In the early days of the church the missionaries were sent out one by one rather than in pairs.There's a story of one young Elder who started out on foot without purse or script to begin his missionary labors. With a napsack full of copies of the Book of Mormon he came upon a small town. Confidently he proceeded to the town square where the people gathered as he began his first sermon.

Well, in small towns such as this one, word travels fast. The local minister was one of the first to hear the rumour. The minister just happened to be good friends with the local sheriff. For fear of losing members of his congregation he went to the sheriff and asked him to boot this Elder out of town.

Accordingly the sheriff marched down to the town square and placing his thumbs in his gun belt, told the Elder to high-tail it out of town or he'd be thrown in jail for disrupting the peace.

The Elder girding up his loins and grabbing his napsack turned and headed on to the next town. Upon reaching the outskirts of town, he was wondering where the Lord would lead him. He knelt in prayer for guidance. No answer came so he decided to continue his journey. The farther he walked, the more he felt that he should return to the town where he had just been rejected. He turned to go back knowing that this was the will of the Lord.

He went back again to the town square and again went on with his preaching. People gathered around and again rumors began to spread ... again reaching the town minister. He was angry, the minister arrived at the sheriff's saying, "I thought I told you to get that Mormon boy out of town." Surprised the sheriff said that he did as he grabbed his deputy and headed for the center of town.

"Boy, you wanna spend the better the better part of your life in jail?"
"No sit, but the Lord has ..."
"Don't give me any of this 'Lord' stuff! I told you to get out of town, what happened?" quizzed the sheriff.
"I was about to tell you ..." explained the Elder, "when you ..."
"Never mind," interrupted the sheriff, and handing him a piece of paper said "here is what you can do ..."

ow the sheriff wanted to embarass the lad in a way that he wouldn't dare again set foot in 'his' town. All the towns people were watching as the sheriff told him to take a piece of paper and with one single, straight tear, make that paper into a cross. He told the Elder that if he could do this small task that he would let him stay and preach to the people and he would even listen. He had made a laughing stock out of the Elder as the towns people waited with anticipation.

The Elder lowered his head and said a prayer. He opened his eyes and began to fidget with the paper, folding it this way and that way, and unfolding it again. Sweat streaming down his face as the crowd impatiently watched. Finally the Elder slowly began tearing his one, straight tear. The crowd hushed. He finished tearing and started unfolding the pieces one by one. The sheriff winked with a confident countenance at the minister who was a ways back in the crowd.

He carefulloy unfolded the pieces and the last one was the ross. The Elders prayer had been answered as he held it up. The sheriff slipped secretly into the crowd as the Elder began to speak. "There's a story about this cross that I want to share with you: Once there was a very special man by the name of Jesus Christ. The people of that time hated him and had him killed because He taught that He was the Son of God. They nailed him to a cross like this one, up on an himm called Calvary or Golgotha. They nailed a plaque above his head on the cross which read "King of the Jews." They hung the innocent Savior between two thieves, one on his left side and one on his right. One of the thieves mocking the Savior said, "If you are the King of the Jews, why don't you save us and save yourself too?" The other thief rebuked the first and the Savior told him, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise." The wicked Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus's robe, and then to make sure that the Savior was dead, they pierced his side with a spear.

Now the wicked people that didn't believe in the Savior have a warm place prpared for them in the eternities. But those who followed the Savior and kept his commandments will go to heaven because of this important quality. Not only did His followers LOVE him, but He had a great love for mankind. Dying for us as a perfect sacrifice for sin enables us to live again with him if we live worthily. Why did he do these things? ... Because He LOVES us. He LOVES us so much he gave us the greatest gift ever: The opportunity to liv again with him.

The Parable of the Paper Cross