CHI #5

CHI #5

Section 4 deals with missionary service. There are a tremendous amount of procedures and regulations which are used to enable the church to have 50,000 plus full time missionaries serving around the world. I am not going to pick through all of the minutia to try and judge what is scriptural and what is not. The majority of full time missionaries are young men aged 19 to 22. The guidelines address them and their situations especially.

There is something which caught my attention. Section 4.10 is under the heading of temple recommends. This is concerning the issuing of a temple recommend as the missionary is released. The procedure is different for the young missionaries as for senior missionaries. For young missionaries the procedure is when a missionary finishes his 2 year mission the mission president interviews him and takes his temple recommend. He is then given a recommend which is dated to expire in 90 days.

The CHI directs the missionary’s stake president and bishop to interview him, commit him to live his covenants and maintain his standards, get him a calling and monitor his progress at adjusting back to normal life. And then when they are convinced he is doing well, and being righteous they issue him a regular recommend good for two years.

I will give the church leadership total benefit of the doubt that they have good reason for this rule. Obviously there must be a problem in this regard.

Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
I would say if a young man has truly just spent two years serving Jesus Christ he is not going to be at risk of committing transgressions to jeopardize his worthiness. Truly serving Christ is a good tree. It will not bring forth evil fruit.

What is happening? What is the corrupt tree which brings forth this fruit? I won’t try to answer that in detail. But there is obviously a corrupt tree somewhere. And to simply say that ’21 year old men are just that way’ or speaking the judgmental slur more overtly to accuse them of being inherently disposed to do evil, will truly hide the reality of the problem.

I believe there are at least two problems. First the rules missionaries are expected to follow are unnatural and external. Being cowered into obeying a set of restrictive rules by an organization that keeps close tabs on your behavior, I mean in some cases missionaries are required to call their leader every night to report they are in bed, is not righteousness. Righteousness is a choice freely made. Since it is not an exercise of agency it does not produce the blessings of being righteous.

Secondly what do we really think we are doing? God makes men and women a certain way. I believe 18 years of age is the time of maximum levels of sex hormones in a male (in some countries young men can serve missions starting at 18). He is the most fit and most eager to be wed. And we tell him to deny all these God given signals and become a monk while still moving among everyday life for two years. It is a recipe for tragedy. And I don’t mean just the tragedy of committing sexual sin on his mission. When you deny a healthy God given desire you must numb yourself to a sacred part of your soul. That does damage to your heart and mind. You think Satan doesn’t laugh his spiritual hind end off seeing all the damage which may extend for years for hundreds of thousands of young men?

I had never considered this a problem till I began looking at the reality of life. I was like many people in the church trying very hard to repent of being what God had made me to be. I was lucky to have the mission president I had so that my experience was probably much better. Yet it still did a number on my heart and mind.

From talking with other men who have served a mission I have seen that my two year mission was a departure from the norm. Not because I was so good and pure. I think I was as others my age. My mission president however was radically different in his views and actions towards us missionaries. He did not allow the white bible (missionary rulebook) to destroy his role as judge in Israel. On our mission the temperature got hot in the summer. He was asked what was the policy on wearing suit coats; optional after the 1st of May or anytime the temperature was above 90° or what? He said Elder I look at it this way, when it is hot and uncomfortable to have suit coat, take it off. And that was the rule.

We had Saturday as our preparation day. Our mission president was asked what were we allowed to do from Friday night at 9:30 till Saturday at 5 pm. He said Elders you are Melchizedek priesthood holders, you have made covenants with the Lord in His house. I expect you act like it.

That was his attitude toward the white bible and Salt Lake gave him static for it. We were one of the highest baptizing missions in the church and I know of myself pressure tactics and baseball baptisms were not practiced. We were not pressured or taught to have unreasonable goals for the number of discussions or baptisms in a month.

As I said my experience seems to be an exception to the normal missionary’s experience. I invite those with a different experience to comment.

For me adjustment back to non missionary life was nothing. A close friend of our family a few years my senior noted my relaxed attitude just one week after being home. He said, “Aren’t you nervous like you should be doing some missionary work right now?” Nope I wasn’t.

We might do well ask ourselves if it is wise to have a young man, who’s physical creation has prepared him be getting married at 18 or 19, deny those God given desires and become a monk for two years. What damage does it do to force ourselves to be numb to deep and sacred feelings? Is it in accordance with the scriptures? Is there anyone out there who has memories of how this affected them?

In case some may be thinking otherwise I am quite sure there was only one case of a missionary’s having to be sent home from our mission in the three years we had that president. And this was back in the days when we had about 450 missionaries per mission.


  1. I went when I was 18, came home when 20. My hormones were off the chart. Hardest two years of my life. There is a reason why missionaries have companions. Luckily, my companion was with me 24-hours a day, except for one brief 15 second or so moment in my mission in which my companion and I were walking out of a bulding with a female investigator, and I walked out first, then she did and when she did, she turned around quickly, closed the door behind her, then turned back to me, threw her arms around my neck and planted a big kiss on my lips, then said, “Take me dancing.” I said something to the effect, “Under other circumstances, I’d love to, but I can’t because I’m a missionary.” After explaining this to her, I pried her arms from me and then my companion walked through the door again. Lol. I don’t think I ever told him of that incident. There were lots of other incidents in which women tried to get me to leave the mission alone for a time, but my companion was thankfully always there to lean on.

    I don’t know about the other elders on my mission, whether they were tempted at every turn, but in my case, women were constantly flirting with me. It was tough, to say the least. I have never really considered about how subjecting myself to a mission during that very specific age (18, 19, and 20, still essentially the age of my youth) has affected me. I’ll have ponder this some more. Good questions and post.

  2. i served in hong kong. flirting is much harder to detect in a different language. i only really know of one girl being taught by the sisters that had a thing for me, but she already knew the rules and never put me in an awkward position, so to speak. we were friends though

    near the end, actually the last 6 to 9 months or so, i was so tired of being cooped up that i snuck out at night a few times and just wandered the streets alone for 15 or so mins. there was no one out or anything to do, but i liken it to cutting myself just to feel pain; just to know, and feel, that i was still alive in a sense. the thrill of being out alone, without a companion, without the man-made rules and restrictions, was really the only reason i did it. i simply couldn’t take it anymore. oh and i just love the “companion is like a marriage” nonsense; at least i can choose my wife…

    i don’t know about anyone else’s experience, but our mission was full of gossip. anyone who had any inkling of any other missionary wrongdoing (valid or, most often, not), past or present, small or otherwise, was subject to it and the missionary in question was painted as a near “apostate”. what’s worse is my (latter) mission president took it almost immediately as truth. i had companions say to me what they had heard about me, and then admit that i wasn’t that way at all, and luckily anyone who i roomed with (we had 4 to an apartment) or in a district with really knew who and what i was. the self-righteousness of missionaries just past their surface makes me despise the system even further. note i don’t think it is the elders themselves, but the program that makes them that way

  3. I served in the Philippines. This is significant in two ways which I will explain later. A little bit sooner than halfway through my mission, our mission was split. I went to the new mission. While I really love an respect my first mission president, my second mission president was amazing. A lot like the one described by dyc4557. Those of us coming from the two different mission were wondering about when we would be making the mission guidebook. In my previous mission it was a big green book that described specific guidelines for our mission. Our mission president told us that the white handbook was what we were given and that’s all we needed. And even then there were many exceptions to the white handbook.

    Suit coats? I touched my suit coat twice on my mission. Once when I got to the mission home. And once when I picked it up at the mission home on my way home. It was funny because all my suit pants were faded and my jacket was still brand new.

