Nice story.Grateful senior alumni, 2000.
Actually I think most Returned Missionary Elders would agree that the MTC was a
great place to take the knowledge we had gained and the training we had learned
prior to our arrival to be successful missionaries! From Primary and the Young
Mens program to Seminary and Scouting we learned the skills that are refined in
the MTC. The wonder of the MTC is that it is only a gathering point of knowledge
given by faithful leaders and teachers we had in the first 19 years of our
lives. Why are missionaries successful and respected inside and outside of the
Church in many instances: Because we already had studied and knew the sacred
words of the Book of Mormon, but even more the Bible as well. This along with
Scouting(teaching the oath and the law, motto and slogan) prepared us for this
Mission as well as having caring and loving parents! That is the power given to
the MTC. Leadership learned in Troops and in the Priesthood made us ready for
refining. Just wanted to mention these few things so as to credit ALL who make
the MTC such a special place!
Wish I had never stepped through those doors. May all new missionaries have a
much better experience than I did.
My MTC experience was tough but wonderful! And I thought the food was great
:)I look forward to going on another mission someday with my
sweetheart.One thing I wonder about is why worthy older single men
are not able to serve. If a single man can be an great Apostle I can't see why
they couldn't be great missionaries. I hope they can someday.
"And they do so willingly. ..."Honestly, the majority of
young men who go do so out of a sense of requirement. They don't honestly have
a "calling" to serve. If they don't go, they get
badgering from church fellows, relatives, parents; "when are you going to
go", "why aren't you going"...My nephew is suffering
the badgering right now."Every young man on a mission"
makes it a church requirement, a rite-of-passage.They shouldn't go
unless they actually feel a calling to go. Period.
Thanks. When my husband went on his mission in 1962, there was no language
training for German missionaries. This meant he had to teach himself the
language while in Germany. While immersion is still the best method, he says it
would have helped his first 6 months be more productive had the language
training been available.
My time in the Language Training Mission (dates me a little--some English
speaking missionaries were there in a pilot program when I was there in
June-July of 1978 and it was renamed later that year) was some of the most
spiritual of my life. I do not think there is a place on earth that the Lord is
more concerned with. I felt like He walked the halls with me the whole time I
was there. I know that wasn't' the case for some missionaries and I
don't know why. The only advise I can give to new missionaries going there is
to focus on why you are there, stay positive and don't judge yourselves too
harshly if you don't think you measure up. I spent way too much time on my
mission worrying about my weaknesses rather than enjoying the time I had to
serve and trusting in the Lord to compensate for my deficiencies.
Sinder...What in the world happened...?-?I stepped in
the MTC doors naive, and a little nervous of the unknown...I left
three weeks later for Australia... I remember good food. I remember making
friends with other missionaries.I remember that I read the
scriptures a lot in the MTC. And had classes on the "Missionary
Guide."But all-in-all it was a good experience. A lot of fun. A
lot of positive experiences...
The MTC was a bit of an enigma for me. I was there 12 weeks thanks to problems
getting a visa from my destination country. By the time those 12 weeks were
over, I would have done anything to leave. After a few weeks in the mission
field, I would have done anything to go back.The MTC is truly an
amazing and frustrating place at the same time.
The MTC was a wonderful experience for me! I struggled with learning a new,
complicated, very difficult Asian language but who doesn't? I count the two
years I served as the BEST two years of my life in so many ways! It changed me
The article says that the MTC doesn't try to force people to act a certain way.
That wasn't my experience at all. Everything done there seems to be about
conformance and breaking down the individual. In some cases that isn't a bad
thing but to say it doesn't happy is false.
I remember the mtc well. I had only been a member for 4 1/2 years before I went
on my mission. The MTC was a very spiritual place to me. I wasnt there very long
because there was an air traffic controllers strike looming and they wanted us
to get to our mission before the strike. I loved my mission for the most part
but it was difficult for me in some ways because I hadnt been raised in the
church and didnt have seminary,etc. and my companions kind of acted otherwise,
but my mission president was very understanding about the whole thing.
Good luck to all the missionaries spreading the word.As for those
who chose not to go, that is up to them. Well meaning inquiries does not equal
badgering. I know good people in the church that didn't go on missions, some of
the best. It is good however to go if you so chose with full commitment to do
good and help others.
