The Church made the decision to allow this and I know it was not just made. It
was through prayer and confidence in our young people. Hopefully our
missionaries will be honest and keep their nose clean and abide by the rules.
All of our worrying and doubt will not change anything..we just pray for them to
follow the mission rules and all will be well.
Re: BrowningrageThe purpose of missionary work is to bring others
into the faith. It isn't designed to be a boot camp. It
isn't designed to boost the missionary's testimony. It isn't
designed to make the missionary learn how to be a man/woman. If these things
occur, great. If not, great. Their purpose, as Elder Oaks has stated in
previous GC addresses, is to teach and baptize. All these peripheral cultural
rites of passage nonsense that has sprung up around it is immaterial to a
missionary's purpose. As for your judgements about your
brother-in-law's perceived lack of reliance on God, testimony, etc., who
are you to make that judgment? How do you know if he did or did not fulfill his
purpose? The purpose of missionary work is not to rely on God by avoiding
family contact.Your comments have illustrated for me why members
have such a hard time performing missionary work within their home wards.
Apparently, many are under the false notion that it requires self-imposed
suffering in order to qualify as a worthwhile "mission experience."
My Bro-In-Law recently returned from his mission. His rules were not the same as
mine 12 years ago. He would log on to check his emails on P-Day, and his parents
(yes, my in-laws) would wait up til the middle of the night to log in at the
same time. They would then spend time emailing back and forth quickly to one
another. His girlfriend was also present for these exchanges. I can say in all
honesty that he never truly left home because of it. He was dedicated to working
during the week, but with updates on everything that was going on at home, and
practically 'instant messaging' I don't believe he ever really
experienced the need to rely on our Heavenly Father, his testimony, or frankly
his companions even... I wrote him emails regularly, which were never responded
to, as did my wife, her sister, and other family members. But, Each P-Day, he
would simply log in and email back and forth with his girlfriend and parents,
then log off for the week... I believe it hurt his mission experience.
- Secured server, with filters- Only on P-dayI still
don't get who thinks it's a bad idea. I already know of a few that
email vs. "snail mail". The missionaries that it would be a bad idea for
are already going to find a way to break the rules anyway so why punish the
(hopefully larger) more responsible ones?
Well its good to know that the missionary experience and missionaries have
become so standardized and the same that what works for one ex-missionary must
be the exact same experience for all missionaries, for all locations, who are
serving in all missions.Really good to know. If letter
writing or email is really all that defocusing as some imply, why is it couples
and mission leadership have had no such prohibition. Is this another one of
those things like the spirit goes to bed at mid-night?Come on
folds... lets keep this in perspective. I served in an area where mail strikes
were common... and in fact we went 7 weeks with no mail.... and the baptism rate
didn't change one bit. If email is a leading indicator of ones
spirituality, we are all in a lot of trouble then.
I served in Malaysia in 2002 and one email to my family per week was more than
enough. Too much correspondence with other people did not help me focus on the
work but was a great hindrance. It will only spell more trouble for missionaries
and create more less-effective missionaries who are too pre-occupied with home,
family and friends. Yes, we could write letters to whoever we wanted, but it
just seems that missionary standards are dropping instead of being raised. I
know we live in the technological age but I thought missionaries were supposed
to separate themselves from the world for 2 years and consecrate every effort,
every thought, to the work?
Once again, I marvel at what I am assuming are members of the church being
critical, or at the very least, doubtful of a decision that has been with 100%
certainty well-thought out and considered by the Brethren before it was issued.
Amazing. And sad.
Given the nasty things he loves to say about my football team, it hurts a little
to agree with Brave Sir Robin on this. I was in Austria back when the Arpanet
(predecessor to the Internet) was developed. We wrote on paper. My reaction to
culture shock was to do a lot more writing of letters than might have been
necessary for the first couple of months. That regulated itself as girlfriends
forgot who I was and other friends on missions had no more time than I did. I also received photographs - the analog type in an envelope. These
envelopes had not been checked by a censor because they came directly through
Austrian postal system. If anyone were to attempt to send an inappropriate photo
to a missionary now, it would be filtered by MyLDSMail.net. In fact,
I see an advantage to the new system: cc and bcc means only one draft can go to
multiple people with maybe a few additions for Mom's sake. Having had that
advantage back in my day could have saved a couple of p-day hours.
The rule for the screen being fully visible is perfectly sensible. Concerns
about misuse of the internet are serious. It is best to not but one-self into
temptation. It is not like someone is going to minutely read your email. It is
more they will pay attention to you actually sending email and not doing other
things. Such rules make sense and are logical and good.
Well, when I was on my mission, only a few missionaries in our mission from
foriegn countries that had irregular mail services were allowed to use email.
Of course I was in Las Vegas, so it was not that difficult to send letters to
family and friends.
