I will send my oldest son off for his mission in two years. I can't even
imagine having to sit through a welcome session while I'm crying my eyes out. I
would rather send him off at the curb. I have several friends who have just
recently sent their first sons out into the mission field. They like the curb
system. Goodbye is goodbye and it will be painful either way.
My wife and I were doing our mission medical training up in the church office
building 22 months ago, the swine flu epidemic was mounting. One morning Dr.
____ charged into the room saying, "I don't get, I just don't get
it!" Then he went into this tirade about an Elder that brought a bunch of
family and extended members to the MTC some which had been in Mexico and now he
had to notify the public that they brought the Swine Flu into the MTC. He said,
" I just don't get it. You put the crying family and the missionary in
this room and then wrench the missionary out of their mother's arms. That won't
happen again!" I have been talking to the brethren about getting rid of
that and now it might happen" After looking at this group of Senior
Couples that had all sent missionaries there and seeing that some of them were
in shock, he then said, "I AM A SURGEON!" "JUST CUT IT
OFF!" He then laughed and of course the rest of us did too. He was
prophetic though. That was the last of the old system.
As a mother or 6 boys, the oldest 15 years old I think the new method works
best. So, if all my sons serve missions I would be so happy to get them out
through our revolving door , one coming home and another one leaving for about
10 years of my life. After number 5 I have a 6 year wait to send the last one,
the revolving door falling off the hinges by then....
Some 35 years, I had the opportunity of seeing missionaries dropped off along
the sidewalks at the old Mission Home in Salt Lake City (on North Temple), and
have since seen a 100+ next generation missionaries enter the MTC in Provo using
both the "inside" and recently "sidewalks" drop off
methods.The separation is always difficult either way. Now-a-days,
we do our huggings and well wishes at home (over a period of several days to
accommodate everyone if needed) BEFORE a few people drive to the MTC for the
quick sidewalk drop off. This method works well for us and our large extended
families of up to a hundred relatives. It allows time for all family members
and friends to say their goodbyes. Waiting for the last minute
goodbyes is okay but not the only choice. Crying moms on the sidewalks can be
discouraging for young missionaries. Simplicity (drawing as little attention as
possible to the separation) is a good thing for everyone on the mtc sidewalk.
It sure is different than when I went on a mission nearly 50 years ago.
I'll be here all week.
FredEX, your comment just made my whole day.
Why is it such a major production to send a kid off on a mission? For one thing
the kid is now an adult, and for another, so are the parents! It's really
disturbing to see people fretting over their missionary like Marie Barone did
over Robert's job interview with the FBI. Buck up and let the poor kid take
charge of his/her own life.Good grief, the kid's gonna come back and
never leave your house anyway. Enjoy the absence while you can. And the $400
I like the new method. These missionaries are better off without the sobbing
families clinging to them. I stayed home that day and let my husband drive my
son to the MTC because I preferred to say good-bye in the privacy of my own
home. The continual crying over a young man or woman prepared to serve the Lord
means the apron strings are still too much attached. Letting go physically and
emotionally should have begun months earlier. Doing so helps them grow up and
trust in the Lord before they get to the MTC.
"We called those "dork dots." Every Wednesday in the MTC was fun
because we could make fun of the greenies with their dork dots."That's right! Dork Dots! I totally forgot. Good times, those were. I was there
for 11 weeks. By the 11th week, I thought I was so cool. Until I got out to the
field and started vomitting violently from drinking unpasteurized milk, and I
realized that everyone was speaking Spanish way faster than I had learned it.
That humbled me really quick. Ah, memories.
It certainly helped me emotionally with my 2 sons, knowing that they were pretty
well prepared, and both really excited to go on a mission.It was a flicker
of their childhood passing through my mind as I saw them walk away, seemingly
becoming men with every footstep.They were both good boys, and are
now good men, good husbands, good fathers and good friends.Each
change in farewells, MTC departures etc comes after much feedback from local and
general leaders and I always trust that it is best for all involved.Still have to laugh at President Hinckley's charge to go tell our wives about
the new policy on farewells and return reports. It got a good 'nervous' laugh
from the crowd of brethren.
