I used to think I belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ, but I have discovered this past year, that I actually belong to the Church of Missionary Work, or as it's more affectionately called: Hastening the Work. Unless you've been living under a rock I'm sure you've heard of it too. A year or so ago, while I was then serving as the Young Women's president in our ward, our Stake President began a new program called, Hasten the Work of Salvation. Which was a focus on missionary and rescue efforts in the wards, being led by the auxiliary leaders. From what I remember, it was kind of a flow chart with the general idea being that, each leader was to bring 2 names from inactive or part member families that the missionaries could teach, so they could meet their 20 lessons per week goal. Our weekly Ward Counsel meetings were now going to alternate each week with a Ward Missionary Counsel meeting, where plans for the activation of these individuals were assigned, also our weekly presidency meetings were supposed to include these missionary efforts.
Next I began to see an increase in missionary topic sacrament meetings, by a large measure. To the point that, it seemed that was all we were talking about. All of this missionary effort made me come to a few conclusions. One that struck me immediately was that as the Young Women's leader, I was never asked if I was willing to head up this new missionary effort in the ward. If I had been, I would have told the Bishop that I wasn't. Not because I was fearful of it, I just basically don't believe in it very much. Second, as our focus turned to missionary work in Sacrament meeting, I didn't hear much about Christ, even though Nephi says, we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ. You would think you would hear a lot about Christ, if you are talking about converting people to him, but surprisingly no, there wasn't! My husband and I were gone to Idaho for the summer, the first sacrament meeting that we returned home, the High Councilor spoke on, you guessed it, missionary work! Again, not much about Christ in that message either. It was mostly a recount of a bunch of failed missionary attempts. I wasn't sure if his stories were supposed to be inspiring or "don't let this happen to you" examples.
The thought has occurred to me on more than one occasion as we talk endlessly about missionary work, that if there really happened to be an investigator at church, wouldn't they begin to think that they were one of these people that everyone is being "encouraged" to bring to church to convert, and wouldn't they want to run for the door. Not only that, but if there was an investigator there, they certainly weren't being fed the gospel of Christ, they were getting an extra helping of the gospel of The Church of Missionary Work, and who would want to join that? I have always thought that if we just talked of Christ, rejoiced in Christ, and preached of Christ, as Nephi said we do, the missionary efforts would increase on their own without the new man made programs. We would be better people, we would serve and treat others out of love, and per chance that someone did enter through our doors looking for a church that taught about Christ, they would find one.