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  MORMON MISSIONARIES
Total Articles: 142
Topics concerning Mormon Missionaries - from young to old.
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Mormon Missionaries
Saturday, Apr 8, 2006, at 08:32 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Mormon men at the age of 19 are commanded to serve a 2-year mission. It is not an option, it is expected. Those who do not serve missions risk being ostracized by their families and church members. If they do not go they will be seen as willfull and disobediant. Those who go and come back early are looked on as sinners. Some families with early returned missionaries go as far as moving or even disowning their own sons.

Mormons who receive their mission calls believe the calls to be done by direct revelation from God, however, there is a department in the LDS Church Office Building where thousands of mission calls are done per day.

Missionaries spend up to three months (for foreign language missions) at the Missionary Training Program in Provo, Utah. Here they are under lock and key and guards patrol the grounds. High fences keep missionaries inside where they are indoctrinated in the Mormon gospel. All privileges are taken away and they are not even allowed to have contact with their own families. They are told they are now "Elders" and they are punished if they use their first names. Anything not LDS is contraband and taken away.

Missionaries serving in countries requiring passports - Mission Presidents illegally confiscate passports making it nearly impossible for missionaries to leave the country. They are not allowed to call their family, not allowed to have any social media, cell phones or Internet.

"At any given moment more than 60,000 Mormon missionaries are roaming the globe, closely supervised by church leaders back in Utah, intent on converting the world to Mormonism. These missionaries and their supporters aggressively assert that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is mankind's "One True Church," and that all other religions are false." - Jon Krakauer, "Under The Banner Of Heaven".

Missions are not to bring in new converts to the Mormon Church, Missions are to de-program the missionary and set them up to be lifetime paying members.

Missions for the Mormon Church serve to take a young man out of his element and deprive him of his family, friends and familiarity - all the while cramming his entire day full of rigorous priorities centered around obedience to the Cult.

In October of 2012, the age of boys was changed to 18, and 19 for girls.
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Charges Filed Against LDS Missionary
Friday, Jul 16, 2004, at 12:50 PM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
From KLAS-TV Las Vegas:
Oct. 7) -- Five months ago Metro Police arrested a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was accused of molesting two girls at a Las Vegas church.

Prosecutors told Eyewitness News Tuesday they have now filed charges in that case.

Mormon missionary John Misseldine is accused of molesting two girls during service back on May 4, 2003. The two young girls, ages 4 and 7, say they were fondled by Misseldine while he was watching them in a room at an LDS chapel.

According to police reports, this happened while the seven-year-old girl's mother was in service. The girl says she sat on Misseldine's lap and he put his hand up her dress she was wearing and put his hand inside her panties. A doctor who examined the girl found proof of penetration. The four-year-old claims Misseldine rubbed her on top of her clothes.

Misseldine is now charged with one count of sexual assault with a minor under 14. And two counts of lewdness with a child under 14. But it took prosecutors 5 months after they initially arrested the 21-year-old Mormon missionary to file charges.

District Attorney David Roger says it has taken this long because police thoroughly investigated all of the allegations. "It's important for us to have all of our i's dotted and t's crossed in cases so when we file cases we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt and we're ready to go trial the day we file the charges," he stated.

Misseldine was released from jail on May 5 on $10 thousand bail and faces life in prison if convicted.

D.A. Roger continues, "If the judge were to run them consecutive it would be 2 life sentences and would have to serve a minimum of 30 years before he's eligable for parole.

The LDS church declined to speak with Eyewitness News on camera Tuesday. Back in May, they were conducting an internal investigation. But the results would not be made public.

Misseldine will be arraigned in justice court on Oct. 29.
http://www.klas-tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=1473560andnav=168XIPU6
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The Missionaries Came For My Daughter Last Night
Friday, Feb 11, 2005, at 11:26 AM
Original Author(s): Denise
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My minor daughter received a phone-call from Church headquarters alerting her that her name had been reported to them as someone in need of spiritual help. They wanted to set up an appointment for the missionaries to deliver a free videotape gift to her.

She was very upset by this. She refused an appointment but as a 16-yr-old was unsuccessful in getting herself out of their cross-hairs. The Mormons still perceived an opening if they could just get into our home.

Later in the week one of the missionaries assigned to my area phoned to set up the appointment. I intercepted the call and while distressed gave a convincing explanation of why no one in my family is interested in joining the LDS Church.

I heard nothing for a few weeks and thought the ordeal had passed. But then Church headquarters called my daughter again about her request for missionary visitation. She was upset again and told the caller repeatedly that she had never said that.

A few months passed. I thought it was over until last night when new missionaries showed up on my doorstep. They asked for my daughter by name. Instead they got to stand in the cold and visit with my husband and myself through our screen door.

They were handsome and bright young men from Brazil and Maryland where they had grown up in the Mormon minority. Imagine then being sent into a 99% Mormon community to proselytize. We told them what a wild cultural experience living here as part of the teeny non-Mormon minority is.

We told them that our experience is very isolating. How the topic of our non-Mormonism is consistently brought up by members of the community. We keep to ourselves mostly because when we try to interact socially our non-belonging is made an issue again and again. It is distressing to constantly be reminded of one's outcast state.

I cannot think of one time in nearly twenty years where I was the one to bring up the subject of religion. But near strangers never seem to hesitate to ask: "Do you know brother so-and-so? Well aren't you and he in the same ward? Well what ward are you in?" Then comes the awkward silence after which the new acquaintance loses interest in my friendship. I then am disregarded or become a target. I cannot count the times that has happened.

The missionaries thought my husband and I looked like nice respectable people and said so. They asked us what we thought about Joseph Smith. Did we believe he was a prophet? We both said we do not and talked for a few minutes with the young men about founding fathers of their church and false prophecies, blood atonement verses blood of Christ, and subjective verses objective evaluation of historical facts.

It's not as if we have never heard of their good news. I don't know if they really got just how deeply we do understand Mormonism, how we have lived heavily under the influence of the Church for much longer than the combined ages of these young missionaries. Leaving the Mormonism has not been something we have taken lightly or done without great difficulty. Why would we endure being shunned as apostates if everything about this religion is as rosy as these young men have been led to believe?

One missionary, apparently the senior companion, admitted to having an uncle who is a former high priest and very recent ex-Mormon. He stated that anti-Mormon materials, such as those which led his uncle away from the Church, have been twisted from their original source and meaning, and that no question has ever come up which he as a missionary cannot answer.

But now, he said, If I am open to learning and am willing to do four things (read Book of Mormon, pray, fast, and one other thing which I do not recall at the moment) I will receive the spiritual confirmation of the truth. He boldly promised me that.

My husband and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. I invited the missionaries to read my review of the Book of Mormon on amazon.com. It is not "anti-material" at all, I told them, only my testimony of the years-long struggle I went through in my sincere attempts to receive that promised spiritual witness. I was informed that the missionaries are not allowed on the Internet.

In the end I stated that I could be vulnerable to the temptation to put my thinking self aside and fold under intense peer pressure. I am a woman who values relationships. But wouldn't anyone of either gender want to be respected? I am vulnerable only because I would like to be accepted by my estranged extended family and the community in which I live.

I told the missionaries that while I value family and community relationships, my personal integrity is also a deeply held value. I said that I regret having been forced into the position of having to choose between these values, but that if I have to choose between relationships and my own integrity, well I've already chosen as you can see.

I was then told that the offer was always on the table if I ever want to take it up. By then these guys were freezing, because while I quite liked them I do not welcome what they are doing and so they were never asked inside. They failed to receive that hoped for access to our daughter. And the poor local high school kid that was with them was not dressed for the weather. I told him sorry it's so cold out there, thanked the missionaries, and we all said goodnight.

Thanks for taking time to read my lengthy post. You're welcome to also see my Book of Mormon review at amazon.com
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Strange Inspirations And Priesthood Blessings
Sunday, Feb 13, 2005, at 03:06 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I never really believed that priesthood blessings were legit, and I always felt a little uneasy when I was in a coercive situation where I felt constrained to give one. Those who held the Melchizedek priesthood here will know what I mean -- like when Sister Hypochondria calls you up and asks for a blessing of health because she has gas. When listening to others give priesthood blessings, they always seemed to use the same phrases, as if they had their own mental template for what it was they were going to say when they gave blessings.

I heard of strange priesthood blessings, and I was involved in one very uncomfortable one during my mission. One story involved two missionaries in Nevada. The Elder who was driving the car hit a jack rabbit (a common thing in and around the Mojave Desert). He got out of the car, saw the rabbit lying motionless, with blood oozing out of its mouth, and then proceeded to squat down, lay his hands on the rabbit, and give it a priesthood blessing, commanding it to come back to life. After several minutes of this, the missionary finally gave up.

One time, while knocking doors in Italy, we happened upon a large home with a large family. My companion was an Idahoan who was a little on the wacky side. One family member let us in, and we saw a bed-ridden man in the other room. We chatted with him for a minute, at which point my companion said, ``If you have faith to be healed, we have the power to heal you.'' The man's eyes lit up, and he said he wanted a blessing. I tried hard to have faith (I was extreme TBM during my mission). We laid our hands on his head and my companion went into a really long blessing. During the blessing, various familiy members came home, looked into the room to see two Mormon missionaries with their hands on their family member's head, and they wondered what the hell we were doing. I felt very uncomfortable with the whole situation. My companion called him up a few days later to ask how he was doing. He said he felt a little better the next day, and then got a lot sicker the day after that.

I was tracting with this same companion (which mainly involves buzzing intercom buttons on apartment complexes and asking people to listen to us). Once, we buzzed an apartment, and the man politely, yet firmly, told us that he was not interested in listening to us. As we walked away, my companion stopped, hesitated, and said to me, ``Elder, I feel inspired to ask that man again if he wants to listen to us. I think he really needs help.'' He proceeded to march back up to the intercom and buzz the man again. My companion started asking if everything was alright and if he needed anything. The man got quite irate at that point and told us to go away, which my companion reluctantly did at that point.

Once, when I came into a city as a Zone Leader, I found that my new companion had been teaching a mentally challenged man for some time. He was very slow, and seemed unsure of himself, and he seemed extremely impressionable. I would have nothing to do with the discussions, and I would frequently challenge my companion, asking if he was sure that this man was accountable and was capable of making good decisions. My companion assured me that he was (this may have had something to do with the fact that he was the only person in our teaching pool, and having someone in your teaching pool makes your numbers look better). The discussions would go something like this:

Missionary: "Marco, do you believe in God?"

(long pause)

Marco: "Yes."

Missoinary: "So you understand that God wants you to be baptized, right?"

(long pause)

Marco: "I guess. I don't really know."

Missionary: "I know that God wants you to be baptized, Marco."

(Marco stares at the floor for a long time)

Missionary: "Will you be baptized, Marco?"

One day, after having left the apartment, a neighbor lady started chewing us out, asking us why we were harassing that poor handicapped man. She insisted that he was not all there, and he could not make good decisions on his own, and we were taking advantage of him. I knew she was right, and I just wanted to crawl under a rock, but my companion just stood there with a shocked and confused look on his face, trying to convince her that this man really was competant. After all, the Spirit had told him that Marco was accountable. The neighbor lady must have contacted his relatives, because one day, when we went to visit, Marco had all of the materials the missionaries had given to him in a pile, and when he answered the door, he just looked at the ground, holding the packet out, repeating, ``I can't. I can't. I'm sorry. I can't.'' My companion went through the whole ``I'm thoroughly devastated at your terrible decision'' splurge, and then reluctantly went away.

Okay, enough stories for now.
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Little Missonary Sucess In Puerto Rico
Friday, Mar 11, 2005, at 10:56 AM
Original Author(s): Luckyfasteddie
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Just got back from wintering in PR. We saw the missies on the street and invited them over to our place for a little american fellowship. There were 4 of them and they spent a lot of time with us. In the 3 months we were there they did not baptise or come close to baptising anyone. They had 2 open houses that nobody came to. They told us about 70% of the people that have been baptised dont last and the ones that do stay seem to do it their own way. Thay had a big meeting in San Juan with a gen authority in attendance (Damn my old brain ,I cant think of his name) any way they said he came to PR to address the poor results. They said the missionary only meeting was good but the gen. meeting was poorly attended.The Gen authorities know the church is falling on its ass in PR and they still continue to send those kids there to waste 2 years of their lives, not too mention the money. The zone leaders have cars but the rest are supposed to ride bikes,however they rarely rode the bikes because the roads are too narrow and the drivers too crazy, it was just too dangerous to ride,so most of the time they walked and were unable to cover too much ground that way.Many nites they wound up at our place and I would drive them the 6 miles to theit apt. Thats right they walked 6 miles to get to us , didnt leave them too much time to meet any body new on the way. Just thought I'd let you know the church is 1/2 dead and dieing in PR as I would guess it is doing in many other places.
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Is The MTC Cult-Like?
Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005, at 07:48 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My son was preparing for a mission a few years ago, but quickly changed his mind after a good friend returned with horror stories of the MTC. His friend told him that once they got you in there, there was no way out. The friend needed to have dental work done. (the MTC was not satisfied that his personal dentist did NOT require his wisdom teeth to be removed) MTC forced him to have the teeth removed by their dentist at the MTC and would not allow him to leave the MTC to have it done! This kid thought that his life would get better, but it only became worse with all the morg regulations and poor companions. He said it was NOT the best two years of his life. He was miserable and wanted to come home but knew that would mean a dishonorable mission.

This young man went on to say what a jerk the mission president was when he became ill. He was so ill that they thought he might be sent home. But his TBM mother made him stay and told him not to come home because of what the ward members might think. There were many more tales of woe from him.

I always felt bad for the young men who were so sweet before going into this and then coming out with a whole different personality. I'm sure that alot of young men have had great experiences. But what about the poor guys who were miserable and sacrificed the best two years of their life to the morg? I'm sure there are many of them!

Again, it's the Mormon way. Brainwash them to serve a mission or get endowments and just like the majority of us, they have no clue of what they are getting themselves into. HOW VERY SAD!
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My MTC Experience 1991
Wednesday, May 4, 2005, at 09:06 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I went in on August 20th 1991, a week after my 19th birthday. I was scared as hell, yet trying to get excited since I was being sent to Venezuela. What a awesome experience I thought.

My MTC companion was really weird. A bible thumper and was so straight laced it was difficult. I had a few friends in the district and we played ULTIMATE each PDAY.

I had a hard time learning the language and felt the structure was overwhelming to say the least. It was difficult to adapt for 2 weeks.

I faked sick a few times so I could sleep in and use the bathroom with noone around. That was heaven. I really thought the MTC was a prison. THe Gustapo drove around in their grey mission vans everynite.

My girlfriend delivered a pizza to me over the fence one night and we rushed it in under our sweatshirts and ate it up hiding the evidence. The next day, one of the MTC teachers was trying to find out who had smuggled in a pizza and was going to reprimand them for not following rules.

The place was a prison. The fence was not yet erected and playing Ultimate was the only relief. Noone talks about the fist fights among elders on the Ultimate field, but I got into a few of them.

We couldn't go to the mall without permission from the Branch president and MTC president. I was called in to the MTC President's office due to my attitude was not on par and he told me about a missionary that snuck out with a girl in his district and had sex on the Y stadium grass. He said my attitude was just like that elders.

Anyhow, I hated the MTC. It was the most miserable experience of my life. My mission on the other hand was much better.
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New Covenant For Members: Member Missionary Promise
Monday, May 9, 2005, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
A new "Member Missionary Promise" is being instituted in some wards, requiring members to sign the following contract:

"MY PROMISE: I agree to pray morning and night to my Heavenly Father and ask Him to help me find someone who wants to listen to the missionary discussions. I will start praying on __________. I agree to be especially obedient to Heavenly Father's commandments during these 21 days. I will think about and do the things that will help me be more in tune with my Heavenly Father. I will read from the Book of Mormon every day. I will show love to everyone I meet, especially my family. I will think about Nephi. He had no idea how to get the brass plates fro Laban. The Lord directed him and showed him how. The Lord will show me how to find and prepare someone to take the missionary discussions. When the Lord prompts me to refer this person or family to the missionaries, I will heed this prompting. If possible, I will invite the person or family into my home to be taught the discussions and I will be a friend for them as they learn the gospel.

Member Missionary Name ______________________________________"

Blood oaths, signed contracts, new covenants, tithing settlements - the depths to which this "church" reaches into people's lives is amazing, treating them like mindless, spineless, automotons.
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Former Utah Gov. Olene Walker To Serve An LDS Mission
Thursday, May 12, 2005, at 09:25 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Former Utah Gov. Olene Walker and her husband, Myron, have been named missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to New York, where they are to work with U.N. diplomats.

"They want us to focus on making friends with some of the U.N. ambassadors where the church is having trouble with visas, or a country that does not allow the LDS missionaries to come in," she told KSL-TV on Wednesday.

The Walkers will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo on May 30, and leave for New York City in June.

Walker, 74, was Utah's first women – and shortest-serving – governor. As lieutenant governor, she succeeded Mike Leavitt when he left the governor's post in November 2003 to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Leavitt is now Health and Human Services secretary.

Walker had consistently high job-approval ratings in polls – 87 percent at the time she left office – but state Republican delegates left her out of the 2004 primary race. Jon Huntsman was one of two Republicans who came out of the convention and he went on to win the primary and general elections.

Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
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The Missionary Commitment Pattern
Wednesday, May 18, 2005, at 01:57 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Its called "the commitment pattern". Its a high pressure sales technique developed by missionaries in Mexico, popular while I was on a mission in Minnesota.

The pattern revolves around making commitments with the investigator. There is always a commitment at the end of a discussion. Questions are phrased as "will you be baptised" and never "so what do you think about baptism? want to give it a whirl?"

Individuals who have a hard time saying no such as individuals who would be talking with the missionaries in the first place also have a hard time saying no to making commitments. They build a pattern of agreeing to do whatever the elders ask, no matter how silly it sounds such as dedicating ten percent of their income to a church they just are learning about.

Also, baptism is pushed as the goal very hard. Investigators are told that if they do not committ to the missionaries commitments that they will jeapordise their promise to be baptised, and what is worse than letting an authority figure down? Often the main tool of conversion is not the gospel message but a strong link between the missionaries and the "mark", AKA investigator. THe let down that the investigator percieves would occur has many dimensions and why it is so controlling is evidenced through the veracity of the missionaries need for a baptism.

The investigators I baptised in Minneapolis did so because they were lonely, in need of support or in some cases were so wrapped up in not letting me down that they didnt care wat the hell I asked them to do...they were going to be baptised and if they werent they thought I would be disappointed.

That is emotional control. No hypnosis, just guilt.
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My Mishie Friends And Their Pompous Ass Zone Leader
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2005, at 08:48 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Two very sweet missionaries live in my apartment complex. We met at the mail box one afternoon and hit it off.

These boys come to visit me 1-2 times a week. We sit out on the grass and talk (I'm single so they can't come in my house.) They love the Red Sox and Star Wars so we have lots to talk about. I always try to have something to feed them. I've bought them some star wars toys and we love to play with them and my toys from the 80s. I also let them help in my garden. They love that because they get to take off those dumb suits.

One day I asked them a question and they told me they would find out and "return and report." I couldn't stop laughing. Especially when the look of horror came over their faces when they realized what they had said. Then we acted out a scene "Deadly send down Jake and Matt to visit the bishop..." "Jake and Matt go down and visit the bishop"

They know I am an exmo and we have an understanding. They don't preach to me...I don't preach to them. (Actually I let them teach me a "lesson" so they can count the time we play as contact time.)

Well on Saturday they were supposed to come play with me when the ZL surprised them with a "24" which is this new evaluation procedure. Since seeing me was in their book they had to bring him over. I played along so I wouldn't get my friends in trouble.

The ZL bragged that he had heard every anti-argument ever. I got a little wicked gleam in my eye and was about to say something when I saw my friend frantically shaking his head and looking at me with pleading eyes. I quietly told the pompous ZL that I had read them all too. 'Tell me sister...does it make you feel good to read these things?" I couldn't resist and emphatic "YES!!" So then he bore his testimony to me.

I wanted to say more but I don't want my friends to get in trouble. I like them and feel that I can do them some good.

But WOW it felt GOOD to realize that yes....I feel good when I read the truth.
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Do TBMS Take Hinckley's Ban On Missionary Farewells Seriously?
Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005, at 09:35 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
For those who don't know the background, in 2002, Hinckley made this announcement in the priesthood session of General Conference:
""Now we have an interesting custom in the Church. Departing missionaries are accorded a farewell. In some wards this has become a problem. Between outgoing missionaries and returning missionaries, most sacrament meetings are devoted to farewells and homecomings."

No one else in the Church has a farewell when entering a particular service. We never have a special farewell-type meeting for a newly called bishop, for a stake president, for a Relief Society president, for a General Authority, or anyone else of whom I can think. Why should we have missionary farewells?"

"The First Presidency and the Twelve, after most prayerful and careful consideration, have reached the decision that the present program of missionary farewells should be modified."

"The departing missionary will be given opportunity to speak in a sacrament meeting for 15 or 20 minutes. But parents and siblings will not be invited to do so. There might be two or more departing missionaries who speak in the same service. The meeting will be entirely in the hands of the bishop and will not be arranged by the family. There will not be special music or anything of that kind."

"We know this will be a great disappointment to many families. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and friends have participated in the past. We ask that you accept this decision. Where a farewell has already been arranged, it may go forward. But none in the traditional sense should be planned for the future. We are convinced that when all aspects of the situation are considered, this is a wise decision. Please accept it, my dear brethren. I extend this plea also to the sisters, particularly the mothers."

"We hope also that holding elaborate open houses after the sacrament meeting at which the missionary speaks will not prevail. Members of the family may wish to get together. We have no objection to this. However, we ask that there be no public reception to which large numbers are invited."
- The Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, “To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, page 56
So has this ban worked, or do some wards still let family members speak and do some families still have an open house? I left the church in 2001, so I haven't seen the effects of this ban on the church.

Have the members taken Hinckley seriously?
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The Mormon Church Takes Advantage Of Old Folks
Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005, at 01:47 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My parent's are retired, and very, very TBM. They believe and obey everything, absolutely, 100%. If the COB decreed that they should sell everything they own, give 100% of everything over to TSCC, and move into a commune, they would do it. No questions asked. So as they've been retired I've watched the COB:

- Send them on 2 missions outside of their home
- Assign them to 2 missions while staying at their home

On one mission, they put over 50,000 miles on their own, personal, vehicle in one year. They were driving all over the damned country side, giving out free BoMs and Bibles. Couple missionaries are required to support themselves. So while on these missions they essentially had two homes to maintain. The house the mission provided them in one area was not provisioned with dishes and other necessary items, meaning they had to stock and purchase these items themselves. While on this mission my daughter had a major surgery. My mother called me, crying on the phone, because she wanted to be there with my daughter. They were very close, and my mother ALWAYS wants to be involved with her children and grandchildren. I told her that we would be ok, and I called her a couple of times a day. We were doing ok. Sure, I missed her. Mission rules stated that she could not come home to visit, for any reason. My mother was suffering over this. One of my siblings told her to just hop on a plane. What would the COB do about it anyway? There was no way my obedient TBM mother would even consider such a thing. So there she stayed, worrying over my DD and desparately wishing she was at the hospital.

A mission that was local to their home required that they feed an office of volunteers, using their own funds. So everyday they made lunch for a dozen or so people, they did this for a year.

A mission that is ongoing, and hasn't stopped for over a decade is hours and hours of typing genealogy information into a computer. I would estimate that they spend about 2 hours a day on this.

And lastly, I guess somewhere recently an arrogant, self serving, money-grubbing church someone or other declared that parents should not leave their inheritance to their children. It was declared that their children should be able to take care of themselves. And if they couldn't, well too bad! That'll learn 'em! And that the church needed their inheritance more than their children did. hmmmph. On a personal level, yes, I can take care of myself. I have siblings who are struggling, and could use help more than the COB needs more money. But what bugs me the most on this is the absolute utter balls with no shame. They have milked my parents over and over and over their entire lives, and even into their retirement years, and they want to continue doing so even after they are dead! It is appalling! Scam artists do less and spend years in prison!

To me all of these things that the COB encourages, asks and requires of old folks to do is unethical beyond belief. They are a multi-billion dollar organization that is very aware of the influence they have over people's very thoughts and actions. An influence that they constantly cultivate, nurture, and enforce correction when the influence is questioned. I'm no longer prescribe to any religion, or belief system. I do remember from my church going days what was taught as Christ like. And taking advantage of people, especially old folks, ain't it! It is the behavior of a CULT.
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LDS Believe Satan Is Real, But The Stories Aren't Always
Tuesday, Jul 5, 2005, at 07:33 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
For Mormons, the devil is a fallen angel. He rebelled against God and Christ in a pre-Earth life and persuaded one third of the other spirits in heaven to join with him. As fallen angels, they didn't get bodies. Now they want desperately to have one, so they try every way they can to jump into someone else's skin.

Sometimes these spirits have to be cast out of "afflicted persons by the power of faith and authority of the priesthood," wrote Bruce R. McConkie in his authoritative book, Mormon Doctrine.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that missionaries are particularly vulnerable. Thus, the army of men and women serving the church on two-year and 1 1/2 -year missions are forbidden to swim, which some LDS members attribute to the belief that Satan controls the water.

But LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter put it in more practical terms.

"The church takes any necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its missionaries from natural disaster, public health threats or other potentially harmful situations," says Trotter.

Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
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Hinckley: We Don't Want More Sister Missionaries!
Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005, at 09:05 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In addition to "raising the bar" on Elder missionaries, the church has also discouraged women from serviing missions.

In the fall 1997 Priesthood Session of conference (instead of the Women's conference), Hinckley announced this church policy:

"There seems to be growing in the Church an idea that all young women as well as all young men should go on missions. We need some young women. They perform a remarkable work. They can get in homes where the elders cannot."

"I wish to say that the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve are united in saying to our young sisters that they are not under obligation to go on missions. I hope I can say what I have to say in a way that will not be offensive to anyone. Young women should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men. Some of them will very much wish to go. If so, they should counsel with their bishop as well as their parents. If the idea persists, the bishop will know what to do."

"I say what has been said before, that missionary work is essentially a priesthood responsibility. As such, our young men must carry the major burden. This is their responsibility and their obligation."

"We do not ask the young women to consider a mission as an essential part of their life’s program. Over a period of many years, we have held the age level higher for them in an effort to keep the number going relatively small. Again to the sisters I say that you will be as highly respected, you will be considered as being as much in the line of duty, your efforts will be as acceptable to the Lord and to the Church whether you go on a mission or do not go on a mission."

"We constantly receive letters from young women asking why the age for sister missionaries is not the same as it is for elders. We simply give them the reasons. We know that they are disappointed. We know that many have set their hearts on missions. We know that many of them wish this experience before they marry and go forward with their adult lives. I certainly do not wish to say or imply that their services are not wanted. I simply say that a mission is not necessary as a part of their lives."

"Now, that may appear to be something of a strange thing to say in priesthood meeting. I say it here because I do not know where else to say it. The bishops and stake presidents of the Church have now heard it. And they must be the ones who make the judgment in this matter."

"That is enough on that subject."

- Gordon B. Hinckley, “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 49

Hinckley's statement is demeaning on several levels, but the point is, the church has intentionally discouraged both young men AND young women from serving. What do you think is going on here?
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Read The Book Of Mormon
Thursday, Aug 4, 2005, at 08:34 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
We were actually taught to discourage members from reading the whole BoM before baptism. I mean, if they really wanted to read it, great, as long as it didn't postpone thier baptism date. But if the investigators felt like they needed to take things more slowly, and really read the whole book before they made a decision, that was considered a "concern" that needed to be resolved.

We used the cake dialogue. If you eat one piece of cake, and it's good, then isn't it a safe assumption that the rest of the cake is good, too? You don't need to eat the whole cake, just a piece, or even a bite. Same with the BoM. If 3 Nephi 11 is good, then the whole book must be good. And by good, we mean true. So don't worry about reading the whole thing. Just get baptized.

Of course, by this logic, every movie would be as good as its trailer. But it's part of the mormon marketing tactic that tries to find one thing that you like about the Church, then load everything else on top of that. If 3 Ne 11 is true, then the whole BoM must be true, which means JS must be a prophet, which means the Church must be true, which means GBH must be a prophet, etc. In actuality, none of those things necessarily follows from the other.
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Missionaries And The Poor: A Photo Worth A Thousand Words
Monday, Sep 12, 2005, at 07:08 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Just when I've thought there is nothing more that mishies can do to prove they are brain dead, immature, idiotic, culturally insensitive dolts, I find this (click here):

From the Venezuela Maracaibo mission, the gem is titled "Finding the Chosen", and shows a North American missionary pretending to preach to a shoeless man who has obviously seen hard times; the man is asleep under a tree. What the hell, I'll post it here.

"Ok ok, so we got off to a rough start... Nate T. Nelson 03 Sep 2005

If you enhance the picture, you'll see a couple of plastic bags next to the tree that are probably all the man owns--that, or the trash the neighbors set out. (note: on second thought, they're probably trash).

Ha ha ha...and you wonder why the Chavistas want to kick their asses."
Editor Note: As of 10:43 AM MST the entire article was pulled off the site: http://www.mission.net/venezuela/mara...
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It's Hard Watching A Boy Go On A Mission
Wednesday, Sep 14, 2005, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My step son is leaving on a mission in a couple weeks. Although I went on a mission, I forgot how many little things are changed by going on a mission. I'm not talking about putting college on hold, or quitting a job, I am thinking of the seemingly insignificant things.

My step son is a good kid. He is quiet. He hasn't ever drank. He is an A student. He has had a steady girlfriend, he says they aren't physical, except for holding hands and hugs (it seems to be true from being around them for two years). He wears baseball caps and T-shirts. He has a goatee. He likes rock music, Pepsi, and pizza. He loves Xbox and golf.

My TBM wife took him shopping last week. They bought two suits and about 12 white shirts. He got two pair of Doc Martens. He bought several ties. Yesterday he bought a bunch of temple garments, preparing for the temple next week. He says he is nervous to go, but he says he really wants to go, and is excited.

I have never heard him talk about the church. I have never seen him read scriptures. He says family prayer, goes to church, and goes hometeaching. He is going on a mission because it has been expected of him for all his life. In two weeks his life will be completely different.

He will wear white shirts everyday. He will carry scriptures with him wherever he goes. He will shave his goatee, and cut his hair. He will rise early each morning and study scriptures, he will talk about the church to strangers all day. He won't see or talk to his girlfriend, family, or friends. He will be in a strange place doing strange things.

His TBM family is elated and proud of him. He is doing what is expected of him. So why do I feel like he is having a lobotomy? I see the life and personality being sucked out of him. He'll be doing things against his natural personality, learning how to cross people's personal boundaries, how to talk about religion with non interested persons, and how to make people believe like he does.

It's not fair. The church puts so much guilt on these kids. The kids try to make themselves believe god is calling them. He feels he is doing what god wants.

How did the church get so much influence in his life? How can a healthy 19 year old give away two years to a dishonest, deceitful church?

It makes me sick to see him give up so much for a big lie. I want to take him aside and tell him everything. I would then be treated like a possessed devil, so I sit silently and ache for him. Can't we do something?
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In A Shift, Mormon Church Is Flexible On Missionary Commitment - Raising The Bar
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005, at 06:53 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Elders Scott Clarke and Ethan Farmer represent a significant change in how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints runs its mission program.

For the first time ever, the number of missionaries has declined. There were 61,638 missionaries serving worldwide in 2002. In 2004, there were fewer than 52,000.

This decline comes despite continuing growth of the church and is the result of a "raising of the bar" for missionaries.

The LDS Church has decided to move away from the days when young people went on a mission because they felt they were supposed to. Now the church wants people to serve because their faith is so strong they feel they must.

The mission remains the same. It is hard work, there are many sacrifices and missionaries end up talking to strangers about things those potential converts may not want to talk about.

But now, if a young man is not ready at age 19 to start his mission, he will be advised to wait.

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/12256...
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Fallout From Top-Baptizing Missions
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005, at 09:12 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Census results from several countries show a self-identification rate of around 22%; I'd bet that the activity rates in those countries is even lower, somewhere on the order of 8-13%.

My guess, based on what I've seen over the years, is that most of those who are active are part of extended family groups of Mormons, or they are close friends with multiple members of those family groups. Were it possible to break the activity stats down further, we'd likely find a majority of those who claim to be LDS are the children of LDS people--in other words, they were never converts in the sense of being found and taught by missionaries.

Out of those we could consider classic converts, if 10% remain active I'd be very suprised. I'll even go out on a limb and say the retention rate is likely less than 1% for those who are baptized with no family or close friendship connection to the Church.

Another key to activity is the socio-economic strata they belong to. David Knowlton sliced and diced the Chilean and Mexican census results in the Summer 2005 Dialogue, and one of the interesting things he found is that the areas with the greatest numbers of self-identifying Mormons were lower to lower middle class suburbs of the major cities, places inhabited mainly by what we'd call the working poor.

Areas that were upper-middle to upper class followed, with lower class/slum areas having the least numbers of people claiming to be Mormons in them. It would be fascinating for geeks like me to overlay those figures with official figures showing where their baptisms have come from. I'd bet most of the baptisms have come from the areas with the lowest percentage of self-IDing Mormons.

At this stage, I'm actually more interested in the effect that being in one of these missions--like Chile in its heyday--will have on individual missionaries that served there.

In other words, will the knowledge that what should have been sacred ordinances were instead treated as sales goals eventually cause cognitive dissonance in the salesmen?

Or will it instead lead to more guilt, something along the lines of "if I'd had more faith, these people would have stayed active"?

Will any of them begin to question the entire program and decide that it isn't worth risking their kids health and welfare?

Shit who am I kidding? They'll probably blame the few actives for not retaining their converts and tell themselves getting dysentery will help young Lance become a man.

As sort of a "the more things change, the more they stay the same", on a Chilean mission website a recently returned missionary reports they are baptizing between 900 and 1200 people a month. Looks like Holland's clean up campaign lasted little more than he did.
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The Church Returns Nothing For The Services Its Missionaries Provide
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2005, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Imagine asking someone to spend 15 hours per day (6 hours on Preparation Day) working for you for 2 years, make THEM provide for their own room and board, and then ignore them once they're done like they didn't even exist.

This is MormonDumb...or...the people who do it are LDSDumb!

When we got back from our missions we didn't get a nickel off of tuition at "The Lord's School". We didn't have a group of employment specialists pulling strings across Utah to make sure that we got jobs to support ourselves and our pregnant wives while we went to school. We didn't even get a "hold off on that tithing until your education is done" offer.

Nope. Nada. Nichts.

And as I was browsing around the LDS.ORGasm website, I noticed that under the Serving the church link there is not so much as a "Thank-you" to missionaries and their families for recruiting new tithepayers. They've got a "Military Relations" link, but nothing for the missionaries.

Nope. Nada. Nichts.

Hidden on the Site Map is a link to Church-Service Missionary Opportunities but still does not praise the amazing sacrifice of young men and women who should be screwing and having a good time instead of suffering the mental abuse of celibacy and failure to convert reasonable people.

When you do find an LDS Missonary website, LDS Missions Website, the links to many missions are old and outdated. It's not even run by the crutch! Sheesh!

Why would not the church pay someone to maintain these websites, at least out of respect for the millions of hours offered by its missionaries? Why? Why not just host the goddamned things?

It's because the Mormon Church is an abusive organization that cares very little about its members. Service is exploited. Few are really respected, the specious claims of the church notwithstanding.
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Dinner With The Elders
Friday, Oct 14, 2005, at 07:36 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Last night we had the missionaries over for dinner. It was an interesting conversation.

They told me the same story about how they were told they were not to eat at members' houses without a nonmember or investigator there (apparently, that may have been rescinded). I asked him when they were supposed to eat, and he said, "I don't really know." He and I agreed that having a nonmember at every meal was impossible. He said, "I don't know how inspired that counsel was." I said, "I have an idea."

Then we got talking about the new, "inspired" Preach My Gospel program. Jokingly I said that the old program must not have been inspired. The elder got really serious and said, "The new program is inspired for our time. The old program was what the people were ready for then." I told him that the church should lighten up, that it's OK to admit that the old program wasn't working and that they needed to change it. He looked at me like I had just punched him in the stomach.

It was kind of like going back in time and seeing the kinds of attitudes I had on my mission. Unquestioning obedience and acceptance, even in the face of unreasonable demands. And childlike faith in the love and good intentions of their leaders.

By the way, does anyone know where this crap about eating with nonmembers comes from? It seems to be a widespread mandate, which suggests that it came from above the mission presidents' heads.
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The Ignorance And Mis-Information Strategies - Visiting Missionaries In The Heart Of Mormonism
Thursday, Nov 3, 2005, at 11:21 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Reading other pro-LDS message boards, and recalling my forty plus years as a True Believing Mormon, it became clear to me that the most important strategies employed by the church are Ignorance and Misinformation.

This two-pronged approach first uses the principle of IGNORANCE to hide from uninformed, inquiring minds anything that might be unpleasant about the church. It keeps people ignorant of facts that might make them expect a reasonable explanation. An example of this is sanitizing the problem of polygamy from the church museums. My recent visits to the Beehive House, Mormon History Museum and Temple Square Visitor Centers are glaring examples of this practice. No unsolicited mention of polygamy exists in any of these locations.

The second principle in this scheme uses MISINFORMATION when someone, despite the obvious attempts of the Church's PR department to rewrite history by excluding polygamy, raises polygamy in the museums and visitor centers. They are immediately told how only a very small percentage of Mormons practiced it, without explaining why that is relevant; they indicate that it was to care for the overabundance of women, without providing proof that there was, in actual fact, the alleged overabundance; they explain that "god made us do it" when challenged to explain the connection polygamy had with a religious organization; and they distance themselves from the current practice of polygamy by declaring that it is not condoned by the church, anyone practicing it is excommunicated, and by denying that the church practiced it privately long after it had declared publicly that it was no longer practicing it. By perpetuating urban legends about these practices they use MISINFORMATION to inoculate seekers from the truth.

What helps these strategies is the obvious ignorance of the 20-something missionaries who are being manipulated by the older shepherds.

In the Beehive House there was an array of six or eight sister missionaries being watched over by a very business-like father-figure. I was absolutely certain that if I had started questioning the polygamy in the foyer within earshot of him that he would have accompanied us on the tour. He looked like he'd been pitted against anti-mormons making their way through this holy mecca before and was very keen to the clues that would get him engaged to protect these young women from ...... QUESTIONS.

When I got them away from him, though, their testimonies of the hidden mysteries of the Church were weak. They confessed that THEY would not like to practice polygamy and share a husband.

"REALLY?" I asked. "But isn't this a commandment?"

andlt;Nervous laughter.andgt; "Not anymore."
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Returned LDS Missionary Dies After Leaping Out Of A Moving Vehicle
Monday, Nov 14, 2005, at 01:26 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
From Deseret News:
"Tyler Poulson, 21, was killed Friday night after getting out of a moving pickup truck that was traveling about 35 mph near 10900 South and 1300 West."
Apparently he was not happy about his brother swearing:
"Poulson, who felt offended, eventually said he would get out of the truck if it continued. Considering it an empty threat, one of the men told him to do it"
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249...
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What The Missionary Discussions Would Contain In An Honest Mormon World
Monday, Dec 19, 2005, at 08:47 AM
Original Author(s): Brigham Y666g
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
First discussion:
  • Multiple accounts of the first vision
  • Discussion of no report of the first vision until long after it occurred
  • Joseph Smith’s money digging trial
  • View of the Hebrews
  • Changes to the Book of Mormon
  • Bad grammar in the first edition
  • DNA, archaeological, anthropological, geographical, and linguistic evidence that disproves the Book of Mormon
  • Joseph Smith’s banking fraud
  • The Kinderhook plates fraud
  • Book of Abraham fraud
Second discussion:
  • New Testament written long after the events by people who never knew Jesus
  • Historical doubts about the existence of Jesus
  • Borrowed myths that have been incorporated into the Jesus myth
Third discussion:
  • Discussion of evolution and how Genesis consists of borrowed myths
  • Discussion of the borrowed myths and outright lies in the Old Testament
Fourth discussion:
  • Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s polygamous marriages including sending husbands on missions in order to marry their wives, and marriages to pregnant wives of other men
  • Joseph Smith’s affair with Fanny Alger and creating the concept of polygamy after being caught in other adulterous relationships
  • The commandment from modern day prophets to marry before graduating from college and having as many children as possible
  • High levels of depression, suicide, and bankruptcy in the Mormon Church
  • Expectation to serve a mission at own expense
Fifth discussion:
  • Show a video that containing all of the temple ceremonies from beginning to end including the now missing blood oaths and initiatories covering by a small sheet
  • Full comparison of Mormon temple cult ceremony to the Masonic cult ceremony
  • Explanation of Joseph Smith’s “revelation” concerning the temple ceremonies just weeks after being exposed to the Masonic cult ceremony including absolute lack of temple cult ceremony in the Kirtland temple
  • Discussion of tithing and how often this commandment leads to bankruptcy
  • Disclosure of the church’s financial statements
  • Mountain Meadows Massacre and Brigham Young framing his adopted son, John Lee, for the murders
  • The Hoffman scandal and Hinckley’s role in the cover up
  • Hinckley’s duplicity on common Mormon doctrine
  • Disclosure concerning purchasing malls, ranches, etc.
  • Discussion of the Word of Wisdom and how it is incorrect in some respects based on modern medical science
Sixth discussion:
  • Invitation to be baptized
Additionally, these factors should be the only material allowed to be taught in Sacrament Meeting, Primary, Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society, Conference talks, firesides, Institute, religion classes at BYU, Seminary, and in ALL church approved publications.
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Peer Pressure In The Missionary Training Center - They Should Be Telling Missionaries That It's Ok If They Don't Cry
Thursday, Dec 22, 2005, at 08:27 AM
Original Author(s): Mujun
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
When I entered the MTC in 1986, the guy running the place was George Durrant. A lot of us had been aware of him for several years. He had been an Institute Director and had written a book that was popular with Mormon youth. He was generally an affable guy who had good rapport with the missionaries.

I went with my mother to drop off my brother at the MTC three weeks before my own conscription, so I got to hear George's welcome talk to the families twice. It was exactly the same both times. One of the first things he told everyone was that "it's OK to cry." This mantra was repeated several times during my five-week stay, by George Durrant and by MTC teachers.

I thought I understood their reasons for repeatedly telling everyone that it's OK to cry. Adolescent boys often feel peer pressure not to cry in front of each other. At a time in their lives when many of them are trying to figure out what masculinity is all about, they don't want to exhibit behaviors that may cause their peers to question their masculine credentials. But emotion is a key component in the MTC indoctrination. They don't want anyone holding back.

By the time I was hearing all of this, however, I had already spent two years attending one of those Eastern, liberal, godless universities and going to church at the rather progressive, unorthodox student ward just up the street. I had long since come to my own conclusions about the distinction between emotion and "The Spirit." I thought that, for some people, the two often occupied the same space, but that they were not the same thing. I believed that just because someone got up in sacrament meeting and told a tear-jerker story about a mentally handicapped little brother and a bicycle for Christmas and "there wasn't a dry eye in the room," it did not necessarily mean that we had all had a spiritual experience. If some people got emotional when they felt "the Spirit," that was certainly valid for them, but getting emotional didn't necessarily mean that a spiritual experience was taking place. More importantly, not getting emotional didn't necessarily that a spiritual experience was not taking place.

I didn't cry a lot in religious situations. It wasn't because I was a tough guy. In fact, I was kind of a wuss. I just didn't think my own spirituality required crying.

So, about twenty-four hours after arriving at the MTC, I was sitting in one of those little classrooms with the other five missionaries in our group and our teacher. The teacher asked each of us to bear our testimonies. We each took a turn for a few minutes. I truly believed in the church, I truly believed that I was doing the right thing by going on a mission to tell everyone that they needed to join my church, and I had no difficulty in stating as much with conviction. Still, I ended up feeling somewhat alienated from the group because I was the only one of the six who didn't cry when it was my turn. A couple of them were sobbing. The way the teacher looked at me gave me the distinct impression that he was concerned about my spirituality. I had similar experiences over the next few weeks and for the first several months of my mission.

I remember thinking, even while I was still in the MTC, that they should be telling us that it's OK not to cry. If anything, peer pressure in the MTC runs the other way and you're always feeling like you don't fit in if you're not a blubbering baby. I guess I was still naive enough to think that they really wanted us to overcome peer pressure and stand on our own feet. They didn't. They wanted to make sure that we were putting aside any "worldly" peer pressure, and replacing it with the peer pressure of the mission bubble.

These days, I still think that there's a distinction between emotion and spirituality, but I find that they occupy the same space within me most of the time. I no longer, however, believe that there is any distinction between what Mormons call "the Spirit" or "the Holy Ghost" and emotion. George Durrant and all the others needed us to get emotional in the MTC so that they could hijack those basic human feelings that we all have and tell us that they were specific messages from God confirming the specific claims of the Mormon church. As missionaries, we would then try to elicit those same basic, human feelings in the people we would meet and try to hijack them in the same manner.

Maybe I saved myself from having too deep of a Mormon root structure because I didn't water my tree enough with tears.

Thus spake Mujun.
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Three Telling Encounters With GA's Within Three Months
Thursday, Dec 22, 2005, at 08:55 AM
Original Author(s): Skeptical
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I must be feeling nostalgic. Old memories have been flowing back into my mind frequently. Near the end of my mission and the month of my return, I met 2 GAs three times in about three months. Not one of the experiences was positive.

The first encounter was with Angel Abrea, who was the Argentine Seventy. He visited with my mission president and really reamed him about baptisms, etc. I was an assistant to the president and really liked him. It hurt me to see him get such a thrashing when our numbers weren't that bad. I chalked it up to Abrea making sure that the Argentine native president kept in his place. I was totally shocked to see someone who I considered an especial witness of Christ behave in such a way.

Within a couple of months, I finished my mission and was able to go to the temple in Buenos Aires. I was happy to me my twin who was serving in another mission in Argentina. Abrea was serving as temple president of the newly erected temple. I met my twin and went to the temple. Abrea was at the desk checking recommends. He looked at mine in front of the other 18 or so returning missionaries. He looked at mine and told me that the signature was a forgery of the mission president's signature. At first I thought he was joking. I reminded him that I just had seen him in my president's office. He asked me to take a seat while the other missionaries entered the temple. I was prepared to miss the session and felt disappointed that I wasn't going to be with my brother who I hadn't seen in two years. I suggested that he call the MP to verify. He refused. Finally, at the last minute, he told me to hurry up and change so I wouldn't miss the session. The word that came into my mind was "Chanta."

When we got home, we're both skinnier than when we had left. I was very sick from frequent mission travel. I had left my suits in Argentina for YM leaving on missions and had gone through many shoes from the constant walking on dirt streets. My last pair of shoes looked horrible but I wouldn't buy another pair of horribly constructed Industria Argentina shoes. (I was always surprised that a nation which produced such leather could make such poor quality shoes). The evening we returned home we sat outside our stake president's office to be released. As we sat, two years of faithful service ran through my mind. I had given everything. I sat there like a marathon runner totally spent. As we sat waiting, the local Mission President walked from the High Council room with a Seventy (his name now escapes me) and looked as my brother and I as we stood to greet these two servants of the Lord, the Seventy sneered at us and said to the Mission President, "I hope that these two aren't representative of your missionaries." I thought my dad, who had been called to be the ward bishop, was going to explode. My dad explained that we had just returned from Argentina and that was the best we came home with. I shook both their hands and the seventy never batted an eye or even apologized.
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I Don't Think That One Should Blame The LDS Church. Missionaries Are Supposed To Be In Places Where People Need Help Most.
Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006, at 02:11 AM
Original Author(s): Mayan Elephant
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
i agree with this to the extent that the church did not pull the trigger or put the missionaries in that place at that time. but i cant help but think about capt jacks comments in the s. american thread where he highlights the lack of training for these kids. there is insufficient training.

my mission was radically changed by the gulf war, the first one. we had converts in our mission killed for joining the church. we spent a majority of our time in red cross centers and public housing. we taught those people that need help most, but we did so to exploit them rather than help them. sure, we thought we were helping them, but we could have really done something with all the manhours spent telling them a pack of lies about a dude with a urim and thummim, allegedly.

i have been very bothered by this story. the kid was from my home town. not that i know the cat, but its still my home.

also, this could have been my parents getting that call. i had a sister serve in new orleans. good god. my sister was serving in the stake where poser and i lived. about that time a close associate of my wife was abducted, robbed, raped and executed in orleans parish. she was abducted on a good street. true she wasnt a missionary, just another victim of the random violence in the deadliest city this country has experienced. we had a convert shot at the street car stop on st. charles. we had a branch leader whose son had been killed in the city. we had a widow whose husband was murdered. we had extreme domestic violence cases. we baptised a young kid that still had a bullet in his leg. there was not sufficient training for these missionaries to know what they were dealing with.

i was the wml in new orleans. one day a new set of sisters were moved into an apartment just off of freret street. i went to meet them and i was shocked. i couldnt believe we had sisters there. i drove the sisters over to a members home and asked them to please allow the sisters to stay there until i could meet with the mission pres. he refused to meet with me, i was just a punkass wml after all. finally one of the members got him on the phone and told him that no amount of faith was going to keep those sisters from getting raped or killed in a crack district of uptown. he agreed, after much delay and much of a week with sisters sleeping in members homes, to not have them stay there. SO THE BASTARD PUT THE ELDERS IN THE CRACKHOUSE. his logic was that it was his best missionaries in the city and he could trust them. yeah right. it was some punk from harvard with the street sense of a traffic control sign. elder brown. i can see him now. i was one of few members that would take them home to this crackhell. thenone day, they were moved out. why? because elder brown felt that missionaries would lose the spirit to see women sunbathing at the pool. whah? it turns out, they leased the apartment knowing it had a pool but figured sisters wouldnt be tempted to swim or watch the swimsuited neighbors at the pool. IDIOTS!!!! that mission president was just a fool.

in my mission it was a badge of honor to be mugged in marseille and tell the tale. i heard missionaries comparing their experiences of being mugged by tunisians vs. senagalais. knowing this, we never carried our passports in marseille because it would be a pain to get a passport renewed. we carried less cash. some of us had more street sense than others and were given a bit more rope to hang ourselves in the big cities. i thought i was a savvy elder. but a lot of good that did me when i was maced in the face on a marseille street. who knows how that would have ended today. i suspect if my 6'2" companion hadnt jumped out of the car it would have cost me a wallet and some bruises.

we were constantly in the buildings that local french people would not enter. to us they were snobbish members that deserved insults and rebuking for the refusal to help us. looking back, with clearer lenses, they had more common sense and probably saw us as cavelier mavericks.

i had a great mission president. though many had poor experiences with him, i had great ones. but he did nothing to discourage our brash behavior. my first area of my mission i was working with the ap. we parked our car, with swiss plates, near the building where we were working. when we came back it was surrounded by young kids swearing and taunting us. i remember asking the ap, "what are they saying? it sounds like they are asking for money, bibles and cheese." he laughed, i didnt need any translation. i had understood perfectly. we just moved past them and drove off, with our money and cheese still in our possession.

i had a great experience on my mission. but i cant ignore the chances we took and the risks. whether it was shamelessly going places that we didnt belong, or driving across the country at 140kph without any sleep - or coffee. i was one of the lucky ones, as most are. unfortunately, there are those few that arent lucky despite taking a lot fewer chances than i did.

those poor parents who got that call last night. if they find some comfort in believing their son is in greater places, so be it. i cant fathom their grief.
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Health Care For Missionaries: Usually Great, But Some Improvement May Be Needed
Thursday, Jan 12, 2006, at 08:05 AM
Original Author(s): Yooperapostate
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I called LDS headquarters this week to ask a few questions and raise some concerns about health care for missionaries (or rather, about what I hope are two unusual and exceptional cases). In the process, I spoke at length with several people in two different departments dealing with LDS missions and medical issues. I've also spoken with several missionaries and former missionaries. On the basis of these conversations, I agree that the Church does strive diligently to ensure that missionaries are safe, healthy, and get the care they need. There is a real effort to make sure that excellent care is given, and many millions are spent toward that end. I am also impressed with the statistics showing that serving a mission is remarkably safe and much healthier than the lifestyles of typical young people. And I am confident that in most missions, most missionaries receive an outstanding level of appropriate health care. However, I am also convinced that there is still room for improvement in the health care providedfor missionaries in at least some missions. And frankly, after expressing some serious concerns, I feel that others did not fully grasp the potential seriousness of the situation (not the nurse I spoke to - she was great). Sure, I can understand why people there might not pay much attention to a complainer from Wisconsin. But one significant person eventually assured me that corrective action would be taken in one case that I raised, but as you may deduce from the details below, the disappointing result would only prove to be more fuel for my burning concern. There is a problem, perhaps a rare one but certainly a real one that needs to be addressed.

In posting my comments here, I do not mean to point fingers at any of the mission presidents and their wives in the Church. I hope that will be clear below.

By way of background, missionaries in need of non-emergency health care often are asked to call the mission president's wife to discuss the problem. She may have the missionary talk with a Church-sponsored doctor over the phone to see if further attention is needed, or she may make recommendations on her own. If the missionary is sent to a doctor, the Church covers all the costs. Many millions are spent to ensure that good care is provided. I can see that requiring pre-approval before seeing a doctor in non-emergency situations makes sense when all the costs are being covered by a third party.

A problem arises, though, when the mission president's wife does not accurately assess the situation. Even if we required them to have medical degrees, there are cases when a phone call is inadequate to understand the nature of an injury or illness. I respect them greatly for the work they do to watch after missionaries, but perhaps too much is being asked sometimes. In my opinion, the same problem applies to those missions where doctors hired by the Church are available by phone to approve (and screen) missionary requests to see a doctor. If a missionary feels that he or she needs to see a doctor, but the mission president's wife or a long-distance doctor says no, what recourse does a missionary without his own insurance have? Perhaps we need some kind of backup system - perhaps a copay system for unauthorized office visits or a health care advocate/ombudsman a missionary can turn to when he or she is not satisfied with a recommendation.

Two Troubling Cases: May These Be Unique!

I know of two recent cases, hopefully two very exceptional cases, in two different missions, where missionaries correctly recognized that they needed to see a doctor but were told not to. More than one request was made, but they were all denied. In one case a frustrated member in a local missionary's area, worried about the missionary's sports injury from a preparation-day activity, gave up on the system after multiple requests for approval to see a physician and simply took the elder to a walk-in clinic at the expense of the member. The mission's screeners had believed the injury to be minor and would not authorize a visit to a physician, even after a couple of concerned local members called various parties to intervene for the elder. However, X-rays confirmed that the missionary's injury was more serious than the mission president's wife and a remote Church doctor had recognized, and confirmed that a higher level of care was needed. In fact, the missionary will require surgery (relatively minor, fortunately).

Now that a correct diagnosis has been obtained - apparently this required a physically present physician using x-rays - I am confident that the surgery will be covered by the Church and that the missionary will get the care that he should have been getting several weeks ago. While it would have been best to see a physician right after the injury, I am hopeful that most of the problem can still be corrected. Though hopeful and grateful now that care has been initiated, I am unsettled by this event. Perhaps more than just a little unsettled. Local members were right to be concerned and a local member was right to buck the system by "smuggling" the missionary into a clinic to get x-rays. Glad he felt he had enough cash to spare to do that on his own. (Update: the Church's Missionary Medical Department wishes to reimburse the member for wisely taking the elder into the clinic, so that's good.)

In a second and more serious case, a missionary's repeated requests to see a doctor were allegedly denied by a well-meaning mission president's wife. She thought the pains in his side might be due to inadequate fluids and recommended drinking water or Gatorade. He had appendicitis. Fortunately, the missionary is OK now, but I understand that he was worried and unsatisfied with the recommendation from the mission mom. His health could have been protected better by making it easier to see a doctor.

My dear brothers and sisters in the Missionary Department, although these two cases may be bizarre outliers in a system that normally works well to protect the health of missionaries at reasonable cost, they do point to a potential weakness in the system that might depend too much on the judgment of a well-meaning mission mom who typically is not a medical professional, or on the judgment of a remote physician who may feel a responsibility to cut back on seemingly unneeded doctor visits to prevent wasting Church funds. Could we consider a safety valve for those cases when a missionary really feels that a doctor's attention is needed? I believe that health care for missionaries is remarkably good, but in at least a few cases it needs to be better.

