Friday, July 7, 2023

Why the New Preach My Gospel is Important

It's been almost 13 years since my mission (the first time) but I still have a great love for Preach My Gospel and an affinity for the missionaries--loved having our elders live in the apartment below us. In recent years, as phrasing like "the covenant path" and "gathering Israel" have been used more, it's only made my desire grow to share my testimony. So when the Church released an updated edition of Preach My Gospel (I'm calling it PMG 2.0 in my head), I was excited. But not for the obvious reason. 

In the last couple weeks, I'm sure there have been plenty of things written in the LDS blogosphere about the differences between the old edition and PMG 2.0 (I found this one from LDS Living, if you're curious). What I got excited for is how this tool for missionary work is evidence of ongoing revelation. Just like how For the Strength of Youth was updated to invite youth (and all of us) to follow the Spirit and get our own answers, instead of having rules prescribed for us.

We talk about having a living prophet and receiving the word of God, but I know for most of my life I haven't considered what that really means. Living in the South for the last two years, I've definitely been around a lot less members of the Church than I did in Utah. But I'm also around a lot more openly religious people than I was growing up in Canada. So to see these good Christians trying to get answers to prayer by personal revelation, I'm grateful for a prophet and that I have help with the answers.

Let me give you an example: Last year I was at a guys night with a mixed group of Protestant, Catholic, and Latter-Day Saint friends. Our host, a Protestant guy, offered refreshment including iced tea and snacks. When I turned down his iced tea (he was missing my preferred soda anyway), he questioned it, because he's read the Word of Wisdom and correctly quote that it says "hot drinks". It was a small exchange but it got me wondering over the months following. While there is still debate and speculation as to why coffee and tea, but not Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, we had clarification that "hot drinks" refers to tea and coffee. Why those two? I dunno. But it impressed upon me the importance of prophets.

Even when looking at modern-day scripture, like the Doctrine and Covenants, we still have prophets and apostles teaching us further from what Brother Joseph taught. I mean, to be fair, he lived 200 years ago; the world has changed significantly since them in technology, transportation, and temptation. The Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants never spoke of pornography, but even 20 years ago porn wasn't as prevalent as it is now.

As we look forward to move revelation (General Conference is only 3 months away), this is the message I want to share with everyone: there is a prophet on the Earth today. And, to bring things back to missionary work, he has called young men and women (and senior couples like my parents) to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."

I want to finish off with a statement from the Prophet Joseph that I memorized when I was in the Hill Cumorah Pageant:

"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

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