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Changes to Missionaries' "Preach My Gospel" Manual


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Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have unveiled changes to instructions for its global missionary force, including a stronger emphasis on the teachings of Jesus and the importance of making and keeping covenants.

On Thursday, the faith’s mission leader couples attending a training seminar at the Missionary Training Center in Provo got their first glimpse of the second edition of “Preach My Gospel,” which will be used by its current corps of 68,000 proselytizers in some 150 countries.

This is the first major update of “Preach My Gospel” since it was introduced in 2004, and it responds to “changing needs and circumstances of many people in the world today,” according to a news release, “by helping people apply the Savior’s gospel to their lives.”

The changes include:

• More clarity around the doctrine of Christ and the importance of covenants.
• Additional encouragement and promises following “diligent scripture study.”
• A new section outlining safeguards for using technology.
• A new section about how best to invite people to be baptized.
...
This second edition is available online now in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Additional languages will be available by January.

I returned from my mission in 1995, so I was part of the "Six Discussions" generation.  Preach My Gospel is, I think, a more organic and improved approach to teaching/sharing.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 6/22/2023 at 11:21 AM, smac97 said:

Here:

I returned from my mission in 1995, so I was part of the "Six Discussions" generation.  Preach My Gospel is, I think, a more organic and improved approach to teaching/sharing.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

I returned from my mission in 1974, and sometime in late 1973 the church changed from the legendary "Six Discussions" that I was taught as an investigator (Mr. Brown), to a new "Six" in a more comprehensive format, with sections laid out in differently colored paper. It was called the "The Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel", and stalled missionary work in our mission, because all the missionaries were staying home trying to learn the new material. It was arguably a better system than the one it replaced, but I preferred the old one. 

Preach My Gospel is definitely the best between them all.

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On my mission (1974-1976) I used the "rainbow" discussions.  There were seven discussions, each had different colored pages.  We had a flip chart that went with the discussions.  In my mission (Illinois) you had to memorize all seven word for word before you could drive or become a senior companion.

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29 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

On my mission (1974-1976) I used the "rainbow" discussions.  There were seven discussions, each had different colored pages.  We had a flip chart that went with the discussions.  In my mission (Illinois) you had to memorize all seven word for word before you could drive or become a senior companion.

Yep. That was the one that tanked our mission activity while we tried to learn it. What was the name of it?

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5 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Yep. That was the one that tanked our mission activity while we tried to learn it. What was the name of it?

I'm not sure what the official name was. We just called them discussions.  I do remember as a kid, our Ward teachers (that's what they use to call home teachers) came to our house and gave a presentation using a flannel board.  One of them was recently returned from a mission, and said this was one of his discussions.  This was in the 1960's. 

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I never can figure why (maybe you all can help me) the LDS church with all of its sophistication, doesn't incorporate the proven principles of the field of missiology into the training of their missionaries, perhaps as a part of MTC. A basic wikipedia definition is "Missiology is the academic study of the Christian mission history and methodology. It began to be developed as an academic discipline in the 19th century." There are seminaries where the study of missiology is taken to the heights of earning a doctorate in this field of study. It does a lot of training in inter-cultural understandings and communication. From the Jesuits - "Missiology is the science of the missions, the science of converting people to the Church. It is such an important science that they have a three-year course in it at the Gregorian University in Rome.”

I was always led to believe it was a preventive type of education - As much about how to teach you to not say the wrong thing than to teach you to say the right thing. That is simplistic. Lots of emphasis on cultural understanding and communication. Maybe the missionary training center does incorporate it, but most English speaking missionaries of the LDS church I have talked to about it just give me a blank stare! Of course some conservatives believe that winning souls is the work of the Spirit and eddication has nothing to do with it, in fact might get in the way!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

And in other news, responding to the release by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of a New Edition of Preach My Gospel, noted anti-Mormon [sic] Rucker T. Fudd announced the release of a new, updated edition of the anti-Mormon [sic] manual, Impeach My Gospel

:D :rofl: :D

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On 6/26/2023 at 10:48 AM, sunstoned said:

I'm not sure what the official name was. We just called them discussions.  I do remember as a kid, our Ward teachers (that's what they use to call home teachers) came to our house and gave a presentation using a flannel board.  One of them was recently returned from a mission, and said this was one of his discussions.  This was in the 1960's. 