I am also concerned that an unfair burden may be placed on mission presidents' wives. All the ones I have known have been exemplary people, loving, diligent, and dedicated to the well-being of their missionaries. But I haven't known any that were licensed nurses or physicians. Isn't there a dangerous liability issue hanging over mission moms? I don't know of any such lawsuits, but one medical disaster coupled with aggressive personal injury attorneys could create a huge nightmare for them and for the Church.

My final concern involves the ability of parents to know what's happening with their missionaries. I can understand that mission presidents want families to just get upbeat news and not details of miseries from colds or other minor illnesses. But I believe that parents should expect to know the details of the health of their missionaries, if the missionaries want to share that. Unfortunately, many missionaries are told to stay positive and not discuss health problems. They may feel pressure to not talk about problems like pains in their side or a sports injury that isn't healing. Look, they are adults and should be able to share whatever information they wish about their health. And who knows, perhaps a little more openness here could help serve as a safety valve, for increased awareness will bring increased accountability and perhaps improved health care access. I'm sure mission presidents, Church doctors, and leaders in the Missionary Department don't want a flood of overly nervous parents calling in to second-guess the level of care that is being provided when someone isn't feeling well, but as long as there isn't a safety valve to deal with the exceptional cases like the two I've raised here, then maybe a few more calls from concerned members and parents will help.

For the record, my missionary son is not one of the two cases discussed above. His health has been fine, as far as I know. (Well, as far as I know - I mean, I haven't heard anything negative, so I assume . . . oh oh . . .) And my oldest son who served in Argentina reports that he felt the health care provided was excellent, and the role of the missionary president's wife there was a very helpful one. She was really looking out for the missionaries and made sure they got good care.

Now if there are possible flaws in the Church's healthcare system for missionaries, it will be just one more reminder of how fallible all humans are, even those who serve the Church. Just as Moses the great prophet needed advice from his father-in-law to get him improve his inadequate management of the House of Israel, it's possible that outside advice from ordinary members like you and me and the parents of missionaries might be needed in some department somewhere in Salt Lake City, like it or not.

If you respond to this post, please note that I am not looking for a forum to criticize Church leaders, to denounce the Church, or to post anonymous and highly questionable alleged horror stories of missionary maltreatment. We've had some nasty examples of that from deceptive anti-Mormons on this blog before. But I would especially appreciate suggestions on how we can better help our missionaries, how we might avoid the exceptional problems I have raised here, and how members and leaders can better care for and protect our missionaries. I would also appreciate comments on how we can deal with the issue of what missionaries do and don't share with folks back home. And if I'm overreacting and being unfair in this post, let me know.
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Now Days Mormon Missionaries Are Going Out Into An Informed World.
Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006, at 10:49 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It is very different from a few years ago. Once there was a computer in almost every home (or access to one) and dozens of dedicated people have spent thousands of hours of their time and money to make primary source, documented, reliable information available on line, Mormonism is very easy to debunk, and the unequipped missionaries are going into the lions den.

It is indeed unfortunately, that these young men and women are spending so much of their own time and money completely unprepared to deal with the information available on Mormonism at people's fingertips.

Convert membership has to be at a new low because generally speaking, people just do not accept what they are told without doing at least a modicum of research.

My guess is that Mormonism will have to change how it does business and rely on non members to keep it financially afloat, as they are now doing, buying a mall.

I would not be surprised if Mormonism builds less temples and buys more real estate that provides an income from non members. When GBH is gone, temple building is probably going to go down.

I wonder if sending out missionaries is a viable way to "spread the gospel" anymore.

The next step will be to lower the number that serve.

Those of you who served missions and have sent children on missions know that this is a very different "field" for missionaries now days.

The more educated and informed members become, the fewer young people will serve missions.

We all ready see that happening, as there is a huge push to get the seniors to serve.

My view is that LDS INC is finally realizing that they need to do something to survive in the financial world, and keep it's base of true believers, that for the most part, seem to be generational Mormons.

What do you think LDS INC will do next to secure it's financial base?
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Feelings Of Guilt In Mormonism
Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006, at 08:27 AM
Original Author(s): Ulysses
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
When my older brother returned from his mission, just a few months before I left on mine, I actively solicited his advice and counsel. I was shocked to learn that a dominant theme for him on his mission had been guilt. He said they were made to feel guilty for any trivial infraction, such as getting up a few minutes late or taking too long for lunch. At the time, I had been going on splits with the local missionaries and really looked up to them. I thought that if any of them died, they would be front and center in heaven. Anytime I spent an evening working with them I could almost feel the approval of heaven smiling down on me for my generous service. I told my brother it made no sense to focus on the small things you hadn’t done, rather than feel good about all you had accomplished for God in any given day as a missionary. I vowed to myself that I would keep this in mind while on my mission.

Alas, I was no match for the institutionalized guilt that smothers missionaries. It started in the MTC when I turned in my report to the branch president and he chastised me for getting to bed one or two minutes late. Trivial minutia became the measuring stick for exact obedience. I was a very zealous missionary, and always followed the rules as well as possible. Just before I arrived, the mission had completed a “Season of Sanctification” during which all missionaries had been challenged to live even more austerely. Though the white handbook directed three meals a day, in my mission, they decided to eat only two. By the time I arrived, this had become the unwritten rule and all good missionaries ate breakfast, a one-hour lunch at two o’clock and maybe caught a snack before bed. No dinner, because it took away from proselyting time. This persisted throughout my two years there. Music rule was: only hymns, only on p-day. I, and many others, didn’t bother listening to any music, ever. I had nothing to feel guilty about, but somehow I never felt worthy or adequate. It wasn’t until near the end of my mission that I understood why.

In real life, your time is your own, to use as you see fit. If you choose to use some of your time for service of others, it represents a sacrifice, and you have reason to feel good about what you have done. On a mission, you are told that your time is God’s. All of it. So any time spent not doing God’s work is time robbed from God. No need to feel good about time spent in the service of God. Only guilt about any trivial time not spent that way.

In the second month of my mission, I was on a split with an overzealous Zone Leader. I grew up in a small town and my first mission area was a concrete jungle. During this split I had my first glimpse of greenery. Pretty rice patties surrounded by a bamboo forest. I decided to pull out my instamatic for a quick snap-shot. It took no time, but as I reached in my bag I felt the stern glare of the ZL upon me. He asked what I was doing. When I told him, he said, “Oh, no, Elder. If you take that picture, every time you look at it you will realize ‘I took that picture on the Lord’s time.’” I took the picture anyway, and it took less time than his rebuke. But fear of wasting any of “the Lord’s time” became a mission theme.

Ironically, when I returned from my mission, I found the same guilt themes and reversal of values. I found that the more time I gave to God (through the church) the less adequate I felt. I think this is because we are all made to promise in the temple to give all our time, talents and everything we have to the church. This, like the goal of achieving perfection, sets up an expectation in which we are guaranteed to fail. Anything we gave was less than we had promised, and less than expected. When I wanted to feel closer to God, I had to redouble my efforts in the church. But this was never enough. It is no wonder that so many Mormons are depressed. They pay a very high price for the comfort they receive living in a black and white world.
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Great Video Evidence Of The "New Approach Towards Indoctrination Process Of Missionaries" By LDS Leaders
Monday, Feb 6, 2006, at 10:57 AM
Original Author(s): Bach
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Last night I watched this entire video of Robert Millet speaking to an Lds missionary prep class at BYU. I have provided a link to this video, sponsored by BYU below.

For those who have time to watch it, it is quite telling as to the approach that must now be taken with todays missionaries as the access to information, for prospective targets, is becoming more of an issue for todays missionaries.

After watching the video, several things become quite obvious as to the challenges the Church is now up against, primarily - how few people on the outside are buying the missionary claims. It is also a prime example of the "persecution complex" that is being insilled into the church youth today to prepare them for the expected rejection they will face on a mission. After watchting Millet, it becomes almost scary as to the type of indoctrination he is forcing upon the class participants.

Two specific points that he specificaly makes to these students are:

1: "The truthfulness of something is brought out by quiet wispering in the heart, but it's significance is told by the loud opposition" (at about the 7 minute mark of the video).

This is clear "cult technique" to prepare these kids for the rejection of their teachings. After watching Millet, it is clear that the same technique could be used to "disprove the BOM" but I suspect these kids are not yet putting it into the proper perspective.

2: Millet clearly teaches "Don't answer the question they ask, answer the question they should have asked"! As unbelievable this type of teaching would be today, it is true, that's what he specifically encourages these youth. (Seen at the 20 to 26 minute part of the vide.)

Again, a clear indication that those outside the church are more knowledgable about it's history and avoidance of such history should be encouraged. The problem is that Millet classifies these questions as "antagonistic" which ultimately leads these kids to conclude that those asking honest questions are "antagonists"! A common experience in the lds culture for those asking honest, sincere questions are labeled wrongly for seeking truth. A sort of "shoot the messenger or inquirer" approach.

I could only imagine if any one of our country's leaders, or leaders of an academic institution or corporate entity responded to its board that they should only answer the question that should have been asked.

For those who have the time, please take a view of this whole video and just look at the technique that is being promoted the the church leaders today. It is quite amazing.

Here is the link to the video:

http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/4906...
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Weird Missionary Tricks And Behaviors
Monday, Mar 20, 2006, at 07:14 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It has been a long time, but I recall some of the stupid, weird, or just plain annoying things done on my mission.
  • walking fast--always fast, even though you did not know where in the hell you were going
  • calling scriptures "sticks"
  • classifying missionaries as a "good Elder," or a "problem Elder"
  • taking great pleasure in the suffering of a missionary you did not like
  • the stupid testimonies at the stupid testimony meetings
  • embellishment of stories and events--the most mundane had God's hand in involved
  • fasting for this, fasting for that--God, it got old
  • giving blessings for everything
  • looking down on those who were ill, or went to a doctor
  • substitute swear words, like "gag," and "pick"
  • trying to pretend you were not looking at the female members
  • padding the reports to the Mission President
  • the quest to find something good to eat
  • praying ten times each day--you could not walk a step without a prayer
  • saying "I love my companion" in testimony meetings, even though you hated each other
  • seeing weakness in others as a strength in yourself
  • the missionaries at the Mission Home who pretended they wanted to be out knocking on doors again
  • the pompous visits from Zone Leaders--you knew they were asses
  • "teaching by the spirit"-- what nonsense
  • pretending you did not want to go home
  • worrying about your image--if you got a fruit drink on the plane, you could not drink it--someone might think "alcohol"
  • having an appointed spy when you went home--even then, you were watched
  • and, of course, the endless fascination with masturbation--the Mission President can't think of anything else
  • visits by General Authorities, who, in turned out, were jerks
  • looking down on the culture of the people you taught--"only the gospel will help them"
  • all the bogus "changes' you saw in people who joined the church
  • the wild obsession with the Word of Wisdom--it took on monstrous proportions
  • putting on a white shirt every day for two years--I have not worn one since
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Following The Money In The United Kingdom
Thursday, Apr 13, 2006, at 06:51 AM
Original Author(s): Darquestar
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The Church is registered as both a charity and a company, and as such it is required to be registered with the Charity Commission and Companies House. It is also obliged to publish year-end accounts of it's activities. Interestingly the Church was one of a number of charities that was censured for late returns of it's accounts for 2004. As each charity has 10 months from the end of the year to submit its report we will have to wait until 31st October to find out how the church faired in 2005.

The Church has three charities that are currently registered;

Each of these organisations is wholly owned by two parent companies; The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Gordon "The Hammer" Hinckley) and The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka David "The Bruiser" Burton), both of Salt Lake City, Utah.

If you scroll down each of these links you will see a further link where you can view the yearly reports for each organisation. The COJCOLD (Welfare) also owns three additional, separate companies (not charities). These are;

  • AgReserves Ltd
  • Farmspeed (Southery Anchor) Ltd
  • Hallwsworth (Farmland Trust) Ltd

You can search for basic details of these companies here. You also have the option of paying £1 per document to look at their annual returns. I looked at a sample and will post info on this at a later date. Each of these companies are farming enterprises, and grow the wheat that we all get to buy, pack and add to our food storage.

Some of the basic info that i picked up from the accounts of the 'main' church charity include;


  • Surplus income over expenditure was £2,042,000, assisted by a £5m donation from the boys in SLC, leaving a balance in their HSBC account of £20,891,000.

  • For a church that has no paid ministry we managed to spend £7,752,000 on staff costs, in fact it was the largest single expenditure.

  • As well as this £856,000 was spent on 'travel', £2,301,000 on 'General administration', £265,000 on 'Materials and supplies' and £855,000 on equipment.

  • Despite members donating £252,000 to the Humanitarian Aid Fund the church only spent £51,000 of it. More on this another time because this sort of thing really really ticks me off.

  • In 2004 the number of employees earning between £70-£80k was 1; £60-£70k was 7 and £50-£60k was 12. Nice work if you can get it.

  • Assets in the course of construction, land and buildings, equipment and motor vehicles came to a value of £299,227,000. Depreciation of these assets was reckoned to be £52,502,000 which gives the church a net worth in terms of tangible assets of £246,725,000, a little under £0.25bn. And that doesn't include the cash in the bank.

  • There is an outstanding 'loan' from the parent company ("The Hammer" ) of £228,358,000. I used the word loan loosely as it stipulates there is no interest charge and no fixed repayment terms. More on this later as i need time to decipher the jargon; looks like large sums being channelled back to SLC but will check.

  • "The Church's active membership continues to grow" - yeah right. At year end there were 45 stakes, 1 District, 278 Wards and 85 Branches in Great Britain and Ireland. Compared to the end of 2003 there have been no additional Stakes, no additional Districts, 4 additional Wards, and 10 fewer Branches.

The stone that isn't rolling forth.

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My Crazy Easter Experience In The Missionary Training Center
Thursday, Apr 13, 2006, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Time for my annual Easter re-post!

This is one of my true MTC experiences, and looking back, was when I learned what "keeping and feeling the spirit" was really all about.

I was in the MTC during the start of the first Gulf War in the spring of 1991. Before the war, the MTC had an open-door policy for families and relatives hand-delivering gifts to missionaries in the MTC. But then the church decided to use the start of the war as a pretext to set a ban on accepting any hand-delivered care packages from families to MTC missionaries. I was an AP in an MTC Branch at the time the new rule took affect.

(As a sidenote, I learned later that someone started a business just down the street from the MTC, that would take family care packages and for a fee, "deliver" them to the MTC. For security reasons, said the MTC rule, the MTC would only accept packages from couriers but not from family members.)

There had been a long tradition for years that every Easter Sunday, a certain member family that lived directly behind the MTC, would make tons of cinnamon rolls and hand them over the fence to missionaries. My MTC Branch roomed in one of the buildings at the back of the MTC, closest to this member family's backyard, which shared a fence with the MTC.

My Branch President pulled me in the Sunday before Easter Sunday and told me that under no circumstances should anyone accept cinnamon rolls from the family. He told me that the tradition violated the new rule against hand-delivered packages and he would hold me PERSONALLY accountable if anyone in the Branch broke the rule and got a cinnamon roll.

The Branch President then called on me to get up in Sacrament Meeting and talk on obedience and warn everyone not to take a cinnamon roll "lest we lose the spirit." The Branch President also insisted that I remind each missionary individually about the rule and admonish them not to go near the MTC fence on Easter Sunday. At the time, I was a TBM and took the whole thing to heart, obeying the Branch President's every word in order to "keep the spirit."

Easter Sunday came and went and I thought we had made it through the day without incident. Looking out my window, the family stood at the fence with plates of cinnamon roles and nobody dared go near them.

Three days later, the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency pulled me out of my language class for a "Personal Priesthood Interview." He escorted me to the Presidency's office, where the other counselor and the President were waiting. They were all furious.

Apparently one of the missionaries in our Branch was caught eating a cinnamon roll in his room the afternoon of Easter Sunday. He got caught because someone else had snitched on him in the mandatory weekly letter confessional to the Branch President.

The hard thing was, the Presidency was furious with me, not the missionary who had eaten the cinnamon roll. They ripped me up one side and down the other - for not being a true leader, disappointing my family and losing their trust. I felt like a piece of sh*t, seriously. They quoted scriptures on obedience, priesthood authority and losing the spirit.

Worst of all, I felt like I had committed a terrible sin. The guilt I felt for this incident was almost unbearable - worse than any guilt I had felt for other more serious "transgressions" prior to my mission. This guilt over the cinnamon rolls was the most horrible, incredible guilt I had ever felt in my life! I really feared that I had lost "the spirit" for good.

At the time, my only defense was that I didn't understand how accepting a cinnamon roll from a member family violated Christ's spirit of love. But the First Counselor cut me off, saying in a raised voice, "Elder, I don't think you can even feel the spirit anymore!"

They immediately released me as AP and gave the calling to my companion - a fate I felt was close to death. As part of my repentance, they had me write a one-page paper on why I had failed as a mission leader, which was given to my Mission President when I entered the mission field. In my written confessional-of-sorts I wrote that I had disobeyed one of the Lord's Commandments and therefore, had lost His spirit and "amen to my authority as a leader."

That MTC incident was the low point of my mission, for once I left the MTC I felt like I had "the spirit" again. I went on to prove my obedience and priesthood worthiness in the mission field, baptizing in all of my areas and serving in several leadership positions.

It wasn't until after my mission, going through my papers that I stumbled across that confessional paper I had written in the MTC. I was so angry reading it again, realizing for the first time that they had manipulated my faith and desire to be righteous. All that guilty torment self-loathing over a cinnamon roll that I didn't even eat...

And then it hit me. The whole Mormon thing was a guilt trip! If my faith in the Mormon gospel meant the leaders could make me feel guilty about cinnamon rolls, then it meant they could make me feel guilty for anything they wanted. They used my faith to pull at my guilt strings, and they were doing the same thing with things like tithing too! The whole evil control process of the church unraveled in front of me.

That day I decided I would never let anyone play the guilt trip game on me again. I would decide for myself, based on true ethics (not external obedience or "keeping the spirit"), what of my own behaviors were wrong or right. I would never again turn that guilt control over to someone else - especially an institution as manipulative as the LDS church.

It would take many years before I would eventually leave the church, but that decision helped me through all the other guilt headgames my family tried to play on me for "falling away." I hadn't fallen away, I had freed myself from it all.

I see petty rules come from the prophet against earrings, tattoos and beards and wonder how many people out there are suffering the "cinnamon roll guilt-trip" as my wife and I now humorously call it.

Am I the only one who went through this with the church?
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Silence
Wednesday, May 3, 2006, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Taddlywog
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I can't sleep. I find it so hard not to worry. I think my stomach rumbling is my attempt at sympathy malaria. I would take the sickness from my mother in an instant. I just want her home. We have not heard from Dad since Thursday. His cell phone has been turned off. That should be a good sign, right?

I guess I made it to the top of the list. My very sweet TBM sister called to say she was told the church would be calling me with further news of my parents return. About a year ago I went on a phone call campaign to get directions to ship my parents their prescriptions shortly after they got to Africa. They did not have a phone number yet- but had called to let us know they were running low and a letter was on the way with instructions to ship their meds. After waiting two weeks and no letter-I thought I better take the bull by the horns and talked to the mission president and the church office, had to go through a couple of layers to get good instructions for shipping the meds. So somehow that put me at the top of the call list? I did get a little pushy when they questioned why my parents wanted their meds shipped vs. buying locally through the church's health plan. I am not sure why my parents chose to go that way... but don't argue with me about whether I can get my parents their prescriptons!

We are also fielding a lot of calls from concerned family and ward members. Jeepers this news has spread like wildfire.

While waiting and worried and there is no way to get word... I can come up with the most imaginative reasons why things are taking so long. On the positive side I imgine everything is fine, Dad said she was drinking liquid nourishment and had kept down a couple of bites of chicken breast when he called last week. She is just taking a while to get her strength back and it is a long trip home so she needs to be strong.

All the same, I imagine the worse. She wants to come home to her family but her body is failing her.

My mother has never had her own voice. It is hard for young people to understand this. My own teenager has no sense of history. For him today the world is fresh and new and he "knows" it better than I do. My mother was born in the late 1930's. My own father's family did not have indoor plumbing growing up. Mom's family was a little wealthier. Still she learned early that women don't speak out against men, especially their own fathers who are allowed to take advantage of them. She escaped to California when she was 18, drove all by herself from Illinois.

Her uncle had married a woman who was a member of the church and my mother converted after arriving in California. Her past was taboo and never discussed. As far as men go, I think Mom did well in picking my Dad. He is virtuous to a fault... in that he will uphold his personal standards even to his own disadvantage. With Dad there is never a strategy or manipulation only what is good and right. This level of virtue does not bring worldly success.

Mom is very passive agressive. She is sweet and lovable- while she says what she knows people want to hear- her behaviors reflect what she wants or needs. This is why I feel she has no voice. Dad always had the final word and she has lived to please him. They are a matched set, and she was lucky to end up with a good person like my Dad. I think most of us kids "get" Mom better than Dad does. We all knew she did not want to go to Africa. Dad was on a mission from God... "I'll go where you want me to go dear lord...."

At this point I feel like I am just rambling. I guess I am just avoiding my feelings of anger and frustration. I have ranted enough. Just want to keep going on record as pushing for it is time to stop sending people on missions. Commincations being what they are today the church doesn't need them anymore.

Hinkley, as you lay suffering with terminal cancer, think of my poor little mother, not even 5 foot tall, suffering in Africa from Malaria, half a world away from her children and grandkids. There is no good reason for this. Why don't you be the prophet to have the revelation to stop missions... guarantee your place in history. Who cares if it is a marker of the second coming or whatever it is supposed to be? Time is relative... 1000 years is like a twinkling of an eye to the lord right? Marker schmarker... Nuf said.
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Did Your Mission President Chew You Out About Not Writing Enough Letters Home?
Monday, May 15, 2006, at 07:37 AM
Original Author(s): Mormon Inc.
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My mom hated Mothers Day so it never was a really big thing at our house. When I was a little kid I would pick her flowers and make cards and she always liked those. She just told us to treat her nice all year round and forget the special day. My dad would take the whole family out to dinner on Mother's Day and yes my parents were TBM to their last day but never saw the sin of going out to eat on Sunday.

Anyways, on my mission interviews with our mission president were more like intimidation sessions. He would constantly come down on us about not being good enough. In the interview after Mother's Day he asked if I had called home on Mother's Day and I said no. He completely lost it and threw his pen down and told me it was a mission rule to call home on Mother's Day. Well, I informed the mission president my parents were in Israel on vacation so I called my mom before they had left. Now that made Prez go totally ballistic for breaking a second mission rule.

I then was interrogated on how many letters I wrote home. It was a mission rule to write home every P-Day. When I told him I didn't get around to writing last week because we had an appointment with an investigator the dude was frothing at the mouth.

To this mission president it was all about obedience to his rules. Period. No matter what the reason. My hell, even in the military soldiers sometimes have to bend the regulations to get things done. This investigator was very busy and Mondays worked so we took our day off on Tuesday, because it fit our schedule better. He didn't get it at all.

It's at that point I realized I made a huge mistake going on a mission and it's when I got a good glimps of the guilt/control method the church uses. Well, I just blew up back at the president and told him I had given up going to college for two years, spending my tuition money to be chewed out over nothing. I told him family was more important to anything and my family matters were none of his concern. I thought he was going to hit me. I said, go ahead and hit me because if you do, I will press charges for assault.

To make a long story short, I did not get on the bus when the president transferred me to one of the worse areas of the mission with a horrid companion waiting. I hailed a cab for the airport and bought a ticket home.

Pleading of my family talked me back into the church where I wasted more time in the cult for another 15 years until I finally had a similar blowup in the bishop's office.

For me, my family and then in-laws are what kept me in the church. The church was not all bad, I had some good friends in it and had fun being in the young men's program and scouts but I kept seeing that ugly control/guilt trend popping up constantly.

I wasn't very active before my mission. Going on a mission was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. What a waste of time and money! I'm glad I only lasted ten months before I said screw this sh*t!

Sadly, a person's family has a lot of pull and if the church controls your getting out is far from easy.
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Those God Damned Mishies
Friday, May 19, 2006, at 07:26 AM
Original Author(s): Chadswife
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The other day I got a knock on my door. It was totally hot outside, and debated whether to open the door or not, but of course once my children heard the door bell they bolted for the door. I had no escape. Guess who was standing there in their suits and ties????????

THE MISHIES

I didn't want to be rude, they are just doing their jobs right? And, they hadn't been rude to me. They were both looking pretty exhausted and hot. I quickly offered them each a nice icy glass of water which they welcomed. Then they started asking questions. The whole time they were speaking all I could think about was who in my ward sent them here..... It is very unusual for mishies to just randomly select my house. I told them that I had been inactive for many years, and they didn't say much. I told them that my husband was a complete Atheist, and would hate it if he knew they were here. (huge lies, well sort of.) Then they did the unthinkable

They asked if they could sing us a song.. GAG

What am I going to do say no? poor guys just wanna sing. lol brain washing

So I let them. Guess what song they sang?????????

As I have loved you........ Barf, Wretch,

Then, they both sang it in Spanish...........

We live in a relatively newer area in our city where the houses were built pretty close together. All I could think about was my neighbours wondering the the frick was going on at my house. Then they asked if they could pray with me, and I just politely said i would rather not. They then asked when they could come by again, with a priesthood holder to visit me. I couldn't give them an answer, they then asked if there was any service they could provide me, mowing the lawns etc etc. Of course I am NOT going to have mishies doing service for me.

Anyways, they came back about 4 or 5 more times, and the last time i got so sick of it I hid around the corner and told my husband who they already think hates them to answer the door and tell them that it was best they not come back........ and they never did.....

I did however feel sorry for them.
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God Will Protect Me Because I Wear Garments
Monday, Jun 5, 2006, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Slowb
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was serving in Denmark, and when I got a transfer letter about my new area and new comp, and my current comp just started laughing. "You're going to be with ____! HA!" I'd never met the guy but had only heard things that made me not want to be his comp.

So, Apparently this new guy felt it necessary to strictly keep every rule that was a rule, and every rule that wasn't a rule.

He was Canadian(Engilsh) and I'm from SLC(English) so you'd think that we could speak ....ummm... English together... NOPE!

SYL. Speak your language was uber important for him, and since he'd been SYLing the whole time, he taught himself how to mispronounce every word because he'd read it from the dictionary and would pronounce it like an american, instead of listening how the natives spoke. Even I had a hard time understanding him, let alone the Danes.

One day I noticed that whenever we were riding our bikes around town, he seemed to swerve all over the place. Or he would veer to one side of the street for a long space and not correct it until the last instant before hitting something, or the curb. I couln't figure out why he rode so funny. It seemed like he was riding his bike with his eyes closed.

One day I was riding in front and looked behind me at him and sure enough, EYES CLOSED. Not for just a couple seconds, but like 10 or so seconds at a time.

Me: Why do you close your eyes when you're on your bike?

Him: I'm praying.

Me: So, why are your eyes closed when you're riding your bike, then?

Him: You have to close your eyes when you pray.

Me: That's retarded.

Him: The prophets said that we should pray continually.

Me: So what you're saying is that we don't have to use any common sense? Just go ahead and close your eyes when you're riding around? You're going to crash or get hit by a car.

Him: God will protect me.

Me: God's not going to protect you if you're being an idiot.

Him: God will protect me because I have kept all the rules and am wearing my garments.

Me: You're going to get hurt, and I won't feel bad because you're an idiot.

Somehow, he never crashed while we were together. He did have a ton of close calls though. A month after we had moved on to other areas, the MP stood up in the monthly Zone Conference and held up Elder _____'s blooded white shirt saying that we all need to be more careful while riding out bikes.

That shirt was mostly blood. The shirt had a big hole, and it looked like he slid for a while when he wrecked because there was a part completely worn off.

Surprisingly, the garments didn't protect him from the pavement. Surprisingly, God didn't see a need to protect him while he was riding his bike with his eyes closed.

For some reason I felt so vindicated! There was not one ounce of feeling bad for him. He was the hardest person to be with and my prophsey had come true!

I have about a million stories about this guy that are perfect for this board, but you only get one today. Maybe if you're good, you'll get some more.

The best part is when you think about the logic of everything. This guy "Knew" that: JS was a prophet, BOM was true, God protects the idiots. Wait, scratch that last one!
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Use And Abuse Of Members
Wednesday, Aug 2, 2006, at 09:32 AM
Original Author(s): Scottishboy
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I work in the Voluntary sector, both as a paid employee and as a volunteer. Temple workers and those with callings are volunteers, and current (UK) gov't best practice states that volunteering should not leave the volunteer in anyway financially worse off. Obviously best practice is not law, but it means that volunteers can claim tax-free expenses for travel - either public transport standard class fares or 40p per mile for driving. It also means they can be paid a subsistance allowance for meals if there is a residential element to their work.

The morg on the other hand charges rent for temple workers, mostly pensioners who already have bills to pay for their own homes, my Grandparents are soon to start a temple mission they are to be there one week every two months. They will not get a penny for travel expenses and with fuel prices the way they are it won't be a cheap journey for them. It is a mobility car because my grandfather has balance issues and they are on fixed gov't pensions w/ no additional income.

When have you ever heard of a Bishop being able to put in for expenses. For 5 years my father was bishop in a ward which coved half of the largest city in Scotland, so the area was quite wide and the ward boundries were weird, so anytime he went to the ward building it was a 20 minute drive plus all the miles for visiting people HT, etc... never once was he allowed to claim for the expense. Like-wise as a HC man he was assigned to a remote posting which took three hours driving plus a ferry to get to. Not even the ferry tickets were paid by the stake.

Also with ward budgets being as shitty as they are, and there being odd rules about youth only fundraising once a year, most of the activities of the youth were bank rolled either by the bishop or the YM president. Never repaid.

My sister was a seminary teacher for a while. They are called through CES and so are entitled to a stipend. She tried to claim it for paper and pens other simple materials and was given a terrible time even for asking.

The only time expenses are ever paid is to missionaries and higher-ups. For example my mission president never had to pay a penny for his car or fuel because of his position. Compare this to older couple missionaries who had to pay a rental fee for the car and did not get expenses for fuel nor access to a posh pad like the mission president.

I knew some older couples who were really hit badly on their missions because at the time the Dollar sank to an all time low against the Euro making the monthly costs almost double. No additional funds were made available to help. In the mission office we fudged a few things to help out as much as we could but that was only because the MP felt sorry for them and I had to hide the figures as best as I could.

Use and abuse seems to be how it works. No other voluntary organisation could get away with it. What makes it so much worse is that the church sits on billions and makes the little guy pay. They are so blase about it too. Take a look at the adverts for service missions for older couples. Estimated costs are given on the advert.
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I've Been Following The Missionaries
Thursday, Aug 31, 2006, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Kimberlyann
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Every afternoon I pick up my girls from school at three-thirty. I always take the same route which takes me past the home of a black family. I've seen them working in the yard and always wave when they're outside, but I've never spoken to them.

Lately I've noticed a set of bicycles on their front porch almost every day. I figured it was the missionaries, and my suspicions were confirmed Monday when I saw them coming out of the house.

Well, I couldn't even sleep Monday night. The thought of that family getting sucked into Mormonism was keeping me awake. So, I determined to do something about it.

Yesterday, I drove to the investigators home during a time when I thought the missionaries wouldn't be there. I don't know if RfM has emboldened me or if I'm just growing stronger everyday away from the confines of Mormonism, but I felt confident about approaching this family and telling them what the missionaries couldn't - the truth about "The True Church".

I rang the doorbell and a lovely middle-aged lady answered the door and I simply told her my name, and that I passed her home on the way to my children's elementary school every day. When she said she recognized me, I felt a sense of relief. I was hoping she would.

She told me her name, Morlin, and we shook hands. I informed her that I had seen the Mormon missionaries at her home for the last several days and that I had been a member of the Mormon church for almost thirty-two years when I discovered that the church wasn't what it claimed to be. She seemed genuinely surprised and interested at what I told her. I was invited into her home. Morlin and I sat for the next hour in her living room while I told her all about Mormonism's racist theology, the seedy life of Joseph Smith, and the weird goings on in the temple.

Morlin was transfixed by what I told her. She asked me to take the Book of Mormon that the missionaries had given her out of her home. I did take it, and immediately pitched it in the garbage where it belongs.

It's a very good thing I was able to talk to her when I did. Her teenage daughter is pregnant, and the missionaries had set an appointment for her to talk with LDS social services.

Morlin and I are going to get together again this weekend when I can answer any questions her husband or children may have. She called the missionaries and told them not to bother coming back.

I know I probably shouldn't feel as satisfied with myself as I do, but it does feel great to have possibly saved this family from joining the cult.
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The Missionary Training Center Makes Money Off Missionaries With Their Communist Backpack Rule
Tuesday, Sep 5, 2006, at 06:31 AM
Original Author(s): Racer
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I don't know if the MTC still does this or not, but I am curious to know.

I entered the MTC in 1996. Most of us missionaries had brought our own backpacks with us. You needed them to lug around your scriptures, discussions, and various pamphlets since you are on bikes or walking most of the time.

When I got to the MTC we were told by the MTC Pres. that we couldn't use the backpacks we brought. We were told approved packs were sold at the MTC Store and we were to send our old ones home. No real explanation was given for this reason. Some missionaries complained, some kept their mouthes shut and kept their backpacks hidden until they left, but most(including myself)wanted to be obedient to the higher laws, so they shipped theirs home. This may sound stupid, but if you had been in the MTC you would understand the amount of guilt that would be heaped upon you if you did not obey all the rules. Even the rules that had no rhyme or reason.

Here is what really sucked. We had to pay our own money to ship a perfectly good backpack home, and we had to pay our own money to buy the piece of crap backpack the MTC sold. The bags were $25, they were a lot cheaper than the nice Kelty, Northface, and Jansport packs most of us had, but they were ugly as hell. You had 3 color choices: Emerald Green, Navy Blue, and Maroon. The packs were very square just like a suitcase only they were made of nylon. They even had a leather suitcase handle on them. On the backside, almost as an after thought, back straps were added, so you could wear it like a backpack, but the leaders said we should always carry it like a suitcase when we could, and put it on our backs just to ride our bikes. WTF?

Basically the MTC was making money off the 50,000+ missionaries that funnel through there every year. Multiply that by $25 and you get $1,250,000 Gross annual income from backpacks alone. I actually did some work for a high end backpack company and learned what it costs to make real nice backpacks. For the MTC piece of crap packs I estimate it cost the TSCC $4.00 per pack if they got it directly from an overseas factory, and about $9.00 if they bought it from a wholesaler. These are just estimates mind you, but they probably are not far off. I can guarantee you the TSCC was making a minimum of 100% mark up on these bags. What a lousy way to take advantage of someone!

Fast forward a few weeks and we are in the field. Most missionaries ditched the crappy MTC bags and had their originals mailed back to them. The MP didn't give a rats ass about what kind of backpack you had, and the rule did not seem to exist in the mission field.

For any of you newer RM's, is the MTC still doing this?

NOTE: As of July 2004 missionaries are instructed to bring $60 for "incidental personal expenses" including US $37 for an approved missionary shoulder bag.
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Manipulation And Abuse Of Single's Free Agency
Monday, Sep 11, 2006, at 06:36 AM
Original Author(s): Tom Cruise Wannabee
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was raised LDS since I was 6 years old because my mom joined in 1984. From a very young age, LDS culture brainwashes you into desiring to serve a mission for "True Church." Primary songs such as "I hope they call me on a mission" and "I want to be a missionary now" really drums it into your head. So, before I turned 19, I gave serious thought to going on a full-time mission. I talked to my local bishop and he gave me the expected answer: "All young men should serve a full-time mission" because:

1. The Prophet commanded it.

2. It would be the best two years of your life.

3. Your faith in the Church would increase.

4. You would be sharing the Gospel with others.

5. The field is white and ready to harvest.

6. You will be blessed by the Lord after your mission.

7. It is prestigious to be a returned missionary.

8. It is expected of all young LDS men to serve an honorable 2-year mission.

9. Your mission will add discipline and skills that will benefit you in your college education when you return.

10. As a young man, you will be serving the Lord by giving him 10% of your life as a missionary for "His True Church"

Furthermore, the bishop promised me that:

11. My non-member father would join the Church after he sees how much good the mission has done to his son (me).

12. You would be more focused in your college studies after you complete a full-time mission.

In reality, this is what actually happened -- I found out during and after my mission that:

1. You cannot really trust what the Prophet, Apostles, Seventies, General Authorities, Mission Presidents and/or APs/ZLs/DLs tell you is "inspired." A lot of "inspired programs and methods" from the upper echelons of the Church were rather ineffective and empty missionary tools. Whatever the prophet and GA say, take it with a grain of salt.

2. It wasn't the best two years of my life. Even though I did go up and give my homecoming talk and described my mission as "the best two years of my life," in hindsight, I regret doing that because I was just harping what I was brainwashed into saying and expected to say about my mission. In reality, I was unhappy with the mission but I was also unsure of myself and my own view of things. I didn't want to rock the boat and tell things as they really were. The mission experience was mediocre, rather boring and frustrating: I should have spent my time doing something else. I should have trusted my own initial gut judgement and discussed it openly with others in the beginning.

3. My faith in the LDS Church actually decreased during my mission. I had deep concerns about the Blacks and Priesthood issue even before going on the mission. I thought that going on a mission would give me time to learn more about and find the answer to this concern. As it turned out, the more I learned about the issue through Church books, GA's talks, and LDS videos, the more convinced I became that the LDS Church was just playing "catch-up" with the times. I watched the VHS video "Ensign to the Nations" (December 1997) a couple of times during Church conferences while on my mission. There was the story of the first black baptism in Africa. Anthony Obinna was a school teacher in southern Nigeria when he had an unusual dream in late spring 1965. The dream directed him to the LDS Church. (Watch the video). When he wrote to Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City and requested for LDS missionaries to be sent to Nigeria to teach and baptized him, he was denied. Some other people learned of his dream and became interested in the LDS Church. Not giving up hope, he continued to write letters pleading for missionaries to come to Africa to teach and baptize his people. Church Headquarters in SLC, Utah continued to deny him the gospel. It wasn't until November 1978 that the first LDS missionaries were sent to Africa to baptize. Now wasn't that feet dragging? When a person is ready for the gospel, that person is READY for the gospel. I don't get the 13-year delay. Maybe the LDS leaders are the racist ones who weren't ready to have black priesthood holders in the Church. Compare Anthony Obinna's readiness for the gospel as a black man to my own personal experience with non-blacks in my mission areas who were totally unready for the LDS gospel. They didn't want LDS missionaries where I went, yet the LDS Church GAs called me "by inspiration" to go serve my mission there. Contrast that with Anthony Obinna and his people wanting the LDS missionaries to come to Africa, yet the LDS Church GAs denied them the gospel until much, much later (more than 13 years after the dream) in late 1978. So, who are more faithful? Blacks or non-blacks? (And to think I almost swallowed the "blacks were fence-sitters in the pre-existence and therefore less worthy" doctrine that was prevalent throughout LDS culture).

4. I felt like I was more of a salesman and a hassler than a missionary. Many people complained to the mission office about the missionary tactics we used (such as GQing) which we did because we were simply following the orders of the mission president and his APs. I felt abused and misused by the mission. I also felt that my talents and skills were not really put into good use, as other missionaries whom I thought were less deserving were put into leadership positions over me.

5. The field I served in was not white and not ready for harvest. It was in fact overharvested since it was cut out from the remains of a couple of older missions that had been split.

6. My life turned upside down after my mission. Things went from bad to worse. Dad was very angry at me for "wasting time" and "getting off track" , and grandma suffered a stroke, was comatosed for several months and died before she saw me graduate from college. I had difficulty adjusting back to normal college life after my mission, and my grades really suffered.

7. I felt that no one really appreciated my LDS missionary experience, especially not in college. When my college acquaintances saw me they would ask -- so what did you do for two years? I didn't want to talk about it. It was also somewhat embarrassing to be two years behind academic schedule.

8. I learned that you should never do anything you are not sure about just because your parents or Church leaders expect you to. Think 1000 times before committing yourself to anything in the Church.

9. My mission added little to the skills that I didn't already possess: I was already disciplined in high school and got into a prestigious college before my mission. My skills actually stagnated during my mission and I had a difficult time sharpening them when I got back to college. I got the first failing grades of my academic life right after my misson.

10. There must be other ways of serving the Lord besides a two-year nonsense mission. I gave to a Christian charity fund for disadvantaged Third World children even while a struggling college student. That counts as serving the Lord too, right? Perhaps that was even more noble than serving a mission.

As for the promises of the bishop, none of them happened:

11. My skeptical non-member father still hasn't joined the Church and probably never will.

12. I had difficulty readjusting back to academic life after my mission. My concentration had weakened and dissipated. My college skills had deteriorated during my mission. My grades went down. My recommendation for those young men who are already A students: Don't go on a mission as such would ruin your study skills and pull down your GPA.

Right after my mission and while I was experiencing great difficulty at school (plus there were problems at home: serious friction between deadbeat dad and old grandma and a difficult family employee), the bishop in my small town college ward had the brain dead inspiration to advise me to "get married." He noticed that I was agitated about things (mainly because I had unresolved Mormon issues)and so advised that I should quench my raging hormones by getting married as an outlet for my youthful passions. What a dick!
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The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, And Tangier North Africa
Monday, Nov 6, 2006, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Alifeexamined
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In a separate thread entitled, “The Infamous England East Mission,” I asked if anyone on the board knew anything about the England East Mission under Presidents Belnap and Smith during the first half of the 1970s. Stay Mutt and ExmoPastafarian believed I was building suspense by not “spilling the beans.” Actually, I was merely interested if others here knew anything. I learned that at least one person did--Hotwaterblue. However, since the issue of stolen cars arose in the other thread, I will tell what I know about “The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, and Tangier North Africa.”

Of course, this story is only the tip of the iceberg, and, no doubt, I will be accused once again of holding back in order to milk my knowledge of the England East Mission for as many posts as is humanly possible!

As I think back on my mission experience, I wonder why it never occurred to me that it was odd the England East Mission had a “mission mechanic.” I now know that missions of the LDS Church don’t generally have a position called “mission mechanic,” but I was more naive back then--a lot more naive.

The dubious title of “Mission Mechanic” was held by a rather shady missionary affectionately known as “Grease Monkey Nelson.” While strict mission decorum and rules require that all missionaries be referred by the appellation, “Elder,” no one in the England East Mission seems to have ever referred to Elder Nelson as other than “Grease Monkey Nelson”--at least not in my recollection. Anyway, Elder Nelson’s sole assignment on the mission home staff was to maintain and repair the fleet of broken-down mission vehicles. In this capacity, Grease Monkey Nelson never seemed to have been assigned a companion.

At this point in my story, there will be those out there who will sense serious inconsistencies in my narrative. Firstly, mission cars are purchased new and traded out when only a couple of years old. Consequently, there would never have been the need for a “Mission Mechanic.” Secondly, and, more importantly, every missionary always has a companion. It’s one of those unalterable rules of the universe like entropy or Newtonian mechanics. But this was the England East Mission under President Dean Belnap, and the ordinary rules applicable to missions of the church simply did not apply–just as Newton’s laws don’t apply in the face of quantum mechanics.

Like many mission presidents, President Belnap viewed himself as General Authority material and was resolute that his tenure as Mission President would secure for himself the brass ring. To that end, Belnap gained a reputation with Church Headquarters for never sending a missionary home early. I believe this explains, in part, Elder Nelson’s calling as Mission Mechanic. As shocking as it may seem, Elder Nelson was one of that small class of missionaries who didn’t seem to enjoy tracking 12 hours a day. Apparently, Elder Nelson’s calling as Mission Mechanic was designed to keep him in the mission field while employing his God given talent for fixing cars.

Of course, a reputation for keeping missionaries in the mission field is not sufficient alone to secure to a mission president a calling as a General Authority. Only baptismal numbers will do that–and ultimately only record baptismal numbers. To that end, President Belnap fostered an environment where “rules” were to be ignored if they hindered the “work” (translation: record baptismal numbers and elevation to that rarified pantheon occupied only by General Authorities). For example, I personally remember going on a split with a sister missionary at President Belnap’s request, and the last time I check, I was of the male persuasion. But I digress.

Because missionary work is more effective when missionaries have the use of cars, Belnap sought to supplement the mission automobile fleet with additional vehicles (undoubtedly without the knowledge of the higher ups in Salt Lake). To this end, he sought the assistance of Grease Monkey Nelson who used his network of dubious connections in the Greater London area to secure cheap broken-down vehicles. Elder Nelson would then apply his exceptional mechanical skills and get these vehicles running–all for the “work.”

As a district leader, I personally recall driving a large cumbersome van that had been retired from the British Royal Mail Service. It is an understatement to say the electrical wiring in this vehicle had something to be desired. On at least two occasions, I was stopped late at night by the police when the running lights to the van inexplicably cut out. On another occasion, I recall pulling up in front of our flat in Royale Tunbridge Wells as the wiring above the front windshield burst into flames! You simply can’t make this stuff up. Life truly is stranger than fiction.

Anyway, some of the vehicles acquired by Grease Monkey Nelson apparently were of questionable provenance which should come as no surprise given Belnap’s general operating style that rules didn’t apply if they interfered with the “work.” Ultimately, the London police dropped by the Mission Home on Exhibition Road in London to investigate the acquisition of “hot” cars by Grease Monkey Nelson. At this point, President Belnap felt inspired to transfer Elder Nelson to the Rock of Gibraltar for the remaining six months of his mission–yes the honest-to-goodness Rock of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea!

Less my story become even more unbelievable, I should explain that the Rock of Gilbraltar, a short distance off the coast of Spain, is a British holding and has been since August 4, 1705 when the British seized the island from Spain during the War of Spanish Succession. Despite the passage of time, the Spanish are still a little steamed about losing the Rock and wouldn’t permit the passage of individuals between the Rock of Gibraltar and mainland Spain. Consequently, the Rock of Gibraltar was assigned to be part of the British Mission, and later, the England East Mission. Accordingly, it was entirely fitting for President Belnap to receive “inspiration” calling Elder Nelson to the Rock of Gibraltar even as the London police were calling on President Belnap. Of course, by the time the London Police could question President Belnap, Elder Nelson was on his way to sunnier climes and Belnap was able to report that the individual sought had left England–which wasn’t entirely a lie now, was it?

President Belnap concluded his tenure as Mission President several months later even as Grease Money Nelson continued to serve on the Rock of Gibraltar. Of course, this doesn’t conclude our story–not by a long shot.

During the summer of 1972, Elder Nelson finished servicing his entire two-year mission sentence and was ready to return home. The mission staff in London mailed Elder Nelson the necessary plane tickets from the Rock of Gibraltar to London from wince (don’t you just love these archaic English words?) he would continue his journey home to Utah but, unfortunately, the British Royal Mail Service was out on strike. Elder Nelson’s ticket home was held in limbo somewhere between London and the Rock.

After waiting several days for the arrival of his plane tickets, Elder Nelson grew impatient and took matters into his own hands. He purchased a car for the equivalent of $20 and rigged it up with an extra gas tank so he wouldn’t have to purchase the expensive petrol available on the European mainland. He and his companion (yes, by this point in his mission, Elder Nelson had been assigned a companion) ferried the car into Tangier, North Africa in order to tank up the car on the inexpensive petrol available there at that time. [Pull out your world map, if you must; it’s not that far.]

The new mission President, Milan Smith, knew nothing of Elder Nelson’s self help measures until several days after Elder Nelson and his companion entered North Africa. Over lunch, one of the Assistance to the President (and none too bright at that) mentioned to President Smith that he had received a strange call two or three day’s previous. The police in Tangier, North Africa had called to inform the mission home that they had arrested a couple of missionaries on the suspicion of drug smuggling. The AP politely informed the Tangier Police that they must be mistaken as the England East Mission had no missionaries in North Africa. President Smith, whose knowledge of geography was a little better developed than this AP, went off like a bottle rocket. “They’ve arrested Elder Nelson and his companion!”

By the time President Smith was able to contact the Tangier police department, the Tangier police had already discovered that the suspicious looking second gas tank was just that–a second gas tank and not a repository for drugs. They released Elder Nelson and his companion after cooling their heels for a night in jail. Our two travelers then commence their journey by car through Spain and France to the English Channel, although it was rumored that they took a detour into Switzerland thus accounting for the full week it took to reach the Channel. At the English Channel, Grease Monkey Nelson sold his car for the equivalent of $1.25 in francs, crossed the Channel by ferry, and returned to London by train.

Thus concludes our saga of the England East Mission, Stolen Cars, and Tangier North Africa. The moral of this story is either: (1) in his infinite wisdom, the Lord uses each person’s God given talents, or (2) crime does pay. You be the judge. I’m a LifeExamined, this is my story, and I’m sticking to it.

ALifeExamined

P.S. If I hear any more whining from the likes of Stray Mutt or ExmoPastafarian, I might be persuaded to post some more long-winded England East Mission stories. (:>)
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More On The Infamous England East Mission
Thursday, Nov 16, 2006, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Alifeexamined
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The email which is reproduced below appeared a year ago on the Yahoo Discussion Group, "EnglandEast," a site devoted to organizing a reunion for missionaries who served in the England East Mission during the early 1970s. The author was a missionary in the England East Mission--someone with whom I am well acquainted. I have reproduced a copy of this post below because some of you have asked for more information on the Infamous England East Mission as a result of my recent post on this site entitled, "The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, and Tangier North Africa." Perhaps you will see some of your own mission in this post.

The post is long but worth the read. Enjoy.

[the reproduced email follows]

"The Elephant in the Room

"Please permit me to introduce myself for those who don't know me. As my screen name implies, I am Jim Clark and I was a missionary in the England East Mission from the fall of 1971 to the fall of 1973. Unlike many of you on this site [i.e., Yahoo Discussion Group, "EnglandEast"), my experience with England was not limited to the missionary experience. Upon returning from the mission, I finished a degree at BYU and then returned to England to study law at Oxford University. Since that time, I have returned to England periodically for work and infrequent vacations.

"At the moment, I am now in the enviable position of being retired. I currently fill my time with real estate investing and playing folk music which I do publicly (no, I was never in the Traveling Family Home Evening) [a missionary singing group used in the proselytizing effort].

“It's almost impossible to spend two years in any pursuit without establishing rich friendships and memories. This certainly was the case for me. Nevertheless, as I reflect back on my mission, there is much that I find just plain wrong. I make this observation as a missionary who truly was committed to the cause. In my opinion, the central problem with the England East Mission was Dean Belnap's principal motivation as Mission President – he was bucking to be a General Authority. As I understand it, he almost made it.

“Unfortunately, the chaos he left in his wake as Mission President caught up with him and resulted in his disfellowshipment shortly after his return from the mission. The fact of this disfellowshipment is an undisputable fact. Those of you who wish to glorify the England East Mission under President Belnap must do so with this elephant in the room.

“Without making this into some full-blown essay, let me mention a few problems to which we were all privy:

“• Lying for the Lord: I experienced this the first day upon arriving in England. I was ushered into a training session and taught door approaches in which no mention was made of the fact that we were Mormon missionaries. We were introducing the Family Home Evening Program, or we were even representatives of UNISCO (United Nations), but we were instructed to avoid mentioning up front that we were Mormon missionaries. My initial reaction was to recoil. I thought I had been called as a witness for Christ but I learned I was a door to door salesman. Like others, I obeyed and bought into the system.

“• The end justifies the means: Clearly there was an operating philosophy under Belnap that the end (baptisms) justified the means. Mission rules were to be broken if they interfered with the sole goal of baptismal numbers. I say "numbers" because the quality of the baptisms were largely immaterial. As President Belnap stated to me after expressing concern about the marginal status of many baptisms and the fact that many fell away almost immediately after baptism– "Don't worry about it Elder; baptism is a necessary ordinance and the fact the some fall away is not important." As a law student at Oxford University just a few years after my mission, I witnessed first hand the crushing workload hundreds of inactive members can impose on a struggling branch.

“• A spirit of unrighteous dominion: The practice was even institutionalized with its own name – "the hurt." Elders were systematically berating for not reaching baptismal goals in the most un-Christ-like fashion and in a manner not characteristic of most other missions ("but you made a solemn commitment to the Lord, Elder"). This operational style began with President Belnap himself and the pattern was repeated at all levels of leadership in the mission. Perhaps it is only a slight exaggeration to say that Belnap ran the mission like the devil runs hell.

“• Undue emphasis on the so-called "mysteries": Again, the England East Mission even had its own name for the deep doctrines -- "doggy doctrines." Belnap used his doctrinal seminars as a reward for the missionaries that could produce and for his own self aggrandizement. After a lifetime of studying Mormon history and theology, I am in a better position to understand the mess Belnap created in this regard.

“Some of you will dismiss what I have to say by concluding that I was brainwashed by Milan Smith, my second mission president. I can assure you that my criticism of President Smith is equally vitriolic. I cannot imagine an individual more unqualified to deal with the mess left by Belnap. President Smith had been a Stake President yet he knew virtually nothing about Mormon doctrine. To him the phrase "calling and election made sure" was a poetic turn-of-words used in the scriptures; he had no inkling of the existence of a second endowment. Smith's more fundamental problem, however, was that his heart was not set upon doing missionary work. He was more interested in speculating in the gold market (which was going gang busters at the time) than the work of the mission as far as I could tell.

“My disappointment in both mission presidents is best illustrated by a story. About 1½ years into my mission, Boyd K. Packard visited the England East Mission as part of the parade of General Authorities needed to deal with the problems left in Belnap's wake. My companion at the time was Elder Pisota, a French-German convert with a highly tuned spirituality. Pisota was at the end of his mission and was truly troubled by the question as to whether he should attend BYU or return to Germany to "build up Zion." During a mission conference conducted by President Smith, I walked alone from the Hyde Park Chapel to the mission home (2 blocks away) and knocked on the door of the mission home knowing Boyd K. Packard would be there alone.

“After inviting me in, I explained to President Packard the dilemma with which my companion was struggling and asked if he would meet with Elder Pisota knowing that Elder Pisota would never make this request for himself. Elder Packard responded by saying, "Elder, given what has gone on in this mission, it would be inappropriate of me to interview any missionary in this mission without first consulting with your mission president." Having made this disclaimer, he essentially started to interview me by asking, "Elder Clark, how do you feel about what has transpired in this mission?" I responded with brutal honestly. I said, "I've been out on my mission 1½ years and I have figured out how to do missionary work." "I have learned how to sense when the spirit is in a discussion, and I really don't need the services of a mission president to do my job." I then added that I was frankly disgusted with the conduct of both mission presidents.

“The barrage of rebuke that I expected to hear from Packard was not forthcoming. He merely stated, "If all the missionaries had been like you, we would not have the problems we have in this mission." With that response, I realized that President Packard was as disgusted with Belnap and Smith as I was.

“I finished my mission as a senior companion in Dover having been demoted from zone leader, a position I held for the majority of my mission.”
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Failed Mission Program; "Book Of Mormon-Key To Conversion"
Wednesday, Nov 29, 2006, at 08:18 AM
Original Author(s): Southern Man
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Soon after I hit the mission field, I figured out that we missionaries were basically lab rats for whatever new and inspired "program" someone had cooked up to increase numbers. I don't mean basic stuff like tracting; I mean "miracle" programs that were supposed to bring huge numbers of people into the corporation. One of those was the "Book of Mormon-Key to Conversion" program. I don't know if this was church-wide in the early 80's, or just some local form of idiocy, but here's how it worked--or DIDN'T work:

Somebody took Moroni's promise a little too seriously and a little too literally. We were to get our investigators to read the BOM and pray about it. They'd get a spiritual witness that it was "true". It the BOM was true, this logically meant that Joseph Smith was a prophet. This, in turn, meant that the CHURCH was true. If the church was true, all the little annoyances like polygamy, blacks-priesthood, etc., faded into insignifacance.

