Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, June 16

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 6

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 6
by grego
(c) 2009

Part 1

Part 5

Interestingly, something similar has already been done, and with pretty good results.

I believe that Elders Oak and Holland were sent to the Philippines and Chile, respectively, to get first-hand experience with this type of situation. Those two countries are probably the highest in baptisms, yet worst in retention.

I don’t know about Elder Holland and Chile, but I have heard that Elder Oaks brought the Philippines from below 10% retention to over 85%, and in at least one district, to 100%. I wish I had the details.

That has been over two years ago or so.

I hope the Church will expand the program to other countries, as quickly as possible. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s much better than what we have right now, and I really, really wish we had it!!

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Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 5 by grego

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 5
by grego

Part 1

Part 4

If I were in charge of missionary work, I would contemplate the following changes:
1. missionaries should refrain from making any types of promises to investigators about their getting baptized, when, etc.
2. raise the bar—for baptizees! (If one admits it worked for missionaries, one has to at least admit it might work for baptizees, and give it a chance.) I would concentrate on the following, *before* baptism: instilling habits (21 straight days, minimum) of daily scripture reading, prayer, weekly three-hour attendance, and a time limit (at least two weeks, maybe more?) for abstinence for Word of Wisdom, chastity problems, etc. before baptism.
3. lengthen the baptismal preparation time for the average investigator to at least one month, and involve members. No one gets baptized in less than a month. This would allow time for stronger faith and desire for repentance, actual conversion, correlation between missionaries and members (including home teachers/ visiting teachers assignments going both ways), baptismal planning, baptismal finding, opportunities for attendance at service projects and activities, etc., and especially a witness of fruits of repentance.
4. make the baptismal interview different; a mere whiff of belief or a “I feel the church is good” feeling would not be sufficient. People lacking in spiritual knowledge should have a strong desire to discover the truth by exercising faith by living according to the commandments. This should be done at least a week before the baptism.
5. make missionaries responsible for all previous new members (one year after baptism), especially reteaching lessons 1-4 and teaching lesson 5. (This is in “Proclaim My Gospel”, but I don’t know of any missionaries here that do this.)
6. investigators should clearly know they will be expected to serve others, have callings, be called on to pray and give talks and comment in class, etc. This will take their time, money, effort, and obedience.
7. baptisms would be held twice a month. Investigators should get baptized at a scheduled baptism.

Part 6


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Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 4

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 4
by grego
(c) 2009

Part 1

Part 3

Here are some other possible reasons new members might become inactive/ stop believing:
1. their heart isn’t, and likely never was, in it. They got baptized because they felt pressured to get baptized–either directly from the missionaries, or themselves wanting to please the missionaries/ friends/ family/ etc., or as a sign of friendship towards the missionaries. Getting baptized was a big step for them to take, but it was worth it to them to escape the situation/ pressure/ get others off their backs/ show their friendship. Certainly they could and should have spoken up; but because they didn’t, both sides combine to give the result of an immediately inactive new member. In fact, a few don’t even show up to get confirmed, or they come one Sunday to be confirmed and that’s the last time they’re ever seen.
2. they never really got it in the first place; they didn’t really understand what they were getting into/ the commitments they were making. It felt good, but didn’t make much sense.
3. they aren’t in a firm mental state.
4. it is too quick, the pressure is too great, the change is too fast (especially if they’re fighting it inside), they feel overwhelmed, they panic.
5. not enough support, from family, friends, and yes, especially church members.
6. they thought they could __ (“stop drinking coffee”, “pay tithing”, “come to church”, “break family tradition”, etc.), but they didn’t/ can’t, whether by choice or by situation to some degree (think of pre-adults whose parents don’t allow them to come). Unfortunately, it’s often the case that they never had the actual experience of doing many of those things before they got baptized.
7. *they never established habits needed to continue to give them spiritual nourishment after stopping meeting with the missionaries so much*. The spirituality and companionship of the missionaries is a big help, and when it stops after baptism, for many people it’s like a rug got pulled out from under them.

I would contemplate the following changes, in Part 5.


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