I went through the LTM in 1963, in the first group to go to Uruguay. Nearly 50
years later I still remember that experience as a time of great growth - even
more than my in-country experience. Now my brother-in-law is a
counsellor at the MTC. He and his wife love the missionaries and their
calling.While I wouldn't say my mission was the best two years of my
life, it - and particularly the LTM experience - influenced the rest of my life
for the better. I feel so sorry for those who have expressed their
disappointment with the MTC/missionary experience.
Ranch Hand - I have to think that the cultural response to do or not do mission
service - like a lot of topics in the Church - is different inside Utah than
outside Utah. Yes, every worthy young man should serve - as a
Priesthood responsibility - but every young man doesn't. My first son did not,
opted for getting married early in life. And while I would have liked him to
have the mission experience, was disappointed that he did not go, and it makes
it harder to get his younger siblings to go on missions, there was no
"badgering" by his parents, eccliastical leaders, or local members.
There were well-wishing inquiries and open discussions, but no badgering. And he is not shunned by family or peers. He knows we love him, and
that he is fully able to reach the celestial kingdon without having served a
full-time mission as a youth. In fact, we will be going to LA for his temple
sealing in July. I'm so very sorry there are uncharitable manifestations by
some about your nephew.
Even my ex-spouse, who is inactive, says it was his best 2 years. He is very
supportive of our son serving a mission now.
MTC reminds me of four words: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The MTC was one of the best experiences of my life. I frequently wish I could go
Otis, While we're spreading warm feelings about the MTC, allow me to
spread some other warm feelings with you: BYU dominated on Saturday, against
Gonzaga, your new favorite team. If you forgot, I'll remind you."I'd like to congratulate Gonzaga my new favorite team on their win over
BYU" posted before the game.Cheers!
I feel that one of the processes and blessings of the MTC is the
"Detoxification of the World". A place where young men, in
particular, learn to leave the things of the world behind and that sacrifice
brings blessings from on high. It was there that our son gained a great love for
family, the Book of Mormon, and the Savior. One of the biggest challenges for
them is letting go and moving forward with the faith that they are there for a
divine purpose. The MTC teaches things of the spirit, structure and self
discipline that are hard to find in anywhere else. Now, a year and a half into
his mission he remains thankful for the 2month "MTC Boot Camp",the
hardest days of his life,as his love for the Savior, the Gospel, the people he
teaches and serves, as well as his love for family have grown in ways that could
never be realized with out that experience. I agree that a mission isn't
for everyone, but it still remains a Priesthood responsibility that should be
"Spiritually" prepared for in the midst of all the technological
distractions of today. Thanks for the article. LTM-1975
Anybody remember the old mission home in downtown SLC? That's where I went.
Five days and it was off to Australia. Never set foot in Provo. But we got to
hear Legrand Richards speak.
Come on people...Is it possible to have a thread that is free BYU sports???Just when I was basking in the spirit of the article.BTW, we
checked in to the Old Mission home before being transferred down to the LTM. We
were told that we were the last group that would go through the SLC MH. Great
memories. Loved LeGrande Richards' unstoppable monotone zeal in his talks. Does
anyone remember seeing him slap away the hand of one of the 1st Prescy. tugging
on his pant leg when they were trying to get him to stop talking in conference?
My MTC experience wasn't too bad. Not great, but not too bad. My subsequent
experience in Basic Training and Technical School thereafter had in many ways
more of a deep impact though. That's just my take. All of it really is dependent
upon how a young Elder of Sister approaches the experience. Nonconformists
probably have a difficult time, and those who aren't socially active may suffer
as well seeing as they are now thrust into a setting that requires much
interaction with others. My son has absolutely no inclination to serve a
mission and I will never, ever make it an issue with him. We've said that it
would be nice but ultimately the decision is his and his alone. Period. And yes,
the cultural aspect of being a Utah LDS member and not serving is entirely an
animal in and of itself.
I remember the MTC very well. I have a good story for it as well. I entered on
February 2nd (Groundhog Day). It was the movie to a tee. Every day the exact
same as the day before. I loved the food, the Spirit enveloping us, seeing 2 or
3 of my cousins in there at the same time.
