Wright Words: What do you tell a prospective missionary before entering the MTC?

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  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Sept. 2, 2014 3:03 a.m.

    I shall never ever forget them. Am so grateful to the parents of a Canadian and US missionary who have been in my ward. Have been really ill with ca. am still alive but husband had a severe stroke. Was panicking re my large garden which required turning and on the point of not going back to church. Have been a member for thirty years.No ones fault, just the world. Went shopping and looked up to hear my name as if from a distance and those two angels stood in front on me again. Had already knocked at my door to visit a few days before. But - I had been praying for help. Later that week was rationalising that it was better not to go back. Knock at the door, there they stood again requesting to do service on my garden. Am not giving up, those lads were sent. Missionaries you cannot know fully yet what you do when you touch someones life. Ask to go in and bless the house or children, then leave. You will be remembered forever.

  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Sept. 2, 2014 2:43 a.m.

    why did you leave, Stormwalker. Dont tell me, it wasnt the Gospel but some of the people.The Gospel still stands. Get back to the simple building block, take your sacrament in your kitchen by yourself of a Sunday. Its between you and Him and no-one else.

  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Sept. 2, 2014 2:38 a.m.

    if you baptise no-one, you have cared enough to go, and each of those whose lives you have touched now have a reference point when they pass beyond the veil. They will never forget you or the precious message you gave them.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 25, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    I left the Mormon Church a decade ago. I then moved to the west side of Atlanta. That summer two sets of missionaries knocked on my door. I politely invited them into my air-conditioned home (humid summer days in Georgia are brutal) and offered a cold beverage and chat. We talked about their home and family and the local area.

    Then they asked the qualifying questions. I warned them. One set kept the topics light and promised to return at a later time. Never did.

    The other set of companions bore testimony that they were unshakable. So I began showing them events and quotes from LDS history, actual passages from LDS sources. They denied. They multiplied complex explanations. They were both clearly shaken. They left, promised to return, and didn't.

    After that other missionaries tracted in the complex, but they avoided my building.

    My advice to missionaries? The internet is real and there is a lot of information you were not told in seminary. Be ready to deal with it, or be ready to walk away.

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    April 24, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    Cohabitation is real and as a result there are no "golden families" to teach and baptize. Be prepared to bring many individual, single adults into the gospel and hope they can resist temptation. The field is drying up fast.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 23, 2014 9:19 p.m.

    forget home for 2 years - roll up your sleaves and be ready to work REALLY hard. If you can't do that then stay home.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    April 23, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    @ The Scientist - Provo, UT - "Don't tell him anything. Let him figure things out for himself. Why is there such a strong compulsion to "give advice" among LDS people?"

    You reeeeeeeally like stumbling around in the dark, don't you?....

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    April 23, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    Been there. Done that.

    Missionary Rule #1: Make SURE that before you enter the MTC you know, from your OWN personal experience with the Lord, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If you don't know it yet, you need to find out before you get dropped off at the MTC curb. Once you accomplish that....

    - work hard
    - work hard
    - work hard (seriously....be up and doing, don't be a lazy slug or you're setting a terrible example and will exemplify someone who does not know rule #1 above)
    - Bear down in pure testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ
    - Bear testimony of the reality of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and all that it entails
    - Eat food you don't want to eat
    - Smile a lot
    - Be happy: you are on the front line of the front lines in the war against evil. You represent the Master....while on the Lord's errand there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you have faith and are worthy
    - Be patient with your companions (they should be trying to be patient with you)
    - Be aware this will probably be the hardest thing you've ever done


  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 23, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    RE Twin Lights: “Work on your testimony daily. Learn to *discern the Holy Ghost”,

    The Holy Spirit/Ghost8(same Greek word) Bears witness of Jesus and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). The Jesus of the Bible will send the Holy Spirit. If you don't have the right Jesus they can't have the true Holy Spirit, and your testimony is invalid. E.g..,

    And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This one(Jesus) is the true God and eternal life.(1 John 5:20)

    The problem with sincerity is that it becomes works righteousness because the person is saying "Because of my sincerity, God will listen to me." In other words, because of what's in the person God will look favorably upon him. God does not look into a person and find something good because there is no good in anyone (Rom. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:3).

    The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    April 22, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    Trial and error may be good for science, but if you've learned something, teach others. This benefits us all. (Btw, I was instructed to do this in my Patriarchal Blessing, which is why I'm here today, Scientist.)

    Advice needs to be given to congregations, too, that when a missionary ends his/her mission early, it's not always a bad thing, or because of some evil occurrence. Medical reasons cannot always be apparent until after a mission begins. It is none of our business to know WHY it happens, only that someone we love has returned. Treat them with the same love you would offer had they served a full mission.

    About obedience...some rules DO need to be questioned. Our son served in a large cosmopolitan area. One mission rule was that they could not back the car up without a missionary standing behind it, to make sure they didn't hit anything. This seemed sensible to the Mission President, but didn't always work out in the field, especially when backing into a carrefour full of fast-moving traffic! Never be too timid to question authority. You may save a life.