This program failed because our investigators wouldn't read the BOM. Hell, most MEMBERS don't read the BOM. We took to using highligters to mark what we thought were the more important scriptures, but they wouldn't read those, either. And if we did get a sincere investigator who asked a sincere question, they would get annoyed at not receiving a concise answer. We were supposed to tell them to read the BOM, and they'd find their answer in it. So instead of a 30-second answer to a 30-second question, they'd be told to read a 500+ page book, which usually didn't have the answer anyway. It made them think we were ducking their question, which made them suspicious.

Anyway, the program failed and was replaced with something else. Moroni's promise may work on BIC members, because they surely aren't going to admit that they read the BOM, prayed about it, and felt nothing. That would meant their TBM parents, church leaders, etc., were wrong, and we can't have that. Such members tell themselves that if they feel nothing, it's their fault, or they need to repent of something, or try harder, or be patient and the big bang will come eventually. Non-members don't labor under the same delusions. Even if they do read the BOM or the highlighted passages, it comes across as bloody and boring.

So the BOM program failed and we were blamed.
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Stupid Missionary Dinner Program
Monday, Dec 18, 2006, at 11:19 AM
Original Author(s): Primus
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
So they have decided to re-institute the dinner program for the Elders. They can come and eat at you home with your family though only between 4 and 5. They must leave at 5 because those are prime missionary hours.

So basically all you can do is drop food off to them because

Most people don't even get off of work until 5, get home a half hour to an hour later, making it 6. I get off at 330, and not home until 430 to 5. So they could come over and eat with my wife at 4 I guess, however, they can't be alone with a woman without a third male(?) So for it to even work with me, I would have take an hour off from work, so the missionaries can actually eat with my family during that time.

Oh and get this. Someone asked, "Well what if we have a nonmember there at 5, can you come then and eat at 5?" No, we have to actually be teaching them, not EATING at the table with them after 5.

But they are also trying to get the missionaries into each members home at 845 in the EVENING! My kids have been in bed for an hour by then. If I am trying to get my kids interested in missionary work in the future (not that I am) but I am not going to get them back out of bed or keep them up on a school night for a special visit at 845. They can do that earlier between the logical hours of 5 and 6.

I must say that the new mission president is even less inspired than the old president who took away the dinner appointments all together!
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Why I Think That Missionaries Do Lie
Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006, at 07:28 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was surprised yesterday when someone pulled up a statement of mine and was offended because I said that missionaries do lie.

Yes, I said it because I think it's a true fact. I also think that it's fair to warn unsuspecting possible converts of what they're up against.

We all heard Gordon lie on national TV. He expects support and appreciation from the saints for his quick-witted twisting of facts. His mormon followers must honor and obey him if they want to attend their kids' weddings in the church's temples.

And mormons are expected to follow the examples of their leaders, particularly their prophet(eer,) the guy they saw telling whoppers on TV.

Hink had to twist the facts because deft spinning to suit the audience is more likely to garner converts and respect for him and his organization than spilling the absolute unvarnished truth.

Mishies must also spin facts to rack up numbers or they might lose status and favors in their mission field hierarchy.

Milk before meat has long been church practice and policy. Missionaries are expected to sell the milk, while members are expected to add the meat after converts are acclimated and committed to church participation and social peer pressure.

Nightingale said that she bought enough new panties for the number of days she would be gone, doing her temple work for the first time. No one had mentioned garments to her. That happened at the temple where she was told never to wear normal panties again.

I call that lying and I suspect Nightingale would too.

It's common practice for mishies to deceive those they teach. Like Gordon, they wouldn't be likely to keep people interested if they told the whole real truth about whatever people ask or about whatever the mishies sense they'd like to know before joining.

The policy precludes anything close to the full disclosure policies practiced in other churches before conversion. Seems to me that Switz studied for many months before she was allowed to convert to the Catholic Church. I met a couple who converted to Judaism. They also attended sessions with a rabbi for a very long time to be certain they knew all about it before joining.

Some might not consider what mishies do as lying. I do. And I think it's a valid point of view. Sounds like what the mishies do rushing baptisms is deception to me, which is the definition of a lie.

To those who are offended because they don't feel like they and their loved ones lied when they followed the milk before meat policy, I'll say this. You have a right to think what you will about it. But I have the same right, along with 1000s of "investigators" being taken in by this systematic practice of deceit/lying.

Those who know that they as mishies and their mishie loved ones went out of their way to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are most likely a small or close to non-existent minority.

Claiming that mishies do not lie has to be a lie in itself. I don't think I've ever yet met a human who claims to have not lied in their life and mishies have MUCH more reason to lie than average people in their tract homes, tending to their jobs, battling the crab grass, and caring for their families.

Claiming I don't hold that opinion would be a lie.
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Isn't It About Families? Senior Couple Missionaries
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2007, at 09:38 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Why is it so important to ship these grandparents so far away that they lose the connection to their grandchildren? Especially when the seniors are from Utah, where there are plenty of temples and mormon sites there to man. They try guilting these folks into serving. If that doesn't work, they bribe them with the promise of special "blessings," including things that just aren't gonna happen like turning a gay child straight or bringing an apostate child back to the church. And now it appears that if those two aren't working they are trying to make it into an excuse to spend money on traveling somewhere exotic (or not so exotic) and have a "good personal experience" without feeling guilty about spending their hard-earned money on themselves. How about going on one of the many humanitarian trips that are available to do some real good? Of, heaven forbid, how about just going on a cruise because you worked hard all your life and now you want to do a few fun things during retirement?

My parents went on a senior mission. I must admit this was hard for me because I fought bitterly with my parents growing up and then we turned out friends and I enjoy and appreciate having them around, I think, even more because I see that we wasted soooooo much precious time fighting over stupid things, including religion. I realize it should be *their* decision and that I shouldn't feel entitled to have input, but I almost feel like they were bullied, bribed, and rationalized into it (by church leaders and the organization) when maybe it wasn't the best decision that could have been made.

Shortly after submitting papers, one of my parents found signs suspicious for cancer. When asked to please follow up on it because it could be serious, they dismissed it because "I can't; I'm going on a mission." And I suspect in their minds this statement also included, "Besides, if I go on a mission it won't be cancer because I'll cash in on some of those "special blessings" I was promised for serving." Then while there, the other parent sustained life-threatening injuries in an accident. While waiting for word of any change in their condition and thinking I was probably losing someone I dearly loved and wishing again that they had never gone, I was distraught to say the least. In a well-meaning effort to comfort me, other members of my TBM family offered the reassurance that even if this parent died, there was no better place for that to happen as they died serving the Lord and that would give them automatic entry into heaven. I know they felt that was comforting in their own way, but it made me feel as ifI had just stumbled onto a stage in a play or something where everyone was reciting lines and pretending that this did not hurt like hell. Besides, this wonderful person does not need any special circumstance to be "worthy" of heaven; they have a heart of gold. (Not to mention that the God I believe in doesn't put us into a hamster wheel and count how many times we make it go around before he wants anything to do with us.)

I don't care why they are still here; whether it's blessings because they are on a mission (as is claimed by the TBMs who love them) or whether it's by God's nonmormon grace, or just luck, but amazingly up to this point they're both still plugging along. I don't see how it couldn't have been very rough for them and I know it has been hard for me to watch.

When they were accessible, my parents really were the world's greatest grandparents, in my opinion, and my kids thought the idea of spending time with Grandpa or with Grandma was some kind of special reward or something. My youngest especially would burst into tears out of the blue and moan something about "I guess they're never coming back" for quite a while after they left. Gradually, I think the little one has pretty much given up that Grandma and Grandpa will actually ever come back and be able to spend time. they used to talk all the time about Grandma and Grandpa and now I think they're starting to forget a little bit. I worry that the strong bond that was there has been weakened; I hope it's only temporary and that, if one mission can suffice, they can regain the closeness because they really are wonderful people who I feel have a very good influence on my kids.

I wish the "family church" could just let us enjoy each other guilt-free for the short time that we have left together (parents are getting older and have already been through a lot physically). At the very least, they could tell couples who have already served one mission that they should concentrate on their grandkids after that, but it will never happen. It will really suck if this is only the first of mission after mission until they are too old and sick to go anymore.
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Documentaries, Propaganda And Truth
Friday, Jan 19, 2007, at 09:00 AM
Original Author(s): Swedeboy
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
As a Mormon missionary traipsing through the streets of Germany, we were encouraged to share a video which would inspire, enlighten and encourage family wholesomeness and eternal togetherness, that's right, Together Forever or "Fur Immer Vereint" was our propaganda piece of choice.

At the time the Morg was doing an all out media blitz with this bomb, running ads in "Der Stern" (A large Weekly German Magazine) as well as a sundry of other print publications. The add carried a clever tag-line, "Sometimes you need a little "tape" to hold your family together." Blech!

For those of you who have not seen this propaganda gem, it is filled with emotional manipulation and warm fuzzy music to inspire and bring that certain tear to the eye, all in the hope of teaching through emotion that Mormonism was the answer. It also features paid actors who attempt to act genuine as they discuss their "troubles" and the answers they found by following the Mormon plan of salvation. It is contrived, fake and manipulative, but what else would you expect from the Mormon church?

As far as we knew, the media blitz was a dud. (Strange that the Germans seem to be a little more "propaganda" savvy, I wonder why that is? ;p ) On one occasion we decided to show the film to one of our investigators. Following the showing, he turned to us and stated in a matter of fact tone, "That was nothing more than emotional heart rending propaganda backed with bad music!" I was embarrassed, he was right and we had wasted his time with this drivel.

Fast forward to November of 2006. The ExMormon Foundation is now in the process of completing a new documentary which features several exMormons and their experiences with the Mormon church. You can watch a preview of the documentary here: http://www.messermedia.com/ExmoTrail...

What has impressed me with this type of production is that there are no paid actors, sappy and manipulative music and contrived experiences. All of the experiences and stories are real, genuine and require no emotional stand-ins to achieve the desired effect of the honest expression of reality and truth.

I have come a long way from those days in Germany peddling the Mormon gospel. I'm glad to be out on the other side where truth, reality and the genuine expressions of emotion are welcomed not hidden and excused away to the tune of "We can be together forever someday"....
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Church Claimed 8,384 More Missionaries Called Than Was Really The Case
Friday, Jan 26, 2007, at 07:15 AM
Original Author(s): Jimmy Rainbow
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The changing world of LDS statistics.

Perusing the 2007 Church Almanac, updating my stats model regarding the slowing growth trends of the Church; as expected, outside of Church births which decreased by 5,720 last year, (so someone isn’t giving these poor spirits an LDS tabernacle) the convert baptismal figure is much the same again, at a net 243,108 compared to 241,239 last year (reporting 2005 and 2004 respectively), up only 1,869 possibly resulting in the harsh approach of some GA’s towards new mishys during 2006 as reported in an earlier thread by someone. This will be because in real terms the figures continue to represent a per capita decrease in return. That is, fewer members are joining as a percentage of the existing membership.

However, what did surprise me was when I went to update my figures on missionaries called, to get the correlation, I discovered that the entire listings of proselyting missionaries called has been changed from the figures given in the 2006 to 2007 edition of the Almanac. Considering that the Church really should know how many missionaries were called each year, especially up to seventeen years ago, it is incredulous that whilst earlier years figures remain the same, EVERY figure for the fifteen years from 1990 through 2004 inclusive has been altered retrospectively without reason or explanation. Whilst three of the years show an increase in numbers called, the rest show less than officially previously stated each year. These are the figures from page 655 of 2006 compared to the sama data on page 637 of the 2007 edition.

Missionaries listed as called, according to the LDS Church Almanac has changed from the 2006 to the 2007 edition, for all the years from 1990 though 2004 inclusive:

YEAR - 2006 - 2007 - DIFFERENCE 1990 25,350 26,255 +905
1991 25,751 24,861 -890
1992 30,088 28,716 -1,372
1993 28,784 28,774 -10
1994 28,783 27,912 -871
1995 29,871 29,015 -856
1996 32,699 31,227 -1,472
1997 33,964 33,726 -238
1998 33,825 33,229 -596
1999 35,096 33,915 -1,181
2000 35,390 34,503 -887
2001 36,273 34,684 -1,589
2002 36,042 36,196 +154
2003 29,246 30,467 +1,221
2004 30,250 29,548 -702

TOTAL: 471,412. 463,028. = - 8,384 (-1.8%)

I have no idea why they would previously need to lie about the figures as there is no logical reason. However, retrospectively changing previously published figures without explanation is dishonest and misleading. I am assuming that it was either a previous (or present) typographical error but it is a nuisance because it messes up my programme model and I have to redo fifteen years of stats. You would think they would know exmo’s are sad enough to do this sort of thing and be more careful, it really is inconvenient! How thoughtless.

I just got used to the lying for the Lord in everything from the “First (toad in the box) Vision” and “Nephi always appearing to Joseph until after Joseph died when someone decided Moroni was a better choice” through to Hinckley’s “I don’t know that we teach that” regarding one of the most fundamental of teachings everyone knows about, and now this! It is too much, and numbers I am good at! Now it’s lying for the sake of lying – it’s not even for the Lord! Well, that was fun. I expect it was some error somewhere. I will ask them when I have finished asking about other stuff which is more important.

Still, they are well on track to slip into the negative overall convert membership position in a few years time. I think the internet and web sites like this are becoming more and more a source of REAL information for so many who are now leaving the Church. Let’s be sure we do as admin and other posters said recently and try (in addition to the healthy debates on deeper issues) to keep good basic but devastating truths regularly to the fore even if repeated. After all, we were all new here once and for me it was only four months ago that I cried when I found this site and realised I was not alone.
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My Mormon Cinnamon Roll Guilt Trip
Thursday, Apr 5, 2007, at 07:11 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This is one of my true MTC experiences, and looking back, was when I learned what "keeping and feeling the spirit" was really all about.

I was in the MTC during the start of the Gulf War in early 1991. Before the war, the MTC had an open-door policy for families and relatives hand-delivering gifts to missionaries in the MTC. But then the church decided to use the start of the war as a pretext to set a ban on accepting any hand-delivered care packages from families to MTC missionaries.

I was an AP in an MTC Branch at the time the new rule took affect.

(As a sidenote, I learned later that someone started a business just down the street from the MTC, that would take family care packages and for a fee, "deliver" them to the MTC. For security reasons, said the MTC rule, the MTC would only accept packages from couriers but not from family members.)

There had been a long tradition for years that every Easter Sunday, a certain member family that lived directly behind the MTC, would make tons of cinnamon rolls and hand them over the fence to missionaries. My MTC Branch roomed in one of the buildings at the back of the MTC, closest to this member family's yard, which shared a fence with the MTC.

My Branch President pulled me in the Sunday before Easter Sunday and told me that under no circumstances should anyone accept cinnamon rolls from the family. He told me that the tradition violated the new rule against hand-delivered packages and he would hold me PERSONALLY accountable if anyone in the Branch broke the rule and got a cinnamon roll. He called on me to get up in Sacrament Meeting and talk on obedience and warn everyone not to take a cinnamon roll "lest we lose the spirit."

The Branch President also insisted that I remind each missionary individually about the rule and admonish them not to go near the MTC fence on Easter Sunday. At the time, I was a TBM and took the whole thing to heart, obeying the Branch President's every word in order to "keep the spirit."

Easter Sunday came and went and I thought we had made it through the day without incident. Looking out my window, the family stood at the fence with plates of cinnamon roles and nobody dared go near them.

Three days later, the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency pulled me out of my language class for a "Personal Priesthood Interview." He escorted me to the Presidency's office, where the other counselor and the President were waiting. They were all furious. Apparently one of the missionaries in our Branch was caught eating a cinnamon roll in his room the afternoon of Easter Sunday. He got caught because someone else had snitched on him in the mandatory weekly letter confessional to the Branch President.

The hard thing was, the presidency was furious with me, not the missionary who had eaten the cinnamon roll. They ripped me up one side and down the other - for not being a true leader, disappointing my family and losing their trust. I felt like a piece of sh*t, seriously. They quoted scriptures on obedience, priesthood authority and losing the spirit.

Worst of all, I felt like I had committed a terrible sin. I had repented for some things before my mission, but the guilt I felt for this incident was almost unbearable - worse than the guilt I had felt for other more serious "transgressions" prior to my mission. This guilt over the cinnamon rolls was the most horrible, incredible guilt I have ever felt in my life! I really feared that I had lost "the spirit" for good.

At the time, my only defense was that I didn't understand how accepting a cinnamon roll from a member family violated Christ's spirit of love. But the First Counselor cut me off, saying in a raised voice, "Elder, I don't think you can even feel the spirit anymore!"

They immediately released me as AP and gave the calling to my companion - a fate I felt was close to death. As part of my repentance, they had me write a one-page paper on why I had failed as a mission leader, which was given to my Mission President when I entered the mission field. In my written confessional-of-sorts I wrote that I had disobeyed one of the Lord's Commandments and therefore, had lost his spirit and "amen to my authority as a leader."

That was the low point of my mission, for once I left the MTC I felt like I had "the spirit" again. I went on to prove my obedience and priesthood worthiness in the mission field, baptizing in all of my areas and serving in several leadership positions.

It wasn't until after my mission, going through my papers that I stumbled across that confessional paper I had written in the MTC. I was so angry reading it again, realizing for the first time that they had manipulated my faith and desire to be righteous. All that guilty torment self-loathing over a cinnamon roll that I didn't even eat...

And then it hit me, the whole Mormon thing was a guilt trip! They could make me feel guilty for anything they wanted. Those pangs of guilt weren't coming from God, they were coming from my religious conditioning. I had let church leaders program my conscience!

If my faith in the Mormon gospel meant the leaders could make me feel guilty about cinnamon rolls, then it meant they could make me feel guilty for anything. They used my faith to pull at my guilt strings, and they were doing the same thing with things like tithing too! The whole evil control process of the church unraveled for me.

That day I decided I would never let anyone play the guilt trip game on me again. I would decide for myself, based on true ethics (not external obedience or "keeping the spirit"), what of my own behaviors were wrong or right. I would never again turn that guilt control over to someone else - especially an institution as manipulative as the church.

It would take several more years before I would eventually leave the church, but that decision helped me through all the other guilt headgames my family tried to play on me for "falling away." I hadn't fallen away, I had freed myself from their guilt control.

I see petty rules come from the prophet against earrings, tattoos and beards and wonder how many people out there are suffering the "cinnamon roll guilt-trip" as my wife now humorously calls it.
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More On Hungry Deprived Mormon Missionaries
Thursday, Jun 7, 2007, at 08:17 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Our newest and very wonderful board heronine actually ventured out to the mission field to fetch her mishie son. I appaud Grace and her DH. Well done.

These parents had already intervened to insist on proper medical care for their boy and were supplementing his meager living allowance to keep him from starving. Still, when they arrived at his apartment, they found a deplorable situation, little food, no paper products, no dishtowels, and only a few inadequate cleaning supplies.

Males that age aren't famous for putting these things high on their priority lists. But to me, it's uncivilized to make such deprivations mandatory.

I'm not comforted that this might happen in a mere minority of cases. I think one case is one too many. Young missionaries should not be forced to survive without minimal basics which are considered necessities back home in Roy, Utah, or Shelly, Idaho.

My point isn't that exmos are responsible for seeking out mishies to buy them Big Macs, though many exmos do this when they can. It's clear to me that the problem is with the system and how church decision makers run it. These people are either inept or ignorant, if not both.

The only way to fix the problem is through pressure, from the media, from individual mishies, from mishie parents, and from home wards.

Keeping it hidden only makes it worse. And that's what sometimes happens, even on this board. I often see replies which trivialize the sometimes deplorable missionary living conditions.

I don't care that this isn't universal with all mishies. I don't care that some RMs think it did them good to suffer. I don't care that other RMs love to brag about living on rice and rat meat for two years and how it made men of them. And I don't think the fact that some mishies are spoiled and living in luxury makes up for those who are sick, hungry, or cold.

I think it's time for more parents to do what Grace did. More exmos and members need to talk it up. Articles with pictures of kitchen cupboards and refrigerators need to show up in newspapers and magazines. Sanitation and housing commissioners need to show up at these apartments and cite them when there are code violations.

It's time to see this situation clearly. If mishies are not living well, it's the fault of the church which recruited and oversees them.

The general non-mormon public is not responsible for taking in these boys. They don't owe them food, water, bathroom access in their homes, or even the time of day. But the mishies' own parents and fellow church members do owe them minimal decent food, safe and decent, if simple living and working conditions. That goes for ALL mishies, every single one of them.
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LDS Church Cuts Missionaries' Budget By 10.34% While Increasing Funding For Its SLC Commercial Venture 300% (from $500m To $2b).
Monday, Aug 6, 2007, at 06:38 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
When I was a missionary in the mid-1980's in Peru, if you'd worked hard and long enough to save up a good amount of funds before going on a mission and/or had financial support from other sources (e.g., parents, grandparents), as a missionary, you did OK. The quality of food in the shantytowns and slums was typically awful, but at least on P-day, we could escape the ubiquitous poverty, take a taxi, and in a couple of hours be strolling down streets in nicer parts of town, eating tasty, good food, which we each paid for out of the funds sent to us.

Although I left the church before it implemented its 'equalization' program of funding for missionaries, every now and then, I encounter a related bit of news that makes me very glad that a) I went on a mission a generation ago and not today, and b) I left the patriarchal, controlling, dysfunctional LDS Church many years ago.

I was on the RfM site tonight and read the following from a mother of a missionary:

"When I first discovered the board three weeks ago, I read the archives for days. I found a post about the BILLION dollar mall [now at 2 BILLION] and all the other stuff the church spends its money on. I was angry and immediately told my husband what I'd been reading. He kept trying to come up with a good reason for the mall, but finally gave up because there is NO WAY to spin it or wrap your brain around any reason good enough for doing this...if it's truly Christ's church and not a corporation.

Well, lo and behold the next day...we get an email from our missionary son in North Carolina. He informs us that his personal budget for food and essentials is being cut by the "church". (WHO in the HECK IS the CHURCH anyway???) His budget of $145 is being cut to $130 permanently. He mentioned that is it "pretty hard to eat good" on $130 and that when he was in his first area, his budget had been $130 and that the members were not feeding them at all. He and his comp got the "award" for least fed in the zone - three meals in a quarter.

When I'd found out about the award I'd sent him some money because I didn't want him to starve. I didn't know at that time he was living on $130 a month. We were sending $400 a month for my son to have the privilege of serving and giving 100% of himself and they only give him $130.

My husband and I discussed the situation when he got home from work. We were so upset, especially in light of the BILLION dollar mall. This was a chink in the armor of the church in my husband's eyes. He made the point that groceries never go down in price, only up. Why would the "church" cut their budget, and not expand it? To the MP's credit, my son said he was trying to convince the church not to cut their funds.

I have to say, this was the last email my son wrote home to us. We were there in North Carolina the next Sunday BRINGING HIM HOME. When I went to his apartment in was a disgusting mess. It smelled horrible and the kitchen was the worst thing I'd seen in a long time. As I cleaned up I noticed that the basic essentials of a household were not to be found. No napkins, no paper towels, no dish towels, limited cleaning supplies. And why? Because what are you going to buy with a $130 a month? Food or paper products? I'm so glad my boy is home!" (ref. http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon477.htm).

Mormon missionaries typically work very hard - 60+ hours per week, much of it physical. They're young people barely out of adolescence with a high daily caloric requirement, given all the walking and bike-riding they do. They need a good amount of quality food each day to keep their 'engines stoked', other essentials such as cleaning supplies, and safe, clean accommodation. They put their personal lives on hold and their well-being on the line to satisfy the LDS Church's insatiable requirement for proselytizing 'soldiers of God'.

In the latest Statistical Report, the LDS Church indicated that it had 53,164 full-time missionaries last year. The size of the church's F/T missionary force this year is no doubt about the same. Assuming that the church reduced the food/essentials budget of each missionary by US$15 per month (from $145 to $130), its annual savings will be US$9,569,520, which is less than one-half of one percent (0.478%, to be exact) of what it's spending on its downtown Salt Lake City re-development/malls project. The cost of that commercial real estate venture has quadrupled in less than four years, from $500M in 2003 to $2B in Oct./06, as reported in the Deseret News.

The LDS Church has cut the crucial core budget of its missionaries by 10.34%, while increasing the re-development/malls project budget by 300%. The actual total cost may exceed $2B, given increasing labour and materials costs.

For the amount of money that the LDS Church is spending on its SLC project, it could pay the monthly food/essentials expenses (at $145/mo.) of 6.9 million full-time missionaries for two years, or its current missionary force for the next 260 years (assuming no inflation).

In Oct./06 General Conference, Pres. Gordon Hinckley told Latter-day Saints, "The Church is undertaking a huge development project in the interest of protecting the environment of Temple Square. While the costs will be great, it will not involve the expenditure of tithing funds." What he failed to mention was that in addition to laying off church workers (e.g., meetinghouse custodians) 6-7 years ago, and requiring members to clean local church facilities (and pay for their transportation costs out of their own pockets), Mormon missionaries are now indirectly subsidizing the church's $2 billion SLC venture, and suffering due to not being able to obtain enough food to meet their daily caloric requirement (in many cases), not having sufficient funds to buy basic cleaning materials, and sickness/disease that results from malnutrition and living in dirty conditions.

Such is the 'enlightened' leadership of Mormon 'prophets, seers, and revelators'.
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Reportedly, The LDS Church Has Issued A Bulletin About Members Housing Missionaries (They Will Receive A Fraction Of The Fair Market Rental Rate)
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2007, at 01:09 AM
Original Author(s): Captain Jack
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Here is the exact quote from the [church's] bulletin:

"Members will be given a modest reimbursement for increased utility costs and supplies. The stake clerk reimburses the family US$75 (Canadian$85) per month for increased utility or supplies costs."

As far as damage to the apartments, TSCC [the So-Called Church] has that covered too--from the bulletin:

"You [missionaries] will need to use personal funds to pay for any damage you cause to your apartment."

As for the reasons members should lose money on top of what they already give away:

"Members house missionaries as a natural extension of their missionary responsibility. It is based on the principles of sacrifice and consecration by members, and obedience and gratitude by missionaries. It calls forth the blessings promised in DandC 84:88-90."

I'm still looking for a link to the bulletin (presumably on the church's website, but I haven't found it yet). Please post the link here if you come across it.

Note how the church did not indicate that members interested in housing missionaries in their homes (are there any?) could submit a housing dollar figure to the church. In the metro area where I live, renting a room costs (on average) $500 per month. In smaller communities, it's less. However, in the past 21 years, I've never seen an ad from any homeowner indicating that their room rental fee is US$75 (or CAD$85) per month. Per week - yes, in a few cases. Never per month.

LDS homeowners will be hard pressed to cover the extra electricity, water, laundry, home insurance (now that they're renters), and wear and tear expenses on just US$75/CAD$85 per month. Because the church has cut back on missionaries' food budgets (even though food costs are rising at approx. 6% annually), Elders and Sisters will be hungry for even more days per month as food costs increase (ref. http://www.straight.com/article-10113...). According to a May 30/07 MSNBC report, "Ethanol has increased the average American's grocery bill $47 since July [2006]" (ref. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18946296/).

When a Utah government agency/dept. or some other organization rents out the LDS Conference Center (which was paid for with tithing funds), they're not permitted to tell the church how much rent they'll pay for using that facility. The authoritarian/cultic LDS Church also has to be in control, calling the shots, doesn't it?!

With this new missionaries-in-members'-homes program (look for it to be expanded to other industrialized countries) and the church's unilateral reduction in the funds given to missionaries for their food and basic personal care expenses (from US$145 to $130/mo), the LDS Church will soon be saving hundreds of dollars per month per missionary pair. And there are thousands of missionary pairs in the U.S. and Canada.

If the LDS Church saves $425 per month per missionary pair, and 4,000 such pairs are housed by members (a realistic scenario?), the church will save $20,400,000 per year. For that amount of money, the church can obtain approx. $220 million in project financing (paid back over 25 years).

Too bad Mormons don't have enough backbone to tell their local leaders that, no, they won't be providing housing for missionaries at a rate other than what's fair in their local rental market. However, the church's unethical behind-closed-doors policy of turning naïve Latter-day Saints into subsidizers of the church's commercial real estate mega-project in SLC will hopefully drive even more people away from Mormonism.
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Gestapo - The Danite Missionary Patrol
Friday, Oct 26, 2007, at 04:37 AM
Original Author(s): Word Of Weirdom
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
On my mission I had risen to the coveted rank of AP. Our MP was from the South and to say he was strict would be a gross understatement. One of my jobs was to “spot check” missionaries twice a week. This was at random anywhere in the mission and these checks were to take place at 7AM. We would wake up at ~4AM-5AM and drive across the mission and bust in on unsuspecting missionaries. They were to be awake, dressed, and having companionship study per instructions in the White Bible. If they were simply cooking breakfast, taking a shower, doing personal study etc. they were to be chided since this is not the time for those things in our rule book. If they were not awake when we arrived the heads really rolled. We did not forcefully take contraband but always reported any gentile related items found in our search. You know, sinister items like Amy Grant CDs, newspapers, Sport Illustrated, caffeinated drinks, etc. “contraband”.

At the time we actually enjoyed these raids. We saw ourselves as modern day Danites for our MP and our work would bring the spirit back to the mission and ultimately save souls.

Its mostly therapy for me to get this off my chest but as many of you know its hard to look back on the delusional mindset we may have once had. For those I may have busted and belittled – forgive me! I still hang my head in shame that I was a part of this and it was over a decade ago.
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Ten Days Into My Mission (in S. America) I Got A Deadly Disease And Nearly Died
Monday, Nov 19, 2007, at 08:20 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It was Jan./84, and after the initial orientation at the mission home, I was sent in a taxi to a shantytown on the north side of Lima, Peru. Although the skies were clear when I arrived, much to my astonishment, there was black 'snow' as the taxi pulled into my first area. (The locals piled up their garbage in the street and periodically someone would throw kerosene on the large piles and set them on fire. The 'snow' was millions of bits of burned garbage floating down.).

During my first interview with the Mission Pres. (before I got shipped out to my first area), he asked me what my parents did for a living. I told him that my father was an electrical engineer and my mother was a nurse.

As a 'greenie', I worked hard, but because of the filthy conditions and poor-quality food in the shantytown, I got diarrhea within a couple of days, and became weakened. On my second Sunday, I developed a raging fever (105 deg. F), almost passed out, and could barely move.

My companion (a Peruvian) called the mission home, and the AP's told him to bring me in so that the health missionaries (two sisters - one American, the other Peruvian) could look at me. After I arrived, they dumped me in the bottom bunk in the house that was rented for them (a couple of doors away from the mission home/office).

The MP was away in the Peruvian jungle at a zone conference; elders were sent to the airport to wait for him. Finally, the health missionaries arrived, and the American, a 28-year old who had worked as a nurse in the U.S., took my temp. and asked me how I felt. I could barely move or respond. After she looked at the thermometer, she told the AP's to get me in the mission vehicle (a Toyota LandCruiser) and take me to a local clinic (a mini-hospital) pronto.

Two missionaries carried me in. I didn't know it at the time, but I was mere hours away from death. The emergency doctor spoke little English, so the sister nurse had to communicate with him about my condition. He ordered a spinal tap. By that time, the MP had arrived.

Unbeknownst to me at the time (I was not told, and was too naive and trusting of the mission office staff to ask the doctor directly), the lab test on my spinal fluid revealed that I had spinal menangitis, which typically kills in 24-48 hours.

The MP lied to me that night, telling me that I had a far less serious disease. Years later, I figured out why he'd withheld critical health info. from me: He knew that my mother was a nurse and was afraid that if she found out that I had spinal menangitis and conferred with a doctor in Canada, he'd tell her to have me sent home to properly recuperate, a process that typically took 6-12 months.

The MP unilaterally decided that I would stay in Peru and finish my mission. After one week after I entered the clinic, I was sent back to the shantytown, where I became sick with diarrhea and shigella (a bacteria), typhoid fever (later) and parasites (worms, flukes, etc.). I lost one-fifth of my body weight (165 lb down to 130 lb) and returned home after completing my 'time' in terrible shape, and very stressed out by the experience.

In my third area (a shantytown on the edge of the Peruvian desert), my comp. and I were attacked, and I was nearly murdered (by a knife-wielding gang member). Of course, the MP had sent me there too.

During my final interview with the mission president, on the day before I was to fly out, he told me matter-of-factly that, in truth, I'd had spinal menangitis at the beginning of my mission. I was too 'brainwashed' by Mormonism and numbed from what I'd endured (I was suffering from PTSD) to tell him that he had no right to lie to me and be the cause of so much suffering (and almost losing my life).

Quite understandably, I felt a lot of anger about the Mormon patriarchal abuse that I'd experienced after I 'woke up' (in my latter 20's) to how dysfunctional, deceitful, and abusive the LDS Church really was.
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The Missionaries Visited Last Night, They Get $110 A Month For Food
Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The mishies visited last night. They get $110/mo. for food, and the average baptismal rate is four 'converts' per missionary (over two years). If 50% go 'inactive' within the first couple of years, and the third drops out of the church, say, within five years, that leaves one ‘faithful’ convert per missionary. No wonder the church’s ‘growth’ in North America has flat-lined!

Here's what happened: I was visiting my Mormon mother and stepfather last night when the doorbell sounded. I opened the door and beheld two, male missionaries standing in the cold (with no gloves or scarves). I invited them in, and after they took off their coats and shoes, I sent them upstairs to visit with my mother and stepfather. They ended up staying for a couple of hours (tracting in the winter cold is no fun!).

At one point, I asked the mishies how much money they receive each month for food and personal care items (e.g., toothpaste, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent). They told me $120. Take off $10 per month for such items and they’re left with approx. $110 to cover about 90 meals per month (if they receive no meal invitations from members). The very wealthy LDS Church is spending $2 billion on its Salt Lake City commercial real estate venture, and gives its 'soldiers in the army of God'/missionaries just $1.22 per meal!

My mother irritated me during the Elders' visit with her stinginess. I suggested to her that if the Elders hadn’t eaten, they might like some dinner (I figured it'd be a welcome change for them). She said that she’d get them ‘dinner’, and proceeded to make them a peanut butter sandwich, and poured them each a glass of water! When she left the kitchen, I looked in the cupboards, found some beef stew and rice, made that up, and also prepared a box of macaroni in case they were hungry and wanted/needed more food.

I then poured them each a glass of ginger ale and took it to them in the livingroom (neither my mother or stepfather had offered the Elders anything to drink). I also set out a plate of chocolate chip cookies for them for after dinner. When their hot food was ready, I came into the livingroom and said, “Gentlemen - dinner is served.” They laughed.

While cooking, I made up my mind that if my mother whined to me later about ‘all’ the food that I’d prepared for the Elders, I’d give her a $20 bill and say, “Now you don’t have any reason to complain, do you!”

My mother had gone out of her way at the start of the visit to mention that I had been a missionary in Peru, so they asked me about my experience there. I was frank and told them that there were pros and cons.

One pro was a really nice, 'humble' family in one of the wards in Lima who invited my companion and I over for cebiche, the Peruvian national dish. After knocking on their door, we were invited into the front room (the house was made of adobe brick walls and the room had a dirt floor). In the front room there was a table with two place settings: one for me, the other for my companion. The father invited us to take our seats while his wife and children served us. The food and drink were delicious!

The family did not have enough money to buy food to feed us, themselves, and their four children (the father and mother made beautiful alpaca rugs, which he took to embassies, consulates, the mission office, and other places, trying to sell them). The meal of cebiche was a significant sacrifice and great act of kindness on the family's part.

As I prepared the food for the missionaries, I reflected on that family, and the fact that some people can have money and possessions that would hundreds of millions of people would not acquire in even 10 lifetimes and still they're stuck in scarcity thinking and lack a truly generous spirit. And then there are people who have little who are extraordinarily generous.
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Missionary Correspondence - Revised Policy
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2007, at 07:43 AM
Original Author(s): Suspicious Minds
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Missionary parents are once again being given a hard time about HOW they may communicate with their missionary son/daughter in the field. Six years ago the brethren imposed an email ban with restrictions.
"It was announced January 12 by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, that missionaries may communicate with their families by e-mail under certain guidelines:

"Under the direction of Area Presidencies, mission presidents will establish guidelines to include the following: Missionaries may use e-mail only on preparation day. Missionaries may use computers in public facilities such as libraries or appropriate commercial outlets. Companions should always be together while using a computer. They should not impose on Church members who may have computers. Any cost for using e-mail is to be paid by the missionary."
Now the brethren have changed their policy on the Pouch System. This is used by most parents to send letters to foreign countries with an unreliable postal system. The pouch system allows the parent to mail a letter to Salt Lake City. The Church then puts all mail destined for a particular mission into a pouch mail bag at Church cost.

In recent years, letters to missionaries occasionally included cash and other sensitive material such as medications, and often printed pictures. But now under the new policy:
"Instructions issued in September call on families and friends of missionaries to simplify their correspondence by mailing a single 8 1/2-inch x 11-inch sheet of 20-pound paper, or equivalent to paper used in copiers. Envelopes may not be used.

The sheet is to be folded into three parts, as is commonly done to insert into a business envelope. The top edge of the sheet should be fastened with tape on the top edge only, no closer than one inch to either side.

Single sheet letters and post cards are the only correspondence the pouch mail service will accept."
The church claims "The Church must comply with these regulations or face fines or possible cessation of the service."

IMHO I think it's another cost saving measure to divert more funds to other more worthy priorities, like building a mall. It also imposes on the privacy between parent and missionary. If I were a parent, I'd be slamming my fist on the table and demanding an immediate return of my child.
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Nobody In My Ward Is Feeding The Missionaries
Thursday, Dec 20, 2007, at 06:19 AM
Original Author(s): Southern Man
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
A few months ago the mission president came out with a new, inspired-of-course, programme: the missionaries could eat with members only if a non-member was present. If the missionaries had a discussion appointment that night, they were to bring their "investigator(s)" with them. If the missionaries didn't have an investigator to bring, and the members didn't have a non-member present to legalize the proceedings, the missionaries were to give the members a discussion after the meal.

This immediately ended the dinner appointments in the ward. The members didn't want to take the chance that the missionaries would bring some weirdo, or several weirdos, into their homes. Also, the members didn't like the idea that, in addition to the weirdness factor, they wouldn't know how much food to prepare. They might theoretically sign up to feed the elders, and end up with half-a-dozen "guests". They also didn't like the idea of dinner potentially turning into an all-evening affair with them having to sit through a discussion, with or without the "investigator(s)".

So they simply stopped feeding the missionaries. Totally. Now they have a box at church for people to drop food into. My wife feels sorry for them and wants to bake them a ham (she won't leave it in the box, of course). I told her fine, no problem. But I'm not having some local psycho or psychos in my home. Period. I have kids. And no amount of guilt-tripping, pleading, etc., will change that fact. It's MY house. Like the old song says: I bought this house, that makes me the boss.

The interesting aspect of this situation is that the mission president, I'm sure, hasn't missed a meal, and I'm sure he isn't going to admit that he made a blatant mistake. His theory seems to have been that this programme would more-or-less force the members to have investigators in their homes--which, of course, is supposed to be the sure ticket to conversion. And I'm equally sure the members will be blamed for the failure of this inspired programme. After all, the MP can't be wrong, so there's no other explanation. And the missionaries are the ones who suffer.

The mission's baptism statistics are in the toilet. We were berated at stake conference because of the drop in the numbers. Of course, this wasn't attributed to the new programme.

So there you have it. With this type of "inspiration" the church doesn't need any external enemies. Its own "leaders" will bring it down. Or at least slow its growth.

So excuse me--I think I'll go buy the local elders a ham now. And take it to their apartment.
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Some Of Those Beautiful Mission Memories
Saturday, Dec 22, 2007, at 11:47 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I have so many mission memories. How could one forget the best two years of their life? Yes indeed, I would not want to forget a single minute of the joy I had as a missionary.

I recall being terribly depressed, and honestly wishing a taxi would hit me, and give me the "million dollar injury" that would send me home---but let me avoid all negative reactions. How many others wished for such an injury?

I recall not getting up in my first testimony meeting----I was homesick, depressed, and thousands of miles from home. I did not feel like putting on a show. I quickly realized I had made a huge mistake. I heard about it for months after. I was a black sheep, and I did "not have a testimony." Neither, of course, did the others. They just pretended they did.

I recall having the Mission President berate me for having typhoid, and being in the hospital. I "did not need to be there." I needed to "get back to work." Later, he softened a little, but I will never forget the way he made me feel. I was dangerously ill.

I also recall having him make a surprise appearance on Sunday night, and having him belittle and insult my companion and me. We were struggling, and I was "either too cheerful or too despondent." True----I kept trying to be upbeat, but could not maintain it. I really did need to hear from the idiot Mission President. He loved to pull surprises, and go for the jugular. If he showed up, it was never out of kindness.

I recall interviewing a mentally retarded guy who wanted to be baptized. I showed him the slip of paper about "morality." We asked him if he had any sins, and he put his head down, and, in terror, admitted he masturbated. My God, what on earth were we doing to the poor guy? He masturbated. The whole "Celestial Kingdom" was on hold until he quit. It made me ill then, and it makes me even more ill 35 years later. What nonsense. What on earth were we doing to him? He could not have been more harmless, and we were--- by policy---prying into his personal life, and tormenting him about something of no significance at all. Shame on all of us.

I remember having Spencer Kimball visit, and having the Mission President surprise my companion and me by ordering us to bear our testimonies to him. We did. But I always resented the Pearl Harbor attitude my Mission President adopted. He loved to spring surprises on people----in front of others----and put people on the spot. Kimball, by the way, was pretty decent. I came away liking him a hell of a lot more than the Mission President.

I could never forget the "zone meetings." where we were ordered to come fasting. We would show up, sit for hours of talks, and sales pitches. Then, we would have to endure the endless testimony meeting, where lies were told, and impressions were made. It was a stage performance, and those with an interest in the upward climb had to perform.

After, we would return home, weak, tired, and sick. At least they let us gobble a quick meal before we went tracting again that night.

I will never be able to remember all the new programs they shoved down our throats. One new thing after another. None of them did any good. It was all the same really. We bothered people who did not need us, benefit from us, or wish to see us. And we ran from house to house, vainly searching for converts.

Why?
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At The Peak Of My Mission Fervor
Saturday, Dec 22, 2007, at 11:58 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I've said before that like Tal Bachman, there was a time in my mission where I would have been a suicide bomber if ordered by my mission president.

I was that much of a true believer - at least for a time - during my mission.

And isn't this total faith what every Mormon longs for, especially in the mission field? Zero doubt was my goal and for a time I think I achieved it. I was so far away from home, so isolated from "worldly distractions" (music, TV, newspapers, non-mormon ideas, girls) that I was nearly pure TBM.

In some ways getting into that "Mormon singularity" was the most peaceful time of my life. Everything was so clear. There was no doubt. I KNEW it was all true and I knew exactly what my purpose in life was.

But my "Mormon high" also included thoughts of leaving this life to return to God.

One member family's experience reflected my own missionary mentality. The wife had always been active in the church but her husband had just converted. He gave up smoking and alcohol to join and stayed straight for a year in preparation to be sealed to his wife in the temple.

The wife bore her testimony that she was praying the whole time on the way back from the temple that her, her husband and her children would get in a car crash and die. In her mind, if they all died at that time, they would be together forever in the Celestial Kingdom.

I think some missionaries are so depressed and so out of tune with their own emotions and situation that they have these fantasies about dying and going straight to the CK. After all, missionaries that die in the mission field "in the line of duty" are heroes, aren't they?
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The "Preach My Gospel" Manual
Wednesday, Jan 2, 2008, at 12:09 PM
Original Author(s): Southern Man
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It's a hoot. I finally got a copy of it this past Sunday. It's been around for several years, but I never wanted or needed a copy until now, as my ward has incorporated it into this year's curriculum. It's supposed to be the latest miracle-programme for missionary work. You know--that programme where all Mormons get all non-Mormons to BECOME Mormons so the non-Mormons can be as deliriously happy as all Mormons are. Like WE used to be, before we sinned and felt too guilty to go back to church, so we all sit around feelilng miserable and sharing our misery on this board.

Anyway, I read the first lesson last night. It started with the Introduction from the First Presidency, which starts with the greeting "Dear Fellow Missionary". See, they're in this thing with us rank-and-file members, although, to be honest, I haven't seen any of the FP tracting in my area lately. Then the lesson teaches these important principles:

We members must introduce non-members to The Gospel so they can be happy like us.

Non-members are miserable, although they may not KNOW they are miserable.

They are miserable because they feel guilty, although they may not KNOW they feel guilty.

They feel guilty because they sin, although they may not KNOW they are sinning.

Therefore, it is up to the members of the church to enlighten these non-Mormoms so they will KNOW that they are miserable, that they feel guilty, and that they are sinners, and that the only way they can get rid of these newly-discovered problems, that they previously didn't know they had, is by--how else?--becoming Mormons.

So you have to convince perfectly happy people that they are miserable because trivial things they do on a daily basis, like drinking tea or coffee, are sins. Then they can join LDS-ism, be forgiven of those sins, and be happy like Mormons are famous for being.

The member has to create a need--the need for relief from feelings of guilt caused by ignorantly sinning--that can be satisfied only by joining the church. A need that the average non-member has no idea he has until his loving LDS neighbor enlightens him.

Somehow I don't think this manual is going to do anything to improve the miserable conversion and retention rates currently enjoyed by the church, but then, I'm not inspired, so what do I know.

So excuse me while I go find some ignorant tea-drinking non-member and convince him he's miserable and should feel guilty because he's a sinner.

Damn, that ice tea looks good.
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Asylum-Seeking Refugees Make The Best Investigators
Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008, at 12:29 PM
Original Author(s): Scottvant
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
That's what we were told, when I was working in the Wiener Neustadt district of the Austria Vienna Mission. That area had a lot of "refugee hotels"--former resort areas where the lodging had been converted to cramped quarters housing all the refugees from the Eastern Block (this was before the Berlin wall came down) who were taking advantage of Austria's liberal open-door policy toward such asylum-seekers.

Austrians are comfortable, educated, with a thick net of social services and are not, generally, the type who seek out God, or religion, or fun afternoons discussing all of this with earnest-faced American kids.

Refugees, on the other hand, are *ripe* for the picking--we had Hungarians, Romanians, Polish, Czech, you name it, all living within our district--and the summer I worked in that area we concentrated solely on those people, and our baptism numbers were the best in the mission--by a lot--three and four times the number of baptisms in other districts.

Our Branch President was a wealthy, well-connected man who very much enjoyed the special attention his branch was getting, due to all the missionary activity. Things I know he did, to "keep them coming back:" every new investigator we brought to church, got a new Swatch--kind of a tacky gesture, I thought, but one which the investigators responded to. I didn't realize until after several months of this, that behind closed doors, (i.e. "I just want to interview your new investigators for a few minutes, Elders, can you wait outside?") he was also giving these people money--1,000 Schillings each (just over $100, at the time) for each time they came to church. For people living six people to a bedroom and surviving on the meager stipend they received each month, this was a comparative gold mine for them. Regardless of what we taught them, obviously, they were just gonna "bow their heads and say yes," and come back next week for their 1,000 tax-free Schillings.

Not to mention that these people were all actively seeking asylum somewhere further "west" than Austria--it didn't matter, the US, Canada, Australia--they all wanted out. Nobody ever told us to string our investigators along, pretending we could do something about their Visa situation, but they didn't tell us not to, either. And, every time we visited the refugee areas, we were followed like the Pied Piper, new investigators being led by the current ones, who no doubt told them all about the gifts, cash, and vague promise of help getting work and residence visas in America.

The Austrian members in that branch expressed concern that all these "numbers" on the monthly reports weren't really helping the branch--the new members we were bringing them didn't speak the language (in most cases) and couldn't really contribute to the branch in a meaningful way; and it was obvious to everyone that these members weren't in it for the "gospel," and within a few weeks after baptism, after the cash payments stopped and it became clear the church was not about to help them emigrate, in any way, they disappeared.

We had *huge* "success" in Wiener Neustadt the summer I worked there--and without consulting any records I'd still feel comfortable betting $1,000 that not one of our "converts" from that summer even thinks about the church anymore.

I'll never forget the evening we had taken our newest "family" to meet the branch president and I could see, through the door which had been left ajar, the branch president handing out those crisp, 1,000 oS bills, in effect doubling these desperate people's weekly income. I went from, "Is that allowed?" to "Is that even ethical?" to "OMG, what a *scam* this is!" in about 30 seconds; that memory stands as one of the most obvious early WTF moments, signposts along my road out of the church.
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My Mission Gave Me The Most Spiritual Night Of My Life
Friday, Feb 15, 2008, at 07:38 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was a "culture" missionary. To help my mind, and keep me from complete insanity, I became a student of culture on my mission. It kept me from sinking into the total horrors of the experience-----meetings, knocking on doors, being a salesman, and being abused by my boss, the LDS church. Time spent with culture saved my sanity. Time spent being a Mormon religious fanatic harmed it.

I developed a fascination with Buddhism, and started to go to the Buddhist temples whenever I could. I talked with the monks and nuns, took photographs, and learned as much as I could.

This led to the most spiritual night of my life.

It was Buddha's birthday, a huge event for Buddhists. My companion and I went to the local temple, and asked if we could watch. It was a sight to see, in truth, with hundreds of candles, paper lanterns, and the smell of incense. There was an otherworldly quality about it that was totally enchanting.

The Buddhists not only allowed us in, they stopped the ceremony, and asked if we wanted to take pictures. We did, and we got into every part of the temple. I was, in many ways, deeply touched by all of it. It was a lovely thing to see. The kindness of the Buddhists was remarkable. And our interest was most sincere. Hell, I thought it was splendid.

They finally asked us if we were finished, and we left. A lovely little girl asked me to take her picture. I still see her beautiful face, and the smile she gave us.

After 36 years, I still recall it happily. It was not only the best event of my mission, it was one of the best memories of my life.

So, I did have a spiritual experience on my mission. I can look back on it with feelings of joy, happiness, and wonder. My temple experience-- my Buddhist temple experience---was divine.
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Fake Mission Call Signatures - When Did You Figure It Out?
Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008, at 06:51 AM
Original Author(s): Truth Without Fear
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was called to France as a zealot convert in 1977.

I remember pulling the letter from the mail box at the little one room post office in Kattskill Bay, NY.

I remember reading the words FRANCE-PARIS MISSION.

Most important, I remember being AWE STRUCK that a Prophet of God would schedule time to personally sign a mission calling to a pimple-faced teenage convert.

I remember his perfect Palmer Method penmanship.

I remember the blue ball point ink pressed into the bond paper.

I remember the shock almost a year later when I figured out the signature was a fake ...er... facsimile.

We were sitting around the apartment in Paris one evening (there were 6 to an apartment back then) when the latest greenie checked in, Elder Phillips. For some long forgotten reason, we decided to compare our calling letters. I remember noticing that the signature on his letter (signed almost a year after mine) looked almost identical.

I remember overlaying his calling letter over mine and holding them up to the window:

“Fetch! Flip! Gee whiz! How can the Prophet sign his name exactly the same way every time!?!”

The rationalizations began around the living room. “Look at that meticulous penmanship. He’s just extra careful when he sign callings.”

I remember challenging the Elders.

“OK, guys. Each of you take out 2 sheets of (translucent) airmail paper. Fold, score and tear each sheet into four pieces. Now, on each of the 8 sheets of paper, do your best to sign your name EXACTLY the same way eight times. I don’t think ANY of you can even come close. I don’t even think you can get 2 out of eight to be nearly identical.”

I was right.

It’s not possible.

We compared our letters with other elders around the zone. All the signatures were identical.

Because my mother worked in a law office, I knew that she regularly signed for the attorney and then put her initials next to the signature. That’s the proper way to indicate that you were signing on behalf of your superior / supervisor.

Why had the missionary office gone to great lengths to FOOL the missionary force? Why not use a rubber stamp? Why the contrasting blue ink to the black type on the letter to make the signature APPEAR to be affixed by hand?

I then did some arithmetic, and figured out the prophet would have to spend 2-3 hours every day just signing missionary callings. It just didn’t make sense. That didn’t bother me at all. After all, if the bishop called you to serve as EQP, that inspiration came from God, right? Couldn’t the missionary committee be inspired too? What’s wrong with a letter from Brother Blowhard from the missionary committee?

Why the deception?

I remember this TOTALLY screwing with our DL’s head for the rest of the time I was in Paris before I was transferred. He refused to leave the apartment, except to go shopping or go play. It was HIS “magic moment” when the shelf came crashing down.

I wish it hadn’t taken 23 more years for MY magic moment to come!

Oh well! At least it came!
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Identity Formation: Why Missionaries End Up Hurt By The Mission
Thursday, Mar 27, 2008, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Tiff
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Identity formation has four stages, according to James Marcia, an widely accepted psychologist.

Identity Diffusion - the status in which the adolescent does no have a sense of having choices; he or she has not yet made (nor is attempting/willing to make) a commitment EXAMPLE: an eight year old who bares their testimony. Child does not understand any difference between her views and her parents views. Does not explore any other options or hear any other opinions.)

Identity Foreclosure - the status in which the adolescent seems willing to commit to some relevant roles, values, or goals for the future. Adolescents in this stage have not experienced an identity crisis. They tend to conform to the expectations of others regarding their future (e. g. allowing a parent to determine a career direction) As such, these individuals have not explored a range of options. EXAMPLE: Many of Mormon children agree to attend BYU without exploring any other options. These children tend to ride on the coat strings of their parents opinions. They are sure that they are making the right choice regardless of whether or not there have been other options presented to them.

Identity Moratorium - the status in which the adolescent is currently in a crisis, exploring various commitments and is ready to make choices, but has not made a commitment to these choices yet. EXAMPLE: Most missionaries go through this stage. Most missionaries have a "quarter life crisis" (a new crisis currently being studied by a large range of psychologists) or a period of time in which the choices they have either committed to verbally or have actually began to act upon begin to feel strange and weird. Missionaries during this time seek help through only one venue; the church.

Identity Achievement - the status in which adolescent has gone through a identity crisis and has made a commitment to a sense of identity (i.e. certain role or value) that he or she has chosen EXAMPLE: A large number of ex-Mormons have found that on their mission they discovered that they didn't really believe in the church.

Now for my opinion. Missionaries never truly achieve Identity Achievement. The reason is that they have never explored other options. In order to truly achieve identity formation, exploration is NECESSARY. (That isn't my opinion, that's James Marica's research) The problem with most RMs is that they don't ever seek help from outside the church when they go through Identity Moratorium. The only accepted venue of information for them during that time is from church leaders. They are not to read anything that isn't approved, they can't listen to "worldly" music, they can't see movies, they can't read the newspaper, they can't do a lot. Instead all they do is receive the same information they have received all of their lives.

So most missionaries end up (in terms of religion only) with a permanent Identity Foreclosure because of the lack of exploration of other options.
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The Underhanded Tactics I Used On My Mission
Monday, Apr 21, 2008, at 07:23 AM
Original Author(s): Crash
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I served as a Spanish-speaking missionary in Montreal, Canada from January 2000 through December 2001. We were charged with finding, teaching, and baptizing Hispanic immigrants to augment the numbers of the two Spanish wards on the Island.

In an area of Canada were the majority of people speak French, we were poorly suited to finding these immigrants through traditional means such as ‘tracting’ (knocking doors). Since we were focused on learning Spanish, our French was abysmal. As a Canadian, I had taken some rudimentary French classes in high-school, but I spoke it little better than anyone else, and could barely manage answering the phone. You can imagine what it was like trying to teach people first discussions through their doorways.

As such, we developed ulterior methods for targeting Hispanics.

We used to go to areas we knew had a higher concentration of immigrants, usually apartment buildings or town-houses, and look for signs of people who spoke Spanish. One of the best indicators was to look for satellite dishes. Dish Network is the only real carrier for Spanish language channels in Eastern Canada, as opposed to Bell or Star Choice. If we could find Dish Network satellite dishes in these neighborhoods, chances where high they spoke Spanish. We would often walk up and down streets and back alleys looking for these. Once spotted, we would count the number of floors up and windows over they were, estimate their apartment number and then ‘accidentally’ tract into them.

We tried hard not to make our targeting too obvious, so after they answered the door, we would pretend like we were actually tracting in French or English, and then quickly ask if they spoke Spanish once it was apparent they were Hispanic, and then make the transition.

