The Rescue Effort

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The Rescue Effort

Postby Heber13 » 01 Apr 2012, 07:09

Yesterday's conference included a talk by Elder Edgley:
Bishop Richard C. Edgley noted a recent emphasis in the Church on establishing "real growth," which, he explained, is "bringing all who will to the receiving and keeping of saving ordinances and covenants."

"One of the most meaningful and important ways to establish real growth is to reach out and rescue those who have been baptized yet are wandering in a less-active state, void of the blessings and saving ordinances," said Bishop Edgley, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, in his priesthood session address Saturday evening.

Regardless of one's individual calling, all can engage meaningfully in this rescuing effort, he said. "After all, bringing all — our family, non-members, less active, sinners — to Christ to receive the saving ordinances is the divine calling that we all share."

Bishop Edgley recounted an experience in which he, as a stake president, visited a university student to call her to be a stake missionary. Pausing for a few moments, she asked if he did not know she was not active in the Church. He did not. After further discussion, both tearfully realized the call was an answer to her and her parents' prayers that she would find a way back into activity.

"She not only accepted the call, she became a fine missionary," he said. "And I'm certain she brought much joy, not only to herself but to her parents and probably other family members."

Bishop Edgley said he learned several things from this and similar interviews:

 Many less-active members have loved ones praying to the Lord for help in rescuing them.

  It is not all that easy or comfortable for less-active members to just walk back into the Church; they need help, support and fellowship.

 There are less-active members willing and trying to find the path back to activity.

 Many less-active members will hold callings if asked.

  A less-active member deserves to be treated as an equal and be viewed as a son or daughter of a loving God.

"Over the years I have wondered how this interview might have gone had if approached her as a less-active Church member," Bishop Edgley said. "I leave you to be the judge."

He reflected that the loss of one active Church member could impact tens of thousands of descendants over a few generations. "The charge to rescue is based on one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church," he said, citing Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-11, 15, which states that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

What are your thoughts of the church's call for a rescue effort?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby afterall » 01 Apr 2012, 07:44

Heber13, thank you for posting this and giving the female side a preview of the priesthood talks! I think the rescue effort needs to be done with great humility, first and foremost. I think if we can go in Knowing that we are reaching out to wonderful people who have much to teach us, we might be able to make a true difference in the lives of those who wish to come back. If we can not judge but just be there to truly love and support, some might be trusting enough to try it again.

The checklist mentality people,in my opinion, are the worst people to ever be attempting this. They only do more damage. Also, many less active people I know do not feel they need "rescuing". I emphasize if it comes up that WE all need rescuing. If the rescuing effort can be done with that in mind, I like to think that our Heavenly Parents would be pleased with us.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby wayfarer » 01 Apr 2012, 12:06

afterall wrote:Heber13, thank you for posting this and giving the female side a preview of the priesthood talks! I think the rescue effort needs to be done with great humility, first and foremost. I think if we can go in Knowing that we are reaching out to wonderful people who have much to teach us, we might be able to make a true difference in the lives of those who wish to come back. If we can not judge but just be there to truly love and support, some might be trusting enough to try it again.

The checklist mentality people,in my opinion, are the worst people to ever be attempting this. They only do more damage. Also, many less active people I know do not feel they need "rescuing". I emphasize if it comes up that WE all need rescuing. If the rescuing effort can be done with that in mind, I like to think that our Heavenly Parents would be pleased with us.

you can watch the whole priesthood meeting on lds.org... i did with my wife this morning (or, as a TBM she watched for a while, then decided that four hours of church was more than enough for today...)

my suggestion about the rescue should be applied first to the arrogant, inflexible attitudes of members toward those who don't fit into the lds mold. i loved elder bednar's story of his catholic father who asked Bednar as a teenager what difference the priesthood possibly made in the lives of members, given that priesthood holders continue to fail to actually be such through their practice. it was obvious that elder bednar was dispelling the myth that lds are appreciably better than others.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby SilentDawning » 01 Apr 2012, 12:34

I think Wayfarer is on the right track. The rescue effort starts with the active members. And if I can add to it -- rescue them not only from their arrogance, but their judgmentalism, and the business orientation of the Church at the expense of the members. And stop the judgmental comments like Hallstrom's talk in GC. Stop caring about the metrics, and really reach out to, and love people and make them feel part of a community even when they aren't active.