The greatest thing I ever heard about the MTC went like this: "It was a
great place - not as spiritual as home - but a very good place"
Otis,I don't blame your lack of faith, it indeed has been a long
drought. And just as in life sometimes our lack of faith gets smacked....... I
simply wanted to remind you your new favorite team got worked. And
hopefully history DOES repeat itself this year, with a trip to the Elite 8. And
hopefully its not another 30.
At the SLC MH, 1970, I was not enjoying the experience, but really loved my time
in the LTM of Laie, Hawaii to study Japanese. It is amazing at how a soul can
be so lonely, feel so isolated, lost, even unimportant while surrounded by
Christian missionaries in training...even missionaries need love, a friend, some
tangible human soul to sincerely care about their success. I am grateful for the
Hawaiian LTM, but have a feeling I would not have liked the Provo MTC. The
article needs to emphasize the gifts of the Holy Ghost supercede any
technological approach to learning and speaking a new language, succeeding in a
totally new culture and environment.
While I learned a lot in the MTC, I found the actual mission field to be a far
better experience. The Elders were A LOT more comfortable around the sisters by
that time and stopped trying to A) Talk down to us or B) Avoid us and treat us
as temptresses. Not all Elders had hang-ups with the sisters, but enough that it
made the MTC a pretty miserable experience for me. It is nice to see
that the daily regimen has changed. It seems more like the actual schedule they
will follow while out in the field.
I taught at the MTC for three years before moving on after graduating last
April. I have great memories of the MTC and it is a very special place to me.As a missionary I found it difficult even though I was well prepared.
Having three older brothers helped me to be somewhat familiar with what goes on
there. I had a very difficult time with my companion but still enjoyed the
devotionals and weekly temple trips very much.As a teacher I worked
very hard to make sure my missionaries not only learned the language and how to
teach, but learned how to love others and become selfless representatives of
Christ. I'm sure I learned far more teaching the missionaries than they learned
from me. There are so many amazing young men and women serving missions! It was
a pleasure to meet and try and help so many of them.The MTC has made
so many efforts to make the MTC experience more effective in preparing
missionaries. Language learning is focused on teaching and teaching is focused
on helping people instead of just sharing a nice message.Still the
MTC is only what missionaries make it.
No matter what you do in life, the experiences that we have with whatever we
choose to do is all about our attitudes, and what we make of it. The MTC and my
mission were by far the most spiritual, and incredible experiences of my life.
I would never have left my mission if there was some way I could have stayed.
The other missionaries that I met in the MTC are brothers to me and some of my
hero's. How grateful I am that I was able to be a part of the greatest work on
The comments above remind me of President Uchdorf's message in this month'
Ensign.Those who look for long enough for negativism will always find
it.Those who look for the good, will always find it.No one says a
mission is fun or easy.My mission 35 years ago in Central America was very
rugged and rusticcompared to the conditions of today.Most
missionaries go for the right reason.Those who don't, will never feel it
was a worth while experience unless theyat some point "choose"
to do the Lord's will and not theirs.It's all about what you put into it
and what you're willing to give up for those two years.I absolutely
LOVED my mission and can't wait to go again.
You get out of it EXACTLY what you put into it...nothing more, nothing less.
I spent 3 months in the mtc during the last 3 months of 78. I was sent 3 days
before the Utah deer hunt. I can remember the pain of watching 4x4s driving by
with hunter orange. Then came the operation a week before I was to go to Spain.
My foot became infected (severely) and I was about to call it quits and go home.
Then some BYU chorallers(sp) stop by my room and sang a couple of christmas
songs. I would like to thank them. Hard thing for an Aggie to do. I ended up in
California instead of Spain. Being shot twice, spit on, beer bottles thrown at
me were the fun and memorable points of my mission.
MTC is there basically to weed out those who arent ready. It was fun and
considered it good practice before we got the real thing. Loved my mission, I
think about it everyday.
"If they don't go, they get badgering from church fellows, relatives,
parents; "when are you going to go", "why aren't you
going"..."This is an interesting claim: that 19 year olds
might make major life choices based not on their own personal interests or best
judgment, but out of "badgering" from others.I wonder how
those who make such a claim feel about 18 year olds being allowed to join the
military, sign legally binding contracts, and voting. Are these decisions being
made of their own free will? Or are 18 year olds subject to
"badgering" in terms of educational and career choices, signing
contracts, and even how they cast their vote?If 19 year olds are
going on 2 year LDS missions for reasons other than their free choice, we can
only imagine what 18 year olds are doing relative to casting votes, using
tobacco, signing contracts, and joining the military.
