Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

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DoubtingTom
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by DoubtingTom » 17 Nov 2018, 10:01

I share others concern about a sub-culture developing where service missions are seen as “less than.” Particularly in the language that says prospective missionaries are first considered for a proselyting mission, and then if not eligible may be able to serve as a service missionary. It’s already establishing that somehow a service mission is a lower tier than a regular proselyting mission.

I also browsed through the service missionary handbook found here: https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/e ... f?lang=eng

Some interesting tidbits about how these will go:
  • The Stake President will be their leader but may delegate this to counsellors, Bishops, high councilors, or even a “stake service mission specialist.” Whoever is delegated will conduct regular monthly interviews.
  • There will also be service mission leaders (typically a couple) to oversee the service mission experience and help missionaries find places to serve in the community.
  • Grooming standards are the same as proselyting missions.
  • Service missionaries don’t wear the badge unless at a service assignment or at church meetings.
  • Service missionaries don’t need to be endowed.
  • In their off service time, missionaries are encouraged to do family history or indexing, but may also have a ward calling. They can also play video games, watch TV or movies, attend institute and YSA activities. They are not allowed to date though.
  • In the chastity section there is ambiguity and maybe some personal interpretation as to whether masturbation is expressly forbidden. The language here is borrowed heavily from For the Strength of Youth.
  • There is an odd paragraph about how missionaries are not to approach or initiate contact with general authorities. Or to write them letters. Seems out of place and oddly prohibitive.
  • There is a section where modifications to the handbook may be appropriate for a missionary with help from the Stake President in making those modifications. I like the flexibility of this approach.
Those were just some things that stood out to me. Overall I see this as a positive step, but have concerns with how it will be rolled out and accepted culturally.

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dande48
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by dande48 » 17 Nov 2018, 10:26

DoubtingTom wrote:
17 Nov 2018, 10:01
I share others concern about a sub-culture developing where service missions are seen as “less than.”
There are already service missions, and a sub-culture where some missions are treated as better than others.

Third-world foreign > first-world foreign > second-world foreign > home nation foreign language === foreign nation same language > home nation same language > Utah/Idaho > service missions > no mission.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Rumin8
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by Rumin8 » 17 Nov 2018, 15:50

I thought this could be an opportunity for my son. In his words, it sounds “horrible.” So this will be a no-go in our household.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

Arrakeen
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by Arrakeen » 17 Nov 2018, 16:20

dande48 wrote:
16 Nov 2018, 12:34
Also... being "honorably excused" also seems fishy, as if the Church needs to give you their stamp of approval if for whatever reason you choose not to serve.

I want to break away from the Mandatory mission service mandate. I want a youngin' to be able to say, "I will not be serving as a missionary", and still retain full societal fellowship in the Church.
The "honorably excused" part is what really bothers me. I strongly believe individuals need to be given the freedom to decide whether or not to go on a mission, without the Church deciding if their decision is "honorable" (which implicitly labels others as "dishonorable"). I worry that this will only increase the stigma for those who don't serve, since people will think there's no excuse now that the Church has provided other options.

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lotsofgray
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by lotsofgray » 17 Nov 2018, 17:24

I think what we all might be trying to say is “...not sure I have enough testimony”... to do a traditional proselyting mission.

Funny, autocorrect just tried to change “proselyting” to “prosecuting”... hmmm.


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Roy
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by Roy » 18 Nov 2018, 11:37

I see this as a positive though limited change.
1) My son has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
2) Church culture is such that if one does not serve a mission there are large social consequences.
3) This appears to be an option for my son to navigate a path of church involvement and belonging (should he choose to do so).

I see this as a patch for a limited subset of individuals. In the article "called to serve, not called to suffer" came the following quote:
“When someone asks you if you served a mission, you say ‘yes,’” said Elder Holland. “You do not need to follow that up with, ‘but it was only four months.’ Say ‘yes,’ you served a mission and be proud of the time you spent.”
This is interesting and it reminds me of the advice given to missionaries that we can and should deny committing a range of "serious" sins if we have fully repented of them. It feels a lot like lying and I assume that many individuals that might answer that they had indeed served a mission after returning home early might feel some shame and obfuscation in the response. I believe that this service option gives those individuals that might return home early from a mission a path forward that they can answer the question of missionary service in the affirmative and feel good about it.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by Roy » 18 Nov 2018, 12:01

I have seen a variety of service mission examples. I am wondering if some service missions could be promoted as unpaid internships on a young person's resume.
I had put my missionary service on my resume but that was mostly because it was easier to do that than to explain a two year gap in employment. An unpaid internship with California State Parks or as a "Public Affairs Specialist for the Mormon Newsroom Pacific" sure seems to be a better resume builder.
I believe that SilentDawning would call it "co-missioning". You tell everyone at church that you served a mission. You put on your resume that you were a "Public Affairs Specialist." :thumbup:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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dande48
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by dande48 » 18 Nov 2018, 12:53

Roy wrote:
18 Nov 2018, 12:01
I have seen a variety of service mission examples. I am wondering if some service missions could be promoted as unpaid internships on a young person's resume.
I had put my missionary service on my resume but that was mostly because it was easier to do that than to explain a two year gap in employment. An unpaid internship with California State Parks or as a "Public Affairs Specialist for the Mormon Newsroom Pacific" sure seems to be a better resume builder.
I believe that SilentDawning would call it "co-missioning". You tell everyone at church that you served a mission. You put on your resume that you were a "Public Affairs Specialist." :thumbup:
I think that would be awesome! I think too often the Church is focused on its own self-promotion over the common good. I never put my mission on my resume, since first it reveals my "religious affiliation" (something that is illegal to take into account while hiring), and since, on the surface, spending two years ministering in California sounds like more of a vacation than a two year sacrifice. I wish I had been able to put down a foreign language. But as far as a career goes, I think serving a mission hurt more than helped. Is that selfish of me to say? Probably... but too often I feel like the Church takes and takes and takes, without any consideration to those its taking from.

I hope in the long term we transition to all service missions. We don't need prosyletizing anymore. These days people tend to get pretty ticked at door-to-door salesmen, no matter what they are selling. I have to say, I feel MUCH less inclined to purchase a product or service if I recieve unasked-for solicitation. Better to spend your time in service first, and focus on conversion second.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Roy
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Re: Major, Positive Change to Mission Call Options

Post by Roy » 19 Nov 2018, 13:34

dande48 wrote:
18 Nov 2018, 12:53
Probably... but too often I feel like the Church takes and takes and takes, without any consideration to those its taking from.
I agree that the church can demand many sacrifices. I believe that "the church" believes that those sacrifices will be beneficial in 2 main areas. 1) Because the institutional church is the storehouse or system of Salvation. Any sacrifice that the members might make in order to grow and ensure the continued prosperity of the institution is worth it because without the institution there is no salvation. 2) Sacrifice is good for individual members and is important in developing saintly characters.

Even here there is some moderation. Most members (aka the church) would recognize that extreme sacrifices are not reasonable to expect from members.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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