Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The One Fold Mission of the Church


  We just had stake conference this last Sunday and as I sat there with my family listening to the various talks I was struck by their similarity.  Every single talk that was given was entirely focused on bringing other people into the church.  Whether it was through inviting them to dinner, giving them a BOM, or sharing family history it was all about advertising the church to others.  I felt like I was viewing a web page where all I could see were ads and the content was lost somewhere in-between.

According to the Church website there is supposed to be this Three-Fold Mission involving:
  1. Sharing the Gospel
  2. Perfecting the Saints
  3. Redeeming the Dead
 I don't think I have ever really heard any talks that revolve around points 2 and 3 on this list.  I mean sure I have heard talks about how guilty we are of sin in an effort to make us feel so guilty that we have the desire to run off weeping and throw ourselves at the mercy of the bishop in an effort to repent.  But NOTHING about how one could actually become a better person in the community, to each other, or at school, work, or friends and family.  

 All they every seem to be able to manage with point 2 is that you SHOULD do it but never how exactly.  It's almost as if they don't actually know how, or are so focused on point 1 that they either don't care or have no time left over to explain it.  I just sat in the back of the meeting wondering what any non-members in the audience would be thinking. After all this really was just a bold declaration of the church's intentions, "Hey if you're not yet a member we want to make you one!"  I wonder how I could have overlooked this obvious self-propagation my whole life.  I guess Mormons really are good at turning a blind eye.

 And redeeming the dead?  What was the last time you heard anyone get up in sacrament meeting and give a talk on that subject?  The closest to that I can recall is an announcement that the youth would be doing baptisms or that ward temple night would be this Friday (feel free to feel guilty for not going).  Of course there is the watered down version where the focus is on genealogy (which will fill the lists at the temple for others to do the work for the dead.)


 Every week seems to be the same thing.  Even the classes are the same way, everything being centered around getting other people into the church.  I'm sure I'm not alone in this observation that the church is more focused on expanding its membership rather than trying to improve the lives of the members living within it.  Sure some classes get beyond that a little but I know that Elders Quorum meetings center around pushing people to do their home-teaching and various methods of sharing the church with others using stories of how someone else managed to share the gospel in some inspiring way that makes my want to *face-palm*.


 The really funny thing to me is that the church has done such an amazing job in scaring members away from the evils of those outside the church that people are too afraid to have any contact with those evil corrupted-by-satan non-members that the thought of bringing them into the home is terrifying.  I mean, *GASP*, what would happen if THEY wanted to share their beliefs! Oops, I mean spread their lies and poison from the grasp that Satan has on them.  Because they know that non-members are just waiting to jump at the chance to deceive them using the silver tongued lies of the devil.
For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it -- D&C 123:12
 Well I think everyone knows about Mormon missionaries so I don't think the argument of not knowing where the Mormon-truth is located would be a valid argument.  And couldn't that apply to members as well?  Wouldn't all denominations indicate that many members have been deceived?  Whoops I guess Joseph Smith forgot to include that all important word "other" to say all other denominations.  I'm sure the church will eventually put out a corrected version for that omission later.

 I guess the alternative to hearing talks about missionary work would be testimony meetings with thank-you-monies and travelogues; when people get to stand up at the pulpit and declare, between tearful sobs, how thankful they are from the bottom of their heart for the various trials in their life, or all about their latest gossip with a little fiber-of-their-being sprinkled in at the end for good measure.  As a missionary  I used to cringe when it was time to attend testimony meeting because I never knew what oddities I was going hear.   Now I go for the entertainment value of it all.  I once heard a thank-you-mony that sounded nearly exactly like an acceptance speech at the academy awards.


5 comments:

  1. Hey Senigami,

    When you said this,

    The really funny thing to me is that the church has done such an amazing job in scaring members away from the evils of those outside the church that people are too afraid to have any contact with those evil corrupted-by-satan non-members that the thought of bringing them into the home is terrifying. I mean, *GASP*, what would happen if THEY wanted to share their beliefs! Oops, I mean spread their lies and poison from the grasp that Satan has on them. Because they know that non-members are just waiting to jump at the chance to deceive them using the silver tongued lies of the devil.

    It reminded me of an episode of The Atheist Experience I watched last week.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd4UdbKJLk8

    Now I'm still not sure what I believe about any sort of supreme being at this point because all of this is relatively new to me, but I'm keeping an open mind, going to all different resources and I completely agree with what these guys (feel free to skip to 12:00).

    The fact that people in the church are brainwashed into thinking that people are "miserable" after leaving the church, (which has always sounded fishy to me...I mean, you always hear THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH. if it were true anyways it shouldn't have to be about the busine *cough* "organization".) sickens me. The only ex- mormon I have ever know is my High School Swim Coach. And he's the most optimistic person I know and he knows about my situation because I don't feel guilty talking to him about it like I know any TBM would try to make me feel.

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  2. I wonder if this has become the focus simply because people are leaving in great numbers. That is what the church tends to do, is to counteract what is really going on in reality. But, wrap it up in all it's all about your salvation and not the fact that the church is loosing its source of income.

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  3. I was going to say that too, Brad. They are losing people by the thousands. Notice how much they are trying to appear normal. How many changes in doctrine lately? They are finally realizing that people are seeing their lies. They know they need to 'fess up to a few things before their credibility is completely in the toilet.

    I agree, Senigami, IF I had to pick a day a month that I had to go to church, it would definitely be fast sunday. And yes, even though I have not been to church in years, it is clear that the church is desperate for new members. They run ad campaigns, they lowered the missionary age, from what you've said, they preach missionary work from the pulpit.

    They are getting desperate. I love it!

    Insomniatic Sunrise, take your time and find your path. It took me nearly two years after I knew the church wasn't true to discover that I was an atheist. I'm glad to hear that you are being open minded instead of just running to the next church. Go to churches. Investigate. Read books on evolution. Find the path that is yours and not your parents, boyfriend, friends, ours.. Make it your own and it will have so much more meaning for you.

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    1. Excellent advice, I couldn't have said it better myself.

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  4. Well, I never agreed with Karl Marx about much on economics, but one thing he did get right was when he said "Religion is the opiate of the people."

    (Of course, while his economics don't work, he did get a few things right, such as support for public education and abolishing slavery long before they were popular.)

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