Correct me if I am wrong here, but about 50 years ago, were not missionaries
only allowed one call per year and that was to Mom on Mother's Day?
Reading with interest the different comments. I believe that a healthy balance
is usually the best solution to most situations. For those who are worried about
negative consequences of this decision, the choice is up to the individual
missionaries to treat the internet with caution and respect of the rules that
are in place to help them keep the covenants made as they went on their
missions. We always have free agency and we always have the Church's
guidelines and scripture to help us. Used wisely, the internet is a wonderful
I was a missionary when they only let us email immediate family but I still
emailed friends and converts. There's a few rules that are a joke and that
was one of them. I chuckled when I saw this article.
Mission rules were made to be broken.
Haha... well... now the United States Postal Service is going to be in serious
M son is serving over in the former soviet block right now. Letter take forever
to get to him - not because the local post is slow, his letters to us get here
in 4 days... but that going through the mission home can add weeks or many weeks
to him getting anything.When I served, we were allowed to get main
directly to our apartments - but not packages. Coming home for dinner was
always a treat when there was something in the mail box for us. Often it
brightened up a long hard day as I served in a harder mission - teaching and
baptisms were far and few between.But I think this is a great
announcement. Just before leaving on his mission, a friend of my son got
baptized. As there aren't many members in this area his age, his friend
has struggled... and having my son be able to write him and keep his spirits up
will be invaluable.Missionaries impact many people - many outside of
their missions. Sharing in that experience can help many people.... and there
were bad missionaries before this... and there will be bad ones after. This
changes nothing in that regard.
This report amuses me. As does all the wailing of "This will ruin missionary
work FOREVER!" This has been going on as long as missionaries have had
access to email - now it's just official. Any rule that can be broken will,
even by the most obedient missionary. I had a mission companion who would
"chat" via email on P-day with her family by coordinating so they'd
be on the computer at the same time and they'd just email back and forth
for an hour or so (I wasn't complaining, since it gave me more time to
email my family - I didn't write letters so much as I wrote epistles). Not
technically breaking the rules, but it bent them a little.(I
wasn't quite a saint about it either - I'd include friends' and
recent converts' email addresses in my weekly emails to my family, so
they'd all get the same email).
For everyone worried about missionaries using email for friends -- what's
the difference between email and a written letter? I don't get the
concern. Instead of writing their friends a letter with a piece of paper and
pen, they type on a computer. I'm not sure what the big concern is. You
can actually type faster than you can write, so it will save missionaries time
and will be cheaper.
Shoot, my former wife thought it was ok for missionaries to email any day of the
week from her computer.
I just want to know how many people read the headline and automatically read NOT
instead of NOW. Changes the whole meaning. But we are more used to hearing
what missionaries are NOT allowed to do so the brain automatically went there,
at least for me.Otherwise, good or bad, doesn't matter. It is
what was decided. Let time tell. But I'm not going to panic. If "poor
behavior" increases I doubt one could tie it specifically to this. Too many
other factors. Email is such a small part of a missionaries day and honestly
there are so many other things to accomplish on a p-day that if one is following
the actual rules its not going to be a problem. There will always be those who
don't. So be it. Also those who serve in college towns get to use
Facebook. Does that panic any of the naysayers?
Using email isn't the same as IM or texting. Having served well before
email was available, I don't recall every having a companion ask to read or
screen my letters home...and somehow most of us managed okay. Frankly, I have a
hard time seeing the downside to permitting a missionary to cut/paste and adding
a few extra readers to a missionary's "this week in review." Simply
maintain limits on INCOMING emails--which can be done by the mission home with
Since when did an adult ever have to follow arbitrary rules. These missionaries
can do what ever they want,the rules are meaningless distractions.
To "LValfre" the filter system is the same for the pouch as for the
email system. Neither system would read your letters, but they keep out the
junkmail. Filtered does not mean that they edit or reject words and phrases,
but that they stop Spam and commercial emails. Just like Hotmail, Gmail, and
most any other email service is capable of doing.We know that you
don't like the LDS church, but really do you have to hate the email system
for missionaries too?In case you want to rant more about how it
reads the emails, think of this. How could the system know what language the
emails are being sent in? If you have 200 different languages being spoken by
missionaries that use the system, how do you create an intelligent filter that
can distinguish between spanish, french, portugese, and so forth and recognize
obscene words and phrases in all of those languages and local slang?
Yes, it will offer another challenge, but as we've been warned, it will
require stronger testimonies and greater faith as we near the end times. Perhaps
this is another means of separating the wheat from the chaff.It is
important that parents teach their children that it's possible to be in the
world without being of the world, and that striving to stay in tune with the
Holy Spirit is the best way to approach life at all stages.
