Comments about ‘Number of Mormon missionaries reaches all-time high of 75,000’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 15 2013 4:05 p.m. MDT

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Christopher B
Ogden, UT

This is neat-o and lots of blessings for lots of people.

Chachi
Charlottesville, VA

That's a really poorly-designed graphic. The longer bars represent the smaller numbers--totally counterintuitive.

James Kirk
salt lake city, UT

Well duh! Since they lowered the missionary age this was to be expected. I can't wait to see how spectacularly this is going to fail.

Way of the Warrior
ARLINGTON, WA

I expect that at some point the surge in the number of missionaries will peak, then drop as the number of those serving reaches equilibrium.

Chris from Rose Park
Hartford, CT

@James Kirk

How is this going to fail? I don't think that it is something that can fail. There will most likely definitely be a peak in the numbers and then lower when both age groups aren't together anymore. That wouldn't be failing, that would be expected. As for success in mission work, it's all about loving and caring for the people you are around. It's about inviting people to come unto Christ. It's about coming to Christ for one's self. If the missionaries do this, then no matter what they have succeeded.

ubruni
Eugene, OR

My first thought when I saw this was "How will they all find room to tract? The U.S. will get burned over."

I served a mission in Los Angeles and we spent most of our time tracting. I felt like we burned through hundreds of relationships to find the few who were willing to talk about God on their doorsteps. After awhile you knock every door in the area and people start to recognize you. It's demoralizing for the missionary and awkward for the people they contact.

There has to be a way for missionaries to build relationships with everyone they meet, to be respectful and helpful, and not burn 100 bridges for every 1 they build — and that way is through service. If someone knocked on my door and said they were from a church in the neighborhood, and asked if they could help me around the house, I'd be happy to see them. Then there's an opportunity to answer questions, invite my kids to scouts or a primary activity, and introduce me to a nearby family who attends the congregation.

Hopefully the critical mass of new missionaries will force a shift toward service.

Rikitikitavi
Cardston, Alberta

Ubruni,where have you been the last few months? This lower age in missionary service certainly is NOT about tracting. Just the opposite in fact. Two major areas of focus are on the social media and about service being given. Don't expect them to do your housework for you however.

Razzle2
Bluffdale, UT

Sure as more 18-year-olds go, less 19-year-olds go, so you would think you would meet equilibrium in the near future. However, the sisters are expected to reach 30% of the mission force. The 18-month missionaries I know are choosing to depart in the summer to take advantage of time between school semesters.

I think we will see another peak next summer when even more sisters join the mission before this year's new missionaries complete their full-time in late 2014...perhaps around 90,000.

thpslc
Holladay, UT

I don't presume to tell another church how to run their business and not being LDS, I am certainly no expert. But in the past several months, I have supported friends by going to about a half dozen farewells for their sons and daughters.
I'm concerned about the lack of maturity I see in these kids. I think (especially with the young men) that one year of college makes a big difference in maturity. Boys who just a few months/weeks prior were in high school playing "high school games" in relationships and silly pranks. Now they are mature enough to go out and witness to adults about something as important as religion and salvation?
I guess we'll see how this works out, but if one of these 'boys' came to my front porch, it would be very hard to take them seriously.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

@ubruni - sounds like it's time for the rest of us to talk more openly about our faith and to bring interested friends to the missionaries rather than relying on the poorer use of time that is knocking on doors. I had very few good experiences knocking doors.

byu rugby
Crystal Lake, IL

"thpslc" Amen Brother!

For this to work, the following needs to be implemented:

1. The duration of the MTC should be increased by 2-3 weeks for additional training, coaching, mentoring. The duration of the mission should be lengthened to compensate for the maturity issue on the front side

2. The Current TEACH MY GOSPEL Program needs to be modified with the inclusion of discussion-type pass offs' to ensure the discussions are taught coherently and uniformly. Side note: I have had a couple of the new missionaries in my home. Even with a strong spirit, they are completely unable to teach the basic 1st discussion in a coherent and therefore meaningful manner.

