Hastening the Work of Salvation Website

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Hastening the Work of Salvation Website

Author: Matt Martinich

Posted: July 22nd, 2015

Introduction

Launched in June 2013, the Hastening of the Work of Salvation website complements the June 23rd, 2013 worldwide broadcast on missionary work. The subtitle "a unified effort in conversion, retention, and activation" portrays the central theme of the website for greater consistency and unity among ordinary members, church leaders, and full-time missionaries to improve the effectiveness of the Church's missionary program and to aid these three groups of individuals in fulfilling their missionary duties. Sale ICC Code Throughout the website the Church has primarily focused on clarifying the roles of each of these three groups in missionary work and has listed the various duties of each church leader whose calling plays a central role in missionary work.  

The website consists of four primary webpages. Three of these webpages provide information for three separate audiences, namely members and missionaries, ward councils and ward mission leaders, and priesthood leaders (area seventies, stake and mission presidents, bishops, and high councils). The fourth primary webpage contains information regarding the special broadcast, The Work of Salvation, and provides links to the entire broadcast as well as individual talks and video segments. The website has been translated into 26 languages.

Members and Missionaries

The member and missionaries webpage explains its purpose as "Increasing numbers of youth have responded to a prophet’s call, hastening the growth of missionary work. Members and missionaries can see themselves in the work as they live the gospel joyfully and as they invite others to participate in activities, Church services, and other occasions."[1] This introduction refers to the 2012 decision to lower the minimum age for missionary service for men and women and the subsequent increase in the number of members serving full-time missions. The Church has sought to help members and missionaries understand the need for a revitalization of its missionary program by utilizing the subtitle "A New Vision." Videos are the primary media that the Church has chosen to illustrate the strategies that members, church leaders, and missionaries can utilize to unite in their efforts to share the gospel with others and extend gospel-relevant invitations. Sixteen videos provide examples of members and missionaries engaging in missionary activity through performing acts of service, introducing full-time missionaries to others, inviting friends to church events and activities, and distributing church literature to friends and acquaintances.

The right-hand column of the webpage is divided into four sections, namely "Capture the Vision," "See Yourself in the Work," "Learn More," and "Youth, Your Role in the Work of Salvation." A quote by Elder Neil L. Andersen under "Capture the Vision" emphasizes the need for engaging members in missionary efforts and coordinating these efforts with full-time missionaries. "We are all in this together. With fellow ward members and missionaries, we plan and pray and help one another. Please keep the full-time missionaries in your thoughts and prayers. Trust them with your family and friends. The Lord trusts them and has called them to teach and bless those who seek Him."[2] Three links listed under the heading "See Yourself in the Work" provide additional resources and direction to motivate and engage ordinary members in missionary work. The "Change Your Life through Missionary Work" link takes users to a list of quotes by church leaders regarding the centrality of missionary work to LDS theology and the importance of prayer and faith in appropriately conducting missionary work. The "Sharing the Gospel Online" link provides guidelines on methods for members to effectively perform missionary work through discussing their beliefs and living their faith on social media platforms, personal websites and blogs, and the Church's mormon.org member profiles. The "Contribute to the General Missionary Fund" link explains the purpose and benefits of members providing monetary donations to the General Missionary Fund. This link highlights examples that these contributions have enabled some members with limited financial resources to serve full-time missions.

The "Youth, Your Role in the Work of Salvation" link redirects users to another webpage entitled "My Role in the Work of Salvation." This webpage emphasizes that the primary role of youth in missionary work centers on remaining true to baptismal covenants; fulfilling priesthood and church callings, and engaging in priesthood service; preparing for receiving temple ordinances; and preparing for full-time missionary service. Each of these three areas of focus – priesthood service, temple ordinances, and full-time mission – have corresponding webpages that provide resources and instruction on what ways these objectives pertain to missionary work. The main webpage includes guidance for parents, families, church leaders, and teachers on ways to support youth in regards to full-time missionary preparation.

Ward Councils and Ward Mission Leaders

The ward councils and ward mission leaders webpage describes its purpose as "Under the direction of the bishop, ward council members fully engage to help each investigator and new or returning member progress. The ward mission leader directs and coordinates these efforts with the full-time missionaries."[3] This introduction identifies ward councils as crucial resources toward brainstorming and planning interventions to assist investigators in the conversion process and less-active or inactive members returning to activity. In other words, ward councils are described as a mechanism to ensure accountability of investigators and converts. Ward councils operate under the direction of the bishop and full-time missionary involvement is coordinated through the ward mission leader. The subtitle "Unified in the Work" stresses the need for greater unity among local church leaders to successfully conduct missionary activity in their congregations. Six videos portray how ward councils can effectively retain new converts; reactivate less-active or inactive members; integrate full-time missionaries into finding, retention, and reactivation; and concentrate missionary efforts on part-member families. Four videos illustrate methods that ward and branch mission leaders may find investigators, integrate full-time missionaries with the ward council, and emphasize the role of ordinary members in finding and preparing investigators to receive the missionary lessons.