Other methods we used were more intrusive. Since many of the apartment buildings had locked front doors, we would sometimes randomly buzz numbers until someone let us in without asking us who we were. Other times, we would wait for someone to open it and then jar the door when they weren’t watching. Some of these locks were easy to pick, others simply didn’t work. I remember some of the kids in my district had fashioned simple lock picks out of coat-hangers and carried them around on their key chains for this purpose.

Once we gained access into an apartment building, however, things were easy. We would often put our ears to each door and listen to see if we could hear people or their television sets speaking Spanish, and then knock on those specific doors. Other times there were other indicators like the number and type of shoes at the door step, or things they had in their windows or on their doors. We would even take note of how many and what kind of things they stored on their balcony.

Since many of the people we were targeting were recent immigrants to Canada, they often did not live in the same place for long. We also seemed to have the best luck with those that were newest to the country. Hence, we would mark off the areas on maps in our apartment where we found high concentrations of Spanish-speakers so we could revisit these locations later.

If we did accidentally tract into a French-speaker instead, I knew enough French to ask if they were interested (they never were) and then to ask if they knew any one in the neighborhood who spoke Spanish. Usually, they would give me a puzzled look, say “non” and shut the door.

The methods described above weren’t even our most effective way of finding these people. We had other ways of “first time contacting” Hispanics.

We would spend hours aimlessly riding the public transportation system back and forth racially profiling people on the bus or metro. In the more metropolitan areas of Montreal, I figured the percentage of Spanish-speakers was somewhere around 3-5 %, meaning, in certain areas, one out of twenty people spoke Spanish. Our chances were boosted, since recent immigrants are more likely to be riding the public system, and these were the ones we were looking for.

After a few months of this, and a little training, the missionaries would eventually get pretty good at spotting Hispanics, but the system was not perfect. There are a wide range of ethnic and mixed racial groups emanating from Latin America, blending with the wide range of cultural groups and immigrants from world-wide in urban Montreal.

Once we profiled some one as a potential Spanish-speaker, we had al sorts of innocent-sounding ways to initiate contact. We would ask for directions, for the name of the next stop, or any number of disingenuous excuses. After which, we would ask if they spoke Spanish, make the transition, and then initiate small-talk. An easy way to do this was to ask them which country they were from, as people always seem willing to talk about their country of origin. Inevitably, they would ask how I had learned Spanish, which was an easy way to launch into “GQ” (golden question) mode and begin the standard missionary approach about the Church. If they didn’t ask, we would simply tell them. Our ultimate goal was contact information, like a phone number. Typically, we only had 5-10 minutes to acquire this, but amazingly it seemed to work maybe once in every 10 attempts. If it didn’t we would give them a pamphlet or ‘pass-along-card’ with our number on it. Needless to say, no one ever phoned us, so it was imperative to get their number first.

They would quickly regret giving us their contact information though. Once their number or address was on our contact list, they could expect a phone call or pass-by from us at least once a week. Until they gave us a definitive “no”, we would continue our attempts to schedule discussions.

We spent so much time contacting people on the buses and metros, that if you were a conspicuous Spanish-speaker that lived in Montreal and rode the bus regularly for more than a year or two, chances were, we’d tried to approach you at some point.

In fact, we exhausted this technique to the point that some Hispanic people would actively avoid us, either by ducking off the bus as soon as we got on, by hiding, or by pretending to fall a sleep.

But, it doesn’t stop there.

We also instituted free English classes as part of our weekly service. We had basic English classes for Spanish-speakers which the Spanish-speaking missionaries taught, and advanced classes for everyone, which we taught along with the French-speaking missionaries.

It was a perfect plan B. If our standard religious approach failed, we would tell them that we also offered free English classes, and then try to get them to come. Once they were in a different setting were we had more time, we could try the religious approach second time.

If things got really slow, as they often did, our last resort, and least effective method was to search the phone book. We would literally go through the millions names looking for any that were obviously of Spanish origin, group them into specific geographic areas, and then ‘accidentally’ tract into them. As I said, this technique usually didn’t work well, as the book was outdated within a year’s time, and it typically didn’t give us the newest immigrants to Montreal, but it did sometimes lead us to areas of the city we did not investigate closely before.

Mid-way through 2001, the mission president had a ‘revelation’ designed to boost our dismal baptism numbers. Every companionship was to spend at least 20 hours a week ‘first time contacting’. It was impossible for us, as we rarely spent more than 5 hours a week. As I said before, we couldn’t tract since we didn’t speak the language, and spending any more time contacting people on the metro would have been a waste of time.

I voiced my concerns, but no one wanted to hear it, implying that I didn’t have enough faith. At this point, I was a district lead, and pressure was coming down hard from the zone leader and president to get our contacting numbers up. So we all started sending in bogus numbers each week, except for one companionship that insisted on being honest. They sent in 3 hours with their stats once, and I soon got at call from the zone leader telling me to reprimand them for their failure. I refused, so he went over my head, and reprimanded them himself. From then on, they sent in bogus numbers like the rest of us.

We all thought it was stupid. “Why should I cancel appointments so I can go knock on doors” one missionary asked me. I just told him to send in the stats they wanted. It didn’t seem like they cared about what was happening in reality, as long as the numbers looked good anyways.

My next companion was stricter on the rules and insisted we spend more time tracting. We had nothing better to do, and ended up spending up to 7 hours a week knocking doors, which was unheard of for the Spanish-speaking missionaries.

Our efforts were counter-productive however. Since we didn’t have anything more than rudimentary skills in French, we ended up just pissing a lot of people off.

Looking back, I wonder how I could have been so intrusive and insensitive to the privacy of others. Deep down, I knew what I was doing wasn’t right, but I continually rationalized it by telling myself this was the job God had called me to do. I was in a constant state of cognitive dissonance.

I hated what I was doing, and I hated myself for doing it……but I had been conditioned to equate such feelings as inadequacy or sin on my part, instead of viewing it as a problem with the Church, or worse yet, as a problem with the revelation that church-leaders were receiving. If only I could be a better missionary and follow the rules better, I thought, then maybe I would start to love doing this, like everyone else apparently loved their mission experience.

I constantly worried about what I would say after returning home and being asked if I loved my mission experience. I knew I would not be able to honestly say I did.

From my new perspective however, the methods I was using were clearly inappropriate, like the tactics of a cheap sales-man. It is no wonder the Church’s growth is slowing; people can see right through this stuff, even if it isn’t apparent at first.
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A Fissured Façade
Thursday, May 1, 2008, at 07:07 AM
Original Author(s): Chat Spjut
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Last night I could not go to sleep. I found myself fully engrossed in the Mormon missionary adventures of John or “runtu” as he is known on certain post-Mormon message boards. His experiences can be read here: http://runtu.wordpress.com/

By two in the morning, I had finished reading his most recent account, and it left me feeling empty inside as I recounted my own missionary experiences. His experiences were by far more dramatic than my own; having served as a missionary in a relatively safe and modern nation as Germany, yet there was a common thread which I feel is experienced by all Mormon missionaries regardless of their destination.

With the hyper-sensitive and image conscience Mormon religion, being open and honest about the missionary experience is not something that is sought after nor celebrated in the Mormon community. If the experiences do not validate and reinforce the Mormon Church, then it is best left unsaid and placed in the vault of inner denial. This leaves a false impression upon the general Mormon membership and future missionary alike, and leaves the former missionary to suffer in silence and to willfully deny the reality about their true experiences.

My time spent as a Mormon missionary was a long, laborious, boring and depressing experience. I tried to seek out mental diversions and ways to enjoy my European experience, but the constant guilt, shame and sheer drudgery of the experience left me anxious and filled with further doubt and uneasiness. The plus was that I was able to experience a marvelous culture and history, learn a fabulous language and in some small ways experience the beauty and charm of European life. Those were the positives for me. Friends made, experiences which left me with happy moments among the drudgery and depression are what I look back upon with fondness, which leave me with some small attempt at salvaging any meaning for being there in the first place.

Like most things in the Mormon experience, true honesty is not something one finds easily. In an experience which requires a certain image be presented, only those which proffer faith, encouragement and hope in Mormonism are sought after, even if that means reality is skewed and ignored in the process. My mission taught me to be dishonest, or shall I say it honed an already present capacity within me. We were deceptive to those we taught by not fully disclosing everything we should have regarding our beliefs and doctrines, part of which was deliberate on our part, and the other in the deception by our church leaders. But most important, we learned to lie to ourselves and betray our minds in the process.

I returned from Germany as an emotional wreck. I felt that my testimony of the Mormon Church had been severely weakened instead of strengthened as I had been promised countless times by Mormon leadership. I felt severely disconnected with reality, and in some ways I felt that parts of me, my inner self, had died or become severely atrophied in the process. It was a long road back to some semblance of “me” again, but the self deception continued, as it must have if I was to have survived as a Mormon.

The mission experience is filled with so many contradictory experiences, which when left to be examined in an open and unbiased way show the clear, man-made religion that is Mormonism. However, it is as if the missionary has taken a silent oath to never reveal the true realities of the mission experience for fear of not fitting in, being labeled as unrighteous and unacceptable to the Mormon god or his earthly kingdom, and worst of all, a failure.

The pressure of the Mormon mission is intense; to this day I have never experienced anything like it. It is an impossible situation in which the Mormon missionary finds himself. We were often told the following: “The Lord has prepared these people to hear this message. It is your duty which you have sworn to fulfill through sacred temple covenants, that you will find those whom the Lord has prepared and bring them into the church. If you do not find these whom the Lord has prepared, then you will be held responsible for their salvation in the world to come.” In most cases we tried to do our best, to find those “sheep” that the Mormon god had prepared, and in the end we found guilt and self loathing instead.

I often thought, “If God has prepared these people, then why am I going to be held responsible if they don’t get the message, this is the “Lord’s” work after all? What if we miss them when we come to their home? What if they are sick that day and don’t want to invite us in? Why would he not just send them to our door to be taught instead of forcing us to go door to door bothering all of the other folks who were not prepared? It would seem that perhaps God is not all that capable of bringing the message of hope and happiness to his children, without employing the tactics of guilt, shame and fear on naïve nineteen year old kids.” But these thoughts were quickly dismissed and ignored and chalked up to the influence of Satan on my mind.

In my post Mormon world, I now recognize the missionary experience for what it was, a cult within a cult experience. Mormon missionaries will smile to your face, telling you that they are happy and fulfilled in the “work of the Lord” but there are fine cracks beneath their façade, cracks born of the realities of the Mormon missionary experience.

Thanks John for helping me further process my own missionary experiences.
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I Taught At The Mormon Missionary Training Center For Almost Three Years
Sunday, Dec 28, 2008, at 09:18 AM
Original Author(s): Robertb
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I recognized the "teaching skills" and "commitment pattern" as simply sales techniques even then. I have done some reading in persuasion techniques and have summarized some of my reading.

Professor Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University wrote Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion to prevent people from being unknowingly persuaded against their best interests. While the principles of influence Cialdini writes about are important in forming healthy relationships and social networks, unscrupulous salespeople, politicians, and religious leaders can (and do) use them as psychological weapons to manipulate us into making decisions that are against our best interests, sometimes with serious consequences.

In this context, Cialdini describes what he calls the “Weapons of Influence.” I have summarized them and added some brief commentary of my own about their application to Mormonism. Although each influencer is listed separately, they are often used in combination to increase their effectiveness.

Reciprocation

Reciprocation works by creating a sense of indebtedness. When someone does us a favor, even an unsolicited favor, we often feel an obligation to do something in return. The favor does not have to be tangible. Repayment is often out proportion to the value of the original favor. Skilled salespeople find some way of giving uninvited favors, tangible or intangible in order to create a sense of indebtedness. This creates a sense of indebtedness to the salesperson that makes it more likely you will buy the product. The principle of reciprocation, paired with liking, underlies Mormon fellowshipping attempts or “love-bombing.”

Commitment and Consistency

Once we take a stand about something or make a commitment, we experience internal and external pressure to maintain those commitments. On the plus side, this principle allows us to create stable relationships and social groups. Our employers like being able to count on us to do our jobs. We like counting on them to get a paycheck. People don’t like people who are unreliable and we don’t like to be thought of as unreliable.

When I was a missionary, and, later, an instructor at the Missionary Training Center, we used a “commitment pattern” to elicit commitments from investigators. It was found that people who committed early in the teaching process were more likely to follow through to baptism. As missionaries we could appeal to their commitment and sense of self-consistency to keep them moving along.

As members, Mormons are progressively committed to giving increasing amounts of time, energy, and money to the church program. Commitments are a central feature of the LDS temple endowment, culminating in The Law of Consecration, which commits the member to give or potentially give *everything* to the LDS Church.

Questioning or withdrawing from the commitments can be very painful for doubting members whose identify is built around the commitments they have made and who find themselves thinking, feeling, and acting in ways inconsistent with their former image of themselves as faithful Mormons.

Social Proof

Social proof means making decisions based on what other people think is correct. Most of the time it works well by saving us the time and effort it would take to work out every decision. It is fortunate, for example, that other drivers just go along with the traffic laws. The principle of social proof helps us to adapt to new situations and environments by encouraging us to observe what others are doing and emulate them.

At times social proof works against our interests. Sometimes the group is wrong. Sometimes social proof prevents us from seeing flaws or better ways of doing things. The Mormon Church relies heavily on social proof. When Gordon B. Hinckley says that the great majority of Mormon women in the church are satisfied with being left out of ecclesiastical decisions, implied those who aren’t happy are mistaken, he is using social proof. Social proof also underlies the publication of the church membership statistics.

In extreme cases, social proof in combination with commitment and consistency contributes to events like Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate.

Liking

We like to please people we know and like. We tend to like people who appear to have similar opinions, personality traits, and lifestyles as ourselves. We also like people who like us. The Mormon Church is very conscious about its image and has spent millions of dollars crafting that image and selling it to the public. The explicit dress and behavior codes for missionaries and BYU students and the less explicit, but nonetheless powerful dress and behavior codes for the Mormon membership, are in large part aimed at making Mormons appear likable. This concern about being liked led Gordon B. Hinckley to declare in a 1996 interview with Mike Wallace, “We are not weird.”

Authority

We are raised, for the most part, to respect authority and have grown up dealing with authorities, including parents, teachers, employers, law enforcement, etc. The appearance of authority can be enhanced by using symbols, citing other authorities, dressing like other authorities, and making sure others know about their experience and education. The goal of appealing to authority is to persuade your listener that you are in a position to know better than they and that they should follow your advice. The quintessential statement of Mormon authority comes from a ward teaching lesson from May 1945 and was repeated a month later in an official church publication: “"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done." Ward Teachers Message, Deseret News, Church Section p. 5, May 26, 1945, Improvement Era, June 1945.

Mormon leaders may find this statement and others like it useful for keeping the recalcitrant in line. However, Mormon apologists who recognize that such statements don’t play well outside of Provo deny the Mormon leadership means what it says. This denial is made in spite of similar statements made in official church settings and in Mormon scripture: “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” Doctrine and Covenants, Declaration 1

Fortunately, the religious authority of the Mormon leadership is based on our volunteering our belief. Once we withdraw our belief, their influence on us is significantly eroded.

Scarcity

Scarcity works on the principle that when something is difficult to get, it is perceived to be of more value. The item can be physically scarce or priced so high that it perceived to be of better quality than the same item at a lower cost.

In Mormonism, the scarcity principle applies to obtaining a temple recommend and “going to the temple.” Members who receive the temple ordinances are told they have received special blessings that are not available to every member, much less non-Mormons. The promotion of temple ordinances as sacred and special may leave members who find them silly and bizarre in a state of shock, confusion, and self-doubt.
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Converting People Through "Secular" Means
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009, at 02:40 PM
Original Author(s): Vahn
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I've been thinking today about some of the tactics we used as missionaries and members of the LDS chuch in order to gain converts. One particular method comes to mind as a missionary in Japan: Eikaiwa. (Or English Conversation Class, but we never called it that even when talking in English.)

I've spent hours and hours of my life in front of train stations and other places of large traffic in Japan handing out thousands of chirashi's (pamphlets) telling people about our free English class every Saturday morning at the church. Many a Japanese person wandered into an LDS building for the first time because of it. Of those people, virtually everyone would find out what we were REALLY doing there, and many would wind up hearing our lessons at least once.

I'd like to talk about a couple of things concerning my experience in Japan teachings English.

There were two pamphlets we carried around as missionaries. The first one was a "What's the purpose of life?" type pamphlet. The second was for the free English class. Often we'd fold the two together so it looked like it was all rolled into one. I find it ironic now in retrospect that sometimes I'd get into arguments with my companions about whether or not to pass out BOTH the religious pamphlet AND the English one. In fact, sometimes I'd find MYSELF conflicted between the two. On the one hand, we knew more people would come to the church if we left the church related pamphlet out. (It scares the Japanese people as they're not very fond of Christian preaching over there.) On the other hand, shouldn't THAT pamphlet be the MOST important one you could hand a potential investigator?

It's the old bait and switch... it's like that god damn timeshare presentation in a "free" vacation package. I'm not so sure I find this practice ethical any longer. These Japanese people would come to learn English, and at the end of every lesson, they'd be practically forced into hearing a "spiritual message." We'd also heckle the newcomers and ask them if we could meet with them sometime to talk about why we are in Japan.

More than 50% of our first timers never came back. I recall losing a lot of students in our third area when halfway through the lesson we surprised them all by putting on a video about Jesus Christ because it was Easter. 20 Japanese people had to endure a 45 minute video because all would have been too ashamed, and cared about US as people too much to walk out.

Only the ones that had endured the missionaries long enough for us to stop bothering them became our regulars. I feel bad for ever trying to get them to believe what I believed.

The Japanese people are so nice. I remember in two different areas announcing my soon to be goodbye. One English student bought me a $200 Yukata (It's like a Kimono but for men), as a thank you for teachings her for so long. Another man in a different area bought me a $50 dollar tie. I still have it to this day.

Neither of them ever had any interest in the gospel or Mormonism. I wish I could have, at the time, seen their kind actions the way they saw mine. They let me believe what I wanted to, and wanted to be friends regardless. They saw the good we were doing in teachings them English for free, even if every now and then they had to endure a short message about Jesus. At least the morals themselves were good. Like I said, I feel terrible for every coercive, deceptive teaching method I EVER utilized in order to get more people to listen to what we had to say.

Whether it was you AS a member in the past, or a story you have to tell, anyone else ever have interesting, introspective accounts of the good old bait and switch in Mormonism?
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Missionaries In South Tipperary, Ireland
Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Siog
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Well, in fact they were JWs, but they came to my door again yesterday afternoon. I'm pretty sure they are the same couple that came a few months back, and again a few months before that.

And, in fact, I saw them from my window as they were parked outside the entrance to the house, a couple of cars obscured by the tall hedge, one person leaning into another car as they conferred, I imagined, about which houses to call on. Keep in mind that my house is deep in the country, surrounded by fields, about five miles from town. We have at most a hamlet of a three or four houses within a half mile of each other. On the outer reaches of that distance there are three more houses. So it's slim pickings for anyone going door to door.

Seeing the cars from my window, catching a glimpse of the older man in one, I recognised them because, as I've said, they've been here before. I got to thinking of what I would say to them through the half-opened door. I know JWs are required by their cult to knock on doors and spread the word to so many households on a weekly or monthly basis. It's as much part of the cult training as not observing holidays or birthdays is. So I instinctively want to say, "Look, I know you're trying to do good but . . . ."

I considered, while waiting for the doorbell to ring, saying just that, then stopped the mental conversation. JWs, like Morgbots, may tell themselves they are doing good, helping others, or whatever way they cast that, but they are not.

Not only are they being intrusive pests, they are in fact bothering people, interrupting their days, for their own good, not the good of others. They do this because some cult leader told them they have to. They do this as part of working their way to heaven, however the JWs conceive of that destination.

Just as the Morgbots do. They go out on their missions proud of themselves for sacrificing in order to bring enlightenment to those in the dark, but in fact they do because they've been pressured to from childhood. They are working for "The Church", but the payoff is in their own eternal glory or whatever. Those they badger are simply players on their stage, the props that give the sacrifice an air of realism.

Even traditional Christian missionaries do some good for people. Catholic missionaries go out and set up schools or bring medical care. They may have as ulterior motives the idea of teaching Christianity, but at least they do something meant to directly better the lives of those they work with.

Not cults like JW and TSCC, though. They are simply using people, pretending to bring "The Gospel" or the Watchtower as they move robotically, inhaling the stench of self congratulation, all the while what they are really doing is putting in their time because they believe it's the way to glory.

So why should I politely say, "Look, I know you're trying to do good but. . . ."?

In the end, while making no attempt to hide my presence, I did what I did when the JWs came to the house in Califoria. I let the doorbell ring as I stood not 10 metres away in the kitchen. It rang a couple of times; through the frosted glass on each side of the door, I could see the skirt and handbag of a woman and the amorphous dark form of her companion. After a pause, the flap on the letter box clanked, and a brochure slid to the floor.

I'm pretty sure they saw me -- I hope they saw me -- through the window when they drove back in the direction of town some minutes later. Not much joy for missionaries here in Garryroan. I'm sure, however, the illusion of having been good worker bees in the service of the cult was satisfaction enough. One more step up the ladder to heaven.
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Observations From Temple Square Tour Today
Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009, at 08:36 AM
Original Author(s): Olman
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Friends were in from KCMO. Took them to the Square. First time for them, two hundred something for us.

I'm just noticing stuff with each visit; something to do to stay awake.

The Adam and Eve statue is right by a long wall of successive paintings of prophets. Adam is clean shaven, proof that Gillette made razors in the beginning. But there not 8 feet away is Noah, fully bearded. So is facial hair good or bad?

The girl guides were from Seattle and the Philippines. The US girl seemed like she would be a fun person in real life, but it was like her personality was muted for the task at hand.

Saw the Joseph Smith movie for the --th time. Revisionist all the way. Missourians did not bathe or care for teeth in the 1800's apparently. Joseph's sister leans over his shoulder and puts her finger on Matthew 7 in his Bible, then misquotes the verse while reading it aloud.

Walked through the new conference center. The guide was a young guy. He led us through an area where the workers were putting up an art display, which was cordoned off with velvet ropes. The old lady tour guides just about tore him up for his trespass.

Is it just me, or do older Mormon men all have a shifty, squinty look to their eyes? They seem creepy, like they're up to something.

You can't walk freely out onto the observation deck on top of the church office building anymore. You must be escorted by at least 2 very old lady tour guides. And I'm thinking, if I were up to no good, it would take 5 seconds to dispatch them and do my no good thing.

I see it more every time. Conformity. Thinking for oneself is forbidden.

Videos of Monson speaking are at least 20 years old.

They painted the pine pews in the Tabernacle and the assembly hall to look like oak. With all their money, why haven't they replaced them with the real stuff?

I'm sad for all the workers there.

That's my testimony. Amen.
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The Ways People Coped
Monday, Mar 23, 2009, at 09:20 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
As a missionary, I came to realize I hated what I was doing. Deep down inside, I think I realized it was a huge waste of time. During the moments when I was coming out of sleep, I would feel that I was about to get up, and do something that was an exercise in futility. It did not matte what we did. In the long run, it made no difference, and I knew it.

To deal with this, I became a student of the culture, and read history and literature when I should have been studying. It amazed me to find the ways I could sneak reading time into my mission. I also found ways of visiting places, and expanding my experiences beyond the awful grind of being a door to door salesman.

It dawned on me that many Mormons find ways to make the experience less painful. Many come up with elaborate coping mechanisms to make Mormonism more palatable. If you take it like it is, its hard medicine to swallow.

This is why Bruce McConkie would sputter with anger at the thought of "gospel hobbies." I think he recognized that people found diversions that took them away from the direct obedience and belief people like him found so terribly important. After all, some members would stop listening to him, and start listening to themselves.

Mormons adapt in many ways. Some take to using geneology as a hobby, and find pleasure in learning about their ancestors.

Others get off on church history, or what passes for church history, and try to find answers in the past. This, of course, often leads to real trouble, because the truth of Mormon history is not what people were taught.

I remember Mormons who quoted McKay's statement about meditation, and tried to bring that into their practice of Mormonism. That would lead to studying Hinduism and Buddhism, and adding some interest to the daily grind of being a robot. They found there is value, greater value, in other religions. The meditation led to some serious learning.

George Pace got into trouble, because he injected Christianity into Mormonism, and tried to bring a personal relationship with Jesus into the Mormon experience. It blew up in his face.

What Mormons do between the meetings offers a pretty good clue as to how they cope. They want to be normal, and have normal lives, and the crushing weight of the church makes that very nearly impossible.

I recall the RVs, and the boats, and the motor homes I saw in Mormon driveways. I often felt sorry for the owners, because they really did have limited use of their expensive diversions. Mormons always had to be back Saturday night. Their weekends were short, and their meetings and obligations were long. But they tried very hard to make their lives more enjoyable, even it they went to considerable expense to do it.

In the Mormon experience, the member has two lives. One is spent doing the church things, and the other is spent finding ways to cope, hold on, maintain sanity, and find a more normal form of happiness.

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I Will Be A Perfect Example Of Exact Obedience: The Little White Bible
Monday, Mar 23, 2009, at 09:20 AM
Original Author(s): Shamdango
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
"I will be a perfect example of exact obedience." - Scribbled in blue ink on the last page of my 'Little White Bible' during my days at the MTC in 1998.

So, I've recently been contemplating my experience as a Mormon and decided to go through a few of my Mormon-ish things.

I found my 'Little White Bible' known formally as the Missionary Handbook.

I flipped through it a moment. Then, an old friendly piece of handwriting poked out on the last page.

It was my own handwriting. In blue ink.

I had scribbled the phrase 'I will be a perfect example of exact obedience.' on the last page at the request of an LDS apostle who came to discourse the new recruits at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

In his discourse, he asked us to pull out our Missionary Handbooks (that we were always to carry with us, rain, snow, or shine) and write the phrase in the handbook.

He waited while we obeyed.

And we did.

Every last missionary pulled out their Missionary Handbooks. And we scribbled the phrase into our 'Little White Bibles.'

Does anyone else have this phrase scribbled in their Little White Bibles?

I read that phrase now. It's been almost 11 years.

'I will be a perfect example of exact obedience.'

Maybe something for the military. I could see that. During basic training recruits are drilled that they should obey all orders from their superiors.

But, in a religious sense... I can't help but have an aftertaste of CULT in the back of my throat.

Ick.

I'm going to go brush my teeth now.

Pay Lay What the Hell?
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Tokyo South Mission With Pres. Delbert Groberg 80-81
Monday, Apr 13, 2009, at 08:19 AM
Original Author(s): Tokyojoe
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My first posting here on this website. I read over the accounts of what was posted regarding the everyday dealing of the missionaries in the (now closed) Tokyo South Mission. Of what I read, I must agree that 98% is accurate. I arrived in late 1980, a convert to the church in 1978...so I was green as they come in my own experiences in the Church, as well as being a missionary. It was only a few days after I arrived that I realized that we were not in Kansas anymore, and the Great Oz was more than just a small man behind a curtain.

I hit the streets doing "streeting" in January. It was quite common to be on the streets from 9 am to 9:30 pm, only with breaks if you were lucky enough to get someone to go back with you to listen to a jiko shokai (small personal introduction) and a couple of discussions or 3. By the middle of February, I was personally called into Pres. Groberg's office and was given a fine talking to that, if summed up, went something like this: "Of all the new missionaries in your group, you are doing the least amount of contacts and discussions. If I don't see a definite improvement in your stats within 2 weeks, maybe you shouldn't be here."

I couldn't believe my ears, because I had just left as a hero from my ward...the convert who was going to convert others...but in Japan, in the eyes of Pres. Groberg, I was just not producing...and he did check up with me a month later, like clock work. It was March 1981. I was asked to come to his office, where, once again, he told me that he was not going to play any more games with me, and that I had had my chance. If I didn't have x baptisms by the end of the month I would be sent home. And that is the gospel truth.

In the 3rd week of March, my ZL showed up at our apartment. He came to talk with me, and to "pray with me" so that I would be able to stay in Japan and finish (God, I had just started) my mission. We knelt there together on the tatami mats, and he prayed and I prayed....and I committed to get things done. My companion was worried for me, and he knew of the Stress I was under. I couldn't understand this whole concept that President Groberg had....

Well, as luck would have it, I escaped the wrath of the infamous cold and steely-eyed Groberg in March by pulling off a baptism, which was one of those quicky rent-a-font ceremonies...a font that was basically a wooden rectangle with a blue tarp used as a liner to hold COLD COLD water on the balconey of our apartment.

I won't go into greater detail but will tell you that it is all true...the stories of the baseball baptisms. Jokes of throwing in candy in the font and the kids jumping in after it...and that this would count as a baptism if you said the prayer.....

Luckily, President Groberg and his delightfully naive wife departed Japan half way through my mission and Pres. Inoue was called as President. If it were not for that man, I would have either killed myself right there in Japan, or would have been sent home by one of the most cold-hearted individuals that I have ever met.

Before my mission ended, I found myself as the Mission Recorder, and was responsible for all of the baptism records, and the like. I personally dealt with the transition from Mission-based "churches" where missionaries held meetings in their apartments and called it sacrament meeting,to the formally organized local wards. Hundreds and hundreds of member records were never found, and the baptisms always out paced the real growth. It was humiliating and embarassing to know that so many great young men and women, elders and sisters, were treated so poorly, and misused.

I had personal access to records left by the distinguised Pres. Groberg, and his taunts of other missionaries. I will not discuss them out of respect for privacy....but I will say that no matter what, he bullied, forced, coerced, threatened and at times, even blackmailed missionaries to perform "miracles." And the kikuchi/groberg love affair was a real, palpable thing.

I stayed in the Church for many years, finishing BYU, marrying in the temple and raising a child. I am divorced now, and have left the church. I miss so many things about it. And honestly, the first cracks in my fledgling testimony happened during my mission. What a sad thing to happen.

One last comment....After Pres. Groberg left, the massive clean up that Pres. Inoue had was almost unbearable. Within that first month, 5 or 6 missionaries were sent home and excommunicated for various reasons, mostly sexual with local female church members. And who was among them? The ZL that knelt with me in prayer, so that I would be blessed with a baptism, and get the chance to stay in Japan.

What irony.
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The "C" Word
Thursday, Apr 23, 2009, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Nightingale
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
On a thread about a senior missionary couple not being "allowed" to leave their FOURTH mission to attend the funeral of their dearest friend who had died suddenly, UK-Sinner said:

"Are they are taking part in volunteer service or a cult lock down?"

Cult lock down - ha, that made me laugh. And then not.

This couple is of mature age. They are doing volunteer service. They are grieving the loss of their friend. The husband had been asked to speak at the funeral. Some Mormon leader tells them they cannot leave their mission to attend their friend's funeral. They feel disappointed or even disillusioned but still they obey. Perhaps it never occurs to them not to obey - to just go with their human need and impulse to gather together with other grieving friends and relatives and say good-bye to their good friend. Too, it is an honour to speak at the service for a loved one, another loss for the missionary couple who are serving their church that apparently cannot see a way to move over and make room for people to be normal. Even if it is not a church rule but only some local leader's warped view and exertion of his petty power, still the church is at fault for not making these most BASIC of principles well known to both leaders and membership, such as the fact that senior missionaries are not bound by the same rules as the young missionaries (not that that isn't a mind warp as well - I have heard of a missionary not being allowed to attend the funeral of his own mother and I know of others who are not allowed to return home for serious illness in sibs or parents, even if the problem is terminal and they will never see them again), and also such as the fact that divorce is not mandatory or even recommended just because one spouse stops attending church (but that's a different topic).

I wince every time I see the 'c' word used as yeah, it does carry a negative connotation. I find it a weighted word, a negative image and often used as profanity, in effect. There is also an element there of not wanting to accept or acknowledge that I joined a cult when I was baptized in the Mormon Church. So, I am still ambivalent about it and lean mostly towards not thinking about it or examining it or deciding one way or the other what my conclusion is about it.

I do recall vividly, though, twice when my brain whispered that word to me while Mormon (or trying to be).

The first was at a zone conference for missionaries where I had been invited to speak (as a star convert or something, yow). I attended the entire thing, not just my part. Seeing the missionaries throughout the day repeatedly standing up and sitting down on command, loudly singing their booster songs and reciting their set pieces, as well as their obvious nervousness and reluctance about their one-on-one meetings with their MP, and their rote testimonies, the same words exactly from everyone, that I had heard many times before, had my eyebrows signaling my discomfort and my brain spitting out the 'c' word even though I tried to make it shush.

The second was at the temple where I went for the first time to do the dead dunking. My recollection is that we were in a basement and it was quite dark, although I could be mistaken about the location, but that was my impression. Unbidden, the thought came into my head that if they bring out the jumpsuits I'm outta here. And yikes, they DID. I was handed a white jumpsuit that predictably was too short in the crotch and the legs for me and no way in heaven or earth I was going to don the thing anyway. I went and rented a dress which was at least an acceptable option to me over the jumpsuit thing, even though I then had to contend with the dress-floating-up-rendering-the-baptism-void issue.

My brain was screaming the 'c' word over that one. Still, I squelched it.

Even after years of reading RfM posts wherein this topic is discussed and seeing others routinely using the 'c' word to refer to the Mormon Church, I can't do it. Can't acknowledge that it is so. Can't use the word.

I was quite freaked out recently when I read a crazy little action/adventure novel supposedly to give my head a rest. The main character was a go-to action man who was hired by some parents to get their daughter out of a cult. He infiltrated it by attending an intro meeting, making like he was rich and getting pulled into its depths, finding all kinds of slime on its underbelly. The description of the intro meeting and the follow up sessions as well as the message of the cult and the absolute control of its leader over the people, and their extreme acquiescence, caused flashbacks or triggers, whatever you want to call it. I have quite significant claustrophobia and it can come on by feeling restrained even just in my mind, like feeling caught in a double-bind or a maze, when things aren't making sense, or when I feel severely restricted, without choices. Even something like the bishop giving me a calling and telling me "It's your choice whether you accept or not. Go home and pray about it. The answer will beyes." can set off this horrible claustrophobia. I can't always tell what it is though. I just figured it out after I left.

This story about the cult really got to me such that I had to stop reading it halfway through. I eventually went back and finished it but I can still feel those feelings if I think about it again, like now.

And this is me, a non-BIC, only three years in, with some negative experiences in the church but not anything too OTT or abusive, like some have had to endure. Well, just a baptism from hell (maybe literally, lol) (a story I've told here before), immersion in the missionary program (story to come for cheryl) and witnessing abuse of missionaries, and the bishop sending me to the church psych because I had questions (essentially) and the psych being really nasty and creepy to me. That actually helped as after I left his office I stood outside the ward building asking myself why I attended a church that resulted in me needing mental health care. {{Light bulb moment}}

So, I'm saying, that 'c' word does keep circling...
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Finally, My Uber TBM Sister Is Disappointed In Her Church
Thursday, Apr 23, 2009, at 08:01 AM
Original Author(s): Gemini
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My sister and her husband are on their 4th senior mission and are in South America.

Their closest and dearest friend died suddenly on Monday and the family wanted my b-i-l to speak at the funeral. The cost for airline tickets was going to be $2500 but they were willing to pay it. They would be gone from the mission for a maximum of 3-4 days. When they asked the Area President if they could have permission to do this, the answer was "no". They were told that missionaries are "not allowed" to leave the mission for funerals of friends. My sister was under the impression that senior missionary rules were "different".

They both have been crying for the loss of their friend and that they can't be there to say goodbye. They are disappointed in their church.

It amazes me that members allow the corporation to tell them they are "not allowed" to leave, even though they are there voluntarily.

What would happen if they just left anyway?
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Black Bicycles
Friday, Apr 24, 2009, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Therasmus
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Mormon Missionaries. When you think about them three things come to mind. White shirt, name tag, bicycle. My mission took me to Japan. Japan has bikes. Lots of bikes. The majority of them black. It seemed kind of silly to even own a car. The trains could take you just about anywhere and your bicycle could get you to the train station. Now Japanese bikes are designed with this in mind. Easy to mount, dismount, maintain, keep clean, and keep the rider clean. Some of them even had a shaft driven driveline in place of the chain and three internal gears. Slick. They only had front brakes. All of them had fenders. Simple, functional, affordable. They even had built in bike locks. Contrast that with the bikes us Americans had. Mountain Bikes. Specialized toys from America with 27 gear ratios. Front shocks. Knobby tires. Front and rear brakes. No kick stand, fenders, or chain guard, and they were heavy. They were also expensive to ship around Japan. Every time you got a transfer to another part of the mission you hadto ship your bike separately, because they weren’t allowed on the train. This was all at the expense of the mission.

One day the Mission Prez announces he’s had a revelation from God. All the missionaries would sell their bikes to the mission and they would become part of the apartment. Kind of like the stove. Apartment’s came with a stove, table, toilet, two mattresses and two bikes. No more shipping bikes. Most missionary apartments in Japan doubled up on occupants because rent was so expensive. So really four mattresses and four bikes.

All missionaries were told that they were responsible for the bike when they had it and that by no means would extras funds be spent to repair them. Communism usually fails because there is no pride of ownership. If it’s not yours why maintain it? I’m only going to be using this for 3 months so why bother? Systems of community property are destined to fail. Doubly so if the individual using the equipment is made fiscally responsible for a repair, if he pointed out the need for a repair. Not if he broke it, just if he pointed out a bike needed fixing. 19 and 20 year old males are hard on equipment, especially if it isn’t theirs. Why do you think car rental companies refuse to rent to people under 25?

Fast forward 3 months; 25% of the mission’s bikes were broken and weren’t being fixed. This promoted a lot of trading up. When one (or two) missionaries transferred out of an area (i.e. apartment) the others would trade up to the vacated bike(s) if it was in a better state of repair. If you were the unlucky transferee or a new missionary you were guaranteed to get the worst bike of the apartment, and oft times it didn’t work.

6 months of bicycle communism later and close to 50% of the bikes were unusable. Many were striped of parts and used to repair the few working bikes. This meant that only one set of missionaries from an apartment could have access to bikes while the others had to walk.

Right about this time the mission started seeing an influx of Japanese style bikes in to the bike pool. American missionaries on black Japanese bikes. And not just one or two. 3 dozen or so. No one was talking about where these bikes were coming from. The rumors were just speculation: private donation?, Mission Prez secretly buying bikes for his favorites?

7 month mark. The apartment I was assigned to had 3 working bikes to share among 4. One of the three was on it’s last spokes and would soon go rubber side up. One night my Zone Leader (Z.L.) tells me that God wants to give our apartment two bikes so we can continue our holy work. All four of us need to go down to the train station, and God will give us some bikes. We set out just as it was getting dark. Four missionaries on two bikes, riding down to the train station. Rear pegs are popular in Japan so standing behind your companion while he peddled was common. Plus all the school kids did it, so it wasn’t entirely out of place. We get to the station It’s darkish but the area lighting hasn’t come on yet. Z.L. hops of the back of the bike and he and my companion head into the bike racks. I notice the Z.L. has a metal pry bar of some kind in his hand. They tell me and the other guy to yell out if we see someone coming. Banging. Loud metal pops. 3 minutes later ZL and my companion emerge from the bike racks withtwo Japanese style bikes. Both have broken locks.

They say that God helps those that help themselves, and apparently the entire mission was helping themselves to Japan’s bicycles.

Bicycle communism ended soon after. All the unexplained, “new” bikes and the piles of bicycle parts all over the apartments might have clued the Mission Prez into what was going on. Prez thanked the mission for following God’s revelation but now God didn’t want to own bikes anymore and gave them back to the missionaries. Private ownership again. I got to ride one of the “new” bikes for a couple of weeks. Nice ride, easy to maintain, and kept me clean. Only one complaint, its lock didn’t work.
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Undocumented LDS Missionaries - How Mormon Senator Bob Bennett Changed The Law To Benefit The LDS Church
Monday, Apr 27, 2009, at 09:08 AM
Original Author(s): Witch Hazel
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
Clearly we do take and always will take a great sense of responsibility for the safety of our missionaries in any part of the world. ... We're not agents of the immigration service and we don't pretend to be, and we also won't break the law. We didn't bring them here. We quite overtly discourage that." -Jeffrey R. Holland, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Missionary's arrest sparks discussion and fear:
The arrest of an undocumented immigrant returning last week from his LDS mission has sparked discussion at the highest levels of the church about how to limit such exposure in the future.

Early last week, a missionary was detained at the Cincinnati airport for "lacking necessary documentation to board his flight home," according to Michael Purdy, LDS Church spokesman.

Sending undocumented immigrants on a mission, though, sends a mixed message, with the potential for "tragic" results for missionaries and their families, said Ron Mortensen of the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration.

"What the church has done is taken care of themselves and left the individual in a terrible position," Mortensen said. "They say 'We'll give you these benefits, but, oh by the way, if something happens to you, sorry.' "
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12223689

I've been reading about this topic all day. I've collected quite a few articles and commentary on this issue regarding the church dating back all the way to 2005 with Sen. Bennett's last minute addition to a farm bill so the church could cover their asses and throw undocumented missionaries who get caught under the bus.

The church has said before it "has taken no position regarding proposed immigration legislation":
Church spokesman Scott Trotter said "the blessings of the Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christs" and went on to say "Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States." What Trotter failed to mention is that the Church is actually responsible for the law that insulates religious organizations from prosecution for, among other things, knowingly permitting undocumented immigrants to be ministers or calling them as missionaries. In 2005, the Church lobbied Senator Bob Bennett to sponsor this "narrow exception" to federal immigration law, and he added the provision to an agricultural spending bill that was later signed into law (prompting Rep. Tom Tancredo to lambaste it as the "Bennett Loophole").
The LDS Church has changed its policies about mission calls for undocumented immigrants over time. Previously, they had to return to their country of origin for extended periods of time and then could serve. However, U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, inserted language into a 2005 agricultural bill that absolves religious organizations of criminal liability for allowing their undocumented members to perform volunteer service, including mission work.

Churches already were shielded if they didn't know the person was illegal, so the only reason to have the amendment is to knowingly recruit illegal aliens.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/htm...

Title 8 section 1324 of US Code:
(C) It is not a violation of clauses [1] (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (A), or of clause (iv) of subparagraph (A) except where a person encourages or induces an alien to come to or enter the United States, for a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States, or the agents or officers of such denomination or organization, to encourage, invite, call, allow, or enable an alien who is present in the United States to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States as a volunteer who is not compensated as an employee, notwithstanding the provision of room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses, provided the minister or missionary has been a member of the denomination for at least one year.
I feel a lot of sympathy for people who have immigrated to this country. What cracks me up all the talking out of both sides of its face the church is doing. Being honest is really hard!

Isn't it amazing how the Lord only calls them to US missions?
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Mexico: The Early 1980's
Thursday, May 28, 2009, at 08:58 AM
Original Author(s): Grendel
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The GA's have to take their frustrations caused by the poor product quality of the TSCC. The members and full-time mishies are basically their only targets.

Some mission presidents, such as mine in Mexico in the early 80's, have tweeked the message and presentation to achieve baptismal numbers that the GA's seemed happy with. In Mexico, our mission president had us use the apostacy that happened with the original christian church after JC and the original 12 died off. We used biblical scriptures to build our case with investigators and talked briefly about JC's fictional visit to their ancestors in the Americas. Many investigators were baptized within minutes of hearing the message and challenged with following JC's baptismal example.

We baptized over 1000 people a month for over a year and sometimes over 1500 people. This was done with about 75-80 missionaries in the mission. I recall several zone and mission conferences where Richard G. Scott attended and was very happy with our performance. While the numbers were impressive, the growth that had staying power was non-existent. The converts would attend for a few weeks and then disappear.

When a new mission president arrived, he was apalled at the practices in place and immediately stopped the "baseball baptims". Although our baptismal numbers were respectable, we never had totals over 500 baptisms per month again and we never saw another GA or area president again in the last year that I was there.

The pressure to be something extraordinary in the TSCC is palpable. You see it in the youth programs and the way people raise thier children. You see it in the missionary program. You see it in most male members and thier career ambitions. You see it in mothers "who know". The only ones who don't seem to produce results are the GAs. The GAs just take credit for everyone else's hard work.
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The Missionaries Are The Lowest Level, So They Are Saddled With The Blame For The Failure Of A GA's "Stewardship."
Thursday, May 28, 2009, at 09:04 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The missionaries are the lowest level, so they are saddled with the blame for the failure of a GA's "stewardship." Say that an Area President has to report low numbers to Salt Lake. He's not going to point to himself and say, "Yeah, I'm really struggling." So he's going to browbeat the mission president, and when the mission president says it's not his fault, who's left? Yep, the lowly missionaries. It will always be their fault.

Here's an excerpt of my mission memoir that describes an encounter with a GA:

"One of the leaders of the church, Elder F. Burton Howard, was coming to speak to us. I was excited, as I had not seen a high church leader since leaving the MTC. His office in São Paulo had been calling my office every day for a few weeks, asking if there were any possibility of a general strike in the country. Because there was essentially only one labor union in Bolivia, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), when the union declared a strike, the whole country shut down. Every day I assured Elder Howard’s secretary that there were no signs of a strike. A few days before Elder Howard’s arrival, I heard from one of my contacts at the airline that there could possibly be a short-term strike, so when Brazil called, I had to tell them it was a slight possibility. Up to that point, Elder Howard had planned to tour all of Bolivia and hold meetings with the missionaries in every large town. With that one phone call, Elder Howard’s office canceled all meetings except for a meeting with church members in Cochabamba. Iworked assiduously to cancel airline tickets and hotel reservations.

"The day after the church meeting we had a missionary conference with Elder Howard. All the missionaries in and around Cochabamba were there, perhaps eighty of us. I was so excited to hear his words of wisdom, but what we got was a nearly hour-long harangue during which this tall, lanky American with a comb-over and a scarred left eye yelled at us in Spanish for our lack of commitment to missionary work. We were, he said, lazy and disobedient to the rules and to the commandments. At one point, he leaned out over the podium, glaring, and said, in English, “I don’t make the rules. That’s just the way it is.” He also told us we shouldn’t be discouraged or depressed (I was a little of both) because we were where the Lord wanted us to be.

"My companion and I went home that night feeling devastated. We had been working so hard. We both had been sick and had some days forced ourselves to get out of bed and do the Lord’s work. But it was clear that what we had given wasn’t enough. The Lord expected more from us. In our bedroom we sat, nearly in tears, talking about what we had heard. It didn’t take too long for us to decide that Elder Howard was right: we weren’t working hard enough, and we needed to be more committed. By the time I wrote in my journal that night, I had decided that this conference had been 'Awesome!'”
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The Toolery Of Angel Abrea
Thursday, May 28, 2009, at 09:08 AM
Original Author(s): Zim
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Angel Abrea came to our mission when I was serving in Mexico and without exception he chewed out every zone. In our zone, two elders arrived late. They left their area at a completely reasonable hour, but the bus they were on broke down and they were stranded for two hours. Abrea interrupted the mission president and asked them why they were late. The gringo senior companion did his best to explain, but his nervousness and poor command of Spanish made it go on forever. He just kept emphasizing, "¡Dos horas!" It would have been funny had it not been so abusive. They had left early enough that a two hour delay only made them about 10 minutes late for the meeting, so clearly their due diligence had been done. Abrea mercilessly chewed them out in front of all of us for more than five minutes. Finally, the mission president interrupted him and said, "Elder Abrea, these are good missionaries." His voiced dripped with sarcasm when he coldly replied to our MP, "I know president. I want them to be better missionaries." I always admired my MP for standing up to him. It's probably why he has never risen in the ranks. Abrea went on to give what might have been a good talk, but we were all put off by what we'd just seen. It was awful.

To contrast, later on Elder Ted Brewerton came and he was the exact opposite. He was kind, empathetic and friendly. There had been a fairly rabid anti-Catholic pamphlet that had been passed around among some of the missionaries. In it, it was claimed that Brewerton had baptized a former monk and that the monk had let him in on all the evil Catholic secrets and how they studied the Book of Mormon in order to figure out how to thwart it. One of the missionaries in our group was dumb enough to ask him a question about it during the break. Brewerton called us all back together and without identifying or humiliating the missionary, pointed out that he had been asked about the pamphlet. He went on to explain to us that the only true statement he saw in the pamphlet was that he had in fact baptized a former monk. The rest, he explained, was garbage and that we should not believe the anti-Catholic propaganda contained therein. He was kind and classy. I can only imagine what Abrea would have done had something similarhappened.
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A Theory Of Why LDS General Authorities - And The LDS Church - Disdain Missionaries
Thursday, May 28, 2009, at 11:49 AM
Original Author(s): Odell Campbell
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My hypothesis assumes that most LDS General Authorities dislike missionaries. I have come to this conclusion based on my personal experiences and those of my returned missionary friends.

I had very little experience dealing with General Authorities during my mission to the Argentina Córdoba Mission during 1985-87. My two experiences demonstrate a contempt for missionaries by the church's leaders.

While I was in Argentina the temple in Buenos Aires was completed and it became customary for returning missionaries to visit the temple situated near the international airport. At the temple, Angel Abrea, a General Authority from Argentina, was acting as the temple's president. Months earlier Abrea had visited the mission home in Córdoba and had reprimanded Pres. Fernandez for the lack of baptisms. The visit greatly distressed Fernandez, the mission president. At the time I was a traveling assistant to Fernandez and had briefly met Abrea during the visit.

As my group of missionaries arrived in Buenos Aires, I was glad to see my twin brother who was finishing his mission in Bahia Blanca. After joining our group we headed to the temple. Abrea was at the entry desk checking recommends. He quickly scanned each recommend inviting the missionaries to the temple. When he reached mine, he asked me who had signed my recommend. My recommend was signed by Fernandez just days earlier. In front of the other missionaries, including my twin brother, Abrea announced the recommend a forgery and told me I would have to wait in the lobby while the group attended the temple session without me. At first I thought he was joking, but the humor was lost when the group of eighteen missionaries disappeared into the temple without me. I asked Abrea to call Pres. Fernandez to verify the signature. He refused. Five minutes later he changed his mind and told me to hurry and dress for the temple session.

When I arrived in Colorado Springs, my brother and I arranged an appointment later in the evening to meet with the stake president to be released as full-time missionaries. When we arrived with my father, we were early and waited outside the stake president's office. As we waited, the Denver Mission president (at the time Colorado Springs was part of the Denver Mission) and another man, a general authority, approached us as they exited a meeting from the high council room. My brother and I arose and greeted the two church leaders. The Denver mission president shook our hands and greeted us, the general authority completely ignored us, turning his head away from us. As he passed, he turned to the Denver mission president and said: "I hope all of your missionaries don't look as bad as those two." As a naïve missionary, I felt bad for the mission president. We weren't his missionaries and we indeed looked horrible. I was dressed in a dingy white shirt, worn dress pants and shoes falling apart from walking on dirt roads. My necktie wasn't silk and I was severely underweight. I had left my suits in Argentina to help local young men wanting to serve a mission. I was tired and sick. Months of bus travel, illness and poor eating had taken a toll on me. I stopped the general authority and "helped" the Denver mission president by explaining that my brother and I had just returned home from Argentina and the clothes we were wearing were our best. I didn't want the General Authority to criticize the mission president for our appearance. However, he didn't say anything and just kept walking.

Earlier in my mission, while in Jujuy, Argentina, I suffered from appendicitis and had an emergency appendectomy there. I had managed to call the mission home. Days later, I traveled to Cordoba with the president to recover. I wondered why my parents had never called about my health. A couple of days later, my mother called and was worried about me. During the conversation I learned that she had never been informed about my surgery. I learned that while she was at church that Sunday, the stake president casually asked her how I was recovering. She had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently the missionary department had called the stake president, informed him that they would be notifying my parents, but never did.

(Note to trolls, I did not leave the LDS church because of these experiences. If you would like to know the reason I left, I would be happy to e-mail you the issues which caused me to disbelieve the extraordinary claims of Joseph Smith and veracity of the church he began.)

In speaking to friends, I have noticed that much anticipated visits during their missions by LDS church General Authorities were disappointments. Instead of encouraging the young and often tired missionaries, the General Authorities typically lambasted the missionaries for lack of baptisms blaming the low numbers on missionary disobedience and lack of zeal.

Past LDS prophet and president, Gordon Hinckley has quipped, as he did in his famous 60 Minutes interview about missionaries: "You all look alike, white shirts, some a little wrinkled; ties. I look at you, I look at your faces and think of your age and I'm inclined to say; 'Well, you're not much to look at, but you're all the Lord has.'"

Hinckley, like other Mormon General Authorities, never praises nor exhibits any gratitude for the church's young and mostly zealous volunteers.

Over the years I have wondered why otherwise good leaders would exhibit such poor behavior and anger at young people who are sacrificing two years of their lives at their own expense. Any other organization would covet and envy the Mormon church for the level of commitment shown by its young missionaries.

The theory I have reached is that the General Authorities, acutely aware of the lack of growth in the Mormon church (despite the attempts to portray the church as growing to the media) hold the missionaries solely responsible for the stagnation.

The General Authorities are no different than a business owner lambasting the sales force for low production numbers. Yet, one difference exists in the comparison. Company owners can do quality surveys and build a better product after it becomes apparent that the product isn't selling because it is defective or inferior to other similar products.

LDS Church leaders cannot accept that their product is defective. Often the purchasers of the products (investigators) know more about the product and its origins than do the young, dedicated missionaries or even the General Authorities. Because the product cannot be changed or improved, the General Authorities take out their frustration on the sales force. I wonder if the disdain for missionaries by church leaders has become institutionalized, and not capable of adjustment? There are some things that just can't be polished.
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A Story From A Former Missionary To Korea
Monday, Jun 8, 2009, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It was a slow day at work yesterday, and so I decided to check out what was going on in Mo-land. I happened upon the postings about how serving a mission helped missionaries leave the church, and was so touched I felt compelled to share my story too.

I thought I was the only ex-mo whose mission experience opened his eyes. Nice to know that I’m not the only one. My mission truly was the “best” 2 years of my life precisely because it gave me the experiences I needed to get out of the church before I was committed inextricably to it – i.e., married and living in Ida-tah.

I served in the Seoul Korea Mission in the late 1980s. In addition to serving with some really open-minded, “cool” sisters and elders, people who I feel privileged to know, the Seoul Mission had a great library, with the complete sets of the Journals of Discourses and, History of Church by BH Roberts, with a lot of minor religious and history books as well. I devoured these books thinking that they would strengthen my testimony. Was I wrong.

Reading 1 or 2 books a week, I read everything I could lay my hands on, growing ever more disturbed. At about 6 months into my mission, I was transferred from Seoul out to the countryside near the North Korean border. I and my companion were the first missionaries ever in this area. We had been promised (like so many others) that if we worked hard and kept the rules we would be blessed with converts.

For 3 months we worked that town hard. The JWs had been there long before us and had seemingly talked to everybody in town. No one was interested. In my last 2 districts, I and my companion had been some of the top baptizers in the mission. Not here. In those 3 months, not only did we not convert anyone, we didn’t even land a discussion. All we had to show for our success was getting an old woman who worked in the market to accept a Book of Mormon. 3 days later, there was a knock on our apartment door. It was the woman from the market, handing us back the BoM. (Being the only white guys in town, it wouldn’t have been too hard for her to find us). She told us her pastor told her not to read it. That was the only success that I had in the five months I served there.

The foundation of my world had been cracked by my reading; now that I had none of success that had been promised by my MP, the foundation of my faith was starting to crumble. It was a straight forward formula. We all knew it: you worked hard, kept the rules, and God blessed you with converts. It didn’t happen – even though the MP had looked in my eyes and told me so, and then later sealed the deal with a special blessing before I and my companion left to open this town to the Lord’s work. Nothing seemed to work.

But my MP had a plan, and sent in the reinforcements: 2 very successful missionaries. Elder Lee was a charismatic, good-looking Korean who had had amazing success in another town (I didn’t find out until later that his success had been mostly with the 12 – 16 year old student set). Our town became its own district and Elder Lee became the DL. I felt relieved to have Elder Lee in charge.