    So that’s a the first reason the Philippines is significant because that location itself automatically creates many exceptions to the white handbook.

    The second reason is as mentioned above, hormones. Imagine if you will a shy Idaho boy. A young bout about 19 years old never had a girlfriend or kissed a girl before. A boy who has a negative view of himself because of his shyness. Now imagine a place were any young woman clamors for the attention of a person with lighter skin. Where they all have the desire to be whisked away to that magical place called America.

    Now imagine placing this young boy in this location for about two years and telling him to suppress any desire towards members of the opposite sex. Such was the situation with me. I’m actually surprised how good I did do. There I was, coming from a place in life where, I felt, I was completely unattractive to women. And suddenly now I’m being treated like a rock star. I remember walking in from of a high school and all the girls in the courtyard were screaming with excitement at my companion and I.

    It was so weird, suddenly girls who were attractive were paying attention to me and flirting with me. Well as you can imagine things didn’t go exactly according to the COB’s plans.

    Yes, I flirted back. I wrote to girls on my mission. I even snuck out of the apartment twice. I never did anything that broke the Law of Chastity. But with the White Handbook as a guide, I was not a good missionary. As part of the missions’ split I was assigned to the office. That was probably the worst for me. Everyday I was there sitting at a computer with internet access. And the internet won. Nothing pornographic, but nothing mission related either.

    By the time I was in my last area I was getting better control on things and started to straighten up. I still had my companion ask me why it was easier for me to talk to young women than older men(I hope no one thinks we was judgmental. He was an awesome companion).

    This is the first place I’ve actually talked openly about these things. They’ve always felt like such wicked deeds that I’ve had to hide them.

    Finally in my last area is where I met the woman who would be my wife. She unlike the other girls who love missionary attention, didn’t even notice me. We wasn’t like the “want to go to America girls.” And the spiritual event I had associated with meeting her was unique. Also after my mission I actually had to struggle to win her over.

    When I look at my mission as a whole, the good, the bad, and the ugly; I think my wife was the main reason for my mission.

    I agree with andrew, it is the programs that creates so much conflict. I think often times it is like a rubber band. The program pushes so hard in one direction that once a missionary snaps, the extent of the action is far worse that it would have been. Missionaries who have broken the Law of Chastity may not have done so had there been no restriction on flirting and dating. Instead of allowing normal channels for these emotions and feelings a dam is built. So when the dam breaks it is greater than what would have happened had the river been allowed to run its course. This doesn’t only apply to flirting and dating but also other aspects as well.

    There were no white handbooks in the early years of the church. Missionaries were called and then just left. It didn’t matter if they were 19 or 39, rich or poor. While I haven’t studied it that much, it seems that missionaries would just go an sort of make another life for themselves. Many missionaries would get married there. In fact I read about church leaders back during Brigham’s time. They told the missionaries to stop marrying all the good(presumably attractive) women while on their missions and send them back to the Salt Lake first. Maybe that’s where the prohibition on dating and flirting stems from.

    Anyway, I like dyc4557 did not have any shock upon coming home. My biggest shock was to come from tropical weather to frozen, snowy Idaho. I thought, that since I wasn’t the best I could have been on my mission, I wasn’t experiencing shock like I was supposed to. Bad me, for not having a rough transition coming home.

  4. Regarding LDSA’s: “I don’t know about the other elders on my mission, whether they were tempted at every turn, but in my case, women were constantly flirting with me.

    One of my relatives served his mission in Utah. He had to leave his mission early b/c he violated the law of chastity with an older, less-active member.

    When he confessed to the mission president, he was told that he was the third missionary with whom she has had sexual relations with. They said that they try to keep missionaries from visiting her, but they are limited in what they can “officially” do — so she is still able to work around the system to have elders come visit her.

    Something about a man in uniform I guess?

  5. on one hand i can see reason behind the rules, and the other they can be so restrictive as to make things worse. i’m torn on how the two could possibly come to terms with one another. there would have to be a lot of procedure undone. for example, if missionaries were allowed to interact “normally” with the opposite sex, which is considered a distraction, i could see the church telling the missionaries to find and manage their own housing arrangements. admittedly, that is a huge distraction in and of itself. it’s one of those things that seems to be all-or-nothing; take the good with the bad, and i think it stems from the idea that serving a mission is on the Lord’s, and thus the church’s, time

    i think the funny, or sad, thing in this instance would be that the church today has the resources to manage housing for missions where the local ward members don’t have the physical ability to do so, eg hong kong. the church would, in my opinion, consider that a waste of resources. and that’s the sad thing, is that they can somehow deem investments, multi-million-dollar shopping and conference centers appropriate uses of monies. imagine asking a typical hong kong family of four, that live in a five-to-six hundred (at best) sq ft apartment to house another person for months at a time

    and regarding the shock of returning home from a mission? yeah, i think the church does a pretty poor job of preparing missionaries to come home

  6. But it’s not just with relations with the opposite sex. If missionaries left without purse or scrip, they would still have to manage their own housing arrangements.

    Also if we look at the whole program, the church shouldn’t have billions of investment dollars. All that money should be in the treasuries of the various United Orders of the Stakes of Zion. The money would be spread equally among all the Saints.

    About the Ward members in Hong Kong housing missionaries. I don’t see this as a problem either. There would not be any ward members in Hong Kong. They would have been gathered to Zion. So missionaries would still have to find their own housing.

    Maybe I don’t have everything straight. But it seems to me that a lot of these problems we have created programs for would go away if we would follow the programs the Lord has revealed.

  7. Excellent post and fascinating comments!

    There is definitely something amiss with a system that guilts a young man at every turn.

    Even with the presence of a companion nearby, I seemed to be able to manage to spend a few stolen moments alone with two separate young women who I ended up kissing. In both cases we were at member’s homes and my companion was in the kitchen with the parents. The guilt I carried around with me for those harmless minutes was devastating. I knew I couldn’t possibly confess to the mission president, but at the same time I was conditioned to believe he would somehow “know.”

    It was awful. I felt as though I had committed the sin RIGHT NEXT TO “the sin next to murder.”

    Here in Sacramento when we used to have the missionaries over, I was shocked to learn that if one needed to go to the bathroom, the other was required to go with him and either go in with him or stand outside the door waiting. They were not permitted to be separated for a moment. They literally had to follow each other from room to room.

    This alone is a reason I would never encourage a young LDS male to go on a mission. I think all the additional rules that have been piled on since I went 35 years ago actually serve to stunt a person’s growth, rather than somehow preparing him for adulthood.

  8. Before and after my mission, I had problems with masturbation, but during my mission, I never did it. I almost did, but I never ejaculated. I read a book by David Deida called “The Way of the Superior Man”. In it he talks about masturbation, he calls it “an orgasmic spurt”. He says most men transfer the same mentality they have when they masturbate to marriage, and they masturbate inside their wives. They never learn to love women.

    When I was young, I was conditioned to behave as thought women were evil, and so I developed a laxity to look at men. Women were traps, they were out to manipulate me, so I avoided them, and let my wandering lust go toward men. I justified myself in this leniency. Consequently, I never developed a healthy regard, or relating to women. Now, in hind sight, I wonder what my life would have been like if I would have loved women, instead of loving the commandments so much. The mission was more of the same. Restraint, restraint, restraint. instead of accepting myself fully, and developing inside of the way I am designed.

    Good post. I am thinking about this. I have not required the same conditioning of my boys. I have two who had sex before married. They seem to have a healthy regard for the women they are with. They didn’t serve missions. I have a sixteen year old who is out of my care. He lives with a family in my parent’s ward. He is very active in church, and goes to the local high school. He has a problem with masturbation, and is tormented by his lack of control. He says he definitely will serve a mission. He has much anger toward me, his father. I feel he’s out to prove me wrong.

