“The Rescue”

Two quick questions:

What is “The Rescue”?

And perhaps more importantly,

Why the emphasis on it now?


  1. I believe it was a Disney movie about two mice who set off to rescue a kidnapped girl. They later go to Australia to save a kidnapped boy and his giant eagle.

    I’m guessing there is another sequel coming out.

  2. curiosity says:

    aside from a mention in a tribune article, what “emphasis” is being put on right now? is there something being done in meetings? will they say anything during conference?

  3. That’s “The Rescuers,” Narrator. (The sequel really kind of sucks, despite the valiant effort by John Candy as Orville the Albatross’s brother Wilbur.)

  4. In all seriousness, unless I see something otherwise. I’m assuming will mostly be a larger effort to send my hometeachers over to ask why they haven’t seen me in Gospel Doctrine or Elders Quorum.

  5. … and that I’ve been “missed.”

  6. It’s a Conrad novel centered on Tom Lingard, a character used before in something I haven’t read. It has some things in common with other Conrad novels, and some other things, too, all of it good.

  7. Jacob M says:

    Its a program to reach out to inactives. In HB, CA we’ve been doing it for about a year. We’re supposed to find one inactive per quorum in the year. Not sure why a sudden emphasis, but as the church’s activity rates indicate, it is surely needed.

  8. Like Lord Jim, there another case of Mr. Stein’s “war-comrades,” a disastrous climax, and the down-hearted aftermath. Like Under Western Eyes there is intrigue. Like just about everything, there are men devoted to the sea and their ship. The Frenchman is something like the dandy who drowns himself in Nostromo. Lingard’s infatuation with The Woman is different, though. Why it’s coming up now, I don’t know.

  9. john willis says:

    I think this comes from the title of President Monson’s biography “To the rescue” which comes form the song “Dear to thet of the Shepard”.

    This seems to be a them if not the theme of President Monson’s presidency in terms of reactivation of the less active and care for the poor and needy.

  10. From my understanding, it is a priesthood-led directive, with the direction to go find inactive priesthood holders. But per #7, maybe I am wrong. Has anyone heard of Relief Society’s being directed to similarly take part?

  11. curiosity says:

    i dont think so. i thought the rescue was the thing was a response hinted at in this article


    saying they were like going to tackle tough gospel subjects or something like that

  12. I am not a big fan of taking something that we ought to be doing anyway, giving it a formal, heartwarming new name, and trotting it out with new materials and recycled guilt. It reminds me, for all the same reasons, of what we used to get out of our stake mission presidency in terms of new member missionary programs every six months or so, back in the day. First, somebody has to want to be rescued.

  13. 11. I’m surmising that tackling tough gospel subjects is an outgrowth of it or perhaps a separate initiative that just handily falls under the umbrella of the present directive, but I don’t think it is the main focus.

  14. Mark B. says:

    It all grew out of a simple misunderstanding. One of the brethren was particularly moved by a male quartet’s rendering of “Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy” but misunderstood the last line: “Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You may rescue, you may save.” He decided that it was time for a new anti-birth control initiative. He was going to rescue every fainting, struggling semen, or die trying.

  15. I’m wondering if it’s the same thing as the “Perry Plan” which Elder Perry presented to the Bishop’s and WML’s in our region. Basically, the EQ, HPG, and RS each come up with 5 names of inactive members. These members are then assigned to be visited by a member of the Ward Council and they are invited to go through the Missionary discussions again.

    Some wards in our Stake have had great success with this and have seen both re-activations and baptisms while others have struggled with implementation.

  16. john willis says:

    In many ways I agree with the comment #12, people get active when they want to get active and all a good home teacher can do is be there when they are ready. The great problem with inactivity worldwide is people being babtized before thy are ready or understand what church membership means.

