Live-blogging the Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation

Hopefully you are already at the stake center, on your way, or, like me, are comfortably lounging at home hoping the internet video link (found here) works great. Or you can click on over to Mormon Channel to see if it works via both video and radio as well.

Ok let’s see who wins the title of being the most prophetic about the “Changes to the Missionary Program.”

Beginning with an ok rendition of “Hark, All Ye Nations.” It seemed a bit slow, I like it exuberant and loud.

Elder Holland marks this as the largest zone conference ever.

Anyone else getting the Portuguese version of when you try to click in?

The choir was comprised of MTC missionaries and members and ward missionaries. I’m guessing that was a foreshadowing of things to come.

A live feed to both Washington D.C. (missionary council) and Peru (stake council) (and a funny joke from Elder Holland about excited to use his Spanish) and Hawaii (ward council) where it is beautiful and raining.

Missionary work is a special part of the seventy’s calling. More info will come later.

Elder Perry on deck!

E. Perry: “New era with lowering of age. Lifechanging!”

Missionary work in digital age. Roles of local leaders expounded. The way we shared the gospel will be vastly different. Knocking on doors. The world has changed. People are busy.

Missionaries will use computers in meetinghouses and other buildings in the mornings to contact potential converts. Internet missionaries.

Mission presidents will monitor missionaries online.

Churches will be open for tours by missionaries.

Become FB friends with missionaries in your area.

Not sure where to put all these missionaries so made 58 new missions this year and 173 new Mission Presidents.

Our most important duty is to preach the gospel.

Each of us is called to invited others to come unto Christ, active, non-active and non-member.

Each ward should have a mission plan. Ward council coordinate the plan, bishop directs the work. council identifies those who need an invite and reactivate.

Must return priesthood to the homes.

Story of Scott, who did not wait for an official assignment to spread the gospel.

Missionary work will strengthen the priesthood.

“I”ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” music video about a family being missionaries in all sorts of situations.

Elder Neil L. Anderson up…in a prerecording. Speaking about councils and presidencies.

Lots of videos of women and men working together on councils. I’m really hopeful that they’ll have a women speak in this meeting.

Elder Neil L. Anderson tells a story about an inactive women who was helped back into the fold through the organization of the ward council.

“The bishopric realized that just talking about names wasn’t working, they need to get out and do something.”

Nice video medley of “I want to be a missionary now” and “To Bring the World His Truth.” But the video keeps skipping, at least on my end.

Elder Nelson, who is Chairman of Missionary Executive Council, is up now, interviewing Sister Marriott of the YW General Presidency.

Larry Richman introduces us to the new Hastening the Work website.

Sister Marriott: “I love church, but my true calling is in the home.”

Sister Marriott tells how she put family ahead of church meetings as needed and Elder Nelson interjected that it was being anchored to the gospel that made her a good mother.

Elder Nelson: “Love is lubricant of good missionary work.”

“In every ward ward mission leader and bishop set the pace of missionary work.”

“Handbooks tell us what to do, but not how we should do it. There is no set script.”

Each member will want to find those who are not a part of the gospel or who have left…motivated by love.

President Packer in pre-recorded part talking about his decision to become a teacher and how he receives revelation, by just getting up and teaching, relaying on the Spirit to make up the rest.

“The priesthood prides themselves on their teaching, but the greatest teaching in the church is done by mothers.”

“I know the Lord lives and I know the Lord.”

President Monson thanks everyone for their prayers during this difficult time in the wake of his wife’s passing.

“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together to labor in the Lord’s vineyard.”

And of course, final music number is “Called to Serve!”

Any other thoughts about the meeting?


  1. Look at all those Sisters!

  2. John Taber says:

    You mean Elder Holland. [Admin: Thanks! I couldn’t get the video feed to work for a minute, it’s been fixed]

  3. J. Stapley says:

    Excellent call for including both male and female voices in administrative decisions.

  4. I’m glad E. Holland is conducting.

  5. Oh. Are they going to introduce everyone?

  6. J. Stapley says:

    Wise choice of regional leaders for inclusion.

  7. Yay, L. Tom Perry!

  8. Sharee Hughes says:

    Thanks for the link. I went to and clicked on where it said “view now” but all that came up was the notice that the meeting would be held. I was regretting not having driven to the Stake Center until I clicked on the link and got Elder Holland. So thanks again.

  9. The Washington DC Mission council included the mission President’s wife and four sister missionaries. That’s a dramatic change from my mission in the early 90s.

  10. Ouch. Yawning woman was a bad camera pan.

  11. Fletcher says:

    I’m watching while making butterscotch and mint chocolate chip cookies. I wish all ward council meetings were like this.

  12. Observer says:

    Small correction: the mission council live feed is with the DC North Mission, not Japan. It looks like one of the spare rooms at the DC Visitors Center. [Admin: Thanks! I only got the video feed up at that moment and missed where it was at].

  13. J. Stapley says:

    The institutional value of extroverts cannot be overstated.

  14. John Taber says:

    My father is pretty good at doing what “Scott” does when he travels, at hotels as well as on airplanes.

  15. I just finished three years as a ward mission leader and hear Elder Perry twice in that time in regional meetings basically give the exact same talk. So for mostly the same program, but as this is for new missionaries and mission presidents, many had not heard it before. He did stress the online presence more though.

  16. Almost fell asleep during that musical number…

  17. Left Field says:

    I’m just reading the summary. What is implied by the phrase “Knocking on doors”?

  18. That’s two knocks on the music! No more! (as if I were in charge …)

    Elder Kasen, the director, has been there since *I* was in the MTC more than 30 years ago. Those few weeks in the choir there with him is the only time in my life when I’ve been able to sing as more than a bawling cow in the pasture, all due to the way he taught us. He has those missionaries in this meeting singing as a *choir*, with voices blended and parts balanced, as if they had been singing together for years, with as much training as the Tabernacle Choir — and yet he has had none of them under his direction for more than two months, most much less than that. It’s a marvel. I’m loving every note.

