Do’s and don’ts for parents of returned Mormon missionaries

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  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    Frankness, from what I have experienced and have observed, the worst thing new RMs can do is return to the family ward that sent them off.

    The best thing I did coming home was immediately leave for college. I was home long enough for a "homecoming" talk and a sibling's "farewell".

  • EBNYC Brooklyn, NY
    Nov. 5, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    Frankly I find these articles and sites like to be annoying. They try to commercialize the Church, fit everyone into a similar box, hand out flowery advice, yada, yada, yada. Live your own life, make your own decisions. You know your son/daughter, you shouldn't need advice on "do's and don'ts" with your own child returning. These articles and sites are a pet peeve of mine.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 3:00 p.m.

    Each son or daughter returning from a mission is different. Listen to them. Pray for guidance on how to help them decompress and grow into the next part of their life. For some, this "program" may be fabulous. For others it won't work well at all. For others, a few parts of it will work. With some others... no program at all is needed.

    I grow weary of the forced march that "well-meant" programs like this create. I am weary of the shallow pomp of people who think that all problems are solved by ordering others about (and how angry they get when you don't dance fast enough to suit them). The mechanical nature of programs create new-age Pharisees. And by nature, Pharasees leave the "weightier matters" undone.

    And "Jesus wept."

    Every person is different. Even missionaries.

  • David M Metairie, LA
    Nov. 5, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    After growing up and living independantly (with a companion) on my mission, it was difficult to return to live upnder my parents roof. I maintained a good relationship with them, but I was manytimes treated as a child around the house, and regulated as such.

    I only stayed for a few months, then transferred to an out-of-town college which helped the situration. I still stop by to visit every opportunity I get.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Nov. 5, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    Chris B, it's not dealing with 6 year olds, it's basic psychology. I've come back from a mission and I've come back from a war zone. The experiences are different, but share being cut off from home while doing important things for long periods, while the world back home went on without us. Returning home gives rise to the same problems of isolation, purposelessness, frustration, and even fear.

    The principles listed in the article can apply broadly to both experiences because of the overlap, and you'd do well not to infantilize the experience unless you've shared in something similar.

  • Happy in So Cal LADERA RANCH, CA
    Nov. 4, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    @Oh, please!

    I am sorry if our video did not meet your expectations of what a proper missionary homecoming is but it sure was a blessed day for our fun loving but imperfect family. I would challenge you to focus on the positive & take to heart Matthew 7:1. I am positive that all missionaries do that!

    Great article and advice! Thanks so much for posting it!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    when I came home from my mission from Alaska I was lost for weeks. The world I knew and loved was gone and I was back in my old room again trying to figure out who I was and what I was supposed to be doing. I knew I was supposed to be dating and seeking a mate but I had been trained strictly for two years to not even look at girls and now suddenly it was open season? Confusing and awkward. The best things I did were to seek out my returned missionary friends who had also loved their missions like me and spend time swapping stories. I also spent time visiting my older siblings and their families and getting caught up. The temple was GREAT and gave me a place of refuge. I would say - give an RM a couple months and allow him to adjust to the real world again before throwing him or her into the work force or social scene.

  • Spellman789 Syracuse, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    Why not do both?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    From reading this list, it makes me thing we're talking about how to parent a 6 year old coming home after being gone a while.

    And some people wonder why LDS missionaries have a hard time assimilating back into society.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 4, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    How about if parents not send their children on missionary wild goose chases but send them into the Peace Corps or some other community volunteer organization where they can make a difference and do some real good contributing to a better world, Would it not be better time and money spend. When people can read and write and have a full stomach then they will be better prepared to choose a church or religion for themselves and by themselves, or not.

  • Big Joe V Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    The recommendations in the article are in my view too idealized. Be flexible and let the RM adjust in their own way. Let them come down from the guilt of not meeting the weekly stats and relax. When I returned many years ago I didn't have a support group (just my grandmother). I went on splits with the local Elders to transition to the reality of everyday living. Some missionaries don't achieve the deep spiritual strength to endure regardless of completing a mission and are coatailing others spirituality. You can encourage and support the RM, but don't become their next mission president.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    I was pleasantly surprised by this list. So often such lists are personality specific and thus not really applicable to nearly everyone in the supposed target group.

    It boils down to two principles:
    1) Support, don't push or criticize.
    2) Guide towards moving forward in general, not in specifics. RMs are adults and thus should determine the specifics for themselves.

    This same list, and my principles, would also serve Mission Presidents well. Too often I hear of Mission Presidents putting too much pressure on RMs to marry quickly after returning. The timing of marriage is extremely individual and also requires the cooperation of a second party. Thus, advise for returned missionaries regarding marriage needs to be extremely general (i.e. "don't avoid marriage," or highly individual, as truly guided by the Spirit) and needs to leave lots of room for the realities and vagaries of life.

  • Ahge DENVER, CO
    Nov. 4, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    I served a two year mission returned home and continued with my life. I do not understand why a returned missionary would need a six week course to help adjust after serving a mission.

  • Frankness TALLAHASSEE, FL
    Nov. 4, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Good recommendations...I'd go as far to say the returned would be suited well by attending there family ward for a short month or two before moving on. As one who labored in school and attended a student ward a while before getting married, that would be my recommendation. If I had a choice BT a family ward and a student ward, it would be the family.

    So many of the youth, graduate student wards forgetting there's a choice.