No Magic in Programs

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Hartman Rector, Jr

"Yes, our society is one that is leaping from one fantasy into the next, grasping for happiness, hoping against hope, with faith in some new program. But there is no magic in programs. It matters not from whence they come.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being lionized today in many quarters. Articles like "Utah's Shining Oasis" in National Geographic (Apr. 1975) and "When the Saints Go Singing In" in the Reader's Digest (Apr. 1975) make the Church look almost as good as it really is. Also, the sincerest form of flattery has other churches copying our Church programs. The family home evening program is being copied by other churches, even down to using the same manual. There is a feeling that they can have the same results if they use the same program, but it will not work. The vitality of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not in the programs of the Church but in the doctrines of the Church.

I have a very good friend who served as a Congregational minister for over 26 years. He had one of the largest churches on Long Island, New York, at one time. He became acquainted with the Mormons by visiting Salt Lake City and receiving visits from Latter-day Saint missionaries in his home. He developed a great admiration for the programs of the Church, primarily because of the fruits he saw that were produced by the Church.

So he thought to borrow these programs and adopt them into his own church, which he tried to do. But he found that they did not work. His statement to me was:

'It was somewhat of a jolt to discover that the genius of Mormonism was in its theology, not its methodology, and that the amazing vitality of the Church sprang from the commitment of its members to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ received by revelation. It became obvious that one could not have the fruits of Mormonism without its roots.'" (John F. Heidenreich, "It May Change Your Life.")

Hartman Rector, Jr., in CR, Apr. 1975, 81-82; or Ensign, May 1975, 55