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Mormon Beliefs: Work

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Work is a central idea in the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons. The purpose of life for Latter-day Saints is not only to achieve eternal life, but to build up the kingdom of God on earth in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Since the Mormon Church has a lay clergy, all active members have work to do in their own wards and stakes. Latter-day Saints also have work to do in their communities, in their families, and in the world. It is the Lord's work.

I know without question, my brothers and sisters, that God lives. I testify to you that this is His work. I testify as well that our Savior Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church, which bears His name. I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work. I felt those promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual—or perhaps temporal—want. I felt them again as a mission president in Toronto, Canada, working with wonderful missionaries who were a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet. I have felt them throughout my service in the Twelve and in the First Presidency and now as President of the Church. I testify that each one of us can feel the Lord’s inspiration as we live worthily and strive to serve Him. [1]

The Three-fold Mission of the Church

The "three-fold mission of the Church" is perfecting the Saints, preaching the gospel, and redeeming the dead. All three aspects of the Church's mission require a great deal of work on the part of Latter-day Saints. Perfecting the Saints requires diligence at home and in church service, plus the dedicated work of home teachers and visiting teachers. Preaching the gospel requires the dedicated effort of called full-time missionaries, as well as the exemplary living of the Saints. Redeeming the dead requires family history work and temple work.

Perfecting the Saints—"I think I have been in most of the places where the Church is organized. I have found wonderful people everywhere. They are Latter-day Saints in the truest sense of the word. They are seeking to live the commandments....This work is possessed of a vitality which has never been evidenced before to such a degree." [2]
Preaching the gospel—"We have reached out across the world, wherever we are permitted to go. We have taught the gospel as revealed in this dispensation of the fulness of times. We are now going into areas whose names were seldom heard back in 1947. Our missionary work has expanded in a miraculous manner." [3]
We now have approximately 60,000 missionaries. Come July, there will be 333 missions. We are trying to fulfill the mandate of the Lord when He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). [4]
Redeeming the dead—"Our family history work goes forward with increasing momentum. There is a tremendous interest in one’s roots everywhere. As the years pass, all of this will lead to the fulfillment of the great purpose for which this work is done. The hearts of the children are being turned to their fathers, that the purposes of the Lord may be fulfilled." [5]

Meanwhile, the Church never stands still, but works to increase the kingdom of God:

We are able to carry the gospel to so many nations of the earth and bless the lives of the people wherever it goes.
We are well on our way to enlarging the educational opportunity for our youth. We have announced that Ricks College will become a four-year school to be known as BYU—Idaho.
We are constructing new buildings on a scale of which we never have dreamed before. We must do so if we are to accommodate the growth of the Church.
The welfare program moves forward. We are particularly grateful that we have been able to extend humanitarian aid of a very substantial volume in many parts of the earth. We have distributed food, medicine, clothing, bedding, and other necessities to assist those who have suddenly found themselves victims of catastrophe.
One of the bellwether marks of the growth and vitality of the Church is the construction of temples....We were able to reach our goal of 100 operating temples by the end of the year 2000; in fact, we exceeded it....I looked the other day at a list of all the temples which are now in operation or have been announced—121 of them. I was amazed at the length of the list and at the incredible diversity of the areas in which they are located. It is wonderful, but we are not satisfied. We will keep on working to bring the temples to the people, making it more convenient for Latter-day Saints everywhere to receive the blessings which can only be had in these holy houses. [6]
...it is true that the sun never sets on this work of the Lord as it is touching the lives of people across the earth.
And this is only the beginning. We have scarcely scratched the surface. We are engaged in a work for the souls of men and women everywhere. Our work knows no boundaries. Under the providence of the Lord it will continue.
The little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands is rolling forth to fill the earth (see Daniel 2:31–45; Doctrine and Covenants 65:2). [7]

The Principle of Work

Latter-day Saints have always been known for their industriousness. Reports regarding the city of Nauvoo commented on its orderliness, beauty, and remarkable growth. The Mormons had to drain the swamps, braving disease and persecution, to establish the city, which became the largest in Illinois in a few short years. Latter-day Saints continue to honor the principle of hard work and seek to instill a solid work ethic in their children.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said this regarding President Thomas S. Monson:

Memorable too was the fatherly example of hard work. G. Spencer Monson was known to finish every task he started and to do the job right. He was manager of a printing company, and at an early age, young Tom began learning the business. Printing management would become his career. Following graduation (with honors) in 1948 from the University of Utah with a degree in business management, he became an advertising executive for the Church-owned Deseret News daily newspaper. (A firm believer in lifelong learning, he would later earn a master’s degree in business administration—while serving in the Quorum of the Twelve!) He worked in the newspaper and printing industry for 11 years, until he was called in 1959 to preside over the Canadian Mission. After his service as mission president, he returned to a position as general manager of the newspaper company’s Deseret Press. During his career he gave exactly the same care and attention to his printing tasks that he had seen his father demonstrate years before. [8]

God Works

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).

The work of the Lord is to exalt men. For this He established this earth and sacrificed His Only Begotten Son. He arranged the universe for man's benefit, and He does all things except force men to believe.

Mormons have a unique concept of eternal life. While other Christians view heaven as a place of eternal rest, Mormons see it only as a rest from the cares of the world. Otherwise, they see it as a place to work, to work on their own increase in knowledge and glory, and a place to serve God further. Thus, work goes on eternally, and is a central concept of the true gospel.

References

  1. Thomas S. Monson, “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Ensign, May 2008, 87–90.
  2. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Work Goes On,” Ensign, May 2001, 4.
  3. Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Great Millennial Year,” Liahona, Jan 2001, 80–84.
  4. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Work Moves Forward,” Ensign, May 1999, 4.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Work Goes On,” Ensign, May 2001, 4.
  7. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The State of the Church,” Liahona, Nov 2003, 4–7.
  8. Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Thomas S. Monson: In the Footsteps of the Master,” Liahona, Jun 2008, 2–16.

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