My experience at the LTM was "unforgettable", mainly because I entered
in November 1963, with a call to one of the Mexican missions and eventually
ended up (with five other Elders) going to the Central American Mission.
Obtaining a Mexican visa was at times challenging, in those days, for
missionaries called to serve there. After "23 weeks" at the LTM
waiting for a visa to Mexico, and not knowing if or when a visa was forthcoming,
the six of us were offered the opportunity to serve in another mission. ... and
yes, did we ever jump at the chance to finally leave the LTM. By that time we
were living in one of the homes on 900 East (there should be a photo included of
those homes). After the initial 12 weeks of training at the LTM there was no
formal program for those waiting on visas. Without a doubt, my time there, was
MORE than I expected!
When I was 19 I made the choice to serve because I had a testimony of it. Yes
members ask 19 year olds if they are going constantly, yes they do strongly
encourage it, but no they dont force anyone to serve. I was grateful for those
who encouraged me but most grateful for Heavenly Father giving me a chance to be
an instrument in His hands. I wouldnt trade my experiences and friendships on my
mission for the world. Yes it was hard but nothing thats worthwile in this life
comes easy. Like someone said above you get what you put into it. If you are not
ready to serve at 19 please dont. Gain a testimony of it first, make prayer a
priority asking God what you should do. Missions are hardwork but in the end one
of the greatest blessing of your life. Dont let the opportunity pass you by.
I also went to the SLC Mission, second week in October, 1978 and we were told we
were the next to the last week before it closed. Meals in the 'White Tower', two
sessions in the SLC Temple and a meeting in the Solemn Assembly Room, the
President forgetting that those going across the International Date Line were
leaving a day early, and a bunch Elders Panicked because they still had stuff to
get at Mr. Mac- the time rushed by and then you are in the field, having to
learn while you go. My sons were far more prepared when they arrived in their
field of labor. The MTC is not perfect, but neither are the leaders and the
missionaries blessed to live there for a short while. Think it's not a very
special place- try being in the same room with over 200 voices singing 'Called
To Serve' and the spirit just en-robes you like warm chocolate.
Don't drink the Orange Juice! Bad things man, bad things.
I mentioned my experience was tough but wonderful. Here are some experiences
that stood out.1. I was the first in my family to serve a mission. I
told all my friends I would call them and let them know how I was doing. What!?
Surprise, there are no phones!2. My assigned companion didn't show
up at the MTC and I was placed as an orphan in a three-person companionship,
then called as DL.3. I had always been in church choir and my mom
played the organ. At the first devotional, the missionaries all stood up and
began singing a song I had never heard before in my life - Called To Serve -
which wasn't in the old hymnbook! Right then I wondered if I was raised in the
same church as everyone else?? (I was not from Utah)4. One day when
I was a bit frustrated, another missionary said "Elder, you can't have the
Spirit with that attitude" which bugged me. I responded curtly "I did
something wrong this morning and the Spirit left then! He's not coming back till
tomorrow!" :)Man, what great memories!
My MTC experience was OK. The "real" mission field was much better.
I was stuck with a homesick Californian who had nothing good to say about Utah
for eight long weeks. I learned patience and charity but it was the hard way.
I never went on a mission. I joined the USAF at 17 straight out of High School.
I served 20 years and though I miss the mission experience I wouldn't have
traded those 20 years for anything. I've served as a counsellor in the Stake
Mission Presidency and as a Branch/Ward Mission Leader. I've seen what these
elders and sisters go through. Most that I have met over my life all say the
same thing, how enjoyable and challenging life is in the MTC. I often ask
myself why some don't and the answer came to me through a Stake President one
time. It is one word, PRIDE. Yet, I'm not sure that is always the answer.
Sometimes it is because they didn't go to seminary, didn't grow up in the Church
or quite possibly because it wasn't taught in the home. Either way my
experience is that those who have gone through the MTC have enjoyed it and count
it as one of the most enjoyable moments of their life.
