Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, June 2

“Another LDS/ Mormon Missionary Fable” by grego

Another LDS/ Mormon Missionary Fable

(c) 2010

(Hey, my problem, quality probably gets lower and lower on these fables as my patience and caring gets lower and lower… Still, to give another idea…)

Welcome to The Club!

To get in, you need to pay a steep membership fee. For higher privileges, you need to pay even more.

The favorite area of the club members is: the Sandbox.

The Sandbox is lots of fun, really. And it’s open to all members.

Of course, there are, on a few occasions, a few things that happen, like:
—it’s far away, and no public transportation passes by there;
—they rush everyone in the door, but then the directions are really hard to follow, and the service people aren’t easy to find sometimes;
—the wind blows and someone gets a little sand in the eyes;
—someone throws a little sand, and it gets on someone;
—someone throws a little sand, and it gets in someone’s eyes;
—cats crap in it;
—the kids get sandy;
—the sun gets unbearable as it beats down directly on you;
—you play by yourself.

So, many club members leave.

Let’s say that in some areas 80 out of 100 people who walk through the door, walk back out *minutes* later, never to come back.

The manager thinks, “Dang, the boss said he wants as many people as can in the sandbox; I guess I need to spend more money to do some more advertising and recruiting.”

So he hires better trained sales staff, and they bring in better members, but still…

What would *you* tell the manager?

Would you suggest anything like:
—more and better-trained staff? better orientation?
—put nets around so cats don’t get in?
—put up a little “wash-up” center?
—put up a white cloth, etc. over part(s) of the sandbox so there’s some shade?
—parties and group activities?
—people to call and invite them back?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is spending US$15,600,000 **MONTHLY** just to support missionaries in the field (52,000 missionaries x US$300). That cost does not include much overhead, leaders, leadership training, etc. Maybe $3,466,667 for plane tickets each month? Total cost: twenty million dollars ($20,000,000)/ month? Two-hundred-and-forty million dollars ($240,000,000)/ year?

If 280,106 new members (from the 2009 Statistical Report)/ year join, that means it costs $856.82/ new member.

If the Church were to have a 20% retention rate, that would mean one-hundred-and-ninety-two million dollars ($192,000,000) is being wasted every year, because people don’t stay once they get in… :-( When you add up lost opportunity costs, lost resource costs, etc., it’s much higher.

If you were the boss…??

If you were the manager…??

Is it really too hard to try a few well-thought-out missionary pilot programs?
Is it possible to make the sandbox a more pleasant place to join and stay around?
Would it be more worthwhile to take some of that budget money, and rearrange/ balance priorities?

But you aren’t the boss/ manager/ etc., and neither am I, nor anyone else. So the question is, what will *I* do to make the Sandbox a funner place to be?

Folks, these aren’t “club members in a sandbox”; they’re souls of Heavenly Father’s children!

2009, September 3

“LDS Missionary Work Ideas” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon — grego @ 4:54 am
Tags: , , ,

LDS Missionary Work Ideas
(c) 2009

Here they are:

1. The ward and the missionaries *must* work together.

2. Investigators must be given enough time to:
*understand, make, and keep all the commitments,
*change some basic habits,
*make friends in their ward,
*know the leaders,
*know what’s expected of them after baptism,
*be assigned home and visiting teachers,
*be prepared to receive a calling/ assignment, and
*truly repent.
Note that both sides need time, it’s not just dependent on the investigators!!

3. Reports/ forms (both with ward and missionaries) must be used, continually updated, and reviewed/ evaluated.

4. Member Responsibilities Chart (MRC). This is a list of all the things an LDS should be doing, and a reference for goal setting and gospel living evaluation. (It is a work in progress, but there are about 36 items on it so far. It will soon be up at a google docs site for download.) Converts can use this to realize the life changes they will need to make sometime down the road, and understand what they are “getting into”. Missionaries should work with investigators before baptism to work on goals like daily prayer, daily scripture reading, etc.

5. The MRC might also be part of a New Member Handbook/ Orientation Guide. This might include a simple ward organization diagram, a list of the phone numbers of the church building and leaders, pictures and names of the leaders, a list of book names and when they are used (“Gospel Principles” for Sunday School, “Prophets” for Relief Society, etc.), meeting information, etc.

6. For callings, use the callings list/ ward organization list. Encourage each auxiliary leader to call or assign and train new (or at least newer) members. A responsibility could be simple, one time or every time, etc.
Here are a few:
*pass out/ collect hymnbooks (the oldie but goodie, yet I still see that most wards don’t have people assigned to do this!) (for Sacrament, Sunday School, P/RS);
*music conductors for meetings other than sacrament;
*someone to help with talks/ testimony preparation;
*someone to move tables/ whiteboards, if needed;
*assistant advisors for YM/ YW (additional three each—see the Church Handbook of Instruction (CHI));
*parking lot attendant(s);
*church meetinghouse cleaning;
*ward missionaries;
*ward specialists;
*genealogy workers.

7. Regardless of calling, all new members should be doing genealogy and attending a genealogy learning program, which means one needs to be set up if not already done.

