Here are the notes from my training today in MLC
Elder Bednar, 2014 BYU Ed Week, “To Sweep the Earth as a Flood”
“We are blessed to live, learn, and serve in this most remarkable dispensation. An important aspect of the fulness that is available to us in this special season is a miraculous progression of innovations and inventions that have enabled and accelerated the work of salvation: from trains to telegraphs to radios to automobiles to airplanes to telephones to transistors to televisions to computers to satellite transmissions to the Internet—and to an almost endless list of technologies and tools that bless our lives. All of these advancements are part of the Lord hastening His work in the latter days.”
Here is a photo of my relatives in Germany harvesting hay. My dad took this photo 3 years before I was born in 1956. Note the wooden wagon wheels and wooden rakes and tools. We are going to take a quick look at how technology and harvesting has changed just in my own lifetime.
Here is my grandpa, Rudolf, who came to America to farm. In the 1950s he was pulling a plow behind his beloved horses, Sailor and Stargo. My dad worked in these fields like my grandpa.
In the 1960s we got our first tractor! Here is my dad pulling the manure spreader:
My brothers and I learned how to drive on this tractor. Here is my younger brother, Eric pulling the sprayer:
In the late 1960s we got a new Massey Ferguson tractor. This is my older brother, Paul:
Now we will jump to our harvesting world today. Here we are last week in Quincy, with this huge incredible combine harvester:These are what tractors in today’s world look like:Just imagine the difference in the harvest! They are precise and efficient. The drivers sit in an air conditioned cab, listening to music, adjusting a GPS that programs the machinery to drive in a perfectly straight line as it harvests multiple rows at a time.Oh, the technology that makes these machines possible!
Now we can compare these advancements to the harvest in missionary work. Here are just a couple of photos from my mission. My companion and I taught with flipcharts that we colored ourselves! When we had electricity, we carried filmstrip projectors and cassette players with tapes and films that we projected onto the walls in people’s homes.We also memorized pages and pages of discussions and recited them in lessons. We hoped we’d say the right things.
Missionary work today is so very very different.
The prophets looked forward to and saw our day.
In 1862 Brigham Young said: “Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 18–19).
In 1966 President David O. McKay prophesied scientific discoveries that “stagger the imagination” would make possible the preaching of the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people. And further:
“Discoveries latent with such potent power, either for the blessing or the destruction of human beings, as to make man’s responsibility in controlling them the most gigantic ever placed in human hands. … This age is fraught with limitless perils, as well as untold possibilities” (in CR, Oct. 1966, 4).
Please now listen to the voice of President Spencer W. Kimball, recorded in 1974, as he described the future of missionary work:
[I was a freshman in high school that year, learning to type on a typewriter.]
“I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse. …
“With the Lord providing these miracles of communication, and with the increased efforts and devotion of our missionaries and all of us, and all others who are ‘sent,’ surely the divine injunction will come to pass: ‘For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be preached unto every creature’ (D&C 58:64)” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 10–11).
And in 1981 President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “We are confident that as the work of the Lord expands, he will inspire men to develop the means whereby the membership of the Church, wherever they may be, can be counseled in an intimate and personal way by his chosen prophet. Communication is the sinew that binds the Church as one great family. Between those facilities which are now available and those which are on the horizon, we shall be able to converse one with another according to the needs and circumstances of the time” (“Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 5).
[In 1981 I left on my mission to South Africa. In 1982 I saw my first video recording! Someone sent VHS tapes of General Conference to us in the mail. Three weeks after General Conference, we got to watch it! We gathered in the home of a member and saw a recording of conference! It was like a Miracle!]
President Hinckley continued, “Messages and pictures that used to require days, weeks, and months to send and receive now can be communicated around the world in seconds. We thank thee, O God, for the prophets who have taught and prepared us for the time in which we live—and who have urged us to use technological advancements to support the ongoing mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Here is a review of the work missionaries have been involved in during the last few years:
“Hastening the Work of Salvation” Is More than a Catchphrase
Contributed By President R. Scott Taylor, Arizona Phoenix Mission
31 DECEMBER 2013
. . . And now, full-time missionaries are more actively involved with all of those people and all of those efforts.
