Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Mission Field

I heard this term "The Mission Field" used a lot by people that would come to the mid west from Utah.  When I first joined the Church I suppose it didn't bother me much, but it irritates a bit more as the years go on and as I hear it frequently here in Utah.

I was pondering today as someone said it.  Where is the line where the mission field begins?  Is it the Utah boarder.  Is there some distance I can drive down I-80 and all of a sudden I find myself in the mission field?  Is Oregon in the mission field.

What is the opposite of the mission field?  I am assuming that the opposite that people have in their mind is Zion. As I understand it, every stake is a stake of Zion, which means Zion is everywhere that a stake is organized.

If one is envisioning Zion being established in the tops of the mountains, then I supposed the mission field would be anything outside the Rockies.

If one is envisioning Zion as "This is the place.", then clearly Ogden is the mission field.  So is Provo and Orem and Logan and Brigham City and all the rest of Utah outside of Salt Lake City.

When I served my mission the impression I got was that once I left the Missionary Training Center property I was in the mission field.  When we took a trip into Provo to get some clothing we were in the mission field.  When we returned to the MTC we were not.  When they took us to the airport to depart to our various assignments we were in the mission field.  When we were on the planes or vans or buses, we were in the mission field.  When we arrived at our assigned area, we were in the mission field.  Some of those I was in the MTC with went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Was that not the mission field?  If not, why would missionaries be sent there?

The only reason I didn't consider the MTC the mission field was because it was a controlled environment where the only people we had to teach was other missionaries.

It is probably ridiculous for this to irritate me.  I realize it is just an easy way to refer to places where the Church is less established than in Utah, but let's keep in mind that the mission field is white and it is everywhere, all around us, no matter where we live.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Having Prophets and Apostles Close

This past weekend we had stake conference.  The Saturday evening adult session was as usual at the stake center and the stake presidency spoke.  The Sunday morning session was at the Dee Events Center and was for nine Ogden stakes.  The prophet, Thomas S Monson, was there, as was Elder Neal L Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  President Rosemary M. Wixom, the general primary president was also there as well as Elder Marlin K. Jensen, of the Seventy.

This was the same venue where we had come to see Elder Jeffrey R Holland speak for pioneer days in July.  When we had gone to see Elder M Russell Ballard at the Browning Center on the Weber State University campus, it was not as personal of a setting as I would have liked, since I think there were three or four stakes at that as well, but I was able to pick a seat four rows in front of him and see him very well, just by arriving a half hour or early.  I think we were actually an hour early, but it appeared that a half hour would’ve gotten us the same seats.

In the Dee Event Center, they sit the bishops and stake presidents down on the floor where it would be possible to get a seat as good as we got at the Browning Center, but in the non VIP seats, it was difficult to get a seat less than nine rows up with having arrived an hour early.

All of this is nice history information of how things went down, but here is what I wanted to share.  Every time I stand when the prophet enters the room it is very moving for me.  I remember what it was like to live so far from Salt Lake City when we lived in Indiana.  I hope I never forget how great it is to be in the same room with the prophet and apostles.  To have the opportunity to be near 3 apostles and the prophet over the last  four months has been so great.

Since my son and I also went to the priesthood session of General Conference at the beginning of this month, I should also include in this the great privilege I have had to be in the room with all of them, although in an even less intimate setting.  Conference was always something to see on TV.  The conference center, tabernacle, and temple square was always something almost exotic.  Certainly something I imagined rarely seeing, if ever.  Now every time we go down there and see the temple and the Church’s presence, it moves me.  I look forward to when my other can go too and taking both my boys.