In recent years, Church leaders have emphasized the Lord’s prophecy that He will “hasten [His] work” (D&C 88:73). The work of salvation includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel. This lesson will help students better understand their responsibility as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate in this work.
Tell students that shortly before his death, President Joseph F. Smith had a vision of the spirit world, which is now recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 138. He learned that the leaders of the final dispensation and “many others” were prepared in the premortal world for their earthly responsibilities. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 138:53–56 aloud as the class follows along looking for the responsibilities that these leaders were given in the premortal world.
What responsibilities were given to these leaders in the premortal world? What preparation did they receive there?
What responsibilities might have been given to you in the premortal world? What preparation might you have received? (As students share their ideas, help them identify this principle: We were prepared in the premortal life to come to earth in the fulness of times to labor for the salvation of the souls of men.)
Display the following statement from President Thomas S. Monson, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“Do you realize that the restored Church was 98 years old before it had 100 stakes? But less than 30 years later, the Church had organized its second 100 stakes. And only eight years after that the Church had more than 300 stakes. Today  we are more than 3,000 stakes strong.
“Why is this growth taking place at an accelerated rate? Is it because we are better known? Is it because we have lovely chapels?
“These things are important, but the reason the Church is growing today is that the Lord indicated it would. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He said, ‘Behold, I will hasten my work in its time’ [D&C 88:73].
“We, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, were sent to earth at this time that we might participate in hastening this great work” (“Hastening the Work,” Ensign, June 2014, 4).
According to President Monson, why were we sent to the earth at this time? (As students share their answers, help them to understand this principle: We have a responsibility to participate in hastening Heavenly Father’s work.)
What are some of the ways you have witnessed a “hastening” of God’s work? (There are many answers to this question, including the change in the ages for missionary service, the increasing number of missionaries, the increasing number of temples, and the increase in tools that make family history work easier.)
Point out that these answers provide evidence that the Lord is hastening His work on both sides of the veil. Explain that Church leaders today have given emphasis to five areas within the work of salvation and asked that each of us participate in these areas in order to hasten God’s work in these latter days. Display the following statement from Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, and ask a student to read it aloud. Have the class identify the five areas that are part of the work of salvation:
“Living prophets and apostles teach us that ‘members of the Church of Jesus Christ are sent forth “to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56). This work of salvation includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel’ [Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 5.0]” (“The Work of Salvation: Then and Now,” Ensign, Sept. 2014, 63).
As students identify the five areas, write the following on the board:
Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:73 while the other students follow along. Then explain to students that each of us should strive to increase our contribution to the hastening of the Lord’s work. Distribute the handout at the end of the lesson to students, and explain that this handout will help them think about how they can increase their contribution. Invite students to select and silently read one or more of the statements on the handout and prepare to answer the questions found on the handout.
After students have had sufficient time to read and prepare, consider inviting a student to read aloud the first quotation. Then ask several students to provide their responses to the three questions on the handout, focusing on member missionary work. Repeat this process for each of the five quotations.
Help students to feel the truth and importance of participating in the work of salvation by asking the following questions:
What blessings have you received as you have participated in one or more of these areas of the work of salvation? What experience have you had while participating in one of these areas that has been especially meaningful to you?
Display the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, and invite a student to read it aloud:
“When our time in mortality is complete, what experiences will we be able to share about our own contribution to this significant period of our lives and to the furthering of the Lord’s work? Will we be able to say that we rolled up our sleeves and labored with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? Or will we have to admit that our role was mostly that of an observer?” (“Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 59).
Invite students to plan what they will do to more fully participate in the work of salvation by asking:
What are some ways you have seen others help to hasten the Lord’s work?
What are some ways in which you plan to contribute to the hastening of the Lord’s work?
How does our knowledge and testimony of the Restoration motivate us to more fully participate in the work of salvation?
Invite a few students to share and testify of something they have learned about the Restoration of the gospel through their study in this course. Conclude by testifying of the truthfulness of the Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.