  9. Thanks for the comments. As I have thought about this I realize that due to the fact that I was free to be self governing I did not have a near sex experience on my mission. In my second area my companion was a real laid back. He was a district leader. The first week I was with him we spent our p day helping a stake missionary build a trailer for a motorcycle. At one point we needed a piece of hardware to complete the project. My companion threw me the keys to the car and said hey “dyc4557” (we never said elder to each other it was always just last names) go the store and buy 4 of these things. I said I couldn’t drive over there alone it was against mission rules. He said “Are you going to go find a woman and have sex with her?” I said no of course not. “Then go to the store and get the stuff!” I did and no I didn’t have problem. Granted I was in the US and not in the Philippines or that paradise where LDSA was so lucky to serve.
    I could say that I easily would have given into temptation had I been in LDSA’s place and alone for any amount of time. But really I don’t think so if I had been trusted and expected to be self governing. In fact I was alone with girls a few times (and cute ones at that) for more than 10 minutes at a time. But I never kissed or even hugged them. We did talk and have fun. A few wanted me to date them after my mission.
    No I think if a young man has a testimony of Christ and is treated as responsible for his own actions he stands a far better chance of having the moral fiber to resist temptation.
    But I still think 18 to 20 year old males, away from home and family and friends thrown into place where they are walking “who wants to marry a rich American” world is not a good idea. And if there really is a need to send these men out at that time of their life. There are a lot of other options if we pooled our resources (can you say law of consecration?) we could send out mature people and they could do a real wonderful work. But we are so hooked on Babylon’s salve to the money state mentality that we pick on a niche where there is not much earning capacity.

  10. I was thinking about the difference between natural feelings and the natural man. Then I remembered something from the Temple and applied it to this idea. The natural man which is an enemy to God is our appetites and passions uninhibited. Our natural appetites and passions are Holy when kept within the bounds the Lord has set. Now that’s the bounds the Lord has set, not churches, committees and leaders.

    I’m sure the rest of you knew that already but it just came to me.

  11. Ah, the missionary memories are coming back to me. I now remember that I didn’t have a companion by my side 24-hours a day and some more memories of dealings with the opposite sex have come back.

    For example, I remember one companion I had who was really trunky. He had made two friends in an area (two girls) and they went with him everywhere. I was totally green and raring to go but when I got to the area he didn’t want to do anything. So, for two weeks or so we walked around and pretended to do missionary work while these girls followed us around and talked incessantly. At night, when we arrived at our apartment, I would enter it and he would stay outside talking to them. I’d sit at the window with it open and watch and listen to them until he came up. Once he went home and I got a new comp, we finally started doing missionary work.

    I also remember an incident in an area in which gossip affected my work. Some 14 year old girls had started calling me a nickname, unbeknownst to me. As I was new and still didn’t know the language, when I finally heard the nickname, I didn’t know what it meant. I thought it was a harmless term, but it turned out to be something flirtatious. The other elders of the area, not being newbies, understood the term and started spreading rumors about me, as well as the members who heard these girls use the term when referring to me. But no one told me of this. Later in that same area, when crossing the street with my companion, in the middle of the day, with moving cars all around, we saw these same girls walking in the opposite direction, coming toward us. I don’t know why they got it into their minds to do it, but when my comp and I were in the middle of the street, the three or four of them approached me and attempted to pull my clothes off. It obviously was a practical joke, but other than themselves, no one else was laughing, although I did find it funny later. Lol. That little incident didn’t do much to clear up the rumors about me, rumors which I discovered several areas later as one of the elders who was there finally told me what was being said about me there.

    I never baptized in that area because I couldn’t get the members to work with me. The rumors started by those girls had sabotaged my work and reputation. I didn’t know this at the time, but learned it later, so I know firsthand that gossip can do a lot of damage.

    Then there was the time some guy pulled a knife on me in the middle of the street because he thought I was trying to steal his wife. I still don’t understand why he didn’t threaten my companion, who was with me. Instead, his anger and threat was directed only at me. We ended up baptizing her. Later, there was another husband, a giant of a man, who in the middle of some street festival thought to grab me by the shirt and neck tie and lift me up to his level and threaten to kill me if we continued teaching his wife the gospel. Like the first guy, he also thought that Mormons were there to steal wives. We ended up baptizing her, too. But why did he vent his anger at me and not my companion?

    So, I’ve had some interesting experiences with the opposite sex and their husbands. Lol.

    I never read the white bible on my mission. I got it and left it at home. I also got a list of additional rules and requirements that my first mission president gave me when I first got to the mission. I received them, thanked him, then put them in a draw and forgot about them. What rules I learned were told to me by other missionaries. The only rule I obeyed was to preach the gospel to every creature. Every other rule I broke. Even all the daily planning and number reporting we were supposed to do went unplanned and unreported. The only thing I did was preach, teach, exhort, expound, baptize and confirm, striving all the time to follow the dictates of the Spirit. Reporting numbers, daily planning notations, etc., was done by my companions. This was okay while I was a junior companion (as the senior comp did this), but when I became a senior companion, it drove the leadership up the wall to find that I had no numbers to give them. The only numbers they got was who I baptized and confirmed. Everything else they made up. Lol.

    Heck, I even broke the rule of becoming a senior comp. I refused to become senior companion because I felt that senior and junior companions was a retarded way of working, which encouraged unrighteous dominion instead of cooperation and unity. We were both elders, why should one of us lead the other?, thought I. But the mission president forced me to become a senior companion against my will by using a bogus standard made just for me. Lol.

    Yet another example of stretching or breaking rules: in one area in which I worked for seven or so months, I made a whole lot of friends, many of whom I ended up baptizing. During the summer they were going on an activity to an amusement park, in which there was a swimming pool, water slides, etc. And they invited me because they knew I’d be transferred out soon and wanted to pass some good times with me while they could. My companion said that was against the rules. I decided to go anyway and told him he could stay or come with me. He tagged along to keep me safe. I went swimming, he didn’t . I had a blast. And we returned fine.

    I didn’t realize it at the time that my total disregard for anything but the scriptures was my anarchic nature and tendency beginning to manifest itself. Finally, towards the end of my mission, another offer was made to me by another set of friends from a different area. There was a local street festival, a midnight celebration, and if I wanted to go a few of the members of the church offered to take me. These were members I had baptized, who had become good friends. I couldn’t turn them down. My companion, though, refused to go. He stayed home, I went. During the festival, I saw other members of the church there who all asked, “Where is your companion?” It was nearing the end of my mission, so they all just shrugged it off and enjoyed the celebration, though some were secretly offended (I learned later.) I had had a reputation in that and other areas, in which it was said that “Elder LDSA would preach even to the birds”, meaning that it was known that I was bold in declaring the gospel to everyone within earshot. Because of this, some of them were conflicted to find me on the one hand preaching in situations where no one preached, and on the other hand breaking rules. And then the very next Sunday finding me partaking of the sacrament. Many couldn’t understand how I was able to separate rules from commandments, given the atmosphere in the mission that rules were commandments.

    There were other occasions in which we either broke the rules or stretched them real far, which I won’t go into. I suppose many might consider the things I did as rebellious, but I never came close to breaking the law of chastity, or any of the other commandments, and that was the only thing that was important to me. One thing also that never happened to me was I never became trunky. If anything, the problem I had was making too many friends on my mission and wanting to stick around even more. Eight hours before boarding a plane to leave the mission, I was found baptizing and confirming, so, at least no one can accuse me of not working to the very end.

