First of all, let me say that I am truly sad about Pres Hinckley’s passing. He is a true inspiration, and I, as well as the church will greatly miss him. His humor, and candor will be greatly missed.
Newsweek has an interesting article found at http://www.newsweek.com/id/105857/page/2
It talks about diversity in the church, and some of the poor retention rates of converts. Pres Hinckley was one who was greatly concerned about retention of converts. I recently attended the LDS Film Festival, and watched a movie called “Errand of Angels” which should be due out in theaters later this year. One of the most interesting parts dealt with a dispute between sister missionaries. One felt an investigator of the church was ready for baptism, while the senior companion said something to the effect of, “if she’s ready to join the church, she can come to church a few more times.” I really think that it would be better to require prospective members to come to church for at least a month or two, before they can be baptized. Anyone agree/disagree?
Also, I really think it would be great if a Hispanic or black apostle was named. I understand the whole thing about inspiration, but wouldn’t it be great if there were some more color among the apostles? I remember when Helvicio Martens was called a member of the Quorum of 70, and as a missionary in South Carolina, I was really excited. However, the trend has not continued. Another film at the festival was “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.” I really think adding some color would really improve missionary work worldwide, as the church is a global church now.
Of course, I support the brethren, and will support whoever is called to be a new apostle, but I would love to see some more diversity.
Also, I really think it would be great if a Hispanic or black apostle was named.
My money’s on Elder Kikuchi…We’ll see.
One thing that I would like to see, however, is that at General Conference, the speakers get to deliver talks in their native languages, with subtitles in English during the live conference. If GAs prepare their talks in advance, I don’t think it would be problematic. If they speak off the cuff, as it were, it would be a huge logistical nightmare.
I have been pulling for elder Kikuchi ever since hearing him in person on my mission over 15 years ago. Yet, it never seems to happen. He would be a wonderful choice.
I once heard a quote to the effect that the church needs more mission presidents who are physicians, than businessmen who are trying to close a quick sale. I really think that it is better to slow down conversion to the truly converted, and avoid the quick baptisms. I have heard that it takes at least 1 year to become a Catholic and a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m not sure if I advocate waiting that long for someone to join the LDS church, but I think 2 months might be a good enough waiting period.
I suppose I am more blandly orthodox here with respect to diversity. I would rather just trust in the Lord, in His ways, and in His timetable. Boring, I know. But I have no preference as to racial diversity. It could be noted that Elder Uchtdorf is the first foreign-born member of the Quorum in some time.
Going to church for a month or two: I do agree that it seems as if some individuals are rushed into the waters of baptism (we’ve all seen it) before they are ready, and quickly go less active in response. Having a longer-term pattern seems like a good idea. After all, enduring to the end is about faithfully keeping the commandments of God, not a one-time fit or burst of passion. But how can missionaries and members work together to grow the ward without the members growing bitter about the missionaries baptizing anything on two legs? My opinion is that the Brethren think and study and pray for answers to these questions, and I believe that many current policies, including Preach My Gospel, are an answer to those prayers. That’s not to say that more answers will not come.
I remember a YM leader some years ago telling about how when in Mexico in the 1970s, missionaries would move very quickly from initial Church contact to the waters of baptism. Sometimes, it would be in the same day. Of course there were problems with that approach, and current Church policies reflect that history.