  19. Did anybody else’s feed flip out a minute ago? :/

    Ardis, my apologies. I haven’t had my afternoon nap. The song was lovely, and I did enjoy singing in the MTC choir a few years ago. I’m just so bored of slow music–sacrament meeting today was borderline offensive with how slow it was.

  20. Yes, those missionary choirs are remarkable.

  21. I like the missionary with the hightly visible nametag “Elder Lyon” being given the onscreen caption “MISSIONARY”

  22. Observer fka Eric s says:

    How gonna monitor a bunch of teenagers on FB? The personal messaging is gonna go off the hizzy!!

  23. Trevorm says:

    They are gonna monitor the teenagers by making sure the Mission President, his wife, counselors and probably the assistants have access to each missionary’s facebook page.

  24. John Taber says:

    My mission uses Facebook (and the mission president has an iPhone). I haven’t heard of any problems so far.

  25. Brooke, I’m right there with you when it comes to the abomination of the snail’s pace of congregational singing. It’s almost unendurable, isn’t it?

  26. NowthenAD says:

    The problem with watching this “meeting of the century” LIVE is that you can’t fast forward it to try and find the bit that shows me that “the heavens are open” (Donaldson) – “It will be a meeting you don’t want to miss. This is one of those things where you’re gonna wanna say ‘Yes, I heard this thing live’, I promise you.” Are they saving something?

  27. Mike Berkey says:

    I think at least part of the reason for including that interview with Sis. Marriott to demonstrate that we should listen to the voice of the sisters in our councils.

  28. Mark from MI says:

    …as long as Elder Nelson can tell them what they meant to say.

  29. Notwithstanding how negative this will sound…My prediction was fairly accurate. The church has again packaged up an emotional (even treacly), well-done presentation/video/tone about our responsibilities as members regarding conversions, retention, and activation. I first recall hearing these responsibilities emphasized back in 1967-1969 when I was a full-time missionary. The addition of the “digital” and social networking efforts, church building open houses, and the dropping of tracting are the only new elements.
    So, same old, same old (with some twists). As important as this “work” surely is, much of the new effort (excitement?) will fade as so many “new” programs/efforts have. It is just in our nature (as people, not just because we are Mormons) to quickly return (mostly) to basic, quotidian patterns. Not so much a criticism as an observation about the nature of things.

  30. Observer fka Eric s says:

    @trevorm. So a couple eyes monitoring hundreds of elders and sisters 24/7? Ok.

  31. viviane says:


    That moment in this meeting, which justifies it being the “meeting of the century,” will not happen.

    Read this later and confirm.

    But of course, it could be the meeting of the century – telling us a great deal of prophetic mormon vision.

    But we can comment on the music.


  32. John Taber says:

    It doesn’t sound like “no tracting” but rather “keep the missionaries too busy to tract”.

  33. Who the heck billed it as “meeting of the century,” NowthenAD? Smells like a strawman to me.

  34. TrevorM says:


    They don’t need to monitor 24/7. They have companions, and most missionaries will generally follow the rules. Occasional oversight will get the job done.

  35. mjberkey says:

    Ardis: that would be Elder Nelson.

  36. Where? When? I’ve been invited to this thing through four different venues, and never heard that.

  37. Ah. I see by Googling that that was a line passed on third-hand from some missionary, pounced on and chewed over and spit out by the DAMU. All I need to know, thanks.

  38. Ardis, the missionary department guy at Southern Virginia University called it the “meeting of the century” here:

  39. mjberkey says:

    Ardis, was this the link you found: ?

    I listened to the whole hour of it, and it’s more reliable than you’re giving it credit for.

  40. mjberkey says:

    EmJen, Donaldson claims that Elder Nelson said it. It’s around 7:30 or so…

  41. It still sounds like someone’s opinion about what the meeting would be.

  42. ricoson says:

    little oversight for the FB thing? Have any of you gone on missions lately? There are as many disobedient missionaries as there are obedient ones. Good luck keeping the sisters and the elders from dating each other…

  43. mjberkey, the provenance is so weak that I could not conscientiously attribute it to Elder Nelson in a blog post, much less anything more meaningful. I’m not making too little of it — those of you throwing it around are making too much of it. And to what purpose? To set up a false expectation and to knock it down. That’s a strawman.

  44. viviane says:


    But you liked the music, yes.


  45. mjberkey says:

    Donaldson: “Elder Nelson said this, and he’s not given to hyperbole, ‘it will be the meeting of the century.'”

    So, you would have to conclude that Donaldson was just lying, wouldn’t you? Or else that the quote is legitimate.

  46. Well. This means I don’t have to eat my hat because they did not ask for money, or introduce iPads for the missionaries. A good day for me and my digestive system.

  47. symphonyofdissent says:

    I thought it was a great meeting and felt the spirit. The Lord’s work truly is hastening and its exciting to be a member in this time. (See my blog for more thoughts if you want).

  48. Yes, I felt the spirit as well.

  49. Mark from MI says:

    Lee Donaldson specifically quoted Elder Nelson in his talk. Aren’t half the discussions on this blog over what some GA said, and how we interpret it?

  50. Mark from MI says:

    And the other half are over what some GA said, and how offended we are by how other people interpret it.

  51. viviane says:

    Oh sorry, Ardis.

    You didn’t even like the music.

  52. Bret Downing says:

    Looking forward to next century.

  53. Observer fka Eric s says:


  54. thinking of the implications here, I think it will be interesting to have “facebook missionaries” because it enables people serving in cambodia to continue to have a missionary impact on friends and family back home. Also, this eliminates boundaries on writing members from previous areas. Also this eliminates boundaries on talking to families.