    I only have one regret for my mission, and that is that when I started the mission I tried to conform to standards that I didn’t agree with. Later, I stopped conforming, but during the first part of my mission I felt like a hypocrite. Luckily, though, I repented and became the anarchist I am today.

  12. Okay, enough about me and my crazy mission. What I wonder about are the qualifications for the priesthood given in the New Testament. We modern LDS think of deacons as the “entry level” office of the priesthood, yet deacons during New Testament times had to be married in order to qualify for that office. Bishops, too. So, if deacons had to be married, surely teachers, priests and elders also had to be married. This makes me wonder about the wisdom of sending never married, non-father elders into the mission field. This follows the pattern of the celibate, Catholic priests. Do we really want to pattern ourselves after the Catholics? Are celibate youth and young men really the best qualified to preach and teach the gospel?

    I would think that a married man with children would have an advantage over a never-married, non-father. He could relate to families–husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers–a bit more than never married youth could.

    Also, I’m not entirely convinced that having a wife and children is a distraction to the ministry. A person should go on a preaching mission only if they have desires to go and they feel called to do so by the Spirit. Unless this is the case, they shouldn’t go. We currently have an “across the board” calling of all 19 year old men, instead of just having those who have desires to serve in this capacity, and feel called by the Spirit, approach their bishops. This fills the mission field with youth and young men who go because of tradition, pressure, or benefits attached to the mission, such as tuition paid, a new car, marriage prospects, etc. Distractions only occur if one does not have desires or feel called to preach.

    A man with a wife and children will not leave his wife and children unless he has desires to preach and feels called by the Spirit. This almost guarantees that only those who desire to be there enter the mission field. Also, if the calling time is left open, instead of a fixed two years or 18 months or whatever, so that the Spirit can have flexibility in keeping a man in the mission field for short or long time periods, many men might have no problem leaving their family because they won’t have a fixed time commitment. When they feel called back by the Spirit, they can return to their family.

    Missions such as this might be for 3 months, 6 months, or some other variable, but as many missionaries currently enter andd remain in areas for such short times anyway, this doesn’t mean that effective missionary work can’t be done.

    For example, let’s say that some elders that have families enter an area and preach for three months and then return to their families. They are replaced by another pair of elders who also have families. These elders preach for three months, also, and then return to their families. The first pair then return to the same area and preach for another three months, etc. If you’ve got priests, bishops, elders, seventy, apostles, high priests, and patriarchs, all married men with children, but all under the commandment to travel (and preach) when their cirumstances allow, this opens up the potential missionary force substantially. If they keep returning to the same area to work in (unless the Spirit directs them elsewhere), they will quickly become skilled in performing missionary work in that particular area. Instead of missionary work suffering, it should take off like a rocket, especially since all the offices of the priesthood are involved in the preaching. (Well, all except deacons and teachers, who are not to travel.)

    Organized tribes would have it even easier to do missionary work because when husbands go off traveling and preaching, their wives and children would be taken care of by the tribe or other husbands.

  13. I did not serve a mission. I had two brothers who did and it seemed to be a good experience for them, and seemed to help them blossom. They are in there mid 30’s now so I imagine things have changed in the last 15 years. In my group of friends from high school, about half served missions, and of them the majority either came home early, or went crazy once they came home. I can see why this change is coming about, but I don’t really agree with it. It is just more rules to follow. I liked one of the comments about about how if someone knows they are being trusted and are given the freedom to prove themselves they would be more successful. In my opinion 19 year old young men in today’s society usually aren’t the best candidates. There are always exceptions, I have seen it in my own ward.

    I don’t know about all the rule changes. I have a hard time with a lot of things in the church. I know the majority of the membership takes everything that changes and every word in a church manual and every word that comes out of general authority, stake president, bishops mouth as revelation, but I have a hard time with that. As my nickname suggests I am simply waiting. Waiting for something to happen. I feel it will happen in my lifetime. All I can do is to be patient and wait, trying to follow Gods commandments, and be the kind of person God wants me to be. As this particular change doesn’t really affect me personally, I am not one way or the other. I will just say from the action of it it seems as though it is saying ” We do not trust our missionaries, and do not have faith in them, and we are failing in our efforts”

  14. @zo-ma-rah
    ahh so many more questions have i after your response. i’m not entirely convinced of the requirement to move to zion, at least not presently. i mean, where exactly is zion? is it truly in MO, or is it simply the pure in heart, and where they dwell? i certainly don’t believe it is utah. and when is the gathering? in the same section, the Lord names his church, for his people “scattered around the world” then describes the gathering to zion is for defense and refuge from the storm. are we in the storm? has it yet to come? and who will sound the gathering? will it be personal revelation, or sound from a church leader? if from a church leader, is it before or after the Lord cleans His house, as prophesied?

    whew…and please don’t take this as an attack or anything, these are genuine questions that came to me when pondering your last remarks. it actually kept me up for a bit last night, as my mind kept questioning the role the church will play in the latter-days, and of things to come. i think i am going to start documenting my questions and marking down each piece of the answers i find in the doctrine and covenants. i’m going to be busy

    now obviously the opposite sex thing was just one example, and i used it because it’s a position and reasoning i could see the church taking

    i’m with you, i’m not going to try and persuade my children to serve missions. i will share my experiences, good and bad, and if they decide to go, then so be it and i will support them. now regarding the ‘rules’, i think missionaries even go to the extent of creating restrictive rules for themselves. even in the MTC i saw companionships accompanying on another to the bathroom and shower (not shower together, of course). i had companions that were always on my heels, regardless of location – at church, missionary firesides, even mission conferences. they limited themselves from being effective servants of the wards we were in by not socializing and learning of the local members needs, and to learn valuable cultural skills in how to interact with the local population in general

    i also gained the idea that as missionaries, a prime function, in addition to preaching and teaching, was to be temporary servants to a ward, and assisting with things that the members didn’t have time, or didn’t want, to do. obviously it wasn’t as cut and dry as that but you probably get the idea

    i wish i had the testicular fortitude those years ago to stick what felt right to me, and ignore what didn’t, which was just about everything we were taught coming into the mission field the first few months. most of my mission was street contacting for literally 12-hours a day. that was it. that was several companions of mine’s idea of effective work…and i hated it. no, i loathed it. at the time i wished i would get SARS or something so i could go home.

    it began the foundation of my cynicism of church operation, and the rejection of the cookie-cutter mormon, which eventually led me to sites like this and rock’s (and BCC, which i don’t really read regularly anymore). i have actually had dreams where i returned to the mission field, in my present age, with all the knowledge i have currently, and being far more effective, kind, patient, and loving towards my fellow man. don’t get me wrong, i loved the people whom i served, but taking a post from rock’s blog, the amway salesmen and the ‘typical’ mormon missionary aren’t too different from one another in the eyes of a ‘non-member’

    i’m also in agreement with you, LDSA, although it may not have come as clearly as you put it, that the opposite sex really isn’t much of a distraction, but the rules sure make it out to be. self-fulfilling prophesy, me thinks. i mean, in all honesty, pre-mission boys who have strong faith don’t normally go out fornicating their hearts out

    and i knew you would bring in tribes somehow. only, for what organization would the tribal missionaries be proselytizing for? the tribe, or a church? or does it matter since it would be bringing souls unto Christ?

    apologies for the long-winded post…

  15. I’d say tribal missionaries would proselytize for both tribe and church.

    If the person who accepts Christ wishes to join the church, the tribal missionaries would point them to the church, giving them the church missionaries’ phone number and the address of the local meetinghouse, etc. Then they could get the discussions and have the church elders or priests baptize them. The tribal elders would not administer the ordinances of salvation to them, but preach to them them the doctrine of Christ as contained in the Standard Works by the power of the Spirit. Such individuals, sent to the church missionaries, would undoubtedly be called “golden contacts.”

