I’m a Victim of “Hastening the Work”

Updated:  15 Apr 2014

It’s Thursday night.  My wife is at an Orem Chorale practice, so I’m home alone.  I’m 3/4th of the way through a British who-done-it showing on the local PBS channel.  There is a ring at the door.  Damn, I hate interruptions; I’m basically an introvert and love my privacy.

An over-dressed elderly couple (who I had never met before) is standing on my doorstep.  The man has on a name tag.  I don’t have on my glasses, so I can’t read what it says.  But it looks like an LDS missionary name tag.  Damn.

They ask if they can come in.  Damn.  I shrug and say sure, show them to the living room, and turn off the TV.  For the next twenty minutes we kibitz.  We talk about my work, my travel, their lives, the design of our home, Sevier Bridge Reservoir, etc.  They mention that they have talked to my wife a couple of times.

The visiting couple has a very intriguing act.  They alternate sentences and the conversation seems slightly more intense than it ought to be (particularly from the wife).  Their verbal interplay is somewhat entertaining.  About the time the novelty wears off, they decide that it is time to leave.

So, before they can leave, I ask them why they stopped by?  They say something to the effect that they are part of the “Hastening the Work” program of the LDS Church.  Since I’m not active, I get the feeling that this can’t be good.  But I’ve never heard of the program.

According to the Ensign magazine’s description:

It is time for all of us (active members of the LDS Church) to understand more clearly our role in hastening the work of salvation.  As we make member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel a natural part of our lives, we will experience great joy and be endowed with spiritual gifts to strengthen the Church in the 21st century.

And even more threatening:  “As long as we reach out in kindness and love to those who need our friendship and help, we will not fail.”

When I tell my wife about the visit, she is even more frustrated than I.  Her previous visits with the couple hadn’t been positive for her.  It is now my responsibility to end our new “friendship” and take away the couple’s “spiritual gifts.”

I DON’T WANT TO BE ANYBODY’S PROJECT.

Yet a project, I remain.  Two months ago, the Stake President (who I admire), asked me if I wanted to be my ward’s membership clerk.  I travel, I love to travel, I’m frequently away from home (including Sundays).  I hate paperwork.  Why would anybody think that I would want to give up my volunteer work in southern Utah and Africa to become the membership clerk?  Is this really the way the Lord wants His “work” hastened.

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10 Responses to I’m a Victim of “Hastening the Work”

  1. rogerdhansen says:

    According to an article reporting on “hastening of the work” in Baltimore by Jason F. Wright in the Deseret News (1 Apr 2014 – April Fools’ Day), my life is going to get a whole lot scarier. “Then the bishop invited the whole ward to rescue our lost brothers and sisters.” But I’m not lost. “Each missing sheep is contacted, many right on the spot, and by the end of the day, concerned friends have delivered a very special message–We missed you.” Damn, I’m not missing, and I’m not a sheep. “Many times they (the missing sheep) feel like they are forgotten.” But I don’t feel forgotten. Actually, I feel very comfortable with my life.

  2. in comfort, there is no challenge. without challenge, there is no progress. The kind of work I do is something I rarely see other accomplish, yet in my field, I am often humbled by how much I still have yet to learn. I rather have a hard life than an easy life. Moving waters dont stay dirty for very long.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Ekadasi, your point is well taken. But I think we are to some extent talking about different types of comfort. I’m comfortable with my relationship with institutional religion, but I’m not comfortable staying in one spiritual place. The LDS Church preaches “eternal progression” or “moving waters.” And that is something I believe in strongly. So to make a long story short, I agree with you 110 percent.

  3. dor deasy says:

    Roger, like it or not, you are indeed “hastening the work”. That is, in deed. You, who travel to underdeveloped areas, who bring water to the thirsty, joy to the forgotten, are doing the work of Christ and ultimately of God. Many religions have forgotten the fundamental reason for conversion and mission work: to help be hands and mouths and encouragement for the betterment of the world and society. Such work has little or nothing to do with adding names to the Church’s roster and everything to do with being of service to those who many consider “the other” and thereby convert them (or more accurately, our own perception of them) into becoming our neighbors and family.
    You are hastening the work by example and by teaching. Thank you.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Dor, you are very kind. I think my problem is that I distrust all organizations. Many start out with good intentions, but they eventually gravitate toward self preservation.

  4. Susan says:

    There is a part of this that could be interpreted as “sweet”. Two older people stopping by to say “hello”. But alas, as I read your article, I was a bit skeptical of the motive behind the visit. More often than not, especially in Utah where the concentration of Mormons are thick, it is someone’s “project” to activate the inactive. Some are specifically assigned for that reason. And Dor’s point is well taken. You are indeed “hastening the work” albeit on your own terms and in your own way. But you are in no way less of a servant to Christ because of your “inactivity” in one organization vs. your passion and work in another.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      You are right to remind me that the “sweet” couple had good intentions. I should be more respectful of others. Particularly since I spent 2-1/2 years bugging the Belgians and French.

  5. bretberger says:

    So what what would be your preferred job in the ward?

  6. embarrassed mormon says:

    I think the biggest problem the church faces today is that it has become a church of business men running it like a business. Missionary work has transformed into marketing. We say we believe a man must be called of God by inspiration but in reality its more dependent on their resume or last name. If you are a successful business man you can be a local leader, a lawyer – a general authority, if you can run a BYU – an apostle. And so the church looks and sounds more like a business or a corporation. The messages from the prophets are embarrassing! I’m one more “parable of the pickle” or poetry session away from going nuts! In pushing yourself upon people you are making them sick of you! It’s a far cry from Joseph Smith Mormonism if you ask me.

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