Hastening the Work!
Hastening the Work!
Good morning, Brothers and Sisters. I begin by relating an incident that occurred in the fall of 1837. John Taylor, future president of the church, was 29 years of age and has been a member of the church for 1 year and 3 months. Elder Taylor was serving a mission, preaching the gospel in Ohio. He came to a small village where a few members of the church resided. They soon arranged for Elder Taylor to preach a sermon to the citizens of their village. Shortly before the meeting was to begin, some of the brethren came running to the house where Elder Taylor was staying, and excitedly proclaimed that the meeting must be cancelled. They had become aware that a number of men were preparing to tar and feather Elder Taylor if he attempted to preach. They insisted that Elder Taylor cancel his sermon, as they did not feel that they could protect him from the ruffians. At this point in the story, all of us should ask ourselves, “What would I have done in that same situation?” Elder Taylor reflected for a moment and said, “I have made up my mind to preach. You are welcome to come with me if you choose; if not, I will go alone.” He went. Nearly the entire village was assembled, anticipating a tarring and feathering. Elder Taylor began his remarks by stating that he was a citizen of Canada, a land under the oppressive rule of a monarch. He said, “I am grateful to be on American soil, among citizens whose fathers fought for and died for the right to govern themselves and worship God according to the dictates of their own will, both sacred human rights guaranteed by an inspired constitution. I see in this congregation the sons and daughters of these noble men who conquered nobly, and bequeathed to their posterity the enjoyment of political and religious freedom. But, ladies and gentlemen, I have been informed that you propose to tar and feather me tonight for my religious opinions. Is this the freedom you inherited from your fathers? Is this the liberty they purchased with their blood? If so, you now have a victim, and we will have, tonight, an offering to your goddess of liberty.” With that he tore open his jacket and his vest, and said, “Gentlemen, come on then with your tar and feathers, your victim is ready, and may your venerable fathers gaze down with disgust upon their degenerate sons!” No one moved, no one spoke. John Taylor stood erect and dignified, calm but defiant, the master of the situation. Seeing no one willing to come forward, he buttoned his vest and jacket, and proceeded to preach the gospel of the Lord for over three hours, uninterrupted. After the meeting, the leading citizens of the community came forward and expressed their great pleasure in what they had heard him preach. With that inspiring experience as a backdrop, I would remind us all that within the last few months, our inspired leaders have asked us to catch the wave, ask the missionaries, open our mouths, rescue the lost, to hasten the work! Elder Taylor’s remarkable example gives us five wonderful keys to use as we catch, ask, open, rescue, and hasten.
- First, Elder Taylor didn’t let the “wave” pass him by. He caught it. When called, he responded. No inconveniences, trials, or difficulties stood in his way. He squared himself to the challenge and moved forward.
- Second, he was fearless in his discipleship. No threats or insults or dangers would deter him. He knew he was a disciple of Christ, he knew that the Lord was on his right hand and on his left, that angels were round about him to bear him up, and that the spirit was in his heart.
- Third, he opened his mouth. He opened his mouth even when he knew that his words perhaps would not be well received. He knew that the Lord would give him in the very moment the words and thoughts that he needed, and that the spirit would carry his words into the hearts of those prepared to receive them, regardless of circumstances or situations.
- Fourth, he knew the doctrine. Despite his few months as a member of the church, he had diligently studied, searched, and treasured up the words of eternal life, and could discuss and present them with the tongues of angels, even to a hostile crowd. That ability required determination, persistence, and a continual reliance of the spirit of the Lord.
- And lastly, it is obvious that when Elder Taylor taught with power and authority of God. This was also said of the sons of Mosiah. And how had these sons and Elder Taylor obtained this power and authority. As the scripture states, they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth, they had searched the scriptures diligently, they had given themselves to much prayer, they had fasted, they exercised prophecy and revelation when appropriate, and they served until released.
Decades ago, President McKay asked us all to be missionaries, President Kimball asked us to lengthen our stride, President Benson asked us to flood the earth with the BOM, President Hunter asked us to make the temple the center of our lives, and President Hinckley asked us to do a little more, reach a little higher, serve a little more diligently. President Monson had asked us to reach down to lift up, reach out to rescue, and reach up to heavenly guidance. The Lord has asked us for decades to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, strengthen the feeble knees. All of these great endeavors will allow us to assist the Lord in hastening the work Two additional keys to hasten the missionary work come from our recent conference.
- First, we should all be praying for the missionaries serving in our wards and stake by name, every prayer, and we should be praying for their investigators, by name, in every prayer. That requires being intimately involved with the missionary work in our area.
- Secondly, Elder Ballard implores us to pray specifically for missionary opportunities every day, in every prayer. If we ask, we will receive. I took Elder Ballard’s counsel to heart and have had three beautiful missionary opportunities that I would not have had if I hadn’t asked the Lord to bless me with them.
The momentum of the Lord’s work is mounting. What an exciting time to be part of this work, with the surge of missionaries, the building of temples, the spiritual outpourings in our meetings and conferences, the incredible media and electronic resources now available to all of us. Paraphrasing verses from the Doctrine and Covenants 107, “..wherefore let every man (and woman) woman learn his or her duty, and act in the office or calling to which he or she has been appointed”. Key words? Learn and act. I testify that this is God’s Kingdom, and we can and must collectively and individually hasten this work. In the name…
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