Thursday, November 21, 2013
Missionaries and "the elect"
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints love to pray for the missionaries and "those who are ready to receive the Gospel", the idea being that you can essentially pray people into the Church. Missionaries are the hope and dream of all members' Church growth fantasies so they tend to be the object of many o' prayer. It's not just families and friends who pray for the missionaries [to find people ready to convert], or the missionaries' ward members (the fact is most wards won't even mention their missionaries by name in prayers once they're out of sight), but all members are essentially "praying the missionaries" all the damn time. That's a lot of praying. If that weren't enough, the temple prayer circles always mention the missionaries because heaven knows how powerful those prayers are!
Mormons do better than praying only for people they know serving missions or "the missionaries" in general, they pray for the potential members as well. The missionaries and maybe the missionaries' parents pray for their current contacts as well as the un-contacted "elect", meaning those individuals who have been "prepared" for the message and "ready to receive" it. "Please bless them that their hearts might be softened!" Yes, please do. Behind this type of praying is the idea that God and his angels are out and about setting up people's lives so that when they run into the missionaries the Gospel message will make sense to them and they'll want to sign a life contract with the Church pretty much right away. You know, like that family who lost a child in a car accident will totally jump on the whole eternal family thing right away, whereas a couple that hasn't even had kids is going to take more time to come around.
So why does all this praying for successful missionaries and read-made Mormon converts make my list of doubts? Well because you would think with all those faithful prayers coming from so many directions for one united purpose (the glory of God's Kingdom on Earth) you might actually see missionaries who miraculously run into elect child of God after elect child of God all the time, but it just doesn't work like that. Missionaries convert the vulnerable and desperate, who more often than not disappear into inactivity. There was no line up of souls hungry and eager to feast upon the Word.
It makes one doubts the efficacy of prayer, the competency of God, the truthfulness of the work, and the future of the Church. However I knew that doubts had no place in the heart and mind of a true servant of God, so I just kept on praying for investigators and praying for the elect. My actions had to speak louder than my words. What else was there to do?