I just knew that Elder Lee would have success, and that I could learn from him. How wrong I was. He and his companion soon showed us how I and my companion should be: they were out the door even before we even got up. They fasted. They prayed. They studied scriptures. They tracted until 10. Not only was I depressed, now I felt guilty. I thought I was working hard, but not enough. Not only was I a doubter, but a slacker too.

I and my companion redoubled our efforts. We adopted Elder Lee’s tactics. But despite his leadership, our hard work, fasting and praying for success, we had none. None of us did.

So here I was in the middle of nowhere, seriously doubting my faith because of all the reading I had done, but still working hard and fasting with nothing to show for it. My doubt turned to skepticism that perhaps our leaders (particularly my MP) weren’t actually inspired by God.

What else could shake my shaky faith?

* * *

I soon found out. The amazing Elder Lee – the former Branch President and AP who got up at 5:30 to read the scriptures, who stayed up late praying, who inspired us to fast for converts – crawled over into my mattress one night, and climbed in next to me. Without saying a word, he just crawled into bed, put his arm under my neck and laid his head on my chest, and slept curled up around me. I was so surprised I just lay there on my back in my garments with him curled up on me. It was a sleepless night for me.

As anyone who’s served a mission knows, this was against all mission rules. Sleeping with your companion was the sort of thing that got you sent home, even if it was completely non-sexual. But in Korean culture, male-male physical, non-sexual affection is the norm between friends. During my first month in Korea, a Korean companion reached over to hold your hand as we were walking down the street in broad daylight. I freaked out. That’s the sort of thing that would get you beat up in Idaho. But then, after seeing just about every other Korean man holding his best friend’s hand while walking, you relax. After living in Korea a year, I like most Americans elders, learned to “chill-out” about this cultural difference, and many of us, actually really came to appreciate this part of Korean culture.

But sleeping in the same bed was a different matter – and I felt guilty every time he crawled on my mattress with me (all four of us slept in the same room on the floor on thin mattresses). He must have at some level also felt guilty about it because it was only after our companions went to sleep that he would crawl into my bed, and curl up next to me with his head on my chest. This happened nearly every night for the whole summer.

Nothing even remotely sexual ever happened.

At the time I was freaked out by our rule-breaking, and was sure we would be getting a call from our MP any day (since he was inspired and all). Now I treasure this experience. With the benefit of hindsight, I think I understand a little of the pain Elder Lee must have been feeling, but I didn’t suspect to what extent his faith was crumbling too.

I realize now that he and I were two very bruised people, feeling very betrayed by the failure of the “work hard, get blessed” formula. Each of us was descending into our own separate depression. We were alone, and caught in an organization where our failure could only be interpreted as proof of our own spiritual inadequacy.

Now I think that Elder Lee’s crawling into bed with shows just how desperately he needed a real human connection – some reassurance that he, I and everything would be OK. I know I certainly felt that way. He and I never once spoke of our sharing a bed.

I’ll never know if Elder Lee committed suicide or was accidentally hit by a car 6 months after his mission ended. All of us who knew him well certainly suspected suicide. We all knew of his black depression. He finished his 2 years in that small town near the North Korean border believing he was a failure, and he left a broken man. Like me, he did not baptize a single person in his 6 months there. Like me, he had been promised extraordinary success if he only followed the rules and worked hard. I’m honored that Elder Lee trusted and loved me enough to let me help him get through the night, and I feel sorry that I wasn’t aware enough to be able to help him more. He was a gifted man, lifted up and then crushed by the cogs of the church machine.

* * *

During that pivotal summer, we were shut in our apartment for a whole week while a typhoon blew through. Elder Lee lay on his bed consumed by his dark mood. Our juniors were in the back room talking. I sat on the apartment veranda watching the storm blow outside, and it just hit me full force: “the Church is not true, and there is no God.” In that moment, what was left of my teetering faith crumbled and shattered. I knew that I was a failure as a missionary, and that I should go home. But I knew also the shame that leaving my mission would bring to me and my family, (not to mention what it would do to my scholarship to BYU) so I decided to tough it out. I had one more year left of my mission. I could do it.

At end of month five in that small little town, I got a call from the Mission President. Even with my epiphany, I still thought he must know that I had been breaking the rules, had lost my faith in the Church and did not believe in God (old habits die hard). I was sure I would be demoted back to junior companion and called back to Seoul where they could keep an eye on me; after all, I was a failure.

Of course it didn’t happen that way. I was transferred back to Seoul, and got a major promotion – I was now a ZL! Having never served as DL, being made a ZL was definitely a surprise – it got the rest of the mission talking too – but that call (“Elder, I feel inspired....”) only confirmed what I already knew: Church leaders were not inspired and didn’t have a clue what was actually going on.

* * *

Getting back to Seoul (and all its gossip), I had no idea how clueless the MP actually was. Seoul was a non-stop party. Turns out we had a couple of companionships who went on splits regularly: the straight pair went partying in Itaewon (hookers, bars and gambling near the American base), while the gay pair (who’d been in the same MTC group) went home and got it on. (I think most of us in the know were secretly amused by how funny, flaming and outrageous they were.) All four elders finished their missions and were released honorably. Perhaps we were unconsciously rooting for them. I don’t know.

In my 3 months as a Seoul ZL, we had 2 missionaries (not the same ones above) get sent home for patronizing the pam-nabis (literally translated as “night butterflies” – I’m sure you can figure it out) working behind Chongnangyi Train Station. One elder was so brazen (or desperate to go home?) that he actually took pictures of himself in the act. (I’m sure that was hard to explain to the folks back in Kanab.) By this time, I was getting more comfortable in my disbelief and realized it was all just a show, something to be endured. Quickly the other missionaries in my Zone realized I was not a “hard-ass” ZL (like the one I replaced), and came in for confession/spilling their guts/reality check.

One of my elders had a pack-a-day smoking problem. My advice: Don’t let the members see you smoking and make sure you use breath mints. Another confessed his drinking up on the base in Wuijong-bu. (He got the same advice.) Another confessed to masturbation – You’re 19. Try to keep it to twice a day, and don’t let your companion catch you. Everybody, including myself, does it. Perhaps not the advice I would give today, but for a 20 year old with zero experience, not bad. I have a picture in my photo album of me lighting a cigarette for an old Korean grandpa. We were out “storyboarding” on the sidewalk with the district who had the smoking elder. I got the match to light grandpa’s cigarette from him. He and I are laughing in the picture.

Who knew that a mission could be so fun?

* * *

I had 3 months of down time in Seoul, and then the MP got inspired again. This time he made me a branch president, and sent me back to the country, to the same town that Elder Lee had been branch president.

By this time, I had absolutely no belief in the Church, yet they kept kicking me up the ladder – I think in part because I looked and played the part the show/charade demanded. I now had proof positive that these people were not inspired.

I served the last 9 months as a branch president in a typical Korean branch – approximately 500 people on the rolls (many baptized by Elder Lee), and on a good day, perhaps 40 people showed up. Even as I served as Senior ZL/Branch President, and heard all these missionaries and members talk about how I and the rest of the Church leaders were inspired, I knew it was all just BS. I was on stage playing a role, and had come to believe that most were too, even if they didn’t know it.

I counted down the days until I could go home. Achingly depressed (though I didn’t know what that was at the time), I stopped eating. I just wasn’t hungry any more, and dropped 45 pounds that last year. I also started sleeping during the day. Masturbation was no longer problem. (I’ve since learned that if you lose enough weight, you lose your sex drive even if you’re 21 years old). That last month in Korea I was down to 128 pounds, and sleeping nearly 18 hours a day. I went to the branch office, turned on the heater, (I remember being so cold) and slept. I went home and ate a little, crawled into bed and slept until morning. A textbook case of depression.

That last month in Korea, there was an all-mission meeting in Seoul with Gordon B. Hinckley and Dallin Oaks. Word had made it to Salt Lake City about how out of control the Seoul mission was (2 months before, a DL had gotten his Korean girlfriend pregnant). Gordy and Dallin each spoke to us. As I remember it, Gordy was great – no judgment – just told us to love the Lord and follow the rules, blah blah blah.

Dallin on the other hand ripped us all new ones from the pulpit. During his harangue, I looked over all the missionaries whose secrets I knew (the gay elders, the smoker, the drinkers, the masturbators). I thought to myself, “not only does this guy not have a clue what’s really going on, but he’s just a big bully. He’s a control freak who’s lost control, and now is just trying to bully us back into doing what he wants.” From my conversations with my friends afterwards, I know that many of them came to the same conclusion after watching Dallin in action. I wonder how many missionaries Dallin helped to leave the church that day.

* * *

I returned home, the conquering hero in my family’s eyes, (me looking like a Holocaust survivor only confirmed to them how hard I had supposedly worked) and re-enrolled at BYU, where I was immediately called into the EQP. I didn’t have the cajones to turn them down flat, but I just drifted away. I’m probably one of the few counselors in an EQP that went inactive on the job. I just couldn’t do it any more. That was the last year I went to church. On the drive back home that spring, I told my dad I didn’t believe any of it, and that I wouldn’t be going to church again. To this day, I treasure his honest and unexpected response.

“Son. I married your mother when I was 21 and now have you 8 kids. I respect your decision, and if you just take all the money you would pay in tithing and invest it, you’ll die a wealthy man. I’m too far in it now. I hope it’s true, but can’t say that I know it is.”

I’m still shocked by his response. It was so not was I was expecting. We drove in silence until we had to stop and fill up for gas.

* * *

Though I’m not wealthy, dad’s response has turned out to be best advice he ever gave me, and so I pass it on to you. Take the money you would pay in tithing and invest it. Thank you dad for that great advice!

And thank you Mo-Church for sending me to Korea, where my mission adventures opened my eyes, and gave me the knowledge to escape my dad’s life: he married too young to a woman he barely knew; he over-committed to an organization which had its hand deep in his wallet; he was so busy with church callings he didn’t get to spend the time with his children that he wanted to; and he finally voiced in his late 50s that perhaps that it was all for nothing – a show, or charade; that he was going through the motions for mom, kids, and grandkids, clinging to a hope that maybe – just maybe – it might be all true.

Thankfully, that has not been my life. My mission experiences taught me the reality of the church, and allowed me to escape my dad’s fate. For that I’m very grateful to the church. With this knowledge I live a normal life – living in the burbs (outside of Idaho-Utah), with great friends, 14 years married with kids, who I get to spend nearly every night and all weekend with – no church calling competes with them – and I make sure I invest my 10%.

I do have much to be grateful for: thank you Mo-Church / Seoul Mission for showing me how not to live life. Life’s great! – just like we used to say in Korea – but this time I mean it!
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Missionary Just Left Mormon Missionary Training Center After Only 3 Days
Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Olman
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Two weeks ago a young local kid entered the MTC. Our daughter, his HS classmate, said he's not the elder type, but his mom is RS pres, so it's predestined.

After 3 days, he hiked across town to I-15 and called his folks, asking for them to come get him. The parents are shocked, shamed and disappointed.

He said the thing that choked him off was the constant preaching of obedience all day long. Don't ask questions. Don't think for yourself. The leaders know what is true, just obey.

So now he's back at work at his pre-mission job, greatly relieved, while his folks work through the question of What Now.
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I Tried To Keep My Mouth Shut But Couldn't
Monday, Jun 22, 2009, at 08:58 AM
Original Author(s): Awake Now
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
So this weekend we had to do another hospital stay with our daughter because she had a slight elevated fever and her counts were low....nothing wrong just precautionary with leukemia. ANYWAY Friday night was my shift (hubby and I take turns spending the nights and days up there when she has to stay so she is not alone)

They have a family lounge in the cancer wing that has fridge ,microwave , coffee. etc. I went in to pop her some popcorn and I kid you not there are 2 missionaries and a spanish speaking woman and they are giving her in very broken spanglish an explanation of how they the LDS inc. have the power of God . Okay now I know this mom . Her son who is 3 has a rare form of brain cancer only 8 documented cases in the world and she and her son (father was deported) have been there for 5 months straight . He is having radiation and it has not worked ...all of us parents know who she is and we hug her every time we see her . All of us cancer parents have the same look . FEAR !!!

These elders are explaining that she needs to read her BOM and pray about it and you can tell she has been .....

I joke not when I tell you that right there as her child is waiting to die they were trying to commit her to baptism and making all sorts of promises of what god will do for her ....She was hesitant and unsure .

I did not move I felt frozen I couldn't leave her there thinking that penishood magic would save her son!! I just couldn't . Then the one kid tells her that he KNOWS as he crys that god will perform a miracle and if she has enough faith god can perform miracles! Well guys that is when I snapped. I interupted the conversation right then.

I said elders what the hell are you doing ??? I let them know I understood that they were just kids and totally duped into thinking all they have been taught . Told them I was a return missionary and could not believe that they were trying to commit her in the middle of her crisis!!!! I explained that even though they might not realize it because of their youth and indoctrination that that mom ....she is a mom first only heard one thing they said !! She heard the word "CURE" I told them that it was wrong to tell her such a thing and that as parents on that floor we would do anything and I mean ANYTHING to cure our children!

They got mad at me can you believe that ?? They actually had the nerve to tell me that they have been called of God and I should of all people understand that! OH PLEASE! but I let it slide as I was a 21 year old missionary once who believed everything SLC said . I refused to leave the room ....they got uncomfortable when the nurse came in and heard them because she said she did not think that was the time or place to do that and that they should go down to the chapel for that talk!

When they left I hugged that mom and she asked me what she should do ??? As a cancer parent I knew exactly what she should do ...the only thing cancer parents can do . HOPE THE MEDICINE WORKS and hope we have the strength to see when it isn't and say goodbye! That is all we can do especially her when her son's cancer is incurable . Another mom came in and said "I will tell you what to do honey . CRY!!!!" and we sat there with her while she cried! She obviously believes in god and christianity and since I am allergic to religion;) we called the chaplin who only tells parents to pray for strength to handle things not healing!!!

Sorry I rambled but I am still so upset at what they said ..I'm more angry that SLC still spews the crap they do !!!! She asked me what to do with the BOM ....the chaplin knows us and that we are exmo's and so he and I said THROW THE DAME THING OUT! I told her I used to be a mormon and that is was HORRIBLE and nothing but lies.

I will see her again next week for our mandatory instay chemo . Anyway thanks for letting me share ...I feel better!
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Spoke With A Missionary Yesterday - Fewer Transfers Is The New Reality - LDS Cost-Cutting
Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009, at 07:47 AM
Original Author(s): Bean Counter
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The mishie has been in my community since January and expects to be here for at least another month. He mentioned that it's not uncommon now for mishies to be left in an area for as long as 9 months, more than 1/3 of their mission time. I imagine that it's the same in other missions. When I was a mishie in 1984/5, elders and sisters were typically transferred to a new area every 3-6 months.

It was two years ago this month that a mother of a missionary posted the following on this board:

"When I first discovered the board three weeks ago, I read the archives for days. I found a post about the BILLION dollar mall [now at 2 BILLION] and all the other stuff the church spends its money on. I was angry and immediately told my husband what I'd been reading. He kept trying to come up with a good reason for the mall, but finally gave up because there is NO WAY to spin it or wrap your brain around any reason good enough for doing this...if it's truly Christ's church and not a corporation.

Well, lo and behold the next day...we get an email from our missionary son in North Carolina. He informs us that his personal budget for food and essentials is being cut by the "church". (WHO in the HECK IS the CHURCH anyway???) His budget of $145 is being cut to $130 permanently. He mentioned that is it "pretty hard to eat good" on $130 and that when he was in his first area, his budget had been $130 and that the members were not feeding them at all. He and his comp got the "award" for least fed in the zone - three meals in a quarter.

When I'd found out about the award I'd sent him some money because I didn't want him to starve. I didn't know at that time he was living on $130 a month. We were sending $400 a month for my son to have the privilege of serving and giving 100% of himself and they only give him $130.

My husband and I discussed the situation when he got home from work. We were so upset, especially in light of the BILLION dollar mall. This was a chink in the armor of the church in my husband's eyes. He made the point that groceries never go down in price, only up. Why would the "church" cut their budget, and not expand it? To the MP's credit, my son said he was trying to convince the church not to cut their funds.

I have to say, this was the last email my son wrote home to us. We were there in North Carolina the next Sunday BRINGING HIM HOME. When I went to his apartment in was a disgusting mess. It smelled horrible and the kitchen was the worst thing I'd seen in a long time. As I cleaned up I noticed that the basic essentials of a household were not to be found. No napkins, no paper towels, no dish towels, limited cleaning supplies. And why? Because what are you going to buy with a $130 a month? Food or paper products? I'm so glad my boy is home!"

I wrote in Aug./07 that the church had cut the mishies' food and basic personal care budgets by more than 10% while increasing its budget for its SLC shopping-mall-and-condos project by 300% ($500M to $2B between '03 and '06). Transportation and commodities costs have forced up prices for food, personal hygiene items, household cleaning supplies, etc. in the past few years.

According to a Honolulu Star Bulletin news report in Mar./08, one of the TSCC's companies, Hawaii Reserves Inc., had purchased 890 acres in Malaekahana between Laie and Kahuku and was "moving forward with a project to replace the 48-room Laie Inn with a 220-room hotel, which is expected to be operated by Marriott International Inc. The hotel, estimated to cost between $30 million and $35 million, is expected to break ground by mid 2009 and open in 2010, said Eric Beaver, Hawaii Reserves president and chief executive officer."

So, there's less money for missionary transfers and little money for cleaning meetinghouses and temples (members do it), but plenty of $ for church commercial real estate developments. I asked two years ago on LDS message boards what Jesus would do with $2 billion, and the same question applies to "between $30 million and $35 million." Relieve suffering or invest the $ in a hotel?
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Remembering My Mission, The Emotion, The Manipulation
Thursday, Oct 8, 2009, at 07:48 AM
Original Author(s): Missionary Man
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I wonder if I am the only one who feels deeply sorry for what he did on his mission.

At a young age, I figured out that if you use the right blend of emotion and reason, you can manipulate some people into doing almost anything. This was my greatest asset as a missionary, and is now a major source of shame in my life.

I served a mission among a people that were poor and uneducated, and upon seeing how sincere I was and how worked up I would become (and how educated I was), they were moved, and two dozen of them were baptized (many if not most of them left soon after becuase the more established members of the church were mean to them).

There was one occassion when I told a family who was wavering on their baptismal date that they needed to decide right away, that we knew it was right for them to get baptized, but we would go outside and wait for them to pray about it themselves. Implicit in my words was the idea that "if you aren't serious about baptism, you won't see us anymore."

That family deeply loved us. It pained them to think that they were hurting us. Uneducated and easily influenced, they came out ten minutes later to tell us they had chosen to join the church. I immediately felt dirty, but the praise I recieved from the leadership was such that I just put away those feelings and counted it as a happy memory.

Damn. When I think of the way I manipulated people with "the commitment pattern" I feel like such a tool.

But I know who the bigger tools are.

While in the MTC, they played us a tape of E. Holland, who had spoken in 2001. He told us that if we went back to check on a family, and they had not read the BOM, we should get emotional, weep, jump up and down, make it clear that it hurt us to have them back out on commitment.

Deep in my heart I knew that was manipulation, and though I never did exactly as Holland told me to, I am ashamed to say that I employed my emotions and talents to force people to do what I wanted.
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The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, And Tangier North Africa
Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Alifeexamined
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In a separate thread entitled, “The Infamous England East Mission,” I asked if anyone on the board knew anything about the England East Mission under Presidents Belnap and Smith during the first half of the 1970s. Stay Mutt and ExmoPastafarian believed I was building suspense by not “spilling the beans.” Actually, I was merely interested if others here knew anything. I learned that at least one person did--Hotwaterblue. However, since the issue of stolen cars arose in the other thread, I will tell what I know about “The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, and Tangier North Africa.”

Of course, this story is only the tip of the iceberg, and, no doubt, I will be accused once again of holding back in order to milk my knowledge of the England East Mission for as many posts as is humanly possible!

As I think back on my mission experience, I wonder why it never occurred to me that it was odd the England East Mission had a “mission mechanic.” I now know that missions of the LDS Church don’t generally have a position called “mission mechanic,” but I was more naive back then--a lot more naive.

The dubious title of “Mission Mechanic” was held by a rather shady missionary affectionately known as “Grease Monkey Nelson.” While strict mission decorum and rules require that all missionaries be referred by the appellation, “Elder,” no one in the England East Mission seems to have ever referred to Elder Nelson as other than “Grease Monkey Nelson”--at least not in my recollection. Anyway, Elder Nelson’s sole assignment on the mission home staff was to maintain and repair the fleet of broken-down mission vehicles. In this capacity, Grease Monkey Nelson never seemed to have been assigned a companion.

At this point in my story, there will be those out there who will sense serious inconsistencies in my narrative. Firstly, mission cars are purchased new and traded out when only a couple of years old. Consequently, there would never have been the need for a “Mission Mechanic.” Secondly, and, more importantly, every missionary always has a companion. It’s one of those unalterable rules of the universe like entropy or Newtonian mechanics. But this was the England East Mission under President Dean Belnap, and the ordinary rules applicable to missions of the church simply did not apply–just as Newton’s laws don’t apply in the face of quantum mechanics.

Like many mission presidents, President Belnap viewed himself as General Authority material and was resolute that his tenure as Mission President would secure for himself the brass ring. To that end, Belnap gained a reputation with Church Headquarters for never sending a missionary home early. I believe this explains, in part, Elder Nelson’s calling as Mission Mechanic. As shocking as it may seem, Elder Nelson was one of that small class of missionaries who didn’t seem to enjoy tracking 12 hours a day. Apparently, Elder Nelson’s calling as Mission Mechanic was designed to keep him in the mission field while employing his God given talent for fixing cars.

Of course, a reputation for keeping missionaries in the mission field is not sufficient alone to secure to a mission president a calling as a General Authority. Only baptismal numbers will do that–and ultimately only record baptismal numbers. To that end, President Belnap fostered an environment where “rules” were to be ignored if they hindered the “work” (translation: record baptismal numbers and elevation to that rarified pantheon occupied only by General Authorities). For example, I personally remember going on a split with a sister missionary at President Belnap’s request, and the last time I check, I was of the male persuasion. But I digress.

Because missionary work is more effective when missionaries have the use of cars, Belnap sought to supplement the mission automobile fleet with additional vehicles (undoubtedly without the knowledge of the higher ups in Salt Lake). To this end, he sought the assistance of Grease Monkey Nelson who used his network of dubious connections in the Greater London area to secure cheap broken-down vehicles. Elder Nelson would then apply his exceptional mechanical skills and get these vehicles running–all for the “work.”

As a district leader, I personally recall driving a large cumbersome van that had been retired from the British Royal Mail Service. It is an understatement to say the electrical wiring in this vehicle had something to be desired. On at least two occasions, I was stopped late at night by the police when the running lights to the van inexplicably cut out. On another occasion, I recall pulling up in front of our flat in Royale Tunbridge Wells as the wiring above the front windshield burst into flames! You simply can’t make this stuff up. Life truly is stranger than fiction.

Anyway, some of the vehicles acquired by Grease Monkey Nelson apparently were of questionable provenance which should come as no surprise given Belnap’s general operating style that rules didn’t apply if they interfered with the “work.” Ultimately, the London police dropped by the Mission Home on Exhibition Road in London to investigate the acquisition of “hot” cars by Grease Monkey Nelson. At this point, President Belnap felt inspired to transfer Elder Nelson to the Rock of Gibraltar for the remaining six months of his mission–yes the honest-to-goodness Rock of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea!

Less my story become even more unbelievable, I should explain that the Rock of Gilbraltar, a small peninsula jutting off the coast of Spain, is a British holding and has been since August 4, 1705 when the British seized the peninsula from Spain during the War of Spanish Succession. Despite the passage of time, the Spanish are still a little steamed about losing the Rock and wouldn’t permit the passage of individuals between the Rock of Gibraltar and mainland Spain. Consequently, the Rock of Gibraltar was assigned to be part of the British Mission, and later, the England East Mission. Accordingly, it was entirely fitting for President Belnap to receive “inspiration” calling Elder Nelson to the Rock of Gibraltar even as the London police were calling on President Belnap. Of course, by the time the London Police could question President Belnap, Elder Nelson was on his way to sunnier climes and Belnap was able to report that the individual sought had left England–which wasn’t entirely a lie now, was it?

President Belnap concluded his tenure as Mission President several months later even as Grease Money Nelson continued to serve on the Rock of Gibraltar. Of course, this doesn’t conclude our story–not by a long shot.

During the summer of 1972, Elder Nelson finished serving his entire two-year mission sentence and was ready to return home. The mission staff in London mailed Elder Nelson the necessary plane tickets from the Rock of Gibraltar to London from whence (don’t you just love these archaic English words?) he would continue his journey home to Utah but, unfortunately, the British Royal Mail Service was out on strike. Elder Nelson’s ticket home was held in limbo somewhere between London and the Rock.

After waiting several days for the arrival of his plane tickets, Elder Nelson grew impatient and took matters into his own hands. He purchased a car for the equivalent of $20 and rigged it up with an extra gas tank so he wouldn’t have to purchase the expensive petrol available on the European mainland. He and his companion (yes, by this point in his mission, Elder Nelson had been assigned a companion) ferried the car into Tangier, North Africa in order to tank up the car on the inexpensive petrol available there at that time. [Pull out your world map, if you must; it’s not that far.]

The new mission President, Milan Smith, knew nothing of Elder Nelson’s self help measures until several days after Elder Nelson and his companion entered North Africa. Over lunch, one of the Assistance to the President (and none too bright at that) mentioned to President Smith that he had received a strange call two or three day’s previous. The police in Tangier, North Africa had called to inform the mission home that they had arrested a couple of missionaries on the suspicion of drug smuggling. The AP politely informed the Tangier Police that they must be mistaken as the England East Mission had no missionaries in North Africa. President Smith, whose knowledge of geography was a little better developed than this AP, went off like a bottle rocket. “They’ve arrested Elder Nelson and his companion!”

By the time President Smith was able to contact the Tangier police department, the Tangier police had already discovered that the suspicious looking second gas tank was just that–a second gas tank and not a repository for drugs. They released Elder Nelson and his companion after cooling their heels for a night in jail. Our two travelers then commence their journey by car through Spain and France to the English Channel, although it was rumored that they took a detour into Switzerland thus accounting for the full week it took to reach the Channel. At the English Channel, Grease Monkey Nelson sold his car for the equivalent of $1.25 in francs, crossed the Channel by ferry, and returned to London by train.

Thus concludes our saga of the England East Mission, Stolen Cars, and Tangier North Africa. The moral of this story is either: (1) in his infinite wisdom, the Lord uses each person’s God given talents, or (2) crime does pay. You be the judge. I’m a LifeExamined, this is my story, and I’m sticking to it.
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The Untold History of Mormonism in Japan
Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010, at 10:00 AM
Original Author(s): Elderkikuchi
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
http://elderkikuchi.blogspot.com/2010...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first began proselytizing in Japan when Heber Jeddy Grant, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was called as the country's first mission president in 1901. Grant, accompanied by Alma Owen Taylor, Louis A. Kelsch, and Horace S. Ensign, arrived at the port of Yokohama at 10:00am on August 12th that year. Over a century has passed since that time, and both the church and the country itself have changed and grown immensely. However, there are many events within the history of the church in Japan that the general membership is unaware of. This article will take an in-depth look at the missionary methods implemented by the church in Japan in order to provide readers with a clearer picture of Mormonism's real relationship with the Japanese populace.

Leaders of the church have remarked that the Japanese "are a wonderful people"1 since the turn of the century when Grant was residing in the country. However, these are generalizing remarks that church leaders frequently make about groups of individuals, and should not be taken at face value. Similar remarks were made by Francis Xavier - a Roman Catholic who lived during the 16th century and was the original propagator of Christianity to Japan. However, Xavier also wrote in a letter to the headquarters of his Jesuit order in Europe that the Japanese language was invented by Satan in order to prevent the gospel from taking root in the country. As a result, Japanese is often misunderstood as "the Devil's language."


Unfortunately, these misconceptions were shared by those in Grant's party, who believed in the "gift of tongues" and the "interpretation of tongues."2 Indeed, much like Xavier, the first Mormon missionaries to Japan also felt that Japanese was a "dreadful language."3 Grant, who was known for his unyielding persistence,4 was unable to learn the language despite his best efforts (and faith in the gift of tongues). For someone who claimed to have thought of the Japanese as a "wonderful people," Grant was so desperate to leave their country that - like Joseph Smith - he went alone into a nearby forest and began pouring out his heart to the lord, saying, "I would be joyous and thankful if thou wouldst call me home so that I may preside over a mission in Europe as soon as I end my work here in Japan, where I am not accomplishing anything."5 Official notification calling Grant home came a few days following this prayer, and he departed the country on September 11, 1903 without witnessing any notable success.



Even after Grant's departure, the church in Japan continued to grow slowly - so slowly that the mission was closed in 1924 largely because of "almost negligible results of missionary efforts."6 To be more precise, during the two some decades that missionaries had been in Japan, a mere 166 individuals converted to Mormonism.7 It wasn't until March of 1948 that the LDS church began proselytizing in Japan again. Over half a century later, the total Japanese membership is presently hovering at about 121,000 members.8 Since the birth of the Internet, a broader history of the church has become easily accessible to all members, causing growth in developed countries to greatly decrease - Japan being no exception. But it is more than just the tainted past of Mormonism's founding fathers that has left a bad taste in the mouth of many Japanese; in more recent times, blatant disrespect shown towards the natives of the country by church leaders has been a major factor that has damaged the organization's image and led to stagnant activity rates.

We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Latter-day Saints. A Chinese born in China with a dark skin, and with all the handicaps of that race seems to have little opportunity. But think of the mercy of God to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel. In spite of whatever they might have done in pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen, if they now, in this life accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. Isn't the mercy of God marvelous?9
The above is an excerpt from an address given by the late Mark E. Petersen, who was an apostle of the LDS church at the time he gave this speech. This attitude of racial superiority is common amongst Caucasian Mormons born in America, for they have been taught that they are the lord's "chosen people" who were born in the "promised land" spoken of in the Book of Mormon - in other words, America. Perhaps it was this mindset that allowed Delbert H. Groberg, who served as the president of the Tokyo South Mission from July of 1978 through June of 1981, to employ dishonest and experimental methods of converting the Japanese - the results of which he used as the basis of his doctoral thesis in 1986. The "Groberg Era," as it is sometimes referred to by those who served during the time he was a mission president, is one of the biggest blemishes in the church's postwar history. It is also the focal point of this article. Without further ado, let us dive into the part of history untold by the church and take an in-depth look at the Groberg Era.


On October 1, 1977, Yoshihiko Kikuchi was called as the first Japanese general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kikuchi had studied business psychology in college and was a sales manager of the Japanese branch of Rena Ware, a multi-level marketing company.10 He used his manipulative business skills to pressure members not only into buying his products, but also into paying for various church expenses. For example, although the church often says that tithing is used to pay for its temples, many of such structures have been constructed through the use of separate "temple funds," which are collected in addition to the tithe members must pay if they wish to hold a temple recommend (which without, they cannot enter the temple further than the lobby). The Tokyo Temple was one of such temples, and it was Kikuchi who "was able to lead the dedicated Saints of Japan to gather 124% of the temple funds within a year and a half."11 Sadly, this was just one of many incidents in which the church financially took advantage of the Japanese people.



On July 1, 1978 - less than a year after Kikuchi had been called as a Seventy - the Japan Tokyo South Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formed through the division of the Japan Tokyo Mission into the Japan Tokyo North and Japan Tokyo South missions. Delbert H. Groberg was called to open this new mission and preside as its first president; he would serve under Kikuchi, who was then the Executive Administrator for Japan and Korea. On the second day after his arrival in Japan, Groberg met with Kikuchi and was told of his vision. That night, Groberg wrote the following in his journal:

Elder Kikuchi came out to our home and we talked from 3:30pm until 7:00pm. He really has high expectations of me. I had thought that 10 times as many baptisms as they are getting now would be a good goal to shoot for (about 10,000). Before telling him, I asked him what he felt I should do. He mapped out the progress as he expected and it turned out to be 25 times as much as what is currently happening minimum! (And he stressed minimum!) That seems like a lot, but I believe we can make it.12
As can be seen here, although Groberg was the one directly pressuring the Tokyo South missionaries to drastically increase conversion rates, he was in turn being pressured for better results by those above him - namely Kikuchi. He even admits in his journal that Kikuchi was the source of the success that the mission saw during his time as its president; on July 8, 1980, Groberg wrote, "Elder Kikuchi is behind the growth 100%."13 The scheme that Kikuchi devised that brought about tremendous growth in the Tokyo South mission was called the "investigator extraction method," which Kikuchi mentioned as follows:
In order to 'turn today's ward into tomorrow's stake' like Elder J. Thomas Fyans - the president of the First Quorum of the Seventy - spoke of, we need more spiritual and organized missionary activities that are well-planned by the members and missionaries. Such a proselytizing technique is the 'investigator extraction method.' Please ask your bishop or branch president about this method immediately. It is a simple way of proselytizing that any member can do. Through this method you will begin to see an amazing increase in the number of converts, which will grow exponentially. I hope that you are all are able participate in this 'investigator extraction method' and share the Lord's blessings with many others.14
Kikuchi shared his absurd vision in the church's official magazine in 1979, where he stated that "each missionary needs to have about 300 investigators, meaning that a companionship will teach 600 investigators."15 However, even Kikuchi was simply basing his goals off of what his superiors expected of him. Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet and president of the church at that time, declared, "I want things to get to the point where every missionary is performing thousands of baptisms during their missions."16 Kimball also said, "Wouldn't it be great if we sent 1,000 Japanese missionaries, which would eventually grow to become over 10,000 Japanese missionaries, to Mongolia and China?"17 Kimball was not the only leader of the church applying pressure to Kikuchi. Gordon B. Hinckley, who was the apostle overseeing Asia at that time, was also pushing the Japanese for better statistics. Hinckley stated the following in a talk given in Japan on October 31, 1980:
I would like to extend a challenge unto all of you who have gathered here this day. When I came to this land 5 years ago, I asked you put forth efforts so that there would be 50,000 members in Japan by the time the temple would be built. However, we barely fell short of this goal. I am told that there are currently 48,627 members. (Pauses.) Actually, Elder Kikuchi told me that we reached the goal of 50,000 just this month. (Laughs.) Splendid! Brothers and sisters, this is truly wonderful. Now, let us think of what things will be like 5 years from now. There will probably be 100,000 members in Japan by that time. In order for this to happen, we will need to grow by 10,000 members each year. It is my belief that you all can do better than that. I know without a doubt that you can and will do better than that.18
The extortion that took place in the Japan Tokyo South Mission was thus the workings of the entire upper echelon of the church, and not just Groberg and Kikuchi. The Mormon prophet and his apostles were not only aware of the uncanny growth that suddenly occurred within the church in Japan, but they were the ultimate source of it. Their church's membership was soaring, so they apparently didn't feel the need to stop the manipulation of missionaries and members alike. Just to demonstrate how great of a change occurred under Groberg, let us look at some of the statistics of his time.19

1978
(July - December)
1979
(January - December)
1980
(January - December)
1981
(January - June)
TOTALS
Baptisms20916295433471811989
Number of Missionaries123161196191171
Baptisms per Missionary3.210.227.749.470.1
Gender
Male87 (42%)1099 (67%)4317 (79%)3656 (77%)9159 (76%)
Female122 (58%)530 (33%)1116 (21%)1062 (23%)2830 (24%)
Age
Child7 (3%)16 (1%)259 (5%)397 (9%)679 (6%)
Youth74 (36%)685 (42%)2175 (40%)1950 (41%)4884 (40%)
Adult128 (61%)928 (57%)2999 (55%)2371 (50%)6426 (54%)
Method of Contact
Street2 (1%)896 (55%)4195 (74%)3587 (76%)8680 (72%)
English Class85 (41%)375 (23%)355 (7%)150 (3%)965 (8%)
New Member Referral53 (25%)293 (18%)607 (12%)626 (13%)1579 (13%)
Old Member Referral12 (6%)65 (4%)86 (2%)191 (4%)354 (3%)
Other57 (27%)0 (0%)190 (3%)164 (4%)441 (4%)
Length of Time from Contact to Baptism
2 Weeks or Less62 (30%)864 (53%)4267 (78%)3929 (83%)9122 (76%)
2-4 Weeks54 (26%)407 (25%)690 (13%)428 (9%)1579 (13%)
4-8 Weeks49 (23%)114 (7%)170 (3%)170 (4%)503 (4%)
Over 2 Months44 (21%)244 (15%)306 (6%)191 (4%)785 (7%)
Approximate Average5.3 weeks3.9 weeks2.5 weeks2.3 weeks2.7 weeks
Proselytizing Statistics: Average Per Companion Set Per Week
Books of Mormon Placed1.23.04.45.53.5
Number of Introductions3.07.319.623.113.1
Number of Lessons7.18.813.725.211.6
Total Introductions and Lessons10.116.133.348.324.7
Total Teaching Hours9.113.120.826.017.3

It is also worth taking a look at how the statistics of Groberg's mission compared with those of other missions in the region. Below are the number of baptisms for other nearby missions during the 6-month period of January through June of 1981.20
January-June 1981
Total Baptisms
Average Baptisms
per Missionary
Japan Tokyo South
4718
24.1
Korea Seoul West
1055
8.4
Korea Pusan
880
6.9
Korea Seoul
593
5.1
Japan Okayama
542
3.0
Japan Sapporo
491
3.4
Japan Fukuoka
484
2.5
Japan Kobe
477
2.9
Japan Nagoya
440
2.5
Japan Tokyo North
437
2.5
Japan Osaka
274
2.8
Japan Sendai
235
1.5

Several interesting points can be observed from this data. First of all, the number of baptisms in the Japan Tokyo South mission increased by more than twenty-fold over the short span of three years, going from 209 to 4718. However, as the data indicates, there was not an increase in the number of missionaries proselytizing in the mission to substantiate such growth (117 to 183, a 56% increase in the number of missionaries). Secondly, Groberg's mission had more than 4 times the number of baptisms as the second-highest-baptizing mission in the area under Kikuchi's supervision, and almost 10 times the number of baptisms of the second-highest-baptizing mission in the country. This brings us to the big question: What were the manipulative techniques implemented by Groberg that resulted in such astronomical growth?


As mentioned previously, members of the LDS faith like to praise those they are trying to appeal to as "wonderful people." This is one of the techniques used by Groberg, who instructed his missionaries to use "Open-Heart Teaching"21 to draw closer to potential investigators. This method involved missionaries teaching a 10- to 15-minute introductory lesson before they moved into the 6 actual lessons that taught about the church. During this introductory lesson, missionaries would "1) Develop a genuinely warm, friendly relationship with the investigator. 2) Introduce himself (where from, what he used to do, family, interests, etc.) and give some personal goals. 3) Find out a little about the investigator, including a few of his personal goals (be an accountant, be a good father, etc.) and confirm his general goals (grow and progress, be happy, etc.); also get his schedule so he would know when he had time to meet next."22 After having this cookie-cutter conversation, missionaries would then press the investigator for a commitment to listen. Groberg provides us with an example of how such a conversation should follow in his thesis; missionaries were to say, "Now that we're friends, would you like to hear a little about why we are here (in Japan)? (Explain) Even though I'm spending my own time and money I'm very happy to be a missionary among the great (Japanese) people. You teach me a lot, and I hope I can teach you some things too."23 The missionaries would then begin teaching about the church and its gospel. Notice that in the phrase "the great (Japanese) people," the parenthetical group could be replaced by just about anything and still have the same effect anticipated by the church. It is also worth pointing out that the missionaries were to find out potential investigators' schedules before telling them about the church; this would make it harder for an individual to make up an excuse of why he couldn't meet on a certain day after learning the missionaries' true intentions. This is especially the case of the Japanese, who are usually unable to say "no" in the first place, which was only made more difficult because many Japanese were (and still are) intimidated by foreigners.



Groberg also had missionaries stop focusing on families and instructed them to go out and look for young people, mainly those "from mid-high school to late college." He was aware that "these years coincided with a time of searching for identity, establishing values, and determining their purposes in life,"24 and wanted to convert the Japanese youth so that the church would be the one to determine their identity. Groberg did research on the legal age at which investigators could receive baptism without parental permission, and found out that it was 18 and not 20 as had been assumed. As a result, he got many young college students to convert to Mormonism while completely disregarding how their parents might feel. As Groberg puts it, "Parental permission was no longer required as a condition of receiving baptism. Suddenly a major barrier had been removed."25 It is interesting that a church which claims to be family-oriented would encourage individuals be secretive about their membership.



Something else Groberg did was give a special title to missionaries who were able to get large numbers of baptisms by doing "what hadn't been done before."26 Such individuals were called "Ensign" missionaries, and it was through their "diligent" efforts that the Japan Tokyo South mission was able to break the 1000-baptisms-per-month barrier. However, as many returned missionaries from the Groberg Era have reported, these high-baptizing missionaries would often use illegitimate methods of attaining baptisms, such as going out and getting drunk at parties to make new friends, whom they would immediately baptize thereafter. Groberg eventually constructed "collapsible fonts and supplied one to each unit in which missionaries were working,"27 so even performing on-site baptisms at parties became feasible. Many of these missionaries admitted to using dishonest methods of conversion to Groberg, but he was apparently fine with whatever the means were as long as the missionaries were meeting their quota for baptisms. The exceptional missionaries were invited to a monthly "recognition dinner at the mission president's home,"28 while those who weren't able to meet the quotas were chewed out in personal interviews with Groberg. The mission newsletter was turned into a stats sheet where those who were seeing the most success were praised as exemplary missionaries. The pressure and guilt that Groberg (and those above him) heaped upon the young men and women who were sacrificing 2 years to serve the church in Japan were almost unimaginable.



This truly was an era when only numbers mattered. The church as a whole was trying to sell itself as one of the fastest-growing religions in the world, and they would appeal to this fact as though it verified their beliefs. Within Japan, this fact is blatantly obvious. During the short time of April of 1979 to June of 1982, graphs featuring the church's domestic growth were featured in at least 9 of the 39 monthly issues of the church's magazine.29 Indeed, the Groberg Era was the second time in the church's history in Japan that the country had seen more than 3,000 baptisms in a year. However, the retention rates of members who received baptism under the Groberg administration were dismal. Groberg himself admits that average activity rates were as low as 21% for stakes and 42% for small units during his time there.30 Since the Groberg Era, attendance rates have remained just as stagnant if not worse,31 and the conversion rate has fallen greatly. A look at the number of members in Japan will make this fact more evident.32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39



Growth of Mormonism in Japan
Year
Number of Members
Increase in Membership
from Previous Year
1901
0
(No data available)
1902
3
3
1903
(No data available)
(No data available)
1904
(No data available)
(No data available)
1905
17
(No data available)
1906
(No data available)
(No data available)
1907
(No data available)
(No data available)
1908
(No data available)
(No data available)
1909
(No data available)
(No data available)
1910
41
(No data available)
1911
51
10
1912
51
0
1913
57
6
1914
(No data available)
(No data available)
1915
(No data available)
(No data available)
1916
(No data available)
(No data available)
1917
(No data available)
(No data available)
1918
105
(No data available)
1919
(No data available)
(No data available)
1920
127
(No data available)
1921
(No data available)
(No data available)
1922
(No data available)
(No data available)
1923
(No data available)
(No data available)
1924
166
(No data available)
Japan Mission Closed from 1924 until 1948
1949
211
(No data available)
1950
433
222
1951
709
276
1952
946
237
1953
1,117
171
1954
1,209
92
1955
(No data available)
(No data available)
1956
1,315
(No data available)
1957
1,811
496
1958
2,341
530
1959
2,783
442
1960
4,157
1,374
1961
5,203
1,046
1962
5,976
773
1963
7,695
1,719
1964
8,599
904
1965
9,012
413
1966
9,484
472
1967
10,110
626
1968
11,487
1,377
1969
12,485
998
1970
14,890
2,405
1971
13,010
-1880
1972
19,902
6,892
1973
22,653
2,751
1974
24,840
2,187
1975
27,516
2,676
1976
29,374
1,858
1977
31,948
2,574
1978
34,969
3,021
1979
45,958
10,989
1980
52,576
6,618
1981
69,809
17,233
1982
(No data available)
(No data available)
1983
(No data available)
(No data available)
1984
70,998
(No data available)
1985
82,000
11,002
1986
(No data available)
(No data available)
1987
85,000
(No data available)
1988
(No data available)
(No data available)
1989
91,000
(No data available)
1990
96,000
5,000
1991
99,484
3,484
1992
(No data available)
(No data available)
1993
103,000
(No data available)
1994
(No data available)
(No data available)
1995
106,000
(No data available)
1996
108,000
2,000
1997
(No data available)
(No data available)
1998
(No data available)
(No data available)
1999
110,987
(No data available)
2000
114,000
(No data available)
2001
117,527
3,527
2002
118,508
981
2003
119,267
759
2004
120,197
930
2005
121,068
871
2006
121,774
706
2007
122,442
668
2008
123,245
803
2009
124,041
796


As can be seen here, the Mormon church in Japan has seen less than 1000 convert baptisms per year since 2001; this is less than one-fifth of what it was experiencing in the Japan Tokyo South mission alone during the height of the Groberg era. There are several other key factors that have caused such disparaging conversion rates in more recent years. The Japanese awareness of Mormonism was heightened via LDS television celebrities such as Kent Derricott and Kent Gilbert, who became popular because of their ability to speak Japanese proficiently despite the fact that they were Caucasians. Just as these individuals have faded from the spotlight of national attention, Japanese citizens' interest in the United States in general has also faded over the years, along with their desire to listen to the message of young American missionaries. As more and more Japanese cease to look up to America as the "superior" nation that defeated them during the Second World War, an increasingly fewer number of Japanese natives will be willing to accept the LDS belief that America is the "promised land" as talked of in the Book of Mormon. Other events, such as the 1995 Tokyo sarin gas attacks by the Aum Shinrikyo, have opened the eyes of many Japanese to the dangers of cults (and religion in general); this has further damaged the already tarnished image of Mormonism in the country. More recently, one of the most powerful politicians in Japan spoke out against Christianity, condemning it as being "exclusive and self righteous."39 At this rate, it is only a matter of time before the church in Japan begins to collapse as fewer youth convert to the religion, and the elderly begin to pass away. While the church might not disappear anytime soon, one can expect that their Japanese membership will begin to decrease in the very near future - if it hasn't begun already.


References:

(1) Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Page 83
(2) The Articles of Faith, Article 7
(3) Beyond the Century, Page 86
(4) Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Page 33
(5) Beyond the Century, Page 62
(6) Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Page 84
(7) "Kibou no Dendou Saikai," Seito no Michi, October 1981, Page 17
(8) Overview and Information, Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(9) "Race Problems - As They Affect the Church," Mark E. Petersen, August 27, 1954
(10) "Nihonjin Hatsu no Kyoukai Kanbu Mesareru," Seito no Michi, November 1977, Page 596
(11) "Shichijuunin Daiichi Teiinnkai Kaiin: Kikuchi Yoshihiko," Seito no Michi, February 1978, Page 152
(12) "Toward a Synoptic Model of Instructional Productivity," Delbert H. Groberg, 1987, Page 51
(13) Ibid, Page 253
(14) "Hitotsu no Kiyoki Tami ni Narite" Seito no Michi, January 1979, Page 61
(15) Ibid, Page 61
(16) Ibid, Page 59-60
(17) Ibid, Page 60
(18) "Kyoukai no Izuru Kuni," Seito no Michi, January 1981, Page 25
(19) "Toward a Synoptic Model of Instructional Productivity," Delbert H. Groberg, 1987, Page 327
(20) Ibid, Page 312-313
(21) Ibid, Page 298
(22) Ibid, Page 302
(23) Ibid, Page 302-303
(24) Ibid, Page 302-303
(25) Ibid, Page 188-189
(26) Ibid, Page 296
(27) Ibid, Page 195
(28) Ibid, Page 308
(29) Seito no Michi, April 1979, Page 47; August 1979, Page 48; January 1980, Page 64; February 1980, Page 45; August 1980, Page 49; September 1980, Page 177; February 1981, Page 61; March 1981, Page 47; June 1982, Page 63
(30) "Toward a Synoptic Model of Instructional Productivity," Delbert H. Groberg, 1987, Page 294
(31) "Ajia Chiiki no Genzai," Liahona, Local Page, August 2005, Page 1
(32) "Nihon no Dendou 81 Nen no Shinten to Kyoukaiin no Zouka" Seito no Michi, June 1982, Page 63
(33) "Nihon ni okeru Kyoukai no Hatten," Seito no Michi, September 1991, Local News, Page 3
(34) "Kyoukai, Rekishiteki na Ippo wo Shirusu," Seito no Michi, May 1996, Local News, Page 1
(35) Beyond the Century, Page 314
(36) Deseret News Church Almanac
(37) Newsroom: Country Profiles - Japan
(38) "Japan: Growing Light in the East," Don L. Searle, Ensign, September 2000, Page 44
(39) "The Blossoming of the Church in Japan," R. Lanier Britsch, Ensign, October 1992, Page 32
(40) "Ozawa lashes out with scathing remarks on Christianity," The Japan Times, November 11, 2009

http://elderkikuchi.blogspot.com/2010...
topic image
The Mathematics Of "Raising The Bar"
Friday, Jul 16, 2010, at 08:45 AM
Original Author(s): Brother Of Jerry
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
There was speculation that it was really a cover for declining numbers, or they really were raising the bar because too many mishies were being sent home. The reasons why are difficult to discern, because LDS Inc is about as opaque as the old Soviet Politburo used to be, but WHAT happened is pretty clear from the numbers give in the original thread.

Number of missionaries serving:

2000 - 60,784
2001 - 60,850
2002 - 61,638
2003 - 56,237
2004 - 51,067
2005 - 52,060
2006 - 53,164
2007 - 52,686
2008 - 52,494
2009 - 51,736

From 2000 to 2002, there were 61,000 missionaries, with about 1% variation

There was a 9% drop in 2002-3, and another 9% drop in 2003-4

From 2004 on, there were 52,000 missionaries, with a 2% variation in 2004-06, and 1% variation since then.

This is not the demographic profile that would happen if LDS Inc was struggling to fill its quota for missionaries. The variations would be larger, and the decline would not be so abrupt, nor would the decline last exactly 2 years.

There is only one way this could happen. Let me illustrate with a simpler example, that even the most math-phobic should be able to do in their head.

Suppose that in 2002, LDS Inc had 60,000 missionaries, and decided to cut future missionary calls to zero, starting immediately. [Nice fantasy, eh? :) ]

After 1 year, half of the existing mishies would have returned home, and there would be 30,000 mishies. After 2 years, there would be 0 mishies, and that would be the steady-state number of missionaries.

That should be exceedingly obvious. A little less obvious, but true, is that the same math holds for changing the number of new callings to any other level (not just 0 new callings), and then locking the number of new calls at that level. It will take exactly 2 years for the total number of missionaries to stabilize at the new level, because it will take that long for the old level of existing mishie calls to expire.

Not only that, but when the number of calls are instantly changed from one level to another, and then locked at that new level, the overall staffing levels will begin to drop abruptly, drop in a straight line (as opposed to a swoopy "s" curve) over the next 2 years, and then stop dropping abruptly after 2 years.

That is exactly what is seen in the table above. There is only one thing that could reasonably give the numeric profile in that table. The Church Missionary Committee made a deliberate decision in early 2002 to cut calls by 18%, to 52,000 missionaries. It took exactly 2 years for that to work through the system.

There was a little tweaking for 2 more years, but essentially, the level of new missionary calls has been about as constant as it is possible to be for 7 years in a row now, starting in early 2002. When you have to "hire" 26,000 new people a year, out of an employee pool of 52,000, holding the employee level within a 1 or even 2% range is, frankly, amazing. HR people everywhere would be amazed beyond words! [Of course, secular HR departments don't have God enforcing their job offers.]

There is no indication at all that they are failing to meet their missionary quotas.

So, they clearly decided to cut staffing to a pre-determined level and lock it there. The next question is why?

Like I said, that is tougher to answer. Perhaps they saw a shortfall coming, and decided to pre-emptively cut so it wouldn't look like they were scrambling to "make their numbers". Sounds reasonable to me.

It could also have been a budgeting decision. Even with families contributing, missions are likely "loss leaders" for the Morg. There could have been a board meeting within LDS Inc to trim mission expenditures. "Raising the Bar" was mostly a cover story, and also a plan to call missionaries who were the most likely to become future tithe payers and generate a positive ROA (return on investment).

And there may be other contributing factors. Who knows what the Big 15 read in their tea leaves. But as long as the number of missionaries serving just makes straight line changes over two years, or is steady for years on end, you are just seeing the implementation of bureaucratic decisions, not an annual fluctuation of "volunteers" available for mission calls.

And that's probably way more than you ever wanted to hear on the subject! Here's hoping they do start coming up short on mishie numbers!
topic image
New Dress Code Rules For Sister Missionaries
Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010, at 08:43 AM
Original Author(s): Secret Combination
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I usually don't have anything good to say about LDS inc, but here is something I think is positive. My cousin is a sister missionary and she recently wrote me concerning some dress code changes for sisters.
  • They no longer have to wear nylons or high socks
  • They no longer have to wear ankle length dresses. They can now wear dresses below the knee
  • They can wear patterned skirts, no more solid colors.
Its nice the church finally allowed the sister missionaries to live in the 21st century.
topic image
Raising The Bar
Friday, Aug 6, 2010, at 08:17 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My son's best friend just returned from a mission in South America, and he helped us load the truck when we were moving last week. We talked pretty much the whole time (I'm kind of a talker, if you hadn't guessed), but I mostly just asked him questions about his mission. From what he said, things have not changed much in the 24 years since I was a missionary.

He spoke of the incessant pressure for "numbers," such that quite a few missionaries faked their statistics, just as people in my mission did. He said that it was often those who lied about their numbers who were "promoted" to leadership positions (again, the same was true in my mission).

Many who didn't fake their numbers bent the rules to get people in the water. He talked about interviewing people for baptism who didn't know the basic concepts of the gospel (they would need "coaching," he said, to correctly answer questions such as "Who was Joseph Smith?"). People were baptized, he said, who had never set foot in an LDS meeting; children were quickly baptized without parental consent (again, both of these were common in my mission).

I asked him about the "Raising the Bar" program. He literally rolled his eyes. He said that, rather than weed out those who shouldn't be on missions, it just encouraged people to lie about their past behavior. Ironically, he said, those who were honest in their interviews and were not allowed to serve would probably have been better missionaries than those who lied and went anyway. From what he said, the quality of missionaries, levels of commitment, and "extracurricular" behavior were pretty much like they were in my mission.

Anyway, I should probably say that this is not some disgruntled exmo but one of the most sincere and good-hearted boys I've known. I'm glad he felt he could be open with me.
topic image
Having The Harvest Backward, Or Why Mishies Are Separating And Saving The Tares From The Wheat
Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Btc
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
The gospel will roll forth until it consumes the earth.

For me, this is one of the saddest delusions all of us died-in-the-wool former Mormons shared. It caused a lot of depression while I was a missionary trying to teach the amazing, new-and-improved message of the gospel to the German people.

I had no baptisms as a missionary and recently, it has become very clear to me that the reason stems from the fact that, by and large, Germans are pretty smart about reasoning and have learned a lot from the history that their (and my) ancestors experienced related to religion.

Ultimately, the reason why, generally speaking, that we European mishies had so much trouble finding people who would listen past our first comments about the story of a 14 year old boy talking to God, who was visited by angels and could translate a unspoken language like "reformed Egyptian", is because they were too smart.

That's right, folks: most Europeans weren't as ignorant about religion as we BIC Mormon Mishies were.

What we were looking for were those people, in my case "Germans", who were able to separate rational questions about this story from rational experiences in their lives.

That's a little confusing, but what I'm trying to say is that the thinking Mormonism-joiner MUST be able to compartmentalize their brain into a rational, thinking section and an absolutely, irrational portion.

That's what was tough. We were taught that we were looking for the Wheat and that those who rejected the message were the Tares...but that was 180° from the truth. What we were *actually* doing was looking for people who were really not worth very much as human beings wanting to contribute to society's solutions.

The Tares are not smart. The Wheat is, and the Wheat won't take a bullshit story about some backwoods con-man without dissecting it; without digging deeper; without checking facts.

