Did you know that it was Spencer W. Kimball that first articulated the three-fold mission of the Church? I did not, but it made our most recent 5th Sunday of the year especially appropriate given that we were about to start studying SWK and we discussed making the three-fold mission of the Church a personal and family priority during the meeting.

I think that the missions of the Church are great. For the uninitiated they are to:

1. Perfect the saints.

2. Proclaim the gospel.

3. Redeem the dead.

I think that these are wonderful goals and you won’t go wrong if you make them priorities. Yet during our discussion something begain to gnaw at my mind. Our stake is making a real push for temple work this year. It is, as far as I can tell, the number one priority of the stake. We have a lot of people spending a lot of time on this initiative. I begain to wonder how things would be different if “Feed the hungry” were in the list as well. Were would it fall?

I realize that a balance needs to be stuck somewhere, but it seems to me that outside of missionary work we direct as much effort to the dead as to the living. Of course in some ways the dead are easier to deal with since they are no longer subject to many of the issues that the living must deal with such as homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, famine and war. Simply do the ordinance and check of the name. But I often wonder if I, my family, and my religious community put the proper amount of emphasis on helping those in physical need. Is paying a generous fast offering enough?

Would the saints be easier to perfect if we put more focus on this? Would the gospel be easier to proclaim? Would the dead understand if they got shoved back to fourth place on the list? If we alternated between a meaningful ward service night and a ward temple night?