“And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” (Isaiah 5:26)
As a young bishop in Mona I didn’t have a home teaching route. Today’s handbooks may indicate that was wrong. Let it be known I have always tried to avoid heresy. But, my way to home teach was to pick out people in the ward I did not know, or barely knew, and drop by to see them. Over the years I eventually visited nearly everyone who did not come to church. As you might expect the reception varied, but people were generally pleased and surprised to see the bishop.
One older brother I visited was in his eighties. He told me something I will always remember. He said that as a young boy he remembered Mona much differently. Those were the days when you fenced your yard to keep the sheep and cows out. It seems they were often grazing in the streets. One morning many of the town’s people informally gathered to watch a man who was leaving his garden, farm and animals to go to work for a wage. He was traveling to Eureka to work in the mines with the plan to return to Mona from time to time as work permitted. It was an unusual thing to do at the time.
Before the restoration the common way to survive was to work your land. Since the restoration there have been dramatic changes in how we support our families. Technology has changed the world.
The Doctrine and Covenants is the source of information about the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ as received by revelation early in this dispensation. In the early days of the church this was new communication about correct doctrine and newly restored knowledge about required covenants. As I listen to today’s authorities, it appears the Lord is giving us less information in the form of new doctrine, perhaps he feels we should concentrate on living the commandments he has given. On the other hand, it appears the Lord is giving us new and exciting ways to share what he has restored with the rest of the world.
The work of the church on the Internet is inspirational. Members who take the time can see it and the world is taking notice. David and Andrea shared this fascinating link, Images of Christianity. The author looks at the top 20 Christian churches by size and comments on their official web sites. Many of the comments are less than stellar. Only three of these Christian websites have images of Jesus Christ. The Mormon website gets a deservedly positive review.
No group of people in the world compare with the people of our church. Nobody has what we have in missionary activity, our missionaries are incomparable; nobody has what we have in scripture, knowledge, and expanded understanding, we have details other churches call mysteries; and nobody has what we have in a presence on the Internet. Go to lds.org, familysearch.org, mormonnewsroom.org, BYUtv, youth.lds.org, mormonchannel.org, providentliving.org, and mormon.org, as an example of how we tell the world who we are.
Both Jan and I have iPads. They are the main tools we use on our mission. Originally I carried my scriptures with me. I soon discovered the powerful online scripture applications provided by the church. They are backed up through our LDS account so we never have to worry about our scriptures wearing out or getting lost. The ability to link to other documents including conference reports is a great feature. I now find myself marking my online scriptures using my hardbound copies as a source. I also link to information in lessons. The possibilities seem endless.
We use our iPads to teach. We connect projectors to Apple TV digital media receivers. We then mirror our iPad content through the projector. Most of the locations where we teach have speakers available and we generally use the LDS Music app for our songs. When the group is small we can add voices to the music for extra support. Most of our lessons have a Keynote presentation for a base. We can access scriptures, videos, conference talks and other church related material as supporting media for our discussions.
All of the manuals are online. They are available to everyone and they are free. They are available in every teaching situation. Wi-Fi is in the churches and the schools. Many students just use their phones to access any information needed for the lesson.
This week we picked up an additional Institute of Religion class to teach. It is the Harrisonburg Marrieds Institute class. We had a great experience teaching four couples about “Respecting Your Spouse”. We hope to increase the number attending in future lessons. We were needed because the former teacher, a member in the area, is moving. He has been employed by Rosetta Stone. This popular language teaching company is headquartered in Harrisonburg. He is going to work for the church in the missionary department. There he will be developing ways for missionaries to work with technology. We knew that additional technology is coming for all missionaries because Elder L. Tom Perry introduced the concept in a missionary fireside held last summer. Considering the online tools available through the church, the possibilities are exciting.
Using technology has been a blessing for us as CES missionaries. We are anxiously watching to see how the Lord plans to hiss the message of the restoration to the world.
“For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.” (D&C 1:2)