Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, March 5

“LDS Church/ Mormon Missionary Work: Signs that the Second Coming Is Close?” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon,Uncategorized — grego @ 1:46 am

LDS Church/ Mormon Missionary Work: Signs that the Second Coming Is Close?

grego
(c)2011

This post is mostly thoughts and speculations.

In July 2010 Ensign, this report was given:
To better align resources to changing needs, the Church has created 10 new missions and consolidated others with neighboring missions. The resulting number of missions will be 340.
The Church has created the following missions:
Democratic Republic of Congo Lubumbashi, Guatemala Retalhuleu, Mexico Mexico City Northwest, Mexico Villahermosa, New Mexico Farmington, Nicaragua Managua North…, Peru Cusco, Peru Lima West, Philippines Iloilo, and Utah St. George.

The Church has combined the following missions:
The Australia Melbourne East and West Missions will become [one].
The Australia Sydney North and South Missions will become [one].
The Puerto Rico San Juan East and West Missions will become [one]…
The Germany Hamburg Mission will become part of the Germany Berlin Mission.
The Germany Munich/Austria, Switzerland Zürich, and portions of the Germany Frankfurt Missions will become the Alpine German-Speaking Mission.
The Illinois Chicago North and South Missions will become [one].
The Illinois Peoria Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Iowa Des Moines, Missouri St. Louis, and Nebraska Omaha Missions.
The Ireland Dublin and Scotland Edinburgh Missions will become [one].
The Italy Catania Mission will be [assimilated].
The Japan Hiroshima Mission will be [assimilated].
The Korea Seoul West Mission will become [assimilated].
The New Jersey Cherry Hill Mission will be [assimilated].
The Ohio Cincinnati Mission will be [assimilated].
The Spain Bilbao Mission will be [assimilated].

From the Church News dated May 2, 2009:
In Taiwan, the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission, which comprises much of the southern portion of the island, is being [assimilated].

The Spain mission was created in 1997, and the Australia (one), Ohio, and Taiwan missions were created in 1998.

This opening and closing of missions has been happening a lot recently. I think it’s wonderful, in a way (I’ve talked about that in earlier missionary posts, and will post more thoughts on that later). The LDS Church is building around temples, and then “moving on”. The LDS church is also putting resources where most needed, and it seems pretty simple: if there is response from the people (baptisms), they get it. If there isn’t response, the missionaries go on to other areas (unless… see below).

Also, many of these USA states/ countries where missions close have done so soon after temples have been announced/ built there, which means there is already a substantial membership. Why is this important? So that when the missionaries leave, there should be enough members to find for the missionaries who are left (at present) to teach. (I believe there will be many times there won’t be missionaries, especially foreign ones, especially as the Second Coming gets closer.)

The church is using “in bono” the attack plan of Amalickiah that worked so well (go, establish a firm force, move on to the next), from the Book of Mormon:
Alma 51:22 …the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.
23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications.
24 And those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah; and also the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together, and made preparations and were ready to receive the Lamanites to battle.
25 But it came to pass that Amalickiah would not suffer the Lamanites to go against the city of Nephihah to battle, but kept them down by the seashore, leaving men in every city to maintain and defend it.
26 And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore.
27 And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.
28 And it came to pass that they marched to the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many.

Which brings me to a second note: relatives mentioned that where they lived, over the past year at least, it seems that basically only physically and mentally-challenged people are getting baptized anymore, and few people (of any state) who get baptized remain active.

This brought a scripture story to mind: the story of the feast in Luke 14:16-24. Here it is:
16 Then said [Jesus] unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

A few years ago (at least four), a shift had occurred; our patriarch told me that the time had already come that those who were being adopted into the tribe of Ephraim (LDS) numbered more than those who were of the blood of Ephraim (LDS); the balance had changed.

Are we between verses 21 and 23? Do these patterns hint that the Second Coming is truly drawing closer?

A few more things should happen in the gathering side of things:
1. other countries will open. However, I doubt the traditional 200+ years of half-baked missionary work and converts will happen!
2. the LDS church will have to rely more on mass communication and mass meetings. To use an analogy, more casting nets and driving herds of bison over the cliff instead of fishing with lines and hunting with bows and arrows. This could be done on small-scale personal means (like town gatherings for preaching) and large scale impersonal means (like the internet).
3. the LDS church will have to rely more on members to find, and possibly to teach.
4. people from “far places” (places without a church presence) will be sent to find the missionaries/ gospel, and either stay or take the church back to their own places (and not just to BYU, either!).
5. Many more Seventies will have to be called, and more apostles will have to live foreign.
6. political leaders and influential citizens will open huge doors (as Lamoni and his father did in the Lamanite lands. Note that there is no compulsion, only a clear edict that the kings were converted, there is absolute safety and freedom for the messengers, and no disrupting whatsoever of their work is allowed. This is much more than just “you can come”, or even “we welcome your missionaries with open arms, please come”.)

It is clear that mainland China will open before the Second Coming, but before that happens, there must be a large number of missionaries all ready to go. (I see that time will be of the most essence in China, as in, possibly even like a race.) President Kimball spoke of the need for many more missionaries from Taiwan.
More and more members from Hong Kong and Taiwan live in China for work. Also, more and more members baptized outside of China are returning to China.
Local missionaries from Taiwan are increasing, a mission in Taiwan closed in July 2009, the number of missionaries overall in Taiwan has dropped a lot, convert numbers are lessening. Though births have been going down, there are at least double the missionaries from Taiwan now than there were ten years ago, and unlike back then, most of them now are males. Many of the males who don’t/ can’t serve full-time missions go on short-term missions (like for the summer).
And while Monday-Friday temple attendance is still not a lot, on Saturdays the temple is overflowing, with likely close to double the numbers from ten years ago.
(These are my personal observations, not official numbers from all of Taiwan).
There is also an important (at least to me, I believe it is) thing happening with the local Taiwanese missionaries: many of them—especially the males—have been and are being sent to foreign missions with established church units (USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc.), and learning English. This *might* help a lot in stabilizing and strengthening the Church in Taiwan. (I believe that one of the hardest parts for the church/ members in Taiwan is completely accepting the gospel with its sacrifices and getting over cultural problems, and without strong foreign leaders or rare local leaders telling them what they need to do and how to do it and living among them, this is the best way. Attending church in Taiwan and attending church in Utah can be a big difference and a different feeling!) For purposes of leadership, speaking English is a big helpful plus—not necessary, but helpful. (Currently, most Seventies and many stake presidents read and speak English decently well.)
However… many of the youth in the Young Men/ Young Women aren’t making it, so if the Church plans on having young male missionaries from Taiwan go to China, *something* must be done in Taiwan.
In addition, it might even be that China will limit (to what degree?) the number of American/ Western/ foreign missionaries (China does not (really) count Taiwan as a completely separate entity—racially, culturally, or politically. And, many Taiwanese will cheer for China teams before cheering for American teams.)

So… Which apostle will come live in Taiwan? ;)

Remember: before the Lord sends his punishments on the wicked, they must be warned. (I believe that more and more faithful members will find that life will be so hard, it will more and more be the easier choice to warn everyone and let the Lord’s judgments come, than to not warn and try to “wait it out”.)

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