| I served my mission in the states, and several times we were graced with the presence of 1st Quorum of the Seventy, and our mission's Area President: Lynn Mikkelsen.
He visited my mission 3 times while I was serving. It was always a big deal when he visited, having such a inspired high up authority to grace us with knowledge and wisdom on high. I always hated his visits. Keep in mind, I was not a slacker mish. I was hardcore by the book, and had served in many mission leadership positions. You couldn't be anymore TBM than me on my mission, but here is why I hated his visits.
1st visit: Mikkelsen tells us he is disappointed in our baptismal numbers (which averaged about 35 a month). He told us we needed to work harder, have more faith, and that there were 50,000 people who would readily join the church in our mission, but because of worthiness, laziness, etc. it wasn't happening. This pissed me off because I busted my ass and followed every rule. Before you tell us how lousy we are, how about "Thanks for the sacrifice you made to be out here for 2 years of your life."
Mikkelsen wants to know how we are teaching the 1st Discussions. It is pointed out to him that we follow the Missionary Guide that recomends you teach a 1st "D" in the house preferably with the whole family, and it should take about 45 min. to an hour. (Now pay close attention to what Mikkelsen tells us to do, as it comes into play a little later.) Mikkelsen tells us the reason our baptisms are so low, is we are spending too much time on the first "D". He introduces what he calls the "Doorstep 1st".
With this approach you whittle down the discussion to about 3 minutes and simply give it on the doorstep to the person you tract into. He testified that if we did this we would have more success. The mission latched on to this like crazy and the MP said we should all follow Mikkelsen's advice. I remember doing role play after roll play at District Meetings and Zone Conferences to help us perfect the inspired "Doorstep 1st".
Flash forward 10 months later.
Mikkelsen pays the mish another visit. Baptisms have not gone up. We get the same "not enough faith, not enough work" lecture. Now here is where it gets interesting. Mikkelsen asks how we are giving our 1st "D's". One eager missionary raises his hand and proudly says:
"We are giving 3 minute 1st's on the doorstep."
Mikkelsen: "WHAT!! You are only spending 3 minutes on the 1st Discussion? This is why baptisms are so low! How can you teach about the godhead, prophets, the BOM, and the promise of the BOM in 3 minutes? You NEED to be in their houses with their families, so everyone can feel the spirit. We shouldn't just be glossing over key points on the doorstep, we should be in the homes for at least an hour." He testified that if we had the 1st in the homes we would see in increase in baptisms.
WTF! We just got reamed for following his previous advice!
We were following the advice of our inspired leader, and he gets mad at us for following his advice? This really pissed me off. No one including, the MP, stood up and called him on it, we just stood there and took it. I wouldn't have cared if Mikkelsen had said something like: "Well Elders it looks like my doorstep discussion experiment didn't work. Thanks for your efforts in trying though. Let's go back to the old way and see what happens." But no, we get blamed for following his advice. He was too pompous to own up to his idea failing, or maybe since he introduced doorstep discussions under the guise of revelation and inspiration, maybe he felt it would make God look stupid. Anyways, he just acted incredulous that we would teach on the doorstep. That day I realized how uninspired and fake many church leaders are.
Mikkelson came again about 6 months later, but I honestly can't remember what the hell he said. I had two days left on my mission, so obviously my mind was somewhere else.
I honestly wouldn't hate the church so much if they stopped hiding behind the guise of revelation, and just owned up to the fact that they are just winging it the best they can. I mean that's all you can expect from anybody. Right?
PS. I don't know if I am spelling Mikkelsen correctly, so pardon the spelling.