Thank you mecr from Bountiful, UT. Our son is coming home soon also and those
two years have flown by, they have been the fastest 2 years of our lives. We
will definitely miss the blessings received from having a missionary out.
We also had a son fly directly to Sao Paulo Brazil from the very small municipal
airport of Modesto CA. No curb, no meeting, just us and the passengers waiting
in Modesto. He didn't meet other missionaries until Dallas TX later that day.
When he left Modesto we knew he was in the Lord's hands and we have not shed a
tear since receiving the email from the President's secretary that he arrived
safely.Brave Sir Robin: As for all the extended family coming to the
MTC, my daughter's MTC instructions were very specific, 'immediate family only,
please.' So we obeyed the guidelines. However, that day at the Provo MTC we
observed several families with unreasonable numbers of children (cousins,
neighbors, etc!) and it was hard to tell who the parents were for all the aunts
and uncles present. Guess they didn't feel the rules applied to them.
I guess I should feel bad now. Since my missionary left, I only cried once and
it was when I saw the missionaries participating on a parade for the Pioner's
Day. Other than that, zero tears. I do know when he is sad or happy or with
weather problems (weather in his area is a big deal). Every time I feel my son
is not in happy mood, I would go down on my knees. And it's interesting to call
it the least, to find out later with his letter that my feelings were not that
crazy that day. Other than that, I am pretty much happy about him. He is coming
home soon so actually, I am going to miss these two years too. Our home has been
extremely blessed because of him.
I saw way too many farewells under the old system that were all about the
missionary. The point of sacrament meeting is to praise Jesus Christ and his
gospel, not to praise soon-to-be Elder Brown or Sister McMillan.The
end of farewells was a direct direction from the prophet. On the other hand, it
was also in many ways a reiteration of past policies. The Church constantly
works against a tendency to build up traditions that put unresonable demands on
families. I have also seen farewell parties done on Sunday that not only ended
up making the mother work more on Sunday than was probably in keeping with
proper observance but also were not in the proper mood of Sunday.Beyond this, in some areas people would use attending missionary farewells as
a way to avoid becoming rooted in any given ward. Ward hoping is a real
concern, and creating events that draw people away from their home ward a real
My Dad said goodbye to me at the Detroit Airport when I went into the MTC, my
Mom stayed at home to get my younger siblings off to school. Thus, I think the
new system is better. It equalizes the experience of those of us who live
outside of the Mormon corridor and those who live in the corridor.
@IndependentWe called those "dork dots." Every Wednesday
in the MTC was fun because we could make fun of the greenies with their dork
dots.Having been in the MTC a whole 8 weeks, we thought we were so
Maybe on the first day of their Mission the MTC is trying to get the
Missionaries acclimated to getting "Kicked To The Curb" so to speak.
I had forgotten about the red dots! One time, after I'd been there a
few weeks, some elders in my district and I decided to put the red dots on back
on our name tags and kind of wander around aimlessly like we didn't know what we
were doing. One guy started asking everybody where his mom was, and some of us
went up to the door of the sister's dorm like we were about to go in, and when
others started shouting, "don't go in there," we just got a bewildered
look on our faces and asked where our dorm was. Some missionaries saw the humor
in it and laughed, while others gave us dirty looks. I hope they eventually
loosened up and gained a sense of humor. The MTC was so much fun!
I thought it was very funny when Pres. Hinckley announced to the men in
priesthood session that farewells and homecomings were being eliminated. He
said, "Brethren, go home and tell your wives."
We've taken five children to the MTC, and prefer the new method. But it's
difficult either way.Southern Belle, I'm not sure that the church intends
that RMs don't speak about their mission experiences in sacrament meeting when
they return. In our area RMs are given a speaking topic, but are encouraged to
share as many experiences as possible.
