The Best Two Years?

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fetchface
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by fetchface » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:32 pm

2bizE wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:56 pm
Assuming you were still a TBM, what changes to mission rules would have make your mission better?
The rule that would have made my mission better: Only go on a mission if you want to.

I'm pretty shy and talking to strangers all day was a pretty miserable experience. It got easier but it never got fun.
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Hermey
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Hermey » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:13 pm

Went stateside - Nevada Las Vegas Mission Nov. '89 to October '91. Not the best two years, not the worst. In hindsight, time would have been better spent moving on with my life.

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Lucidity
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Lucidity » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:13 pm

Best two years? Well no not really. Hardest two years? Probably

To me it was a worthwhile experience. I did and gained things I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t of gone.

It’s not often in life one can devote oneself to one thing for long period of time, essentially something that is not centered around oneself. So I feel it had value for me.

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deacon blues
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by deacon blues » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:00 pm

I was a very immature 19 year old when I left on my mission. :? :lol: I went from my home in small town Idaho to Los Angeles. It was an eye-opening experience. In fact, my shelf started to crack on my mission. If I had been more honest with myself, and and less locked in to the cult-like mission environment I might have bailed out, but no, the shame of going home early was too much. I did have conversations with a couple of very well-informed "anti-mormons" which made my head spin, :o but I dug in and finished the mission in acceptable fashion. It's odd that my shelf didn't break for another 30 years although it definitely cracked on my mission.
I probably learned more about Christianity from non-members than members on my mission. :shock:
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Linked
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Linked » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:00 pm

My mission was 2 years of anxiety-filled hell. If I could purposely design a total mismatch to me it would be high pressure sales. Plus a terrible experience with a companion. I went back to my first area a couple years ago and it took hours to recover from the wave of panic that hit me.

I did have some thoughts that stuck with me over the years, and some beautiful times in Japan, but they were not worth it.
"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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Culper Jr.
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Culper Jr. » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:18 pm

Went on a mission to SLC, and we were supposed to be the vanguard mission in the shadow of the temple and all that. At the time we were the highest baptizing english speaking mission. And we had Loren C. Dunn as the general authority over our mission so there was a lot of pressure to baptize and be "bold". I'm pretty laid back and not much of a salesman, so this high pressure and frankly manipulative approach was hell for me. The constant shaming for underperformance was nuts. Lots of weird, kind of superstitious stuff leaders wanted us to do... like "covenanting", where you promise the lord you'll give up or do something extra and he will bless you with baptisms. And that stupid daily affirmation card we were supposed to read and memorize. For an experience that was supposed to prepare me for life it really just made me feel like I'd never be good enough.

After the mission I really just felt lost. I ended up joining the air force, and my life really took off. I really found my voice, gained discipline and confidence, made a lot of great friends, came to truly value people with diverse backgrounds, got job skills and money for school... things that REALLY prepared me for life. I know the military isn't for everyone, but it really helped me to be successful and undid a lot of the the psychological damage from my mission.

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Phil Lurkerman
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Phil Lurkerman » Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:13 pm

Linked wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:00 pm
My mission was 2 years of anxiety-filled hell. If I could purposely design a total mismatch to me it would be high pressure sales. Plus a terrible experience with a companion. I went back to my first area a couple years ago and it took hours to recover from the wave of panic that hit me.

I did have some thoughts that stuck with me over the years, and some beautiful times in Japan, but they were not worth it.
Exactly.
I was once a cafeteria Mormon on a hunger strike. Have since found a buffet elsewhere.

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Phil Lurkerman
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Phil Lurkerman » Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:28 pm

Culper Jr. wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:18 pm
Went on a mission to SLC, and we were supposed to be the vanguard mission in the shadow of the temple and all that. At the time we were the highest baptizing english speaking mission. And we had Loren C. Dunn as the general authority over our mission so there was a lot of pressure to baptize and be "bold". I'm pretty laid back and not much of a salesman, so this high pressure and frankly manipulative approach was hell for me. The constant shaming for underperformance was nuts. Lots of weird, kind of superstitious stuff leaders wanted us to do... like "covenanting", where you promise the lord you'll give up or do something extra and he will bless you with baptisms. And that stupid daily affirmation card we were supposed to read and memorize. For an experience that was supposed to prepare me for life it really just made me feel like I'd never be good enough.

After the mission I really just felt lost. I ended up joining the air force, and my life really took off. I really found my voice, gained discipline and confidence, made a lot of great friends, came to truly value people with diverse backgrounds, got job skills and money for school... things that REALLY prepared me for life. I know the military isn't for everyone, but it really helped me to be successful and undid a lot of the the psychological damage from my mission.
Loren Dunn visited our mission as well - same whacko message. After that we were supposed to introduce ourselves as representatives of Christ and boldly invite people to be baptized at the their door. I obediently did so dozens or probably even hundreds of times with no takers. Just a lot of anxiety and misery on my part.