  55. This is my first time following an LDS blog and I have to say the amount of negative comments about a meeting presided over by a prophet of God and the inspired decisions and programs of his councilors is very sad.

  56. symphonyofdissent says:


    I agree with completely… It’s sad that people can be so negative about the words of the Prophet!

  57. trevorprice924 says:

    ^ There were a lot of people expecting something “prophetic” in this meeting. They were obviously disappointed. But I’ve found that low elections are they way to go myself.

  58. The problem is that this was way oversold — and under-delivered.

    The Church pitched this as “historic” (See Peggy Stack’s story in the Salt Lake Tribune).

    Instead, there was some encouragement for ward council’s to ramp up missionary efforts and lame efforts to have missionaries offer tours of our buildings and try to reach out online. I think this just indicates how badly tracting is working worldwide. But, honestly, who has a burning desire to see an LDS building? And, does anyone truly plan to link your friends up with the missionaries via Facebook?

    Is there anyone who thinks that anything substantive will come of this?

  59. My ward building is 30 years old, very spartan, a bit stinky from age and use, and located 7 miles outside the nearest ward boundary of the two wards that meet there. I can imagine few things more ludicrous than believing anyone wants a tour.
    I deleted my Facebook months ago.

  60. Left Field says:

    So which is the biggest case of over-hype? Whoever allegedly said this would be the “meeting of the century”? Or whoever thinks we all should be arm-flapping about the person who allegedly said that and how wrong he was?

  61. I know in my mission that there were people who wanted to see what our building looked like, but that was mainly because it was on a busy street in a very large metropolis.I don’t know how this online thing will really work. Tracting has always been bad. It was ineffective 10 years ago on my mission, and it was ineffective for my Dad almost 40 years ago. I hope that ward and stake councils take the message to heart about working with inactives and coordinating better with the missionaries. As far as it being hyped up, yeah it was a little overhyped, but sometimes human nature is such that we need stuff overhyped so we will attend and listen. [admin: edited as requested]

    Anyway, my two cents. I hope no one is offended, I’m not placing a value judgement on your opinions. I disagree, but that’s it. Have a nice evening everyone.

  62. viviane says:

    “So which is the biggest case of over-hype? Whoever allegedly said this would be the “meeting of the century”?

    The easiest answer is often the most accurate: the group who organized and presented this stunt.

    I doubt that was Ardis.

    But I can confirm I had nothing to do with the music.

  63. Meldrum the Less says:


  64. @ Steve, I really DO believe something can come out of this. Did The Lord say that anything can happen through our faith?

    Before I attended I prayed that The Lord would give me insights to my own ward and their needs. During this the Spirit gave me two names I need to invite, one through Facebook and another who is less active in my ward, and I intend to go tomorrow. As often as we ask, we receive!

    While there may be problems with specific points, why dwell on them? I would invite anyone here to approach all of this with the spirit of prayer, asking what we can do in our situations to apply. Of course not every church building will be a powerful draw. Do you think they don’t know that? They are speaking to a global church. But these are principles that as mentioned will be funneled through Seventies and Stakes and Bishops to our families if we wait for that, and some waiting must be had.

    But I bear my testimony that The Lord will fill our minds with inspiration if we ask, right now without waiting. He did with me.

  65. mjberkey says:

    I disagree that tracting is ineffective. It may be inefficient, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Most of the baptisms I saw on my mission in Australia (4 years ago) were found by tracting.

  66. Dale Whiting says:

    So the full time missionary youth will be holding meeting house open houses and using Facebook to communicate with local prospects. And Ward and Stake councils of all sorts will be incorporating missionary work of all sorts into their routine business. Every member is reminded that they have a missionary calling to fulfill. President Monson’s example was well chosen. Now it’s up to you and me to get with the program. Lengthen our strides.

  67. Thank you J Stapley for addressing how little the church appears to value true introverts like myself. I have spent my life and energy having to fake extrovert characteristics instead of having the church recognize and use the more introverted talents I possess. Introverts can also help in “hastening the work” but why are we expected to do it in the same way an extrovert would? I’ll continue to blaze my own trail in building the kingdom of God using the abilities He has given me.

  68. Left Field says:

    “…the group who organized and presented this stunt.”

    Considering that the phrase “meeting of the century” appears nowhere on or any other church source, I would say the group that promulgated the overhyped stunt would be all those gleefully salivating at the opportunity of telling us how overhyped the meeting was.

    Or perhaps the most effective vehicle for hype really is to send an obscure official from 50 E North Temple to repeat a secondhand quote at an obscure private university in an obscure speech that almost nobody will listen to. Sounds like a pretty hyped-up stunt to me.

  69. we went on a tour of the building and it was great. Our building is not new, it is not top of the line…but the tour does help someone know what we do on Sundays. It helps them know what to expect. It makes clear that we do believe in Jesus.

  70. I really liked the info in the meeting and quite a few quotes from it. I also had one very strong impression near the end.

    I was mentally hoping that one of the speakers would stress more service from the missionaries, and I had an overpowering feeling (not a voice, but almost) that told me:

    “You can’t ask them to do your job for you.”

  71. viviane says:

    Yes, Left Field, we can trust to present all facts.

    And we can trust the Manager of Proselyting Services in the Missionary Department to lie. A this liar is a Bishop at BYU. And this is a liar is a former Mission President. And this liar has been in the Educational System of the Church for 26 years.

    Talk this him, not me.

  72. @ Kim, I have a few introverted friends although I myself tend to be more of a socialite. I’m also a ward mission leader. How does one help an introvert hasten the work? What do you suggest?

  73. Stop it, viviane. You are on the wrong site for that kind of vitriol.

  74. This “supermoon” seems to be bringing out the crazies in fuller force than the normal full moon.

  75. viviane says:

    Yes, Ray is right

    I was on the wrong site for poor and vitriolic spelling. Sorry, corrected, following:

    So, we trust: “Lee Donaldson is manager of proselyting services in the Missionary Department and bishop of a YSA ward in Provo, Utah. He previously has served as president of the California San Diego Mission and as Global Director of Leadership Development for the Church.”