BillI don't think you can lump everyone together like you do. Some
of us WERE prepared and HUMBLE, entered excited to serve and tried to maintain
positive attitudes, but did not have great MTC experiences.When you
are sequestered with the same 9 people for 12-14 hours a day, every day for 2
months, their attitudes affect you. Sometimes, 19-year-old boys do not know how
to interact platonically with females and treat them with hostility instead. I
know that I am not singular in having this experience. It was with great relief
that I discovered the Elders in the field had learned to be professional and
friendly while keeping the appropriate boundaries. In short, it was nice to be
treated as a person again.As for my mission, I loved everything
about it except the MTC. It helped to increase my testimony and faith. It helped
me to understand the gospel on a deeper level. I still feel great joy at hearing
from those I taught and seeing their progression in the Church and in their
@Jennie Richards: Sorry you hated your mission. Hope you didn't stay on
grudgingly, did you? If you did, then I can understand why you hated it. The
Lord would not have loved you any less if you had decided to spare yourself the
agony of doing something you probably didn't want to do in the first place. His
work will continue to roll ahead whether we're willing to help along with it or
not. My own mission experience was definitely not the best 2 years of my life
but it was undoubtedly the very best 2 years FOR my life.
Because the MTC is designed so that you are never alone, it is a particularly
hard experience for introverted people, which is nearly 50% of missionaries. Introverted tendencies, especially the need for some private downtime to
relax, think, and ponder away from people, are unavailable in the current MTC
structure.The hardest part of the whole mission experience for me
was getting used to never having private time. I need it, even in my marriage. I
need that time to hear the Spirit whisper to my soul. I think the
MTC experience could be substantially improved for many missionaries by
spiritually creating some ways for those who need more private time to
experience it, while still maintaining the spirit and structure of missionary
I would like to respond to all those "attitude is everything"
comments. It isn't! I went into the MTC and my mission with a very strong
testimony. I was a 22 year old sister who had had the spirit confirm to her on
several occasions the need to go. I had 13 baptisms and both good and bad
companions. I loved working with inactive members and count them as my greatest
successes. I had a good attitude in my opinion and loved the people I worked
with.HOWEVER, all that positiveness doesn't change the fact that the
MTC was the most miserable and testimony wounding experience of my life. My
current struggles have their roots in my mission; the way I was treated by
teachers at the MTC, my mission Pres who didn't like having sisters in the
field, etc. If it hadn't been for the great people at the Ogden
Institute the years after my mission I'm not sure what my testimony would be
like - spiritual wounds heal slowly. Missions are not for everyone and even the
faithful can come to hate them.
A few months ago the mission president came out with a new programme: the
missionaries could eat with members only if a non-member was present. If the
missionaries had a discussion appointment that night, they were to bring their
"investigator(s)" with them. If the missionaries didn't have an
investigator to bring, and the members didn't have a non-member present to
legalize the proceedings, the missionaries were to give the members a discussion
after the meal. This immediately ended the dinner appointments in
the ward. The members didn't want to take the chance that the missionaries would
bring some weirdo, or several weirdos, into their homes. Also, the members
didn't like the idea that, in addition to the weirdness factor, they wouldn't
know how much food to prepare. They might theoretically sign up to feed the
elders, and end up with half-a-dozen "guests". They also didn't like
the idea of dinner potentially turning into an all-evening affair with them
having to sit through a discussion, with or without the
"investigator(s)". So they simply stopped feeding the
missionaries. Totally. The mission's baptism statistics are in the toilet.
My time spent as a Mormon missionary was a long, laborious, boring and
depressing experience. I tried to seek out mental diversions and ways to enjoy
my European experience, but the constant guilt, shame and sheer drudgery of the
experience left me anxious and filled with further doubt and uneasiness. The
plus was that I was able to experience a marvelous culture and history, learn a
fabulous language and in some small ways experience the beauty and charm of
European life. Those were the positives for me. Friends made, experiences which
left me with happy moments among the drudgery and depression are what I look
back upon with fondness, which leave me with some small attempt at salvaging any
meaning for being there in the first place. I returned from Germany
as an emotional wreck. I felt that my testimony of the Mormon Church had been
severely weakened instead of strengthened. I felt severely disconnected with
reality, and in some ways I felt that parts of me, my inner self, had died or
become severely atrophied in the process. It was a long road back to some
semblance of me again.