They think that inviting people to be active again is the way to do it. It might work for some, but what really draws people back is an open door, a warm fire, and nicely prepared meal (speaking figuratively). And until the active members prepare those things for the less active, you're going to see a widening of the gulf.

At the same time, I'll work on my own flaws that are part of the equation -- trying to turn a blind eye to the faults of others as they unwittingly make for a cold and prickly church for people who have grown disaffected. And try to focus on the good people who have the vision.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby Ray DeGraw » 01 Apr 2012, 18:22

I love the concept of a rescue, but I also agree that we have to go about it in humility and love and patience and without pre-determined expectations.

I also really liked a lot of the statements made in multiple GC talks that deal with that in one way or another.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby Brian Johnston » 02 Apr 2012, 12:15

Volunteer work on behalf of the Church organization is a saving ordinance?

The Church will "rescue" more people when it becomes more valuable and meaningful in the lives of people that drift away. I don't believe the majority of people go less active simply for not having enough volunteer work offered to them...

It's going to take a serious change of heart IMO, a deep change from the inside out (from the top down) if they want to become more relevant to a wider audience. Otherwise, they will only appeal to a small, hardcore, ultra-devout minority that enjoy the endurance aspect of "enduring to the end."

Until we are comfortable as a community sitting next to folks who are gay, smell like cigarettes, have children out of wedlock, have tattoos or whatever else, there's not going to be a whole lot of rescue action going on. We gotta reach out into the community, get OUT of the chapel and wade into the world, if we want to become relevant again in the lives of people around us.

Truth claims don't cut it anymore.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby DevilsAdvocate » 02 Apr 2012, 13:28

Heber13 wrote:Yesterday's conference included a talk by Elder Edgley:
Bishop Richard C. Edgley noted a recent emphasis in the Church on establishing "real growth," which, he explained, is "bringing all who will to the receiving and keeping of saving ordinances and covenants."

"One of the most meaningful and important ways to establish real growth is to reach out and rescue those who have been baptized yet are wandering in a less-active state, void of the blessings and saving ordinances," said Bishop Edgley, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, in his priesthood session address Saturday evening.

He reflected that the loss of one active Church member could impact tens of thousands of descendants over a few generations. "The charge to rescue is based on one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church," he said, citing Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-11, 15, which states that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

What are your thoughts of the church's call for a rescue effort?


I think the main problem with this rescue effort is that so far it looks like they are mostly just trying to change the symptoms they don't like to see (millions of inactive members) without paying much attention to or doing anything to really change the main reasons why such a high percentage of members are inactive to begin with. If most members basically don't like the meetings, callings, and/or being told what to do in so much detail then asking the remaining devout members to try harder to re-activate lost sheep is not going to help much in most cases.

Expecting all active members to make so many sacrifices in this life mostly for the sake of promised blessings and "eternal" rewards that could easily never be received simply will not sound like or feel like being "rescued" to most less-active Church members nowadays. A better approach in my opinion would be to try to make the Church doctrines and culture a little more flexible and appealing to the average person so that more people can feel comfortable with the Church rather than feeling like there is no place for them in the Church or no reason they should want anything to do with it anymore. Church leaders wouldn't even need to publish new revelations to move in this direction; they could simply change what they emphasize in lessons, talks, instructions passed down to bishops and stake presidents, etc. and stop trying to enforce some of the traditional doctrines so aggressively in interviews.
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby Heber13 » 02 Apr 2012, 15:24

DevilsAdvocate wrote:I think the main problem with this rescue effort is that so far it looks like they are mostly just trying to change the symptoms they don't like to see (millions of inactive members) without paying much attention to or doing anything to really change the main reasons why such a high percentage of members are inactive to begin with. If most members basically don't like the meetings, callings, and/or being told what to do in so much detail then asking the remaining devout members to try harder to re-activate lost sheep is not going to help much in most cases.
That's a good point DA. I guess, as the other comments mentioned, HOW you do the rescuing is critical.