The right-hand column of the webpage is divided into four sections, namely "Capture the Vision," "Tools," "Your Sacred Call," and "Learn More." The "Capture the Vision" section includes a quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard admonishing church leaders that missionary work should be of upmost importance for all quorums and auxiliary organizations. "Missionary work should not only be on the ward council agendas but also on elders quorum; Relief Society; and other quorum, group, and auxiliary agendas."[4] The four links listed under "Tools" include the member missionary work chapter in Handbook 2: Administering the Church, a .pdf file of Preach My Gospel with reference to chapter 13: Stake and Ward Leaders, the New and Returning Member Progress Form, and the Progress Record filled out by full-time missionaries summarizing progress with investigators, recent converts, and less-active or inactive members. The "Your Sacred Call" section includes two pdf documents designated for ward council members and the ward mission leader. The responsibilities of each position are more thoroughly summarized in these documents. Both descriptions emphasize the importance of ward council and ward mission leaders in setting a personal example of engaging in missionary work. The ward council document states that the ward council is "responsible for the work of conversion, retention, and activation in the ward,"[5] provides examples of ways that ward council members can be engaged in missionary work, and includes links to resources and pertinent quotes by church leaders. The ward mission leader document explains the role of the ward mission leader in coordinating missionary efforts between ward council members and the full-time missionaries "...to find, teach, and baptize investigators."[6] Like the ward council document, the ward mission leader document provides links to resources and pertinent quotes by church leaders. Each document provides a brief description of the role of each individual or group and is divided into four sections: What is new for me?, Where do I learn my role?, Who can help?, and Capture the vision. Each document has video links specialized to each calling or group.

Priesthood Leaders

The priesthood leaders webpage includes a short introduction that explains the role of specific priesthood leaders in missionary work. The importance of exercising priesthood keys in unity among bishops, stake presidents, and mission presidents is emphasized. "Stake presidents and bishops exercise priesthood keys for missionary work in their units. Mission presidents exercise keys for missionaries and convert baptisms. When priesthood keys are exercised in unity, leaders serve together and the powers of heaven can bless their work."[7] The inclusion of priesthood leaders in the website as its own webpage emphasizes the importance of these leaders in improving accountability for convert baptisms, collaborating in their missionary efforts, and utilizing spiritual power and guidance in supervising missionary efforts within their jurisdictions. The subtitle "Area Seventies, Stake and Mission Presidents, Bishops, High Councils" communicates the range of church leaders who must be unified and engaged in missionary efforts ranging from the highest priesthood office held by regional church leaders who are not General Authorities (Area Seventies) to the most local priesthood office that has priesthood jurisdiction for individual congregations (Bishops). Two videos discuss methods that stake and mission presidents can use priesthood keys to supervise missionary work and collaborate with members and missionaries to improve the effectiveness of missionary activity. Two videos illustrate examples when bishops took the initiative to revitalize missionary work within their wards and utilized the ward council and the New and Returning Member Progress Form in retention and reactivation efforts. One video portrays Stake High Councils strengthening priesthood quorums in order for these quorums to fulfill their missionary responsibilities. Two additional videos introduce the Church's Hastening the Work of Salvation website and emphasize the need for priesthood leaders to take the initiative to jumpstart missionary efforts within their jurisdictions by beginning with reactivation efforts.

