Lesson 158: Hastening the Work of Salvation

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

Since the beginning of the Restoration, the work of the Lord has expanded throughout the world. We live in a time when the Lord is hastening His work. The youth of the Church have many resources and opportunities to contribute to the hastening of the Lord’s work.

Suggestions for Teaching

The Lord is hastening His work

Invite a student to walk from one side of the room to the other at a normal pace. Then ask the student to cross the room again and to quicken or accelerate his or her pace. While the student is crossing the room the second time, ask the class the following question:

  • What does it mean to hasten something? (To accelerate it.) What are some reasons someone might hasten, or accelerate, a task?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:73 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said He would hasten. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What do you think it means for the Lord to hasten His work?

Referring to Doctrine and Covenants 88:73, Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “That time of hastening is now” (“Thus Shall My Church Be Called,” Ensign, May 1990, 17). Write the following doctrine on the board: We live in a time when the Lord is hastening His work.

  • What are some of the ways you have witnessed the Lord hastening His work?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 133:10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what this verse suggests about why the Lord would hasten His work.

  • What does this verse suggest about why the Lord would hasten His work? (To help people prepare for His Second Coming.)

Display a picture of President Spencer W. Kimball (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 133; see also LDS.org). Explain that during President Spencer W. Kimball’s service as President of the Church, the Lord hastened His work. For example, missionary work expanded, and the Church published new editions of the scriptures. As he encouraged Church members to press forward, President Kimball said the Church had “paused on some plateaus long enough” (“Let Us Move Forward and Upward,” Ensign, May 1979, 82). He also taught, “We must lengthen our stride and must do it now” (“Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 3).

President Spencer W. Kimball
  • What do you think President Kimball meant when he said that we must “lengthen our stride”?

To help students understand some of the ways the Lord is hastening His work today and some of the ways they can participate in His work, conduct the following activity:

Divide the class into three groups, and give the students in each group a copy of one of the following teaching assignments. Give students a few minutes to study and prepare to teach their assignments to their classmates. After sufficient time, organize students into groups of three, made up of one student from each of the original groups. Invite students to take turns teaching their groups about how the Lord is hastening His work and how they can participate in that work.

Teaching Assignment 1: Hastening missionary work

President Spencer W. Kimball told the Saints that the Lord was prepared to open doors for them to share the gospel, including in nations that did not allow missionary work. However, he also said that the Saints needed to prepare themselves to receive those opportunities. President Kimball also testified that if every young man prepared to serve a full-time mission, the Lord would open doors and provide a way for missionary work to go forth to the entire world. He declared:

President Spencer W. Kimball

“I know they have curtains, like iron curtains and bamboo curtains. I know how difficult it is because we have made some efforts. … But I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter. Why should he break down the Iron Curtain or the Bamboo Curtain or any other curtain if we are still unprepared to enter?” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 5, 7).

Members of the Church followed President Kimball’s counsel and prepared to share the gospel. During President Kimball’s administration the number of full-time missionaries increased by more than 50 percent. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the governments of East Germany, nations within the former Soviet Union, and other nations where missionary work had previously been restricted began allowing missionaries to share the gospel in these countries. President Kimball’s prophecy was fulfilled.

In October 2008, President Thomas S. Monson reiterated counsel that President Kimball had given:

President Thomas S. Monson

“There remain … areas of the world where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely. As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel. As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray with faith (“Welcome to Conference,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 6).

Point out that as President Kimball encouraged Church members to lengthen their stride, he clarified a responsibility of every young man in the Church. Invite a member of your group to read the following statement aloud:

President Spencer W. Kimball

“The question is frequently asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer has been given by the Lord. It is ‘Yes.’ Every young man should fill a mission” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” 8).

Remind members of your group that prophets have continued to encourage every worthy, able young man to serve a full-time mission. Prophets have also welcomed young women to serve full-time missions if they desire to do so. In October 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in missionary age requirements, allowing young men to begin service at age 18 and young women at age 19.

    Discuss the following questions as a group:
  • According to latter-day prophets, what is the Lord’s expectation for young men in relation to full-time missionary work? (Although group members may use other words, their answers should reflect the following principle: Every young man should prepare to serve a full-time mission and keep himself worthy to serve.)

  • Why should every young man prepare to serve a full-time mission?

  • How can preparing for a mission now help you contribute to the Lord’s work?

  • How do you think the inspired change in the age requirement for full-time missionaries has contributed to the hastening of the Lord’s work?

Teaching Assignment 2: New editions of the scriptures

Ask the members of your group to consider what they would do if a close friend asked them, “I want to come closer to God. What should I do?” Then ask the following question:

  • What would you say to your friend?

Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

President Spencer W. Kimball

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 135).

Inform the members of your group that President Kimball’s statement explains the great need for us to have access to the scriptures. Invite a member of your group to read Doctrine and Covenants 104:58–59 aloud. Ask the group to follow along and identify why the Lord wanted Church leaders to publish the revelations.

  • How can studying the scriptures help us lengthen our stride and contribute to the hastening of the Lord’s work?

