Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

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mylittlefactory
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Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by mylittlefactory » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 pm

My son recently returned from his mission. I've been a little worried about him because he seems to be so desperate to keep up the mission level of churchiness. He gets up every day and generally studies about two hours in the BOM. Fast Sunday is interesting because he won't break his fast until after 6pm. He's always been an obedient kid, but I worry that he's almost obsessive compulsive about "staying strong". I thought it was just him but then his buddy just got home from his mission too and I see what looks to me like scrupulosity with him as well. I know that the mission presidents have been tasked with sending these missionaries home equiped to maintain a strong testimony and to stay active. I worry that some of the presidents may be messing with their heads and giving them a lot of anxiety about things. Anyone else seeing this close to you? I am happy to report, though, that things have improved some with him. I really worried that he had just come back from the Sea Org. I think he'll be fine. His siblings keep telling him to lighten up!

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:18 pm

Should get better with time. That said, I have to wonder if the increased difficulty of missionary work in the information age is driving some increase in the awkward return adjustment phase.

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blazerb
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by blazerb » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:45 am

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:18 pm
Should get better with time. That said, I have to wonder if the increased difficulty of missionary work in the information age is driving some increase in the awkward return adjustment phase.
Some of the increased difficulty may also cause a backfire effect where the RM's are more committed, at least initially.

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Hermey
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Hermey » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:03 am

mylittlefactory wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 pm
My son recently returned from his mission. I've been a little worried about him because he seems to be so desperate to keep up the mission level of churchiness. He gets up every day and generally studies about two hours in the BOM. Fast Sunday is interesting because he won't break his fast until after 6pm. He's always been an obedient kid, but I worry that he's almost obsessive compulsive about "staying strong". I thought it was just him but then his buddy just got home from his mission too and I see what looks to me like scrupulosity with him as well. I know that the mission presidents have been tasked with sending these missionaries home equiped to maintain a strong testimony and to stay active. I worry that some of the presidents may be messing with their heads and giving them a lot of anxiety about things. Anyone else seeing this close to you? I am happy to report, though, that things have improved some with him. I really worried that he had just come back from the Sea Org. I think he'll be fine. His siblings keep telling him to lighten up!
Absolutely. Several of my son's close friends came home and are exactly like this. It's ridiculous.

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slavereeno
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by slavereeno » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:14 am

Yes, I have noticed this as well, but it does depend in large part on the MP. My RM son has chilled out a bit over the past year. My second son who is still out has a much more relaxed MP and we will see how he adjusts when he gets back.

I think they have to be that intense, there is a lot more real info out there about the church and so the indoctrination has to keep pace.

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Corsair
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Corsair » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:19 am

mylittlefactory wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 pm
My son recently returned from his mission. I've been a little worried about him because he seems to be so desperate to keep up the mission level of churchiness.
That's a tough situation. I imagine that this is a situation where real life will have to consistently demonstrate why this is not a sustainable situation. This is obviously painful because you cannot explain your deep seated skepticism and unbelief to the LDS church. It's not that you should enable these obviously painful habits. But you can simply be more supportive of him when you see him make pragmatic changes. You are his father, not simply a friend who can come and go in his life. You have to demonstrate a better way to life that emphasizes the joy of mortality, not the insular and narrow path of the missionary white handbook.

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Linked
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Linked » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:03 am

Your description of your son reminds me of myself when I returned 15 years ago. I went to a strict mission. We went on a vacation to Disneyland a few days after I got home and I was sure to get up early and get my scripture study in. A few weeks later I was studying at the kitchen table and my dad sat down and we talked about scripture study. I asked him if he wanted to study with me and he declined. He told me he didn't study much anymore and that he didn't think it was very important. I unloaded on him about how bad an attitude that was and that scripture study is so important and our lives are so much better when we study everyday. Oh the irony.

It took me a year to get even moderately normal. But I'm mentally out now. I think your son just needs some time and experiences in the real world to mellow out.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Red Ryder
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:20 am

I'm not surprised given the crazy noticeable difference in the missionaries now serving. Everything they say has a recognizable speech pattern and dialogue. It's bizarre the way they talk about the church and testify in every sentence! We had sisters over for dinner a month ago.

Sister Missionary #1: Thanks for having us over for dinner!

RR: would you like some asparagus cooked on coconut oil?

Sister Missionary #2: We just love asparagus and know that God created this earth to bless our lives as we eat and nourish our bodies and live the commandments so that we can return to live with Him someday. I'm so thankful for this knowledge. I know it is true!

RR: uh.... OK.... Who would like steak?
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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slavereeno
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by slavereeno » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:23 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:20 am
Sister Missionary #2: We just love asparagus and know that God created this earth to bless our lives as we eat and nourish our bodies and live the commandments so that we can return to live with Him someday. I'm so thankful for this knowledge. I know it is true!

RR: uh.... OK.... Who would like steak?
:lol:

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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 pm

There is a strange speaking pentameter that returned missionaries all seem to have. It's not quite the same as the primary pentameter female speakers in conference use, it's more fast pitch sales-person like.

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foolmeonce
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by foolmeonce » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:44 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 pm
There is a strange speaking pentameter that returned missionaries all seem to have. It's not quite the same as the primary pentameter female speakers in conference use, it's more fast pitch sales-person like.
It's the inflection at the end of each sentence. The last word always seems to end on a high note, almost like a question, but not quite. It's weird.
Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to.