    If the person who accepts Christ wishes to join the tribe, then the tribal missionaries could baptize and confiirm them (tribal ordinances) and go through whatever initiatory ceremony(ies) that the tribe requires for admittance. Obviously, the person can choose to join both church and tribe.

    There is no commandment (that I know of) against anyone in the church (or outside of it) preaching the gospel to anyone else, only in building up the church (through administering ordinances). Building up the church requires valid priesthood ordination and church permission. So, tribal missionaries can preach to their heart’s content to all. They just can’t baptize anyone into the church, although they can baptize them into the tribe (with tribal permission).

    On my mission, I remember meeting a pair of sisters who were investigating the church. I had just been transferred into the new area and my new comp and I met them by chance in the street as we walked to their house. My companion had been telling me the details of their investigation and how they were currently in a spiritual stump, unable to progress towards baptism. Their case was peculiar for a variety of reasons, but one in particular that caught my attention was that when I asked them how they came to investigate the church they said that a man (who was not a member of the church) had told them that they would find the true church of Christ at such and such an address, so they took the man’s advice and went to the building (an LDS church) and requested the missionary discussions.

    Although not a member of the church, this man, whoever he was, prepared them for receiving the ordinances of the gospel, which we eventually administered to them.

  16. Here are some scriptures that jumped out at me today:

    When to return from preaching

    Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see thy family; and speak freely to all; yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice, with a sound of rejoicing, crying–Hosanna, hosanna, blessed be the name of the Lord God! (D&C 19: 36-37)

    Behold, verily I say unto you, I give unto you this first commandment, that ye shall go forth in my name, every one of you, excepting my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon. And I give unto them a commandment that they shall go forth for a little season, and it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when they shall return. (D&C 42: 4-5)

    This is how I think all missionary work should operate. A married man goes on a mission because he feels called by the Spirit to preach; and he remains on his mission either until the Spirit tells him to return to his family or when he has desires to see his family. It is all according to his desires. If he has desires to serve God by preaching, he is called to preach. If he has desires to see his family, he is called to return to his family. All of it being done with an eye single to the glory of God and according to the manifestations of the Spirit and the agency and desires of the man. In this way, all persons on the mission will be fully dedicated men.

    Ordained and sent forth

    And this commandment shall be given unto the elders of my church, that every man which will embrace it with singleness of heart may be ordained and sent forth, even as I have spoken. (D&C 36: 7)

    We fulfill this commandment today by ordaining never married, non-father, young men between 18 and 25 to the office of elder and then immediately send them forth on a 2-year mission. They then come back and never travel again as elders until and unless they go out again as an older missionary couple. Surely this is a waste of a lifetime of potential preaching in which more souls could be converted. The tribal model of on and off preaching throughout one’s lifetime seems a more effective way to fulfill this commandment.

    Preachers to be prophets

    Now we shall say no more concerning their preaching the word, and the truth, according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation; and they preached after the holy order of God by which they were called. (Alma 43: 2)

    I wonder how many current missionaries have the gift to prophesy? On my own mission, there was only one elder, an assistant to the president (AP), that was rumored to be a prophet. I never got to meet the man, so I was unable to determine whether the rumor was true.

    Without purse or scrip

    And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power; for I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.

    Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.

    And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.

    Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.

    For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.

    For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.

    Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.

    Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

    Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.

    Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.

    And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

    Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.

    And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise lose his reward.

    And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples. (D&C 84: 77-91)

    Taking no purse or scrip is a commandment that is given for a variety of reasons, as the above explains. I think tribal missionaries have a better chance at fulfilling this commandment than church missionaries.

    What I find particularly interesting is that church converts remain in the mission field, while tribal converts don’t. The church missionary goes to a different area (through transfers) and then comes home, leaving his harvest in the care of others who, hopefully, will take care of them. The tribal missionary, though, who converts men, women, matrimonies and families, would either send these people to the tribe or, after his mission is over, return with them to the tribe, so that tribal integration was complete and perfect.

    Also, if a tribe requires matrimony as the ordinance of entrance, the women converts could marry the tribal missionary while he is still on his mission. This means that while in the mission field, a tribal missionary could start a new family, or tribal seed, and these new tribal members would support him, giving him food, drink, clothing, shelter, and family love and environment, which would allow him to more fully dedicate his time to his mission, as all his needs would be taken care of by his converts. Male converts could either be married to the female converts (who are married to the missionary), which would give them the link they need for entrance into the tribe, or, a male convert could be sent to the tribal lands to find a wife who will marry him, allowing him entrance. Either way, at the end of his mission the missionary would take his converts, who are now linked to him via marriage covenants, back to the tribe for integration.

    As all converts go back with the missionary, the harvest is continued to be taken care of by the one who did the harvesting. The phenomenon of “inactivity” or “the less active” would probably be non-existent among tribal missionaries. Every missionary knows that a connection occurs between the man or woman who has accepted the gospel and the missionary who has brought the good news to him or her. Tribal preaching retains that connection and builds upon it, making it stronger. Church preaching nips it right in the bud, before it has a chance to mature.

    Anyway I look at it, the tribal model is superior to the church model.

  17. LDSA, it’s not really related to tribal missionary work, but the first scripture you quoted:

    Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see thy family;

    reminded me of something I had noticed in D&C 23: 3. It relates more to tribalism in general, but:

    Wherefore thy duty is unto the church forever, and this because of thy family.

    or, as I read it to myself:

    Wherefore thy duty is unto the church forever, and this because of thy tribe.

    Why do we have any duty to the church — because of our family.

  18. The revealed wisdom of D&C 19:36-37 is amazing. I remember times of being homesick. I have experienced the effect of knowing you will be away from your family for two whole years has. With that kind of required time period it is going to have a negative emotional effect at least for a short time. This problem is made worse by close families. The closer a family is the harder it is to leave for two years.

    But when an elder could leave, knowing that at any point they could come back and see their family, perhaps homesickness would be less.

    The more the Church tries to compensate with rules and programs the less effective things will be. Maybe not less efficient, but less effective.

    “And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.”

    So I guess we can all pretty much agree that the church “doeth not these things,” it is therefor logical that the church(TM) is not made up of His disciples.

    I wonder how many other times in the D&C God tells us that if we do not do a certain thing we are not his disciples. Then how many times do we not do those things.

    So does even one case of not doing these things condemn us? Or do we have to not be doing many of them? Or does the fact that the committees of the church came out with a new CHI last year exempt us from obeying God’s Word in D&C(except in cases where the D&C coincides with our existing practices)?

  19. Lol….On LDSA’s recent post above is how it was done pre-manifesto. I recall the brethren in SLC chastised the returning missionaries for having already married all the good and pretty women they brought back. hmmm… maybe that’s where the “only one upon the earth” thingy came from . It was an attempt to centralize and control the marriages happening abroad. Still thinking.

  20. I was totally shell-shocked when I came back from my state-side mission 7 years ago, and am still suffering the effects. I have only recently been able to connect the dots I’ve learned these past 7 years. I worked everyday on the mission and was very obedient, though I looked forward to seeing my family again and being free. I remember my companion showing me an old copy of an Ensign that had a story about a missionary getting home and crying for a week. I thought he must have been a dork or something because he should feel free with all the music and movies and girls again. But that is exactly what happened to me.

