Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

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nibbler
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Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by nibbler » 06 Jan 2014, 12:28

I had an internal debate... Support or General Discussion? In the end I sided with the General Discussion even though the topic of hastening the work is quickly becoming an issue for me.

First off a bit of background. A long time ago I came across something in a church manual that stated that we should avoid "gospel hobbies." I think it may have been an old gospel principles manual, I no longer recall. Anyway, I was young and uncultured (even more than I am now) so when I came across that I tepidly pressed for clarification. Does this mean I can't play guitar? No Brother Nibbler, you can still play guitar and put together model airplanes. So what does avoid gospel hobbies mean? I'm not very articulate, so I'll let someone else define it:

Recently Quentin L. Cook had an article in the Ensign, Looking beyond the Mark, where he mentions the dangers of gospel hobbies. BTW, the article also has some interesting and poignant things to say with respect to many topics currently being discussed on this site. It's worth a read.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2003/03/look ... k?lang=eng
Another sign of spiritual immaturity and sometimes apostasy is when one focuses on certain gospel principles or pursues “gospel hobbies” with excess zeal. Almost any virtue taken to excess can become a vice.
...
We are looking beyond the mark when we elevate any one principle, no matter how worthwhile it may be, to a prominence that lessens our commitment to other equally important principles or when we take a position that is contrary to the teachings of the Brethren.
For the sake of focusing on the discussion I'll ignore that bit about taking positions contrary to the teachings of the brethren.

Here lately it feels like Hastening the Work™ ( :twisted: ) has become a gospel hobby. A church sanctioned gospel hobby. Over the last 6 weeks hastening the work, specifically missionary work, has been the sole topic of the majority of our meetings. When I say majority I really mean it. Some weeks we've abandoned the manuals during SS in favor of talking about this new direction and if it's not a 2nd or 3rd Sunday hastening the work will be the subject at hand. It's been the subject of two of the last three sacrament meetings. I wonder how much spiritual nutrition people that aren't in tune with missionary work are receiving from week to week. Is this a fairly common experience or is this more limited to my local unit?

I'll go ahead and mention some other connotations that I've associated with the phrase "Hastening the work"
  • If I'm in a hurry to do something at work I'm more apt to make mistakes.
  • I think of the scripture "it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." Or problems that arise when the branches outgrow the root.
  • This year's theme appears to be hasten the work, missionary work. I anticipate a glut of retention work among people that don't want to be retained in the near future.
  • It really feels like the love is being stripped out of missionary work. Hasten is being translated into metrics like doubling the number of lessons taught, doubling the number of baptisms, etc.
There are also some aspects of hastening the work (D&C 88:73) that aren't touched upon, namely verse 74.
And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean;
I've only heard hastening the work in the context of missionary work, but the scripture immediately after the one that is cited every Sunday now implies that we should first seek to cleanse the inner vessel. When the subject of hastening missionary work comes up I take every opportunity to state that all of our efforts won't do any good if we aren't ministering to the flock we already have. This goes back to the comment of not running faster than we are able.

As I type this I am reminded that as WML I have a stake level meeting coming up on how I specifically can hasten the work. It's an intimate meeting, I will be called on and I'll have to find a way to be true to myself and toe the line at the same time. I hope I'm having a good day the day of the meeting, otherwise I might let one fly. ;) Still I think I will politely voice my concerns with love and let the consequences follow.

Truth be told I think I'm already sick of hearing (and typing) the phrase "Hasten the Work." It feels more like a phrase that was plucked out of a random scripture to serve as a neat sounding corporate buzzword to motivate the sales force. My stage 4 is taking over gotta resist, regroup and find the love buried within the vision. Feel free to lace into me BTW.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Jan 2014, 12:58

Yes, it is - and no, it isn't.

It depends entirely on the person / people being discussed, since it's just another way to say, "Share the Gospel / Do missionary work" - and that message has been a central drumbeat for a long time.

It's mentioned in my ward - but no more often than it would have been even without the phrase-change - so, in my ward (and many others), it's not a gospel hobby. It sounds like in your ward, and many others, it is.
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Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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GodisLove
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by GodisLove » 06 Jan 2014, 14:17

Holy cow....are you in my ward? Not only has it been a huge topic of church conversation but the entire focus on Ward Council meetings for the last 6 months (maybe not last month, I was released). Yesterday we had 3 testimonies that were "assigned" and asked to speak on missionary work.

I read that article before and found that very quote glaring.
nibbler wrote:As I type this I am reminded that as WML I have a stake level meeting coming up on how I specifically can hasten the work. It's an intimate meeting, I will be called on and I'll have to find a way to be true to myself and toe the line at the same time. I hope I'm having a good day the day of the meeting, otherwise I might let one fly. ;) Still I think I will politely voice my concerns with love and let the consequences follow.
What has really concerned me about this whole push is the lack of awareness and kindness that is shown to those who are not interested in church right now. In our area it is really difficult for leaders to wrap their head around someone not being interested or able to find happiness without the church. They are offending and making life difficult for some people. Maybe others are lifted up but they are too lopsided for me to see this as successful.

