Feeling bad for full time missionaries

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Advocate
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Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Advocate » Tue Oct 26, 2021 5:22 am

The full time missionaries in our ward brought us cookies last week and that felt weird. We are active members, attend church every week, and I'm in a leadership calling. The missionaries then asked what service they could do for us, which feels even weirder. Our home is in good repair and we are in good physical shape (nothing we can't do ourselves), so the only service they could do would be maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn (except missionaries can't use power equipment) or cleaning the house. And it feels weird to have missionaries come and clean our house, so I told them we didn't need anything.

These missionaries seem like great young women. They are energetic, kind, happy people. I'm sure they have bright futures ahead of them. And yet they seem bored, unproductive, and out of place.

I was thinking on this and I just feel bad for these missionaries. They are great people, yet offer so little due to mission rules. Even as a TBM that talked to my neighbors and invited them, none were ever interested in meeting with the missionaries. As a NOM, I have no desire to invite my neighbors and even if I did, I don't think they would be interested. Our ward has 3 or 4 convert baptisms a year, which is hardly enough to keep 2 missionaries engaged full time. And yet, our ward is one of the highest (if not the highest) wards in the stake in terms of number of convert baptisms. Is this what a full time mission in the Unites States has become? The occasional teaching, with most of your time spent hanging out at the church and trying to engage with active members that don't want to be engaged? It seems like an awful way to spend 18 months or 2 years.

Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:15 am

I served in a Southern California mission in the mid 90’s. You perfectly described my mission experience in your post.

We used service as a way to open doors and get time in front of people. Also because we were bored out of our minds. If we could help anyone and burn an hour or two, it was a win in our book.

Reading back through my missionary journals I wrote of many fun service projects. Like the time we helped an inactive 80 year old man named Knut Knutson dig out an avocado tree stump from his yard. The man had the energy of a 30 year old but the dexterity of a 65 year old. He had three chain saws he offered up but couldn’t understand why we couldn’t use them. So we spent 6 hours digging up that damn stump while listening to Rush Limbaugh and soiling our slacks beyond ruin. I had blisters all over my hands and was sore for three days. One of the best memories on my mission.

Old Knut Knutson actually came to church that Sunday for the first time in years.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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jfro18
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by jfro18 » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:22 am

I feel awful for them. Imagine spending $500 a month to basically stalk community groups on Facebook to try and get someone to connect with you.

They're selling a product that is just not wanted by almost anyone and they're giving up two of the prime years of their lives (and thousands of hard earned money) to do it.

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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:45 am

jfro18 wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:22 am
They're selling a product that is just not wanted by almost anyone and they're giving up two of the prime years of their lives (and thousands of hard earned money) to do it.
I’d argue they are also buying a product “not wanted by almost anyone” that locks them into a life long commitment to said product. :lol:

It’s tough to see both sides of the mission experience. I’ll admit part of me says I still want my kids to go because of the personal growth found on a mission.

Learn to talk to people/speak a new language
Learn to think about other people/service
Learn to navigate the world
Learn leadership skills
Learn maturity
Learn how to learn and study

These are invaluable skills and all for 24 monthly payments of $500!

On the flip side they have to follow some pretty lame rules, peddle a false narrative of sex, power, greed, and special polyester underpants. They have to learn a fake commitment pattern designed to manipulate emotions that tightly bind people to a real estate corporation masked as a religious institution. All the while expecting them to pay into the investment fund portfolio in exchange for access to the temple and eternal salvation.

I know, I know....

Kids can learn these things elsewhere. Peace corps, college, military, yada yada yada. But the reality is most Mormon kids really learn how to work and it’s a springboard to a life of self reliance.

I can’t shake this dilemma from my head. I really want my kids to go for the wrong reasons. Not to serve the church or Jesus, but to grow up and learn to survive in this crazy world.

Confusing, right?
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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wtfluff
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by wtfluff » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:49 am

I highly doubt that it is just in the USA where missionaries are bored. I'm gonna make a wild guess and say that it's basically the same all over the world where humans have access to the great and powerful Google.

The thing is: This is literally what these kids were born and bred to do. It's likely that being bored means nothing to them. They are fulfilling their calling in life.

I guess something folks on our side of the fence could do to help would be to offer them sanctuary. Tell them to come on over, as long as they don't talk about religion. They can "provide service" by playing video games, or watching movies with the family while eating pizza. :D I don't know how many of them would take the offer, but it might be worth a try?
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

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Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Oct 26, 2021 9:09 am

We had numerous families that would invite us over for dinner and to hang out. They knew it was our refuge. The really great people always scheduled us at the same time as Micheal Jordan and da Bulls! were playing. I watched more NBA games on my mission then I have since. All at a members home. I learned to work hard and play even harder on my mission. Good times.

Looking back, I had fun and it solidified my membership in the church until my early 30’s. Then the Google God destroyed the false narrative I perpetuated and now I’m just a cold hearted apostate that lost trust from the institutional dishonesty.

