Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

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nibbler
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by nibbler » 26 Oct 2017, 14:51

I remembered the materials used to train missionaries mentioned something about not sharing past transgressions. There was a role-play story about an elder whose parents didn't get married in the temple initially and had to settle for a civil union because they didn't pay tithing. Eventually they paid tithing, got sealed in the temple, and they lived happily forever after.

Turns out I still have those missionary training materials. :shock: I won't say when the copyright date is, I'll just say that the materials came with cassette tapes.

There was a section that talked about sharing experiences with investigators, the relevant bits:
When you are sharing experiences, be simple, clear, and direct. Share only those parts of the experience that relate to the subject and will uplift the investigator. Use words that the investigator will understand. Do not share past transgressions, even if you are trying to help a person who is having problems that you have had.
There was no reason given for the counsel, we were left to come up with our own reasons. I remember one was that it inadvertently sent the signal that you could sin, repent, and turn out awesome... counter intuitive right, isn't that the message of the gospel? But the idea was that people might rationalize and decide to enjoy a little sin in the present, repent later, and be as awesome as missionaries are. :smile: I'm not saying it holds to reason, it was an apologetic that a group of kids came up with to explain the "whys" that weren't included in the training materials.

The suggestion is also in the Preach My Gospel training materials (which I've come to understand the PMG materials will be replaced soon?):
Lesson 3: The Gospel of Jesus Christ wrote: Sin
The notion of “sin” means different things in different cultures. In some cultures it is closely associated with the concept of committing crime. In others it applies only if one is caught doing something wrong and thus brings shame to a family or community. Clarify that sin is disobedience to God’s commandments and results in becoming separated from God. God knows all that we do and think, and we displease Him when we sin. Do not discuss your past transgressions. Discourage or ask investigators not to discuss their transgressions.
If I were to guess at a reason for the suggestion I might say that they feel discussing sin might drive the spirit away? Or put a dent in the veneer of perfection that the culture likes to create for itself.
It is the end of the world. Surely you could be allowed a few carnal thoughts.
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Reuben
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by Reuben » 26 Oct 2017, 17:52

nibbler wrote:
26 Oct 2017, 14:51
If I were to guess at a reason for the suggestion I might say that they feel discussing sin might drive the spirit away? Or put a dent in the veneer of perfection that the culture likes to create for itself.
It could also be to protect missionaries from gossip and protect their reputations among members.

I can imagine a variant of this instruction that allows missionaries to disclose minor sins. The definition of "minor" would be hard to agree on and express in a few words, though.

Another reason might be to dissuade missionaries from bragging about all the bad stuff they did.

Too bad these are just guesses. As in so many other policies, it would be nice to have the motivation. How do you keep the spirit of the law if you don't know what it is?
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dande48
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by dande48 » 26 Oct 2017, 18:22

nibbler wrote:
25 Oct 2017, 06:42
Have you lived in accordance with all of these standards? Are you now living in accordance with them? Will you live in accordance with them as a full-time missionary?
Which implies that the youth are expected to recount sins and their repentance process for sins that have already been resolved with a church leader.
This wasn't the case with serving a mission, but I remember when the SP brought my and my bride to be for a joint interview, he asked to review all past transgressions, repented of in the eyes of the Church or not. It was quite the time and place.

nibbler wrote:
25 Oct 2017, 06:42
The problem: Missionaries are coming home early or otherwise experiencing issues that have an impact on their ability to do the work.
Proposed solution: Double down on the vetting process to filter out the weak kids (uncharitable representation).
Another Solution: Make the missions less arduous. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever that missions have to push our children to the breaking point.

...

To me it's another case where there's a problem with a church program and the perspective is that the problem lies entirely on the participant side of the equation. We've got to harden/prepare our youth for the rigors of a mission, make sure they are reading their scriptures 3 hours a day, and biking to church 4 hours uphill both ways. That will prepare them for a mission. Or we could make missions suck less.
I fully agree. Having served a mission, I can say from the bottom of my heart, it is the WORST thing you can do for yourself mentally, physically, emotionally (and often financially and educationally, but that's another point). I used to say, Spiritually it was great. There was also a lot I learned about empathy and compassion. But it WRECKED me. When I came home, I weighed 135 (at 6 feet tall). I literally could not keep any food down. Around noon, I could hardly walk a straight line. My back was practically ruined... I honestly have a love hate relationship with my mission experience.

