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Work of Salvation – Missionary Leadership Meeting

Work of Salvation

 

This afternoon my daughter, Alana, and I attended the Hastening the Work of Salvation leadership meeting in the Marriott Center on BYU campus in Provo. While I don’t have time to go into detail, I found the meeting very touching. I just wanted to point out some of the changes underway in missionary work and open the topic for discussion.

Today in many parts of the world, missionaries can spend fruitless hours knocking on doors where no one is home. And if they are, they aren’t often likely to let completely strangers into their homes. Missionaries will now spend much of the day time confirming appointments, responding to queries on Mormon.org, and using technology (including email, blogs, and social media (Facebook was specifically mentioned) as a means to spread the gospel.

Rather than remaining locked most of the day, churches will be opened for tours, to answer questions, and to teach about the gospel. 

Enormous effort will be put into truly making “every member a missionary.” Members, leaders, and missionaries will work together to spread the good news of the gospel. As members, our goal will be to “make sure missionaries are too busy to knock on doors” (if my memory serves).

I also think it’s worth mentioning that Elder Holland specifically said that before these changes occurred — and before the missionary age changes occurred last October (contrary to what some deduced) — not only were the Quorum of the 12 and the 70s involved, but the female auxiliary presidencies were also consulted and gave input on the decisions. He went further to say that he hoped all ward councils would work in a similar manner.

What do you think? How will this impact you? I’m excited to see these changes and think they will benefit missionary efforts worldwide.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Diane Jacob June 24, 2013, 9:04 am

    Dear Allison;
    I found your link in the wee hours of the morning. My yearly Coke should not be consumed at 6 pm. Because we visit and cook for my 92 year old dad in Bountiful every Sunday, my husband and I missed attending this meeting, but I watched it via the internet. It was a beautifully put together meeting and it made me wax nostalgic for the time when my 3 children were serving missions. I’m going to review it from a different point on the compass, not as a member missionary but as a parent who prays her inactive children will be the subject of a ward council’s prayers. Three of my 4 children currently do not attend church, 2 are returned missionaries and all have been endowed. Two of them jumped off the path, enticed by “new age” theories, the other deals with anxiety and an extreme form of Bi-Polar disorder. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for someone that has the sacred stewardship over them to truly befriend and love them, and not just have them be counted as a hatch mark on a chalk board. Also included in those prayers are pleas for them to feel the Savior’s arms around them in their hours of need and remember times in their lives where their testimonies were strong and true. I’m aware that the Lord’s time in not my time. I have been prone to weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth in a fetal position on the floor of my closet. I have a difficult time watching children in primary sing, knowing 6 of my grandkids are not learning the Savior’s teachings by attending Primary and feeling the love of their primary teachers. My question is, do the names on the church rolls that appear month after month as not attending reach out and touch a tender teacher’s heart? Or is the teacher too involved in their own life not to know that a lamb is missing from their fold and they need to leave the 99 to look for it? Or have they been told by others “Oh, don’t bother with them, we’ve tried”? I know I’m not the only parent whose children has let go of the “rod” and who every Sunday thinks about who is missing from the family pew. My most fervent prayer is for those that lead find those that have strayed from the flock and to be inspired how to do it. Go missionaries and Go, Go Go Ward Councils!!

  • Angie Gardner June 24, 2013, 10:44 am

    Diane, thanks for sharing your experience. There are so many falling away and I know it is the prayer of many parents that these ward councils will be able to bring them back to the fold, or at least to let them know they are loved and welcomed.

    I was surprised when we were looking at homes recently to find that 2 of the homes we were interested in are actually church members (I found this out by checking LDS maps to see if there were any members nearby – our geographic boundaries here in Michigan are rather large). Both were names I’d never heard of, and one of the homes was vacant so we know that member isn’t living there anymore. My husband is a newly-called bishop, and he mentioned that he really feels badly that he doesn’t know anything about these people and that he needs to do better to find out. I know he’s been out with the missionaries a few times since, trying to make contact with “lost” members.

    Regarding the meeting itself, I was a little confused about a couple of things but I’m sure the clarification will come as these programs start being used. I wasn’t sure if they want no tracting anymore at all? Or maybe just in some missions? In my mission tracting was never very fruitful, but one thing it did help with is finding less active members. In fact, we found several that we didn’t have records for. We also found an entire family where the dad had been baptized as a child but then his parents got divorced and he wasn’t raised in the church. We were able to teach his wife and 4 children. I could see them as I watched those video vignettes last night. It really is quite amazing to see something like that in action.

    I also was a little confused about the open church buildings. I got the impression there would be open houses? Or is it just that the building will open more frequently with hours posted? It was also mentioned that missionaries would be using computers at the church buildings, so perhaps what they mean is that there will be “office hours” so to speak while they hang out at the church and work on the computer and see if anyone stops by?

    At any rate, I am excited about the changes. It was a nice meeting. (I don’t have time to expound right now either.) :)

  • Tracy Keeney June 25, 2013, 9:45 pm

    Before I comment about the meeting, I’d like to respond to Diane.

