Missionaries and challenges/commitments

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LookingHard
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by LookingHard » 24 Mar 2015, 08:02

I wish the missionaries could spend much more time just giving service with no strings attached. Two strangers knocking on someone's door does not change their impression of the church, but working side by side in helping others probably would.

Currently the peace corps has 6,818 current volunteers and trainees. I heard that the church expect 100K missionaries in just the next few years. If they spent 1 day a week doing nothing but service, they could have twice the number of man-days that the peace corps does. Not that those are 1 for 1 equals, but I think our missionaries would not be so bored.

Is it any wonder in some of the tougher (though as in "not much missionary work) areas that companionships have issues? All day long you knock on doors with virtually nobody wanting to talk to you. If you and your companion hit it off, it can be enjoyable. But if you don't - you are stuck with your only interaction with someone you don't really care about.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2015, 08:06

I agree, SBRed, I kind of feel sorry for them, too, because they have so little to do. In addition to these kinds of commitment challenge things (which they get to count in their statistical reports), they've also been encouraged to teach the lessons to members to "practice." If they need the practice that much it's clear they aren't getting the practice in actually teaching real investigators. We've had two baptisms so far this year in our ward (where for more than the 20 years we had only 1 set of missionaries). The first one in January, a single woman with apparently limited mental ability, hasn't shown since she was confirmed. The other one is an 80-year-old guy just a couple weeks ago. These two actually seem to be the usual types for here, and the woman is not all that unusual in fading fast and neither of them are going to be ward leaders.

In the past I, too, have gotten away with the "we're good" type comment. Perhaps it's the one sister who has been constant over the past few months who is the catalyst. She is pretty gung ho. Her first visit to us about 5 months ago she challenged us to put Moroni's promise to the test again and get a new witness of the BoM because "God will answer every time you ask." I so wanted to talk about Section 46 and how it's not actually given to everybody to know, but I let it slide. It's the repeated attempts at trying to commit us to such things that have begun to bother me. Having the missionaries over isn't new, we've done this for a few years - only this issue (which admittedly is personally mine) is new.

And I wholeheartedly agree, LH - I'd love it if the missionaries did more service and I think they'd actually make a difference and would see more success if they did. Working alongside someone for a few hours is going to tell me a lot more about what they believe than sitting on the couch talking about something I'm probably not really interested in.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by Roy » 24 Mar 2015, 09:06

I am actually pretty good at deflecting these types of things. If the challenge is big and long term (like extending a calling) then I will need to sleep on it. There is something about the euphoria of the moment that makes poor decisions. Better to let it settle before making a commitment.

If the callenge is vague - like will I actively look for opportunities to share the gospel then i will readily commit.

If the challenge is specific and time based (like share a pass along card) then I might weigh the pros and cons of fulfilling it. There are some things that I am willing to do just to maintain membership in the group.

I also am not above exageration. If i have a religious conversation with a friend I might expand upon that to tell the missionaries that I am taking the slow and steady "long term view" of sharing the gospel.

I tell DW that I would prefer that she invite people from the ward over for dinner instead of the missionaries. That way we are actually building potentially lasting relationships over the course of the meal.
"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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SMiLe
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by SMiLe » 24 Mar 2015, 09:07

DarkJedi wrote:Working alongside someone for a few hours is going to tell me a lot more about what they believe than sitting on the couch talking about something I'm probably not really interested in.
I have been telling my wife for years that the missionary program should switch to service missions rather than proselytizing. I think filling the soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations rosters with volunteer help would do wonders for both the image of the church and for the missionaries themselves. And when they are asked why they are there, simply stating that they are on a mission for their church would open a lot of doors.

Back to the topic at hand though, I've been opposed to "challenges" for years. I never really enjoyed the handing out of a BoM during priesthood with the missionary challenge of returning and reporting on how you placed it next week. I am truly grateful that practice seems to have trailed off in my ward. Currently, when we have the missionaries over, they have been pretty good about keeping the challenges to be about family history or something else not directly related to missionary work and they have been okay with vague answers from me. The absolute worst challenge that I have been extended was by my bishop during a tithing interview where he challenged my spouse and I to attend the temple more often than we had the prior year. My declining that challenge in front of my children had both my bishop and myself feeling a bit uncomfortable! :| Thinking about it, I just realized that I haven't been to a tithing settlement since.

