Comments about ‘One missionary's open letter to Alaska’

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Published: Friday, June 17 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Mom of Six
Northern Utah, UT

Thanks for printing such an uplifting story.

Bountiful, UT


Not all the missionaries are from the United States. I don't know the exact percentage but many if not the majority, come from other countries and they are self-funded and there are no tax breaker for them for the majority either.

Most of these self funded american missionaries worked hard to save money for their missions. Others's parents took a second job or simply adjust the belt.

More importantly, all charities are funding their programs on the back of the taxpayers. And I am sure that money is very much larger than the amount the missionaries pay for their missions.

Just saying...

Natchitoches, LA

RanchHand, "self funded" applies to many of our missions. When I sold my car to go on a mission, no tax break applied. No deduction was taken. No pat on the back was requested. It was just a huge privilege to go to those Indian reservations in North and South Dakota for two years, with a call from a living prophet of God in my pocket.

John Paul
Orem, UT

@ranchhand, I actually just got back and I was wondering what kind of tax breaks I could get. I'm not to tax savy so if you could ust let me know I haven't seen any of those yet.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

Good to see a missionary thinking outside the box and putting himself out there. He's probably gotten a lot of peace with his efforts.

Montesano, WA

Great open letter, I am sure much good will come from it.

Salt Lake City, UT

The Gospel (good news that Christ overcame death and was resurrected) is the greatest message in the world. Think about what that means for all of us.

Text. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Old typewriters! Get the message out!

Let's make the world a better place! Enough of the hate already!

Lake Elsinore, CA

Outstanding! That website is getting a lot of posts already and I am sure many more to come. Homer, AK is not going to know what hit them once this letter spreads through the Mormon e-mails.

county mom
Monroe, UT

Ranchhand, self funded is just that. Our sons have worked paid taxes on that money and saved for their missions. Yes we do help them and yes we do pay taxes on the money we earn. Our son who is now in the missionfeild has paid for most of his own mission. The money we give to our ward to pay for his mission is allready taxed and not tax deductable because it is specifically for him. If we donate just to the general mission fund then it is a donation and tax deductable.
These young men are valiant and strong in their faith. They go not to collect badges or browny points. They go to share the love of Jesus Christ and to learn more.


What tax discount do missionaries get? This is news to me.

Over the Top
Rigby, ID

@ RanchHand:

Your response to county mom speaks volumes about you. Get over the bitterness and move on. This was a very uplifting story about a very "outside-the-box" missionary. I was uplifted just reading about it - sorry that you couldn't be.

Chris Bryant

"--- Did your family deduct the $400+ monthly support they sent to the Church's "Missionary Fund" on their taxes? (I'm betting they did)."

ummm nope. My parents didn't deduct it for me and the majority that I know of didn't either. This just reeks of sour grapes.

"they go because they're EXPECTED to go (a rite of passage, if you will). I know this because I was one of them myself - and I can tell you that the vast majority of returnees that I know felt the same way. Those few with the Courage to buck the system are the true valiants."

I would disagree with the fact that the "majority" feel the same as you. Sure, there are plenty of them that do, but not the majority.

common sense in Idaho
Pocatello, id

Ranch Hand,

My, My, My do we have an axe to grind here? The LDS sales Force? Laugh out Loud.

The missionaries just came over to my home to help me cut down and haul away a tree. Much appreciated. Not a mention of the church by them. No verbal teaching by them. But their actions speak volumes.

Great article. Appreciate this Elder's attitude and desire to serve his fellowman. Christ taught when you serve your fellowman you are only serving your God.

Ranch Hand, try real hard to get over your bitterness. You'll be a happier person for it.

Rae M.
Taylorsville, UT

They go because they're EXPECTED to go (a rite of passage, if you will). I know this because I was one of them myself..."
Ranchhand, I am sorry that others' expectations of you seems to have limited your freedom to choose for yourself. 'Cause freedom to choose for oneself is one of the most imprtant parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ..
Because LDS missionaries (even including returned missionaries) who choose fo sserve are such a minority, I think they are truly valliant.

Ogden, UT

Kudos to this missionary! Ranchhand, though your missionary experience and experience as a member of the church has left you somewhat cynical and bitter, my mission experience in South Korea left me an immensely better man, husband and father.

Life lessons learned there in the service of the Korean people could not have been duplicated anywhere else.

Tooele, UT

Great story! Enjoy hearing about some of the creative, and at the same time, positive ways LDS missionaries are spreading the gospel.

@Ranch Hand

I'm sorry your mission was such a traumatic experience for you. I will agree there are a whole lot of missionaries that go only because they feel obligated to do so.

I remember a few times during my mission feeling as though I wanted to be somewhere else. But then I would have the experience of talking to someone about the Book of Mormon or about Joseph Smith, and the Holy Ghost would again confirm to me the reason I was on a mission, and honestly I sometimes had to fight the sensation to raise my arms in the air and shout for joy.

You clearly have a beef with whatever tax deductions that result in LDS missionary service. I would agree to the extent I don't like some of where my tax money goes, which is why I let my state reps and congressmen know of my displeasure.

By the way, I served in Winnipeg, Cananda and I cheered when I heard they were getting a temple.

Akron, OH

I'm grateful for such a sincere expression of the purpose of a missionary's service. It really is a labor of love and I know their efforts are truly motivated by the desire to bring happiness to others. They just want to share the good news of the restored Gospel, and I think Elder Witt has caught the vision.

Somewhere in Utah, UT

My sons served because they wanted to serve. We told them up-front that missions were not "expected" and we would support whatever choice they made. Our older son left 3 months before his 21st birthday; our younger son left 2 weeks after his 18th birthday. THAT is when each was ready and when each wanted to go. If they had decided not to serve, we would have supported that too.

Both of them earned every penny they paid for their missions, and they paid taxes on the money as they earned it. Nothing was deducted from their taxes because they had nothing earned during the time of their service. Since they did not live with us while they were serving, we could not claim them as dependents on our taxes. Nobody got tax benefits due to their service.

Both of them learned and grew as men during their years of service. Both are very pleased that they chose to serve. Somehow I think the messionary featured in the story will feel the same.

Cedar Hills, UT


Serious? I all I can see and read is a bitter person. Try to look at the good. The only reason you don't see more mormons living the golden rule, is you can't see past that mote that is in your own eye. You reap what you sow. try to be a better person and relax can't be good for your health.

P.S. Your worried about a tax credit of around $400? How should we all feel for the bail outs and tax breaks banks,car dealers, RANCHERS etc are getting?
Let it go!

Bountiful, UT

I had seen so many times how the missionaries give service not only in the states but around the world in so many ways, not only young missionaries but senior couples too.

If that is not charity, then I don't know what it is.....

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