I have been reading a lot lately about prophesies and their fulfillment. Maybe I was motivated to study the fulfillment of prophesy because I have been reading in Matthew, and that gospel is basically an accounting of all the prophesies that were fulfilled by the life of Christ.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton’s talk pointed out the fulfillment of several prophesies concerning the growth of the Church. I have always loved this quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith, “You know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap… this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.” I can’t even imagine being among the members there at that meeting – and now, that prophesy has come true. This Church is indeed filling the world. It is incredible!
President Hinckley’s prophesy is just as amazing, though we have not completely seen if fulfilled at this time. He said, “We have scarcely scratched the surface. …Our work knows no boundaries. … Those nations now closed to us will someday be open.” It will be amazing to see nations opened for missionary work that are close to us today. The nation I am most excited for is China. Can you imagine what will happen when China is opened for missionary work? I can only imagine the rapid growth that will happen there.
I saw this video once in a Sunday School class years ago, and it was amazing to watch the growth of the Church happen right before your eyes.
“This work of the Lord is indeed great and marvelous, but it moves forward essentially unnoticed by many of mankind’s political, cultural, and academic leaders.” It is ironic that the growth of the Church has been so rapid, so world-encompassing, and yet people have hardly noticed. I loved that Elder Clayton pointed out “It progresses one heart and one family at a time,silently and unobtrusively, its sacred message blessing people everywhere.” This is probably the reason the growth goes unnoticed. There are not huge mass baptisms. Large groups of people don’t join the Church all at once. Conversion is a personal event, something that happens to one person’s heart. And as each person joins the Church and begins living the gospel, other hearts are touched. The Lord’s work progresses on an exceptionally personal level - “one heart and one family at a time.”
“Our most important message, which we are both divinely commissioned and commanded to take everywhere in the world, is that there is a Savior. He lived in the meridian of time. He atoned for our sins, was crucified, and was resurrected. That matchless message, which we proclaim with authority from God, is the real reason this Church grows as it does.” At our Regional Stake Conference yesterday, Elder David A. Bednar talked about this principle. We cannot be converted to programs, people, or policies. We are converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ – which is that He lives and that He atoned for our sins. Sometimes I think that we lose sight of the “most important message” of the Church. We need to remember that our message is of the Savior – and that is the message that we need to take to the world.
When we think about the gospel we need to remember that “this mighty latter-day work is not about [us]. It is the work of Almighty God and His Son, the Prince of Peace.” This work isn’t about the Prophet Joseph Smith – it isn’t about any of the prophets, it isn’t about us, it isn’t about our neighbors, our bishop, or anyone else – this work is about our Father and His Son. We are humble recipients of what they have to offer us, and their work will go forth regardless of our imperfections. Yesterday Elder Bednar testified that He alone does not have any of the capacity or ability to be an apostle – but that through the atonement of the Savior and through the power of the Holy Ghost, he is made to be more than he is. I loved Elder Bednar’s thoughts about that and I think they fit in with Elder Clayton’s testimony that this work is God’s work. We participate in God’s work as we allow the Savior to make us more than we are – and God does his work through us, but it is still God’s work. And we would do well to remember that.
In what ways have you seen prophesy fulfilled around you? In the world? Do you remember that this work is God’s work? Have you felt your abilities and capacities enlarged through the Lord?