3. The missionary department needs to seriously reconsider the castoffs from the "Raise the Bar" fiasco. Either we are a church that believes in repentance or, we are not. Also, If the Polynesians get a pass on the missionary weight restrictions, everyone else should too!

4. I think the maturity level of the missionaries is going to require even further reduction in the size of missions. To adequately manage this new type of missionary, a mission president should probably only have 50-75 missionaries.

RonW
PEACHTREE CITY, GA

I too have had similar thoughts and concerns about the maturity of new missionaries at 18. I am reminded that 18 is now open and optional, not mandatory. But it is amazing what the Lord can do with people who approach Him humbily and actively seek his help. Missionaries don't convert people, it's the Spirit that truely converts. Someone once told me that "the Church must be true or 50,000 (at the time) young kids spread around the world would have messed it up a long time ago". Missionary service is not easy. It is a lot to sacrifice whether you are 18, 19, or 20+. Some are going to fail at 18...but they are probably the same ones that would have at 19. Most will succeed because they have accepted the responsiblity the Lord placed on their shoulders. "He" will help them carry it.

Michigander
Westland, MI

The missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ [WHQ: Monongahela, PA] are those only who teach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of the Restored Gospel.

portlander
Arlington, WA

I've spoken with tons of sisters of highschool age here... I've asked what their plans would have been if the age was still set at 21. And to a 'T' each of them has said that they had always wanted to serve a mission, but were not committed because the time was so far off.

Now that they can serve so soon after highschool graduation, they now have a high level of commitment. They are all so excited!

In my mind and thinking, the biggest impact has been for the sisters. And since girls naturally outnumber the boys, they are going to be the majority of missionaries serving, eventually surpassing the numbers of Elders.

"The Church" has had a hard time accepting this new reality, not often talking about the mercurial rise in the numbers of sisters who serve. To "them" (TPTB), missions are still the domain of the young Elders, but it won't be so for long. Even though there is no "official" focus on "encouraging" sisters to serve missions, there has been a tidal wave of pent up desire by the young women to have the same opportunities and experiences of their male counterparts.

byu rugby
Crystal Lake, IL

I understand and honestly believe that it is the spirit that converts. I also understand and know from experience that generally it requires a testimony for a young man or woman to put life on hold for several years in order to put the Lord first. However, all that being said, if the missionaries are unable to coherently relate the basic story of the restoration, provide one or two related scriptures, and relate it to existing knowledge found in the bible coherently. The spirit may bare witness of the intent of the messenger but, it more than likely will not plant the seed deep enough for it to take sufficient root to mature into a fully active member.

Please do not discount those with concerns as folks lacking faith. I have witnessed the current crop of missionaries in action. The program needs serious reconsideration and tweaking if the church is going to do right by these young folks who have volunteered their time.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

Way of the Warrior posted:

=I expect that at some point the surge in the number of missionaries will peak,
=then drop as the number of those serving reaches equilibrium.

Yes, it probably will peak and drop, but I don't think it will drop back to the level it was at previously. More sisters are feeling like a mission is within their grasp, and so I think more will go, and I expect that will be a permanent change.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

Byu Rugby posted:

=However, all that being said, if the missionaries are unable to coherently
=relate the basic story of the restoration, provide one or two related
=scriptures, and relate it to existing knowledge found in the bible coherently.

What's the need for providing "one or two related scriptures" and relating the message "to existing knowledge found in the bible"? The missionaries will tell their investigators that they should pray and ask God whether or not God inspired their message; that's all the authorization that they need.

DMJ
Newbury Park, CA

An other item to be addressed. The annoying spoken sentence cadence, especially among the sisters, that makes everything sound like a question. I find this very distracting to the message. Is this method of dialogue taught at the MTC? Has anyone else noticed this?

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Michigander

Only in your little world is that the case.

Brett B
Gilbert, AZ

While I agree that there are going to be people serving missions, particularly sisters that wouldn't have served before lowering the age, I also think this just got a lot of young men out earlier than they would've partially causing this surge. I have to believe the #'s are going to come way back down and could actually cause a bit of a vacuum about 12-18 months from now these missionaries all start going home.

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