That's called credulity. Tares are credulous beings. They take a story that touches them in some inexplicable way and believe it, buy it and get baptized.

I never ran into one in Germany. Instead, I ran into people who'd look very quizzically at me when I would make my door approach. Some would ask brief questions like, "He was how old? 14?" or "He actually spoke *directly* to god and Jesus that day?"

And that was usually the end. The door closed and a Wheat was separated from the Tares that we were looking for.

The smart ones get away.
topic image
I Spoke With The Mishies Today: They've Run Out Of Food And LD$ Inc. Won't Help
Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was at my Mormon mother's and stepfather's home today (they were out) when the door bell rang. Through the etched glass, I recognized the distinctive Mormon 'uniform' for male missionaries. I opened the door, greeted them and introduced myself, and invited them in to the front hall. The senior comp. said they'd stopped by to get some food that my mother and stepfather had told them on Sunday would be available.

I went into the garage, found two bags of groceries, took them into the front hall, and handed them to the mishies. The senior comp. then said - a bit sheepishly - that my stepfather mentioned he'd bought milk for them. I went back into the garage, looked in the fridge, saw two jugs of milk, retrieved them, went back into the house, and gave them to the elders.

As I did so, I asked, "What do you guys get for cash each month to spend on groceries?" The senior elder replied, "$200 - but we have to pay for other stuff as well."

"For each of you, or per person?" was my next question. "For each," he responded.

Doing some math aloud, I said, "So, $200 bucks per month per missionary - that's a bit less than $50 per week. Hmmm. Seems a bit tight to me. Groceries CAN be costly."

As the older comp. started to agree with me, the junior elder said, "We ran out."

"Out of groceries?", I asked.

"Yes," they simultaneously replied.

"But, it's only September 21st," I pointed out. "What were you going to do for food for the next nine days if you hadn't gotten these groceries? Can't you get more money from the mission?"

"No," the senior companion replied. He went on to explain that out of the $200 per month, missionaries have to pay for not only food, but personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, etc., dry-cleaning, and some "car expenses."

Clearly, if missionaries run out of food before the end of the month, they're to go to local members and request - beg, effectively - for groceries.

The 'one, true' religious corporation of Jesus Christ, LD$ Inc., has spent at least $4 billion so far on its City Creek shopping-mall-and-condos project in Salt Lake City as well as several million this year on its new, 220-unit hotel in Hawaii and tens of millions of dollars on commercial real estate acquisitions during the past 12 months alone, according to news reports.

However, the super-wealthy LDS Church, which owns 17 pieces of priceless Rembrandt art plus billions of dollars of other assets, including water and mineral rights and commercial farms and ranches, won't spend a few extra million dollars annually to keep its 'army' of thousands of missionaries from going hungry.

No, along with scrubbing chapel toilets and performing other church building janitorial duties for free, keeping the mishies from experiencing an unwanted weight-loss each month has been 'downloaded' on to Latter-day Saints. Many of them have lost jobs in the Great Recession of the past three years and seen their home equity and retirement savings decrease significantly, thanks to the subprime credit catastrophe in the U.S. that began in early 2007.

As the elders left with the groceries, I wondered how many other local, financially hard-up members (my mother and stepfather are seniors) are going without even as LD$ Inc. spends millions and billions of dollars to increase its already massive wealth.
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I Felt Guilty As A Missionary
Tuesday, Oct 19, 2010, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Wonderer
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Let me say first that I was uber TBM during my mission. Having said that, I always felt not right about some things, namely:

Asking investigators to commit to baptism at the second discussion. I knew that there many many things that they did not yet know about the church. It felt like a trick to ask them to be baptized without knowing what they were getting into. As far as they knew, it was like any other church, believe in Jesus and get baptized. Then end.

It wasn't until later that they would learn about TITHING. We were always nervous to give that discussion. I was so blind and naive, being uber TBM. I should have realized that the trickery of committing people prematurely was a huge red flag with implications for the truthfulness of the church. But I did not open my eyes until many years later.

In retrospect it seems unconscionable that the church brings people in without ANY knowledge of the temple, and that they will someday be committed to wearing GARMENTS!
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The Furniture Of The Book Of Mormon
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): 68cadillac
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Weekly reports. A sign of all great bureaucracies. One filed every week for each missionary companionship. It fell to the senior companion to fill it out. I had been, up to this point, assigned the junior position. I got my first big chance to run the show, in Gary Indiana. Murder capital of the United States.

I had been struggling with the incompatible barren reality of the mission experience I lived, and the rose-colored, baptizing hundreds, candy-land story I'd been told it was supposed to be. To keep a bit of sanity, I started drawing figurative lines in the sand. My line? Honesty. I was sick of all the little lies. I decided to be honest with all that I did. No white lies. No fudging. The truth. This meant I filled out the weekly report with exactly what we did and how many hours we worked. There were blanks for all kinds of statistics.
  • Book of Mormons placed: 0
  • Number of Lessons taught: 0
  • Number of baptisms performed: 0
  • Hours spent total on all missionary work: 5.5
Our 5.5 hours consisted of a member-dinner we’d eaten (2.5) and the church service we attended (3.0). Staying in the apartment, not getting shot, did not count as work. Abysmal as the numbers might be I honestly reported exactly what we did.

Expected minimums per week:
  • Book of Mormons placed: 12
  • Number of Lessons taught: 4
  • Number of baptisms performed: 0.5 (one every two weeks)
  • Hours spent total on all missionary work: 85
85 hours, minimum. Considering that we got one day off per week to do laundry, write letters, and clean the apartment, 85 divides to 14.2 hours per day. Doing the math: 7.5 hours, sleep. 1 hour, shower/prep/breakfast. 1 hour, personal morning study. 14.2 hours, missionary work, leaves 0.3 hours (18 minutes) for lunch. All missionaries were expected to have a dinner appointment lined up with a member-family every night. This counted as work.

So the only way you could honestly make the minimum was to work your ass off. No slacking. No stopping. Just work, work, work, straight through, every week, for two years.

My companion and I did nothing of the kind. We dragged ass, just like all the other missionary pairs we'd ever known.

Mission Hierarchy of Titles in order:
  • Mission President (Prez)
  • Assistant to the President (AP)
  • Zone Leader (ZL)
  • District Leader (DL)
  • Missionary
A bit over two weeks into my honesty streak I get a call from my District Leader (DL) saying that he and the Zone Leader (ZL) were concerned about the numbers I was reporting.
Concerned?

Well, you know. They’re a little low.

But that’s really what we did.

Yes but it’s causing problems.

Honestly reporting what we did last week causes problems?

Yes. No. Okay listen. The ZL’s getting on me ‘cause the AP’s are on him for the low numbers from our Zone. It’s causing problems for everyone.

Okay.

By you reporting it that way we' get all kinds of pressure from the Prez.

What way do you want me to report it?

A way that doesn’t cause problems.

You want me to lie.

I’m not saying that. I just don’t want problems. Neither does the ZL. Can’t you help us out?

Maybe we could work a few more hours next week and report that?

No, that’ll still be too low. Come on, help me out or I’ll just have to call you next week.

So either I lie, or you call me?

No I’m not asking you to lie.

So what are you asking?

I’m telling you that what you’re reporting causes problems for everybody. Please, just help us out.

I understand.
After the conversation I realized that I was probably the only missionary in the entire mission that honestly reported his numbers. I knew and worked with a lot of missionaries and not a single one of them worked all day like one would have to to meet the minimum required time.

I didn’t change my reports. I honestly put down what we did, low though it might be. I stopped getting calls from my DL.

Weeks later, at the DL’s apartment, I spotted my weekly report in the trash. Apparently, the DL’s solved his problem by forging a report and scrapping mine. I didn’t confront him about it. What was the point?

I know the Prez glanced at the consolidated final report the AP's presented to him every week, but did he understand the numbers on it were meaningless? The entire thing, a complete lie from top to bottom. Every missionary would pad their numbers so their DLs wouldn’t get on them. The DL’s fudged theirs so the ZLs wouldn’t chaff. The ZLs would scrub theirs so the AP’s wouldn’t get on them. The AP’s would massage the final report so the Prez wouldn’t ask them to do something. Pointless, bureaucratic, busy-work to produce a report with no basis in reality.

Keeping track of the amount of Books of Mormon each missionary pair reported handing out allowed the mission to know how many new ones to order. Every month or so, the Mission Home shipped a case or two to your apartment. One apartment of mine had so many they filled the coat closet and half of the bedroom closet. Because I wanted to actually use the closets, I decided to do something useful with the dozens and dozens of cases of BoMs. I made a couch to seat three, a coffee table, two end tables, and a writing desk with three shelves. I used an old door from the apartment for the writing surface and discarded wood planks for shelving.

We had an entire living room set made from BoMs. It matched the shag carpeting perfectly.
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It Was On My Mission That I Lost My Faith
Monday, Nov 29, 2010, at 09:15 AM
Original Author(s): Josh
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was an obedient missionary. I was happy doing it too. I enjoyed knocking on doors. I didn't really enjoy contacting people on the street because it seemed more pushy - at the door all they have to do is shut it to make you shut up. It was rare that a door was open longer than for a person to say, "ikke interesseret". So I learned to talk to strangers at doors, and to get them talking for long times. I felt successful because of that. I had many people who committed to baptisms, although none of them ended up getting baptized. I felt "the spirit" in many different ways at many different times. In fact, my first week there I looked at a map, and whenever I looked at a street on it, I always felt this tingle on my chest. So we biked down there, knocked on a door - no one was home. Knocked on a second door, and a guy opened up, told us he believed everything about Mormonism due to a near death experience, and wanted to get baptized. After a few days he called us up and told us he never wanted to speak with us again, because his wife said she'd leave him if he was baptized. With experiences like that, you'd think I'd still be a TBM.

I had many experiences like that. And yet, despite how grand the experience, despite how amazing the investigator, despite whatever I considered miracles occurred, no one ever got baptized from my efforts on my mission. It confused the hell out of me - why would a loving God, who could create these miracles, not just push these people a little bit further? God was all-powerful, so he could convert everyone if he wanted to. And that's when it hit me - the reason that they weren't being converted is because it was unnecessary. That is, if there was a God and the only way to save people was to convert them, then God wasn't a loving God because he was helping convert them. I worked my ass off. I prayed my ass off. I believed it all. I was as obedient as I possibly could be. And yet, none of it, despite how favorable the conditions were with investigators, resulted in baptisms. I concluded that God could convert world but he doesn't, because it isn't the most important thing.

There was a second thing that occurred on my mission. I was an obedient hard-working missionary. But then things didn't fit together. The mission president said we couldn't knock on doors more than an hour a day, and yet I was in Denmark, a small branch, and had nothing better to do. There was no way I could be obedient to that. I felt a strong thought come to my mind and tell me what area I should go to (and had an amazing experience there), and yet the mission president told me never to go to that area because of its distance. The mission president and area authorities disagreed on other minute rules - which were the world to me as I tried to be obedient. It resulted in my world imploding. The spirit that I felt, the mission president, and the area authority all disagreed with each other. At least one of them had to be wrong.

Being obedient and trying to be thoughtful, I read my scriptures many many times. And so each time I'd notice new errors in it. New things that didn't make sense. I never read the scriptures after my mission because I no longer wanted to think about all that was wrong with it.

It was being too obedient and faithful that caused me to become apostate. Unfortunately, it would still be years before I would take the final mental plunge to lead me out of the church.
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Mormon Missionary Work In Germany As Seen By An Aboriginal
Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Fritz
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It could be of some interest to know how people in Germany perceived Mormon missionary work in their own country. Of course, I can only speak of my own experiences and feelings but I'm pretty sure that I'm not too special with this.

I truly hope that no one will feel being attacked or made look silly by my remarks. I can assure everybody that I always respected the wholehearted and selfless commitment of the Mormon missionaries.

And please don't measure each of my words too seriously as I never had a chance to learn English appropriately. It's just what is left from my school English.

In my home town Saarbruecken, Mormon missionaries had been quite active for a while in the eighties (or the early nineties? - my memory for time elapsed is quite poor). You could easily identify them from a distance of hundreds of meters by their appearance: white shirts (very often with ties), dark pants, short cut hair. It looked like you were to meet time travellers from the fifties. And they were very young. What possibly should make them look like reputable and respectable adults actually made them look like teenagers in a very strange disguise. Nobody else of their age (maybe of any age with the exception of undertakers) looked like them in Germany. And you couldn't help feeling sorry for them.

That cringe story went on when you couldn't avoid a personal contact. I remember two of them knocking at my door. I lived in an apartment but they had already entered the stairway. When I opened, one of them asked me without any salutations: "Sind Sie auf der Suche nach Gott?" ("Are you searching for God?"). After my quick answer "Nein!", they seemed to be tripped up, were keeping silent for a few seconds and then left the house mumbling something like "Well, then...". What were they expecting, how had they been briefed before coming to Germany? Of my own family including my first grade cousins, I would only call my mother a religious person. And even she (formally a Catholic) would only go to church for funeral masses. Most Germans don't go to church or to any other religious services, not because they have not yet found an appropriate church or belief system but because they are not interested in those things. If you try to bother them with spiritual stuff, they will be very suspicious about you; and that starts with saying "I believe in God" publicly.

To this day, I regret to not have spend some time with these poor guys. It must have been a terrible experience to go from door to door only to have those doors slammed upon your noses metaphorically or even literally.

Some weeks later in a train, I found some small Mormon brochures telling about Joseph Smith, the gold plates etc. To me, that was the weirdest piece of literature since the brothers Grimm. And some people even thought it could be kind of a parody when I showed it to them. What was most strange and embarrassing was the similarity of the iconographic imagery to the Nazi or Communist patterns: people displayed had a complexion that Aryan and where shown in sets that heroic and kitschy that it almost hurt. People would burst into laughter only by looking at those paintings.

I just can't imagine how anybody could believe to be able to have even the slightest success by these means. Not to speak of the special Mormon faith contents that would make look Christian denominations like a paragon of reason and sanity; of course they couldn't help it.

When time went by, I had a feeling that there was a loosing of discipline among the Mormon missionaries. First, they used to be very cautious and stayed together like twins. Some months later, some of them displayed signs of growing frustration discharging in what I would call a cynical attitude. You could see that from a distance without having to talk to them. I remember seeing one of them sitting on a park bench, drinking beer and whistling at girls.

And they left no traces. Some years ago, I several times tried to visit a local genealogical research center having found the address on one of their web sites. It never was open whenever I tried although I only went there during official opening hours. I tried to make a phone call several times but nobody picked up the phone. I sent an email but never got any response.

What a waste of human labor and, above all, of human lifetime!
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What I Recently Learned About The Church Health Plan For Missionaries
Thursday, Dec 9, 2010, at 08:36 AM
Original Author(s): Ptloma
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I am an MD in SoCal. Earlier this year, I was asked to see an RM referred to me by a colleague who is active member of his ward. There are no internists in this or adjacent stakes, so for internal medicine needs, members have to consult gentile physicians. (there are nearby LDS dermatologists, and one pediatrician and one Ob-Gyn---who must have LDS patients from a 30 mile radius!). My colleague works in ER and is often asked for referrals by members. I do take it as a compliment that he sees fit to refer member friends to me. He knows I know a lot about LDS culture, but he attributes that more to my having lived in Utah for one semester in college than to extensive involvement in an ExMo bulletin board!! The feedback he has been given by member friends was positive.

The RM was not feeling well and had been in the Far East. He was only a few days home from mission, so I suspected they wanted a check up before his church health coverage ran out. I suggested some blood tests (chemistry panel, thyroid, blood count) and some stool parasite tests.

He never got the tests done because he received an invite to go snowboarding in Utah. While there, he fell and fractured a vertebra and had to be hospitalized at Univ of Utah Med Center. They brought him home, but he couldn't function because he could not get adequate pain control (every time you brethe, it causes severe pain if you have a fractured vertebra and squished disk; if you use a binder, you can get collapsed lungs, which did happen). I put him in the hospital and ran the tests I'd ordered a few months back but which the patient had not done.

I found him to be severely anemic (blood count 1/3 lower than normal). The doctors in Utah had assumed he'd lost blood due to the accident, which was reasonable to assume in the beginning, but the fact that a healthy 21 year old had not raised his blood count two weeks later cast doubt on that assumption. I probed further and discovered that his folate level was the lowest I'd ever seen in a living patient, and the first time in my career that I discovered folate as the cause of someone's anemia (I always order it, always comes back normal). B12, thyroid were normal. Iron was very, very low too.

We got the pain under control and added folate and iron to his diet. Parasite screen was negative, however, he recalled having taken an antiparasitic drug given to ALL missionaries in the field before they returned home. he did not know the name of the drug, but his parasite tests were negative. This led me to believe that parasites were common enough for the mission's medical director to routinely treat all missionaries before leaving the field. The possibility that he has some parasite that caused iron loss cannot be ruled out. What I can't figure out is why they didn't treat the missionaries on a routine, PERIODIC basis? Why only just before returning home? (Write your own answer here).

Asking more questions, I learned that for two years he lived on mostly potatoes and cabbage!! No meat, no green vegetables, which explains the low folate and iron levels. I explained to the parents that in this young man's case, he probably did NOT have some disease of malabsorbtion, but rather than he was in a state of partial malnutrition/vitamin deficiency. THe mother had tried to send vitamins to him but usually they were confiscated by customs in Asia. I was sort of amazed that TSCC didn't provide some sort of vitamins to prevent this. Anyway, his counts returned to normal after several months of therapy and his color is good and he's gained some weight (6'4" and like 160 in the hospital, now closer to 200).

One other thing we learned about the church health plan, which did cover him several months after return, probably because they WISELY sought care within a few days of return, and then the church was on the hook until the problem was resolved. You send the claims to an address ("Missionary Medical Plan") at the COB, but they are processed by a major PPO administrator, which I believe was First Health or PHCS (Private Health Care Systems). His initial office visit to me was covered with a $20 copay, but hospital charges were subject to a deductible of $1000. Because my office submitted charges to SLC before the hospital or the orthopaedist did, my entire bill (under $1000) was not payable by the insurance and was marked "patient responsibility".

This also means that his stay at Univ of Utah Med Center probably wasn't covered, because he was there for a week and surely his bills would have exceeded $1000 rather quickly; the only other explanation would be if the church plan DID cover the accident but Univ of Utah was a month behind in its claim submissions, which I think would be unlikely. The most likely explanation is that the accident that landed him at Univ of Utah was NOT covered by church insurance because it was a post-mission accident, not related to or caused by the mission. However, my notes each day in the hospital made careful mention of "malnutrition/folate deficiency/iron deficiency", which WAS mission-related. Although the family had to pay my bill due to deductible, the hospital's bill (presumably much larger) would have met the deductible by a large margin and most likely was paid out by TSCC. It appears that TSCC is self-insured (you send the bill to "Missionary Medical Plan" c/o some address in SLC) and that the PPO administers theplan for TSCC (and gets negotiated discounts within its PPO network).

We have treated missionaries in the office from time to time and usually Missionary Medical pays the entire bill. We were amazed that a $1000 deductible existed for hospital stays. OK, this kid's stay was part accident and part mission-caused illness, but what about a recent RM with a serious mission-acquired illness with NO accident, where the family cannot afford a $1000 deductible?
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The Great Escape
Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011, at 08:01 AM
Original Author(s): Averagejoe
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In October 2000 I started university. I was 16 at the time and the youngest student there. My chosen field of study was Social Science, I intended to specialise in political science, in the end Economics become my major and politics my minor. Before university I had never really encountered anything that made me seriously question the faith of my upbringing. I knew about a lot of crazy doctrines, but I just accepted them, what other choice did I have? I was the Bishops son, the one who was never in trouble, who never mis-behaved in classes and the one with the longest patriarchal blessing. I was destined to serve an honourable mission and become a leader amongst the saints.

One of my first classes was entitled “The Sociology of Sexuality”. The lecturer was a woman who openly discussed her masturbatory habits as an object lesson and the tutor was the first openly gay man I’d ever met. I did not enjoy the class. It created too many problems, firstly given my age my own sexuality was not entirely decided upon and secondly, we studied the Kinsey studies in depth and I had a hard time believing that sexual practices outside of the Salt Lake City prescribed norm could be sinful. I simply put these things on the shelf, along with many, many other things I learned during my studies.

Three years passed and it came time to go on a mission. I wasn’t forced or pressured into going, it just seemed like the next stage. I was conditioned into thinking that a mission was the thing to do. I duly sent off the paperwork to church headquarters and got sent to Germany. Ironic as German was the only subject I ever failed at school.

I was sent to the MTC in Provo in order to learn the language before being sent to Frankfurt. I hated the MTC it was horrible. The food made me ill and the culture and regime were oppressive, humourless and grey. My early mission days were fine. I had good companions whom I liked. My first area was friendly and the mission regime was laid back. We were expected to do a job, but there were, unlike most missions, no pharisaical rules to keep.

After some time I was moved from my first area to Bonn. Bonn is a beautiful town and I enjoyed the younger university town atmosphere, however after only a few weeks I was emergency transferred out and to the mission office in Frankfurt. Bonn was important to my exit as it was where i first noticed historical whitewashing. One day an elder in my district handed me a copy of the ‘King Follet Discourse’ that had been sent to him by his grandfather. In that there is a paragraph about child gods. I thought it would be a great idea for language study to compare the German and English versions of the speech. However when I got the german version in the Joseph F. Smith book, ‘Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith’. I immediately noticed a curious omission, where the child gods paragraph should have been there was simply an asterix. The note at the bottom of the page said that this had been removed because it was a transcription error.

For two years there has been a couple in the mission office who dealt with the mission finances, they were due to go home. The church had sent another older couple, but the man told the MP that if he were made do the finance job, he’d have a heart attack. On the phone the MP told me that since I had a degree in Economics and had worked in banks for years that I was the best match for the job. I had only been in Germany four months but I did not mind.

Life in the office was good. I liked the other elders, the MP and I developed a good relationship. He liked to talk politics with me because he knew I’d disagree with him. Missions are all about ass kissing. I was never into that so I’d disagree and he actually appreciated that he could have an intelligent conversation with me. Running the mission finances was a big job. We had a budget of more than €1.5m every penny of which needed to be accounted for. During this time I became known as mission cook. I hate bad cooking and can cook well, so I used the office to practise my hobby. I cooked for between 6 and 8 missionaries every day. This will become more amazing later in the story.

I was quite able to do all the tasks required of me. It was weird though, my mission which was supposed to be a great spiritual experience had become something like a 9-5 job, only with longer hours. Spirituality was really not a high priority. Sometimes the car elder and his companion got out and did missionary work. I always had too much work to do. I was enjoying it all until after a while I stopped being able to sleep.

My sleep patterns went to hell. It was really bad I was getting only a few hours of sleep a night. I could not function properly during the day. About this time moves happened and all the office elders changed except me. One of the new elders was a self absorbed ignorant arsehole who thought he received personal revelation about everything. The personality clash between us was a catalyst for major mood swings. One minute I was happy and the next furiously angry. I slipped into a general depression and was referred to the newly assigned area psychiatrist.

The church psychiatrist in Frankfurt dealt with missionaries all over europe usually by phone. His office was in the area office a 10 min drive away. On my first consultation he diagnosed me, based on previous experiences and family history as having Cyclothymia, although this quickly changed to BiPolar Mood Disorder, Type 1 (BP1). Around the same time it was suggested that the office elders make a better attempt at the more ‘spiritual’ side of missionary life.

For most this meant going out to appointments at night but more importantly for me, more personal study. I had always felt that church history was a little disjointed and slightly incoherant. I considered this to be a failing of my own knowledge. I started to study church history including the journal of discourses. All the usual suspects were new to me, blood atonement and adam-god etc... At this same time the church psychiatrist decided that some CBT would be useful, especially until the medication kicked in. I had been prescribed Zoloft, which although slightly lifted my by this time extremely dark mood, also increase the severity of my manic upswings.

When manic I studied with great speed and intensity, I was devouring the Journal of Discourses. In my CBT sessions I discussed many things relating to the church. For years I had disagreed with all the political statements the church issued. Having studied world welfare systems I knew that the church welfare system and the principles upon which it are founded were based on a model of right wing conservatism for which I had no support. Politics became the first point over which my doctor and I bonded. He was a life long democrat from a line of democratic politicians in Idaho. He started to relate his feelings as I did mine. When during one session I said as a result of existing beliefs and the new information I had discovered I no longer believed the church was true, his response was “neither do I”.

He went on to explain that he knew the church was in no way divine from his mission days too, and that for years he had said very little and never interacted with his wards. As a psychiatrist and a liberal, he always felt uneasy and unwelcome. Sunstone magazine would call him and his wife, ‘border landers’. From this point on I have believed that for most mormonism is nothing but a facade for most people. Their final straw was the excommunication of the September six.

Although in a bad way I was very grateful to have a friend in whom I could confide. He and his wife were in my ward and I began spending more and more time with them. We are still in contact and very much friends. Soon after this, things took a turn for the worse. L. Tom Perry announced a mission tour to start his stint as area president. His letter to the MP stated that he wished to examine mission finance records and to ensure that everything was in order. I had managed to make some major innovations to our systems, but having been in a deep depression I had fallen well behind in everything other than paying bills. I had spent many a day sleeping under my desk unable to move.

To get ready for L. Tom I worked 18 hour days trying to get months of transactions to balance, trying to file receipts and the thousands of bits of paper that were strewn around the office. I worked myself into the ground to get things into some semblance of order. The sisters from the neighbouring area even came round to polish and hoover the place for me. This frenetic pace lasted several weeks, my condition continued to deteriorate, and by this time I was suicidal. I was now on the highest possible dose of Zoloft and on mood stabilisers. I felt like shit. There was huge hype about the apostle coming to visit. At his talk in the Frankfurt Stake centre I sat next to the doctor and his wife.

Perry spoke about time management. Where was the spirituality in that? I leaned over and told the doctor that this sounded exactly like a corporate training session I had been to two years earlier with the bank I worked for. Perry even talked about productivity rates. The whole thing was a load of shit and I said so to the doctor. He and his wife agreed. L. Tom then proceeded to meet with the MP and his staff in the office. His questions were incoherent.

He continually asked questions about mission finances, but they made no sense whatsoever. He was unaware of mission accounting software or any procedures and continually asked about punch cards. I’m sure they were obsolete by the late 50’s. There was no inspection of financial records, no detailed questions which made any sense. I was pissed off. I had worked myself into the ground whilst suicidally ill for this man, and it appeared that he was too senile to have any concept of what was going on. I met L. Tom Perry several times, and I am convinced that he has early to middle stage dementia which goes unreported to the general membership.

Throughout my illness, I have to say that everyone was quite understanding. Whenever the APs got haughty about me sleeping during the day or refusing to go to events the MP always straightened them out for me. However on day whilst paying invoices I came across the invoice from the pharmacy. All the medication for missionaries in Europe came from this one little chemist’s shop next to Frankfurt’s West Centrum and I got a copy of the invoice with the items for my mission highlighted. I suddenly realised that I was on more medication than any other missionary in europe. Added to this I knew that I was to be moved in six weeks to become a ZL after ten months in the mission office. Talk about an inspired calling!

I went to see the doctor and in my session I told him I’d had enough and that if he did not send me home after training my replacement over the next six weeks. Evidently he did not take my threat seriously. Something he has since apologised for. His reports to the MP had been increasingly vague, and we had become such good friends that I think it would have been too difficult for him to send me home. His wife was a huge critic of the church, she was forever biting her tongue, and one day, shortly before my departure gave me a copy of ‘No Man Knows My History’.

It was moves night, I was moving anyway and so my packing was in no way suspicious. I was up later than anyone else, not surprising given the length of time I had lived in Frankfurt. Over the previous couple of weeks I had used the office internet, my credit cards and some investments that I sold to buy an aeroplane ticket to my never-mo grandmother’s home in America. I even bought a car on E-bay. The deception involved was huge. I had experienced missionary disappearances before. I knew the APs were sent to Frankfurt airport and the ZLs in Düsseldorf to the airport there. I therefore bought a ticket for a night train to Zürich.

At 1am I got up very quietly dressed in full missionary attire I lifted my suitcase rather than use the wheels and placed it in the stairwell. I then sat down at the table and wrote a letter to the Oberbürgermeisterin of Frankfurt to register my departure from the country. I left the letter and closed the door behind me, my heart racing. I crept down the marble stairs and out the front door to the street. I then drove the mission car to the office, directly next to a major train station. I locked the car and placed the keys in the office letterbox. I then boarded the train. I was sitting in Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof crying over the decision I had taken. A decision I felt I had to take. I could not have been a ZL or enthuse my zone when I myself had no testimony.

I boarded the night train to Zürich, I had a compartment to myself. I watched through the darkness as I left Frankfurt and travelled south. I went through the most southerly town in our mission with elders in it. I imagined them sleeping peacefully in their beds as I struggled with my own feelings, moods and the horrific side effects from the medication I was on. As I sat alone in the compartment I slipped off my name tag and breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

That morning I reached Zürich Flughafen. I checked in for the flight, the man addressed me in German the whole time until he saw my passport. He apologised and said he had thought I was German. For a fleeting moment I wondered if this was a sign. I dismissed it and boarded the flight to Newark. I was in a terrible state I am surprised I was allowed to fly, but as I am told constantly I cover up very well. The stress and my situation combined and I collapsed in Minneapolis Airport but was allowed to fly. Whilst flying across the atlantic I used the airphone and called the doctor. He was crying, not for any gospel or related reason but because I was alive and safe and that he cared. I explained where I was and where I was going and why. He realised I had been cornered without much choice.

When I landed I phoned my parents, my head spinning I told them where I was. I regret that my mission ended the way it did. I am glad that I learned about the fraudulent nature of the church. I just wish it could have been better timed, not on a mission and not during a nervous breakdown. I spent eight months in America before I came home to Scotland, eight months before I felt well enough to return home, but not to the church.
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Inspired Mission President And A Capable God. Not.
Thursday, Apr 21, 2011, at 09:17 AM
Original Author(s): Fishsticklama
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Mission: MP letter to me about training a missionary
"The Lord has entrusted a new missionary into your care to be trained properly in every aspect of missionary service. Invite the spirit into your companionship by praying together, observing mission rules and following the mission study program. Teach the importance of prophesying, praying, planning, and setting goals for your companionship to achieve. Be humble and prayerful. Seek the Lord's direction as you train him to find, teach, baptize and to love the people."
Note the prophesying part. This was a specific reference towards prophecy in setting goals to find and baptize investigators. Each transfer we would set goals for investigators confirmed and baptized and goals for a weekly quota standard to meet. We were told that if we set really low goals, say 1 baptism 1 confirmation, it was a reflection of our faith and testimony. Mission average was 1 baptism per transfer or lower in decimal form.

Every transfer my companionship would usually "feel" (which is the whole prophecy concept) to put around 4 or more for our goal. Sometimes numbers went as high as 8 or 9 depending on the potential investigators we were working with that had a lot of promise. We would pray and feel inspired and directed that the Lord wanted those numbers and were prepared to reach those goals. Not once did the Lord ever help us meet those goals. Every transfer we were short and the same could be said to most other missionaries in the mission.

The one time we would have reached our goals was a pre-transfer planning session. We had been working with a family with 4 baptism dates, and 3 other investigators with a date and ready to be baptized. 7 baptisms ready for the next 3 weeks in the following transfer, 4 others that were headed there but not a gurantee in any respect. The Lord inspired the mission president to white wash our area, close the sisters area down on the island and move them to ours. That transfer all the talk was how miraculous the sisters were doing in that area and how they were going to have the most baptisms in a transfer there had yet been. Sure enough they baptized all of our investigators and racked up 8 or 9 baptisms. Zone conference came and the mission president praised the sister missionaries in front of everyone explaining how all those baptisms were a blessing for their hard efforts, humility and obedience. I saw my companion and he was incensed. He was speechless and beyond pissed off that we didn't get any credit for all of that. The next 4 or 5 months they were the talk of the mission and how amazing it was they got so many baptisms. The president talked about it in 1 or 2 newsletters given to all the missionaries in the mission each transfer. My companion was PISSED OFF at the MP and lost a lot of respect for him. I thought it was unfair, but got over it.

A couple of transfers later, I found out that the mission president was really impressed with me when I got to the mission. He had high expectations and hopes for me. I was new to the mission and put in an area that was doing very poorly for some time. Our first transfer we had found and baptized 2 people and the next few transfers we had at least 1 baptism, which was more than the area had in the last year. Well, I became good friends with the another missionary on the island that was leaving soon and the mission president did not like him. That missionary had consistently been in trouble throughout his mission and was not on the good side of the MP. We would do companionship exchanges 1 a week and apparently someone spread a rumor that I would go swimming with him on the beach regularly and do other things against the rules. I noticed my second transfer in the MP would always grill me about rules I was breaking and I always told him none. He found out I went out to eat regularly with members at restaurants(against the rules) because my companion had confessed and he lectured me for 10 or 15 minutes about it. That's the only dirt he could confirm, but he knew I was lying. His hopes for me were dead.

When he found out we had so many baptisms and potential baptisms for the following transfer, he felt inspired to white wash us out of there and put the sisters into our area. He must have felt I was too disobedient to be trusted with so much success. He was planning on having me train just a few months in to my mission but the rumors he heard about me ruined all that.

The Lord not only failed to deliver every transfer of my mission, but he failed to inspire and help my mission president detect falsehoods and lies. I didn't care about leadership, but I did care that the Lord didn't correct this leader about the lies and didn't direct him to baptize the people I had a great friendship and love for. I also didn't care for the false attribution of success to the sister missionaries just because a missionary rumor had spread that I always went swimming at the beach and he didn't want the mission to think disobedience could still bring about success.

6 months into the mission my suspicions were confirmed that the Lord's anointed were not very inspired, even when they would be in the best position to receive it. I could forgive my many youth interviews with bishops unable to detect my lies, but not a mission president who was devoting 3 years of his life wholly to the cause of the kingdom of God. How could this be? I thought these kinds of leaders specially called would be blessed by the Lord to discern correctly. I began to see the church for what it was, man made and ran by.. men not god.
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Family Court Of Horrorsm
Monday, May 2, 2011, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Lost
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In another thread, MIB was talking about the pressure for young men in the LDS church to go on missions. I posted about my Family’s horrible reaction to my deciding to go into military service in that thread. MIB made a follow up comment that it’s important for people to grasp just how tough it is on young men, especially those that just not to go. I agree.

So I thought I’d share my story so that perhaps those lurking will appreciate just what kind of stuff goes down when a young man chooses not to go on a mission.

For me, Lost, my misery started when I was 19 years old. I was held back a year and so I was a Senior in HS. All during that year, I constantly heard about the need to go on a mission. There was some concern about what Lost would do, because basically I was the ward loser. I had only achieved Star Scout Rank in Scouting, I had never been a leader or in any presidency. I was never much of a success at Scripture Chases and was just plain average. To be honest, I was a pretty ugly boy/man-child.

So there was a lot of gossip, which my mother in particular did nothing to help. Just to illustrate how messed up she was, she thought nothing of bearing her testimony telling the ward that her son had a problem with bed wetting and that through prayers and the guidance of the holy spirit, this was resolved. Actually it was resolved when I outgrew it, but hey since when has truth ever mattered when it come to faith (self) promoting stories? It was, however; grossly embarrassing and never forgotten: I was the guy who had pissed his bed. Gee, thanks Mom.

The bishop had droned on and on as had my parents about how I must go on a mission. I didn’t want to go to college; I needed a break from school. What I really wanted to do was travel the country and see things, but that was impossible. I didn’t have any money and zero support. I was going to go on a mission, except that nobody asked my opinion. Or more accurately, didn't listen to it because it wasn't what they wanted to hear.

I had two fantastic uncles on my father’s side who were both military men. My one uncle, who I will call John (not his real name) was a SEAL. He was the one who I confided in, who taught me how to defend myself and basically listened to me. I have a lot of wonderful memories fishing, hunting for gators and just having a grand time with him. I'll always consider John my surrogate father, because he ACTED more like a father than my real father did. John did not believe the LDS church. He told me that he believed in God, but that ultimately once on earth, its up to us. God doesn’t interfere and you’re on your own. Later in life, I now really respect that opinion. John told me great stories about his military service and I wanted to serve as well. I knew I’d never be a SEAL, but I liked the idea of getting into physical shape, having a job and seeing the world. So I decided I wanted to go into the military. I really looked into it, so this wasn't an off the cuff decision.

All holy hell broke loose. My family unloaded all manner of crap on me once I told them my decision. All kinds of threats, punishments, and tons and tons of verbal abuse we heaped upon me. If there was a name to describe me, I was called it. Interviews and whispers at church. I was blacklisted. I was shunned. I wasn’t allowed to date any good LDS girls. My girlfriend at the time broke up with me, because she would only date someone who, “ Wanted to marry in the temple.” I wanted this too, but since I wasn’t going on a mission, it wasn’t likely to happen. All manner of nasty whispers and viciousness occurred. Vandalism, etc. Unpleasant. You would have thought I was a murderer.

During this mess, I became a man. I discovered deep inside myself steel that I didn’t know I had. I was going to decide what I would do with life and that was final. My uncles were both away serving, but their survival lessons really got me through it all. I simply hunkered down and weathered the storm. Despite all efforts, my family and ward couldn't break me or change my mind. They couldn't buy me off either. The bishop even offered to make me 1st Assistant to Priest's Quorum if I would just commit to going on a mission. Serious stuff for a 19 year old to deal with. But I knew what they were up to and wasn't buying it.

In desperation, my parents turned toward the Bishop and Stake President claiming I had an evil spirit. I repeated over and over that I felt a mission wasn’t right for me. I wanted to serve my country. "What did I know?," the adults would say? "I’m only 19 and a fool." The military was full of drug addicts and sex maniacs. I was throwing my life away. Hmm.

How could honorable service to my country be throwing my life away? I was getting experience in a trade. I was seeing the world while getting paid. At the end of my service if I didn’t stay in, there would be money for college. It was perfect for me, I felt. No, you fool–only a mission will do. But I would have none of it. Once my military service was over, if I wanted to go on a mission then, I could do so. At least I would have the money to pay my own way. Not acceptable. You will go at 19 on a mission, period. Mission calls are not granted to young men over 20.

Finally, all the screaming and shouting culiminated with a command appearance before a GA. I won’t give his name for privacy reasons, but he was well known. He was pompous, arrogant, bombastic and a complete jerk. He kept calling me “son” trying these little power head games. I calmly and rationally told him that I felt going into military service was the proper thing in my life. He disagreed. I was disobeying the prophet. God would punish me if I went into military service. There would be a mighty battle (after all-Jesus second coming is right around the corner) and I would die horribly. He went on and on about the wounds I would suffer and how someone would castrate me! Un-frickin-believable. However, if I went on a mission I would be transformed. I would become handsome. (Gee Thanks, dude) I would baptize many many people. I would return from my mission and marry a beautiful daughter of Zion. She would be so beautiful that the heavens would weep. (I kid you not, he said this) He wanted to give me a speshulblessing right on the spot. I told him, “No-Thank you.” I appreciated what he had to say, but I had made my decision and I was sticking to it because it was the right thing for me.

My family went ballistic aftwards as did my ward. I was shunned. My parents refused to talk to me. My sisters ignored me. My maternal grandparents ignored me. Gossip at church was flung high and low. School became hell. But they had seriously underestimated me. I was going to serve my country.

Many more visits and interviews occurred. Many sad faces and head shakes. Finally my father threatened that if I went into the military that I would be unwelcome to return home. Fine, I said. “That is your choice.” No, he said. “It is your choice for choosing this wicked path and not following the advice or your parents and elders. “ “Your mother and I have failed, but sometimes there is nothing good parents can do.” Then he hit me and left. As I stood there bleeding I knew that I would never return to my parent’s house again once I left.

Is this a Forever Family? Not a chance.

Finally, it was my day to report for service. I was excited and nervous. Basic training was reported to be tough and my uncles had prepared me with pretty much what to expect. I had been working out and running a lot, so I felt prepared. Then came the last little hitch from my parents. They refused to drive me to the induction center. I had to walk the 30 miles on foot. I didn’t have cab money. So I started walking and fortunately a good Samaritan gave me a lift so I made it on time.

Basic training was tough, but considering what my home life had been, it was a breeze. Then came mail call about 10 days into basic training. It was a letter from my family. I was certain they had finally accepted that I was serious about serving my country. Yep--Unfortunately for me.

They had held a family court of love in absentia.

I had been excommunicated from my family.

Wow. My Family had all signed the letter (those that could sign it) and I cried.

Even though life had been miserable growing up a mormon-they were family and I loved them. Now they were gone. I never saw them again to this day. (I saw them, but they acted as if I was dead)

My squad mates in Basic Training were terrific and I had a lot of support.

A Forever Family???

Only if you do exactly what you are told: Pay, Pray and Obey.

Every young man MUST go on a mission. Otherwise, you may lose your family.

Brought to you by your friends: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Zone Leaders Tasked With Reading Missionary Mail
Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at 10:58 AM
Original Author(s): Dave J
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I was in the Costa Rica San Jose Mission in 1987-88 where the Mission President, Mervyn B. Arnold set a private policy that the Zone Leaders are to open and read the mail of any missionary receiving mail from anyone of the opposite sex living within the mission boundaries.

I personally witnessed a missionary's mail being opened and read by a Zone Leader without the missionary's knowledge or consent. I was a District Leader reporting to that Zone Leader, and that Zone Leader was handing off the mail to me for the missionaries in my District.

Before this, I did not know of the policy. When I saw the Zone Leader opening the mail, my jaw almost hit the floor. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was opening and reading the missionary's mail, because the letter was from someone of the opposite sex within the mission boundaries, which is against the rules.

When I told him to stop, and I pointed out that it's illegal and an invasion of privacy to open and read other people's mail, he said it's the mission rules, and that I could follow up with the Mission President if I had a problem with it. I told him I would do that, so I immediately contacted the Assistants To The President (the AP's, they are senior to the Zone Leaders and report directly to the Mission President) to schedule a time when I can talk to the Mission President. I also informed the missionary in my district that his mail had been opened, and that he should talk to the Mission President to discuss why.

I met with one of the Assistants to the President, who reiterated that it is the mission rule for all Zone Leaders to open, read and report all mail received from anyone of the opposite sex living within the mission boundaries. The Assistant to the President warned me not to make waves on this, implying that I was getting myself into trouble. I told him I will discuss it with the Mission President.

Shortly thereafter, I received a call from the Mission President, Mervyn B. Arnold. I received an over-the-phone shout-down from him for at least half an hour, where he attacked me for 'stabbing my leaders in the back', 'backbiting' and 'going outside the chain of command'. He told me he was aware of the letter-opening, it is mission policy, it is his policy, and he praised the Zone Leader for doing what he was instructed, praised the AP's for supporting him, and attacked me for interfering with the inspired instruction of my leaders.

When I again stated that the policy is illegal, he became hysterical and screamed things over the phone like 'Gods laws are greater than our laws!', and gave some example of speeding or some other traffic violation which would be OK if a General Authority felt inspired to ask it. He screamed that I was doing a great disservice to the Elders in my district because if there is any such mail in the future, they are much better off to have the Zone Leader screen it, rather than calling the missionary in to the Mission Office and making him open, read and explain the letter directly to the Mission President, which he said is the only alternative. Still screaming, he threatened to send me home, and/or transfer me to another mission, and/or demote me to Junior Companion, if I ever question my leaders again.

Very shortly after this, I was removed from my District Leader position, and demoted to Junior Companion to the Zone Leader I had argued with in the Mail incident. Ostensibly this was because I proactively told the Zone Leader that there was a woman at church who I was having trouble dissuading from aggressively trying to flirt and making unwanted physical contact with me, and I had suggested that maybe it would be wise to transfer me out before she creates a problem (I was clear that nothing ever happened, I was just having trouble convincing her to back off). However the demotion to Junior and assignment to the same Zone Leader I argued with in the Mail incident (in a location still very nearby the female pursuer) seemed like an obvious reminder what this was really about.

Some related items to be aware of:

1. The Costa Rica San Jose Mission (including Panama at that time) had various other rules which were also completely out of line, if not illegal, all on order from the Mission President including:

a) The Office Elders confiscated the missionaries passports, visas, immigration cards and other related documentation and kept them in the mission office.

Note: This resulted in my being arrested, hauled off the street and handcuffed in the back of a pickup truck, threatened and interrogated by the Panamanian Military in a windowless room, during the US standoff with the Noriega regime, which is one of the worst experiences in my life. When I wrote the Mission President detailing the arrest and requesting my documents, I received a similar shout-down and threats of being sent home. Later on, he had the Mission Office send me (and other missionaries) photocopies of our official travel documents, which is pointless because they are not accepted as valid anywhere.

b) The Office Elders confiscated some missionaries checkbooks, credit cards and other financial instruments and kept them at the mission office, for missionaries who repeatedly violated the mission rule which restricted their budget to $185/mo in 1988 dollars. This was $65/mo less than the amounts we were told to budget in our initial Mission Calling papers (we were told we should expect to spend $250 a month), which did not mention any restriction of access to our own money. (Note, after the Mission Office made mandatory deductions for Book of Mormon fund, Bike Repair fund and Travel fund, the missionaries only had $160 for all other expenses for the month). The Mission President dictated it to be against the rules to cash any checks outside the Mission Office, and then only allowed the missionaries to cash 1 check per month through the Mission Office, and then declared it against the rules to receive any checks, money or even to pay to have your photos developed through the mail (ie. any cash flow going across mission borders... although some people just ignored this with regards to the photos). He also had his Finance Elder(s) track check numbers and amounts, and the Zone Leaders would report any incoming commercial parcels, to detect anyone in violation of the budget. Anyone in violation of the budget received repeated shout-downs and threats to be sent home, while various rumors circulated that violating the budget rule was the cause of some specific early returns.

Note: I was transferred out of my position as Branch President and again threatened to be sent home, because I spent some of my own money to buy a Christmas Tree and Snacks for a Christmas party that I held in my branch. Only after my weight had dropped from 175 pounds down to 135 pounds (I'm over 6'3" tall) causing absolute panic in relatives who would not back down with the mission office, I was finally allowed an extra $25/mo for food during the last few months of my mission. (Remember folks, for less than $1 a day, you too can keep a missionary from starving to death...)

c) The Office Elders returned-to-sender any care packages exceeding the mission limit of 2 packages per missionary per year. The Mission President eventually had to rescind his rule on this, as there were too many complaints from families to the Missionary Department in Salt Lake.

2. During my mission, Mervyn B. Arnold completed his Mission President assignment and was soon promoted to the Director of Training and Field Services of the LDS Mission Department in Salt Lake. (I discovered this when I finished my mission and then called the Mission Department in Salt Lake in order to report what I had experienced. Since Mervyn B. Arnold was now in charge from the Mission Department in Salt Lake, they simply forwarded me to his voice mail.) After that, Mervyn B. Arnold was promoted to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and now he is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Note: The Quorum of the Seventy are considered to be above criticism or question by the church members due to the Temple Covenants, where members raise their right arm and swear 'Before God and Angels' that they 'Shall not speak evil of the Lord's Annointed', which Mormons consider to be any questioning, criticism or accusations against The Prophet, his two Counselors, the Apostles, and the Seventy. That means for most members, Mervyn B. Arnold and his policies are now officially beyond reproach.

The mail-opening incident, and related policies infringing on travel documents, financial instruments and packages, was back in 1987-88, and I have no idea how things went after that. However since Mervyn B. Arnold is now a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, with previous Director level ties to the Training and Field Services the policies of the LDS Mission Department, I would suppose that his unquestionable policies are still in effect and probably greatly expanded, across a vast swath of the LDS hierarchy, including his original stomping grounds of the Costa Rica San Jose mission, of course.
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There's A Reason They Assign Missionaries A Companion
Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at 11:04 AM
Original Author(s): Datahavok
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Snooping and tattling on non-conformists is reason #1.

What can a Mission President do with his non-conformist missionaries? He can make their life Hell for two years, and actually much longer than that:

1 - Verbally abusing them; Screaming, name calling and threats in public forums, private interviews, and over the phone, etc.

2 - Eliminating their privileges; Bye Bye Senior-companion, Leadership positions, having a mission car, permission to use the bus or taxi, dining out (ie. having a hot dog, a piece of pizza, a can of soda), preparation day hours, receiving care packages, receiving your developed-by-mail photos, forwarding your mail, having a companion who speaks English, getting 8 hours of sleep, etc.

3 - Confiscating financial instruments; Checkbooks, Credit cards (I'd say Passports, but that's already taken when you arrive...), etc.

4 - Giving an Area Transfer; Someplace with violent crime, riots, america-hating military forces pointing guns at them, arresting them. Someplace with rats, mosquitos, cockroaches, wild dogs in the street, no hot water, no clean drinking water, no phone, no transportation, no mail drop, etc.

5 - Sending them Stateside; Bringing an early end to their 'inspired' destination, creating huge self-doubt, sense of failure, and leaving folks at home wondering whether the missionary was undisciplined, home-sick, mentally or physically ill, or just too stupid to learn the language.

6 - Sending them Home Early; Cutting their mission short and send them back dishonored. Making their parents cry. Sending a damning release letter to their Stake President, ruining their reputation, their home life, their future church callings, their social life, their ability to date Mormon women. Wrecking their chances of LDS college admittance. Wrecking their marriage plans with their Must-Marry-An-RM-Brainwashed fiance.

Easy to blame the victim if you've never been the victim. Easy to encourage resistance if you've never experienced the punishment for that. The reality is, if you resist in the mission, and if your Mission President is a control freak, thanks to the narc-on-your-comp system he has all the knowledge and position to tighten the screws until you surrender and/or until those two years and possibly some years after that are the worst hell of your life.

For anyone considering allowing your kids on a mission, consider yourself warned.
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So I'm Traveling In China When I'm Asked
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011, at 09:23 AM
Original Author(s): Just A Thought
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
So I'm traveling in China when I'm asked....

where did I learn to speak Chinese?

So I'm give a brief background of how I spent two years in Taiwan as missionary for the mormon church. I take another sip of coffee and without going into detail, I say my religious beliefs have changed a lot since that time.

Suddenly the air rushes out of the room. Someone mentions Jon Huntsman, there is an awkward silence and the conversation moves on to other subjects. I feel the sting of a slight loss of face. Just one second earlier, I was glowing in their appreciation of my attempts to speak their language. Now I am not sure if my audience is embarrassed by my apparent change of once deeply held religious beliefs or by my former association with mormonism, which as educated adults they recognized as a complete scam on a scale similar to scientology. Huntsman made mainland Chinese very aware of white people from Utah who can speak Chinese well.

I think it was more of the latter. I can't help but feel a little humiliated and frustrated. I told the truth. I didn't pretend to be someone I wasn't. I could have lied and said I studied Mandarin in college. But then I would have had to lie about being from Utah. And why should I lie?

Outside of Utah, there is something shameful about being mormon. After years of "recovery", why do I still feel shame about my identity?

I couldn't help being born in Utah into a mormon family. There was enormous expectations for me to serve a mission. I didn't choose to go to Taiwan. I served prior to the internet and before many great books about real mormon history had been published. Besides, I wasn't the kind of nineteen year old kid that would have read those books and asked himself those kinds of questions anyway. I liked going to church. As a kid, it all seemed good. As an exmo adult, it all seems shameful.

My identity is tied up with a religious order founded by a sexual scoundrel. My background involves a church that has clung onto it parasitic power and influence in state government. A church now trying to extend its influence into the federal and judicial level. It is a state theocracy with invasive control over it's members time, money and spirit. It's a evolved into a business order using the legal structure of a church in order to avoid paying taxes. And of its current leaders continue to hide the real church history and hold on to claims that require members to deny facts, science and common sense.

It IS shameful. The whole thing is tied together by a history of scandal, violence and lies. The one action in my life that truly required integrity was to leave the damn organization.

But that is all hard to explain to someone in a foreign language and culture 7000 miles away from Salt Lake City.
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The Difficulties Of Leaving A Mormon Mission
Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Formerly Known As Tbm
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This title may be a little misleading. For me, it was not difficult at all emotionally to leave my mission because I knew it not to be true, and that leaving would have no consequences on my "eternal salvation". Instead, I'd like to talk a little bit about how I was forced to stay an extra month, and was heavily pressured by friends, family, MP, and comp to "stick it out".

I'll start with the beginning. About 7 weeks into the MTC, after studying the book of mormon, the bible, and praying constantly, I told my Branch President that I didn't believe it. I told him it wasn't too hard being in the MTC, because I wasn't really teaching anyone, but it was going to be hard once I got out of there. His response - "You'll believe it when you get down there". I didn't argue with it much, because even if I didn't believe it, I still wanted to see what this place was like. I'd never been out of the states and was called to the Dominican Republic. I wanted to experience things, learn some Spanish, eat some fruit, basically vacation. So I didn't say anything more about it and left the the DR.

When I got there I thought I'd made the right decision. I loved the place. I grew up in Utah and always hated the cold, so this heat and humidity was amazing. I didn't have a hard time at all with the teaching because I couldn't understand much of what was being said. But after about a week I could understand most of what my companion was saying, and I couldn't take it anymore. I knew it wasn't true, and I was being forced to lie and tell people it was. And try and convince them to change their whole lives. I couldn't do it anymore. The first P-day there, I e-mailed the MP and told him I was going home. I sent this email before telling my comp anything of the sort. After we got back to our apartment, I told him, and he flipped out. I knew exactly why too. He was my trainer, if I went home, his reputation would be ruined. He had me call the MP right then, and set up an interview.

When I got to this interview, I realized it was not going to be an easy process to get out of that country. The MP had me call my parents, and tell them what was going on. I talked to my mom, and she pulled the ole guilt trip, saying that if I came home I'd disappoint everyone who helped me, gave me money, etc. And that I would be exiled from the family. I think she was just scared. I then talked to my SP back at home. He told me basically the same thing, told me I'd be setting a bad example for my brother and sister, and that I was wasting the 19 years of my life leading up to this. (I asked him about what he meant by this when I got home, and he completely denied saying it) He told me he talked to the MP, and they were going to have me stay until the end of transfers, which was about 5 weeks from then. I told him I didn't want to, that it would be pointless. But that didn't seem to matter.

At some point, about 3 weeks in, I had an interview with the MP where he tried to convince me that I had a serious transgression that I wasn't confessing, and that was causing my disbelief. I told him I had cleared everything up with my bishop prior to leaving, but he insisted that I still had something I hadn't confessed. He then had me recount every serious sin that I had told to my bishop. I thought this was a little excessive. After I had told him this, he had me call my parents again. As I was talking to my mom, he took the phone, and continued to tell my parents that I had not confessed all of these sins! Absurd! He then gave me back the phone and told me over and over again to tell my parents exactly what I had done. Even though it had already been cleared up. This upset me.

The next 4 weeks consisted of constant fights between me and my companion. Mostly about him trying to convince me to stay, or telling me to leave because he couldn't handle it anymore. He was an extremely emotional guy. I am the opposite. Eventually it got to a point where I thought I was depressed, so I went to visit the Mental Health professionals from the church. This guy was awesome. He was a convert, and had only converted 6 years earlier because of his wife. He knew where I was coming from. He suggested to the MP that I be sent home immediately. (This was about 3 weeks in). Of course, the MP didn't pay attention to this, and still tried to convince me to stay. Please remember that the entire time I kept telling the MP to send me on the next plane home, but he wouldn't because it would inconvenience him, and that I would have to wait until transfers. Ridiculous.

During the 4 weeks after I told my parents that I was coming home, I received countless emails and letters from friends and family trying to convince me to stay. Some even confessed that they didn't believe it while they were out too, but still stayed because that's what their parents wanted, and that they gained a testimony after a year or so out. Again, just trying to convince me to stay. The sort-of-girlfriend also sent some emails, mostly understanding, until the last one, where she stated that she was furious that I was coming home. When I got home, she had a boyfriend. ha.

After 4 and a half weeks, I got in a huge fight with my companion, called the MP, and told him to send me home immediately, or I would be making my own arrangements to leave. He said he had a meeting a week later, and he would talk it over with higher authority then. I was pretty upset at this point.