@RedShirtUSS Enterprise, UT"For many countries the church
had the Pouch service which meant your parents sent letter to salt lake, then
the church bundled up the letters and shipped them to your mission, which then
had to ship them out to the missionaries around the mission. That took 1 to 2
weeks to get a letter to a missionary.This new system can be
operated through the existing filters that the church has for its
employees."The church opened and read Missionary's letters
back home and filtered them? Please tell me I read this wrong.
A member of my High Priest Quorum was call to serve as a mission president. He
taught a lesson in our quorum before he left and solicited advice from each
member.One member simply said; "Trust your missionaries."Three years later the now returned mission president said that was the
best advice he received. His missionaries would do anything he asked. He asked
them to find and baptize somebody with a 12 to 15 passenger van because there
were quite a few inactive members in this small branch who needed a ride to
church. The elders found and baptized a man with a 15 passenger van who became
YM president and picked up many inactive members who lacked transportation.That is just one example. Trust your missionaries. They have a companion
for a reason but we can trust them with email.This is a good
I hope missionaries are mature enough to handle this. I have served a mission
and have worked at the MTC long enough to know that there are immature
missionaries who will take advantage of this. Girlfriends and boyfriends will
too. It will become harder to focus. That's just the reality. However,
there are many good missionaries who will be able to maintain focus and use this
Those who are having issues with this need to realize that there is a reason for
this. The simple reason is that it is cheaper for the LDS church.For many countries the church had the Pouch service which meant your parents
sent letter to salt lake, then the church bundled up the letters and shipped
them to your mission, which then had to ship them out to the missionaries around
the mission. That took 1 to 2 weeks to get a letter to a missionary.This new system can be operated through the existing filters that the church
has for its employees.In other words, tithing money saved, and
communication speed increased.
@RoundtripThomasville, GA"I think this is a mistake. The
Internet is just too dangerous for the young missionaries."Why
is the internet dangerous for young missionaries? There's an incredible
amount of information on the internet.
Experimentation with 18 year-old male missionaries began in 1973. Nearly forty
years passed before the age requirement was lowered for all young men. Dollars
to donuts that the Church has experimented with less restrictive e-mail rules in
different missions for years. Experimentation combined with inspiration is a
Always interested to see LDS picking and choosing what they will comply with and
what they won't. I suppose that's why we're asked to indicate
that we "sustain" our leaders. If we believe that the church is
directed from above, and the leadership is chosen based on inspiration, and we
ask ourselves, "Who's on the Lord's side?", then there is
little question as to how we are to proceed. Otherwise, it seems to me that we
*aren't* "on the Lord's side", and we're in a vulnerable
position with regard to matters of lasting significance. I think about this
quite a bit with relation to those who think they are doing something good by
espousing positions deemed "righteous" these days but which in fact are
entirely contrary to what their religion teaches.
Having experienced things from both sides, serving in 1980 and having a daughter
return in Dec of last year, I will say that sending a child is more difficult
than going out yourself. That is why communication is so important. Every
Monday I would wait for her email to come in and cuss her out when it was a
short one due to lack of time. OK, not really cuss her out, but be
disappointed. The changes sound like good ones and if a missionary
is going to follow the rules, they will. If they don't, it doesn't
matter what the rules are as they will break them.
Great move. Those who are opposed it is time to step up to the 21st century. I
think you would be hard pressed to find missionaries that didn't send a
e-mail to a friend before the new rule. The church pays for the missions with
the help of the $400 from the family. Why spend money on stamps and postage when
the E-mail is free?
homers,Your missionary son is 18. He doesn't have a legal
guardian. The only authority that you or the Church has over your son is the
power he gives them by being obedient to what he is told. And there
isn't much you can do from a distance for your son. He is a man and can
solve his own problems.
Sorry, but if I want to communicate with my missionary son I will do it. I will
do it whenever and by whatever medium I choose. THe church seems to feel they
take some kind of in loco parentis authority over missionaries. I am not trying
to be combatative but the church is not my son's parent or legal guardian
any more than they were the day before he entered the mission field. I continue
to parent as I see fit and I don't need anybody's permission to do so.
I told him that if he needs to get hold of me to do so.
Served in Mexico over 3 decades ago. Got transferred once and didn't get a
single letter for 6 weeks. I survived by keeping my mind on the work. Different times now. It's all about electronic communications and
speed at which we get information. Sometimes too much information is worse than
too little. Just have to live with it, I guess.
I think this is a mistake. The Internet is just too dangerous for the young
missionaries. Also, although I trust the intentions of our missionaries,
non-members of the opposite sex could "misinterpret" the smiles and
kindness of missionaries. I hope missionary emails will be monitored to
"weed out" predators who may contact them.