I hope you find a way to share what you feel because it needs to be heard. It was the nail in the coffin for me and I was released over not following orders. As Cwald says, "do what is right and let the consequence follow". I kept my integrity, got me fired but that is okay.

BTW, my kid loves your avatar. I don't keep this site open but he saw it on my phone one day and just saw it again.
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In Thy mercy have a share?
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Merit Thy protecting care?
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nibbler
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by nibbler » 06 Jan 2014, 15:06

Hmm... I just might be in your ward. HtW has been the mantra in ward council and PEC for months and has more recently bled over into dominating the three hour block.

I wonder if we'll talk about HtW next Sunday? :think:

And yes, I agree. Missionary work has been a central drumbeat for a long time. They swapped out the stale snare for some hip bongos. My experience is that some leaders really, and I mean really like the sound of the phrase HtW. They've really found something with their new catchphrase... but there are weirdos like me that start to see it in the same light as a Pitbull Dr. Pepper commercial that plays twice per commercial break during the NCAA Tourney.
The next guy that says it wrote:Hasten the...
Me wrote:AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
P.S. Thanks for allowing the vent. Despite what the text wall would indicate I'm still in a jovial mood about it all.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by SilentDawning » 06 Jan 2014, 15:45

There has probably been an emphasis on this at the top of the hierarchy somewhere. It will pass as I have found organizations have a really hard time sustaining initiatives for long -- except when they have paid people in place. The influx of female missionaries is another symptom of the emphasis at the top of the hierarchy -- I heard years ago that the rate of membership growth has been slowing, and I it wouldn't surprise me if this is simply an manifestation of the emphasis on missionary work the church is making to keep the gains happening.

This too shall pass -- the only thging tghat will keep it going is the influx of more missionaries and mission presidents as its the full time mission that keeps the work moving, in my experience.
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by On Own Now » 06 Jan 2014, 16:16

Missionary work has been a relative constant all my life, but occasionally, it does get more emphasis for awhile. Sounds like we are in that mode right now. I suspect that it has something to do with the missionary bubble that we are currently in. When the age change announcement was made in Oct, 2012, there were a lot of people that were suddenly eligible. So, a bunch of new missionaries went out. Right now, missions are bursting at the seams and we haven't hit the peak. Late this summer, we will see the first wave of sister missionaries start to come home and by summer, 2015, we should be at a more sustained population of missionaries. An emphasis on member missionary work helps to take advantage of that missionary bubble... leveraging it.
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Ann
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Ann » 06 Jan 2014, 17:24

nibbler wrote:
Here lately it feels like Hastening the Work™ ( :twisted: ) has become a gospel hobby. A church sanctioned gospel hobby. Over the last 6 weeks hastening the work, specifically missionary work, has been the sole topic of the majority of our meetings. When I say majority I really mean it. Some weeks we've abandoned the manuals during SS in favor of talking about this new direction and if it's not a 2nd or 3rd Sunday hastening the work will be the subject at hand. It's been the subject of two of the last three sacrament meetings. I wonder how much spiritual nutrition people that aren't in tune with missionary work are receiving from week to week. Is this a fairly common experience or is this more limited to my local unit?
It's pretty much what's happening in my ward/stake. My parents wouldn't have joined the church if, when they went, this was all that was talked about. I think someone here quoted Joseph Campbell recently, and it's stuck with me: "Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." Seems like sacrament meeting is the place for "the reveal" - not a time to talk about the tactical details of gospel-sharing.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

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"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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nibbler
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by nibbler » 06 Jan 2014, 18:14

The Sunday before last was 5th Sunday and I was asked to use the time to talk about our unit's upcoming missionary goals. Investigators were present and I really felt for them. They got to see a lot of sausage being made that Sunday.
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Orson » 06 Jan 2014, 20:09

My first thought came while reading this:
We are looking beyond the mark when we elevate any one principle, no matter how worthwhile it may be, to a prominence that lessens our commitment to other equally important principles...
There may be many principles that have roughly equal importance, but one stands clearly above all the rest. The great commandment is Love, Charity is the greatest of all. If we are to focus or elevate one thing above others it is easy to point to this one. I am grateful that in my ward the emphasis is on loving our neighbors (both inside and outside the church) and then let other opportunities to share come where they may. This to me is the gospel of Christ and the core principle that I can easily embrace 100%.

If anything distracts us from this central commandment I agree we are getting out of line.
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 07 Jan 2014, 04:45

I agree with Orson. Charity, the pure love of Christ, should be our first priority. It's really easy to obsess over living any gospel principle. I agree that the church is a bit obsessed with hastening the work, although my ward isn't too obsessed with it. I also think our church is too obsessed with avoiding pornography.

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