8. Cottage meetings/ teaching discussions/ FHE at members’ homes. This can be done on a rotating basis with a few members (ward missionaries and others) so that no one is overburdened/ overscheduled. It can be done as often as circumstances allowed, otherwise. It’s a “win” for everyone involved.

9. Use the “How Great Shall Be Your Joy” program. This was a member referral program that I think was started in the 1980’s, and it worked very well for me on my mission. (I’ll give more information on this later, and it will also be up on a google docs site for download.)

10. Call an assistant ward mission leader (check the CHI), or two if it would be helpful, or a WM Secretary and even Assistant Secretary (make up the extra callings—bishops can do that). The ward mission leader (WML) can delegate to/ divide responsibilities with the AWML. Possible ways: before/ after baptism, which missionaries, parts/ steps in the missionary program, paperwork/ everything else, etc.

11. Which members to call, which members to work with? Easy, really—those that have a greater desire to do/ help missionary work. Each should be involved according to their desire, qualities, and abilities. No one should get ever get “burned out”.

Good luck!

2008, November 18

Book of Mormon: Ammon versus Aaron among the Lamanites

Book of Mormon: Ammon vs. Aaron among the Lamanites
by grego

Ammon was a great missionary. No doubt.

I was thinking of Aaron. At first glance, poor Aaron had gone to the same mission as Ammon, but … just didn’t have much success, especially at the beginning. And then the success he did have later with the Lamanite king, seemed to be mainly because Ammon set him up for it (Alma 22:2-6). My experience has been, when LDS talk about the missionaries to the Lamanites, it’s usually “all about Ammon”. (Ok, there really is no “versus” here, but it seems we’ve made it that way…)

Yet the Book of Mormon doesn’t talk about a difference in the faiths of Ammon and Aaron.

I imagine, it probably took as much faith to preach failingly to a more wicked people and suffer with patience in prison, being a good example, as it did to be a servant and cut off people’s arms. Perhaps had they been in each others’ places, the wonderful story might not have been so wonderful.

When they were ready to give up before reaching the Lamanites, the Lord told them:
Alma 17:11 …Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

Interestingly, nothing there about “being a servant” or “cutting off arms”. Now, it’s true that we don’t have all the record, but it seems the main time this applied was to Aaron and the brethren with him here:
Alma 20:28 And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on their journey towards the land of Middoni. And Lamoni found favor in the eyes of the king of the land; therefore the brethren of Ammon were brought forth out of prison.
Alma 20:29 And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.
Alma 21:13 Nevertheless, Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison, and the remainder of them fled out of the land of Middoni unto the regions round about.
Alma 21:14 And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed.
Alma 21:15 And they went forth again to declare the word, and thus they were delivered for the first time out of prison; and thus they had suffered.

The Book of Mormon does say that the state of the people can affect their hearing the word:
Alma 20:30 And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with strong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon.
Alma 21:10 And it came to pass as he began to expound these things unto them they were angry with him, and began to mock him; and they would not hear the words which he spake.
Alma 21:11 Therefore, when he saw that they would not hear his words, he departed out of their synagogue, and came over to a village which was called Ani-Anti, and there he found Muloki preaching the word unto them; and also Ammah and his brethren. And they contended with many about the word.
Alma 21:12 And it came to pass that they saw that the people would harden their hearts, therefore they departed and came over into the land of Middoni. And they did preach the word unto many, and few believed on the words which they taught.

Afterwards, Aaron and the others do have many converts. In fact, the record says:
Alma 23:10 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni;

“Middoni”–the land where they had been locked up in prison and had suffered greatly. Looks like Aaron and those with him being good examples of Christ in their suffering (as told before their missions) *did* have an effect on them…

But the Lamanite conversions when they were on their missions weren’t the last fruits:
Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.
Alma 25:7 And it came to pass that those rulers who were the remnant of the children of Amulon caused that they should be put to death, yea, all those that believed in these things.
Alma 25:8 Now this martyrdom caused that many of their brethren should be stirred up to anger; and there began to be contention in the wilderness; and the Lamanites began to hunt the seed of Amulon and his brethren and began to slay them; and they fled into the east wilderness.
Alma 25:13 And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that they could not overpower the Nephites they returned again to their own land; and many of them came over to dwell in the land of Ishmael and the land of Nephi, and did join themselves to the people of God, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
Alma 25:14 And they did also bury their weapons of war, according as their brethren had, and they began to be a righteous people; and they did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe to keep his commandments and his statutes.

Aaron’s suffering and preaching had:
1. led to many Lamanites’ conversions (at a later time);
2. led to splitting the Amulonites away from the Lamanites (a good thing) and making them enemies;
3. led to a main part of fulfilling Abinadi’s prophecy;
4. led to even more Lamanites’ conversions, at an even later time.

So, it seems you never do know, and you can’t just count it all up to “faith”. It seems all those missionaries were heroes and angels to the Lamanites.

All of you who thought you had a great mission, and especially all of you who thought you didn’t have a great mission, take note!

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