Posted by: rusch | October 2, 2006

Away with Guilt and Numbers

General Conference has come to a close and I am one who has been uplifted by hearing the leaders of the Church speak to the worldwide membership

Of all the talks there were two things that really stood out.  They were, “guilt is not a proper motivator to get people to fulfill their responsibilities in the Church,” and, “Numbers (i.e. Home and visiting teaching statistics) are not an end unto themselves, but are a means of measurement”.

I have believed these things for years.  Under my first mission President we had to keep track of almost everything we did, and then report those numbers at the end of the week.  Though few were willing to admit it, our focus was not always teaching effectively, but meeting weekly goals that had been preset for all missionary companionships.  There were even rewards for the Zones in which all companionships were able to baptize which turned out not to be a very genuine or appropriate motivator, and which I might add, was done with away about six or seven months into my mission.

The guilt thing is big as well.  I cannot recall exactly how many Elders Quorum Presidents, mission leaders and companions, who tried lay on the guilt trip to get people to do their duty.  Looking back it was as though they were operating as if section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants and those verses about longsuffering and love unfeigned had not been given.  I might add that a couple of months ago, in a Stake general priesthood meeting, our Stake President stated that the home teaching statistics were to stay between the Quorum presidencies and the Stake Presidency.

I think that this council if followed, will lead to members meeting their responsibilities for the right reasons, and will therefore reap not only blessings for themselves, but for those for whom they have a stewardship.

In no way am I a slacker or think that reporting is not important, but since being an Elders Quorum President myself, I have come to learn that there are not only commandments for our personal lives, but commandments and purposes for how the Church is to be administered and motivating by guilt, or doing something for “the numbers”, is not the way to go.

Now I know that Section 121 talks about rebuking and showing forth an increase of love afterwards, but that comes after all the other listed virtues have been tried.  It is a nuclear option, as last resort, and always must be followed up with an increase of love, otherwise whoever is in charge is exercising unrighteous dominion.

So those are my thoughts on General Conference so far.

Definitely more to come.


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