    If you do not trust Lee, talk to Lee. I have no reason to not trust Lee.

  76. Ron Madson says:

    I have not frequented By Common Consent much in the last year (and the place is probable better off for it), but reading some of the inspiring comments and once again hearing the word “prophet” being invoked (a word originating thousands of years ago from a vastly different culture as if it meant the same thing now as then) I can safely observe that a church can continue to exist, even grow long after Elvis has left the building.

  77. Viviane, you’re done here.

  78. I am going to give this advice today my best shot. Yes, I am introverted, too, but I can talk on blogs and I can sense how to visit teach a less active sister. I love this Church and I am excited to do what I can do.

  79. Ardis, I agree that Jim Kasen (the music director) is a treasure. He is not only a gifted choral director, but also an excellent composer. Thanks for taking the time to point out a positive point.

  80. Here’s the thing: when people complain that this wasn’t really a big deal and that the announcements sound ineffectual, etc, they sound stupid and hateful. Or mostly just stupid. They show when people don’t get the program of the Church. People like Bryan above get the program of the Church and don’t sound stupid. J.’s comments are also perceptive and show ways of picking up on the importance of the meeting.

    Now, just because you happen to sound stupid doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong. The FB stuff and meetinghouse tours, etc., may be ineffectual. Who knows. But there were some real changes announced here for those with the eyes to see them. My advice to those who want to complain about the meeting is to consider whether their comments will make them sound intelligent to their audience or will tend, as demonstrated in most cases above, to make them sound demonstrably unintelligent. It could also be that you ‘get’ the program of the Church but disagree with it or want to complain in general. Sorry guys, but most of you are not going to get too far with that approach, either with BCC or with the Church in general. It takes particular insight to be able to voice disagreement intelligently with the Church without sounding like a typical disgruntled DAMU denizen — most of those able to do so are already permas here.

  81. Left Field says:

    viviane, if any of that had anything to do with what I wrote, you might have a point. I don’t know what the point might be, but perhaps you would have one.

    Here’s the deal: Nobody here cares whether Russell Nelson or anyone else actually said what has been alleged. If he said it, then you, me, and everybody else thinks it’s hyperbole. If he didn’t say it, then it’s still hyperbole. I never affirmed or denied that he said it. It makes no difference to me. If it makes you happy, then let’s just agree to stipulate that the quotation is accurate. Now, what the hell difference does it make?

  82. whizzbang says:

    I am a ward mission leader and I do not feel comfortable having our two sister missionaries be by themselves at the Church building waiting for a stranger to come in requesting a church tour. They need some security or something to protect themslves from any crummies from coming off the street. Besides of which I think it’s a total waste of time

  83. Thanks for editing my comment. I thought it was a great meeting, and I have a lot to talk about with my stake council as we try to follow the counsel given tonight.

  84. +2 to whizzbang for the term “crummies”, a more Canadian term hast ne’er been seen.

  85. Re whizzbang’s concern: The point about safety was explicitly made in the discussion of online work — it’s not much of a stretch to believe that safety in other times and places is also a concern on the radar of mission leaders.

    Like Kris, I’m an introvert in person and very comfortable online. A tour of an LDS building would probably not have much impact on the average person. Yet as an introvert, I realize that having the option of touring a church building, if I were already attracted to or curious about the Church, would make ALL the in whether I would show up on a Sunday. A tour of a building when there were few people around and no services occurring, so that I wouldn’t have to be concerned about whether I would stand or kneel at the wrong time, or that a collection plate might be passed, or that I would be exposed to something freaky, or that I wouldn’t know what room to go into or whether I was allowed to sit just anywhere, would relieve a lot of my introvert concerns. I might then be able to attend on a Sunday. Walking in cold would be about as enticing to me as an invitation to walk into a public place naked.

  86. *all the difference in whether I would show up

  87. “But there were some real changes announced here for those with the eyes to see them.”

    This. Exactly.

  88. From Peggy Fletcher Stack’s article about the meeting:

    “Speaking earlier in the day to the new mission presidents, Mormon leaders said that “missionary use of the Internet and digital devices such as iPads will begin in phases and only in designated missions for the rest of this year,” according to an LDS news release. “The church anticipates these tools will be available to missionaries throughout the world sometime next year.””

    So it looks like they will be getting iPads. I have to confess this seems like a pretty expensive (possibly unnecessarily so) option to me. I’m wondering if a smart phone couldn’t perform most of the same capabilities – scheduling, note taking, etc. – for about 1/10th the price. But I don’t have an iPad, so I am admittedly not up to speed on their capabilities. Do they do something snazzy that would be essential to missionary work and couldn’t be achieved through a smart phone or more traditional tools?

  89. Mandy, not quite. First, an iPad is not 10x as expensive as a smartphone, and second, the functionality they are providing is quite different as well. iPads will be far more effective as reading devices, for sharing videos, scriptures etc. with investigators, and for internet interaction. Smartphones are better at being phones and worse and pretty much anything else.

  90. While I was WML in Puyallup we did a number of church tours. I thought they were probably the single best thingie-thing we did. Every one was a good experience.

  91. Ahh, prices have gone down. Last time I looked (quite a while back), they were a lot more expensive. The video and reading capabilities would be handy (though DVDs and scriptures worked fine for me on my mission). But I can see the internet capabilities being quite convenient. I still have some concern, though, because if they got an iPad for every companionship, that’s over $14 million. The frugal side of my nature feels that’s a bit pricey. But maybe we’d get a really great discount for buying so many.

  92. whizzbang says:

    ah! Thank you Steve Evans!

