In a conversion with a friend of mine, we talked about some of our observations that we see happening within the church. Without a doubt, the Lord is hastening his work. Currently there are two things going right now at the same time… A large gospel net is being cast over the world... with all kinds of fish being brought in. Yes, the Church is putting forth an additional effort and focus on spreading the gospel through missionary work. The second is some are being prepared who have “broken hearts and contrite spirits” and angels will be picking through the net for these few. The rest will be left. “Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left.” JST Matthew 1:44. This process will be undetected, it is like a thief in the night. While those who recognize and hear His voice are gathered, none will know beforehand what is taking place, or when or where it is to happen,… so that neither Satan, nor his followers, can attempt to thwart the LORD’s plans.
When a net that is cast includes all fish, the separating of the fish is a daunting process for the fisherman. The fish are divided into categories. The desirable fish are kept and preserved; the carp, trash and sucker fish as well as too small of fish are discarded and sometime cast back in the water.
It is interesting that observations could be made of active members of the church. This would constituent less than half of the members on the records of the church. These are the active members who go to church more than once month. In general, there seems to be four main divisions of these active members that you find in a typical sacrament meeting. For ease of referring to these categories, I will refer to them as Truth Seekers, Busy Church Enthusiasts, Appearance Oriented, and the Disoriented Drifters. Observations can easily be determined by what each group is connected to and focused on.
- The first group are truth seekers, and those who seek the face of God. They are focused on gaining a connection with God. They are the ones who study and thirst for further light and knowledge.
- The second group is focused on the church institution. They are busy at home, work and at church. They have little time for personal study but have solid testimonies of the gospel. Life is chaotic for them and many of them feel overwhelmed.
- The third group is focused on themselves. They go to church for the appearance of doing what is right. Church has more of a social aspect for them.
- The last group is focused on the world. They are disinterested in spiritual things and find themselves aligned with the opinions, orientations, and direction that the world is headed.
The work that needs to be done is to help others become converted. Not just converted to the Church and gospel teachings, but converted unto the Lord. To be truly converted means there is a “transformation” not just an opinion change. Elder Bednar in a recent conference address talked about the warlike Lamanites who were taught by Ammon in Alma 23 who were converted unto the Lord and never did fall away.
He said: “Note that these Lamanites were not converted to the missionaries who taught them or to the excellent programs of the Church. They were not converted to the personalities of their leaders or to preserving a cultural heritage or the traditions of their fathers. They were converted unto the Lord—to Him as the Savior and to His divinity and doctrine—and they never did fall away.”
Like Elder Richard G Scott said in a Utah Regional Conference: “We have a serious problem in the church. We have been teaching one another to come unto Church, when we should have been teaching one another to Come Unto Christ.