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MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2
Topics concerning Mormon Missionaries - from young to old.
| 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: MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2 -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.
| 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.
| 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: MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2 -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.
| 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.
| 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?
| 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.
| 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:
| 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
| 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.
| 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?
| 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.
| 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.
| 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????????
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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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: MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2 -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'.
| 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: MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2 -Link To MC Article-
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| 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 " (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.
| 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.
| 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.
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.
| 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.
| 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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