Sunday, June 23, 2013

Liveblogging The Work Of Salvation Mission President Seminar

By Common Consent is also live-blogging the meeting; between the two of us, you should get a good picture of what's going on. Mormon Newsroom has now published a story about the meeting and links to the archived video.

-- Elder Jeffrey Holland (Q12) is the first speaker and is conducting. President Thomas Monson will be there later.

Elder Holland says look to the Seventies for examples on how to do missionary work. Direction and guidance will come through the Area Seventies. Elder Holland is already talking up the old Member-Missionary Councils.

-- Elder L. Tom Perry (Q12) is up next.

New missionaries will be doing the same things missionaries have always done -- preach the Gospel. Bishops will identify each part-member family, less-active family, and new converts. Less emphasis on door-to-door tracting. More Internet outreach, including Facebook. Missionaries will be allowed to use the Internet much more for scheduling and confirming appointments and other similar tasks. This increased Internet outreach will be implemented incrementally -- mission presidents will be notified when they can implement it in their missions.

Members must also change how they think about missionary work. Ward councils will have their role magnified; they will identify those investigators most promising, as well as less-active members, and direct full-time missionaries towards those people. All members of the Church, regardless of level of activity, will be encouraged to share the Gospel more frequently with their friends and associates, then refer the most promising contacts to the full-time missionaries.

-- After a musical interlude, Elder Holland noted that we fear sharing the Gospel because we might offend people. But the Great Commission remains in place -- to preach the Gospel unto every creature.

-- Elder Neil Andersen (Q12) is up next.

Elder Andersen talked about ward council activities he witnessed recently in Florida. Interaction between the bishop, the ward council, and the missionaries was the key to success. They sought the Lord's guidance as to who they should approach, and they were surprised at the impressions they received from the Spirit. The Lord led them to people who had expressed no prior interest in the Church. The ward got more personally involved, and inactives and converts felt the Spirit more strongly when they attended services. As President Monson once said, when we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help. Elder Andersen also showed clips of him interviewing ward leaders over in Hong Kong who are employing a more interactive approach. Wishing won't make it so; action is necessary. In some cases, the Lord would not bless a ward with new converts until the ward took better care of existing members.

Elder Andersen also referred to the new website entitled “Hastening the Work of Salvation: A Unified Effort in Conversion, Retention, and Activation” (now online), which will provide information and help for priesthood leaders, for ward councils and ward mission leaders, and for members and missionaries.

-- Musical interlude

-- Elder Russell M. Nelsen (Q12) is up next. This talk impresses me as one of the most detailed and informative talks of the session.

Elder Nelsen noted that the increase of missionaries is a sign that the Lord is hastening is work. Current events throughout the world indicate a need for this increase. He presented the account of a 22-year-old lady who was converted to the Church. Despite her questions and skepticism, she kept seeing the missionaries, and everything came back top the basic Plan of Salvation. She prayed for a witness to the Book of Mormon, and she heard a voice in her heart that said "It's true". She requested baptism the following day. To get her thinking about redeeming her kindred dead, her first Church calling was to the genealogy committee. She also ended up married in the Salt Lake Temple just 13 months after her baptism. Interaction between ward members and missionaries was cited as positive, but also her kindred dead were given credit for influencing her.

Elder Nelsen also cited an interesting parable in which he likened ferreting out less active members with a father looking for a child who was missing from the breakfast table.

The role of the ward mission leader is being magnified and expanded. Two people in each ward set the pace for missionary work; the bishop, and the ward mission leader. While the bishop provides general supervision, the mission leader directs missionary work and holds coordination meetings with the full-time missionaries. We are not to be slaves to handbooks; while handbooks tell us what to do, they do not tell us how to do it.

-- President Boyd K. Packer (Q12) will follow by remote video.

President Packer says the Holy Spirit is the primary generating power after all we can do. Although the Priesthood provides the teaching power, no power can come close to the power of a mother. President Packer also reminded people of the importance of obedience. Trust the scriptures. He bore his simple but eloquent testimony that the Restoration is true.

-- President Thomas S. Monson is up next.

President Monson expressed appreciation for the condolences expressed upon the death of his wife. President Monson says we'll be blessed if we follow the counsel given by all today to go forth and teach all nations, baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Missionary work is much more than "tracting"; it's about personal interaction. Members and missionaries must come together and form a seamless mix to share the Gospel effectively. He shared stories about corroborative experiences while a young missionary in Canada.

This effectively concludes the meeting. While it may not have risen to its billing by some as "historic", it was quite useful, and has the imprimatur of the Top Fifteen behind it. It was a worthwhile two-hour investment of time.

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