    As soon as I stepped off the plane I got this deep, uneasy feeling that wouldn’t go away. It was physical. It brought me to my knees crying and praying for it to go away. A week later it did go away for the most part but it was replaced by a numbness. All those worldly delights I had been looking forward to did nothing for me. A roommate of mine at BYU-I went to Argentina and was going though the same thing. His experience kissing a girl again was the same as mine. As he said it, “While kissing her I asked myself what I was feeling. I felt lips, peach fuzz, and that’s it.”

    I talked to my Bishop a couple years later and he said he thought I was suffering from depression. That idea had never occurred to me. Before seeing the BYU-I psychologist, I found a pamphlet in the waiting room that described depression. It said that “depression can be caused by large swings of emotion, whether positive or negative. A person can get depression from a job promotion at work.” It also described a form of depression called dysthymia, in which people with it “function fairly well on a day-to-day basis, but over time work and relationships suffer.” I knew that is what I had and indeed it was confirmed by the psychologist.

    Over time I have come to an important realization: whenever you put a human being into a situation where he is treated like an unthinking animal or robot, there is a chance that that person will suffer from depression. One non-mormon psychologist who works with a lot of returned missionaries said that in his experience RM’s “that are sensitive and perceptive are most likely to suffer from depression. Some people experience life more than others, the highs and the lows.” That’s definitely the old me. It makes sense that people who experience higher highs and lower lows would be more susceptible to depression caused by “large swings of emotion.” And that partly explains why everyone doesn’t get depression from returning from a mission.

    I’ve come up with three levels of inhuman activities that can cause different levels of depression. On the low end for me was high-school football. The practices for our team were highly stressful, painful, and I dreaded it everyday. I felt like football practice was my life, like I was trapped into it. I was pressured into it by family because if I didn’t play I would lose my scholarship to the private school (the school was later kicked out of the league for doing this kind of recruiting). I obeyed the drills like an unthinking animal. Result? I used to love watching football on TV. After our season was over, I lost all interest in watching and haven’t since. This occurred with my best friend on the team as well, and we couldn’t figure it out. Now I know that a symptom of depression is a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. So we both had a minor fragment of depression from that experience.

    One level up is a mission, which I’ve already discussed. I seriously wondered on my mission if our super strict Mission President was going to make a rule about how many butt wipes we were allowed. He got real angry and upset when he found out that a missionary said to someone that the problem with the mission is too many rules. The truth of that was probably too much cognitive dissonance for the President to handle.

    I don’t know if jail should be here or one level up but I’ll say that it is here also. I was watching the show Locked Up Abroad about a man who was thrown into prison for a few years for attempting to smuggle drugs. He said that he imagined how wonderful he would feel when he got out. When he finally did, the feeling never came. He said he felt nothing but a numbness which he still has to this day. In prison, you are treated like an animal in the zoo cage, hence depression when you get out of the zoo.

    The highest level is the military. Here you obey like a dog, and they do everything they can to strip you of your individuality and humanity. The consequences are serious depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.

    Here is a mission/government connection that bothers me. I was recently reading a blog about the subject of school showers. Government schools and government military and government jails are about the only places where you will find people being pressured into stripping naked in front of others. When does anyone strip naked and take showers with co-workers in normal life? Never. Why might the government want it done? To shame its subjects. To make them more pliable to conform. Normally individuals take showers alone, but with the government, you aren’t an individual so you don’t get to shower alone. You are part of the collective. Resistance is futile.

    In the MTC the church has the same kind of public showers. I hated them and the humiliation that they entailed. One missionary in my room woke up an hour early every day so he could take a shower alone. It seems that the church has taken a note from the government on the creation of cookie-cutter people.

    There are other kinds of mission/military connections that bother me like the age preferred for service. The government learned during WW2 that older 28 year old conscripts were less likely to blindly follow orders compared to the younger 18-20 year olds that had almost no life experience. The government learned its lesson and conscripted mainly the younger ones in Vietnam. Perhaps the same goes for the church.

    Anyways, I feel totally betrayed by God and the Church and have a lot of anger over it. I ask myself if God would authorize such an inhumane program. Is He allowing it to “give unto men weakness?” Of course no problems like this were ever reported to me before I went. Its only because of the internet that I have seen how prevalent problems are. I was told how much I would be blessed. Forget about being blessed, I just want my old life back. I do not feel capable of handling the pressures of supporting a family and I don’t feel happy enough to get a wife. I’d probably just drag her down and she’d want a divorce. What a “blessing” and “stepping stone.”

  21. Thank you Anarcho-capitalist so much for telling us what you have been through. I believe talking about these things will help you and others. But not just talk but recognition of what has happened and finding ways to be healed from it.
    First I will venture to convey to you my belief that God does not condone these things. He is real and is good and does only good things. He is not the author or creator of the evil tree which has brought forth this evil fruit. It did come from the LDS church leadership. This is a witness that the church has gone seriously astray in this instance at a minimum.
    Please try to separate the church which bears Christ’s name from the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first the ” LDS church” is a group of people and is not even the same group of people whom Jesus defines as His church when He says in D&C 10:67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. The second, the gospel of Jesus Christ is what we have had a testimony of. The gospel as given by Jesus is true and real and eternal. We never should base our faith on a group of people but rather on one God and His gospel.
    No the “LDS Church” is a group of people headed by a male priesthood organization who currently hold keys to that organization. A general truth that can be authoritatively said about them is what the Lord Himself said that they are under condemnation (84:56-57). This fact was restated as recently as 1987 by Ezra Taft Benson then president of the church.
    Brother it as Mark Twain once said, “religion gives God a bad name.” More accurately many things men do in the name of God which are not from Him cause us to think badly of our Father. I know Heavenly Father, He has nothing to do with instituting policies and practices that do this type of damage. I know a little about the military also. It is an overt effort the military puts forth to destroy a person’s identity as an individual. This is a satanic concept which Lucifer has used since he got his first followers. They have no self will they followed his plan and gave up their agency.
    The corrupt trees planted by the LDS church have the assigning over of our agency to them as a big part of their structure.
    I cannot advise you specifically what to do as this information must come from God. But I will tell you a story of a man I know who was also numb to his feelings in a certain area after his mission and yet after years he recovered them. There may be a key here. Also I will petition the blog owner LDSA that if you request it that I may communicate directly with you my private email and direct you to a type of therapy which may help you recover your feelings. So that will be your choice.
    Now the story is there was a young man who had a girl friend for a few years before the mission. He and this girl were very close. They were moral and kept the commandments. They were so in tune with the other person’s emotions that he could sense when she was in danger from many miles away and call her on the phone to help her out even to the point of preventing her attacker from harming her further.
    Then the time to leave on a mission came. They both dutifully made not commitment to each other. She was willing to “wait” but he said no he would not enter that agreement. Naturally to serve a mission as required he had to bury or in reality deny his emotions for her. I believe this act of denying what we feel is what destroys our emotions. It is because we are denying our God given desires which is a significant and sacred truth. When we deny our true wants, our liberty, our thoughts and even our dignity we loose something. But it is not God who has taken it away.
    When this man returned from his mission his old girlfriend and him met and associated but he said the same words you used (I heard this a month before writing the post) he just felt numb towards her. They both married other people. They remained in contact and then after years he had been talking to her on the phone trying to help her see something that she really needed for her personal well being to understand. They had ended the phone conversation on a unhappy note not as enemies but still in the middle of an emotional disagreement. A day or so later as he pondered this event in his mind he suddenly had come flooding back to him all the love and concern he used to feel for her. His numbness was gone. Now mind you he did not have a general numbness but just about his feelings towards her.
    What triggered the return? I can’t say exactly but possibly the very emotional exchange they had and his willingness to “go there” allowed him to reconnect.
    I am going to write a post about what I have learned about how to be healed of the crap that our earth life experience has put on our once perfect spirits.