Modern-day prophets have guided the Church to where members can really understand and participate in “the hastening.” Just consider:
• President Spencer W. Kimball’s vision of a blossoming, worldwide missionary force.
• President Ezra Taft Benson’s call for a greater understanding and sharing of The Book of Mormon.
• President Howard W. Hunter’s highlighting of temple worship and ordinances.
• President Gordon B. Hinckley’s lead on the global explosion of the number of temples and a focus on converts—a friend, a responsibility, and the nurturing from the “good word of God” (Moroni 6:4).
• President Monson’s emphasis on merging members and missionaries in proclaiming the gospel and his lifelong example of “to the rescue.”
Still, one can’t consider the “hastening the work of salvation” without acknowledging the recent advancements, enhancements, and developments. From a member-missionary work standpoint, they include:
• The lowered minimum ages of full-time missionaries to 18 years for young men and 19 for young women. The missionary force exploded by more than 22,000 missionaries alone in the first 12 months after President Monson’s October 2012 General Conference announcement; the total surpassed 82,000 this month.
• An increased missionary presence worldwide. Fifty-eight new missions were created in 2013, pushing the global total to 405. Missionary training centers were enlarged or created, including the Provo and Mexico City MTCs.
• The upsurge of full-time sister missionaries. Some missions have doubled and even tripled the number of sisters serving over the past year. The recently created role of “sister training leaders” improves the training and involvement of the sister missionaries and enhances the representation on and perspective of the mission leadership council.
• The “Hastening The Work of Salvation” broadcast and website. The June 23, 2013, satellite broadcast and accompanying website brought member leaders and missionaries together in historic fashion, uniting efforts and providing simplified, focused video and text training from the Internet site.
• Stake conference focus. The First Presidency called for the Saturday evening adult session of stake conferences to follow the “hastening” theme, and invited full-time missionaries—and beginning next year, the youth—to attend those sessions.
• The 2013 Come, Follow Me curriculum. In their Sunday lessons, the youth are more actively engaged in the planning, preparation, and participation of gospel study and discussion.
• Emphasis on family history. This is not your Grandma’s genealogy any more, with indexing replacing extraction and the increased involvement of youth—sometimes as family history consultants. The spirit of Elijah can spark interest and spiritual awakening.
• Meetinghouse-based proselytizing. Besides being gathering places for LDS worship and activities, meetinghouses are used to welcome midweek visitors and serve as sites for lessons, explanatory walk-throughs, and family history introductions and research.
• Online proselytizing. Started previously by a handful of test missions, online proselytizing—the use of Skype, Facebook, LDS.org, and mormon.org Internet features, texting, emailing, and blogs—is being authorized for use by more missions. Besides enhancing proselytizing efforts with investigators and members in a missionary’s assigned area, it extends the missionary’s reach worldwide. In its first full month of online proselytizing, Arizona Phoenix Mission missionaries taught online lessons in 35 of the 50 United States and 31 different nations. In the second month, teaching by the mission not only substantially increased within those initial areas but extended to totals of 42 states and 50 countries.
• Digital devices. Gone are the days of flannel boards and flipcharts. In select North America and international missions, the Missionary Department is distributing iPads and iPhones—equipped with digital planners and digital area books and the aforementioned apps used for online proselyting. The devices allow missionaries to use the latest in mapping and GPS features, electronic versions of pamphlets, Gospel Library, and other audio-visual features in teaching, and real-time updating of lessons, progress, performance goals, and needs.
In his concluding address at the June 2013 new mission presidents seminar, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “I can see the future unfold before us to where we will have greater opportunity to teach the gospel with the new methods, with new opportunities that we have never had.”
And he summarized his feelings of “hastening the work of salvation” this way: “This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in the past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all of the things that build that foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.”
You were saved for These Days!
You had classes in the Pre-existence that prepared you!
Your minds are intuitive and made for devices and technology.
You have also been spiritually prepared for this day.
Let’s go harvest!!