Yep. That what the missionaries who taught me used. I definitely remember the flannel board. When I was a missionary (before the multi-colored discussions arrived) we used the flannel figures on table top, but without the board. This was because Germans tended to look at flannel boards as childish. 

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I remember the good ole "Will you...?" questions that can make one feel like a project. Before PMG was implemented I was a ward missionary. IMO, one of the more pointless callings I'd ever had and no disrespect intended. Hearing the "Will you...?" always seemed like a potential convert molding project rather than a guidance toward deeper faith.

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On 6/26/2023 at 6:27 AM, Navidad said:

I never can figure why (maybe you all can help me) the LDS church with all of its sophistication, doesn't incorporate the proven principles of the field of missiology into the training of their missionaries, perhaps as a part of MTC.

Well, my gut reaction was to ask the question "And how's mainstream Christianity doing with that strategy?"   I keep hearing how religion is losing ground in many places around the world, and how the CoJCoLDS is still gaining members (just barely).    Maybe other Christians should have "Teach from Your Heart as Guided by the Spirit" highlighted up front like we do.  I mean, yeah, it sounds so stupid to just let a bunch of teenagers wander around saying whatever they feel like saying.  So much so, that we've all heard the joke "We know the church is true, because if it wasn't, the missionaries would have destroyed it decades ago."

I dunno.  I meet occasionally with our missionaries so they can practice on me.  I'll ask what they think about it all.

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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13 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Well, my gut reaction was to ask the question "And how's mainstream Christianity doing with that strategy?"   I keep hearing how religion is losing ground in many places around the world, and how the CoJCoLDS is still gaining members (just barely).    Maybe other Christians should have "Teach from Your Heart as Guided by the Spirit" highlighted up front like we do.  I mean, yeah, it sounds so stupid to just let a bunch of teenagers wander around saying whatever they feel like saying.  So much so, that we've all heard the joke "We know the church is true, because if it wasn't, the missionaries would have destroyed it decades ago."

I dunno.  I meet occasionally with our missionaries so they can practice on me.  I'll ask what they think about it all.

Missiology isn't only about converting people. It is about service, ministry, education, healthcare in ways that go far beyond enlisting folks on your membership rolls. How is that going? From the point of view of someone who sat on several mission group board of directors . . . pretty well. Lots of new members? That isn't the intent. Improving the lives of those who receive the benefits of the mission work? Pretty well.

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19 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Missiology isn't only about converting people. It is about service, ministry, education, healthcare in ways that go far beyond enlisting folks on your membership rolls. How is that going? From the point of view of someone who sat on several mission group board of directors . . . pretty well. Lots of new members? That isn't the intent. Improving the lives of those who receive the benefits of the mission work? Pretty well.

Fair enough.  I know just a tiny fraction of everything there is to know about non-LDS missionary work, but what I see tends to be fairly impressive.  ~20 years ago, I had a boss who felt the call one year to dump the whole corporate America ladder-climbing rat-race, sell all his possessions, and move his wife and tiny infant overseas somewhere to devote their lives to Christ and missionary work.  I kept in touch for years and watched his pretty amazing story unfold.  They eventually created an organization in Thailand for the purpose of "Unifying & Strengthening Missions through Organizational, Team & Leadership Consulting".

 

TOPIC/THREAD CROSSOVER:  From one of their newsletters back in 2011:    "[Wife] is attending a Human Trafficking Forum this week and is getting more involved in prevention.  A majority of the population here are involved in exploitation due to the extreme poverty.  God seems to be guiding her into educating the poor so that they don’t get tricked into exploitation."   I found it interesting at the time that a random American family with no particular training, pulled up roots, flew to Thailand, said "Lead me to the greatest need Lord", and ended up dedicating so much effort and time to the problem of human trafficking.  It was a common topic in their newsletters.  

