Editor’s note: These insights came from a sister missionary currently serving in Europe. Although she is writing about missionary work, I think the principles she shares are profound for any of us who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes nicknamed the “Mormon Church.”)

The Church and its programs provide scaffolding, and we each bring our uniqueness to the table. There is no one Mormon Mold. Yes, God invites us each to follow His Son through His restored Church and divinely-called prophets. But we are also each individual children of our Heavenly Parents, and God gives us our experiences and gifts that can allow us to serve in our own unique ways. There can be — and should be — diversity in our unity. 

Be sure to read through to the end. The quotes she includes are excellent.

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The way I see missionary work now is this: We have Preach My Gospel, we have the scriptures, the white handbook, and key indicators—all these things that the Apostles gave to us so that we can measure, be effective, and do it how the Lord wants us to bring the gospel to people. This is all like a framework. Scaffolding. These are our boundaries, our frames, how we work. But there NEEDS to be filling. A sidewalk cannot be created without cement. And what goes into that frame, that scaffolding, that filling, that is where we are individual. It is really HOW we connect with people. It is HOW we use our talents and abilities to connect and love and serve the people we are working with.  It is so important that we connect with them, that we help them. We use those talents and gifts and the things that make up US, ourselves, our backgrounds and experiences, which are all so different, which are all so special. And we plug all of those in to helping others—teaching and working as Preach My Gospel teaches us to, but plugging all of our talents and gifts through it so WE become the best missionaries and best people we can be.  We change because we are doing things the way the Apostles have directed, which comes from the Lord, AND we are being ourselves—not just “Elder” and “Sister,” but that I am being [me]. We NEED the scaffolding, otherwise the cement—the filling—has no form, and it doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t become what it needs to be. But on the other hand, the scaffolding alone is absolutely NOT enough. It doesn’t work. Only, solely, focusing on achieving the numbers fills the quota, it gets the frame, but it is so dry. It has no meaning. There is no point if there is no filling. 

I needed my companions, every single one of them. And I’m seeing more and more that each one is just a preparation for something further down the road. My trainer set me on my feet and was POWERFUL. She’s incredible. I love her SO MUCH. Ever so much. I needed her to be my trainer. There were things in my companionship with my second companion that prepared me so much better for things that would come later. Through all of this, I was figuring myself out—-who I am and what talents I can use as a missionary to bless the lives of others. I learned to be confident in those talents, and my time with the next companion was a lot of that. We were OURSELVES so that we could connect better with people. We accomplished a whole lot of good and a whole lot of connecting and a whole lot of healing. And I understood myself so much better. Me. Who I am. What strengths I have. What beauty I can bring into the world. I needed my previous companion to focus me back onto my purpose—to teach and help others receive this gospel with the end goals of baptism, temple, and eternal life. And now with my current companion, we’re hitting the balance. Figuring out ourselves. Our strengths.

I wondered for a long time why was sent here. I’m 20 years old. I’m a girl who has been a member my entire life, born and raised in Utah and never moved outside until I came on a mission. And I am supposed to tell people about God and how much He loves them, and that this little blue book [The Book of Mormon] will change their lives and improve them and pull them out of the deepest pits and darkest places in the world. My life has been really, really good. I’ve had challenges, which for me were difficult. But in comparison with others’ challenges, they were pretty minimal. But the thing I think I’ve seen is that I am ME because of all the experiences I’ve had. The person that makes up who I am comes from my relationships, my background, my story, and my story alone. I can’t be someone else’s story. This is ME. I am a 20-year-old woman, a daughter of God who is a missionary to tell these people here right now that the gospel has been restored. And I’m here to help people see that they are special. Each of us is a child of God, with our own story. Background. History. And no two of us are the same.
I was listening to President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Four Titles” and I LOVED this part: 
“But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences.
“The Church thrives when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen our fellow disciples.”
The thing is, God wants us to be different. We aren’t the same person for a REASON.  We have spiritual gifts—and we all have different ones—that all may be profited thereby. It goes completely against the plan of God that we should all be the same. And so, of course, we have different stories, and of course we have different backgrounds and experiences and gifts.  We are in places right now; God has led us to where we are at this very moment BECAUSE of everything we’ve been through. Every single part of us culminates to this moment, and how are you going to use it? We are in places where we can be a blessing to others, so use it. YOU are who you are and in the situation you are in because that’s where God needs you to be. 
And now applying that to missionary work. We as missionaries weren’t just called here to be all the same—the same kind of person, the exact same kind of missionary. We have guidelines and rules, which are our frame, our scaffolding. But the relationships that I create are going to be different than the ones that Sister Angeloudis creates, because that is an individual thing, and we each function differently. We’re different people. The way we show our love as missionaries is going to be unique to every single person. We have to plug all of those parts of ourselves to help others through Preach My Gospel and our calling as missionaries, and CONNECT and help and bless and care and lift and it is absolutely incredible.
There’s a balance. The two things work together –… the structure…along with loving and serving and connecting with people. 
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For more on the topic of balancing unity and diversity, see the following talks/articles:
Weightier Matters – Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Rejoice in Every Good Thing – Sister Chieko Okasaki
Unity in Diversity – Elder John C. Carmack
Unity – President Marion G. Romney
Equality through Diversity – Elder M. Russell Ballard
We also encourage you to see the film “Meet the Mormons” which will be released on October 10. More will be written about that soon. #meetthemormons