Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quentin Cook on Preach My Gospel in Conference 2007

In October 2007 Conference Quentin L. Cook gave some very strong counsel about members being bold in missionary work. During the meeting I was very motivated by Quentin L. Cook's talk. I became fired up to do missionary work here. My ward in the Middle East suspended sacrament and played his talk. At the time I thought they must have wanted me to do what was counseled which was to move my feet with nonmembers.

In the October 2007 General Conference Quentin L. Cook, a newly sustained member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about his role on the missionary committee in overseeing the Preach My Gospel, missionary service guide that is now being used in missionary preparation classes and by the full-time missionaries throughout the world.

He called on members to not be fearful: "One area where members can live by faith and not by fear is in our missionary effort. Prior to my call to the Presidency of the Seventy on August 1 of this year, I had served in the Missionary Department for six years, the last three years as Executive Director under Elder M. Russell Ballard, who served as Chairman of the Missionary Executive Council.

Some mission presidents informed us that many wonderful members are in camouflage to their neighbors and co-workers. They do not let people know who they are and what they believe. We need much more member involvement in sharing the message of the Restoration. Romans 10, verse 14, puts this into perspective:

“How then shall they call on him [speaking of the Savior] in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Verse 15 contains the wonderful message referenced in Isaiah:

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings” (see also Isaiah 52:7).

It has been observed that the members are going to have to move their feet and let their voices be heard if they are to achieve this blessing.

Elder Cook stated: "Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service was first introduced in October 2004. President Hinckley commenced this effort when he called for missionaries to learn the doctrine and to teach the principles by the Spirit. Every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve participated to a significant degree. Elder Ballard and I felt that the windows of heaven were opened and the Lord’s inspiration poured out to bring forth this great resource. Over 1.5 million copies of Preach My Gospel have been acquired by the members of the Church. It is a wonderful foundation, and the missionaries are powerful, spiritual teachers. However, if we are to accomplish what President Hinckley has requested, the members, living by faith and not by fear, need to share the gospel with their friends and associates."

I have been one of the members that purchased the Preach My Gospel guide. I found it to be very motivating and uplifting. I was able to extract missionary quotes in to the various categories in my Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord: Quotes by LDS General Authorities. I have extracted the best quotes from the manual on this very blog.

I am wondering what things we can do to move our feet. I have noticed that Book Slinger does a remarkable job in moving his feet. I actually read his site to get ideas for placing materials.

Then I would have to place them so no one could track them back to me. If I left them around the college or in a rack in the library like I used to do in the U.S. most people would figure out I placed them there. If I left them in supermarkets or my housing complex it might not be as traceable.

Whenever people ask me a question at work knowing I am a Mormon I answer them knowing I might receive a complaint about religious harassment. As the director I have to be careful about religious discussions so as not to violate EEOC laws.

Do any of you have any suggestions on how I should move my feet under these conditions? Should I be as bold as Paul and stand before Agrippa or the Saudis? Or should I violate the laws of the land just for answering my colleagues? Should I not answer them at all? Or should I just keep quiet and smile more? How should someone in a oppressive system follow this counsel? Or should God just accept if I say in my heart I would if I could? Do I still get the blessings if I don't move my feet and stay in camouflage?

I need some really non-intrusive passive techniques suggested since I am of limited intelligence and take guidance from my leaders at face value. I want to be obedient to this counsel. I guess this is one of the cases in life were you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Elder Cook's talk has created an existential dilemma for me. I want to share the gospel with friends without being obnoxious.

1 comment:

S.Faux said...

You raise issues I have had to think deeply about. I have served until just recently in college administration (dept. chair, honors director, etc.) for well over a decade. The non-LDS people under me CANNOT be made to feel that religiosity is part of their job performance when it is NOT. However, when people ask questions I do give answers the best I can. The questions I get, however, are at a pretty low level, such as, "Do Mormons celebrate Christmas?" Missionary work is one of my weak points. That is why I read your blog. I have MUCH to learn. I am NOT a good salesperson. I talk to computers better than people. How sad is that? Ehhh, I am a typical academic come to think of it.