 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

TOPIC/THREAD CROSSOVER:  From one of their newsletters back in 2011:    "[Wife] is attending a Human Trafficking Forum this week and is getting more involved in prevention.  A majority of the population here are involved in exploitation due to the extreme poverty.  God seems to be guiding her into educating the poor so that they don’t get tricked into exploitation."   I found it interesting at the time that a random American family with no particular training, pulled up roots, flew to Thailand, said "Lead me to the greatest need Lord", and ended up dedicating so much effort and time to the problem of human trafficking.  It was a common topic in their newsletters.  

 

 

36 minutes ago, webbles said:

We come unto Christ and assist in God’s work by:

  •     Living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  •     Caring for those in need.
  •     Inviting all to receive the gospel.
  •     Uniting families for eternity.

My job as a twenty-year old missionary was to dig wells, plant yams and cotton, and work in the mission hospital that had the only leprosy facility in the country (Dahomey). I never tried to convert anyone, mostly because I couldn't speak the language. I did work with one of one Anglo in the world who was conversant in the language after living there for fifteen years with a tribal group of about 150,000 on both sides of the Nigerian/Dahomey border. Thirty years later I served on the international board of directors for a similar mission. We had about 2500 full time missionaries in our organization. It was connected to about thirty denominations; no one church group was in charge. Once we had a big rumble about whether or not to baptize polygamists. We brought the mission missiologists into Nairobi from London and they worked through the issue with us. I was very impressed with their knowledge and expertise in helping us make a decision that was not getting anywhere. We were divided along national (missionaries from twenty countries) and denominational lines. As I remember, we lost some missionaries over that decision, but that is life.

Just yesterday I was reading a history of the Mennonites who came here to Chihuahua to live starting in 1922. They were escaping persecution in Canada. What I read really interested me. Apparently when they arrived, they founded a mission group they called "hombres tocados por la gracia." (men touched by grace). The intent was to establish a mission outreach (proselytizing) the local communities where they settled. When the larger community took a vote on starting up this mission group, the reaction was that the people "fundamentalmente no se mezcla en los asuntos de nadie y respeta la fe de casa cual, rechazó la Misión." (fundamentally does not mix in the affairs of anyone and respects the faith of each, rejected the Mission"). That made me laugh. It didn't surprise me a bit! To finish the story, now the Mennonite church in the USA sends missionaries here to minister to  . . . . . . . the Mennonites! Ha! That doesn't surprise me either!

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52 minutes ago, Navidad said:

 

My job as a twenty-year old missionary was to dig wells, plant yams and cotton, and work in the mission hospital that had the only leprosy facility in the country (Dahomey). I never tried to convert anyone, mostly because I couldn't speak the language. I did work with one of one Anglo in the world who was conversant in the language after living there for fifteen years with a tribal group of about 150,000 on both sides of the Nigerian/Dahomey border. Thirty years later I served on the international board of directors for a similar mission. We had about 2500 full time missionaries in our organization. It was connected to about thirty denominations; no one church group was in charge. Once we had a big rumble about whether or not to baptize polygamists. We brought the mission missiologists into Nairobi from London and they worked through the issue with us. I was very impressed with their knowledge and expertise in helping us make a decision that was not getting anywhere. We were divided along national (missionaries from twenty countries) and denominational lines. As I remember, we lost some missionaries over that decision, but that is life.

Just yesterday I was reading a history of the Mennonites who came here to Chihuahua to live starting in 1922. They were escaping persecution in Canada. What I read really interested me. Apparently when they arrived, they founded a mission group they called "hombres tocados por la gracia." (men touched by grace). The intent was to establish a mission outreach (proselytizing) the local communities where they settled. When the larger community took a vote on starting up this mission group, the reaction was that the people "fundamentalmente no se mezcla en los asuntos de nadie y respeta la fe de casa cual, rechazó la Misión." (fundamentally does not mix in the affairs of anyone and respects the faith of each, rejected the Mission"). That made me laugh. It didn't surprise me a bit! To finish the story, now the Mennonite church in the USA sends missionaries here to minister to  . . . . . . . the Mennonites! Ha! That doesn't surprise me either!