  93. observer fka eric s says:

    Our meeting house in Orange County, California is the oldest in the area. It was dedicated by President Lee I believe. The roof leaks like a sieve. There are odors that emanate. I’ve spoted rodents three times. The smells like stale formula milk. The finishing materials and exterior are dated. The air circulation is asphyxiating. The hallways are too narrow. Three wards meeting there too. And on and on. Its just an older “modern era” meeting house that needs a wrecking ball. The Church has patched a leak here, resurfaced some burlap there. But for whatever reason (bling, bling), they refuse to just tear it down But there is very little that is exciting or attractive about the spartan building. As “worldly” and materialistic as it sounds, most of the other Churches in the area have state of the art facilities, fresh paint, etc. Growing up in the Church, I really don’t care that much about the facilities. What IS a bit frustrating is that I live in one (if not the) highest paying tithing stakes in the Church (read: the neighbors like nice-looking, neighborhoods, houses, buildings, etc.), yet the LDS meeting house is decaying in the middle of it all.

    If we are entering into the modern era of a the City-Creek-Mall theory of a public face to put on, and we’re fired up about building tours, then at least use the bazillions of U.S.-tithe-payer dollars to fix up the domestic buildings before the money goes all over the planet.

  94. Left Field says:

    Somehow I have the idea that the idea behind meetinghouse tours is not actually to dazzle people with the impressiveness of our physical facilities.

  95. observer, where is that building exactly? I served my mission in orange county and there were some pretty bad ward buildings back then, but also some new buildings being built. One bad one I remember in particular was near Los Alisos in the Mission Viejo area. There were many new buildings in the area that were great, but that building was a stinker. I hope they have updated it by now.

    Building tours are not going to work in every building, because not every building is worth touring, but they can work in many places and have been shown to be very effective. These new policies are not some untried thing that has been dreamed up off the top of someone’s head. They have already been tried on a small scale and have proven themselves.

  96. That’s exactly right, Left Field, but we don’t want to turn them off either. Some buildings are just kind of embarassing and will need some updating before tours are a realistic possibility.

  97. JennyP1969 says:

    Well….that was a lovely meeting. Some new changes, and some treasured traditions. Every member IS a missionary — for good and positive, or for ill and negative. We can’t escape giving others an impression(s) of the church. Let’s do our positive best — even if we’ve left it. We can still speak to the good things and let others form opinions based on a positive note, rather than a mean, nasty one.

    No matter what issues there may be for anyone with this church, the goodness of it and it’s people far out weigh the bad, and the joy and beauty from the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something to truly treasure and aspire to live up to. Jesus is the reason for all good things.

    Loved….L-o-v-e-d….the music. So beautiful and inspiring.

    I’m a little bit sad, though, that John T’s idea of khakis and a polo shirt for service clothing wasn’t in the new changes. I would’ve really liked that. Local members could join them in such attire, too. Everyone would always know who all the Mormons were serving each day.

    But, hey, onward, ever onward…..da, da, da, da, da, da, da……hmm….hmmmm…..

  98. gearykim says:

    @ Bryan – Thanks for asking. Most people assume that introverts are shy which isn’t usually the case. I’m not shy, but because I tend to think a lot and speak little, most missionary outreach programs don’t lend themselves to my strengths. As an introvert, large groups of people or prolonged social interactions with strangers are draining. However, one on one conversations with people I’ve become acquainted with really suit me because I am an excellent listener and can intuit questions that are unspoken. Ward mission leaders have effectively used me in the past in roles where I’m introduced to investigators or those less active and I’m allowed to develop a rapport with people so that we can really talk with each other. Like Ardis, I find my ability to communicate online is most closely aligned with my communication style. Sorry there’s not much here, but I’m still figuring it out myself…

  99. Not sure why my username changed, but that last comment was from me.

  100. Overall I feel the missionary work going forward is inspired, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to run into a bunch of practical problems that may not be forseen yet…or maybe they are?
    The biggest practical concerns I’m worried about are:
    -Will some young and inexperienced missionaries get really fired-up about a subject on Facebook and make inappropriate or weird comments that are not good for someone representing the Church? Like commenting on a member’s wall and inadvertently getting into an argument with one of the member’s real-life friends over something that the missionary personally sees as being important and Gospel-related (like politics) and the friend is just going “WTF? Who are these people?”
    -Members cannot control what their friends may post on their wall or the comments they may make. I have a wide range of friends and some of them write with many swears, I know that’s not going to shock most missionaries but what if a new convert they’ve friended is having their friends post things that are almost pornographic on their wall? Or just really raunchy jokes? How are the missionaries to deal with that if they’re supposed to interact with them on Facebook, but avoid anything pornographic?
    -What countries are iPads going to be used in, and how can we guarantee that a great deal of them won’t get stolen? Missionaries, members and investigators all pose different kinds of risks, and different culture have different levels of tolerance for theft. I worry this will turn out to be an expensive investment that keeps getting costlier. Personally I probably would have lost mine out of sheer foolishness because I forget things often.
    -If all or most missionaries get iPads, I have to admit that I feel uncomfortable with the thought of how many missionaries from poor areas are going to be using these devices. In those areas especially, will this make them targets for getting mugged? And is it fair to be sending these expensive devices out to those who will never be able to afford them?

    I think a lot of good can also come from these changes, but those are some of my current worries. Anyone have any insight?

  101. It can be easy to see ourselves (read: relatively rich, mostly white North Americans) in everything we hear.

    While building tours are not going to transform the work of the kingdom, it seems to me they could be a valuable practice in other countries. The church grows fastest in poorer countries, and in many cities and towns across the globe LDS chapels are among the nicer, more notable structures. They serve as landmarks and attract curiosity. Plus, people in such places tend to not own cars, walk more, and are more likely to think of stopping in.

    In many faith traditions, places of worship are open to the public, serving as refuges and places of meditation. I enjoy entering Catholic cathedrals and Buddhist temples and find much solace and inspiration there. We have our temples, which are lovely centers of spiritual power, but no walk-ins allowed. While we will probably never be like the Catholics (LDS bishops living on-site?!), it would be nice to cultivate a little more openness and community in our meeting houses.