After 5 weeks, I couldn't take it anymore, and just left my companion and went to use internet at an internet cafe. (This was during our lunch break). He called the MP, and freaked out some more. Later that night, while we were on exchanges, I got a call from the MP saying that I would be leaving the next day. Finally! I was leaving! I got picked up by the APs that night, stayed the night there, and was home the next day. Apparently the MP didn't really have to "talk it over" once he realized that I was serious and no longer cared to follow his rules.

Well, that's just a short account of my mission experience. I hope it gives you a little insight on what it's like to come home early from a Mormon mission.
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My CRAZY Easter Sunday Experience In The MTC
Friday, Apr 13, 2012, at 11:25 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This is one of my MTC experiences, and looking back, was when I learned what "keeping and feeling the spirit" was really all about.

I was in the MTC during the start of the Gulf War in early 1991. Before the war, the MTC had an open-door policy for families and relatives hand-delivering gifts to missionaries in the MTC. But then the church decided to use the start of the war as a pretext to set a ban on accepting any hand-delivered care packages from families to MTC missionaries.

I was an AP in an MTC Branch at the time the new rule took affect.

(As a sidenote, I learned later that someone started a business just down the street from the MTC, that would take family care packages and for a fee, "deliver" them to the MTC. For security reasons, said the MTC rule, the MTC would only accept packages from couriers but not directly from family members.)

There had been a long tradition for years that every Easter Sunday afternoon, a certain member family that lived directly behind the MTC, would make tons of cinnamon rolls and hand them over the fence to missionaries. My MTC Branch roomed in one of the buildings at the back of the MTC, closest to this member family's yard, which shared a fence with the MTC.

My Branch President pulled me in early on Easter Sunday morning to tell me that under no circumstances should anyone accept cinnamon rolls from the family. He told me that the tradition violated the new rule against hand-delivered packages and he would hold me PERSONALLY accountable if anyone in the Branch broke the rule and got a cinnamon roll. He called on me to get up in that day's Sacrament Meeting and talk on obedience and warn everyone not to take a cinnamon roll "lest we lose the spirit."

The Branch President also insisted that I remind each missionary individually about the rule and admonish them not to go near the MTC fence on Easter Sunday afternoon. At the time, I was a True Believing Mormon and took the whole thing to heart, obeying the Branch President's every word in order to "keep the spirit."

Easter afternoon came and went and I thought we had made it through the day without incident. Looking out my window, the family stood at the fence with plates of cinnamon roles and nobody dared go near them.

Three days later, the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency pulled me out of my language class for a "Personal Priesthood Interview." He escorted me to the Presidency's office, where the other counselor and the President were waiting. They were all furious. Apparently one of the missionaries in our Branch was caught eating a cinnamon roll in his room the afternoon of Easter Sunday. He got caught because someone else had snitched on him in the mandatory weekly letter confessional to the Branch President.

The hard thing was, the presidency was furious with me, not the missionary who had eaten the cinnamon roll. They ripped me up one side and down the other - for not being a true leader, disappointing my family and losing their trust. I felt like a piece of @#$%and, seriously. They quoted scriptures on obedience, priesthood authority and losing the spirit.

Worst of all, I felt like I had committed a terrible sin. I had repented for some things before my mission, but the guilt I felt for this incident was almost unbearable - worse than the guilt I had felt for other more serious "transgressions" prior to my mission. This guilt over the cinnamon rolls was the most horrible, incredible guilt I have ever felt in my life! I really feared that I had "lost the spirit" for good.

At the time, my only defense was that I didn't understand how accepting a cinnamon roll from a member family violated Christ's spirit of love. But the First Counselor cut me off, saying in a raised voice, "Elder, I don't think you can even feel the spirit anymore!"

They immediately released me as AP and gave the calling to my companion - a fate I felt was close to death. As part of my repentance, they had me write a one-page paper on why I had failed as a mission leader, which was given to my Mission President when I entered the mission field. In my written confessional-of-sorts I wrote that I had disobeyed one of the Lord's chosen leaders and therefore, had lost his spirit and "amen to my authority as a leader."

That was the low point of my mission, for once I left the MTC I felt like I had "the spirit" again. I went on to prove my obedience and priesthood worthiness in the mission field, baptizing in all of my areas and serving in several leadership positions.

It wasn't until after my mission, going through my papers that I stumbled across that confessional paper I had written in the MTC. I was so angry reading it again, realizing for the first time that they had manipulated my faith and desire to be righteous. All that guilty torment self-loathing over a cinnamon roll that I didn't even eat...

And then it hit me, the whole Mormon thing was a guilt trip! Because of my belief they could make me feel guilty for anything they wanted. Those pangs of guilt weren't coming from God, they were coming from my religious conditioning. I had let church leaders program my conscience!

If my faith in the Mormon gospel meant the leaders could make me feel guilty about cinnamon rolls, then it meant they could make me feel guilty for anything. They used my faith to pull at my guilt strings, and they were doing the same thing with things like tithing too! The whole evil control process of the church unraveled for me.

That day I decided I would never let anyone play the guilt trip game on me again. I would decide for myself, based on true ethics (not external obedience or "keeping the spirit"), what of my own behaviors were wrong or right. I would never again turn that guilt control over to someone else - especially an institution as manipulative as the church.

It would take several more years before I would eventually leave the church, but that decision helped me through all the other guilt headgames my family tried to play on me for "falling away." I hadn't fallen away, I taken control of what made me feel guilty.

I see petty rules come from the prophet against earrings, tattoos and beards and wonder how many people out there are suffering the "cinnamon roll guilt-trip" as my wife now humorously calls it.
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My Mission President's Memorabe Quote: "There Are No Dead Areas Elder, Just Dead Missionaries"
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Sharapata
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
As I approach the 20th anniversary of my entrance into the MTC (June 17, 1992), I looked back at my missionary journal this weekend (why do I torture myself) and ran across this memorable gem in response to my suggestion that an area was "dead" (meaning no investigators for months and no reason to assume that this would change in the future) after looking at areas to shut down for a missionary companionship.

After insulting me as the "dead" one, he then spouted the usual, but warped missionary thinking that *I* am the one who will be ultimately responsible for the lack of interest in this area, not the disinterested people.

This MP interview was a turning point on my mission. I was out almost 20 months (February 20, 1994 to be exact), and from that point on I don't think I could have cared any less. On my final exit interview on May 28,1994, my MP commented on how I didn't *sprint* to the end and how disappointed Heavenly Father was in me. What a pr*ck.
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Tokyo South Mission With Pres. Delbert Groberg 80-81
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012, at 06:08 AM
Original Author(s): Tokyojoe
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I read over the accounts of what was posted regarding the everyday dealing of the missionaries in the (now closed) Tokyo South Mission. Of what I read, I must agree that 98% is accurate. I arrived in late 1980, a convert to the church in 1978...so I was green as they come in my own experiences in the Church, as well as being a missionary. It was only a few days after I arrived that I realized that we were not in Kansas anymore, and the Great Oz was more than just a small man behind a curtain.

I hit the streets doing "streeting" in January. It was quite common to be on the streets from 9 am to 9:30 pm, only with breaks if you were lucky enough to get someone to go back with you to listen to a jiko shokai (small personal introduction) and a couple of discussions or 3. By the middle of February, I was personally called into Pres. Groberg's office and was given a fine talking to that, if summed up, went something like this: "Of all the new missionaries in your group, you are doing the least amount of contacts and discussions. If I don't see a definite improvement in your stats within 2 weeks, maybe you shouldn't be here."

I couldn't believe my ears, because I had just left as a hero from my ward...the convert who was going to convert others...but in Japan, in the eyes of Pres. Groberg, I was just not producing...and he did check up with me a month later, like clock work. It was March 1981. I was asked to come to his office, where, once again, he told me that he was not going to play any more games with me, and that I had had my chance. If I didn't have x baptisms by the end of the month I would be sent home. And that is the gospel truth.

In the 3rd week of March, my ZL showed up at our apartment. He came to talk with me, and to "pray with me" so that I would be able to stay in Japan and finish (God, I had just started) my mission. We knelt there together on the tatami mats, and he prayed and I prayed....and I committed to get things done. My companion was worried for me, and he knew of the Stress I was under. I couldn't understand this whole concept that President Groberg had....

Well, as luck would have it, I escaped the wrath of the infamous cold and steely-eyed Groberg in March by pulling off a baptism, which was one of those quicky rent-a-font ceremonies...a font that was basically a wooden rectangle with a blue tarp used as a liner to hold COLD COLD water on the balconey of our apartment.

I won't go into greater detail but will tell you that it is all true...the stories of the baseball baptisms. Jokes of throwing in candy in the font and the kids jumping in after it...and that this would count as a baptism if you said the prayer.....

Luckily, President Groberg and his delightfully naive wife departed Japan half way through my mission and Pres. Inoue was called as President. If it were not for that man, I would have either killed myself right there in Japan, or would have been sent home by one of the most cold-hearted individuals that I have ever met.

Before my mission ended, I found myself as the Mission Recorder, and was responsible for all of the baptism records, and the like. I personally dealt with the transition from Mission-based "churches" where missionaries held meetings in their apartments and called it sacrament meeting,to the formally organized local wards. Hundreds and hundreds of member records were never found, and the baptisms always out paced the real growth. It was humiliating and embarassing to know that so many great young men and women, elders and sisters, were treated so poorly, and misused.

I had personal access to records left by the distinguised Pres. Groberg, and his taunts of other missionaries. I will not discuss them out of respect for privacy....but I will say that no matter what, he bullied, forced, coerced, threatened and at times, even blackmailed missionaries to perform "miracles." And the kikuchi/groberg love affair was a real, palpable thing.

I stayed in the Church for many years, finishing BYU, marrying in the temple and raising a child. I am divorced now, and have left the church. I miss so many things about it. And honestly, the first cracks in my fledgling testimony happened during my mission. What a sad thing to happen.

One last comment....After Pres. Groberg left, the massive clean up that Pres. Inoue had was almost unbearable. Within that first month, 5 or 6 missionaries were sent home and excommunicated for various reasons, mostly sexual with local female church members. And who was among them? The ZL that knelt with me in prayer, so that I would be blessed with a baptism, and get the chance to stay in Japan.

What irony.
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Missionary Age Lowered To Age 18
Saturday, Oct 6, 2012, at 10:57 AM
Original Author(s): Notnow
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/76...

Holland: Missionary age changed because "there is a hastening" to establish new missions.

In a press conference carried on the BYU channel, Holland was asked why the missionary age was being lowered.

"There is a hastening," he said, because the church can't establish missions fast enough. There are areas, he added, that are "waiting for missions" to be established.

Elder Nelson said 18-year-old missionaries are "sweeter, purer, smarter."

I believe that it was Nelson who also said that in the two years since President Monson called for a increase in the missionary force, numbers are up as follows:

6 percent more elders.

12 percent more sisters.

18 percent more couples.

I wonder if Holland's "hastening" statement will be interpreted as as an urgency to be ready for the second coming.
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Twisting Bad News Into Spiritual Uplifing News
Monday, Oct 8, 2012, at 07:13 AM
Original Author(s): Smith
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
So I was reading an article from deseretnews.com concerning the missionaries who were kidnapped approximately 15 years ago. I was sick to my stomach reading what these young kids had to endure. Check it out.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86...

Now from reading this article I learned something very important about T$CC.

First, the church will not even give money to help kidnapped missionaries, so if you are poor and looking for assistance, forget about it.

Second, if T$CC won't even keep the families of the missionaries informed about what is happening to their children overseas, then you know for certain any other truth pertaining to the church will not be fully disclosed. Truth like Joseph Smith's wives or kidnapped missionaries...Never! Made up crap on how nonmembers feel guilty because they are sinning...$hare, $hare, $hare.

Third, even after being beat by metal pipes and almost starved to death, T$CC will not let you leave the mission early. Why would an LDS girl marry someone who came back early after being kidnapped by the mob? That is obviously a test of their faith, and GOD put them through it to help turn that mission around.

Fourth, some mormon somewhere thought, hey, I can make money off of this so I am going to make a movie for the church bookstore.

I seriously hope that these two missionaries have wised up and left the morg. They were saved because of the hard work of the United States and actual people.

Anyway I would love to hear your views on this article. I honestly makes me sick, and I just can't see how any reasonable parent would want to send their kids off to be watched over by another untraining LDS Leader.
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TBM Perspective On Lowering Missionary Age Policy Change
Monday, Oct 8, 2012, at 07:15 AM
Original Author(s): Wittyname
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I just figured the lowered age minimum would create pressure for women. As it was, most LDS women were married, engaged or focused on starting a career by the time they reached 21. Going on a mission was more attractive to those with few prospects at that age. Lowering it to 19 captures women before they really get started on the serious husband hunt or too far along in college. There's really no excuse for them to not "serve" at 19 compared to when the age was 21. Because of the newness of the age change, many will want to serve. Eventually it will become commonplace to put off life for 18 months at 19 and then, eventually, expected in Mo culture (not specifically via church pressure).

Or perhaps this will pave the way for church pressure too. I believe missions are a direct revenue generating (missionary payments, not eventual convert tithe) operation. If it is, they will want as many missionaries as they can send out. I would not be surprised if after a few years, the church shifted their language from "every worthy male" to "every worthy young adult"

I doubt the church changed it just for PR, there has to be some return for them. In addition to potential revenue, increasing the size of their slave labor force is probably another way for them to try to enforce mind control. Surplus missionaries will probably be tasked with serving members, rather than recruiting converts. These missionaries will pester the hell out of suspected non-official-church-history readers to keep them in line, in church and tithing.

Increasing the number of female missionaries will serve this purpose will, they can regularly visit (impose themselves upon) all the SAHMs who are spending time online, sticking their toes in the waters of reading their way out. Or comfort and assist women with doubting husbands who want to take a break from the church. With a mostly male sales force, these women can only be reached when their husbands are home. More female missionaries means these women will be targeted and bombarded. Another way to try to stop the member hemorrhage.
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I Doubt I Would Have Served
Monday, Oct 8, 2012, at 07:47 AM
Original Author(s): Axeldc
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
If new HS graduate policy had been in place when I was in HS, I doubt that I would have served.

When I was in HS, I was very focused on going to college. I did not decide to go on a mission until I had spent a year at BYU and talked to RMs who were very keen on me going.

Before going to BYU, I thought of a mission as a drudgery and a waste of two years of time and money doing tedious work, with a chance to go someplace horrible like South America where you come home with a tapeworm and horrible stomach problems. This was not a fantasy, since we had a couple RMs from our ward who came home from Peru with parasites that plagued them for years.

I was so afraid of going to Latin American that I took 5 years of French before my mission, avoiding Spanish like it was a ticket to Hell. Spanish would have been far more useful growing up in Texas, but the mission scared me away from it.

The two factors that decided me going on a mission was the influence of RMs at BYU, and that I got called to France. In the period between submitting my application and my call, I seriously considered declining a call to Latin America for health reasons.

I also doubt that I would have gone to BYU with this new policy. I was accepted to the U of Texas with a scholarship, but I felt a lot of pressure to go to BYU. A lot of my Mormon HS friends were going to BYU, so I had a large peer group there. The new policy would have meant that none of my friends were there, so I would have either had to go on a mission, which I was not motivated to do, or go to Texas with my non-Mormon friends. Since I cared a lot more about college than a mission as a HS student, I would have opted for Texas. With no other Mormon friends there, I doubt I would have left before graduating to go on a mission.

I also think that if I had gone to Texas instead of BYU, I would have come out a lot sooner. With no mission and no BYU pressure, I would have probably found the gay groups at UT and started dating as an undergrad. This would have meant leaving the church at 20 instead of 26.

The only downside would be losing my French skills, but I could have gone study abroad to remedy that.
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Direct From Cradle To MTC: Mormon Leaders Lower Threshold Ages For Missionary Service
Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012, at 11:53 AM
Original Author(s): Kay Burningham
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
At LDS general conference this weekend, President Thomas Monson announced a new rule: young men would now be able to serve missions when they had graduated high school and turned 18, young women can now serve at 19. This age requirement was lowered from the previous threshold ages of 19 and 21, respectively. In response to post-announcement questions by the local press corps, Mormon-owned NBC-affiliate KSL Television reported Apostle Jeffrey Holland stating that: "The demand for missionaries is expanding." However, before Holland could finish that statement, KSL quickly cut to a commercial and returned to the reporters several seconds later.

I questioned that statement, whether in fact the demand for missionaries was expanding. If it was, whose demand was it? I recalled hearing that many Mormon missions had been closed around the turn of the last century, in the early 2000s. I found a website which I had previously seen, documenting this change: http://tinyurl.com/8ww8m96

The map depicts the closure (blue) and openings (red) of LDS missions since the year 2000. According to the creator of the map, this data is taken directly from official LDS sources. One can see that closed missions are largely in Western Europe, Japan and the US Eastern Seaboard, while newly opened missions are concentrated in Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US Mormon corridor. Here we have proof that the educated are rejecting Mormonism and that the Church is now concentrating its proselytizing efforts on those in developing counties and the descendants of Deseret's original Mormon pioneers-those children who have had little chance to peek beyond the Zion Curtain.

Clearly, the need for more missionaries is not for the educated of the world. The question must be asked: with its theology of other-worldly rewards in exchange for a commitment to sacrifice time, money and resources earned in this life, however meager, will Mormonism truly benefit these developing countries? History tells us that the poor who yearned for a better life followed Joseph Smith and Brigham Young westward to create their own 'Kingdom of God on Earth.' Many emigrated from Europe in mid-19th century, selling all they had, for promises of a better life. Many of the descendants of these same pioneers have realized the insidious fraud of the organization and, many after living a life dedicated to its nonsense, have left it. Perhaps this Mormon carrot, clearly beyond its prime in the educated world, can yet serve as nourishment for those people who are not as sophisticated as their European or East Coast counterparts regarding the management of social capital.

As documented in the Trinity College Study of last December, apostasy rates are rising for young Mormon men and the LDS Church overstates its membership numbers (in the US). http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/file... Less than a year ago, when asked whether Church members were "leaving in droves," self-identified Democrat, Marlin K. Jensen, then official Church historian, admitted at USU that: "maybe since Kirtland, [Ohio, early 19th century] we never have had a period of, I'll call it apostasy, like we're having right now." http://mormon-chronicles.blogspot.com....

As part of the rationale for lowering the age requirements, Church officials explained at the Saturday conference that LDS missionary president[s] have said to the leaders: "Give me more 18 year- olds. They're sweeter; they're purer, they're smarter." Young Mormons are insulated from the real world at every opportunity by parents and leaders, their time spent at meetings and with tedious and redundant cult-like memorization leading to awards and achievements of questionable value.

More missionaries might be required not only for more converts, but to ensure an increase in the number of dedicated young people, before they have a chance to think outside their familial lifestyle and perhaps chose a different path in life than the Mormon way. Serving a 1.5-2 year mission at 18 or 19 will leave little chance for young Mormons to compare the teachings of Mormonism with other religions or philosophies. These young innocents, lacking any true choice, will no doubt willingly serve to replace the loss of the young men documented by the Trinity Study. For young men at least, if they are whisked away to an intense training center soon after high school graduation, gone is that first year of college, or opportunity to work in the real world, either of which might have provided an alternative glimpse into new and perhaps superior ways of living.

As Apostle Holland declared, the demand for missionaries does in fact appear to be increasing. However, this demand appears to be the Church's own.

http://www.anamericanfraud.blogspot.c...
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My Father Died On Sep 8, 1994; My Second Day In The MTC
Friday, Oct 12, 2012, at 07:38 AM
Original Author(s): Xochitec
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It was dinner time and they called me into the office of the MTC first counselor. President Wood, I believe, was his name. He told me. I was certain that, in the sea of elders, he'd called in the wrong one. I simply didn't believe it until I heard my mom on the phone.

"Will you get tickets so I can come home?" I asked her.

"I don't know. Talk to your leaders, they told me to encourage you to stay."

I hung up and slumped down into the black leather couch. I couldn't think.

"It's okay to cry, Elder," he said, but there was nothing to cry about because it was all a mistake. He talked to me about grief, kindly.

"When do I leave?" I asked.

"Um. Well, this is unusual. It's only your second day, we understand that, we've never had this happen so soon after an elder enters."

"Tomorrow, then?"

"Elder, the brethren ask that you stay. The Lord asks that you stay."

"Stay? What do you mean?"

"Let the dead bury the dead."

That rang in my ears. "Oh no."

"Elder.."

"I must go to the funeral."

"The advice of the brethren is that you stay. I don't know that we can take you back. This is what the Lord asks of you."

I said nothing for a long time. Then he talked about heroic missionaries who kept working in the fields even when their parents had died, but I suspected then that they had been coerced into staying, just like what was happening to me.

"I'm going to go," I said at last. "It's your choice to take me back. I'll walk right out if I have to."

"Okay. Alright, then."

I flew out the next day and stayed at home less than a week. My stake president smoothed things over with the MTC and they did take me back.
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So Now They Are Not Building The 9 Story Missionary Training Center?
Monday, Oct 15, 2012, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Levi
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This after sending threatening letters to Mormon members who objected the 9 story building.

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=22529865andnid=...

I watched the clip that was on KSL and at the very very end the eyeliner said a very interesting thing. She mentioned that because of this new development, they may (she stressed MAY) have to space calling missionaries to certain parts of the world. (I believe that the mayor of Provo put that in her head.)

That's what caught my ear.

IMO that is priming the membership to accept lower numbers of mishies in Europe for instance.

If they have 15 MTC's around the world, why in the hell do they need to expand the one in Provo?

I've seen a bunch of mishies opening their letters and more often than not if they have to go to Brazil, they are told in the letter to "report to the Brazil MTC on such a date". So logic dictates that the one in Provo would ONLY service mishies "called" to USA/Canada/countries with no local MTC.

According to WIKI, there are these so-called "MTC"s in:
  • Provo
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Chile
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Japan (closed)
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • UK
They closed the Japan MTC a couple of years ago IIRC and mishies that are native Japanese are sent to Provo for their training, then back to Japan. The building that used to house the JMTC was next to the temple in Minato Ku and the real estate conglomerate that is called the "LDS Church" sold it. I guess it is more cost effective to pay for all the travel costs than keep the building.

Very interesting though.
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Mission "Brainwashing": Hurts More Than It Helps
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012, at 01:07 PM
Original Author(s): Kodacrest
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I'm pretty sure everyone here is blatantly aware of the obscene pressure surrounding 19 year old mormon men about a mission. I'd like to give a different prospective on how I learned missions being so expected is absolutely ridiculous.

I didn't serve a mission, instead, I got to watch everyone's health who was involved with a missionary leaving degrade. Whether it be mentally or physically, it seems to happen to everyone who sends off a missionary. There's even a few stories of the abuse missionaries suffer, or (regrettably) inflict whilst on their mission.

In the last year the local LDS church in my area has sent off 11 missionaries, and it will be 15 by the end of the month. I know two of the missionaries, their families and close friends very, very well. We'll call the missionaries "John" and "Carl" for the sake of everyone involved.

John left for his mission in March, I attended his farwell talk at his request, and watched as his mother fell apart at the seams with "pride." John is serving in Brazil, and in the almost nine months he has been away, has been sick with a fever six of them. I have a very medical mindset, I believe that if you suffer from severe depression due to being separated from family and friends, or from constant sickness, you should immediately do what is best for you. Not what is best for the church community you attend. And so in this I told John he should come home, the foreign country was obviously doing a number on him, as I could clearly tell from pictures he was ill and lost a lot of weight. He refused to leave, claiming he was TOLD BY HIS MISSION PRESIDENT he would not be "a worthy man of God." (direct quote) if he left his mission early. This angered me greatly, but you can't change the mind of someone who knows nothing else, so I moved on.

Carl left two weeks ago, and is a flip side story. Carl left behind a girl he dated for a little over a year, we'll call her Jane, behind To serve a mission in Guam. None of us knew until after he left, besides Carl, but Jane suffered from Severe Panic Disorder and had gone to psychotherapy where she was essentially trained to use Carl as her "wall", (with his knowledge and consent) and it worked. Her attacks had basically stopped.

Jane wasn't in very good health otherwise though. She had been through two bouts of Pneumonia in the last three years, and one was accompanied by MRSA, a lethal staph infection. This was coupled with her having Holt-Oram Syndrome, a rare bone and heart disease and extremely low blood sugar levels. When Carl left, Jane's health plummetted, she has been in and out of the hospital four times for panic attacks causing her to not be able to hold anything down, dangerous blood sugar levels, and an instance of what the doctors told Jane was some sort of coronary issue cause from stress. Jane is going to a therapist, and has proven allergic to her anxiety meds. She writes Carl daily, detailing her pride for him serving a mission, her happiness of it, and "little pointless positive details," as she says. I can't tell you how angry I was to hear her tell us (her friends) she felt like a distraction and a bad person if she told him she was scared or that her doctors think him coming home could solve this whole problem within weeks!

A few of us who are friends with Carl and Jane have found ourselves writing Carl telling him what is happening, asking him - more like begging him - to come home and clean up the mess he must have known he was going to be leaving this poor girl. All we hear back is "Take care of her and tell her it'll be fine." Jane is incapable of holding down more than yogurt and toast. We're passed what friends can do for her. Doctors are pressuring her and trying to reason with her that, sometimes, people are the cure to something. Simple as that. But Jane grew up with bad parents, and a distant family and that shaped her views of her medical problems. So here we are, listening to a dying girl tell us she can't distract her best bet for help because he's on a mission.

That was the last straw on the camel's back for me. I thought missions were a good idea for independence for young men, but now I just see they hurt missionaries and the people they tag along for companionship while their home. I'm watching my friends get sick and wither away, and I'm disgusted.
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Tools Of Manipulation To Build The Kingdom
Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012, at 09:43 AM
Original Author(s): Nomorkulade
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My comp and I had worked with a less active family for several months. They let us teach their three youngest boys who hadn't been baptized and we hit pay dirt because they finally gave their approval of us dunking these pre-teens. Hey you took baptisms where you could get them. (Still makes me ill to think about doing this.)

Anyway, their oldest son had a steady girlfriend whom we also taught. She felt the spirit, or at least didn't want to be left out, so she agreed to be baptized. Okay so its baptism day and we go to fill the font and out spews brownish smelly water. Some pipe had burst in the neighborhood a week or two before and no one had cleared the pipes. We finally, after a two hour delay, got the water to be only partially brown with a temprature slightly above freezing (Chicago in the middle of winter mind you) and she agreed to get in. Now the real antics began. This poor girl had an EXTREME phobia of putting her head under water. OMG, what a circus. Time and time again the attempt was made to dunk her but every time she fought to GD hard making a complete immersion impossible. I don't think someone being water boarded would have fought any harder.

After the 10 or 12th time I think the ward mission leader turned away on an attempt and said good to go. What total and complete lunancy. I'll bet that poor girl still has a phobia of being dunked which was only strengthed by the idiocy of the mormons.

I just hang my head in utter shame when these memories come flooding back to me. I wish I knew where these people are now so that I could apologize to them for being such an idiotic prick and using my tools of manipulation to build the kingdom.
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My Mission Horror Story
Thursday, Dec 27, 2012, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): The 1st Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Right out of the MTC in Provo and sent to Peru, which was impoverished and struggling with Marxist terrorism (El Sendero Luminoso).

During the 1st interview on day #2, the MP asks me about my parents' work. I told him my mother was a nurse.

He then assigns me to live and work in a filthy shantytown on the north side of the capital, Lima. No running water, no sewage (toilets were holes in the ground), piles of rotting garbage abounded.

On day #10, I started burning up with a wicked fever (temp.: 105 deg. F) and was loosing strength fast. The full-of-himself AP told my Peruvian comp (who called from a pay phone near the highway) to not overly concern himself with my health "issues" because I was green and just "adjusting."

In fact, I'd contracted spinal meningitis from the filthy conditions and poor quality food. I was dying and would be dead in 24-48 hours.

I worsened and my comp. called the mission office again. Reluctantly, he was told to bring me in. I could barely walk or talk.

I was finally taken to a clinica (small hospital) where a local doctor inquired about my symptoms and, thankfully, treated me.

However, the MP lied to me by telling me I had a less serious illness. Why? He unilaterally decided I should stay in Peru, despite the fact that full recovery from spinal meningitis takes as much as a year. He knew my mother was a nurse and figured that if I told her the truth, she might go to her doctor (a non-Mormon), who might insist that I be sent home to properly recover.

Get this: He asked me if I had medical insurance (so that LD$ Inc. wouldn't be out of pocket for medical attention for one of its dying 'soldiers in the Lord's army'!).

After I was discharged, the MP assigned me to a filthy ghetto and later an even worse shantytown on the outskirts of the Peruvian desert in the north. There, a gang member suddenly attacked my small Peruvian comp. at night (to rob him) and I came to his defense (I was half a foot taller and heavier).

The thief and I wrestled and fell in the sand-covered street. He quickly threw sand in my eyes, pulled a large, homemade knife (the kind used to cut leather for shoes), and nearly sliced open my throat (I hadn't divulged the temple First Sign of the Nail, either!). Other gang members came out from the shadows to aid him. My comp. and I retreated backwards and were lucky to escape alive. I later learned that a municipal inspector had visited the area and been attacked, killed, and robbed.

Having endured hellish conditions, I completed the mission in June 1985 and left Peru, which had increasingly destabilized with bombing attacks and assassinations. Unfortunately, malnourishment, fatigue, and parasites took a huge toll on my health (it took me 15 years to fully get rid of the 'bitchos', courtesy of the 'one, true' corporation of JC!).

During my last interview with the MP mere hours before I flew out, the liar finally revealed to me the truth about the spinal meningitis I'd had during the first two weeks of my mission. I was too mind-numbed and exhausted to be angry at the a**hole. He told me that I should go see a doctor after I got home. Thanks President PR*CK of the Lawrd!

A few days earlier, I learned that God's 'restored' corporation was building a multi-million-dollar temple in a rich neighborhood in Lima. There was ALWAYS BIG $$$ for the Morg's high-end temples (in which useless rites incorporating simulated self-violence were performed), but never $$$ from LD$ Inc. to keep its missionary force reasonably housed, fed and otherwise taken care of.

F*ck*ng money-grubbing CULT!
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My Mission Horror Story
Thursday, Dec 27, 2012, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Al-Iced
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This was 30 years ago. Was called on my mission at the age of 24. I was a single woman with a college degree and a fairly decent paying job with benefits. Hadn't been dependent on my parents since the age of 18. I wanted adventure, put in for a mission. The paperwork told me not to take out any special or additional health insurance, so I thought the church would cover anything that might arise.

Had an injury whilst on my mission, ended up needing a plaster cast followed by physical therapy in the mission field. Was told by my MP that I must cover the cost myself. I protested said that I had no insurance because the church told me not to get any. He said "Well, most elders are still on their parents insurance." No acknowledgement for my individual situation.

Paid out of my own pocket, but protested loudly, "Why did the church tell me not to worry about health insurance!!!!" Lo and behold, my protestations must have worked. Five minutes before I was to board the plan back to the USA, the office elders show up with a fist full of local currency for me. Great, what am I suppose to do with unexchangeable local currency with only minutes left in the country! I know they expected me to say, "keep it, it's no good to me at this point."

I needed that cash to get re-established back in the USA. I quickly found several elders that had dollars to change and tempted them with a better than black market rate at a substantial loss to myself. After that I still had some left over, I went to the duty free and bought myself some nice perfume, and a few other last minute souvenirs. I got the evil eye from several other missionaries for this.
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My Sister's Mission President Could Have Killed Her
Thursday, Dec 27, 2012, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Jackjoseph
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
My sister just came home from her mission to Latin America with a huge, scary lump on her thumb.

She had had it for two months. Her mission didn't let her see a doctor because they didn't want to deal with it. They figured she could just take care of it when she got home in a couple months.

So finally after she got home she went to the doctor first thing to have it looked at. They thought it was a cyst, but when they removed it, there was no fluid. It was a tumor.

The pathologist analyzed it and turns out it was benign. Good thing. If it had been malignant it would have metastasized in those two months and she would have cancer now.

I can't express how disgusted I am with her mission for being so utterly irresponsible as to risk her health and even life in order not disrupt their "all-important" work. It's just one more example of how the church leadership is not inspired at all on any level.

... Or maybe the "spirit" told her mission president that the tumor was benign :/ ...

I suppose she can't be held completely blameless since she was the one with the tumor and she didn't insist on doing something about it. But I think most of us know know what it's like to be so entirely brainwashed that you can't even fathom questioning the "Priesthood Leadership".
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Two Sister Missionaries In My Mission Were Raped
Monday, Dec 31, 2012, at 08:56 AM
Original Author(s): Ca Girl
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
This took place back in the 1990s. I arrived in the mission field with 5 other sisters. One of them, who I'll call Sister Smith, was assigned a trainer who was just amazingly beautiful. I found out she paid for her mission by modeling professionally. The two were assigned to a small, costal town. The assignment was a difficult one for Sister Smith, who was new. Her beautiful companion was very trunky and not much interested in working, in spite of having some months left in her mission. After a couple of months, the area they served in was mysteriously closed and all the missionaries (elders included) were assigned to different areas. Oddly enough, Sister Smith was put back with her MTC companion, who was one of the five sisters on the plane with me. Two newbies serving right in the town the mission president lived in. Everyone thought this was strange but we knew the MTC companion was having problems so we figured that was the reason for it.

Several months later, there was an area conference and the beautiful missionary had gained a LOT of weight. Everyone was commenting on how she'd "let herself go." Some of the elders were being particularly snippy. She was going home next transfer - why wasn't she trying harder to look good? A few months after that, I was assigned to be with MTC companion. She had been with Sister Smith right after the mysterious closure of her area and told me what happened.

Sister Smith and her model comp had been out late at a member's house and were caught by some guys as they walked back to their apartment. They called the mission president, who came right down, brought them back to the mission home and promptly closed the area. I'm not sure if the elders knew exactly what happened, but the MP did. He encouraged the sisters to not tell anyone what happened and to finish their missions, so that they wouldn't have to go home and have everyone know they had been raped and that is why they were sent home. The sisters, as I recall, were allowed to call home. From what I remember, they probably could have gone home if they insisted but were discouraged from leaving. Both decided to stay. Like I said, the one only had a couple of months left but Sister Smith still had a year to stay in a foreign country, far from family and help. They were also told not to tell the other missionaries. By the time I found out what happened, it had been about 6 months. No safety guidelines were givento the other sisters. No warnings. I don't know if the two sisters received any counseling, other than from the MP, a former attorney. MTC comp did tell me that a few other missionaries heard about what happened and blamed the sisters for staying out after curfew - God won't protect the rule-breakers, don't you know. Typing that still makes me want to punch something.

Two post scripts. I lost touch with the model but Sister Smith is a FB friend of mine and is still a faithful LDS woman, married in the temple, with several children. Right before I left the mission field, we got a new MP. He probably wasn't told about the incident, because one of the first things he did was reopen the area. Or maybe he "prayed about it" and thought missionaries would be safe there. I honestly can't remember if it was open to sisters at that time or not, but I'm sure eventually, sisters were sent back there by some MP who didn't know what happened. Twenty years later, the whole incident still makes me sick to recall, as you can probably tell by the flat tone of my writing. Women so naively go on a mission, feeling sure of the protection of heaven, unaware of the dangers they face, unwarned by those who they serve.
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My Mission In Hell!
Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013, at 07:21 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I came home early from a foreign mission. The mission was the absolute worst experience of my life. It aggrevated my depression and OCD to the point that I couldn't function and think clearly. My anxiety and snoring MTC companion kept me from being able to get enough sleep each night. I developed severe social anxiety while out that I have never recovered from. Being forced to go around and bare my testimony in front of my entire district frightened me to death. We were also expected to present in front of district meetings in our new foreign language and I would shake, studder and turn white as a ghost.

The area that we taught in was so poor that people were literally dying of starvation. They slept in wooden shacks on dirt grounds and ate from trash cans. Nobody had the money to feed the missionaries and so we would go hungry. My companion said that she just considered this a long fast and test of our faith to see how long we could go without eating. She had some serious issues herself. I was literally starving and didn't have the energy that a mission required each day. I had to literally BEG the mission president to send me home early.

I also have tourettes and my tics were very severe during this time because of the stress I was under. I was quite literally losing my mind and falling apart! Despite my severe emotional state my parents were very angry with me for coming home. They said that the Lord wouldn't have sent me somewhere I couldn't handle and that my decision to come home was a sin in his eyes. I wasn't even sure that they would be there at the airport to pick me up.

I heard for months how I "just couldn't hack it" and I wasn't sure if they would be financially cutting me off from attending college. I endured horrible treatment from the ward members. My mother said the ward spoke of me as though I had actually died. I got the feeling that my parents would have rather me returned home in a coffin. My parents were very resentful because I had embarrassed them in front of their elite Mormon friends. I actually contemplated suicide during this time in my life.

I had ptsd for years after coming home. Terrible dreams that I was being forced to go back out on a stateside mission. I can honestly say that the person who left on that mission was not the same person who returned. I lost a bit of my sanity from not only the mission experience but the trauma of coming home early. Even though coming home early was a terrible experience I never regretted not finishing. Finishing the mission would have led to a complete and utter emotional breakdown. A mission experience is so incredibly tough but for those of us with a pre-exisisting psychiatric disorder like myself (tourettes, OCD, depression, anxiety) it is literally hell. The only positive was that the mission was the first step in realizing that it was all a fraud although I still would have come to that realization without it.
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Mission Experience That Caused My First Spark Of Anger Against The Church
Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013, at 07:25 AM
Original Author(s): Dlstephens
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
For some background I was called to serve in the Tacloban Philippines mission. Its the poorest mission in the Philippines which is already a 3rd world country. I leared to speak Cebuano, Waray-waray, and Tagalog on my mission.

This experience I would like to share happened in my first area Catbalogan. I was still super culture shocked and mostly just followed my companion around like a zombie all day. It didn't help that I could barely communicate with the people because of the multi-lingual barrier.

One hot and sweaty day (every day) we were going to teach a new investigator who lived under a tarp on the side of the filth strewn street. While teaching we would just squat in the road because it was too dirty to sit anywhere. The investigator was a man in his mid 40s who was as skinny as the people you see in the concentration camp pictures after being starved to death. He wore several grocery bags wrapped around his waist for a loincloth.

He admitted to us that because he was to weak to do anything but beg from under the tarp he wasn't getting food or money to feed himself. He was slowly starving to death. He would kill cockroaches and eat them if they came to close to his tarp and that was all he had for sustenance.

After our lesson my companion and I were riding a motorcycle back to our apartment and I asked him if I could buy some food for the investigator. My companion said that he didn't think we were allowed to help the locals because of the mission's rules but I could call the Mission President to ask him.

That night I called our Mission President to ask if I could use my personal funds to feed the poor dying man. I really felt good about this like even though I couldn't speak the langauge I could bring some happiness into this man's life. My Mission President told me in no uncertain terms that I could not assist this man in any temporal way. He urged me to let this man feast from the words of Christ.

A week passed and we went back to teach this investigator. He didn't answer us as we approached his tarp so we flipped up the front flap of the tarp and found him curled in a ball dead. The stench was unbelievable. For a few minutes I just stared at the body of one of my first investigators.

It was the first dead person I had ever seen and I could have done something to save him. My lack of action killed this man. That was the first time I felt geniune anger at the church I had served since I was born. Because of my Mission President's lack of concern with this man's temporal well being he died.

The anger and shame of this experience is still with me today and was a focal point to me investigating the validity of the church.
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Anyone Who Served A Full-Time Mission Can Probably Relate
Thursday, Jan 31, 2013, at 07:57 AM
Original Author(s): Wantedmember?
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I served in an Asian country that didn't have many baptisms. That didn't stop the mission president (much like the SP in this story) from making goals for the missionaries, with no regard for the actual circumstances in the missionaries' area (usually at least 2 baptisms per month, even though 1 a month was rare, sometimes as many as 5 in a month when he was pushing for a big month mission-wide)... If you had a non-baptizing month, you were expected to baptize even more the next, and heaven forbid you went 2-3+ months straight without a baptism (even though that was actually the norm)... So there was plenty of guilt-induced stress, a lot of the mission president and AP's calling missionaries to repentance, etc. And most of the missionaries bought into it and began to believe that their personal worthiness/self-worth was tied to the number of baptisms they had... Some good missionaries would just eventually buy-in to the mission president narrative and believe they were worthless and just completely give up (some even eventually went off the deep end, but not until they were shoved off the edge first)... most just spent most of their mission stressed out about baptisms...

Fortunately, I was a very NOM-ish missionary and I couldn't have cared less about the baptism goals and was able to act as a filter/buffer between the mission president/AP's and the missionaries in my zone (knowing that the truth was the number of baptisms a missionary companionship had in a given month had very little to do with their personal worthiness or how hard they did/didn't work). I hope the bishops in this stake can do the same (obviously this particular bishop isn't), as all it does is create unnecessary pressure/guilt and drive good people to do unethical things (manipulating the members, dunking anyone they can get their hands on before the person is ready, etc.)...

I must say, the focus on quantitative goals for something like personal conversion (baptisms), where everyone gets to exercise their agency in choosing if/when to get baptized, has always really bugged me. It is one of the aspects of what I see as corporatized church culture that I think really needs to be changed...
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Protecting The Missionaries
Thursday, Feb 14, 2013, at 07:36 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Wright
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
When my son entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo two weeks ago, he had one large piece of luggage with wheels and various smaller bags. What he needed was a second large bag to make things easier. I told him not to worry about it; I would get a large bag for him and bring it over for him to consolidate.

And so on Thursday I went shopping. I found the right bag and headed over to the MTC to drop it off. Knowing that I was about to approach a hardened security zone, I thought it wise to call my neighbor who knew the intricacies of the place.

No problem, I was informed. This is a necessity. When you're dropping off a necessity they'll let you in, and you can leave it at the front desk.

Wow, this was going to be easy. So I pulled into the MTC driveway and headed for the guard booth.

"I've got this bag I need to drop off for my son," I told the guard. "It's a necessity." The guard seemed to understand but wanted to make sure.

"What is it again, sir?"

"A bag. A piece of luggage."

"What's your name, sir?" I gave him my name. "One moment, please."

He picked up the phone and dialed the front desk. "Are you expecting a Randy Wright to drop off a bag for his son?" Of course they weren't; this was impromptu. The guard seemed to be talking for a long time, and so I thought it was a good idea to remind him: "It's a NECESSITY."

Eventually, he hung up and turned back to me. "You say you have a bag?" "Yes." "What's in the bag?" "Uh, well, nothing. It's just an empty bag. A piece of luggage that my son needs." "You say it's empty?" "YES, IT'S EMPTY."

"I see. OK. Sorry. It's just that we have people who try to sneak treats in to their missionaries. You can proceed to the awning and take it inside."

The barricade arm rose, and into the high-security compound I went. I took the bag inside, where a woman at the front desk looked askance at me. "May I help you?"

"Yes. You see I have this bag for my son. It's a NECESSITY."

"Uh huh," she replied. "Just a bag?"

"Yes, it's just a bag. A piece of luggage."

Drilling me with a cold stare, she asked: "What's in the bag?"

"Nothing. It's just an EMPTY BAG. See?" I said, holding it up for her to examine.

"It's empty?"

"Yes, it's empty!"

"I see," she said, softening a little. "Sorry. It's just that we have people who try to sneak treats in to their missionaries."

I handed her the bag and thanked her, and then I got out of there as fast as I could, before a full body search could be undertaken to discover treats on my person. I'm pretty sure somebody went through all the pockets of the new bag looking for contraband.

As I departed, I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to the good old days when people were expected to sneak treats in to their missionaries. What happened to throwing pizza over the MTC fence? Somehow it was more fun back then.

Nowadays, you can send your missionary a treat via the U.S. Mail or one of those same-day MTC delivery outfits. That way you will not break any rules.
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Missionaries Encouraged To Not Attend Parent Funerals
Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013, at 07:16 AM
Original Author(s): Sherlock
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
A TBM friend once bore testimony about the massive challenge of his mother passing away whilst he was on his mission nearly twenty years ago. What really disturbed me was that his mission pres actively encouraged him to not attend the funeral - to the degree that leaving the mission wasn't really given as an honorable option.

Now I'm not certain what the general policy is and whether this was just a mission pres exerting his undue influence, but my friend chose to heed this counsel and 'felt good about it' in the sense that he was doing what he thought God wanted.

I felt really sad to hear this. Sure, missionaries can opt not to watch TV or listen to popular music as a means to stay focused on their endeavours, but missing the funeral of a parent? God would really sanction this?

I fear that he might yet live to really regret this decision should he eventually find out the truth.
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What Is Japan Like For The Missionaries Nowadays?
Monday, Mar 18, 2013, at 07:07 AM
Original Author(s): Dendoshi
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
In the 1970s Japanese were overawed by the United States and sought to learn from it. So when Mormon missionaries showed up, they were taken very seriously. Then SLC bestowed Groberg and Kikuchi on the poor country, and they turned the missionary force into an extremely rude, manipulative, and myopic force that alienated the Japanese people. When they returned to the States, the new mission presidents tried to rebuild the more modest system that existed before.

But this never worked. By the mid- to late 1980s Japan was becoming an economic superpower and the people had lost their adoration for all things American. So missionaries converted few, and activity rates fell off as all those baseball-baptized people wandered off. By the early 2000s Stake and Mission presidents were still spending huge amounts of time trying to track down people who had been baptized in 1978-1981 to see if they knew they were Mormons or had any interest in being such. In short, the church basically grew until the early 1980s and then began a shrinkage that has not stopped. AT one point SLC sent a high General Authority to find out what had gone wrong, but he naturally refrained from asking any of us who had actual experience. All truth, after all, comes from bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents and area authorities who have a compelling interest in telling SLC what it wants to hear.

So where is Japan today? Well, the church reopened a second mission in Tokyo--I think they resurrected the cursed Tokyo South in which Groberg created his evil; I think our beloved FlattopSF served there. But while Japan remains a wonderful place to be a foreigner and a civil and interesting country to study and work in, it does not yield many baptisms. My guess is that rather than baptising 20-40 people in two years, the rate is now in the low single digits. Better than Europe, certainly, because it is such a comfortable country, but not a source of much growth.

If there ever was a Mormon Moment in Japan, it was roughly 1976-1985. But arrogant multi-level-marketers ruined that chance. As Elder Haight, then head of the overall missionary program later noted (without taking any responsibility), "things really went too far" in Japan.
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I Guess I Was On The Cusp Of The Missionary So-Called "Golden Age": Japan West/fukuoka 1973-75. Believe Me, It Wasn't Golden
Monday, Mar 18, 2013, at 07:08 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
--Pitchin' Mormon Business to Japanese Patriarchs

As missionaries looking for any way to hook converts, we were encouraged by mission leadership to do what was called "kaisha dendo," or business contacting.

It involved going to work places--i.e., commercial business settings such as company headquarters--and asking to speak with the male owner. We would introduce ourselves with business cards (which are very important contacting tools in Japanese society), complete with our names in kanji and the name of our organization (the Mormon Church), in both English and Japanese, Our "business" cards closely mimicked the style, typesetting and look of actual Japanese business cards and were designed to impress and gain us access.

Once in the door of the targeted business, we'd ask the front desk receptionist if we could speak to the head of the company. If the company head was not available, we'd ask for an appointment for a return visit, If granted access then and there, we'd be ushered into the company head's office where, more often than not, we'd promptly be offered tea as a social grace (which, of course, we promptly turned down--not exactly a good way to start the sales pitch, I must say).

We'd then slickly slide into our sales approach, trying to surreptitiously sell the company/corporation owner on the idea of holding, in his home, a Mormon Family Home Evening (without, at that point, getting too deep into the religion thing--you know, tithing, giving up tea and dedicating all your time, talents and resources to a church headquartered in Salt Lake City, America. That would all come later. First things first: Concentrate on the soft sell).

We attempted to hook the head of the company's interest by comparing his family to his company. (Japan is a male-dominated society and it was figured that this approach would go over well with, you know, the guys). The business contacting angle was designed to play to the head of the firm's ego by emphasizing to him that his business was successful because it featured a clear chain of command--one that was structured, goal-oriented and male leader-directed.

The president (so the script went) was the head of the firm who was responsible for making the big, important and final decisions for his present and future business needs, based upon a laid-out model or plan.

In approaching this task, the president has a vice-president with whom he consults, a senior officer of the company from whom the president receives input for effectively and efficiently running the company. The vice-president is often a person who has direct, face-to-face contact with the firm's employees on a regular basis, who is intimately aware of the day-to-day needs of the employees and who keeps tabs on the state of company employee morale, sales and success.

Having laid that groundwork, now came time to pitch the parallels between the guy's business and the guy's family.

The theme for snagging the business owner into further contact with the missionaries was to lure him into attention by convincing him that he could similarly structure his family like his business and in that way keep his family happy, productive and functional.

To accomplish this required a power pyramid, modeled after his own business's, one that went like this:

Your family, sir, is like your company.

You are the husband and father--the CEO, if you will--of your family. You are the head of this organization you call your family--just like you are the head of your business.

Just as you do at work, you, sir, are responsible for making the ultimate decisions that you determine are in the best interest of your family.

Your wife is the equivalent of your vice president. She can give you--the president/husband/father--her advice and observations, as they come from her vantage point from inside the family where she operates closer to the front lines, if you will, and where she works intimately and on a daily basis with your children.

Speaking of which . . .

Your children are your employees.

They are part and parcel of your family plan, like your workers are essential in operating your business plan. It is your job and responsibility as president/husband/father of your home to make sure that your children are productive, well-behaved and follow the rules that you establish (in consultation with your vice-president/wife/mother). You, sir, make the final decisions after seeking out assistance from your vice-presidential assistant/consultant.

The Mormon Family Home Evening program is the business plan for your family. It is organized around the president/husband/father's goals for his family, arrived at after touching base with his vice-president wife and. in the end, signed off by the male head of the house.

A successful Family Home Evening program works like a successful business plan.

To boost employee/children productivity and understanding of the goals of your family, the Family Home Evening program features lessons that teach the employees/children what is important and right for the family.

The lesson, or plan, opens and closes with prayer, asking for God's help that your family will understand this plan as being best for them--just like you, as president of your company, certainly would want heavens's help in running your business successfully.

As with your company employees, it is vital for you, as president of your home, to attend to the personal needs and desires of your children, as well as to the needs and desires of your vice-president wife. The Mormon Family Home Evening program provides opportunities for lessons, games, singing and other together-time activities designed for relaxing and enjoying fun things together with your vice-president wife and employee children. It is important that your vice-president/ wife and your children/employees be actively engaged in planning these fun times and are given responsibilities in carrying them out--all under your supervision and with your approval, of course. This will strengthen the bonds between you, as president/husband/father with your vice-president/wife/mother, as well as with your employees/children.

(Are you with me, dear readers?)

This whole male-centric promo (which, again, we as missionaries would make to the corporation/business head in his office at his work site) was accompanied by flip-charts, illustrations and diagrams to drive the point home--much like the official missionary discussions.

The idea was to get the Japanese man to agree to let the Mormon male missionaries come to his home and, together with his wife and children, actually conduct a Family Home Evening, under the missionaries' guidance, suggestions and outlining.

It was designed as a foot in the door.

But, alas, it didn't work very well.

Once the demonstration Family Home Evening was over and the missionaries asked for a follow-up meeting with the guy and his family to talk about a wonderful book that would bring their family forever-happiness and eternal life with God, eyebrows would more often than not lift and we'd politely be shown the door.

It was a disingenuous, manipulative, sneaky and sexist gimmick.

I hated it.

It represented the essential element of Mormon missionary work that bothered me the most: operating under false and misleading pretenses in order to gain converts.

In other words, the Utah Mormon business model.

Some more thoughts about my time there . . .

--Proselytyzing in the Heart of Nuclear Horror

As noted in the subject line, I was in the Japan West/Fukuoka mission back in the mid-'70s, first under Kan Watanabe and then Arthur Nishimoto. Watanabe was more outgoing amd personable while Nishimoto, having served in the U.S. military as a full-bird colonel, was more regimented.

I was assigned to Naha and Oroku, Okinawa; Miyazaki; Sasebo; and Hiroshima (the latter three up on the island of Kyushu).

In Hiroshima, I regularly visited (and, sadly, proselytized in) the epicenter of the A-bomb, known as "Heiwa Koen" or "Peace Park." The "Atomic Dome"--the remnants of Hiroshima's governmental industrial arts building--stood as a stark reminder of the horror of nuclear holocaust. I remember seeing survivors of the A-bomb walking through the park, their faces melted and bloated, their bodies disfigured and crippled. I visited grass-covered mass graves and brutally-showcased war museums--where my views on war waged at the expense of civilian populations were forever changed. Further south in Okinawa (where I began my mission), I visited World War II battlefields, where last-gasp hand-to-hand fighting, cave-clearing flame-throwing and group-forced suicide by soldiers and civilians alike were recalled in profoundly sobering and disturbing displays.

But back to "the Lord's work."

--Struggling to Baptize, Then Hold on To, Far-Eastern Asians Who Weren't in to American-Western Handcarts

As missionaries, we typically worked in small branches (Naha, Okinawa's capital, was the exception, which had a ward). Membership retention was an ongoing problem. Older men (priesthood bait needed to run the local congregations) were hard to snare, meaning that the missionaries frequently ran the branch meetings and supplementally staffed the auxilliary sub-groups. The general meetings were largely attended by women (old and young). The youth members showed up primarily for the social activities, not because they were drawn to Mormonism's frontier-America doctrine. Baptisms were hard to come by; I saw 11 during my mission and I seriously doubt that many of those converts are active today.

We employed a lot of deceptive bait-'n-switch tactics that were taught, approved and encouraged by mission leaders in our door approaches, in our business contacting, in our street and train-station crowd-working and in our free English classes--all designed to lure the Japanese into letting us into their houses. I hated it.

--Being Hosted by Subservient Females

When I was there, Japan was quite the patriarchal society (hence, we played to that unforunate reality with the all-hail-to-the-Mormon-prophet-male approach). Japanese women would typically serve meals when we were visiting in investigators' (as well as members') homes, often retreating quietly to the kitchen while the conversation went on with the guests in the other room. (I remember later meeting, quite by chance, one of the female Japanese members whom I had first met on my mission. She was at Temple Square during General Conference, no doubt looking for an eternal American mate).

--God Loses Out to Gambling

"Pachinko" parlors (the Japanese version of pinpall machines) were all over the place, crammed full of young boys and men who would mindlessly play the games for hours on end.

--The Male Degradation of Japanese Women

The public signage for Japan's version of X-rated moves was prominent and explicit, with females being overtly objectified on large billboards that were frequently featured along busy city streets.

--Cartoon Crudeness

The "manga," or cartoons, were typically and horrifically violent, featuring gory scenes of stabbings and shootings that were over-the-top graphic and bloody, yet regularly watched by very young children.

--Allegiance to the Group, not to the "Gaijin" (Meaning "Foreigner")

The mentality of the Japanese nation was one which placed a premium on group compliance, with strong emphasis on sacrificing for the good of the company and nation at the expense of individualism, all the while avoiding shaming those in authority. That meant not embarrassing one's family by, for instance, joining an American religious cult.

--Free English, in Exchange for a Lifetime of Mormonism

As missionaries, we used to advertise and teach free English classes as a ploy designed to lure Japanese businessmen and students into taking the lesson-plan discussions (The Japanese liked to learn conversational English directly from native speakers, preferring it over the regimented English classes taught in Japanese public schools that were long on structure and short on the actual development of free-flowing conversational skills)

--Angling for the Kids

Japanese youth were enthralled with Western fashion and music. They would wear American-style jeans and t-shirts--the latter often decorated with English-language slogans (even though the wording was often grammatically broken and just as often unwittingly hilarious). Japanese boys would sport what we called "aircraft-carrier" haircuts--protruding out long in the front, waxed along the sides and ducktailed in the back--all while clogging around in their traditonal Japanese shoes, or "getas."

The Osmonds were very popular when I was there (particularly Jimmy), so we used to regularly trot out pictues of the Osmond family smiling and holding up Japanese copies of the Book of Mormon. (That gimmick was especially effective in catching the attention of Japanese schoolgirls).

