(Dr.R.K.) LDS Misc - Missionary Work

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Why are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) always active in doing missionary work with those around them, in particular family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers? What is it that drives Mormons to be constantly engaged in proselyting?

The easy answer would be that it's commanded. There are a number of scriptures that relate to this.

Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

However, it goes beyond than just that. The Gospel is not just a part of every member's life. It's the entirety of it. It's a religion that's more than just attending church once a week on Sunday and doing whatever the rest of the time. No, it's a way of life for now and for the hereafter.

Every fully active member recognizes the blessings that they receive from the hand of God. Many are direct consequences from their actions. Abstaining from illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea helps them to avoid many of the associated health and social problems. Their moral codes prevent almost all the sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and AIDS. Statistics show very favorable results as a whole.

Doctrine & Covenants 130:20-21
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

However, there is much more than that. Jesus Christ often taught the people in parables starting with "The kingdom of heaven is like ...". In some, the kingdom of heaven is likened to a field sowed with wheat and tares, or a mustard seed, or bread leavening, or a pearl of great price.

The closest I can come to describing why Mormons are so involved in missionary work is through a parable.

Suppose, one day you learn that all you have to do to receive a million dollars, indeed a great blessing, is to hop on your left foot, pat your belly with your left hand, and tap your nose with your right hand for over a minute.

There's no possible way that this act could work in and of itself, but for some reason it "feels" like the right thing to do. Many have claimed to you that it's true and you believe them. Therefore, one day you set about to perform this seemingly ridiculous act. After you do it, a FedEx truck pulls up to your house about 30 minutes later. The driver gets out and hands you an envelope from the Publishers Clearinghouse with a check for $1,000,000. You tell the driver that you never entered the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, but he doesn't care and tells you that his orders are to deliver this check to you regardless.

Seeing that this action did work, your first thoughts are to share a description of this action and results. First with family and close friends, and then with neighbors, and finally with co-workers. Some don't believe it's possible and quickly forget about it. Others are happy with their financial situation as it is and don't intend to try it out. Some, because of the easiness of it don't bother to try. However, a few try it. One received a check a day after from a rich uncle who wanted to give him some money before he dies. For another who tried it, they found a million dollar chest of gold a week later when they dug up the front yard to plant a tree. Some who tried it received this great windfall an hour later, some a day or two after, others some weeks later. A few others haven't yet received their blessings.

Those of us who are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are confident that those who enter the waters of baptism, the gateway into the kingdom of God, and continue on the path laid out by our Savior, will have the blessings and eternal riches promised by Christ himself. The happiness we desire is to have our friends and loved ones enjoy these same blessings for themselves also.

Brought to you by: R.K. Owen,Ph.D.
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