  102. NowthenAD says:

    Well, having been privileged to attend this “meeting of the century”, I don’t feel so bad that I missed out on the meeting of the previous century…the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, or the King Follett Discourse, or the one on 6th April 1830.

  103. Admittedly, my first though upon the announcement of open houses was “OH DEAR. Are they aware that the MEMBERS clean the chapels?” I don’t know about your wards, but my ward will need to make huge improvements in our after-church-tidying habits. Sorry early-morning seminary students…but I think the days of leaving your binders/breakfast wrappers/fleece blankets/papers strewn all over the place are coming to an end.

  104. This development is interesting, and probably inevitable.

    Ponder on this: those 18-year-olds who are just leaving on their missions? Yeah, the World Wide Web had been around about five years already when they were born. You think maybe they are more comfortable with a keyboard and a mouse than knocking on a stranger’s door?

  105. Bryant Smith says:

    For all complaining about the snail’s pace of the music, the tempo was dictated by the videos which were accompanying the songs. The conductors had to practice timing the entrance and keeping the choir in sync with the video. Though the directors would have to tell us how well we kept in sync. It’s possible we dragged relative to the video. I can say that in one practice run we were off by one beat by song’s end.

  106. White shirts and ties, replacing door-to-door and pamphlets with social media and iPads. Ever modeling the business salesmanship.

    I wish we were more interested in showing the gospel than selling it.

  107. mary jane says:

    Yes, the narrator, I agree. I felt that the “historic” broadcast was mostly historic in the amount of time and effort put into one giant production designed to “sell” the membership on helping find something for 70,000 missionaries to do. They announced it as a New Mission Presidents’ Seminar, then gave us a multimedia production designed to be used over and over as a selling point, and for what, I am not sure.

  108. To me, the biggest take-away was to always be motivated by love in my interactions with others–not just missionary work, but in everything I do.

  109. Ron Madson says:

    Is the Narrator suggesting that the product and not the packaging should be the focus? “The” product our Moroni speaks of at the end of the BOM is appropriately kept from public display. One cannot package the raw, primal power of the gifts of the spirit. Real gifts are unmanageable, icon-busting, unpredictable and even deconstructing of myths (God forbid we ever have an Abinadi, Samuel, Jeremiah, Lehi or even a young Joseph ever again). We need buildings to box in and compartmentalize thoughts, church rooms to block out the world/light —except for the one window the teacher controls; we need controlled marketing on the internet with “safeguards”,
    As to the OP speculation of wholesale service/humanitarian makeover? Standing in the breach and as advocates for the very least in any community is also very, very messy and unpredictable (just think of the residue some of us dealt with and observed after the yuppies left Liberty Park in SLC after Occupy Wall Street–and thank God we made sure to get this as far away from Temple Square with the erection of City Creek). It is much cleaner, more controlled and safer to “Preach my gospel” inside a church behind a keyboard—Mormon bloggery is evidence of that for which we are all mea culpa to varying degrees.
    Narrator, you should have realized that when the product can’t be improved (we have arrived with the ‘fulness’)—packaging and marketing is the answer!

  110. marginalizedmormon says:

    programs will come; programs will go–

    and it gives everyone something to do. The fact is that the condemnation that was placed on the church in the D&C–

    (section 84) has not been lifted.

    It is for each individual member to face; it’s not the kind of thing a program can erase. Difficult as missions can be and fraught with dangers as they are–of all kinds–

    I think Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are pleased that people want to serve. But, again, it is up to each individual to do his/her best and to apply the mission and atonement of Jesus Christ to his/her life and work–

    programs might help; they might even get in the way, but salvation is a personal thing. Even if a group of people come to Christ at one time, salvation is still a very personal thing–

    I found it underwhelming, but then life has thrown at *me* circumstances in which none of my young people is able (or willing) to serve missions, and I sweat blood on my own mission decades ago–

    it’s over. I do not regret it, but I find that most of what is happening now in terms of programs and broadcasts such as these have very little to do with what happened to me (good and bad) on my own mission–

  111. it's a series of tubes says:

    The fact is that the condemnation that was placed on the church in the D&C–(section 84) has not been lifted.

    It’s always amusing when people refer to their view on the opinion of God as “fact”.

  112. “I think Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are pleased that people want to serve. But, again, it is up to each individual to do his/her best and to apply the mission and atonement of Jesus Christ to his/her life and work … programs might help; they might even get in the way, but salvation is a personal thing. Even if a group of people come to Christ at one time, salvation is still a very personal thing … I found it underwhelming, but then life has thrown at *me* circumstances in which none of my young people is able (or willing) to serve missions … it’s over. I do not regret it…..”

    Marginalized Mormon, I can relate in a secondary manner to what you say here. I’m sure you may have read about my own choices and difficulties in certain areas and meanwhile my own mother is a highly devout Mormon. I only came to be able to even allow myself to face up to my own difficulties after some good long conversations with my mother that were years overdue. But I’m sure that somewhere in the back of her mind she may possibly feel the way you just expressed about my attendance of an AME church yesterday. Your comment makes me cringe a bit when I think of my own mother. I hope you know that no matter the choices your children made about the church they do love you, I’m sure, and I’m also willing to bet their choices weren’t meant to marginalize you personally.

  113. Marginalized Mormon – I do not know the life experiences that contributed to your feelings of marginalization, nor is it any of my business and I do not wish nor require to know. But I want to share something with you that may or may not help.