--My Personal Distaste for the Fakeness of It All

It was such a disingenuous way to approach the people and I never really liked it nor was comfortable doing it. I felt like I was play-acting my way through a distasteful charade, despite what I was outwardly saying or showing. I eventually came to inwardly disdain it, given that it was so phony and deceptive. I actually enjoyed becoming a mission leader, as the assignment allowed me to spend less time hitting people up on the street in ways that bugged both them and me.

--On the Brighter Side

Despite all the Mormon-generated unpleasantness, the upside to my mission was that Japan is a beautiful country full of wonderful, fascinating people with a rich cultural tradition uniquely their own. Their holidays were festive and colorful, with both men and women dressed in striking historical costuming. Their Shinto and Buddhist temples were open and elegant. Their traditional gardens--complete with bonsai trees, arched bridges and meticulously sculpted grounds--were simple and stunning. Their natural landscapes, from the rice paddies to the mountains (and including, because of a lack of space, rice paddies on the sides of mountains), were serene and majestic.

I wish I had spent my stint there as an out-of-the-nest 19- to 21-year-old focusing on absorbing Japanese culture, learning the naton's history and appreciating its amazing singularity instead of wasting such opportunties by peddling silly Mormon propaganda to a nation that really doesn't want it, really doesn't need it and really doesn't relate to it.

--Ode to My "Dodes" (Short for "Dorio," Meaning "Companion")

In the years since, I haven't kept in meaningful contact with my former companions, nor they with me. I wouldn't be surprised if, for many of them, their missions were an early phase of life they went through as obedient, youthful soldiers for Zion but who now are far less involved, devout or even faithful at all.

--Big-City Memories and Small-Zoo Atrocities

For what it's worth, my most memorable recollection of big-city Fukuoka was not of any Mormon temple (there wasn't one back then, anyway). It was of an angry, captive chimpanzee spitting through his cage bars on human gawkers at the city zoo.

I warned a fellow missionary to be careful but he was bound and determined to get a good shot of the displeased and ornery chimp who was sitting,hunched over, at the back of his cage glaring at his unwanted visitors.

The chimp slowly filled his cheeks with water sucked up through his pursed lips from his drinking trough then, without warning, dashed down toward the front of his chain-linked cage, leapt to the top of his enclosure and unleashed the contents of his cheeks, drenching the Mormon elder with a great shot of his own--one that spit-split the missionary right down the middle, drenching his suitcoat and gooping up his nice, long-lens, pricey Nikon camera.

Talk about a missionary door approach gone wrong.

Another equally distressing scene (at least from the perspective of abused animals) was when, early in my mission, I went to a so-called "zoo" in Okinawa, where a mongoose and a cobra were thrown into the same cage to fight it out in front of a bunch of hollering homo sapiens.

The mongoose, by instinct, was focused on attacking the snake, while the snake was likewise focused on fighting for its life.

The animals eyed each other warily, each threatening the other. The cobra eventually struck out at the aggressive mongoose, whereupon one of its fangs became lodged in the tongue of it tormentor. The mongoose proceeded to drag the snake around inside the glass enclosure of this cage-fight, tongue painfully extended from its mouth, unable to shake itself loose from the cobra.

The human handler finally stepped in and pulled the snake out of the mongoose.

It was awful.

Japan was a conflicted mix for me--an experience of good and bad. I learned a lot there. I learned what an amazing place the country was, with gracious, hard-working and devoted people.

I remember, especially and early on, doubting the depth of my testimony. I was in my first area. Despite my earnest study, I had nagging doubts about the veracity of the Book of Mormon, so late one night I climbed up to the roof of our apartment in Okinawa, seeking answers.

I remember the moon was out, dramatiucally reflecting off the clouds in what we called "typhoon alley." I paced back and forth for hours, praying for God to tell me that the Book of Mormon was true.

Finally, after a long futile effort, I "heard" a voice inside me ordering me to go to bed because I had work to do in the morning--missionary work. I stuffed my doubts down deep and plowed ahead, finishing my mission as a zone leader and returning, ostensibly faithful, to the fold.

I told that apartment-rooftop story to a young-adult fireside audience upon returning from my mission--after which my mom reprimanded me, telling me that I was not to repeat that story again since, she declared, I had always had a testimony.

But Mormonism--as I was to eventually find out through my own stubborn thinking, digging and asking--wasn't true and, hence, wasn't for me.

Too bad it took me so long to arrive at that conclusion.

I would have much more enjoyed Japan as a Gentile.
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My Mission To Japan
Monday, Mar 18, 2013, at 07:10 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I served in Sendai. It was a bitch. I was a language superfreak and picked it up right away--I was also anxiously engaged and one of those elders I am sure the rest of the mission loved to hate in some respects (I was sincere and that's what got me--I climbed right on up the ladder without even trying). The meme posted by Br. Galileo is at least partly accurate.

In any case, the Japanese haven't "caught onto" Mormonism so much as consistently and reliably ignored it.

Elder Kikuchi is the star of the LDS show in Japan. I leave it to the reader to judge his utility in any significant capacity vis-a-vis proselytizing etc. I met him once and like any good missionary worshipped him, even as I observed a very minor Elder and Sister peccadillo happen right underneath his nose during a zone conference over which he presided. He was never the wiser.

The Church is widely considered a nuisance there, mostly because the missionaries spend their time harassing the good people of Japan who have no desire to be harassed into heaven. Go figure.

Baptismal rates were very low--I didn't have a single one. I also saw overall missionary numbers from from 112 to 86 while I was there (between seven and nine years ago).

Five hundred people were on the rolls in one of my wards--less than one hundred were at Church. Less than a dozen Melchizedek priesthood holders in that ward. Tokyo is a black hole for investigators, converts, and ward members alike. Wards shrink and never recover.

The ward members dislike the missionaries just as much as nonmembers in Japan. We were always at odds with them (although I did encounter a few friends).

Long hours, few to no results. Like I said, a bitch. Hot and humid in the summer, bone chillingly cold in the winter (at least in Sendai). MP's didn't have a clue. (First was American and second was Japanese). About anything.

Lots of eternal investigators and stupid English classes with stupid people (who were too cheap to pay for legitimate instruction and strange enough to hang around after they learned that they were taking classes form cult pushers). Weird.

Did I mention the porn? Everywhere--not helpful for young missionaries. I didn't have a problem with it, but there were those who did. And when you are that young and that horny, even mugi starts to look very good (actually, some mugi are very attractive, but the point is--who the hell thought it was a good idea to send sexually repressed young adults to one of the sexiest countries? Stupid!). Like we always said, "Remember the oats!"

Ugh. I hated every moment of my experience. It didn't help that I was dealing with intense inner turmoil that perpetuated itself throughout the whole 2 years, day in and day out, that left me broken and empty. I'm still dealing with that trauma. Thanks, First Presidency and your stupid computer that sent me to Japan (not that Japan was so bad, per se, but there would have been better places for me where I would not have been so isolated etc.). Dicks.
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Being Sent To Impoverished And Terrorism-Plagued Peru In The Mid-1980s At 19 Was Difficult Enough
Thursday, Apr 11, 2013, at 12:53 PM
Original Author(s): The 1st Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Factoring in the parasites I picked up while in-country, chronic malnutrition in the slums I was put in, lingering effects of spinal meningitis (contracted in my first area, a filthy shantytown on the north side of Lima, the capital), and almost being murdered (in another ghetto where I was assigned to live and proselytize), it took me about a decade and a half post-mission to fully recover from my stint marketing the 'message' of the 'one, true' corp. of Je$u$ Christ (a.k.a. TSCC).

In my stake, a guy in another ward who was roughly my age was sent to Haiti to 'preach the Go$pel' during some of its more violent years. There, he witnessed a man being 'necklaced' (a gasoline-covered tire put over his torso and arms and set alight). The trauma of seeing that extreme violence in conjunction with the grinding poverty deeply psychologically wounded him. TSCC didn't care, really. There were missionary discussion (lesson) and baptism quotas to be met.

Of course, Mormon 'Profits' running the show at LD$ Inc. from their comfortable, air-conditioned offices at church HQ in SLC were arrogantly convinced - and still are - that even poverty-afflicted Latter-day Saints in Third World nations like Peru and Haiti should pay tithing in order to be 'worthy' of Mormon-imagined 'blessings'.

LD$ Inc. has never given members who struggle to survive on the local currency equivalent of a few dollars per day (or considerably less, in many cases) a break on tithing. But it's been quite willing to take their meager funds and spend billions of $$$ on a shopping-mall-and-condos project in SLC, for starters. The thinking inside the Morg is obscene, really, but LD$ 'Profits' don't care, not when more multi-million-dollar McTemples are being built or their construction planned.

As we've learned during the past decade or so thanks to govt. requirements for registered charities in certain countries, LD$ Inc. has reserves of hundreds of millions of dollars in its accounts in the UK and New Zealand alone. But it won't give even 2% of its multi-billion-dollar annual income to help the poor and others in need of humanitarian assistance, according to its filed reports.

I feel sorry for the 18-year-old. The sooner he gets out of the dishonest, cultic, and money-obsessed LD$ Church, the better.
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The Entire Missionary Program Is Run On Guilt And Shame
Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Axeldc
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
First of all, the missionary is a volunteer. He is working on his own time and expense. (I will exclude female missionaries because they do not face the same expectations as male missionaries, although I am sure they have their own missionary struggles.) The church conveniently forgets that missionaries are giving up lots of time and money to serve the church. Instead, they treat it like the missionary owes God and the church is doing him a big favor going on one.

Young men are guilted into going on a mission. A mother tells her young boy that she expects him to serve a mission. Missionaries assigned to their ward and missionaries leaving and returning to their ward are held up as examples: Look at the handsome young man serving God. You'd better do that, too.

When you get on the mission, starting in the MTC, everything is done from guilt. God is disappointed if you fart in class. Sleeping in is a sin. Making a joke is a sin. Anything that detracts from your mission, any moment where you act like a teenager is treated as a violation of God's laws. You are made to feel like a failure if you let your hair down for 5 minutes.

Your MP and your peers will guilt you all the time. Elder, the Lord is disappointed in you. Elder, you are wasting the Lord's time. Elder, you missed an opportunity to save that man's soul. How could you not talk to that woman on the street? She needs your word to go to Heaven!

The biggest threat to a missionary is being sent home early. It is the missionary death penalty. To go home to your ward and family early is the LDS Scarlet Letter. Unless you can show some illness, in which you are just a disappointment, you are treated like Hester Prynne. "What did he do wrong" everyone will whisper.

One of my friends came home early, and my mom asked me that. I refused to tell her, because I didn't want to pry into his life. For years, he was known as the guy who came home early. You are better off not going than going home early.

If you do not go, then everyone points at you as the 20 year old not on his mission. You either sinned and are unworthy, or you are too weak or not valiant enough to serve. Girls are taught only to date RMs, so you become the dented can aisle.

Getting that RM label for young men is critical. The rest of your LDS life, you will be asked where you served. It's like having a college degree in the business world. You can make it without one, but it's a lot tougher and some doors will always be closed to you.

Without guilt or shame, the LDS missionary program would simply shut down. Why put yourself through such hell and pretend you like it unless LDS society demands it?
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Walked Out Of The MTC And Off Of My Mission After Five Weeks
Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Jonah
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
I didn't leave because I couldn't "hack it" or because I was offended, or wanted to sin. I was a good missionary and doing well in the MTC. My issues were with the MTC Prez over confidentiality and trust. Such to the point that my disgust led to a loss of any desire to serve. When I told the MTC Prez and a visiting G.A. that I was leaving, they begged me to stay. I had a few choice words for them instead as I walked out.

When I returned home I discovered that apparently I was serving a mission not for myself or for the people I would be teaching, but instead for the members of my family. My father met me at the airport. No hug, just a handshake. He told me "You look good. I can't say I am glad to see you." He then proceeded to scream at me the entire 30 minute drive home. I didn't see my mother. She couldn't face me for another four days. My sister, in tears, asked me how I could shame the family like that. I was shunned by the people that, unfortunately, I was dependent on at that time. They were more concerned with THEIR church status and how they would be perceived in the Ward than with my well being. When I sought them for help and aid, they were more intent on breaking me. Perhaps a "wilderness residential treatment center" would have helped. SHEESH!!

What I needed (and craved) was a father who would have sat down with me and said something like "O.K., if you are not going to do the mission you need to start planning your life out. Let's get you some direction, set some goals of getting you back into school, getting a job, some form of transportation, and what your mother and I can do to help you achieve those goals." That conversation never occurred. If it wasn't for some great friends and others OUTSIDE of my family willing to help...I never would have made it. To them I will always be grateful.
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Seem The Hastening Of The Work(r) Is Getting Expensive
Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Finally Free!
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Saw this on Sunday...

After reviewing the missionary funds along the Wasatch Front, the COB has decided that stakes need to take the following action:

Each Bishop is to review the missionaries account balances. The ward is allowed to have 3 months ($1,200) of surplus for each missionary. Any monies beyond this surplus will need to be sent to the stake, which then cuts a check to the COB.

Seem the Hastening of the Work(R) is getting expensive.

It's all one big pot. Essentially, ever since the early 90's, parents and well wishers both "donate" to the same pot. It's expected that a ward provide around $400 per active missionary in the ward. Usually, that's either from funds that the missionary saved up and the parents, but often other ward members will also "donate" to the same fund to also help out.

The parents money does not go directly to the missionary, it hasn't for a long time. The story is that it all goes into a large pot that gets spent as needed, some missions are more expensive, others are less, this was an attempt to equalize everything...

But, with everything the church does, there are hidden benefits that profit the church:

1. The church can now earn interest on that money as it's not sent directly to their offspring, they can put it in a savings account and let it earn all kinds of interest.

2. A parent may fully fund their child, some other member of the ward may wish to help anonymously, thinking that some family isn't pulling their weight... Who gets that extra money, I'll give you one guess (hint, the OP tells you quite plainly.)

3. A tithing slip, which is is how a family "donates" the money for their offspring, now has the wonderful disclaimer that the church can and will do whatever they want with the money, so while you may think you're providing funds for your child, you're really helping to build a mall.

4. The missionary's funds are now fully controlled by the church (sending money directly is not only discouraged, in some missions its forbiden). This does two things, first it builds up a mental dependence on the church for a persons needs and livelihood. Secondly, if the church is say, building a mall, and they need some extra funds for it, a missionary may find out that their monthly budget is being cut because the mission is try it out to see if they can do OK on less money... Oh, and they'll be moved into a members home where they will have to pay little to no rent... So, they will more than likely be living on much less than the average $400 requirement.

If you can't tell, I don't like the missionary program, I don't like how it's run, I don't like how it's funded... Everything about it is designed to benefit the church and mess with the heads of future tithe payers.
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Stories Of Inspiration From Japan
Monday, Dec 2, 2013, at 08:54 AM
Original Author(s): Gentleben
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
It was the last 5 months of my mission (Around May 1996 as I recall), and I was assigned to an area called Sasayama with a Japanese companion (elder S.). It was a new area that had just opened up some months before as I understood it, and I believe I was the third missionary to be stationed there. Well, as it turned out, the new area boundaries intersected an area that I was stationed in about a year earlier and as such, some of our investigator contacts from the previous area now fell into the boundaries of this new area.

One of the investigators (Ms. A.) attended english class (eikaiwa) in my previous area, but was not interested in the lessons, and so we did not push her. In an effort to bolster our english class attendance, I contacted her and told her that we were starting a class in sasayama which was one or two train stops from her house. She was excited and started coming.

A few weeks later, my companion told me we were going to do splits with the missionaries in Miki (my previous area), I was to go with an American elder (who was in my MTC group) and he was going to go with a Japanese guy who was ending his mission the following month. I of course was excited to see elder M. and visit Miki again, and on the day of the split, we headed to Miki.

My day with elder M. went well as I recall, we met up with some people who I hadn't seen for a few months, toured Miki, ate at Osho's probably, and met our counterparts that afternoon. On the way home, I discovered that elder S. had been teaching a lesson to none other than Ms. A. I recall this was on a Thursday or Friday.

I said "Oh? how did it go?"

"Great!" he said "We taught her all the lessons, and she has agreed to be baptized on Tuesday!"

"WTF" I though, but said "Wow, that is amazing! I thought she did not want to hear the lessons!"

"I guess the Miki missionaries were working with her" he replied.

This was odd, because I would expect that in Japan, and investigator willing to hear the lessons would have been a topic of conversation for Elder M. and myself, but I do not recall hearing of it until the belated conversation with elder S.

And it came to pass that the following Tuesday (note, she did not attend church on Sunday). We convened along with a number of members from surrounding areas at a ward house in a different city (I don't recall which one, but I don't think it was Miki). I did not recognize most of the members. There, they performed the baptism on the now sister A. The really odd thing about it was that all the members brought wrapped presents. I don't know that I have ever seen this, and instead of a testimony meeting type thing after, she opened presents ... WTF???

So, she was baptized, and became a member. The following Sunday, she did not show up for church. Knowing my companion had been the one making calls to her, I inquired as to why. He said she had to work at her parent's restaurant on Sunday, and that they were going to have a special meeting for her after the normal church. So that afternoon, we all convened (myself, elder S., the BP, counselors, and several others.) She showed up, and they broke bread, blessed it, and served it. Everybody in attendance partook of a second sacrament that day, except me and Ms. S. very odd indeed.

When the sacrament was presented to her, she looked at me and said "so, I eat this?"

I said "yes, do you understand what it means?"

She said "No"

I said, "Ok we should probably talk about it."

At this point, I was cutoff by the BP, and told that the remaining time should be spent introducing everyone to her. Which we did.

She left that afternoon, and to my knowledge has never set foot in a Mormon church again.

The following week, and given that Ms. A was the ONLY baptism the area had seen in probably 2 years, I was ready for fellowshipping. Wednesday was the day that we were to visit her part of our area, and I was ready to go talk to her again and clear up all the issues that she had. We rode the train to the next town with the plan of visiting her. Somehow though, we kept getting side tracked, and never made it. My comp wanted to stop and try a little sushi restaurant. Wanted to do a little housing, left the actual address at home, all kinds of excuses. In short, we never made it to her house that day.

The following Sunday, she was a no show at church, and when I asked elder S (he had taken over all communication with her) his response was basically "don't worry about her, she's fine"

This whole thing caused me a pretty fair amount of stress, and by the following Wednesday, I was determined to make the appropriate fellowshipping visit. So, we got on the train and headed to her town. Again, he started trying to distract us from our goal, but I was determined and kept pushing toward where I thought her parent's restaurant was (Addressed in Japan can be tricky, especially in older towns). we were in the vicinity of where I thought it was, when as if by the power of the holy ghost, she pulled up to the red light where we were standing! I told her we were coming to visit her, and she said "great! our restaurant is just right up there, follow me!" She then pulled into a small strip mall type area about a half block away.

As we approached the restaurant that her family owned, elder S. stopped me and said "you need to take of your nametag" (now lest you think me a great missionary, I had no problem removing my tag on P-Day to go play video games, sing karaoke, etc. but I had never done so while on the job.) I asked why, and was told that the Mission President had told him that we were not to visit her or her family, because her family was "anti" and if we did visit them, we were to represent ourselves as volunteers who taught English, and not as missionaries. I was of course taken aback by this, but went along with it, because that's what the MP had said. I found that nothing could have been further from the truth, I even told her mother that we were volunteers from the LDS church, and asked if she had ever heard of our organization. She said "No". In fact upon finding out that we were volunteers, she made us free konomiyaki, and sent us on our way with a 10 lb. bag of their konomi mix, and sauce so we could make our own at home!

The following Wednesday (and bear in mind that the stress of all of this was really building, and my relationship with elder S. was not a healthy one. We probably said no more that 5 words to each other on a given day.) we lit out for Ms. A's town again, things finally reached a boiling point, and it ended with me ditching elder S., and riding my bike up into the mountains. I didn't really think it through, and ended up a fair ways away, as night was falling. I cooled down, turned around and started heading home. I was still really pissed, and as I approached our apartment (maybe 1/4 mile away) a car slowed down behind me. I pulled off the road, and the headlights followed me. I started riding again, and the headlights again accelerated and followed me. I pulled off, threw my bike down, and got ready to tie ass with whoever was in the car...It was the Mission President, and both the APs. Now, mind you that this area was about 2 hour drive from the mission home with tolls. They followed me home, I was too pissed off at this point to worry about why they were there, or what sort of punishment would be levied upon me. Oddly enough, I don't recall the MP saying anything to me, he took elder S. and the Japanese AP into one room. I and elder G. the other AP went into another.

I told elder G. everything that had happened up to that point, and how confused I was as to the orders from the MP, or whether the orders really did come from the MP. He confirmed that they had, and that there was a perfectly valid reason for what was happening.

It turns out that Japan is a very difficult mission, and many missionaries go home without having a baptism. This is typically fine for American missionaries, but for Japanese missionaries there is a fairly large stigma attached with not having baptized anyone upon completion of the mission. Because of this the MP decided that when a missionary was ending his mission without a baptism, he would have the missionary submit several investigators who had been to eikaiwa a fair amount of time. He would then call the investigator directly, and representing himself as the President of the Mission that was providing the eikaiwa service (titles hold a lot of weight in japan, especially to 18 year old girls). He would apparently make some sort of commitment with them that they needed to go through an initiation process if they wanted to continue to attend eikaiwa, and that they basically owed it to us because of all the engrish they had learned. Of course, in most cases the victim would agree. They were also told thatthey should not tell their families because as an 18 year old adult, they had no responsibility to do so. The following week, two Japanese missionaries would skim through the lessons, the baptism date would be set, the victim would be baptized, and bada bing, a successful mission!

I recall being in tears upon hearing this, and being a party to it. Especially the lying to family hit me really hard. I don't think I left that room, and I didn't talk to the MP, or other AP that night. The rest of my time in Sasayama is a blur, the next transfer maybe a couple days, or a week later saw me transferred to the mission home where my companion had -just days before- broken his arm. When transferring out, Ms. A's mother came by the apartment, and gave me a care basket that had food, some t-shirts, and other items (hardly the raging anti's I was led to believe they were, and incidentally, when they found out about the baptism, apparently they involved the police, and lawyers. Luckily I was gone by then. I probably couldn't have handled that very well.)

My new companion's cast precluded him from riding a bike, and as anyone knows a transfer to the mission home without an office job is basically to be baby sat. While there however, I was determined to be useful -oh brainwashed idiot I was-, I wrote a program on the office PC to help the finance guy with his job. I had a bunk in a room with 5 other elders who were all Japanese, but I couldn't stand being around them because they all acted like elder S. so I setup a futon on the floor in the American's room (weird segregation going on there). After a few weeks in the mission home, and after a lot of soul searching on my part, I came to the realization that I was not a good missionary, and that I was just going to finish out my time, and go home. I recall I told another missionary about this.

Enter the MP worthiness interview. I was called one afternoon into a personal interview with the MP. By this time, I think I had worked up a fair amount of animosity toward him, but of course my brain washing really precluded me from having any conscious malice toward him. I think I turned it all on myself. I remember very clearly the feelings of worthlessness I had walking into the meeting. He had a huge desk, and a nice office. He was sitting across from me and had his hands clasped with his fingers intertwined and elbows resting on the desktop. I sat down, and the first thing he said was "So, I understand that you don't want to be a missionary anymore". He was native Japanese, but he spoke English to me, as he was a translator for the LDS church, and I think that because I had stopped speaking to Japanese missionaries rumor spread that I could not speak the language.

I said "No",

He said "Well we can't have missionaries who don't want to be here, I'll fill out this form, and we will discharge you" (or something like that) I looked at him, and he had a twinkle in his eye. He didn't seem sad at all, and that really hurt. I think I started to tear up at that point too.

He placed a form on his desk, and started filling it out, all the while humming a tune to himself, and smiling. I was thinking about how disappointed my parents, and friends would be that I could not complete an honorable mission. How embarrassing it was going to be to face the ward, etc. I kept my mouth shut as he spent the next 5 or 10 minutes filling out various parts of the form (I never saw the form myself, so I don't know if he had to write an essay about why he was sending me home, or if he was just filling out biographical info, but it took an excruciating amount of time for me). I was determined to keep my mouth shut, get through this, and head home. Suddenly, he stopped, looked up at me and said "there is a part here where it requires a description from you as to the nature of your leaving. What would you like me to put?" he said this last bit with a smirk, a sneer, maybe a chuckle, I don't know what it was, but in an instant in my mind he went from a respectable leader to a deceitful scumbag, and my temper flared up with such a heat that I was surprised with what started spewing out of my mouth.

"Write because my mission president is god damn liar! Tell them that I want to leave because I came on a mission thinking that I was going to do some good in the world, and instead I allowed myself to be turned into a liar. I may not be the best missionary, and I may break the rules but I certainly never lied about who I was or why I was here until you told me to. And now I am as big a liar as you, and I am not going to do it any more!" I think I was switching between English and Japanese, and I had a spattering of swear words in there too. (In Japan, no one can understand colloquialisms -or so missionaries believed-, so many missionaries develop a salty dialect to camouflage conversations in public).

His face turned a shade paler when he heard this, the smirk was now gone, he opened his top drawer, deposited the form inside, and said "Maybe we should call your parents, and talk to them about this before you make any rash decisions."

I said "ok" and a few seconds later I was talking to my dad, which anyone who has served a foreign mission knows is incredible, he just used his phone on his desk! we had to buy phone cards, find a pay phone that allowed international calling, and wait for mothers day, or xmas!

I told my dad the story of what was going on, and how I didn't want to be a part of it, I recall blubbering a lot, and he said "Well, we already paid ahead for your mission, you still have 4 months left. I don't care if you don't want to do any work, but you may as well stay there."

We talked for about 5 minutes, and I calmed down and regained my composure, all the while the MP sat silently at his desk. My dad asked me to hand the phone back to the MP, and I heard one site of the conversation. It went something like this: "No, yes, yes, yes sir, yes sir, yes sir. Thank you, good bye" he hung up the phone.

I said "I want to be transferred to xxxxx with elder xxx as my companion" got up and left.

The next week, I was in xxxxx with elder xxx as my companion. He ended his time 2 months later, and I got saddled with a green bean for my last month. I don't know what the inspiration there was, I told the greenie that we were not going to be doing any work, but that I would do my best to "train" him so he didn't blame me for his failed mission. I think we taught one discussion, toured the mission, and I left a month later. I didn't have an exit interview with the MP, the SP at home got notice that I had served an honorable mission, and I went home never hearing anything else about it. I told a fair amount of this story in Japanese in sacrament meeting at my home coming, and was told by several people who "spoke Japanese" how although they didn't understand much of what I said, they totally felt the spirit...sheesh!

This event pretty much convinced me to the fraud of the church, and although I went to church a few times, some members from Japan visited and I went to church with them. I was pretty much out. It took a few more years and the internet to completely destroy any misconceptions I may have had regarding the truthfulness of the church, and the impending birth of my first child for me to finally resign in 2005.

That's my story, since then, my career path has been in software development, and I now live in Utah. I have ironically done a fair amount of work for the LDS church as a contractor and everything I have seen in regards to the organization is consistent with it being untrue to it's outward claims. I think I heard the MP died a few years later, I haven't kept up with anybody from Japan -probably from embarrassment- I keep in touch with one of my companions, but that's about it.
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A Word Of Advice To All New Female Missionaries
Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013, at 07:51 AM
Original Author(s): Lori C
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
A Word Of Advice To All New Female Missionaries preparing to enter the MTC.

As you are just heading out on your mission, I entered the MTC almost the same day back in 1990. I'm now about to turn 44.

I don't think it is possible to understand how Patriarchy hurts women until you actually enter the mission field and you see how the church is run and you see just how little power you really have. You work and work and then have to turn your investigators over to a boy 3 years younger than you to baptize and your investigator is looking at you like you are a weak, weak woman who can't literally work for god on her own. Wait, you'll see.

Then, you'll go to numerous zone meetings where the boys will get up and preside and lead and you will sit quietly with your companion and say nothing.

You will work at least 80 hours a week and still jump when the DL calls and wants you teach one of their female investigators even though you are exhausted, your laundry needs done, you've eaten nothing but pasta all week,...you'll go...because the boys come first and you have to be "selfless". And, when your companion or yourself becomes suicidal because of the lack of any control you have over your life out there...you'll be blamed, not the church, not the program, not the regime.

So, here's my advice and I hope you can here me. Remember this...you are doing all of this for FREE. Either you, or your friends and family are paying for you to be a saleswoman for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the next 18 months, you will attempt to convert people who will pay 10% to the church for a lifetime. You are literally filling the back accounts of the church, while yours is emptying. And when you come back, there is nothing for you. No tuition assistance, no lump sum payment...nothing. But the church could have already made thousands because of your work and hard hard labor.

So, I will tell you what I wish someone would have told me. When you are tired. Don't go out.

When you are sick, go to a doctor, listen to her/him and go back to your flat and don't go out.

If you are mentally exhausted. Stop working and go see the sights and forget the work for the day and just focus on you and re energizing your batteries.

If you are in a flat that is too cold or too hot, or that has mold, or rats, or any infestations...DEMAND to move, immediately. DO NOT JEOPARDIZE your health for this mission.

Remember, if you spent this time in the military, you'd be making serious money, and they would house and feed you well. A mission is opposite, you are being drained and you will feel that in just a few days when your parents drive away and are thinking all is well. It won't be and only you will know that as it's you out there,...not them. Also, if the moment comes where you don't want to be there anymore. If you have given all you can and your soul is on the verge of breaking...don't worry about family, friends or expectations...get home, save yourself and do what you want where you want and pursue your dreams.

Remember, this is voluntary and you are losing money.

I'll tell you the truth, when I got out there...after 2 months I was done. That is a LONG time to give your days and nights for free to any organization. 18 months is extortion...but you'll find that out yourself. Most people stay out because they are afraid of their parents. I was.

Also, when you come home. Move away from your family. Spend time with YOU. Get your own routine back. Do what you love. If you want to be a plumber, go learn to be a plumber. You want to be a cowboy, an electrician...go do that.

If you want to be a parent, don't even think about it until your late 20's. Get your education, get your career stable, get your own place and get some money in the bank and you guard that with your life.

A mission is hard, but coming home with nothing and starting a marriage with nothing and having babies with nothing is harder. Your mother made her choices and you have yours to make. Don't confuse the two.

I mean no disrespect to your mother, but I've been out there pounding the pavement in a foreign country. I know darn good and well what you are up against and no mother who has never experienced that has a right to expect her daughter not to be completely changed by that experience.

Use your instincts. Put yourself first, put your companion second and don't shun her if she just can't go out that day. Help her, comfort her and talk to her and don't guilt her. She's human like you and doing the best she can.

I won't say "good luck" as I know it takes a heck of a lot more than that to survive this.

If you get sick, get checked for worms and parasites. If someplace doesn't feel right...stay away. If you get a companion that you cannot get a long with no matter how hard you try, refuse to work until you get reassigned. Do not suffer out there any more than you need to. Remember, at the end of this 18 months, your bank account is zero, but the bank account of the church could very well be in the thousands that you'll never see and never benefit from. Keep that in mind.

You are going to have to be strong. The MTC is not the real world. Be as ready as you can. And, if you get hurt and your parents don't want to hear it because of how it would "look", stop talking to them and find someone who will listen to you...it just might save your life.

On a personal note...I never married or had kids because I hated the gender roles in the church. When I came home from my mission after my full 18 months, my Bishop father forced me to go a singles ward to get married, he gave me no choice and that was it for me. I had just worked my butt of for nothing for the church and I was not going to come home as a 23 year old woman and be disrespected again. I left the church shortly after this. Why? How could a true believing Mormon woman leave the church after a lifetime of living it? Because as a woman I was no longer willing to be subject to a man when I had just worked as hard or harder than them for nothing...and they got the pleasure of baptizing the people I had worked so hard to convert. No, patriarchy and gender roles are not for me.

But...I would never have known that unless I had entered into the pressure cooker that is called a "mission".

Be smart, and save yourself.
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The Commitment Pattern Aka How To Be A Salesman
Monday, Feb 10, 2014, at 08:51 AM
Original Author(s): Hold Your Tapirs
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Maybe it's the younger missionaries or maybe the ones in my ward just don't have their sh*t together. They seem so disorganized and unsure of themselves.

I was bored during the missionary report in Ward Council this morning so I looked in the new "Preach My Gospel" manual to see if TSCC has changed how they teach the commitment pattern. I was surprised that I couldn't find anything on it, at least it's not called that anymore. Is there any history behind this change?

I served close to 20 years ago and, besides the language training, the only thing they taught in the MTC was the commitment pattern. It was basically a program on how to be a sales guy. The process the used car salesman down the street uses is no different than what we used to gain converts. Some of us missionaries joked about it, calling it the "Manipulation Pattern". The missionaries that baptized the most were the ones that knew how the sell the church. I had several converts tell me that I "convinced" them of the truth. Sorry guys.

It's no wonder Utah has so many MLM companies, there's a constant influx of sales people coming home from missions. I have to admit that these skills have definitely helped me in my career, perhaps my mission wasn't a complete waste after all.
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Monson's Groomed Sales-Force: Taming Of The Shrewd
Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014, at 08:15 AM
Original Author(s): David Twede
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Much of this post is a repeat of my "Taming of the Shrewd" 2012 post. It's very relevant because I have been discussing the grooming of young, unpaid volunteer salespersons to go out and market Mormonism's fraudulent pitch and collect money from new marks.

At the 2012 semiannual general conference on Oct 6, LDS corporate CEO Thomas Monson announced that effective immediately, young men may begin their full-time Mormon missionary service following their graduation from high school, even if they are only 18 at the time. And young women, who have not been eligible for full-time missionary service until age 21, may now begin their service at age 19.

Understand, these are unpaid volunteers whose families pay for them to work (about $500 a month or $6000 a year "donated" to LDSinc) on the behalf of Monson's corporation for two-years, marketing the history and doctrine of his theocorpocracy.

The result since then, more than a year later, is the self-paying missionary sales force has grown more than a third larger in size. President Newsroom claims they're at around 80,000 strong. That's more employees than Apple has to sell its billions-dollar phone and computer industry. And they're free! Some critics believe this surge is due to both older and then younger missionaries increasing the numbers for about year or two, but will probably taper off sometime in 2014.

Let me explain what I mean by "grooming" the salespersons. To understand what kind of special indoctrination missionaries receive, let's peek inside the LDS Missionary manual, which is found at this LDS.ORG link (pdf) (or this html version).

The manual is definitely chock-a-block filled with typical Ra Ra sales force psychology. Do as your told, follow the recipe we give you, always be committing, don't lose the spirit by not working hard, pray-obey-don't-be-gay. The manual is about taming young (at times wild) men. But beyond the psychological conditioning of the missionaries themselves, the manual is also about training them into shrewd salesmen. Okay, maybe not shrewd, but skilled in certain techniques.

There are instructions on how to manipulate others into joining and, of course, paying tithing. Not just encouragement to teach or help persuade, but technique on emotional manipulation.

In the section titled, "Helping Others Make Commitments: The Door to Faith and Repentance" is this quote:
"Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: "The first thing you will do when an investigator tells you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated! . . . Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. . . . It is the most important path this investigator will ever walk. But if he or she doesn't know that, at least you do! . . . So take control of this situation. Teach with power and authority, and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun" ("Making and Keeping Covenants," missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1997). "

I want to emphasize: "...and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun."

Then in the "Follow Up" section is this quote:
"Make frequent contact, daily if possible, to find out how people are progressing with their commitments... strengthen the spiritual feelings they felt as you taught them...This sustaining influence of the Spirit is vital...remind and encourage them to keep a commitment. Help investigators identify the blessings they have received as they have kept their commitments. Especially help them describe their feelings as the Spirit has testified of the truthfulness of the message. Compliment and encourage people who are succeeding in keeping commitments...Express concern and disappointment when people fail to keep their commitments and thus fail to experience the blessings. "

I emphasize: "Especially help them describe their feelings as the Spirit has testified of the truthfulness of the message."

They're telling these salespeople to manipulate the feelings by describing what one feels as evidence their product has value.

Help them describe their feelings as what you were asking them to test for themselves. Part of the message is that their feelings (through the spirit) will tell them truth according to Moroni 10:4-5. But to test if Moroni 10 is correct, they either trust their feelings (through the spirit), or the missionaries telling them that their feelings will tell them the truth. This becomes the feelings telling you that feelings are true. This is circular.

Then they are told: "Express concern and disappointment when people fail to keep their commitments. . ."


Do you see the pattern?

- "Good feelings always mean we're right."
- "Bad feelings always mean you're wrong."

There's no allowance for alternative explanations about the Mormon product.

This is grooming of teaching salespersons to explain to the marks that whatever positive feeling they have is a witness of what you're selling. If they have a negative feeling about what you're selling, express concern and disappointment and be devastated, and show them that devastation by taking control of the situation in power and authority.

Do you really believe this organization didn't think about this thoroughly? This is intentionally teaching kids how to manipulate. Why would they do that?

Now, according to the manual, once you get them hooked, committed and baptized, some of the new-members will fall away back into old habits. Some go back to drinking coffee, alcohol or even taking drugs. Is that a good time to express disappointment? Nope, they tell the missionary.

In the "A Plan for Overcoming Addictive Behavior" Section the church actually discourages manipulation. Missionaries are told they "should not be shocked or discouraged" by the bad behavior. In fact, missionaries are instructed:
"They should show confidence in the individual and not be judgmental if the person yields to an old craving. They should treat it as a temporary and understandable setback." Because "condemning. . .a new convert is never helpful and will likely lead to discouragement, failure, and inactivity."

See the pattern? Act devastated if the investigator doesn't do what you say before being baptized. After baptism, don't act devastated, be all understanding!

Additionally, missionaries are continually told to seek the spirit, but not to discuss too many specifics. Just seek it generally, point it out whenever the investigator has a positive experience or feeling. But don't share specific spiritual experiences. In the section "A Word of Caution" missionaries are told:
"Revelation and spiritual experiences are sacred. They should be kept private and discussed only in appropriate situations. As a missionary, you may be more aware of spiritual experiences than you have been earlier in your life. Resist the temptation to talk freely about these experiences."

Why would they want missionaries not to talk freely about these experiences when they all but start out discussion One with Joseph Smith's first vision of God? What they're saying is, if you talk about all the religious craziness that happens in your head, people will be less likely to keep their commitments--we only accept a certain level of crazy; follow the prescribed plan.

Would an honest organization with a truthful message need to resort to this level of emotional manipulation of the salespersons and teaching manipulation techniques to the salespersons?

This is grooming of the shrewd by an organization who has honed the skill over a century of "missionary" work.

http://mormondisclosures.blogspot.com...
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Bishop Asks For More Missionary Funds - My Response
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014, at 08:34 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
Dear Bishop and Counselors,

Given the church's tendency to shoot messengers, I will remain anonymous. However, I feel very strongly about something that happened this past Sunday and I need to make sure that you are aware of it.

First off, I should note that I am not blaming or finding fault with any of you. The fault clearly lies in Salt Lake. Since the church has no actual complaint department, you will have to do.

I have held multiple callings within our stake which provided me with a very detailed look at church finances at the ward level. I have a fairly good idea of the ward's cash flow -- expenses, tithing, and other contributions. I know how much comes in, and I know how little of it is used for the benefit of those in our immediate vicinity.

Your request for more missionary funds fell on deaf ears in my case. My wife, who is usually more reserved than I am, shook her head in disgust and whispered "The church has plenty of money" after you made your request. Other members are also starting to wonder where all of the money is going.

I am similarly appalled. The church does have plenty of money. I find it unconscionable that the church can simultaneously claim poverty and invest billions of dollars in real estate development projects. May I point out the following (links are available on request):
  • Development of City Creek Center in Salt Lake - Several billion dollars invested over the last 8 years.
  • Major land purchase in Florida - Over $500 million in 2013 in just one transaction.
  • Construction of a 32-story residence in Philadelphia, announced earlier this year.
The money spent in Florida could have paid for 100,000 missionaries for a year. When families are struggling, profligate use of their money for real estate investments is an insult. Investing in people, especially those of our faith, should take precedence over investing in any of the items I listed above.

Please don't tell me that these investments are made with funds that are separate and distinct from tithing. The vast majority of the church's assets originated as tithing, even if they were "washed" through other investments over time.

You and I both know that one week of tithing receipts would be more than sufficient to cover any conceivable shortage in the missionary fund. Why is the church investing in real estate while squeezing more blood from our members?

How many times have we been counseled to save our funds for a rainy day? Why has the church not done the same for missionary funds? At one point, one ward-level missionary fund in our stake had a reserve balance of well over $30,000. This money was apparently confiscated by Salt Lake and used for their own purposes. Hard-earned money donated in good faith by ward members has disappeared and could conceivably be funding the Earthly investments that I listed above.

I also feel compelled to point out that the church's decision to lower the age requirement for missionaries plays a role here. Before this change, prospective missionaries had more time to earn money for their missions.

Someone, somewhere needs to tell Salt Lake that this is unacceptable.

I have paid a lot of tithing over the years. It remains to be seen if I will be doing so in the future when there are so many other opportunities to make truly charitable donations.

I, for one, would like to see more transparency on the church's use of money. Vast amounts of money flow from the "mission field" to Salt Lake, never to return. Once again, people are going to be doing the math and asking questions.

Once again, I know that you are effectively caught in the middle, and I know that you have many other issues to deal with. Please feel free to share this message with those whom you report to in Salt Lake so that they may better understand what's happening out in the mission field.

Sincerely,

Ward Member
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Has The Direction Of The Missionary Program Changed Drastically In 10 Yrs?
Monday, Feb 24, 2014, at 08:25 AM
Original Author(s): Brother Of Jerry
Topic: MORMON MISSIONARIES   -Link To MC Article-
"Raising the Bar" was a smokescreen for cutting missionary staffing from roughly 60,000, with a fair amount of variability, to 50,000, with very little variance, less than 5% year to year.

When the bar was raised, the number of missionaries went from about 60,000 in 2002, to 55,000 in 2003, to 51,000 in 2004. This is exactly the pattern you would see if the number of new calls was 50,000 per year. Half of the old cohort of 60,000 missionaries would return home after 1 year, the other half the second year, and the number of missionaries would then stabilize at 50,000.

Those are the facts. That is exactly what happened. Why they made the decision to do that is speculation.

My guess is that they had been taking "what the market would bear", all the missionaries they could get their hands on. That means the tea leaf readers who try to discern what is happening with activity levels in LDS Inc could use the number of missionaries as a barometer of youth activity levels. If the number of missionaries was falling, they could reasonably assume the overall youth activity level was falling.

Dropping the number of missionaries to a fixed figure of 50,000 would stop the tea leaf readers from being able to discern youth activity levels that way. I bet they assumed that even with dropping activity levels, they would always be able to field at least 50,000 missionaries.

The reasoning may also have been partly financial. With a fixed number of missionaries every year, they would have very predictable expenses. Somehow, I really don't think this was about finances. The huge banking/housing collapse was right in the middle of that, which I am sure had a much higher impact on LDS business finances than the costs associated with having the number of missionaries bouncing around by four or five thousand a year.

I think it was almost totally about image. They didn't want people to know the number of missionary candidates was declining.

The number of missionaries stayed very stable until 2012, when the new age limits were announced. It was tending to creep up a little bit over that decade. What is remarkable is that what was a major corporate realignment (have a fixed number of missionaries, that was lower than the total amount that could be recruited) only lasted about a decade, when the program was totally tossed into the dustbin, and the new age limits, and ensuing "missionary surge" was announced.

Apparently brainwashing as many missionaries as possible turned out to be more important than not letting the tea leaf readers have a way to gauge youth activity levels.

Let's see how long this lasts. The "surge missionaries" will start returning home this year, and the surge will begin to deflate. Look for lots of spin about how dropping numbers of missionaries was expected. It IS in fact expected, but I predict it will continue to drop, even after "the Surge" has all returned home.

BTW, large and relatively frequent changes in corporate policy are clear indicators of a corporation in trouble, flailing about for a way to fix things.

Raise the bar. Lower missionary age, more so for women. Fire Danny Peterson. Ambivalent actions toward Dehlin. Go after gays, hammer and tongs. Go silent on the gay issue. Stonewall on church history. Start releasing essays giving at least some critical analysis of church history and theology.

That, sisters and brothers, is flailing.
 
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Archived Blogs:
Mormon Missionaries
Charges Filed Against LDS Missionary
The Missionaries Came For My Daughter Last Night
Strange Inspirations And Priesthood Blessings
Little Missonary Sucess In Puerto Rico
Is The MTC Cult-Like?
My MTC Experience 1991
New Covenant For Members: Member Missionary Promise
Former Utah Gov. Olene Walker To Serve An LDS Mission
The Missionary Commitment Pattern
My Mishie Friends And Their Pompous Ass Zone Leader
Do TBMS Take Hinckley's Ban On Missionary Farewells Seriously?
The Mormon Church Takes Advantage Of Old Folks
LDS Believe Satan Is Real, But The Stories Aren't Always
Hinckley: We Don't Want More Sister Missionaries!
Read The Book Of Mormon
Missionaries And The Poor: A Photo Worth A Thousand Words
It's Hard Watching A Boy Go On A Mission
In A Shift, Mormon Church Is Flexible On Missionary Commitment - Raising The Bar
Fallout From Top-Baptizing Missions
The Church Returns Nothing For The Services Its Missionaries Provide
Dinner With The Elders
The Ignorance And Mis-Information Strategies - Visiting Missionaries In The Heart Of Mormonism
Returned LDS Missionary Dies After Leaping Out Of A Moving Vehicle
What The Missionary Discussions Would Contain In An Honest Mormon World
Peer Pressure In The Missionary Training Center - They Should Be Telling Missionaries That It's Ok If They Don't Cry
Three Telling Encounters With GA's Within Three Months
I Don't Think That One Should Blame The LDS Church. Missionaries Are Supposed To Be In Places Where People Need Help Most.
Health Care For Missionaries: Usually Great, But Some Improvement May Be Needed
Now Days Mormon Missionaries Are Going Out Into An Informed World.
Feelings Of Guilt In Mormonism
Great Video Evidence Of The "New Approach Towards Indoctrination Process Of Missionaries" By LDS Leaders
Weird Missionary Tricks And Behaviors
Following The Money In The United Kingdom
My Crazy Easter Experience In The Missionary Training Center
Silence
Did Your Mission President Chew You Out About Not Writing Enough Letters Home?
Those God Damned Mishies
God Will Protect Me Because I Wear Garments
Use And Abuse Of Members
I've Been Following The Missionaries
The Missionary Training Center Makes Money Off Missionaries With Their Communist Backpack Rule
Manipulation And Abuse Of Single's Free Agency
The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, And Tangier North Africa
More On The Infamous England East Mission
Failed Mission Program; "Book Of Mormon-Key To Conversion"
Stupid Missionary Dinner Program
Why I Think That Missionaries Do Lie
Isn't It About Families? Senior Couple Missionaries
Documentaries, Propaganda And Truth
Church Claimed 8,384 More Missionaries Called Than Was Really The Case
My Mormon Cinnamon Roll Guilt Trip
More On Hungry Deprived Mormon Missionaries
LDS Church Cuts Missionaries' Budget By 10.34% While Increasing Funding For Its SLC Commercial Venture 300% (from $500m To $2b).
Reportedly, The LDS Church Has Issued A Bulletin About Members Housing Missionaries (They Will Receive A Fraction Of The Fair Market Rental Rate)
Gestapo - The Danite Missionary Patrol
Ten Days Into My Mission (in S. America) I Got A Deadly Disease And Nearly Died
The Missionaries Visited Last Night, They Get $110 A Month For Food
Missionary Correspondence - Revised Policy
Nobody In My Ward Is Feeding The Missionaries
Some Of Those Beautiful Mission Memories
At The Peak Of My Mission Fervor
The "Preach My Gospel" Manual
Asylum-Seeking Refugees Make The Best Investigators
My Mission Gave Me The Most Spiritual Night Of My Life
Fake Mission Call Signatures - When Did You Figure It Out?
Identity Formation: Why Missionaries End Up Hurt By The Mission
The Underhanded Tactics I Used On My Mission
A Fissured Façade
I Taught At The Mormon Missionary Training Center For Almost Three Years
Converting People Through "Secular" Means
Missionaries In South Tipperary, Ireland
Observations From Temple Square Tour Today
The Ways People Coped
I Will Be A Perfect Example Of Exact Obedience: The Little White Bible
Tokyo South Mission With Pres. Delbert Groberg 80-81
The "C" Word
Finally, My Uber TBM Sister Is Disappointed In Her Church
Black Bicycles
Undocumented LDS Missionaries - How Mormon Senator Bob Bennett Changed The Law To Benefit The LDS Church
Mexico: The Early 1980's
The Missionaries Are The Lowest Level, So They Are Saddled With The Blame For The Failure Of A GA's "Stewardship."
The Toolery Of Angel Abrea
A Theory Of Why LDS General Authorities - And The LDS Church - Disdain Missionaries
A Story From A Former Missionary To Korea
Missionary Just Left Mormon Missionary Training Center After Only 3 Days
I Tried To Keep My Mouth Shut But Couldn't
Spoke With A Missionary Yesterday - Fewer Transfers Is The New Reality - LDS Cost-Cutting
Remembering My Mission, The Emotion, The Manipulation
The England East Mission, Stolen Cars, And Tangier North Africa
The Untold History of Mormonism in Japan
The Mathematics Of "Raising The Bar"
New Dress Code Rules For Sister Missionaries
Raising The Bar
Having The Harvest Backward, Or Why Mishies Are Separating And Saving The Tares From The Wheat
I Spoke With The Mishies Today: They've Run Out Of Food And LD$ Inc. Won't Help
I Felt Guilty As A Missionary
The Furniture Of The Book Of Mormon
It Was On My Mission That I Lost My Faith
Mormon Missionary Work In Germany As Seen By An Aboriginal
What I Recently Learned About The Church Health Plan For Missionaries
The Great Escape
Inspired Mission President And A Capable God. Not.
Family Court Of Horrorsm
Zone Leaders Tasked With Reading Missionary Mail
There's A Reason They Assign Missionaries A Companion
So I'm Traveling In China When I'm Asked
The Difficulties Of Leaving A Mormon Mission
My CRAZY Easter Sunday Experience In The MTC
My Mission President's Memorabe Quote: "There Are No Dead Areas Elder, Just Dead Missionaries"
Tokyo South Mission With Pres. Delbert Groberg 80-81
Missionary Age Lowered To Age 18
Twisting Bad News Into Spiritual Uplifing News
TBM Perspective On Lowering Missionary Age Policy Change
I Doubt I Would Have Served
Direct From Cradle To MTC: Mormon Leaders Lower Threshold Ages For Missionary Service
My Father Died On Sep 8, 1994; My Second Day In The MTC
So Now They Are Not Building The 9 Story Missionary Training Center?
Mission "Brainwashing": Hurts More Than It Helps
Tools Of Manipulation To Build The Kingdom
My Mission Horror Story
My Mission Horror Story
My Sister's Mission President Could Have Killed Her
Two Sister Missionaries In My Mission Were Raped
My Mission In Hell!
Mission Experience That Caused My First Spark Of Anger Against The Church
Anyone Who Served A Full-Time Mission Can Probably Relate
Protecting The Missionaries
Missionaries Encouraged To Not Attend Parent Funerals
What Is Japan Like For The Missionaries Nowadays?
I Guess I Was On The Cusp Of The Missionary So-Called "Golden Age": Japan West/fukuoka 1973-75. Believe Me, It Wasn't Golden
My Mission To Japan
Being Sent To Impoverished And Terrorism-Plagued Peru In The Mid-1980s At 19 Was Difficult Enough
The Entire Missionary Program Is Run On Guilt And Shame
Walked Out Of The MTC And Off Of My Mission After Five Weeks
Seem The Hastening Of The Work(r) Is Getting Expensive
Stories Of Inspiration From Japan
A Word Of Advice To All New Female Missionaries
The Commitment Pattern Aka How To Be A Salesman
Monson's Groomed Sales-Force: Taming Of The Shrewd
Bishop Asks For More Missionary Funds - My Response
Has The Direction Of The Missionary Program Changed Drastically In 10 Yrs?
5,717 Articles In 332 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (332 Topics)
TopicImage AUTHOR INDEX

  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
  · APOLOGISTS (53)
  · ARTICLES OF FAITH (1)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (31)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD - PEOPLE (16)
  · BLACKS AND MORMONISM (12)
  · BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD (11)
  · BLOOD ATONEMENT (4)
  · BOB BENNETT (1)
  · BOB MCCUE (144)
  · BONNEVILLE COMMUNICATIONS (2)
  · BOOK OF ABRAHAM (50)
  · BOOK OF MORMON (66)
  · BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES (18)
  · BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY (24)
  · BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES (5)
  · BOOK REVIEW - ROUGH STONE ROLLING (28)
  · BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS (12)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS (44)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG (24)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (54)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · BRUCE D. PORTER (1)
  · BRUCE R. MCCONKIE (10)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · CATHOLIC CHURCH (5)
  · CHANGING DOCTRINE (12)
  · CHILDREN AND MORMONISM (48)
  · CHRIS BUTTARS (1)
  · CHURCH LEADERSHIP (3)
  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (51)
  · CHURCH TEACHING MANUALS (10)
  · CHURCH VAULTS (4)
  · CITY CREEK CENTER (23)
  · CIVIL UNIONS (14)
  · CLEON SKOUSEN (3)
  · COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (2)
  · COMEDY (128)
  · CONCISE DICTIONARY OF MORMONISM (14)
  · D. MICHAEL QUINN (1)
  · D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON (6)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (101)
  · DANIEL C. PETERSON (88)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DAVID WHITMER (1)
  · DELBERT L. STAPLEY (1)
  · DESERET NEWS (3)
  · DIETER F. UCHTDORF (13)
  · DNA (23)
  · DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS (8)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · ELAINE S. DALTON (5)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 8 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 (26)
  · EXCOMMUNICATION AND COURTS OF LOVE (19)
  · EZRA TAFT BENSON (30)
  · FACIAL HAIR (6)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS (70)
  · FAITH PROMOTING RUMORS (11)
  · FARMS (30)
  · FIRST VISION (23)
  · FOOD STORAGE (3)
  · FUNDAMENTALIST LDS (17)
  · GENERAL AUTHORITIES (29)
  · GENERAL CONFERENCE (14)
  · GENERAL NEWS (5)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · GORDON B. HINCKLEY (68)
  · GRANT PALMER (8)
  · GREGORY L. SMITH (9)
  · GUNNISON MASSACRE (1)
  · H. DAVID BURTON (2)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HATE MAIL I RECEIVE (23)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HEBER C. KIMBALL (4)
  · HELEN RADKEY (17)
  · HELLEN MAR KIMBALL (4)
  · HENRY B. EYRING (5)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HOME AND VISITING TEACHING (9)
  · HOWARD W. HUNTER (1)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · INTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM (18)
  · J REUBEN CLARK (1)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JEFF LINDSAY (6)
  · JEFFREY MELDRUM (1)
  · JEFFREY R. HOLLAND (32)
  · JEFFREY S. NIELSEN (11)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JOHN L. SORENSON (4)
  · JOHN TAYLOR (1)
  · JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN (1)
  · JOSEPH F. SMITH (1)
  · JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH (8)
  · JOSEPH SITATI (1)
  · JOSEPH SMITH (101)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY (43)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - PROPHECY (8)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SEER STONES (7)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - WORSHIP (13)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · KEITH B. MCMULLIN (1)
  · KERRY MUHLESTEIN (9)
  · KERRY SHIRTS (6)
  · KINDERHOOK PLATES (6)
  · KIRTLAND BANK (6)
  · KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS (17)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM (3)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · LANCE B. WICKMAN (1)
  · LARRY ECHO HAWK (1)
  · LDS CHURCH (19)
  · LDS CHURCH OFFICE BUILDING (9)
  · LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS (22)
  · LDS SOCIAL SERVICES (3)
  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM (44)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
  · LOUIS C. MIDGLEY (6)
  · LYNN A. MICKELSEN (2)
  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL D. WILLIAMS (1)
  · MICHAEL OTTERSON (1)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CHURCH PROPAGANDA (5)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (20)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (4)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MISSIONARIES (142)
  · MORMON MONEY (73)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (5)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (38)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (9)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (1)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (18)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING (63)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
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  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
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  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (11)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM (86)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
  · WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (1)
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