It’s been mentioned countless times in General Conference and other church publications.
You know, the story about President Hinckley when he was serving his mission.
He was going through a hard time on his mission in England and felt like he was wasting his family’s time and money.
He wrote home to his father, Bryant Hinckley, and shared his discouragement.
And what did his father write back?
(I know you know this.)
“Forget yourself, and go to work!”
Even today, many decades since President Hinckley served a mission as a young man, there is still a lot of discouragement for young people who are serving full-time missions.
Several months ago, I received a message from someone who asked why we can’t just tell those struggling missionaries to “Forget yourself, and go to work!”
Well, I suppose there are some missionaries you could say that to, but in general I don’t think that’s helpful advice anymore — in fact, it could actually be harmful.
Why is that?
Well, I have been putting off writing a newsletter about this topic because I don’t have a solid answer yet, but I’m going to pound on this keyboard and see what comes out.
The more I type the more I feel like this newsletter message is going to turn into a series of newsletter messages, so I’m going to give my first impression related to this dynamic and then I’d love to hear from you.
I’ll keep thinking about this, read your perspectives, and then we can go from there.
In short, I think the main reason why the Bryant Hinckley advice has generally expired is because we simply live in a different time with different attacks from the adversary.
We are more aware of mental illness and the impact our modern world has on a young mind.
Social media, smartphones, pornography, virtual communities, comparison, shame, guilt, etc.
I’m not saying Gordon B. Hinckley had it easier as a youth than youth today — it’s just different.
Different problems require different solutions.
We are tasked today with preaching a gospel that is more accepting and full of grace, rather than a gospel requiring grit and selflessness.
Different approaches for different times.
So, let’s get this conversation started.
Generally speaking, do you think “Forget yourself and get to work!” is helpful advice for young missionaries?
What advice do you have?
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