    I think what president Monson is looking for is illustrated by a story in the book he tells about when he he was a young bishop. He had promised he would visit a member of his ward at a V.A. hospital and planned to go after a stake meeting was over. During the meeting he received a very strong impression that he should go to the hospital NOW. He did not want to embarass himself by leaving the meeting early in front of his stake leaders. As soon as the talks were finished and before the closing prayer was given he did leave.

    He arrived at the hospital and was told that the person he had planned to visit had just died and had been asking for him.
    I think the message from this story and president monson’s life and work is that we sholdn’t let the Church organization and bureaucracy get in the way of serving others as Chirst would do. Sometimes it is important to minister to the one even if it means ignoring the requirements of the ninety and nine (i.e church organization and bureaucracy ) for a while.

  17. Tim J, that’s my understanding, although I haven’t heard it called the “Perry Plan.” It was called “Focus Five” in our stake a couple of years ago. We’ve tried various iterations, with mixed success. You kind of get a little jaded after a while, and I suppose I ought to be more enthusiastic, but right now I’m trying to get all of our home teachers just to do their home teaching.

    However, I recognize the problem. Our ward, like every other ward, has a long list of unknowns. We try to get out to visit them, or have the missionaries drop by, but a lot of them just want to stay unknown. We have a couple of prospects we are working with, nowhere near 5 per quorum and auxiliary. One aspect of this that bears consideration is that it sometimes takes years. We have one faithful home teacher in our HP group that has been visiting the same inactive couple for 15+ years, and has progressed to the point where they were able to give a PH blessing, even though they still have no desire to return to church activity. It takes a long time to convince people you are their friends, and not just chasing them because of a new program, or that they are on a list for some leader’s pet project. I am not discounting the value of trying reactivation, just trying to temper super optimistic goal setting with the target person’s agency, and reality.

  18. kevinf, I completely agree with your #12. We are also pursuing the Perry plan/focus 5 after Elder Perry met with the priesthood leadership in our area about a year ago. But since each group is supposed to find 5 people we are calling it focus 15. And like you I have very mixed emotions about new programs that promise success if only we will obey. The problem is that the programs come and go like the tide and that they all assume that they are plowing untouched ground. We had a new, eager and dedicated Elder and his companion sit in our living room last week and challenge us to pray about what family we know can accept the gospel and promise us the Lord will bless us with success if we do. But we have had equally eager and dedicated missionaries sit in that living room over the last 17 years and promise us the same thing. And each time we have smiled, accepted the challenge and given it another try. New programs are an organizational way to tackle intractable problems like inactive members and too few referrals for the missionaries. They give the appearance of progress when progress is hard to find.

  19. The idea is to have people (specifically the Ward Council) go visit less-actives in order to “Rescue” them. That’s all we’ve talked about in Priesthood leadership meetings, Stake leadership training, special talks from the mission president, etc. I’ve heard it an awful lot over the past 2 years.

  20. Call it the “compensation for lousy home teachers” program.

  21. Fascinating Dave, I completely missed that so thanks.

  22. Dave, that’s it, though to my knowledge it’s never been called “The Rescue”. It’s either been referred to as “The Perry Plan” or “Focus 15”.

  23. We had a “Rescue” in my mission and two years ago in my branch back in the US – basically, it was a “invite the entire quorum to become active” venture, with a focus on five individuals/families. Though I certainly support seeking out the “one” (so much repetition of the hymn “Ama el Pastor sus Ovejas”), I wonder what people think when they find out we’re literally talking about “rescuing” them…

  24. #24 – I think it depends on if they want to be rescued – and I have known inactive members who really did want to have someone reach out, even if it took direction to do so.

    I generally don’t like “programs”, since I see them as contrived efforts to systematize what we aren’t doing naturally when we should be doing them naturally. (like #20 says) I haven’t seen any details about this new effort, so I don’t have any solid idea if it is a “standard program for everyone to implement” or if it is more an outline or guide to pray for help reaching out to those who worshiped with us once but don’t anymore. I’ll reserve my input until I know more about what it is and how it will be presented.