The crazy thing was that I was considered a very successful elder and spent much of my time in the various corporate mission leadership roles. All the while I crossed off the days in my calendar and dreaded each new morning.
I was once a cafeteria Mormon on a hunger strike. Have since found a buffet elsewhere.

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Culper Jr.
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Culper Jr. » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:21 pm

Phil Lurkerman wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:28 pm
After that we were supposed to introduce ourselves as representatives of Christ and boldly invite people to be baptized at the their door. I obediently did so dozens or probably even hundreds of times with no takers. Just a lot of anxiety and misery on my part.
Oh, god yes, I remember that! A baptism invitation on the door approach. Wow, I had forgotten (suppressed?) that. Yeah, that nut job had us doing that too. No takers for me either.

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redjay
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by redjay » Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:21 pm

Not even close to being the best two years. I look at it as two years of theft. Two years of mostly moderate depression - I am fortunate enough not to have suffered from depression throughout most of my adult life. No second language for me or international experience. So basically slave labour (defined as the inability to with-hold labour, and with no direct compensation). I can't think of an advantage it secured that couldn't have been gained outside of mormonism.
At the halfway home. I'm a full-grown man. But I'm not afraid to cry.

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Just This Guy
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:59 pm

When I was in the MTC, one of the last firesides was the MTC president and his talk was about how if you look back at your life when you are older and your best two years of your life is your mission, you are doing it wrong! Missions can be the best two year up to that point, but you should be trying to make you life better as it goes on. If you look back at your mission as the best two years, you can miss a lot. College, marriage, kids, retirement, etc. Life is supposed to get better each year. Basically, don't live in the past and always improve your self.

My mission is a mixed bag for me. On one had, going on my mission, i was very socially awkward. I was highly introverted and struggled talking to people. My mission forced me to learn how to go up to strangers and talk to them. I tough me how to interact in a group and how to live with a roommate. My mission enabled me to come out of my shell. Skills I learned there have helped me a lot in life and in my career.

However it had it's negatives. I had problems with leadership abuse. I saw how popularity and ego worked within the church and how it could be used to hurt people. At one point, I came very close to getting sent home due to a zone leader who lied to the mission president about me. I was very bitter about that for a couple weeks. It was only due to the MP taking a step back and eventually learning the truth that I was spared. The ZL who had it out for me got it a few weeks later when he and his posse got exposed and about 1/3rd of the mission got sent home.

Seeing how power was abused in the church was some of the early seeds for me leaving the church. It would take another decade, but it defiantly put a lot of tarnish into my view of the church and made it easier to see issues later on.

On top of that, it was 3 years* of my life with nothing to show for it that would get me ahead in life for the time and effort. No college credit. No work credit. Heck, even military service gets you various benefits. It gave me nothing. When you have been laid off for months (back in 2014) and filling out job application after job application that give preferential hiring treatment to military service, serving in the "army of god" really puts a sour taste in your mouth.

* 22.5 months on my mission,** plus the time before hand and the time after to apply to colleges and get back into the school semester schedule.
** I was sent home a transfer early because we had a massive influx of missionaries and no room to house all of them. So the MP asked for volunteers to go home early and I jumped to get home before the holidays.
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Hagoth
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:21 pm

RFM's latest podcast has some interesting mission stories about mafia tactics. I can relate in some ways.

I got placed with a very aggressive, competitive senior companion who baptized only children. I refused to do it. At one point he wanted me to force some kids under the water in our bathtub. "they don't want it, but they need it!" So he started arranging more splits and it turned out he was baptizing kids behind my back without their parents' knowledge, some of them under 8.

And guess what? We won the top baptizers award. My companion was overjoyed. I was humiliated. I wanted to report him to my our General Authority mission president. But before I could air my concerns he told me not to question anything my companion did and follow his lead always. Being a believer in the power of discernment I assumed the problem must have been with my narrow understanding of the bigger plan. But I still refused to baptize kids. In fact, I went on to win the lowest-baptizer award which was a bucket of candy coal that was passed around and bestowed in front of the entire mission as an act of public humiliation. I put an end to that tradition. I ate it.

Apart from that it was a pretty good experience overall. Best two years? No. Most memorable two years? Maybe.
“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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sunstoned
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by sunstoned » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:56 pm

It was not the best two years of my life. However, I did a lot of growing up on my mission. I obeyed all of the rules. I went state side, so I didn't learn a language. However, I learned how to study. Something I didn't or couldn't do in my freshmen year at BYU. I came back more mature, and more disciplined. But, I also came back more entrenched in TSCC. This caused some serious cod-dis once I started to look at the foundational aspect of the church.