Sometimes I miss the ignorance and naivety

Thanks for the post advocate. It sparked a trip down memory lane. Now where’s my old photo books? I’ll have to dig them out and find some pictures to post here.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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alas
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by alas » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:35 am

I try to be friendly to the sister missionaries. The elders don’t try to engage with an inactive sister, but if my hubby invites them I will feed them or try to help with a service project they can do. But the elders have stood us up a few too many times on the supper appointments, and my husbands says that we don’t feed them unless they show up hungry on our door step. Then they get a peanut butter sandwich. It takes a bit to get my husband that pissed with people, but when the church was pressuring people to feed the missionaries to make it cheaper for the church so they can have even more missionaries, we would dutifully sign up. But funny, in six times we signed up, missionaries only showed up once. The other times they just did a no show, no phone call saying why, just no show. And the time they came it was high pressure to give them someone to talk to, and we don’t inflict them on people who are not interested, or let them use our names to get in a door. But we have let them do service we don’t need. It isn’t hard to find a job when you have a yard, and I always worked with them so we could chat. It made my work easier and gave the sisters an excuse to show up in pants, and a couple of hours planting baby tomatoes beats most of the other options they have. Another time we put the elder to work leveling patio stones. And once I raked leaves on our big yard with the sisters.

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:29 am

I was a missionary in France in the mid-80s and it was rough trying to function in a foreign language in a country that had little use for Americans or religion and especially not for an American religion. I still have warm feelings for the family in my first area that had a standing appointment with all six of the missionaries in our district for Sunday dinners; it truly was a refuge.

More recently, my eldest son dutifully left on his mission less than a year after his younger brother died, and I felt so fortunate in that his mission president took him under his wing -- assigned him for six months to the ward where my brother- and sister-in-law lived and were able to keep an eye on him and report to us on how he was doing.

There is the occasional zealot missionary with whom I have no patience, but for the most part these are young kids far from home and family -- even younger now than when I was a missionary -- and in spite of my feelings about the church I have a very soft spot for them.
Last edited by Fifi de la Vergne on Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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2bizE
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by 2bizE » Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:43 am

I’m thinking of serving a mission with my wife once the kids are all out of the house….not a mission for the church silly, a mission for myself and wife. We will be travel to a few destinations for about 6 months each and learn of the culture of the community. Fly fishing at each place and doing other things like volunteering in the communities…
~2bizE

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stealthbishop
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by stealthbishop » Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:44 am

I want to be kind to the missionaries. I remember how hard those times were in my life when I was on a mission. They are young and they don't generally understand what they are getting into. While I won't sit there and listen to a message, I do want to feed them. I like ordering them a pizza. The messages from them when we did have them in our home when my wife was orthodox were about committing us to have a family and individual missionary plan. I just can't really waste my time listening to those types of messages anymore. But feed them and extend kindness--absolutely.
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Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

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Tangent
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Tangent » Mon Nov 01, 2021 8:54 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:45 am
jfro18 wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:22 am
They're selling a product that is just not wanted by almost anyone and they're giving up two of the prime years of their lives (and thousands of hard earned money) to do it.
I’d argue they are also buying a product “not wanted by almost anyone” that locks them into a life long commitment to said product. :lol:

It’s tough to see both sides of the mission experience. I’ll admit part of me says I still want my kids to go because of the personal growth found on a mission.

Learn to talk to people/speak a new language
Learn to think about other people/service
Learn to navigate the world
Learn leadership skills
Learn maturity
Learn how to learn and study

These are invaluable skills and all for 24 monthly payments of $500!

On the flip side they have to follow some pretty lame rules, peddle a false narrative of sex, power, greed, and special polyester underpants. They have to learn a fake commitment pattern designed to manipulate emotions that tightly bind people to a real estate corporation masked as a religious institution. All the while expecting them to pay into the investment fund portfolio in exchange for access to the temple and eternal salvation.

I know, I know....

Kids can learn these things elsewhere. Peace corps, college, military, yada yada yada. But the reality is most Mormon kids really learn how to work and it’s a springboard to a life of self reliance.

I can’t shake this dilemma from my head. I really want my kids to go for the wrong reasons. Not to serve the church or Jesus, but to grow up and learn to survive in this crazy world.

Confusing, right?
I often think about these pros and cons to missions as well, since my kiddos are getting to that age (actually the oldest has already completed theirs). It amazes me that these kids can go out and experience the world (in a limited fashion, of course) for 18 to 24 months and come home more convinced than ever that the mormon church is God's one true church. It seems to me that if they really truly connected with people in a vulnerable way that they would return home with an understanding that there are many many valid ways to live a happy, fulfilling -- and yes -- even righteous life. I suppose a few do have this experience but it is the vast minority.

Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:05 am

That’s a great observation Tangent.

Looking back on my mission, I can see that I was blinded by the program. I was there to give people the greatest gift they could ever receive from God. The one true church on the face of the earth.

Armed with that type of thinking, we couldn’t see it any other way. I recall thinking numerous times… “If these people would just listen to us!” Their lives would be so much better. They could be happy!

Turns out they were already happy.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

Reuben
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by Reuben » Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:41 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:05 am
That’s a great observation Tangent.

Looking back on my mission, I can see that I was blinded by the program. I was there to give people the greatest gift they could ever receive from God. The one true church on the face of the earth.

Armed with that type of thinking, we couldn’t see it any other way. I recall thinking numerous times… “If these people would just listen to us!” Their lives would be so much better. They could be happy!
... he said to himself, miserably.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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moksha
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Re: Feeling bad for full time missionaries

Post by moksha » Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:42 pm

Learn to be a thick-skinned sales shark. Wait... take that back... I wouldn't wish that on any kids. Plus it damages your humanity to accept "lying for the Lord" as a way of being.
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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