Pretty cool.  But yeah, a young missionary from our church wouldn't really do that anymore.  They do service but the focus is on conversion.  If you look at historical missionaries in our church, you'll find some like that.  An example that got turned into a movie is The Other Side of Heaven.  You'll hardly find anything like that experience with today's missionaries.  Part of the change occurred when we stopped encouraging members to migrate to Utah.  Before that, outside of Utah was the "mission field".  There were hardly any stakes or wards.  That has gradually changed till Utah and the US no longer have a majority of members.  There are still areas of the world without any stakes, but young missionaries are hardly sent there.  If missionaries are called to those areas, they'll almost always be couple missionaries.

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7 minutes ago, webbles said:

Pretty cool.  But yeah, a young missionary from our church wouldn't really do that anymore.  They do service but the focus is on conversion.  If you look at historical missionaries in our church, you'll find some like that.  An example that got turned into a movie is The Other Side of Heaven.  You'll hardly find anything like that experience with today's missionaries.  Part of the change occurred when we stopped encouraging members to migrate to Utah.  Before that, outside of Utah was the "mission field".  There were hardly any stakes or wards.  That has gradually changed till Utah and the US no longer have a majority of members.  There are still areas of the world without any stakes, but young missionaries are hardly sent there.  If missionaries are called to those areas, they'll almost always be couple missionaries.

The thing that interests me a lot is that the LDS and the Mennonites have very different concepts of missionary work and may have had so for some years now. Yet how interesting is it that now both faiths, once dominantly Anglo are now minority-Anglo. I don't know about the exact data for the LDS church, but I do know that there are more African Mennonites today than there are US and Canadian Mennonites combined. I am told the largest Mennonite church today is in Ethiopia! Interesting stuff! I will have to watch "The Other Side of Heaven." Thanks for the tip!

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

The thing that interests me a lot is that the LDS and the Mennonites have very different concepts of missionary work and may have had so for some years now. Yet how interesting is it that now both faiths, once dominantly Anglo are now minority-Anglo. I don't know about the exact data for the LDS church, but I do know that there are more African Mennonites today than there are US and Canadian Mennonites combined. I am told the largest Mennonite church today is in Ethiopia! Interesting stuff! I will have to watch "The Other Side of Heaven." Thanks for the tip!

US is still a large minority.  Worldwide, there are 17M members.  In the US, there are 6.8M.  Both numbers should have the caveat that many of them (some estimate more than half) are "inactive" (people who have been baptized but don't consider themselves a member).

The idea of the "largest LDS church" is foreign to us.  We have everything split up by stakes and wards.  These all have membership limits (both on the minimum and maximum).  Once a ward or stake gets too large, it will split.  Or if it gets too small, it will merge.  The US has a little under half of all the stakes: 1681 out of 3521.  Back in the day, stakes and wards could grow larger than today and the presidents and bishops could be in those positions for decades.  But not anymore.

Edited by webbles
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8 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Coincidently, I was recently preparing a lesson on the topic of prayer, and in doing so I listened to an April 1982 conference talk from Elder John H. Groberg, where he told of his voyage experience trying to get to Tonga and his stop over in Fiji.  The title of his talk was The Power of Family Prayer.  It's far better to listen to or watch the talk then it is to read it (you can hear the emotion in his voice and some reaction from the audience), but here is the part related to his travel experience and the power of family prayer:

 

A couple of years ago I read his book that the movie the other side of heaven was based on. It’s so good.

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Definitely do. It's such a good movie!  It's based on the mission experiences of John Groberg.

I second that.  Not a lot of our Mormon cinema has managed to wrangle a big-name movie star, but this one has Anne Hathaway!  (Sadly, she did not return for the sequel).

It also stars Nathan Lees, who nobody remembers but my wife and I.  When he showed up in the Matrix sequels and in Lord of the Rings (as the orc who famously declares that meat is back on the menu), we called him "branch president guy."  

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
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