Missionaries behind closed doors

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SamBee
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Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by SamBee » 15 Dec 2017, 12:08

We always hold up our missionaries as paradigms of virtue but it's not always true.

For example, a friend was on the bus when it was almost empty and happened to overhear a pair of missionaries having a conversation about which investigators they thought were good looking! Obviously they thought they could get away with it. From his account it was a facetious conversation and covered both genders - I'm not saying the pair were bi or anything, just dubious locker room talk.

So how do missionaries behave off duty? Just like other people of their age or are they really better behaved (in the main)? Or worse? Do missionary pairs speak honestly & frankly with each other or do they tend to hide everything in case the MP hears about it? And do they often get (genuine) crushes or is that fairly rare?
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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nibbler
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by nibbler » 15 Dec 2017, 12:55

Missionaries are human. All the rules they are expected to keep probably help them stay out of trouble that people their age might typically find themselves in but no one is perfect.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

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LookingHard
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by LookingHard » 15 Dec 2017, 13:43

My experiences is that missionaries generally are a bit tight-lipped, but once they find a companion that isn't going to tattle then it is a whole different story.

I served in the mission office for quite a while on my mission and oh the stories I heard. Of course there were missionaries falling in love (and sometimes going WAY beyond just "falling" and into "making"), and some that goofed off, some that called home all the time, some that drove the mission cars backwards for quite some time in order to "keep under their miles." Even in the office some of those guys would jump into the apartment hot tub with a "near beer", but they would get out if any females came.

But statistically they are less likely to get injured than guys their own age (that isn't saying much though).

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by hawkgrrrl » 15 Dec 2017, 18:42

In my mission, there were lots of shenanigans. Lots of human stuff. But here's the thing--the more human you were, the more successful you were, or so I saw. The more exacting and obedient you were, and the less successful and more miserable you were (and everyone around you).

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DarkJedi
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Dec 2017, 21:50

hawkgrrrl wrote:
15 Dec 2017, 18:42
In my mission, there were lots of shenanigans. Lots of human stuff. But here's the thing--the more human you were, the more successful you were, or so I saw. The more exacting and obedient you were, and the less successful and more miserable you were (and everyone around you).
My mission was much the same, as were my observations. My son who returned from his mission two years ago also made similar observations. It's actually very interesting.
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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Roadrunner
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by Roadrunner » 15 Dec 2017, 23:38

Crushes happen and are pretty common although it's somewhat rare that much happens beyond flirting. My wife served a mission and she received at least 4 proposals and two of them were genuine on the guys part so they must have perceived some reciprocation. I'm pretty sure my wife was a huge flirt on her mission.

The companions that I didn't get along with we pretty much ignored each other as much as possible. Companions that I got along well with we talked about everything. Planning honeymoons, wondering about sex (one comp had a honeymoon planned that involved a bathtub full of jello), wondering if we had to have sex with garments on, lots of pranks and some really disgusting involving poop. Talked jobs, college, cars, really anything. My last companion and I played cards every night. One companion that I had struggled with masturbating and I knew way more than I wanted to. I suspect most did but were better at hiding it.

Native speaking companions were difficult because even if you understood the language nuances still didn't connect. Finances could cause friction between native missionaries and gringos, who had way more money, even the poor Americans seemed incomprehensible wealthy to natives.

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SamBee
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by SamBee » 16 Dec 2017, 04:23

hawkgrrrl wrote:
15 Dec 2017, 18:42
In my mission, there were lots of shenanigans. Lots of human stuff. But here's the thing--the more human you were, the more successful you were, or so I saw. The more exacting and obedient you were, and the less successful and more miserable you were (and everyone around you).
I suppose that may be partly to do with what investigators notice coming off you. If you're up tight, then people will avoid you, but if you have a glint in your eye they might actually connect with your message.

Unfortunately I think there are other matters. I just could never see myself as a missionary. I had a lot more pressures on me than many other people my age - no family support whatsoever for one. I do think there are a lot of people who should never go on missions who do and those who are forced to and it shows (we had a Romanian missionary here for whom everything seemed a drag). I feel I made the right decision not to - I couldn't see myself baptizing and converting lots of peope partly because I'm the type of person who finds it hard enough to talk to large groups of strangers.
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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dande48
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by dande48 » 16 Dec 2017, 11:02

Missionaries do act VERY different in certain situations than others. I've even found that to be true in the homes of recent converts (who don't know much about mission rules), and longtime members. But if you look at the situation, it's understandable. You've got young men ages 18-25, working 112 hour weeks, and forbid them from dating and practically all communication with home. You implement strict rules against entertainment of anykind, against being alone, as well as a few other specialized rules that don't make any sense (we weren't allowed to chew gum). Your setting them up with impossibly high expectations, that they feel they must live up to or else they are going to hell. They are going to put on a face around members, and they are going to have locker room talk.

Missionaries can get crushes, but I think largely they are just starved of attention from the opposite sex. Most won't act on it, but you've got to pass the time with some level of normalacy. I had a companion, where we made a game of dividing up the ladies onto "my team", if they were hott, and "your team", if they were ugly. We also had this mission requirement, that we are supposed to share any "miracle" with our zone leader. My companion reported a miracle, when he saw a really beautiful girl on a college campus. He turned the whole JS story into his witness of this "beauty beyond description", in a way that would offend most TBMs.

Other missionaries will cling to other aspects of their identity. I was obsessive about pullups, and did around 300 a day. I had a companion who loved legos. I had a district leader who enjoyed retelling the plots of R-rated movies most missionaries had never seen. And I also knew a missionary who collected pokemon cards on his mission.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by SamBee » 16 Dec 2017, 12:18

It's interesting. All these stories humanize them.

Non-members see them in curious ways.

One guy I know compared them to aliens. Another said Men In Black (and if you know your UFO lore that is a strange link! I think they meant the film.). One of the most frequent comments is that they are robotic or American. None of these are actually positive!

However on the flipside I hear non-members say female missionaries are gorgeous. I explain to some of them that the clean living helps (I know one woman who seems to have aged ten years in two due to heavy drinking).

Funnily enough I don't remember having any contact with sister missionaries prior to investigating!
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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Gerald
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Re: Missionaries behind closed doors

Post by Gerald » 17 Dec 2017, 06:40

I was the secretary to the president in my mission and responsible for missionary files (this was back in the 1980's, mind you). Everything good and bad was kept in those files. Oh my, the stories I could tell. The elder who was so cognitively impaired he could barely function. The elder who had a nervous breakdown. The elder caught smoking. The elder looking at naked pictures of women. The elder exchanging sexually explicit letters with a female member of his ward. The worst was the elder who was eventually excommunicated for having sex with a woman in one room while his companion sat watching TV in the other. (Interestingly, the sisters seemed to have very few serious problems.) But I do have to say that these stories stand out because they were extreme. The vast majority of the missionaries were trying to do their best despite their idiosyncratic weaknesses. And many of them were tremendously admirable individuals. Sounds like life....
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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