preparing to serve missions.
The introduction in the first edition of Preach My Gospel includes a paragraph about how the manual can help members. But the introduction in the second edition breaks those ideas down into bullet points and references chapters where members can find more information about certain topics. Here’s what that list looks like:
- Learn and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ (study chapters 1, 2, 3, and 10).
- Answer questions about the gospel (study chapters 3 and 5).
- Understand more about seeking and relying on the Holy Ghost (study chapter 4).
- Understand the power of the Book of Mormon (study chapter 5).
- Seek Christlike attributes (study chapter 6).
- Fulfill their covenant responsibility to share the gospel by living the principles of love, share, and invite (study chapters 9 and 13).
- Build unity with the full-time missionaries (study chapter 13).
The new manual also points youth and seniors who are preparing for missionary service to study chapter 3. These tips can help members study Preach My Gospel more topically so they can focus on questions they have or knowledge they want to deepen.
3. The importance of making covenants with God is a bigger focus.
Making covenants with God is an important theme throughout chapter 1 of the new edition of Preach My Gospel. For instance, a new Personal Study section asks readers to review and ponder covenants they have made with God, including baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination (for elders), and the temple endowment. Those covenants are then further defined based on scriptures and the General Handbook. For example, take a look at the covenants listed in the Personal Study section as part of the temple endowment:
- Live the law of obedience.
- Obey the law of sacrifice.
- Obey the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Keep the law of chastity.
- Keep the law of consecration.
Readers are also asked to “study the blessings that God has promised to those who keep these covenants” as well as to “reflect on the blessings you have received by keeping them.” This emphasis on covenants may remind readers of the deeper purpose behind missionary work—that sharing the gospel will bring others closer to God as they make covenants with Him. It may also strengthen readers as they reflect on the two-way commitment they have made with Heavenly Father and remember that He always keeps His promises (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10).
4. There are new sections for using technology wisely and righteously.
Since the pandemic, missionaries worldwide have found more ways to utilize technology in their missionary work. Perhaps in response to these changes, chapter 2 in the new edition of Preach My Gospel includes information about how to use technology wisely. It reads, “Follow the Spirit about when and how to use technology in ways that will help strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ and the faith of those you serve and teach.” Four safeguards about using technology are also discussed in detail. The section names for the safeguards are as follows:
- Be in Tune with Spiritual Promptings
- Be Focused on Your Missionary Purpose
- Be Disciplined
- Be One
Additionally, the manual shares advice for those who may have struggled with pornography before their call and who may be tempted to fall back into previous patterns. It suggests principles to help those missionaries resist temptation and reminds them that they are not alone in overcoming these challenges. The manual reads: “Rely on the strength that comes through the Savior’s Atonement and the covenants you have made with Him. The Lord knows the challenges you face, and He will help you in this great work.”
5. A new section discusses how to extend an invitation to be baptized.
In chapter 3 of the second edition of Preach My Gospel, a new section talks about inviting people to be baptized and includes a written suggestion of how missionaries can extend that invitation. Here’s what it looks like:
Second edition: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone who has been ordained to perform this ordinance? We will help you prepare for baptism. We believe you can be ready on [date]. Will you prepare to be baptized on that date?”
Previously, the first edition of Preach My Gospel included an invitation to be baptized, but with slightly different phrasing:
First edition: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on [date]. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?”
The differences are subtle, but important: First, the invitation says the person who performs the baptism is ordained to do so, rather than that they simply hold priesthood authority of God. It also focuses on the individual who is preparing for baptism in a new way, prompting missionaries to encourage them and let them know they will help them prepare for that first step along the covenant path.
The end of the section focuses on that covenant path and emphasizes that baptism is just the beginning. It reads, “Teach that baptism and confirmation are not a final destination. Rather, they are a point along the path of conversion that brings hope, joy, and the power of God more fully into a person’s life (see Mosiah 27:25–26). After people are baptized and confirmed, they can look forward to being sanctified by the Spirit as they progress along the covenant path.”
6. New quotes from current Church leaders teach how to seek and rely on the Spirit.
Chapter 4 of the second edition of Preach My Gospel has a new title: instead of being called “How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit?” it’s now called “Seek and Rely on the Spirit.” And one way it teaches readers how to be led by the Spirit is by quoting from current Church leaders. Here’s a look at some of those new quotes:
- President Russell M. Nelson: “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
- President Dallin H. Oaks: “No matter how strong our faith is, it cannot produce a result contrary to the will of Him in whom we have faith. Remember that when your prayers do not seem to be answered in the way or at the time you desire. The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness and will and wisdom and timing of the Lord. When we have that kind of faith and trust in the Lord, we have true security and serenity in our lives.”
- President M. Russell Ballard: “True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals … feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word [see Alma 32:27]. This is how we come to feel the gospel is true.”
- Elder David A. Bednar: “God uses a variety of patterns to convey revelations to His sons and daughters, such as thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart, dreams, … and inspiration. Some revelations are received immediately and intensely; some are recognized gradually and subtly. Receiving, recognizing, and responding to revelations from God are spiritual gifts for which we all should yearn and appropriately seek.”
Another section in chapter 4 gives some words of caution about the following topics:
- Confirm your impressions with reliable sources
- Seek revelation within your assignment
- Discern the true influence of the Spirit
- Do not try to force spiritual things
- Keep spiritual things sacred
- Use your own best Judgment in some instances
By incorporating more words of the living prophets and teaching readers how to rely on the Spirit, chapter 4 helps readers learn from current teachings and avoid possible confusion as they seek to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in missionary work.
7. More scripture references can help answer people’s “questions of the soul.”
In both editions of Preach My Gospel, there’s a section in chapter 5 about how the Book of Mormon answers “questions of the soul”—personal questions people may have about things like whether God exists and what the purpose of life is. The first edition has a bulleted list of 15 questions people might be pondering, with one scripture reference for each. Here’s a look at a few of those questions:
- Is there a God? (Alma 22)
- What does Jesus Christ expect of me? (2 Nephi 9)
- How can a belief in Jesus Christ help me? (Alma 36)
- Is there life after death? (Alma 40)
In the second edition, there are only 12 bullet points in the list—but several have other related questions attached to them, with multiple scripture references, like this:
- Does God exist? Who is God? (Mosiah 4:9; Alma 18:24–40; 22:4–23; 30:44)
- Does God know me and care about me? How can I feel His love? How can I feel closer to Him? (2 Nephi 26:24; Mosiah 4:9–12; Enos 1:1–12; Alma 18:32; Moroni 10:32–33)
- What is the purpose of life? (2 Nephi 2:25; Alma 34:32)
The beautiful thing about this update is it creates space for more questions that people may have in their lives about a certain topic. And if one scripture doesn’t provide the answer they’re looking for, that’s OK—there’s another one to turn to. Not only can this help people who are sharing the gospel look up different sources if they need to, as they do so it can teach those who may be new to the scriptures how to search for answers themselves.
Ready to jump in? Here’s where to start:
There are 13 chapters in the new Preach My Gospel, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of the updates that have been made. But don’t take our word for it—start studying it for yourself. Maybe you’ll spot some changes that inspire you too. But more importantly, remember the prophet’s invitation while you read and discover the blessings he promised as you keep “the sacred and covenant responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and bless the lives of all of God’s children.”
You can read the second edition of Preach My Gospel on the Church’s website or in the Gospel Library app. Print editions will be available at the end of 2023.
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