I remember very well what I was doing when I heard of the murders of Todd Wilson
and Jeff Ball, two missionaries who were working in La Paz, Bolivia, in May of
1989. My wife and I were sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Spanish Fork, Utah,
and the announcement came over the radio. I couldn't breathe when I heard the
news. It was as if someone had punched me in the stomach and driven all the air
from my lungs. My wife and I sat there, staring at each other and unable to
speak. Over the next couple of weeks some old, suppressed feelings
came back to me. I remembered the hateful insults, the threats, the things
thrown at us--all because we were different from most people in Bolivia. We were
strangers from the United States, and we were mostly greeted with a mixture of
distrust and fear. Many people believed we were agents of the US government, and
many more saw us as agents of a cultural and economic imperialism that
threatened Bolivia on many fronts.
RanchHand they do have a calling to go. Every worthy able young man is called
at 19 to go on a mission. I never seen any talk were it was otherwise. Plenty
were you are already called, Through your bishop and Stake President let the
Lord tell you were you will serve.
What is the rule on missionary dinner appointments now? I think most you can
eat just keep it brief and not during prime proselyting time. Hard to do.
Impossible to be out by 6 if Husband is not home until then. Customary hour is
what handbook says. Some may have rules less active and part member
families too. I think they vary. Longwinded members can keep missionaries from
proselyting when they should.How does the Telecenter work now? I
did five weeks in the MTC since I did the telecenter. Does every English
Missionary get a shot at it now? How it worked was people would call
commercials for Scriptures and videos and we would have missionaries deliver
them. Were told to be pushy there. I did not baptized anyone media referal
myself. Wonder how it works now.
It should be noted that three weeks is fluent English speakers assigned to teach
in English. There are many missionies who are called to serve in
English-speaking areas who are not fluent in English and thus spend 8 weeks in
the MTC. My last companion, being from Mongolia, fit this description. As did
missionaries in my mission from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and I believe a few
I have my call to the Colorado Denver South mission and I cant wait to go! Only
2 more months and ill be down in Provo to learn how to teach the gospel in
spanish. I seriously cant wait! We all live to serve:]
AZRods--"The comments above remind me of President Uchdorf's message in
this month' Ensign.Those who look for long enough for negativism will
always find it.Those who look for the good, will always find it."Yup-- I thought the very same thing.
readAbook--sorry about your negative experiences.Serves to remind
everyone else connected with missionaries (Presidents etc) to remember THEIR OWN
attitudes and actions and motivations are just as important as expecting the
missionary to have it together in those things.I implore all leaders
in the Church, (not just mission presidents) to remember this is THE LORD'S
Church, (not theirs) and that they are to follow and incorporate the direction
of the Lord, the First Presidency and the Twelve in fulfilling their callings
(not their own.) Then "spiritual wounding" like readAbook
suffered would be a lot less.
The MTC can be both a harrowing experience and a spiritually edifying adventure
at the same time. For those who are less inclined to conform to the prescribed
behavioral, affective, and cognitive routines that are often rigidly enforced in
the MTC, the adjustment can be a significant challenge. Nevertheless, the weekly
temple sessions, Tuesday evening devotionals, intense Gospel study, and personal
reflection and prayer can give you the strength to endure some of the peculiar
perspectives espoused by a few of your instructors and fellow missionaries
(those with whom you closely associate for several weeks). Indeed, the MTC can
be a valuable primer for being an active member of the Church in adult
lifeteaching you to embrace the spiritual truth that emanates from the Holy
Ghost (which is in great abundance in the MTC and the LDS Church in general)
while being relatively unperturbed by the few who think the Gospel is about
trying to legitimize ones self-aggrandizing perspective that they would have you
believe is sanctioned by the Lord. The MTC can be a great place to learn to more
fully communicate with Lord while blocking out all types of potential noise
within the communication process.
The MTC served as the framework to a spiritual journeyone which I hope secured a
strong spiritual foundation for my life as an active latter-day saint. That is
not to say that I dont think some in the MTC would have you follow like robots.
I think some of them would. To all of you who have been spiritually wounded by
harrowing experiences in the MTC or elsewhere in the Church, I sympathize with
you. I recognize your legitimate hurt and deep concern for spiritual matters.
Please do not allow those who might try to usurp your agency and individuality
cause you to project negative judgments on our Heavenly Fathers plan for you.
