Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

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

Post by TataniaAvalon » 07 Jan 2014, 07:05

I do think there is a very strong emphasis on this. The last Sunday of 2013 my bishop gave a talk on the chapter in Jacob about the orchard and one of our ward goals is to reach out to one person and bring them to Christ (meaning the church). It absolutely made me livid. There seems to be a baptize them and forget about them attitude. My former roommate was baptized about 6 months ago and I have not seen her once since. Plus I've been going to the same ward since Feb and still get asked if I'm new to church. Instead of focusing on baptizing people I think the church should focus on fellowshipping the people who need and want it

brit-exmo
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Post by brit-exmo » 07 Jan 2014, 10:10

Same here big push on missionary work in my reward lots of talks and even a special family fireside when they busted out the preach my gospel manual, plus WML has been swapped out for the "ultra tbm" yes man of the ward

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nibbler
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Re:

Post by nibbler » 07 Jan 2014, 11:32

brit-exmo wrote:plus WML has been swapped out for the "ultra tbm" yes man of the ward
Maybe our unit will follow suit sometime soon.
Orson wrote: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.
I was discussing things with DW the other day, she had a healthier perspective than what is typically presented in church and it meshes well with what you said. Let the opportunities come.

It has been my experience that missionary work is often presented as something that requires members to create opportunity, even where none exists. If you aren't finding people for the missionaries to teach you lack the requisite faith or you simply aren't trying hard enough. I really don't feel any love behind the work when I start getting pushed like that and I know that others won't feel loved with any attempt to shoehorn the church into every conversation or to constantly look for openings to discuss the gospel. It doesn't feel genuine.

On Own Now, SilentDawning:
Thanks for the perspective. I've unconsciously witnessed surges and declines in the missionary effort, now I am conscious of the massive upsurge mainly due to my calling. Thanks for the reminder that this too shall pass.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

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

Post by fnts » 07 Jan 2014, 12:53

I do feel like we are putting serious pressure on our members to get out and convert people. But I also don't think we're doing the missionaries any favors. In our community of ~1200-1400 people - half of which are LDS - we have two missionary companionships. So each companionship has roughly 300 prospective investigators. Based on my own guesses, I would break those people into these groups:

People unaware of the LDS church - 0%
People who hate the LDS church - 33%
People who just want the LDS church to leave them alone - 60%

That leaves roughly 21 people who might be willing to talk with the missionaries. Honestly that number is probably a little high. And after being hounded by the members / missionaries those people will move quickly to the "leave me alone" group. We haven't had a convert baptism in our ward in at least a couple years.

Years ago I was the WML. I was TBM at the time, and we only had one companionship. But it was still one of the hardest callings I've ever had. I had a very difficult time trying to find things for them to do. I think we had one baptism during the two years I was WML. A young man that went inactive a few months after being baptized.

Now with the increase in the number of missionaries, I hear we may be getting another companionship. I can't help but scratch my head and wonder who is making these decisions. The members are also getting tired of having them come by all the time. This is not a good time to be a missionary.

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

Post by Ann » 07 Jan 2014, 14:12

Orson wrote: 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%.
I know I've quoted it before but it really seems to fit in this thread. From Richard Bushman's "On the Road with Joseph Smith" (p. 105-6):

I wrote to Elder Holland [in 2006] about a rough patch ahead as animosity to religion keeps growing. I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ. Instead of speaking triumphantly of the gospel sweeping the earth, could we think of ourselves as the leaven in the lump, standing for righteousness and serving others? I wish we had a long track record of kindness and friendship to fall back on, with less stress on proselyting. Then when the storms break around us, we would have friends to turn to. Our covenant with God is to bless the people of the earth. That should be our motto. Establishing Zion does not mean sweeping vast masses of people onto our membership records but creating a people of God dedicated to blessing others. Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship, and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve.

Of course there are many "moving parts" to consider when creating this people of God, but his overall tone is what I like, and the suggestion that maybe there are things we need to change.
Last edited by Ann on 07 Jan 2014, 15:42, edited 1 time in total.
"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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mom3
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by mom3 » 07 Jan 2014, 14:54

Thank you Ann,

You have remarked on it before and quoted smaller parts, but never the full paragraph. It resonates deeply with me. I read it twice to make sure, but I am nearly positive - it is a similar personal envision-ment that keeps me staying connected.

I believe or have faith in the "city on a hill" "candle on top of a bushel" idea. I think I have my whole life. I have never been a proselyter. But the hope of a more generous God, an emotional as well as physical binding up of families, peoples, so on. These I love. I love that I chose this life - that my choice here affects tomorrow - and the tomorrow doesn't need to be nebulous.

