24 November 2011

As For Me and My House . . .

We attend church about twenty-five miles away at a little branch, which in turn is about an hour and a half from the Stake Center. This is the true "mission field"! We are the only active members in our town. Being here has been more challenging than any other place we've lived because there are more people on the rolls that don't come than there are ones who do attend. Visitors to the branch are warmly welcomed in hopes that they are not just passing through, but permanent residents within the branch boundaries.

I do not understand "in-actives"; nor have I cultivated any empathy or sympathy or patience as I have continued faithful attendance and participation through all the trials, challenges, and offenses of my life.  I can't imagine trying to face life without the church.

Today's reading in the New Testament included 1 John 1:5-7.

"This then is the message which we have heard of him,
and declare unto you,
that God is light, 
and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
we lie,
and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, 
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another, 
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

We can't claim to be members of Christ's church and then not participate, walking in darkness without the light of the gospel in our lives. We need the fellowship of each other to survive and progress; and it is in weekly partaking of the Sacrament that we renew our baptismal covenants and are cleansed again from sin.

A passage from 2 Peter raised a question in my mind: Does this apply to inactive members today?

"For if after they escaped the pollutions of the world
through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,
than, after they have known it,
to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
(2 Peter 2:20-21)

This subject has been on my mind so much lately as my husband and I struggle to home and visit teach people who haven't been to church for over ten years, or who are "too busy" to see us, or who are somewhat antagonistic towards the church.  I have likened our branch to a very old fruit tree that is in need of a good hard pruning to get rid of all the dead wood so there is room and energy for new growth. A unit of the church can't grow when the few active members are so stretched with trying to revive the deadwood that missionary work, and fellowshipping the active is neglected.  Also, who wants to add more in-actives to the rolls?  In our branch all but one of the people baptized last year have not been back to church after their baptism. That doesn't speak well of either their commitment or our ability to fellowship.

I wish Elder Bednar (or his equivalent) would come here and visit these people to invite them to stop being offended and lazy, and come back to church; or sign the letter to have their names removed from the records. Today is a day of decision!

Here's a link to Elder Bednar's General Conference address:

And a huge thank you to Noble for teaching me (over Skype) how to make links live!  YEAH!

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