    Like your children like were, I was raised to be a very devout Mormon. When it comes to serving a mission, our family even housed the Missionaries for our area in a portion of our property for several years when I was a teen so the idea of a mission was extremely important to me. I don’t want to go into too many specifics of what led to my struggles with the church beyond what I already have done in other comments. But the important thing is that it was in no way, ever, intended at marginalization of my mother. I’m sure she has prayed about the issue and grappled with it, and for many years I tried and tried and tried to ignore my difficulties for her sake, to avoid talking of them. She recently came very, very close to death with cancer and is recovering. The talks we’ve had have allowed me to finally at age 39 while trying to complete a darn dissertation face up to my own struggles related to the church. I don’t know what may be going on with your family, it’s not my business. But you do not, please, want to have to have long conversations about religion with your children when they are my age, and when you may have had a brush with death and their emotions are totally so strung out that they can’t get their work done so they find themselves on a blog like this saying things like this. Whatever may be contributing to those feelings of marginalization I hope you find healing. Please, please don’t wait. Do it now if possible. Doing it after a brush with cancer and death is too darn painful for all.

  114. Marginalized Mormon – Another important thought I want to share then I really need to focus on work. Being raised by a devout Mormon mother means sharing certain values and modes of thinking. I’m guessing there may be some common ground between myself and your children, please hear me out, this is something I’ve grappled with for many years. Your children likely do know of your angst and feelings of marginalization as a Mormon by their struggles or distance from the Church, and if they are at all like me (a strong Mormon background tells me they might be) then they are probably in more pain and anguish already than you may realize. From the time that I first started feeling like an “outsider” in the Church because of, well, certain things, that has been a source of enormous pain for me. I’m willing to bet that you and your children need healing please. At age 39 I’ve been through twenty-plus years of largely not talking of the pain I’m in, and if your children feel the pain I’ve known, they need your help to deal with it more than I think you may know, because they likely try not to talk of their quiet, silent pain. Please find a way of talking and healing the “marginalization” that each of you may feel. My years of anguish were too many, too long. Please don’t let that happen with your children. Please come together and heal with communication, understanding and love. If that doesn’t happen, whatever pain you may be in, your children will also be in pain that is absolutely terrible. Take this as a plea on their part not to let that happen.

  115. oh good grief. writer teacher, please no more triple decker comments!

  116. Dale Whiting says:

    Notice how few of the more controversial commentors use their real names! Why do you suppose this is so? What are they hiding?

  117. Steve – Don’t worry I’m going to hell, happy? See ya.

  118. it's a series of tubes says:

    What are they hiding?

    A secret agenda to promote the increased eating of meat products by members of the Church, of course!

  119. Dale – My name has always been available by clicking on my blog. I am not anonymous. I can’t take this site anymore, I was trying to reach out to someone in a very sincere manner. If you can’t see the intent in what I was saying then something’s wrong. Oh well. Go ahead and ban me I don’t care I know I don’t belong.

  120. It would take more than repeated lengthy comments to cause anyone to go to hell. Perhaps not much more, but still — more. writerteacher, you’re obviously in a very sensitive state and I don’t want you to feel like your views are unwelcome. Imagine yourself as participating in a real-world conversation.

  121. marginalizedmormon says:

    @writer teacher, I appreciate all you have to say. I feel slightly unmarginalized by the fact that you acknowledge my existence– :)
    I’m sorry someone ‘made fun’ of you, because what you have to say is very valid.

    Actually, it doesn’t apply to me, but that’s all right. My children have not marginalized me–

    I’m probably more like you (though much older) than my children are. I have raised my children to be very open with me (and my spouse) about all their feelings with regards to religion, and at least one of my children has views and beliefs that diverge pretty powerfully from the mainstream Mormon culture, and this child is still ‘active’, whatever that means. Though I want my children to be happy, I haven’t pinned my hopes on their beliefs.

    And, no, I’m not safe talking about my marginalization–LOL! Not on here. I have no shame with regards to it, at all, but it is, indeed, a highly difficult situation–

    and yet, many people have those. I do not think I am unique, but the term really does apply to me–

    As for my children, the honesty and openness that we have had with them have really been very different from what I had with my parents. I do have things to work out with my own parents (whom I love dearly), but they are both long, long gone–I’m probably older than your mother.

    The fact is that missionary work, in its formalized state, has very little to do with our lives at this point, and we are all quite ‘fine’ with that. No regrets.

    @Steve Evans, relax. How do you know I didn’t need writerteacher’s words today? Actually, I think it’s the first time someone has been ‘nice’ to me on here. Be at peace, writerteacher. Your words are healing words.

    @the person with tubes in his/her name: It’s up to you whether or not you want to take the D&C seriously. But those words are in there, and that is a fact. I am not troubled if you don’t believe in them–

    I think I’ve made this long enough (HA, Steve Evans!) that writerteacher won’t feel alone.

  122. marginalizedmormon says:

    @Dale, maybe they don’t feel safe using their real names, and maybe they would rather not embarrass loved ones–

    If you don’t have anyone to embarrass, and if you feel safe, be thankful.

  123. I’ve read all the comments and will just add a couple of my own thoughts. First, yeah, the meeting may have been oversold somewhat. However, right from the start, when I saw that about half of the missionaries in those seats were sisters, I really felt a strong sense of the importance of raising the awareness of member’s responsibilities for missionary work.

    I am a recently called Ward Mission Leader, after serving as a bishop, high councilor, HP group leader, and have never served a mission myself. I really felt a huge burden drop on my shoulders from this meeting. The current bishop and I talked about missionary work at some length before I was called, and both of us felt that in our ward, we have been doing the same thing for 20 years, and having few results. We both feel that we need to do something different, and I felt that to some extent this meeting reinforced that sense. Our current ward mission plan leans heavily on getting our members more involved in community service, neighborhood activities, and other things that get us involved outside of our normally insular LDS circles. We also have redefined member missionary success as extending an invitation of some sorts, whether that’s to have someone take the discussions, or just to attend the ward Halloween party with us. Whether or not they accept the invitation, we have been successful if we have asked. But getting that attitude out to all our ward members is a tough task. It is a cultural change of huge proportions, and I am not sure how to do it, other than through extending opportunities for service outside of our normal church affiliations.