  22. religion gives God a bad name

    This reminds me of the same line of questions that was undertaken in the Body Modesty post: Who originated the concept of “religion”?

    Lucifer: “So, you want religion do you?

    I want no part of any religion.

  23. I am on my mission right now as im typing this in a small country called Swaziland right next to south Africa. here in Swaziland it is a kingdom a monarchy run by king swati a man with many many wives, and he gets a new one every year at a traditional dance where the women dance topless for him. the missionarries however are under the reign of 2 kings, one being king swati and the other being the mission president. and its ridiculous to watch and see how guilty missionaries make themselves. ive only been out five months and before i came out the mission had a different mission president and i hear alot of good things about how he had a very positive atitude to everything and his focus was to love the missionaries i cant get specific because i never knew the guy but i hear he wasnt to strict and allowed the missionaries to enjoy themselves. now we have a new mission president and all ive known of him since ive been on my mission is that he wanted stats to be up. we recieve pressure alot on stats if our stats arent good we arent good. all i hear about in our mettings is white handbook obedience preached over and over. my motto is just that the only real pressure i should feel should be coming from the holy ghost. but unfortunately most missionaries dont see things the same. some missionaries have responded to this by becoming more rebellious to the rules but then in turn making themselves more guilty. they throw themselves into a vicious cycle of first anger over change, then rebellion and then later fear then guilt then so called “repentence” and then obedience with exactness, and then either back to anger or just guilt for the rest of thier mission. luckily i have an older brother who was able to help open my eyes before i went on mission so i dont really worship my leaders like the rest of the group so i feel guilt free. a month ago was zone conference and that was ok I guess. I had some problems with it really bothers me to see how badly missionaries aspire to have a calling in a leadership position and before zone conference we all got chastised at a district meeting and they told us we needed to all get haircuts and make sure we wear our suits because the mission president is coming. The way it sounds is “make sure you have a nice hair cut and a nice suit for the business meeting because if you don’t the president won’t consider you for a promotion.” It bothers me that the way they run things is so business like. If Christ was coming he wouldn’t give two cents about how my hair is cut or whether or not I’m wearing a suit. In fact I think he would be bothered by the fact that I’m wearing a suit and tie and I go to an area where people can’t even afford to buy maze meal for their children, or fix their roof that has so many holes in it. I’m also bothered by the way that the word faith has morphed to mean the same thing as the word ambition. Here are some quotes from the zone conference.

    “The most important aspect of missionary work is setting goals and planning”

    “Planning is the only way that our work will ever progress”

    “Don’t rely on your brain it fails you too much; rely on the manual”

    “the better we plan the better missionaries will be”

    “Were trying to have more manageable areas. We are trying to combine logic with management with the inspiration that goes into transfers.”

    “But every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength”

    o sorry that last ones not from the zone conference that’s from korohor but can you see where I’m going with this is the way our culture has gone I get up every morning and dress in the clothes of the business man and I’m told how to manage every second of my day up by 6:30 exercising then breakfast 8:00 Personal study 9:00 companionship study 10:15 out of the boarding to appointments. Spend at least 1 to 2 hours tracing every day be in at 9. Planning from 9 to 9:30, and were actually told not to go to sleep until 10:30 and then no later than 10:30. We have an 82 page handbook of rules that we are told if we don’t follow we will not be able to have the companionship of the spirit. And in listening to the sacrament prayers having the spirit with you seems to be alot simpler than they make it sound. Every day I see missionaries who have reduced their religion to those rules. All it does is breed self righteous pride in the witch people aspire to callings and ignore the whole point of their mission. Wich is to “invite others to come unto Christ” instead they just wish to “invite others to come unto the rules” this is from our own bible dictionary I hope that you can see the parallels

    Pharisees –

    A religious party among the Jews. The name denotes separatists. They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law, and on the care with which they avoided contact with things gentile. Their belief included the doctrine of immortality and resurrection of the body and the existence of angels and spirits. They upheld the authority of oral tradition as of equal value with the written law. The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules, and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. They were a major obstacle to the reception of Christ and the gospel by the Jewish people. For the Lord’s judgment on them and their works see Matt. 23; Mark 7; Luke 11:37–54.

    Hugh nibley put it this way and I like the way that he says it because it is so true.

    “ “If you love me,” said the Greatest of all leaders, “you will keep my commandments.” “If you know what is good for me,” says the manager, “you will keep my commandments, and not make waves.” That is why the rise of management always marks the decline of culture.”

    so yeah those are my thoughts on this matter they run deeper than just this but unfortunately i don’t have a ton of time and you guys probably don’t want to read a novel so this will suffice for now

  24. Great comment thank you. It is so good to see that there are some that still see the truth even when their leaders are preaching something else. Keep up the good work.

  25. elder I would certainly love to read a novel. I wish I had your perspective on my mission. Here are some quotes about planning:

    “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall
    speak: for it shall be given you in that some hour what ye shall speak. For it
    is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
    (Matt. 10:19-20)

    “But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been
    given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to
    conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.” (D.
    & C. 46:2)

    “Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this
    people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall
    not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea,
    in the very moment, what ye shall say.” (D. & C. 100:5-6)

    “With the Latter-day Saints, the idea of writing sermons or preparing
    addresses beforehand is entirely discarded; it never was practiced amongst
    them.” (George A. Smith, J.D. 13:292)

    “Hence the folly of sermons written beforehand; and unless the written
    beforehand sermons are by revelation, or prophecy, all men the world over, may
    know when they hear a sermon read from the pulpit, that God has no hand in
    that matter; and the preacher is not sent of God; and is not God’s servant.”
    (editorial, Des. News, Sept. 4, 1852)

    “It is well known to the Latter-day Saints–though perhaps not to
    strangers–that no Elder or member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
    Saints who enters into this Tabernacle knows who is going to be called upon to
    speak to the people. Hence no man spends a week, a day, an hour, or a moment
    to prepare a discourse to deliver unto the people.” (Wilford Woodruff, J.D.

  26. zo-ma-rah thanks for the insights those quotes are power. i learned from experience today that when people are preaching about planning and how devine it is they dont really like it when you mention these scriptures…..

    27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

    28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the alilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;

  27. Yeah I second Zomarah. I’d enjoy a novel like that. Big up to you Elder and all the good people of Swaziland. I think you might have severely underestimated the desire and interest THIS audience would have in your experiences. Judging from the effusive outpouring of responses to this particular post I would say this is a huge deal and one that all of us tend to bond over. I know that for myself and others who served in my mission when we share “stories from the mish” it is like old war veterans talking and bonding over past experiences because it is one of the only opportunities for them to HEAL from their psychological wounds.

  28. yeah but where should i post such novels?

  29. perhaps this site might work i just dont know how to enable comments

  30. this is much better

  31. What I wonder about are the qualifications for the priesthood given in the New Testament. We modern LDS think of deacons as the “entry level” office of the priesthood, yet deacons during New Testament times had to be married in order to qualify for that office. Bishops, too. So, if deacons had to be married, surely teachers, priests and elders also had to be married. This makes me wonder about the wisdom of sending never married, non-father elders into the mission field. This follows the pattern of the celibate, Catholic priests. Do we really want to pattern ourselves after the Catholics? Are celibate youth and young men really the best qualified to preach and teach the gospel?

    I would think that a married man with children would have an advantage over a never-married, non-father. He could relate to families–husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers–a bit more than never married youth could.