I don't get why the naysayers think this will be a disaster....there were
no rules before about snail mailing friends, girlfriends, priesthood leaders,
etc. Why should it make a difference that now you can correspond with the same
people and say the same things by e-mail?Are you afraid that
missionaries are going to spend too much time writing e-mails to their
girlfriends? Before today they were spending just as much time writing them
letters.Are you afraid that missionaries will be subject to receiving
inappropriate photos? Before today you could send a missionary inappropriate
photos in a letter. It's probably better now because e-mail content is
filtered.There is nothing different here than what has been going on
for years already...now it's just digital instead of analog.
Missionaries aren't as tough as they used to be. Used to be more like an
adventure on how to survive on your own with only hand written letters to home.
Thought this was the place to really break the tie with mama and show your
parents that you can really make it on your own. How ridicules and
which has been going on for years.
Why is everyone talking about levels of trust, etc? It's going through a
filtered service set up by the Church. If I was a missionary right now, I would
err on the side of caution and assume the Church is seeing everything I write.
As I envision it, two missionaries would have to be on neighboring computers in
a public place so each of them could be "in plain sight" of the other
one's screen--more of a logistics problem in a crowded place than a
snooping problem, because each of them may be wanting to send out a high volume
of emails. It will be much better than having to write out a multitude of
actual letters by hand for snail mail delivery.
This may mean families will fall down the priority list and may get shorter
emails than the friends and girlfriends. I hope mission presidents will counsel
the missionaries to give full attention to their families first and follow up
with friends if there is still time.My guess is that the ones who
will misuse this privilege are already breaking the rules.
Emails are, of themselves, neutral. They can be used to uplift and edify, to
comfort and to share the joy and burden of mission; they can also negatively
impact on the young ones..distracting them from concentrating fully on serving
the Lord.I think that this opportunity with emails will enhance these fine
young men´s and women´s choice-making-qualities relative to their
priorities in the mission-field. I hope this helps our young missionaries
grapple better with the emotional and other challenges encountered during
full-time missionary service.
It will only be a disaster if the missionary choose to be so.Rules were
made to be obeyed.
gdog3finally- The companions just need to be "in sight" of the screen,
not hovering over, scanning every work their comp writes. Same rules applies
with their skype communications, if they are allowed that for Mother's Day
and Christmas. However, I do understand about levels of trust. It's a
hard balance to find. I understand both sides.
Again, I think "it's about time." My daughter has been writing a
friend in Brazil who for 3 months was in an area that he couldn't send out
any "snail mail." She was so discouraged that she almost stopped
writing him. Then she received three letters in one envelope. He had been
transferred. Yes, this can be a distraction for some missionaries (I've
seen one in my area who writes 12 letters on p-days) But, I think it's
About time. Missionaries were all ready doing this in many missions where the
mail service was unreliable. Gotta love the comments coming from
those same people who criticize LDS supporters of same-sex marriage, LDS
Democrats, and the Provo citizens who asked the MTC not build the 9-story
building. Now, they feel fine saying this decision will be a "bad move"
and a "disaster". No hypocrisy there!
This is a bad move.Sorry, it just is.Not all missionaries are built
This is good news! I remember on my mission almost 15 years ago where we got
the specific announcement that we were specifically prohibited from using email.
Nowadays, everyone communicates by email. If you get a missionary who comes
from the Eastern United States who has lots of friends who aren't members
of the church, this is a much easier way to share about what's going on on
your mission and what you're doing so they can understand more about the
This will be a disaster for many Elders and Sisters.
The next step is to allow ward mission leaders and members of the bishopric and
priesthood quorums and groups to communicate with fulltime missionaries by
e-mail to their smart phones with regard to missionary related matters. It
would make my life as a ward mission leader much easier and cause the work to go
forward more successfully.
As did so many others, I served a Mission at a time when there were no allowed
Mothers Day or Christmas or any other calls home, no emails or any other way
save "snail mail" (Was in Japan). There was a spiritual upside to that,
also at times, an emotional challenge that drove one to knees in disperate
prayer, relying more on The Lord for all things, needed blessings concerning
home...I wonder if this newer more open communication opportunity will help 18
yr old Elders cope, as well as that it may be a wonderful sharing of the
missionary experience...it feels right to me, even given the loss of the more
Spartan-like isolation of the past.
I am almost a member and just got a call today that one of the missionaries
assisting me is being transferred. I'm glad he will be able to keep in
touch and has permission to come back to participate in my baptism next week.
"Email should be accessed on computers in public places, and never in a
place where the missionary's companion can't see the computer
screen." That quote says it all for me. I get the many concerns and
considerations for rules but the paranoia is in full effect again.I
might have been okay with one or two of my companions seeing a certain
percentage of my communications with friends and family, but I wouldn't
want any of them hovering over my mail. That said mail was all we had when I
served 23 years ago. There was no letter e to start the complicated mail