Nibs is right. It could suck a whole lot less. I think a complete revamp of the mission field is in order. Door-to-door prosylitizing almost never works; everyone has heard of the Mormons. Have member friends teach their own referrals; there is no need to turn them over to the missionaries. Send a select few to the areas that need them the most. Allow them to call their family or friends in their spare time, and visit home at Christmas. Make Sabbath a day of rest. Really, I think we could get by with having "missionary" be an assigned calling on a ward level, than a complete life commitment for two years.
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DoubtingTom
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by DoubtingTom » 26 Oct 2017, 20:10

This is a little off base from the topic of the OP, but this thread has veered into a discussion of missionary life in general and how things could possibly improve.

One thought I've had reading through these posts is about knocking door-to-door. At least in the US, I think that should be banned. We are no longer in a culture where it is ok for a stranger to knock on your door. We don't even have traveling salesmen anymore, right? (Unless I've just been living in the right neighborhoods). It seems to me that missionaries continuing to knock when it is not really culturally accepted anymore, at least in this country, does more harm than good and damages the overall impresson non-members have of the church.

But that begs the question, what else are missionaries going to do to fill all the time in their schedules when they have nothing to do?

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Willhewonder
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by Willhewonder » 27 Oct 2017, 05:16

I served a mission in the days when we went to the mission home in Salt Lake for three days and then to the Language Training Mission in Provo. After a hectic and draining 3 days in Salt Lake, I looked forward to the lackadaisical wandering about BYU campus with my troop, spouting the occasional word of Spanish as I had seen when I was a freshman at BYU. So we got of the bus in Provo and we're met by a fellow who passed out a schedule and rules of the lTM. I looked it over and laughed. What a funny joke. Then I looked around and saw everybody staring at me solemnly. Uh oh. Hoo boy! Well I could get through this. Everybody from my town did. Not sure I would go on a mission in today's world.

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lotsofgray
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by lotsofgray » 27 Oct 2017, 13:59

Totally agree with all here. I can’t imagine any “normal” teenager being at all excited about mission realities before going. I am glad that at least now it’s public what a real mission is about. Hopefully these kinds of pre-commit disclosures will help kids and adults make personal decisions with eyes wide open. Also would be good to do something similar with anyone going to the temple. By the time we find out what any of this is like it’s too late.


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Heber13
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by Heber13 » 27 Oct 2017, 15:18

lotsofgray wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 13:59
Hopefully these kinds of pre-commit disclosures will help kids and adults make personal decisions with eyes wide open.
I'm kind of mixed on this. It is good to have standards and guidelines. I just don't think I have a lot of trust in leaders to apply it when there can be a culture of perfection and raising the bar and higher standards to try to out do the prior generations in the name of progress. I don't want to make growing up as a teenager in my family to be so sterile and boring and safe that it also removes the fun of living a normal life.

While I'm sure this letter was written to address certain problems mission presidents are now facing, I just think it introduces new problems, and doesn't address certain problems that will always be there.

I guess it is the administrative part of church that just is something we deal with by being part of the club.

It just has this feeling to me of a broad stroke of warning to all youth that freaks out a lot of people unnecessarily...when really what they need is to handle specific problems with individuals in a direct way...not passively making sweeping rules that take all the fun out of everything for everyone (think...lowest common denominator...like everybody totally 100% abstain from all alcohol because there are a few drunks that ruin the fun for the rest of us responsible adults..seems a bit extreme and unnecessary).

I will keep preparing my youngest son to properly get ready for a mission...and try to teach at home the values I think are important and help him navigate through church without becoming a drone with unhealthy guilt and shame. I can't trust church leaders or even youth leaders. I need to teach these kids at home the important things in life...which also includes...the option to not serve a mission...which is a totally valid option for many, I think.

If they are sending a message that a mission just isn't for everyone...maybe that is ok. Maybe that is what I should teach at home. Choose to, or not. It is ok either way.
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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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Oct 2017, 15:28

"Choose to or not. It's ok either way."
.

This.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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nibbler
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by nibbler » 28 Oct 2017, 07:02

Reuben wrote:
26 Oct 2017, 17:52
It could also be to protect missionaries from gossip and protect their reputations among members.

I can imagine a variant of this instruction that allows missionaries to disclose minor sins. The definition of "minor" would be hard to agree on and express in a few words, though.

Another reason might be to dissuade missionaries from bragging about all the bad stuff they did.

Too bad these are just guesses. As in so many other policies, it would be nice to have the motivation. How do you keep the spirit of the law if you don't know what it is?
Good guesses, and good point.
It is the end of the world. Surely you could be allowed a few carnal thoughts.
― Connie Willis

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nibbler
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Re: Questions to ensure youth are ready to serve a mission

Post by nibbler » 28 Oct 2017, 11:58

Salt Lake Tribune, Kirby's list of 16 questions:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/kirby/201 ... -missions/
It is the end of the world. Surely you could be allowed a few carnal thoughts.
― Connie Willis

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