Thanks for printing such an uplifting story.
Ranchhand,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...
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.
@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.
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.
Great open letter, I am sure much good will come from it.
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
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.
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.
@ 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.
"--- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Great story! Enjoy hearing about some of the creative, and at the same time,
positive ways LDS missionaries are spreading the gospel.@Ranch
HandI'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.
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
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.
@ranchhand: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!
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
RanchHand | 10:07 a.m. June 17, 2011 Huntsville, UT I served
a mission, never used as a tax break, never claimed my two years of service,
most missionaries don't, so yes it is self funded, it cost myself and my family
10k for two years.
And ranchhand, clearly "your way" has made you much more Christlike
and at peace with yourself.And you call that being valient?
Re: "By taking a tax break, you are in fact funding a portion of your
mission on the backs of the taxpayers - including non-mormon taxpayers."Thanks for your [unwilling and minuscule] contributions to my kids'
missions!Now, I'm sure you'll want to thank me for my paltry,
coerced contribution to your favorite tax-exempt organization -- you know, the
ones you forced me to contribute to when you took the deduction on your tax
return.And, for the record, I'm just as opposed to most of the the
political positions of NPR, NOW, SUWA, NARAL, Earth Justice, and Aztlán
as you are to those of the Church.
@RanchHand - I am aware that you have struggled in your life and have demons to
exorcise - So please do that and stop blaming the LDS church for everything. It
seems that everything you post has a bitter tone to it. It is unfortunate that
bad things happen to people in their lives, but we are required to move on and
choose to not allow those things dictate what we do in the future.
RanchHand, I paid for my mission. My family could not begin to help me. Are
Good job Elder Witt! Way to think outside the box. There are far better things
to do than knock doors all day!
RanchHand, I'm sorry that you had a bad experience on your mission. There are
many great experiences had while serving a mission and many bad experiences,
mine were great, my son's, not so much. I imagine that you served because you
were expected to serve by your family, your ward, and others. I also imagine
that your parents paid for your mission and probably took the allowed tax
deduction for their contributions. I know that our family contributions that
allowed my son to serve caused us some sacrifice and the very small tax
deduction was appreciated but did not nearly make up for the money we paid. In
hind sight, my son probably would have been better off not serving a mission.
Still, I do not regret the amounts we contributed. I only hope for my son to be
happy in life. Unfortunately, he is bitter about the Church and it affects much
of his everyday life. I pray that he will find peace and happiness in his life
and I hope the same for you.
RanchHand, give it a rest please. Take your sour grapes to the Trib or City
Weekly and let those of us who enjoy reading inspiring stories read the comment
boards in peace.
And you, Ranchhand, have no tax breaks at all, right?Well thanks,
for funding my government entitlements.(That's a joke, by the way.)
I loved the article, it helped me remember my time as a missionary in Argentina,
those were some of the greatest experiences I have ever had.
RE: RanchHandPerhaps you need help with your math,NO
taxpayer is funding any a portion of someone's mission,NO one is
paying for a mission on the backs of the taxpayers.Their taxed
money does NOT go to any missionary.And no amount of your deductions
effects what another pays in taxes. And Most Importantly,
deductions for money given to the church or charities are PERFECTLY legal,and I suspect, do much more good than if taken by the government.
I dont care whether kids go on their mormon missions or not, but anything that
upsets the liberals is good to me.Great job Mormons.
That would be neat if Sarah Palin read it.
What a well-written letter. Elder Witt wrote clearly and with power. He was
truly directed by the Spirit of the Lord when writing this letter. What perfect
I can't see "RanchHand"'s comments (have they been removed?), but I
get the gist of them from others' responses. I, too, went on a mission mainly
because I felt I was expected to, and I didn't have the best experience either.
How I wish I understood as a 19-year-old the real reasons to go, as I do now,
many years and many trials later. I hope my son chooses to serve a mission when
he becomes of age, but I hope even more so that I have been successful by that
time in helping him to understand the necessity to have the Gospel in one's
life, so that he will naturally recognize the joy to be had from introducing it
in the lives of others.
Wow, I don't know everything that Ranchhand wrote but he sure got clobbered for
it, and apparently for good reason. Hate the LDS church, or any other
charitable organization, if you wish, but it will only be to the hater's
detriment.I served a mission from 5 November 1984 to 13 November
1986; 2 years and 5 days among the GREAT people of the Bible belt! It was an
awesome experience learning that there are millions of other (non-LDS)
Christians who love the Savior as much as we do. As Mormons we are not alone.
Being raised in Utah during my teenage years I didn't understand or appreciate
that wonderful truth.The Elder's open-letter in Alaska is an awesome
way to think out of the box in the work of the Lord. I particularly like how he
said that sometimes the missionaries standing at your front door are more
nervous than you are. When I was a greenie, been there, done that. My oldest
son is in the process of putting in his papers right now and I am proud of him
for the life he's lived and his desire to share the joy of Jesus Christ.Cheers!
Chris B,Your comments on this article make as much sense as your
comments on sports. Not at all!