I am copying this one and keeping as my personal motto. Thanks.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Jan 2014, 15:46

Whenever I have the opportunity, I make that basic point - that, in many places, we are beyond the proselyte stage and in a situation where we need to focus on true service and establishing Zion (a community of acceptance and love).

I really do believe in the principle of, "If you build it, they will come."
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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

Post by QuestionAbound » 08 Jan 2014, 04:02

MY ward is ALL about this as well!
:think: :think:

In fact, WC meetings is a great big missionary discussion.
Absolutely no calendering can be discussed (I tried...repeatedly to bring up calendar issues and was shot down each time).
We may have the occasional welfare need...as it relates to missionary work. lol.

I will say that in the beginning, HtW sounded a bit exciting. i mean, what could possibly be about to happen that we need to "hurry"? And...not a whole lot is about to happen, so I think many members who were expecting something great and exciting are now feeling a little deflated.

In our ward, we meet twice a year to go over the ward roster (well, when I was in a position of leadership) and each time we meet, we discuss the. same. people. And each time "someone" makes notes to send their records to SLC or to visit them and ask about their interest level. And each time "someone" failed to do it before.
Our WML says (and I actually agree), if someone is antagonistic or doesn't even remember being baptized, remove their names from the church records. Bring them a letter to sign that says, "Get me the heck out of this organization." and simply be done with them. They know were we are if they change their minds, but after 50 years of yelling at ward members who approach their door, it's time to cut the line.

Alas, our kind bishop says that we need to keep them in the flock. So we talk about them twice a year in a wasted meeting.

But, to answer your question again, the focus IS very much on missionary work in my unit as well.
I do hope it's a "fad" and fades soon.

I like the idea of focusing on charity.

Maybe if we start to teach doctrine/principles like charity, missionary work will likely follow.

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

Post by nibbler » 09 Jan 2014, 09:42

I had my meeting. I hate to even report but at the same time I do feel that open discussion is often cathartic.

I mentioned my concerns that it felt like we were perhaps making HtW too much of a focus. How I really felt for our investigators and worried about what their perception of the church might be when they visit and the sole focus appears to be motivating members to do missionary work. I then sat back and listened, more to the feelings that I was receiving rather than specific things that were being said. An attempt to reconnect to the spirit.

I have to confess, I felt like I was missing the charity that was evident in the comments being made by my peers but I have a very different opinion of missionary work than that of the church. The response I got back was unified, namely HtW is motivated out of love for others. It was an interesting experience. From the perspective of a strict TBM I saw how these bretheren felt love toward people in the work they were doing. At the same time I don't feel the love when the conversation veers into the realm of metrics and how we can ensure that goals are being met by church members.

Things that made me a bit uneasy:
  • Share the gospel knowing that people will not be able to see the face of their heavenly father if they do not receive the ordinances. I'm not particularly worried about such a thing. I was put in my place in that meeting, I knew I lacked love, at least on some levels, and I with my deficient love would never reject a child over such a simple thing. If a father in heaven has perfect love, why would he? Besides, if ordinances are that important they can take place at any time.
  • HtW is the biggest thing to happen to the world since the first vision. I looked this up afterwards. The actual quote was fairly close:
    L. Tom Perry wrote:This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel...
I needed to regroup and rediscover my path after that experience. Am I simply missing charity in my life (regardless, I know I need to work on this) or is my charity simply different than that of a TBM? I feel like in some ways I love people by leaving them alone or by allowing them to continue in what makes them happy without trying to convince them that we have some monopoly on happiness.

Make no mistake, they are truly great men. No arguing that at all. The experience left me with lots of questions. Does the church produce men like this or is it just the case that men like this can be found in any walk of life? Do I want to follow their example? Would the church help mold me into a man like that? etc.

After the meeting I was feeling a bit strange so I did something that I probably would have voluntarily committed myself over just a few short years ago. I left the meeting and went to the temple. I just sat out in front. I wanted to feel the pain of the bitter cold so I didn't bring my coat. I sat directly in front of the temple, reminding myself of the warmth and comfort to be found inside. I wanted to create temporal discomfort and juxtapose it with spiritual discomfort and let the symbols and meanings flow. They did.
Last edited by nibbler on 09 Jan 2014, 09:46, edited 1 time in total.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Has hastening the work become a gospel hobby?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jan 2014, 09:46

Fascinating - and it's a really good reminder that people feel love and motivation in different ways.

Don't worry as much about being like anyone else as about really expressing love in ways that are authentic to you. One of my favorite quotes is:
You were born an original. Don't become a copy.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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