    [LDSA’s comment above]


    Ordained and sent forth:

    and this commandment
    shall be given unto the elders of my church
    that every man
    which will embrace it
    with singleness of heart
    may be ordained and sent forth
    even as I have spoken

    [D&C 36: 7]

    We fulfill this commandment today by ordaining never married, non-father, young men between 18 and 25 to the office of elder and then immediately send them forth on a 2-year mission. They then come back and never travel again as elders until and unless they go out again as an older missionary couple.

    Surely this is a waste of a lifetime of potential preaching in which more souls could be converted. The tribal model of on-and-off preaching throughout one’s lifetime seems a more effective way to fulfill this commandment.

    [LDSA’s comment above]

    My wife and I were re-addressing the subject of tribal missionary work — revisiting the comments here — upon hearing the announcement that missionaries will now begin to be called at 18 [boys] and 19 [girls] yesterday.

  32. I’ve been commenting on this new policy “revelation” over at Wheat and Tares. See this page, comments #17, #25, #41 and #42.

    From that article:

    Indeed, Elder Holland said that mission presidents have been saying, “give me more 18-year-olds — they are sweeter, they are purer, and they are smarter!”

    My mind hears, instead, “give me more 18-year olds – they are more gullible, they have less transgression baggage, they are easier to mold, conform to my standards and control!”

    I submitted my papers when I was 18 but my stake president kept holding them back. He wasn’t sure that I was ready to go on a mission, just yet. Finally, he consented and sent them in so that I ended up going as an 18 year old. I think, in retrospect, the only reason why he stalled my papers was because I was an American living overseas and Americans went on missions at age 19, not 18, like the locals. Or perhaps he recognized the anarchist in my nature, which gave him pause, but then thought it might be best to send me out early, as an 18 year old, so that I could be nipped in the bud and learn to conform. If so, that strategy obviously did not work.

    All of that feeling came as a result of what Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called “an inspired decision” that came only after it had been “studied prayerfully over many months” by church leaders, with an eye toward “accelerating our efforts to fulfill the Savior’s mandate to take the gospel to all the world.”

    I have no doubt whatsoever that this was “an inspired decision.” I just hope the inspiration is coming from the light side. As my comments on Wheat and Tares show, I have misgivings about all of this. I almost feel like posting an essay on this blog, entitled, “If you feel you must serve a mission for the LDS church, at least wait until you are 20!”

    Also, it seems to me that the LDS are so starved for something new, some new revelation, that they will gush over the slightest novelty. I am amazed at the reactions to this announcement, as if this were some major revelation.

  33. Also, it seems to me that the LDS are so starved for something new, some new revelation, that they will gush over the slightest novelty. I am amazed at the reactions to this announcement, as if this were some major revelation.

    Indeed — the news media characterized it as “jaws on the floor”, “OMG, this is a game-changer” kinda reactions.

    I think “grasping at straws” is the cliche that comes to mind …

  34. As many of us know this is not only far from a jaw dropping game changer. It is effectively meaningless for the mormons in many countries around the world since the policy has been for decades already, such that they are free to serve a mission at the age of 18. Many do because in this way they can avoid the otherwise mandatory military service.
    They are playing it up as if it were inspired of God…so that when they start drafting young men to go fight in IRAN …then it will appear to those who have no personal relationship with God, that the “brethren” must have been acting to protect LDS youth. And this will be a huge incentive to non LDS youth to join the Church in order to legally avoid the draft.

  35. I think Daymon Smith said it best. So I will simply point to his words here and there. By the way I have high regard for Daymon and his wife. They have very good spirit about them and their home.

  36. I just found out that sister missionaries can leave a mission whenever they want to and they still “return with honor” because they have no obligation to be there in the first place. They are merely “helping out,” and they don’t need to tell anyone, at all, or get permission from anyone. They literally can just pack their bags at a moment’s notice, buy a plane ticket, and leave, and when they come home their bishop will thank them for the time that they ended up serving, no stigmas attached.

    (Of course, if they are in a foreign mission, the custom is to take a new missionary’s passport from him/her and keep it in the mission office. This prevents missionaries from going AWOL, somewhat. So, sister missionaries will need to first go to the mission office and demand the return of their passports before getting on the plane. Or, if the elder or sister understood his or her rights, he or she could just refuse to turn over the passport in the first place when first entering the mission home. This allows them to leave without any delays, should they feel so inclined.)

  37. I wonder–and if anyone knows the answer to this, please speak up–what happens to a male member who chooses not to go on a mission, but instead chooses to, say, get married? Does his temple privileges get curtailed or something? Does he have to wait a year before he can get married in the temple? Is he penalized in any fashion, at all, other than the penalties that the young ladies give him by not being interested in a man who is not a return missionary or the penalties of shame that his family, friends and other members might heap on him?

    Also, do elders that leave a mission early (not for reasons of health, etc.) get penalized in some way? I am reminded of this scripture:

    now behold | a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men | therefore | o ye that embark in the service of god | see that ye serve him with all your heart | might | mind | and strength | that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day | therefore | if ye have desires to serve God | ye are called to the work |

    for behold | the field is white already to harvest | and lo | he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might | the same layeth up in store | that he perisheth not | but bringeth salvation to his soul | and faith | hope | charity | and love | with an eye single to the glory of God | qualify him for the work |

    remember faith | virtue | knowledge | temperance | patience | brotherly kindness | godliness | charity | humility | diligence |

    ask | and ye shall receive |

    knock | and it shall be opened unto you | amen |

    So, if a man has desires to serve God as a missionary, he is called to the work, but what happens if he later has desires to no longer serve God as a missionary and wants to come home? Does that mean he is no longer called to the work and suffers no penalty? Is being “called to the work” contingent on the man’s desires to serve God in this capacity, or it is that once you agree to go on a mission, you must serve for the full two years, regardless of your changed desires, otherwise you must be counted as a sinner?

  38. my parents were recently called as mission presidents. what advice would you give them? my dad loves missionary work but ends up spending most of his time talking about obedience more than anything else. what would you recomend?

  39. Tim Malone has posted a Baptisms per Missionary chart from 1990 to 2013 on his We Cannot Hasten the Work post. The numbers are quite interesting.

    Also, someone reminded me today that I was quite the disobedient missionary, according to the letters they received from me when I was on my mission, even citing the event (which I recorded above) about me going somewhere without my companion. In the ensuing conversation, in which I differentiated between my obedience to the commandments and my disobedience to the mission rules, I remembered the “white bible” that was press into my hands as a new missionary, and my loathing of it. Do all you return missionaries remember that piece of work? Here is a link to it, should anyone care to read it again or discuss its contents:

    The Missionary Handbook

  40. I served in Chile in the early 2000s. Seeing that baptisms per missionary chart makes me cringe. I think the long-term retention rate in my mission was 10-15%. This really hit home when I served as a branch president for a few transfers. A small fraction of those officially on the books continue to have any affiliation with the church. True, I cannot comment on the nature of their personal relationship with the Savior. Still, it was a major turning point for me, one I still think of often. To be honest, from that point forward I all but gave up proselytizing (except rare circumstances where I felt directed). I focused wholly on the massive number of members who had fallen through the cracks, who had been just another number on a sheet. And revitalizing their interest in the gospel was just as rewarding and meaningful as baptizing someone embracing the gospel for the first time.

    As to the missionary handbook, I carried it around but it mostly served as a portable collection of SpongeBob stickers. I thankfully did not have particularly intense mission presidents.

  41. As to the missionary handbook, I carried it around but it mostly served as a portable collection of SpongeBob stickers.

    Ha! I had forgotten about that! Yes, in my mission, too, we used the white bible as a sticker book. I covered it with every sticker I could get my hands on.

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