Published: Monday, June 2 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT
Correct Carly. This is a shortcoming of many members. Myself included at times
I suspect although hopefully rarely. In general, we should avoid the
"you should do this because I think you should mentality." That was
actually Satan's plan according to our beliefs. Carly, if you
read this. Please understand that these people are just wrong. But don't
judge them too harshly. You've done the same thing just in other
circumstances and will do it in the future. This is a very hard thing to not be
guilty of at times. The person usually doesn't mean to shame you into
doing anything. But the adversary certainly takes advantage of the situation to
try to shame you into thinking you "should" or "have to" do it.
Patience with them and look above their unChristlike behavior.
Now you know how the boys feel, Carly. The pressure is tremendous. Who really
wants to learn about Jesus from someone who feels compelled instead of called?
So then get over yourself. If you don't want to go, then don't. Guys
have been experiencing this "pressure" for hundreds of years.
Please, Do us all a favor and Do NOT go unless you feel it is the right
thing for you -- I dragged around far too many dead weight
"Elders" who only went because they were either: 1.
"guilted" into going,2. They had Zero chance of ever getting
married unless, or 3. Mommy & Daddy promised College, Ski
passes, trips, and one was even bribed with a new BMW when he got home...I paid for my own Mission and went to serve God, not to baby-sit
insecure nassisistic guilt trips, or who someone didn't want to be there in
the 1st place.
Good letter.President Hinckley made it clear that young women should
be neither encouraged nor discouraged from going on missions. He said missionary
service is a priesthood responsibility. He pointed out that, for young women,
choosing to go to college, to work, to marry, etc., were as good as choosing to
serve a mission.
I've had the same problem. Counterintuitively, the thing that helped me
most was the song "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go". It's
always sung to encourage missionary service, but I think people aren't
actually listening to all the lyrics.It may NOT be on the mountain
heightOr over the stormy sea,It may NOT be at the battle's
frontMy Lord will have need of me.The Lord needs sister
missionaries, true, but he also needs women who will get jobs, go to school,
start families, and lead their friends or neighbors by example. (This is
even--or especially--true right here in Utah.) If you feel like that's your
calling, go ahead and do it, and be confident in your decision. Ignore the
detractors, because quite frankly it's none of their business.
Carly, just smile and say no. Maybe the people asking you are curious, but not
trying to pressure you. A confident answer is probably all that it will take to
stop the conversation. If they press, you could just tell them that this is a
question you get repeatedly and you don't really feel like it's
something you have to discuss with everyone. It's a personal decision.
Confidence in response is the key.
"It is time for people to stop shaming girls who don't want to go on
missions, it is for the better and it isn't required of us."Isn't required of us... I wonder what the letter writer feels about guys
being pressured to go on missions who don't want to go on one.
Carly,Try thinking of people who ask if you are going on a mission, the
same as people who ask if you are going to college next... they are just
interested in you and your life. Not trying to guilt you into going to
college.Also... try not judging them. You don't know why they
are asking you. I'm pretty sure they don't mean you any harm.====As for the church asking young women to do "hard
things"...Possibly the most famous quotation from Joseph
Smith's Lectures on Faith is Lecture 6:7 which reads, "... A religion
that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to
produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; ..."So
it's not just a Utah thing. And they may not be trying to guilt you into
ANYTHING... they may just be assuming you want that faith and are willing to
sacrifice your time with your family. I know... assumptions are
never good. But I don't think they mean any harm by it. They are just
making bad assumptions (we are all guilty of that from time to time).
Nobody -- either male or female -- should serve a mission because of pressure.
The ONLY reason to serve a mission is that the person has received inspiration
from God that "this" is the time to serve and "this" is the
right time to serve. If the person does not receive that inspiration, that
person should not go. And that should be the end of any discussion on the
Three of the 11 responses to this young woman's letter are "boys have
to deal with it; why shouldn't girls?"Note: It's not
ok to do it to boys, either.
Reducing the eligible age requirement should serve to take "age" out of
the equation - and put the focus squarely on preparation: go when you are ready,
and when you have the desire to serve (D&C 4:3). Some of the most
impressive missionaries I've known resisted the expectations of others, and
took their time to prepare, whatever that meant to them.Unfortunately, I've heard of "whisper campaigns" that have arisen
now around young men who are expected to serve missions, but don't leave
right out of high school. This is unfortunate. A mission is far too important
a commitment to embark on unprepared.