Reuben
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Reuben » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:56 pm

foolmeonce wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:44 pm
FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 pm
There is a strange speaking pentameter that returned missionaries all seem to have. It's not quite the same as the primary pentameter female speakers in conference use, it's more fast pitch sales-person like.
It's the inflection at the end of each sentence. The last word always seems to end on a high note, almost like a question, but not quite. It's weird.
It's usually taken as a sign of lack of confidence, and often actually does indicate lack of confidence. It's apparently also a feature of some west coast dialects of American English.

I can't think of a good reason this would be dialectical. (The turnover rate for missionaries is high, and the only common leaders they have - the Q15 and 70s - tend to use downward inflection in talks.) If this upward inflection is really a thing among RMs, it could be a result of trying to soften the hard sell they've had to engage in.
Not all those who wander are lost.

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Raylan Givens
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Raylan Givens » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:31 pm

I remember being very uncomfortable not doing something. I had to be always doing something productive.

My brother finally put his arm around me and told me to relax and take a few moments to breath and do nothing. I am really good at it now ;)
"Ah, you know, I think you use the Bible to do whatever the hell you like" - Raylan Givens

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moksha
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by moksha » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:50 pm

mylittlefactory wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 pm
I really worried that he had just come back from the Sea Org.
Yikes, that is a chilling thought. Religiously induced OCD is never a good thing.

Best wishes in your son returning to normal.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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oliver_denom
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by oliver_denom » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:42 am

Coming home is a frightening experience because it's the first time these kids get to make their own decisions. The need for normality was important for me. I just wanted something solid and secure. I wasn't able to break out of missionary mode until I had a plan and felt safe in my new life.
“You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages--they haven't ended yet.” - Vonnegut

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Linked
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Linked » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:25 am

oliver_denom wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:42 am
Coming home is a frightening experience because it's the first time these kids get to make their own decisions. The need for normality was important for me. I just wanted something solid and secure. I wasn't able to break out of missionary mode until I had a plan and felt safe in my new life.
Great point. +1
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Archimedes
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Archimedes » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:01 am

Just imagine your son's exit interview with his MP. Salient points:

The world is evil, stay pure
Keep up scripture reading and strict obedience
Find your celestial mate as soon as possible. But in the meantime beware of females and porn shoulders.

All the advice is fear based. No wonder these kids come back squirrely.
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crossmyheart
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by crossmyheart » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:59 am

Linked wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:03 am
Your description of your son reminds me of myself when I returned 15 years ago. I went to a strict mission. We went on a vacation to Disneyland a few days after I got home and I was sure to get up early and get my scripture study in. A few weeks later I was studying at the kitchen table and my dad sat down and we talked about scripture study. I asked him if he wanted to study with me and he declined. He told me he didn't study much anymore and that he didn't think it was very important. I unloaded on him about how bad an attitude that was and that scripture study is so important and our lives are so much better when we study everyday. Oh the irony.

It took me a year to get even moderately normal. But I'm mentally out now. I think your son just needs some time and experiences in the real world to mellow out.
Same with me only 25 years ago. I lectured my parents for eating out on the Sabbath and watching rated R movies and not attending the temple enough.
mylittlefactory wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 pm
I thought it was just him but then his buddy just got home from his mission too and I see what looks to me like scrupulosity with him as well. I know that the mission presidents have been tasked with sending these missionaries home equiped to maintain a strong testimony and to stay active. I worry that some of the presidents may be messing with their heads and giving them a lot of anxiety about things. Anyone else seeing this close to you? I am happy to report, though, that things have improved some with him. I really worried that he had just come back from the Sea Org. I think he'll be fine. His siblings keep telling him to lighten up!
Just reading the word scrupulocity is a trigger for me. I had to be perfect in every way. Anything bad in my life after my mission was attributed to my failings. "I should have read the scriptures for a full hour yesterday instead of 30 min. So God is punishing me by..." fill in the blank of whatever bad thing that happened that day. Being in the stupid singles ward added to the scrupulocity. If I wasn't perfect in every way, then I wouldn't find a righteous spouse. All I can say now is thank God for unanswered prayers. Dodged a few bullets that would have meant a lifetime of misery. Yet back then I blamed the failed courtships on my lack of perfect obedience.

The longer I was home the more chill I got, but it took a while. Good luck!

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Hagoth
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:50 pm

I have noticed that most of the missionaries in my ward seem to come home with those pesky personalities more or less completely scrubbed out of their brains. Then they move away and either get married right away or regain their personalities and leave the church.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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whatififly
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Re: Is it just me or are Returned missionaries much more intense?

Post by whatififly » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:29 pm

foolmeonce wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:44 pm
FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 pm
There is a strange speaking pentameter that returned missionaries all seem to have. It's not quite the same as the primary pentameter female speakers in conference use, it's more fast pitch sales-person like.
It's the inflection at the end of each sentence. The last word always seems to end on a high note, almost like a question, but not quite. It's weird.
Holy crap! I noticed this with my SIL when she returned home. It's been about a year now and she still does it to some degree. It's almost like an over-enunciated Utah, valley girl accent. I've heard other return sister missionaries do the same. What is with that?!
“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask "What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” ― Erin Hanson

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