The kicking-to-the-curb method is much better for the simple reason that you are
not subjected to the weeping, wailing, and blubbering of the "Duggar"
family behind you. It's a much more private moment at the curb. You can take all
the time you want for photos, hugs, best wishes at the temple grounds. Then you
go drop off, and you're done.
Well I liked the old way, But that was from my perspective as a young elder over
20 years ago. Now that I am sending out my oldest son This new way is
dispointing in a way. How ever saying good bye to those you love is always hard.
No matter how its done.
For all of the talk of "raising the bar," I can't help but wonder if
this is the real reason why the Church is having a hard time getting young men
and women to serve missions. With farewells and homecomings so pared back now,
family members not being allowed to participate in these events, and now
dropping off missionaries at the curb of the MTC, our young men and women are
getting the impression that it is no big deal to serve a mission any more. Not
that we want them to serve a mission for the sake of having a grand farewell or
homecoming ceremony, but where I live these events were often great missionary
tools in and of themselves as the missionary often invited his/her non-member
friends, neighbors and former teachers to attend. Now the missionary is lucky
to get 10 minutes on the sacrament meeting program, and when my son returns from
his mission in five weeks, he is not even being asked to speak about his mission
Doesn't matter how you say good-bye - it's still good-bye and it is
gut-wrenching for parents and siblings of the missionary. Missions are wonderful
for families and the change that takes place for the missionary is incredible
but for parents... the first few weeks is tough. We couldn't even go down into
our sons room for a month after he left for his mission. My wife would cry every
time she smelled some of his clothes or saw something of his. It takes a couple
of months before parents get into the routine of monday emails etc... and then
its ok. There is no other place we would have rather had our son but on a
mission but good-bye is still good-bye and its tough.
Based on these comments, you can tell who is thinking about the parents'
feelings versus the missionaries'.I went into the MTC under the
"old" dropoff system. As a missionary, I would have preferred to be
dropped off at the curb - get the goodbyes over with and get the mission
started. As a parent, I would have preferred the old system.Parents, it's about the missionary, not about you. The MTC will do what is
right for the missionary, not for the family. Besides, it was only the abuse of
the old system by missionary families that led to the creation of the new system
that you all dislike (i.e. bringing all 16 aunts, uncles, 95 cousins, etc. to
the MTC was making it impossible to handle the logistics like seating and
It was not easier for my son to be dropped in the curb. I would had liked the
old method. It has more meaning, makes it more special as CAReader said. I hope
they return to the old format. After all, dropping a son/daughter at the MTC
means we, as parents, trust the Lord will take care of our "little"
ones for two years. During that time, we can only pray for them. The Lord is in
charge. The old method was a symbol of that "delivery".
We have been through both systems of dropping off missionaries. I prefer the
new method in a heartbeat. At the end of it all, the missionary will leave, and
the curbside drop off is like removing a band aid quickly as opposed to dumping
salt in the wound waiting through that meeting for the inevitable. I think it
was easier on our son that was dropped off curbside as well.
I also like the previous format. It is nice to participate a service and watch
them sing before they enter the MTC. The military has a ceremony, they line up
and sing the military songs, before the servicemen go on the field. Dropping
them off on the curb has less appeal and often you are in a hurry to let the
next car in.
I completely understand why they went to the new systerm of dropping off new
missionaries at the MTC. However, our experience with the previous system was a
wonderful experience. We brought our daughter to the MTC January 2009, shortly
before the change. We were greeted at the curb and luggage was taken care of.
She checked in and we went to a large room where a slide show was playing with
interesting facts about the MTC. A short meeting followed. But the most
powerful experience I have had in a long time was when the whole room sang, with
the majority being missionaries 'Called to Serve', followed by our daughter
having the opportunity of saying the opening prayer. After this meeting, the
missionaries leave out one door while parents leave through another. No tears
were shed, this was the happiest day of our daughter's life thus far and we knew
she was in the Lord's care for the next 18 months. I would not give up that
experience for anything!