If they take time to understand the person and how they feel, it might be effective. If the rescue is a checklist approach for leaders to follow counsel, or becomes stripes on the sleeve of how many they can save, it won't be for the right reasons. I fear too many active members will see the activity of the church as the "one and only way" to show devotion to the Lord, and therefore ask the less-active to bend and change to conform to the standard...instead of realizing the lessons or attitudes in the church are the things driving the lost ones to be lost.

The big questions to answer are"Rescue me from what?" "What is it I need to be rescued from?" "Why do I care to be rescued?"

Until they understand how to answer those questions to the lost sheep, I don't know how the rescue effort is effective. It is just something important to the church, not the lost sheep.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."
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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby cwald » 02 Apr 2012, 15:49

Brian Johnston wrote:
The Church will "rescue" more people when it becomes more valuable and meaningful in the lives of people that drift away. I don't believe the majority of people go less active simply for not having enough volunteer work offered to them...

It's going to take a serious change of heart IMO, a deep change from the inside out (from the top down) if they want to become more relevant to a wider audience. Otherwise, they will only appeal to a small, hardcore, ultra-devout minority
...

Until we are comfortable as a community sitting next to folks who are gay, smell like cigarettes, have children out of wedlock, have tattoos or whatever else, there's not going to be a whole lot of rescue action going on. We gotta reach out into the community, get OUT of the chapel and wade into the world, if we want to become relevant again in the lives of people around us.

Truth claims don't cut it anymore.



Wow. I was going to respond, but, after reading this, I couldn't have said it better in thousand tries.

This statement needs to be sent to SLC. Hopefully one of my church leader family members, or my own SP, whichever is reading the board today, will go ahead and get that done for us. :smile:
Beer puts eloquence in an orator, it will make the philosopher talk profoundly... it is a great friend to the Truth... it will put courage in a coward... it is the seal to a bargain... it is the nourisher of mankind. - John Taylor

Up to the age of forty, eating is beneficial; after forty, drinking. - The Talmud




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Re: The Rescue Effort

Postby GBSmith » 02 Apr 2012, 22:12

Brian Johnston wrote:Volunteer work on behalf of the Church organization is a saving ordinance?

The Church will "rescue" more people when it becomes more valuable and meaningful in the lives of people that drift away. I don't believe the majority of people go less active simply for not having enough volunteer work offered to them...

It's going to take a serious change of heart IMO, a deep change from the inside out (from the top down) if they want to become more relevant to a wider audience. Otherwise, they will only appeal to a small, hardcore, ultra-devout minority that enjoy the endurance aspect of "enduring to the end."


I think the top is fine, it's the down that needs conversion. Besides it's the small, hardcore, ultra devout minority that keeps any church afloat from the struggling store front COGIC to the mega church with million dollar weekly collections.

How you convert people is the trick and I expect it's different for most of us. It still comes down to getting someone to realize he/she's a prodigal and needs to come back. That may mean an active rescue or just leaving the door open and the light on.

Until we are comfortable as a community sitting next to folks who are gay, smell like cigarettes, have children out of wedlock, have tattoos or whatever else, there's not going to be a whole lot of rescue action going on. We gotta reach out into the community, get OUT of the chapel and wade into the world, if we want to become relevant again in the lives of people around us.

Truth claims don't cut it anymore.


Community as "the church" or as individuals? My branch president has said many times that he loves the smell of tobacco in church. Our last stake president asked for members to be involved in the community (see above "get out of the chapel and wade in the world") and my wife and step daughters spent 2 years serving weekly community suppers with other churches to the homeless. Home and visiting teachers are supposed to go to everybody but don't always. I don't recall it being policy to just go to the fine and upstanding.

I'm as disaffected as the next person but I've never faulted the brethren for wanting us to be decent christians and love and serve our neighbors. If we decide not be converted or to do what's expected only for a celestial payday then that's our fault, not the "church's".
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