Explain that in the early 1970s, Church leaders recognized the need for Church members to become more familiar with the scriptures and to have a standard edition of the Bible for study and teaching. In 1979, after years of inspired, diligent efforts, the Church printed an official English LDS edition of the King James Bible. This Bible contained extensive study aids not previously available, including expanded footnotes with cross-references and other aids; improved chapter headings; excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation; the Topical Guide; and the Bible Dictionary. In 1981, the Church published a new edition of the English triple combination that included improved footnotes, chapter headings, maps, and an index. In 2009, the Church published the LDS edition of the Reina-Valera Bible in Spanish.

Invite a student to read the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made one year after the release of the 1981 triple combination in English. Ask students to listen for how he envisioned these new editions of the scriptures blessing lives and moving God’s work forward.

President Boyd K. Packer

“With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will.

“… They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ and be competent to proclaim Him and to defend Him” (“Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

Share your testimony that the scriptures testify that Jesus is the Christ. Studying the scriptures can help us receive a testimony of Jesus Christ and help fill our lives with the Holy Spirit.

Explain that great efforts have been and continue to be made to provide Church members with scriptures and helpful study aids in their native languages.

    Discuss the following questions as a group:
  • Why is daily scripture study important?

  • How has your personal scripture study helped you assist in the Lord’s work?

Teaching Assignment 3: Hastening temple and family history work

Ask your group to guess how many temples were built in the 143 years between the organization of the Church in 1830 and the calling of President Spencer W. Kimball in 1973 (17 temples). Then ask the group to guess how many temples were announced or built in the 40 years between 1973 and 2013 (153 temples).

Explain that temple construction increased most significantly under the direction of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Invite someone in your group to read the following statement by President Hinckley:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I have a burning desire that a temple be located within reasonable access to Latter-day Saints throughout the world. … The work is moving about as fast as we can go. It is my constant prayer that somehow it might be speeded up so that more of our people might have easier access to a sacred house of the Lord” (“Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 52, 53).

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 128:15, 17 aloud. Ask the group to follow along, looking for the responsibility we have to our ancestors. Then read aloud the following doctrinal statement given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 25).

Point out that the construction of temples and advancements in family history work are evidence that God is hastening His work on the other side of the veil. Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Bednar. Ask the group to listen for how they can contribute to the Lord’s work.

Elder David A. Bednar

“It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 26).

    Discuss the following question with your group:
  • What positive experiences have you had in doing family history work or going to the temple to participate in ordinances for the dead?

Our responsibility in moving the work forward

After students have completed their teaching in small groups, invite a few students to share their thoughts and feelings about the hastening of the Lord’s work.

Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what can happen as we take part in the Lord’s work.

Elder David B. Haight

“Brothers and sisters, the Lord is opening the way and making it possible to expand His work throughout the world, and what a blessing it is for all of us—each in his own way—to take part. …

“Who but the prophets of God could have foreseen the miracle of the rapid expansion of the work of the Lord? Truly, as the Lord foretold in section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, He is hastening His work in its time (see D&C 88:73)” (“Missionary Work—Our Responsibility,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 61, 62).

  • According to Elder Haight, what can happen as we take part in the Lord’s work? (As students answer, write the following truth on the board: We can be blessed by taking part in the hastening of the Lord’s work.)

  • What blessings have you experienced as you have participated in the hastening of the Lord’s work?

Invite students to consider the opportunities they have to contribute to the hastening of the Lord’s work. Ask them to answer the following question in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:

  • What are some ways you can contribute to the hastening of the Lord’s work?

After sufficient time, invite students to set a goal to follow up on what they have written. Conclude by testifying of the hastening of the Lord’s work and our responsibilities and opportunities to participate in His work.

Commentary and Background Information

“We must lengthen our stride”

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

“Do we, too, have something we need to share? Yes! We have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of peace, the gospel of joy. We have truths that can make any person better and more fulfilled, any marriage happier and sweeter, any home more heavenly. We have the priesthood power of God to bless our homes and lives and the lives of others. Yes, it is to ourselves, our homes, our quorums, our classes, our Church assignments that we must carry more energetically those things that we have received. And it is to our nonmember neighbors and associates that we are now asked to also ‘give such as we have.’ The Lord has commanded us to do so. We must lengthen our stride and must do it now” (“Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 3).

The Quorums of the Seventy

The expansion of the Quorums of the Seventy is evidence that the Lord is hastening His work.

In 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball organized the First Quorum of the Seventy, and additional Quorums of the Seventy have been added as the Church has grown. The number of quorums can continue to expand as needed.

“[As of 2014] there are … eight Quorums of the Seventy. Each quorum may have up to 70 members. Members of Quorums of the Seventy are often referred to simply as ‘Seventies.’ Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church. They work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy. …

“… Members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are considered General Authorities, meaning that they have authority to serve anywhere in the world. Members of the remaining quorums are called Area Seventies, and their authority is limited to the area where they serve” (“Quorums of the Seventy,” LDS.org).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

The scriptures

As part of the lesson, you might consider showing a portion of the video “That Promised Day: The Coming Forth of the LDS Scriptures” (57:10), available at BYUTV.org.

Worldwide growth of stakes of the Church

As part of the lesson, you might consider showing the video “The Gospel Shall Roll Forth” (2:45) to illustrate the worldwide growth of stakes of the Church from 1830 to 2009. The video can be found on LDS.org.