We hear a lot about ‘hastening the work of salvation’. It seems that as we get deeper into the last days that both of the sides that fought the War in Heaven are increasing their efforts. The Lord is creating new ways and new technologies for us to more effectively proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints and redeem the dead. I’m not sure that we have yet roused ourselves sufficiently to rise to the challenge (I know I certainly haven’t).
Whenever I hear the phrase ‘hastening the work’ I am reminded of this great experience shared by Wilford Woodruff about the urgency of the work:
Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time, and then it stopped. The last time I saw him was in heaven. In the night vision I saw him at the door of the temple in heaven. He came to me and spoke to me. He said he could not stop to talk with me because he was in a hurry. The next man I met was Father Smith; he could not talk with me because he was in a hurry. I met half a dozen brethren who had held high positions on earth, and none of them could stop to talk with me because they were in a hurry. I was much astonished. By and by I saw the Prophet again and I got the privilege of asking him a question.
“Now,” said I, “I want to know why you are in a hurry? I have been in a hurry all my life; but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the kingdom of heaven, if I ever did.”
Joseph said: “I will tell you, Brother Woodruff. Every dispensation that has had the priesthood on the earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when he goes to reign on the earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation, and so much work has to be done, and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.”
Of course, that was satisfactory, but it was new doctrine to me.[Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946), pp. 288–89]
Isn’t that wonderful! And sobering! We of the last dispensation do not have the time that previous dispensations had to do their work. That is why the Lord is hastening the work of salvation and why we need to ‘be in a hurry to accomplish it’.