  25. In our ward in CA it is called Focus on 15 and I have blamed it on our former Area Authority Elder Dalton for the past two years. Perhaps my frustration is misplaced. There has been no effort to tackle “tough” gospel topics by our ward council.

  26. The Focus 5/15 has been going on regionally since at least 2007. Elder Perry personally introduced it in at least some parts of Washington State. I wish they would just say … extend yourself, don’t track your progress, you will not be required to report on any specific lists, possibly you will have success and possibly not but either way it is what we ought to do.

    Some people really benefit from time management seminars. But most people don’t.

  27. Another program that will change everything.

    In a couple years, another program that few will remember every existed.

    Sigh. The issue is not programs. It is building, without artificial prodding, sincere relationships.

  28. I’m with TP on this. Following the link from Dave, I do not really see how this is different from what most Ward Councils are asked to do already except that it is slightly more formalized with specific questions around the discussions.

  29. Dave K. says:

    We call it the “5-5-5 Plan” in our stake. That name derives from the plan’s instruction that the EQ, HPG and RS each oversee 5 names. But most people just think it’s because Hermann Cain invented the plan.

  30. It should be called the 6-6-6 plan ;-)

    This just shows the corporate nature of the church, where plans get decided on from the top, crammed down to the mid and lower managers, and then trotted out as “our” ‘Goals”. It’s all well-meaning enough, but you don’t think that those targeted don’t see it?

    As already stated, you can’t rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued. People drop out for many reasons which rarely get addressed anyway. We have this particular bias in the church that people somehow can’t be “truly happy” unless they are in the church and fully active. Not everyone wants to come back to a bunch of meetings, 3-hour church, no outside Sunday activities, tithing, and the pressure and guilt to go out and find others like them who may be very content, thank you very much.

    I like just being a good neighbor to those who live around me and try to respect their privacy. I don’t want to report to anyone about my personal friendships and what we talk about and do. We are good friends now with a couple that are totally non-participating (I HATE the term “inactive”). We have a great time, discuss lots of things including church once in a while, but I don’t talk to anyone about them. We know each other well enough that if they decide to discuss or want to attend an activity it will happen.

    Enough of the programs and promises already!

  31. I was recently put in as RSP in our ward and received a list of 21 sisters who had previously been submitted as potential names for our Focus 5. But most of the names on the lists were of people who didn’t attend church because they were home bound due to physical or mental illness. The program was being run as if it were a re-activation program, but re-activation as in increased Sunday attendance was not a real possibility for these people; what they needed instead was fellowship and ordinances being brought to them, and to feel a remembered included part of our ward. It seemed like a programmatic mismatch to me. I struck most of the names off our list, made sure those sisters had decent VTs instead. I’m still working on who to put on the list (it’s pretty easy to say, oh, you’ve already got the target people on the HP and EQ lists).

    That said, I would love love love to see something that addresses the “hard questions” in a loving way without any defensiveness at all — like the fallout from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of church members; helping sisters feel safe and heard at church; reconciling the pattern of the gospel with the reality of mortality; understanding the true meaning of the temple recommend questions; the universal applicability of the atonement and of grace (we need to speak a whole lot more about grace); race issues; gender issues; the appropriateness of saying “no” or at least to speak up and say, “yes, but my plate has this on it…”; etc. My observation is that some of these are things that many are not quite willing to address, or don’t know how to address.

    Hey, EmJen, did you notice in “Daughters in My Kingdom” the list of questions that VTs are invited to consider asking their teachees…. I ’bout fell off my chair when it outright recommended asking:

    “What questions do you have about the gospel or the Church?” (p. 115).

    We talked in RS Sunday about that question, about the value of having someone you love and trust that you can ask a question of outside of Sunday School or Relief Society, and about the tremendous responsibility of a visiting teacher to cultivate the Spirit and to do her own studying to be ready for the answer to this question, and to be willing to say “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.”

    There’s some real power in authorizing VTers to “go there” like this.

