Friday, September 12, 2008

Members As Finders: When Did It Start?

I wondered when the concept that members are responsible for finding new members started. I don't really see the terminology until the last thirty or forty years. I fell across the following statement back in 1975 describing what Spencer W. Kimball said about members as finders.
Speaking of the “lengthening stride” of the missionary work thus far among the earth’s 4 billion inhabitants, President Kimball said, “Our progress has really been a miracle, but we have merely scratched the surface.” He emphasized the fact that our most important goal is to make it possible for all people to achieve eternal life by taking the gospel to them.

As one means of achieving this goal, President Kimball suggested increasing missionary productivity and “the perfection of their performance.” As another means, however, he once again recalled President David O. McKay’s great challenge: “Every member a missionary.”

Stating that it is unrealistic to expect that 19,000—or even 100,000—missionaries could cover the whole globe, President Kimball called upon priesthood leaders to teach every family in the Church to assume their responsibility for family-to-family friendshiping in cooperation with full-time missionaries. “Members should be finders,” he said.

“If only two million of the Latter-day Saints energetically and fully accepted the challenge of President McKay … certainly we could extend our efforts … and build the kingdom and eventually knock at every door.”

I wonder if anyone knows of anything sooner. I know that David A. Bednar really pushed the idea recently. Many mission presidents including Stephen L. McConkie of the South Carolina Columbia Mission are using it as a platform in their talks. Does anyone know if it predates David O. McKay since that is who Spencer W. Kimball cites?

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