    I understand!! I have two brothers who are completely inactive and have been for years. One of them has teenage and young adult children who have only been to LDS meetings once, at that was when they came to visit us. Other than that, they’ve been attending a Baptist church with their mother all their lives. They are very wonderful kids and devoted to the Lord, but naturally, we wish that they had the fullness of the gospel, temple blessings, etc. So both I, my mother and my one active brother have had similar thoughts, feelings and concerns about inactive/non-LDS family members as you do. My heart goes out to you!
    Having been Primary President, a counselor in the YW presidency on both the ward and stake levels, I have some experience with how children and youth sometimes never get contacted, and when they HAVE been sought after, both with and without success.
    When I was Primary President, I had just turned 22, had JUST gotten married and moved into my new ward. Up until then, my only callings were playing the piano in Sacrament meeting, directing the music in Sacrament meeting and Ward Choir Director. So I’d never been in a position of authority in an auxiliary, nor had I ever even had a class of students I was responsible for. And even though I had a primary board with counselors and teachers who were significantly older than me, I had very little help. I’ve “whined” about that experience in Primary on Mormon Momma before, but to sum it up, I was in a very small ward in the middle of the boondocks in po-dunk South Carolina, (I’d moved from a much larger, more active ward in the much bigger capital city of the state) and I’m not exaggerating at ALL when I say that I was sometimes ALONE in the primary room with all the kids. LITERALLY the only adult. Not one teacher, not one counselor, no pianist, no music leader– nada. And when I’d ask for help no one would come. The RS sisters were mostly old women who’d “done their time” in Primary and the younger mothers wanted to stay in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society because they were “with their children all the time and wanted grown-up time with the ladies.” On those occasions, which were far too often, I had to keep both the junior and senior primary kids together and do sharing time and lead singing time from the piano. Since there were no teachers, the kids had no classes to go to, so they had to stay in there with me the whole two hours and I had to fill the time. The truth is, I don’t remember it even DAWNING on me to contact the kids on my roster who weren’t coming. I was young, inexperienced, untrained, and frankly, overwhelmed by what I had to do, often by myself, with the kids I DID have in attendance, let alone the ones I didn’t. If I DID ever try to contact any of them, I don’t recall it. But I probably didn’t. Of course, I’m sure there’s very rarely a situation like the one I was in and the vast majority of Primary Presidents aren’t in that dire of a situation. But, with all the responsibilities they already have, I can see how contacting less-active members might honestly just “slip” the mind. I’ve been in Primary presidencies since then and the amount of work is staggering. When it’s divided evenly and people FULFILL their responsibilities, it’s certainly MUCH easier. But so often, one finds themselves having to make up for someone else’s lack. In such a missionary minded church, where we’re supposed to be seriously engaged in “finding the one” , it SHOULD be right near the top of the list. It should certainly be brought up during Ward Council meetings– but I’ll be honest. I don’t EVER remember attending one myself during that first presidency calling– and the truth is, I don’t remember even knowing I was SUPPOSED to go to them.
    A few years later, when I was in the ward YW presidency, I had a very different experience. Our Bishop was very clear in our responsibility to “shepherd” our girls, INCLUDING those who weren’t coming. Some of the names were ones we knew, but others we’d never even heard of. Some of the names had addresses, but no phone numbers, or incorrect ones. We did our best to contact them by mail or by phone call, we even had the girls send cards and invitations to activities, but we NEVER had success with that. They never responded. So, we printed out a list of every single girl that was either less-active or completely inactive and spent an entire day knocking on doors. (And we had very LARGE ward boundaries that went way into the inner city, and pretty far out into the suburbs– if someone didn’t answer in the morning, we went back later in the day trying to catch them then.) We were surprised at how many of them no longer lived at the address the church had for them. In fact, that was the case for the majority of them. Several times, we got an earful from an angry parent who chewed us out for bothering them or asked “why it is that every time we tell you people to stop harassing us, you show up again a few years later? Leave us alone!” Of all the girls on our list ( it was many years ago, but if I remember correctly we had a list of 15 of inactive girls) we only got into 2 homes.
    With each sister being assigned Visiting Teachers, and each family being assigned Home Teachers, and your grandchildren having Primary teachers and auxiliary leaders who have their names on rolls, it’s very possible that over the years and through several people serving in those callings and companionships, that your children and or grandchildren HAVE been contacted, and they are rejecting the invitation and not letting the kids attend either. If they live in Utah, then half (or even more) of their neighbors are ward members and your grandchildren go to school everyday with other members– who’ve ALSO at some point have likely chatted with your children and invited them and your children to church and/or a ward/primary activity. Out of curiosity, have your children specifically told you that no one has ever contacted them? It’s IS plausible. (I can totally see it happening in that ward back in South Carolina!) Of course, it’s also possible that your kids wouldn’t necessarily tell you the truth about people trying to reach out to them because they want to give the excuse about “church members just being a bunch of hypocrites who don’t really care anyway”– a common fallback excuse I’ve heard several times myself from people who’ve been reached out to over and over again).
    On the other hand, we have to admit that there ARE people who simply do NOT fulfill their callings the way they should, who aren’t as committed as they should be, who shy away from having to contact inactive members for fear of being rejected or yelled at, etc– that’s for certain. I hope that’s not the case for your children and grandchildren. That would be tragic.
    I sincerely hope that someone with a loving and sincere heart WILL step up and be able to impact your children and their families for good!

    Now– on to the meeting!
    It was INCREDIBLE and I honestly walked out with the thought “Wow, that was almost better than general conference”, and actually felt a little guilty for thinking it!
    As someone who has missionaries living in an apartment attached to the back of my home, I’m very interested in learning how the newly allowed use of computers and Facebook will work. We JUST had one of our Elders sent home because of breaches of Internet use among other things. They’ve been allowed to go the public library to use the computers to email home (as opposed to hand-writing letters and sending them through the post office) once a week on their P-day– and to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s a local mission thing or a worldwide thing. I did notice that the info about using computers specifically said they’d have access to CHURCH computers for doing their Facebooking and communications with investigators– so I’m guessing they might be monitored by someone else at the church while using them? It will be interesting to see how this pans out!

  • Oregonian June 26, 2013, 8:55 am

    good meeting and i like the comments here. thanks everybody.

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