  32. Wow 32, I hadn’t seen that. That is quite interesting. I’m going to mull on what it maybe means.

  33. This is one form of the Perry Chart distributed to wards and Missions:
    Working With The Ward Council

  34. At a recent Stake Conference, Elder Scott held an hour long pre-Stake Conf. meeting with mostly inactives/less-actives/non-participating people invited. I had never heard of an apostle wanting to meet so intimately with such a group. We met in a room similar to a typical Relief Society sized room and it was jam-packed. He was very non-judgmental & seemed sincere in wanting to hear why people are leaving the church, what prevents them from coming back, etc. He even outright said he wasn’t there to fault or scold anyone for not coming to church – he made it clear he was not “calling anyone to repentance”- at least during that meeting. It was informal, open to questions from the group, etc. I thought his demeanor & tone were so helpful – he wasn’t any kind of “I’m superior, I’m going to rescue you lost & fallen souls” – in fact, he even talked about his own weaknesses, & how much he had to rely on Christ because he was so weak. I thought it was the most refreshing meeting. It seemed to get to the heart of things. That’s probably why I appreciated it so – there was no hint of programs, corporation, status quo – just one soul to others, wanting to understand. Elder Scott seemed filled with sincere love for everyone there – which I suspect, is the hardest part about a specific “rescue” program – getting others to see and understand the sincerity required for such a quest.

  35. Last sentence should have read, “getting others to see and understand the sincerity *and humility* required for such a quest.

  36. Molly Bennion says:

    #32 is such an important post. Shh’s list of “hard questions” is a great beginning. I’ve been sneaking these issues into my teaching for decades, as have many others–with good results despite occasionally having been released for my efforts, but it must become systemic to do any real good. Also a RSP, I have 20 Do Not Contacts and about 70 unknowns on my list. The men have similar numbers. We are just another inner city ward except that we are strengthened by graduate student families. We are reaching out to all the totally inactive, but we can’t forget those who participate but are silently wrestling with the same issues which have precipitated dropout. They are my most urgent concern.

  37. Mommie Dearest says:

    “The issue is not programs. It is building, without artificial prodding, sincere relationships.” -Steve #28

    Yep. This.

    I suspect that I’m on some ward “rescue” list, due to my listless attitude, in combination with some not so subtle visits I’ve received lately. If the spiritual food was what I really needed, I’d attend a lot better. Usually it’s more of the same old self-congratulatory stuff that I’ve heard all my life, and the living water is scarce. The only thing that feeds me any more is the service I give and that’s done in the space in between and outside of meetings. I am not rebuilt by checklist visits, but real relationship-seeking, which is different from visiting, would help a lot.

    Shh #35 identified a host of issues that also contribute to some folks’ lack of enthusiasm, which we don’t discuss much, and which I think bears a repeat:

    “I would love love love to see something that addresses the “hard questions” in a loving way without any defensiveness at all — like the fallout from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of church members; helping sisters feel safe and heard at church; reconciling the pattern of the gospel with the reality of mortality; understanding the true meaning of the temple recommend questions; the universal applicability of the atonement and of grace (we need to speak a whole lot more about grace); race issues; gender issues; the appropriateness of saying “no” or at least to speak up and say, “yes, but my plate has this on it…”; etc.”

    Billy ‘s comment made me think that I repent far better when I feel that Christ is calling me to repentance, not the GA’s, or my bishop, or my home teacher. (My VT’s are too awesome to stoop to call me to repentance.)

  38. Clark Goble says:

    That’s long been one of the strengths of Elder Scott, Billy (35). Maybe he was called to deal with this situation now.

  39. Molly #37:
    “We are reaching out to all the totally inactive, but we can’t forget those who participate but are silently wrestling with the same issues which have precipitated dropout. They are my most urgent concern.”

    Sometimes it is really tough to find the balance. I am always reminding myself that the next person to go less-active is sat in front of me in sacrament meeting.

  40. Is THAT why the missionaries dropped by out of the blue the other day? Oy.

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