Please ignore this snide comment "So then get over yourself. If you
don't want to go, then don't. Guys have been experiencing this
"pressure" for hundreds of years." Young men haven't even
been asked to go on missions for "hundreds of years". Obviously this
was an attempt to be dramatic.A mission is a very special thing that
you put in your name for a calling. No time else in this church do you elect or
apply for a calling for. It should be a when you are ready... and that being a
relative term. Just like getting married, or having your kids... You will get
the same questions and looks by well meaning people if you get married someday
and they inquire when you will have children.The answer is dependent
on you. The time you "can" go on a mission is 18 for boys, 19 for
young ladies. Doesn't mean you need to leave then. You can go a year,
two, three or more later... when you are ready. Here In the mission
field we get both missionaries who came before they were ready, and young couple
who got married before they were ready.
D&C 4:3 "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the
work;"The key word is "desires". No one can force
anyone else to have "desires". If the work of the Lord is paramount in
your life then you might have "desires".Every young man is
expected to develop those "desires". Every young man who is baptised at
eight, has ten years to prepare himself to serve as a witness for two years.
Some young women will have that opportunity. A mission is a life
changing experience. In many cases, the person who is "converted" is
the missionary as he/she begins to understand the purpose of life.Some bemoan the fact that they are assigned "companions" who
don't want to be missionaries. I never felt that way. It didn't
matter to me whether the opportunity came from knocking on doors, or from just
being the best missionary that I knew how to be, which included being the best
example that I knew how to be to my companion.It's a privilege
to be a witness of Jesus Christ, not an obligation.
"D&C 4:3 "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called
to the work;""I agree with you Mike... where I would add to
this is that not all are called to serve in the same way. There is a reason we
have personal inspiration... otherwise we would just have a plan that we all
followed in the exact same way.There are many many ways to serve.
For a young lady, a mission is only one of those possible paths. Just as a
large army may have a singular objective, and the path to that objective may be
well defined (narrow and straight), there are many different roles within that
army to achieve that objective.
Carly, try to understand them a little better instead of judging them.A person asks if you plan to serve a mission. Is that really so bad?
Haven't you heard that questions from parents, grandparents, siblings,
friends, and others who you know love you? Perhaps the person asking is
genuinely interested in YOU. That should be flattering, not distressing.Maybe your response causes a look of disappointment. You assume they are
disappointed IN you but perhaps, and probably more likely, they are disappointed
FOR you.My 24 months has dramatically affected the next 40 years of
my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. I am disappointed when
someone decides not to serve because I know they will be missing a great
opportunity. I know many men and women who regret not serving but very few who
regret serving.I think if anyone is judging others, it is you. Ask
yourself if any of these people would cut off your relationship if you did not
serve a mission. I think you will have to admit they would not. These people
love you and will continue to love you no matter what you choose.
re: UtahBlueDevil,Yes, people serve in a variety of ways. Life
should be filled with service to others; but, only those who have authority can
ask us to serve in specific ways. I may wish to be a primary teacher, but
unless I'm asked to be a primary teacher, I have no right to assign myself
that "service". I may think that 10% of my paycheck would be better
spent at the local shelter, but I have no authority to use the Lord's
tithing in that way.A mission helps the missionary as much or more
than it helps those who are introduced to the gospel. Being totally immersed in
selfless service for 18 months or 24 months lets those who serve experience the
total joy of service without having other responsibilities that compete for
attention.No one is compelled to serve in Christ's Church, but
all are invited. Whether we answer that call is up to each of us. If we do, our
lives will be blessed. The Lord is not skimpy with His blessings to those who
serve Him willingly nor does He turn His back on those who prefer not to serve.
Mike... I agree with you to a point. But I remember one time a bishop came to
me with a calling for my wife. She and I discussed it, and just didn't
feel it was right. We told the bishop of our feelings, and he committed to
going back and revisiting it with his councilors. The next week he got back to
us and agreed there was a better calling for my wife, and a better person to
serve in the original calling.Lets not remove the human factor here.
We are all people doing the best we can with the information and inspiration we
have. That is not to say sometimes we, or our leaders get it wrong. We do not
believe in the concept of infallibility. There are plenty times a calling is
made, and there isn't a perfect answer, but a job that needs being done.One of my best buds served his mission much later into his 20s, and it
was the right thing for him to do. His life circumstances didn't provide
for the standard plan. But since that time, he has served very faithfully in
many positions of leadership.
Mike Richards says;"Every young man is expected to develop those
"desires". "--- THIS is the pressure young men
experience. This is nothing more than telling the young men (and now women)
that YOU MUST GO. Pressure, pressure, pressure.Going on an LDS
Mission has become nothing more that a rite-of-passage for Mormon youth. Once
upon a time only the boys felt the pressure; now the girls will too.
Stop shaming the boys who don't want to go either.Perhaps if there
was another option available, to go do some actual good for humanity. Instead of
pestering people at home or on the street, let the kids choose if they would
rather go to Africa or Asia and build schools, hospital or dig wells. You know,
do something worthwhile. If that was an option then I could see a little more
pressure to go and then when they call it "service" it would actually be
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