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I had been serving my mission for a year when President Monson lowered the age requirements for full-time missionaries. The change in policy seemed especially inspired considering that we were in the midst of the Mormon Moment. The Book of Mormon musical had come out, Glenn Beck was having a religious reawakening, and Mitt Romney was about to become the 45th President of the United States.

As unprecedented amounts of youth signed up to serve, every missionary felt like the world was on the cusp of hearing the glorious news of the gospel. I remember going into members’ homes, reading D&C 88:73, and together with families attempting to calculate the massive impact that tens of thousands of more missionaries would have on the Lord’s work (side note: we would have been the world’s single largest religion within 10 years).

In the months following, our ward’s bishopric and ward council hearkened to the voice of God’s modern prophets, who by this time referred to the policy change as a “revelation”. Worldwide training broadcasts told members to step up their game, pray about each of their friends, buy a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon, and get the Elders into their friends. Promises that the field was white and ready to harvest were left tenderly in the name of Christ. Just read some of the material published during this whole push. I love Elder Perry’s prophetic quote here. Or the entire Hastening The Work Of Salvation website. Or this October 2013 Ensign article. Bloggers were caught up in it. Touchy-feely videos moved all of us.

But by January 2014, the goal posts had moved. One LDS website really summed the new outlook in this single paragraph:

“Hastening the work of salvation” is not just about missionary work. It’s more than a catchphrase, but it’s not a new Church program.”

We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.

Y0u see, nothing hastened. Mitt Romney lost the election, the initial spike of missionaries really was just a spike, and, most importantly, baptisms per missionary decreased and haven’t improved. In Laman’s terms, LESS people care about Mormonism, not more. It seems that the Mormon Moment didn’t create a sudden demand for converts like God’s prophets revealed it would. Although everyone was bearing their heartfelt testimony that the field was white and ready to harvest, it just wasn’t the case. The only thing that has gotten whiter and more ready to harvest are the organ donors serving in the Quorum of the Twelve.

Missionaries serving has dropped 12%. These Top 10 Discouraging membership trends are more discouraging than the Top 10 Encouraging ones. Even the Deseret New admits everything isn’t ideal.

Members in poorer countries are inactive. Converts in developed countries are few and far between. And between it all, a growing crisis of faith and history that will continue to ripple throughout the Church. Is this what “hastening the work” is supposed to look like? Or is it safe to say that Church leadership were just speaking as men?



Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until he was excommunicated for adultery. During his disciplinary court, Elder Carrington tried to argue that he had only committed "a little folly in Israel!", but the current brethren couldn't be bothered to give him a break. Learn more about Elder Carrington here.
  • Swagavad Gita

    Mormons will just explain it away, saying that the elect are often easily deceived. So if you were a member of the Church, even a devout one, and you’ve fallen away, you’ve just been deceived.

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      Yep!

  • What Mormons teach about the birth of a handicapped Child and minorities especially in third world countries
    “This privilege of obtaining a mortal body on this earth is seemingly so priceless that those in the spirit world, even though unfaithful or not valient, were undoubtedly permitted to take mortal bodies although under penalty of racial or physical or nationalistic limitations….” (Decisions for Successful Living pp 164-165) TLDP: 497

    “There is no truth more plainly taught in the Gospel than that our condition in the next world will depend upon the kind of lives we live here. …Is it not just as reasonable to suppose that the conditions in which we now live have been determined by the kind of lives we lived in the pre-existent world of spirits? That the apostles understood this principle is indicated by their question to the Master when the man who was blind from his birth was healed of his blindness, ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?’ (John 9:2.) Now perhaps you will have a partial answer to some of your questions as to why, if God is a just Father, that some of his children are born of an enlightened race and in a time when the Gospel is upon the earth, while others are born of a heathen parentage in a benighted, backward country; and still others are born to parents who have the mark of a black skin with which the seed of Cain were cursed and whose descendants were to be denied the rights of the priesthood of God”
    (Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living, pp. 164-165).
    http://i.imgur.com/3arjdtr.jpg

  • “Let us consider the great mercy of God for a moment. a Chinese, born in China with a dark skin, and with all the handicaps of that race seems to have little opportunity. but think of the mercy of god to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel. In spite of whatever they might have done in the pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen, if they now, in this life, accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. Isn’t the mercy of God marvelous?

    Think of the Negro, cursed as to the priesthood… This Negro, who in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa–if that Negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincerer faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessing of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory. (Race Problems–As They Affect The Church, An address by Mark E. Petersen at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College level; Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954.)
    http://i.imgur.com/uy00j4z.jpg

  • Martin Harris Luther

    It’s even worse than this article points out. The Church is actually hastening the anti-missionary work. With every excommunication, political machination, and immoral policy, more and more people are looking up and thinking, “this isn’t the church I thought it was.” And each departure speeds the process. For better or worse, bad press travels faster than good press.

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