    So while it wasn’t the world changing meeting that the hype had suggested (we started calling it the Mother of All Missionary Meetings), I still felt it was useful to me in my calling. And I really feel the power and inertia behind the cresting wave of new missionaries coming out into the field, as something we can harness and use to great advantage. I hope (and pray) that we as members are equal to the task. And while there are (and should be) concerns over the uses of social media by the full time missionaries, it has the potential for some real change, I believe.

    Finally, we have had sister missionaries in our ward for the last nine months, and I will tell you that I find them to be a great asset. So far, I have liked having sisters in our ward better than the elders, and find we are reaching at least some investigators that the elders probably would not have. So I applaud the huge number of new sister missionaries, and hope we can continue to have them for some time.

  124. marginalizedmormon says:


    AME; is that this:

    That sounds completely delightful, and I mean that. I have known some fine Methodists, and I think a lot of the Episcopals I have known. And I like Africans (even if they are Americans)–

    in fact; I could easily say too much, so I won’t. I’m keeping myself safe from people who use their real names– *wink*

    We were thrilled when one of our children was getting help from a Christian minister of another denomination, because we knew very well that *our* church was not working for him. We sent up prayers of gratitude to the man who was helping him, and we hope he hasn’t cut that connection off–

    Anyway, a lot of this gets too personal for a site like this, especially since there do seem to be a few people who like to pop bubbles, and I like bubbles.

    Enough for now; good luck on your dissertation!

  125. Marginalized Mormon – I am glad if my words may have been healing in some small way. And I appreciate your response. Although clearly there are distinct differences, I hoped to relate to your words ‘a son-to-a-mother’ in ways that might be healthy for both of us.

    I think that the pain I communicated about has likely in some way impacted every aspect of my life, in some positive ways as well as negative.

    I wish we could keep talking. But the reaction between Steve and myself (in which both could be viewed as at fault) is an example that I really should resist my attraction to comment here. Given my journey the dialogue on here is interesting to me and healing. But I also have opened up in ways that make it awkward for me to stay. If I stay this will not be the last clash. And if a clash happens in a moment in which I opened up my emotions as I did in the words I wrote to you, my own response may not be as self-disciplined as it ought to be. I should not have reacted as I did. It is best for me to go so that such a thing isn’t repeated. I have not felt welcome in the church since my teens and I really think it’s best for me to let go of the church altogether except when around my parents. I need to just let go. Steve did me the favor of reminding me of that. For that I’m thankful.

    Take care.

  126. I would like to thank both marginalized and writerteacher for their conversation. I feel similar feelings to the ones both have them have shared, and reading what they’ve both said was helpful and healing for me, even if they chose not to be specific. I understand that completely. Steve Evans — IMHO you were totally rude and out of line. Did you eat something weird for breakfast???

  127. Glad I caught your last note. Yes that’s what AME is. It’s a bit awkward to describe what I found in another church on a Mormon blog. Hopefully no one will take this as in any way a known on Mormonism. I keep saying I need to stop commenting but I owe you this one more response despite what Steve might think.

    I’ve attended Methodist (including AME) churches off and on for many years. It started with my work in low-income communities in Florida when an AME pastor contacted me, not to attend the church per se, but to join a committee he had helped form of people trying to improve conditions in a community. From there for many years now I’ve attended AME and Black Baptist churches for those types of reasons. My attendance became more serious because of my mother’s cancer of late. I’m now living near Clemson, South Carolina, far from people I know well. I walked up to an AME Church not sure of whether to attend. The pastor and his wife saw me start to walk away and we started talking. I get the impression he probably changed his sermon that Sunday based on our conversation – his sermon strongly drew on the social gospel influences we talked of, Martin Luther King’s approach for instance. As I had told the pastor, when you study King’s writings there is an approach to prayer that King describes. In college when I had stopped praying while feeling as you say marginalized in the LDS Church, I gave King’s approach to prayer a try. I’ve been praying like that ever since (on youtube you can find a hint of it with a clip called “MLK – A Knock at Midnight”).

    “Religion had to come real to me and I had to know God for myself.”


    Please don’t get me wrong I do love the LDS Church or I wouldn’t be wanting to blog on a Mormon blog with people who do love and believe in the Church.

    But I also found love and acceptance lately with a pastor who I know cares for me as a person, and others who care. If I walk in there I’m surrounded by people hugging me, being warm and kind and gentle, genuinely caring. And with no offense intended to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir which is absolutely beautiful – it truly is – I also have come to really enjoy the type of gospel music that gets your heart pounding and fills your spirit with joy.

    I need to leave this blog, my emotions are too raw. But it’s been a pleasure too. Now I need to focus on work. Be well.

    Oh and Steve there are lessons in what I just said that might be used toward strengthening a ward. If you take my words not as an attack but as something that can be used toward “OK, what’s he saying that I can use toward attraction/retention of members” it might be better than just marginalizing me.

  128. Hi chip, meet shoulder. I’ve got nothing against the substance of your comments, as I’ve made repeatedly clear. If you think otherwise, then I haven’t been very clear and I apologize for that.

  129. marginalizedmormon says:


    Thanks for the MLK “A Knock at Midnight” referral–

    I have heard several of his talks, but not this one.

    I love gospel music; I’ve loved it for decades–

    Sharing this; this song had a real impact on me as a teen in the early 60s!

    It’s not the kind of thing Mormons usually hear–LOL! But I wasn’t raised in the “Mormon Corridor”–

    I hope you enjoy it; I’m listening to MLK–

    what a voice; what a speaker! We’ll talk some day; eternity is a long time, and you can get to work in peace–

  130. I’ve never had to shut one of my threads down. Huh, it’s kind of an interesting feeling. Thanks for all the fish!

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