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Heber13
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by Heber13 » 24 Mar 2015, 09:55

DarkJedi wrote: I generally don't have conversations about the church with anyone, actually, so coming up with those seed planting things is pretty rare (I can't remember the last time I had such a conversation, actually).
Don't forget...you are having lots of conversations daily here...and planting lots of seeds online. :D In reality, you're doing missionary work on this site.

I've also had discussions with people at work about why I don't drink coffee. That's a seed. (Although part of my "seed" is acknowledging my church has antiquated teachings that we seem to commit to out of faith, not reason).

I love planting seeds...because it can be any good action (holding a door for someone, being an example of kindness, etc etc etc)...those are all ways i do missionary work.

I am sure they want me to commit someone to take discussions...but that seed isn't ready for me yet...unless an opportunity comes up...but I can't set a plan for that, as much as they peer-pressure me to want to so they have a wonderful story to tell their Mission President or their parents back home. I can commit to be willing to have discussions in my home if I feel prompted to ask someone...but I never feel prompted for that.

Remember where they are coming from as missionaries. And those motivations for them to ask you don't translate to things God wants you to do. It's just about them and where they are at.

If you really want to be bold...tell them you'd like them to come meet with your family to help know how to do missionary work when there are problems in the church, such as blacks and the priesthood or polygamy or other issues of our past or how prayer hasn't worked for you, or whatever is your "tipping point"....allow the missionaries to come try to talk through with you how to over come these issues...you'll find they don't have good responses except to just have faith, and you can challenge them so they see why you hesitate to commit to something. You might be able to help them see why some members hesitate to do missionary work...it could help them learn to be more broad minded. I like practicing to have discussions with them...to check my thoughts.

That would be painful, nothing I've tried directly...I've been more discrete and explained what others tell me about the church that I think are valid concerns...which takes me back to planting seeds instead of committing to making mission plans.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2015, 09:55

Roy wrote:There is something about the euphoria of the moment that makes poor decisions.
Behold the secret of the Jedi mind trick.

I tell DW that I would prefer that she invite people from the ward over for dinner instead of the missionaries. That way we are actually building potentially lasting relationships over the course of the meal.
I've told mine I would prefer we didn't have anyone over.... :P
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Heber13
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by Heber13 » 24 Mar 2015, 10:01

DarkJedi wrote:
I tell DW that I would prefer that she invite people from the ward over for dinner instead of the missionaries. That way we are actually building potentially lasting relationships over the course of the meal.
I've told mine I would prefer we didn't have anyone over.... :P
:lol:
I know that feeling. haha
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2015, 10:06

Good point, Heber, and I do make a point of letting people know I work with and am willing to work with inactives. In my son's mission working with inactives is a priority and reactivation is given the same weight as baptism. In fact, on this visit last night I told the sisters that very thing during dinner. I frequently ask them about inactives in the ward they visit, BUT it is not a priority for this mission and they don't frequently visit inactives. I purposely avoided the deeper issues last night because of "do no harm." I seriously don't believe these sisters have even the essays to use as defense, I don't think they are encouraged to be familiar with them. And I think I could wreck their relatively weak testimonies and faith with relative ease. I have no desire to do that. Besides, I do also value keeping my doubts to myself - even my SP who knows more about them than anyone else (including my wife) has no clue of their breadth and depth.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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DarkJedi
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2015, 10:08

Another secret of the Jedi mind trick SMiLe - fear of embarrassment. FWIW, I'm not into family history, either.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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SamBee
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Re: Missionaries and challenges/commitments

Post by SamBee » 24 Mar 2015, 12:28

The truth is that some of us are better at talking to people than others. I am useless explaining my connection to the church and my faith with my mouth unfortunately.

I think also we have to be careful how we discuss this with friends. Not only because a lot of people don't like to be preached at and will possibly stop being your friends, but also because I think there are suitable times and places.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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