The right-hand column of the webpage is divided into four sections, namely "Planning Stake Conference," "Capture the Vision," "Your Sacred Call," and "Tools." The "Planning Stake Conference" section contains a link to another webpage that provides suggestions for stake presidents to plan the Saturday evening adult session of stake conference to concentrate on "...the need to share the gospel and to build unified and effective relationships among leaders, members, and full-time missionaries."[8] Suggestions for areas of focus on stake conference addresses include introducing the Hastening the Work of Salvation website, relating the joy experienced through participating in missionary work, encouraging members to "broaden their associations beyond those who are already members," reiterating the need for ward councils to identify families and individuals for full-time missionaries to teach, highlighting the role of the ward mission leader, and emphasizing that "...much of our best work will be done outside of meetings..."[9] The "Capture the Vision" section includes a quote by Elder Russell M. Nelson that emphasizes the missionary responsibilities of stake presidents and bishops and their role in inspiring members to engage in missionary work. "Stake presidents and bishops ... hold keys of responsibility for missionary work in their units, and they inspire members to participate."[10] The "Your Sacred Call" section includes five .pdf documents for area seventies, mission presidents, stake presidents, high councilors, and bishops. The responsibilities of each position are more thoroughly summarized in these documents and all of these documents emphasize the importance of priesthood leaders setting an example of conducting personal missionary efforts. The area seventy document indicates that the primary responsibility for area seventies in regards to missionary work centers on possessing "...a unique role to help stake and mission presidents coordinate and exercise priesthood keys in unity."[11] This document directs area seventies to teach the doctrine, help mission and stake presidents understand their roles in regards to missionary work, and preside and effectively coordinate in meetings. The mission president document emphasizes the priesthood responsibility of the mission president to be unified with stake presidents in helping members and leaders engage in missionary work. Additional responsibilities highlighted include teaching doctrine, training full-time missionaries, and regularly meeting with stake presidents.[12] The stake president document emphasizes the priesthood responsibility of the stake president to be unified with the mission president in helping members and leaders engage in missionary work. Additional responsibilities noted include supporting each ward in its missionary efforts, regularly meeting with bishops to discuss missionary work, and regularly meeting with mission presidents to ensure continuity and unity in missionary efforts among full-time missionaries and local church leaders.[13] The high councilor document emphasizes that "...high councilors assigned to missionary work... have a unique role to assist the stake presidency in training ward mission leaders and coordinating the work of salvation throughout the stake."[14] The bishop document stresses the importance of the bishop "...working in unity with the ward council, the full-time missionaries, and...ward members...[to] see the ward grow in strength and the members grow in individual discipleship."[15] The document specifically identifies the bishop's responsibility to ensure that the ward has a committed ward mission leader who performs his responsibilities and unites ward members with missionaries.[16] Each document provides a brief description of the role of each individual or group in missionary efforts and is divided into four sections: What is new for me?, Where do I learn my role?, Who can help?, and Capture the vision. Each document has video links tailored to each individual or group. The four links listed under "Tools" include the member missionary work chapter in Handbook 2: Administering the Church, a pdf file of Preach My Gospel with reference to chapter 13: Stake and Ward Leaders, the New and Returning Member Progress Form, and the Progress Record filled out by full-time missionaries summarizing progress with investigators, recent converts, less-active and inactive members.

Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation

The special broadcast page that contains the video for the June 2013 broadcast on missionary work. A brief introduction explains the context of the video and its purpose. Video clips from talks, messages, and segments of the broadcast are provided in addition to the broadcast in its entirety. Under the heading "Capture the Vision," each of the three members of the First Presidency provides a quote relating to missionary work. President Thomas S. Monson's quote states "Wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion." President Henry B. Eyring's quote states "Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling, or location, we are as one called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's quote states "There is a way for everyone … to participate in this great work. We can each find a way to use our own particular talents and interests in support of the great work of filling the world with light and truth."[17]

Languages

The Church had the entire Hastening of the Work of Salvation website and all pertinent videos, forms, and documents available in 26 languages as of mid-2015 (Armenian, Cebuano, Chinese [simplified and traditional characters], Danish, Dutch, English, Fijian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, and Tongan). According to year-end 2014 membership statistics, 17 of these 26 languages appeared to be spoken by more than 15,000 members (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano, Japanese, Samoan, Tongan, French, Korean, Chinese (traditional), German, Italian, Russian, Chinese [simplified], Thai, and Fijian) whereas nine of these languages appeared to be spoken by less than 15,000 members (Mongolian, Dutch, Swedish, Indonesian, Hungarian, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, and Armenian). All 26 of these languages are spoken in at least one stake by the majority of members. Membership data released by the Church in 2013 indicates that approximately 93.5% of LDS membership speaks 10 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Cebuano, French, Ilokano, Japanese, Samoan, and Tongan) –  all of which have the Hastening of the Work of Salvation website and broadcast translated with the exception of Ilokano. Speakers of the 26 languages with translations of the website Sale ASME PDF and broadcast appear to account for 95.8% of nominal church membership worldwide.


[1] "Members and Missionaries," lds.org, retrieved 9 January 2014. http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/members-and-missionaries?lang=eng

[2] http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/members-and-missionaries?lang=eng

[3] "Ward Councils and Ward Mission Leaders," lds.org, retrieved 9 January 2014. http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/ward-council-and-mission-leaders?lang=eng

[4] www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/ward-council-and-mission-leaders?lang=eng

[5] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-ward-council-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[6] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-ward-mission-leader-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[7] "Priesthood Leaders," lds.org, retrieved 9 January 2014. http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/priesthood-leaders?lang=eng

[8] http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/priesthood-leaders/stake-conference?lang=eng

[9] http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/priesthood-leaders/stake-conference?lang=eng

[10] http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/priesthood-leaders?lang=eng

[11] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-area-seventy-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[12] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-mission-president-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[13] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-stake-president-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[14] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-high-councilor-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[15] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-bishop-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[16] http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/english/wwlt/hasten/hastening-the-work-bishop-eng.pdf?lang=eng

[17] "Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation," lds.org, retrieved 4 February 2014. http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/special-broadcast?lang=eng

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