Our Father is a loving God who values your individuality and can heal your
spiritual woundsand He can do it more easily and intimately when you are an
active and endowed member of the Church. Anyone who thinks they have to take
away your individuality for the good of the collective does not understand the
essential need for individuality within the plan. You battled for individuality
once already in the pre-mortal realm. Keep battling for it here.
Windsor- I implore all leaders in the Church, (not just mission presidents) to
remember this is THE LORD'S Church, (not theirs) and that they are to follow and
incorporate the direction of the Lord, the First Presidency and the Twelve in
fulfilling their callings (not their own.) Thank you for this! When
I read comments concerning God, His plan for us, and what we think of it all on
these blogs. It is suprising to me how many of us, are so quick to give OUR own
personal thoughts and opinions on God and how His plan is and how we think He
should run things.... What do we have power to create? Everything we have
doesn't truly belong to us, it is on loan from God himself. The only thing that
truly belongs to us is our will, the power to choose one or the other. We can't
build anything or create anything without Him, and being an instrument for Him
to use. Choose you this day. It is a choice and an attitude, and it is only
one (Heavenly Father) or the other (The adversaries) way. We do not create our
I read fresnogirl's comment with great shame. We had an amazingly
pretty Sister in our MTC district. We did not know how to handle that. We
policed each other. If any of us talked to her too long, or too often or sat
next to her voluntarily, he would get remarks or The Look from the others.
Quickly, it became easier for all of us to avoid her. When we did have to
interact with her, we made sure that no one around could think we
"liked" her. We were rude. She was easily the best
prepared to be there -- both Spiritually and Academically. But, by
the end, she barely dared to speak in our district or make eye contact with any
Elder. She did nothing to deserve our treatment. Her only "crime" was
being too pretty while we were too immature and insecure. We should
have treated her as a Sister, but (to my everlasting shame) we made her an
outcast. I never got to apologize to her, so I apologize to you, fresnogirl. It
is the one thing I regret about my mission.
It is always interesting when one derides the expression of opinion by offering
nothing other than opinion. We all have opinions. The strongest opinion posted
seems to be the post that tells us not to have opinions. I find help in shaping
my opinion with regard to creating through President Uchtdorfs comments: The
desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul..we each have
an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can
create..Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. In my opinion, those
who believe in God want to align their opinion more fully with that of their
creator. Sometimes we approach that process differently than how other mortals
may wish. We are on this earth to learn how to think for ourselves and to
endeavor to exercise our agency to align our opinion more closely with Gods. It
is not about having no opinion at allit is about refining our opinion the best
way we know how. It seems that we have a generous God who mercifully helps each
of us do this.
cliff--"...teaching you to embrace the spiritual truth that emanates from
the Holy Ghost...while being relatively unperturbed by the few who think the
Gospel is about trying to legitimize ones self-aggrandizing perspective that
they would have you believe is sanctioned by the Lord."WELL
Arguably it would be much more accuaret to say Elder Lozano is preparing to
"teach in Spanish" than to "speak Spanish." This may not be
how people talk about the issue but it would more accuarately convey what is
EWCTs comments about how the missionaries are probably teaching
"weirdos" probably illustrate the real reason baptisms are down. With
the attitude that other people are weird and one should not have to associate
with them, who would want to join the Church?
Higv, The rules about missionaries eating in menber homes are usually at
the discretion and direction of the mission president, which in general means he
will consult with his counselors on the matter. There is no churchwide policy
because the situations and needs in each mission are different.
Why would you let your mission president, a companion, other missionaries, or
anybody else determine whether or not you enjoy your mission? I didn't
particularly like my first mission president. I had a companion who hated my
guts because I was an American. Most of the food I ate was just barely edible.
But I had the time of my life on my mission. I'd go back in a heart beat. I
wouldn't trade the friends I made and the service I was able to give, or the
love I received in return for anything. You have to take the bad with the good
to fully enjoy this life.
After reading these comments, it is amazing what a difference a mission
president can make. I still remember the comments from some missionaries (I used
to feed them every week) talking about why they miss the just returned home
mission president. I always told them to remember this is the Lord's work
althought I would had liked to say that to the mission president!