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Not Buying It
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Not Buying It » Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:21 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:59 pm
However it had it's negatives. I had problems with leadership abuse. I saw how popularity and ego worked within the church and how it could be used to hurt people. At one point, I came very close to getting sent home due to a zone leader who lied to the mission president about me. I was very bitter about that for a couple weeks. It was only due to the MP taking a step back and eventually learning the truth that I was spared. The ZL who had it out for me got it a few weeks later when he and his posse got exposed and about 1/3rd of the mission got sent home.

Seeing how power was abused in the church was some of the early seeds for me leaving the church. It would take another decade, but it defiantly put a lot of tarnish into my view of the church and made it easier to see issues later on.
You know, the two years of your mission is a look behind the curtain if you are paying attention. Some of the more ambitious guys figured out real quick how to kiss butt to get the best areas and the leadership positions, and I have no doubt many of them went on to become bishops and stake presidents and maybe even GAs after learning how to play the game on their missions. Some of us just got disgusted by it, realized that callings by inspiration was a real crock, and even if we didn't realize quite yet the Church was a sham, figured out that the Lord doesn't always choose who gets called to positions in the Church. Maybe that was a crack in the armor, I don't know. But one thing I learned from my mission was how the leadership game is played, and how quickly some people learn to exploit that. At the time I could never figure out how my mission presidents couldn't figure out how all the suck ups were playing them, but I realize now the mission presidents were probably all suck ups themselves and that's just the culture they were used to.

And good for them says I. I sure as hell wouldn't ever want to be a bishop or mission president other leader. They can have it. In the words of statesman Homer J. Simpson when Bart lost the election for class president, "Let the baby have his bottle".
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Rob4Hope
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Rob4Hope » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:14 am

Worst 2 years of my life.

We were taught that "every missionary should baptize a person each month." And since God would never ask you to do something he wouldn't provide a way for you to accomplish, if you didn't baptize, it was because you were not WORTHY.

The most toxic word in the LDS cannon to me is that word: "worthy".

The prior mission president -- before I arrived there-- was a "soccer baptism" guy. The one there when I arrived was a totalitarian monster. Not connected much to the missionaries, and with some very aggressive and demanding APs. Not mafia,...but mostly using shame.

My mission was during the 80s, and back then, "every young man should serve a mission". Those that went home were shamed -- often causing damage for the rest of their lives, so rather than go home, even if you have sever medical or emotional problems, was something you didn't do. Period.

During my mission I experience sever depression -- but I knuckled through and made it. I did, however, see several missionaries who were destroyed. No other way to put it -- they were destroyed.

<<sarcasm>>
What a wonderful church. What a loving group of people. It always made sense to me how you sacrifice "those wicked slackers!" for the sake of moving the purposes of God forward....

yeh right.....

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Phil Lurkerman
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Phil Lurkerman » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:37 pm

The most toxic word in the LDS cannon to me is that word: "worthy"
100% agree. This concept as applied within Mormonism is a destroyer of lives.
I was once a cafeteria Mormon on a hunger strike. Have since found a buffet elsewhere.

Spicy McHaggis
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Spicy McHaggis » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:00 am

Can it be both? I had some good experiences but it was still a theft of two years when I was young, in shape and could have done a lot of great things.
Last edited by Spicy McHaggis on Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rob4Hope
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Rob4Hope » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:40 pm

Spicy McHaggis wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:00 am
Can it be both? I has some good experiences but it was still a theft of two years when I was young, in shape and could have done a lot of great things.
Yes...I believe it can.

I do want to mention something though. Years later I was in a mental health counselors office with a family member, and I remember mentioning that my mission wasn't very enjoyable. Her remark was: "You and half the Salt Lake Valley!"....

Her response caught me off guard....but it did open up a VERY interesting conversation.

She explained that there is a dirty little secret going on around missions. Many missionaries say: "This was the best two years" more because of pressure than because of fact. In her experience, a very large number of post-missionaries were basically messed up by their missions. We talked about some of the reasons for the mental health issues, and "worthiness" was one of the most important.

One thing she said was: "disciplining missionaries because they masturbate is one of the most stupid things that could be done." So, sexual shaming was part of the problem. In my mission experience, it was more about just horrible pressure to baptise, and if you didn't, it was because YOU were evil yourself.

This conversation happened probably 10 years after my mission, and strangely, it was validating to hear a mental health counselor explain that a LOT of missionaries had horrible missions.

Apologeticsislying
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Apologeticsislying » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:15 pm

RFM's new podcast of the CES director demonstrates the abject horror that missions were and still are. Mormonism is just all about image. It has precious little substance, if it ever did at all.
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

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Rob4Hope
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Re: The Best Two Years?

Post by Rob4Hope » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:59 am

Apologeticsislying wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:15 pm
RFM's new podcast of the CES director demonstrates the abject horror that missions were and still are. Mormonism is just all about image. It has precious little substance, if it ever did at all.
I've listened to RFMs post. It was incredible. What a horrible mission that guy had!

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