President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked why two different people in the same
meeting can have totally different impressions of the talks presented with one
having a wonderfully spiritual experience and the other not feeling the spirit
at all and coming away empty. His response was that when we are placed in a
position to feel the spirit it is up to each of us to be ready and to be
receptive. If we don't feel the spirit, when someone has prepared diligently
and been guided by the spirit in what they say it is our own fault.So it is with missionaries. Those who are inspired by the MTC and grow from
the experience go in with the right attitude and spirit. Those who don't
weren't ready. My son is coming to the end of his mission and has had wonderful
experiences at every turn. He loved the CTM (MTC in Brazil) and has loved each
of his two mission presidents. I know there have been difficult times for him,
but his attitude has always carried him through.
I think it's easy to judge those who did not have the kind of experience WE want
them to have had. There must be something wrong with THEM. I disagree. There is
nothing wrong in admitting that parts of an experience were hard and not
enjoyable. Look at Fresno Girl. Anyone who reads the sports boards
will tell you that she has about the most positive attitude possible. All of her
black clouds have silver linings. All except this one, that is. That to me says
a lot. I can't imagine being surrounded by openly hostile people all day for 2
months and not having a hard time. She says her experience is not
unique. I have known many returned Sister missionaries. The pretty ones usually
say the same things about their missions. While they loved being in the field,
they hated being in the MTC. The reason is always the same as well, the Elders
in their districts were unkind to them. I don't know how this can be improved.
But I don't think we should blame the Sisters for not having a great MTC
experience as a result. We should be more Christlike.
In The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball discusses ones
individual responsibility to feel the spirit in the specific context of
sacrament worship services. He chastises those who will only attend a sacrament
meeting when the speaker is eloquent, etc. He says worship is an individual
matter that must come from within. It seems that President Kimball was speaking
directly about worship services, not whether or not someone had a good
experience in the MTC over a 4-8 week period. Interestingly, when speaking
specifically about the context of marriage, President Kimball said that an
abusive husband should not be honored in his priesthood". Although this is
in the context of marriage, it seems like a far leap from telling the victim
that if they felt abused that they were probably not prepared spiritually and
that it is their own fault. Although it is wonderful to hear that your children
had such wonderful experiences in the MTC, I imagine that parents with children
whose experience was not that wonderful may have a different take. The day may
come when you have a different take as well.
The LDS Church has developed first rate missionary training centers across the
world that excel in teaching the Gospel and foreign languages to numerous
missionaries. If nothing else, this series of articles is demonstrating how much
care the Church puts into instructing its missionaries and helping them learn
Gospel truths and a foreign language in an environment that is conducive to the
presence of the Holy Ghost. If learning the Gospel and acquiring a second
language were simply a matter of ones individual perspective and spiritual
maturity, why is the Church going to such great lengths to develop the most
conducive environment possible? Why not just throw a bunch of missionaries into
a room and say: if you learn something you are spiritually prepared, but if you
do not learn, then it is your own fault and all of the parents who have had kids
think they succeeded should feel justified in pointing their fingers of scorn at
you. The fact is that not everyone is treated with dignity and respect and
sometimes deep spiritual wounds can result (especially when this experience is
concentrated into 8 intense weeks during a key spiritual growth period).
My one week in the mission home was worthwhile. My mission was 2 years of
adjusting and growing and making mistakes and helping others. It wasn't the
happiest two years of my life, but it was the most important two years. Now,
nearly 50 years later, there hasn't been a day go by that I haven't thought of
Beat this! Joined in 1967, MTC 1968, scared to death. My fiance' convinced
me to take discussions, vowed to wait. First area was a nightmare; almost went
home, similar to President McKay's experience. After 8 months sent home for
surgery, then returned to mission field. Ex-fiance' married day I entered
hospital. So much for young girl's promises!!Enjoyed rest of my
mission most of all; worked with Celestial candidates! Eventually, went home
again; infections and complications from first surgery (doctor was on drugs and
alcohol etc. botched the surgery and left me sterile; in fact, I had what next
doctor called "chemo therapy intensity antibiotics", which was very
difficult. I was miserable and depressed beyond belief.Vietnam had
reduced many missions to 18 months (complaints Mormons using missions to dodge
draft -- false!), so I was released since I'd served long enough. I'd
met future wife at end of mission; dated at BYU, married in 6 months.Oldest son didn't serve mission; other three did. Not to worry, though;
President Monson didn't serve a mission but the Lord seems to like him OK.
If you didn't serve, STOP WORRYING!