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    Glad Andy mentioned being bullied in the MTC. Recognize there are many who have not yet grown up. Find a way to stand up to them. You don't want to be the tattle-tale, but don't take it, either, and don't allow it to be done to another missionary. After a quick prayer for guidance, get up in the bully's face and calmly say, "I recognize you are larger (or more handsome, or cheekier or whatever) than me (or whomever is being bullied), Elder or Sister XYZ, but I (or Elder XY, or Sister YZ) have been called of God to serve. I think it's time we start serving. We can practice now, on each other."

    Gator from FL also mentioned not letting the Mormons get to you. This is also great advice. So many of us have a sense of superiority or righteousness, and 'taint necessarily true.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    April 22, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    Advice? That's easy.

    1- Don't wimp out. All missions are tough some of the time. View everything as an adventure. That way, nothing bad can happen because it is part of the adventure. There are way too many wimps these days. Don't be one of them.
    2- Don't feel guilty about feeling homesick, discouraged, even depressed sometimes. Those feelings are natural and likely. What matters is how you handle those feelings.
    3- Get a sense of humor. You'll need it in dealing with your companions, members, people on the street... and yourself.
    4- Be obedient. If you can't be obedient, stay home and save your prospective companions from a lot of grief.
    5- Work hard and don't worry about the results. You'll never ever regret working hard on your mission.

  • DavidJ Branson, MO
    April 22, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Socks! Bring plenty of socks.

  • wehage65 BURKE, VA
    April 22, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    I tell every young person going on a mission to be obedient: be obedient to the gospel, keep the covenants you've made in the temple, keep the commandments and obey, obey, obey your priesthood leadership in the field. Sometimes rules seem silly, why be home at 9? Fifteen minutes late isn't That big a deal right? Wrong, rules are about discipline, obedience, safety and love, yes, love. Keep every single rule whether it makes sense, whether you agree with it, whether you understand it or not. There is safety, great safety to be found in obedience. God loves you, so does your leadership, they show it by giving you guidelines, rules to live by and you return that love by obeying them.

  • Let it Go! Omaha, NE
    April 22, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Prospective missionary here.

    My response? Thank you. I totally agree with what you say in your "prospective missionary" letter.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    Don't tell him anything. Let him figure things out for himself.

    Why is there such a strong compulsion to "give advice" among LDS people?

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:08 p.m.

    Love the Lord, thy God, with all your heart, mind, body and spirit. This will help you recognize the Spirit.

    Love your neighbor (contact, companion, mission president, ward mission leader, zone leader, etc.) as yourself. Love and compassion is what forms relationships.

    Don't waste an available opportunity to do both of the above.

    If you have a conflict with your companion, offer to give a blessing and ask for one in return. You will be amazed at what God shares with you when you give a blessing.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    Love the people and keep your sense of humor

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    Missionaries are still people. I was bullied in the MTC, believe it or not, and contemplated returning home. I am glad I didn't, but you have to remember that people are still people.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Don't care about the number of people you baptize, care about the people you're talking to.

  • Gator In Utah Daytona Beach, FL
    April 22, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    It's your mission. Make the most of it.Don't let Mormons get to you -- you'll figure that out.

  • RedneckLefty St. George, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    I don't think turning monastic early is the most important thing. The most important this is to remember that a mission is not about you. That's why we're discouraged from having "farewells" and "homecomings." Because the rah-rah of the hero-missionary culture sends missionaries out into the field with an inflated sense of self rather than a humble dedication to the Lord. It's great to be excited about missionaries and missions, but once a missionary has gotten the call, it's time to prepare mentally and spiritually by diminishing ourselves in humility rather than aggrandizing ourselves in pride.

    I don't care if a missionary has seen a movie or gone on a date within a week or two of the mission. Those things aren't inherently bad or detrimental to mission preparation. To everything there is a season. What you absolutely do need to learn how to do, though, is cook some meals, launder and iron your clothes, and learn as much about the place you're going to as you can. You don't have to be a monk when you hit the MTC, but you should be a grownup.

  • Poppadaddymoe Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
    April 22, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    After waking up in the early AM, get on your knees and fervently,sincerely have your first personal conversation of the day with your loving, caring Heavenly Father. Then listen for the answering comfort of the Holy Ghost before you get dressed and start your day. If you don't already, concentrate on listening the whole day with your heart, spirit and mind for the promptings of that 3rd member of the godhead guiding and directing your actions and thoughts.
    As a Stake and then Ward missionary while working with the full time missionaries I have observed them receive inspiration while tracting, teaching and contemplating what or who to contact next It's a beautiful sight to see their faces clear as they receive direction from the HG. and then act upon it. And then the results! Wow! People get converted and baptized and that is REALLY when the fun of a mission happens, making all the hours of tracting and teaching truly worth it.
    Concentrate on refining your communication with Heavenly Father thro the HG.

  • Idahotransplant West Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Your There to serve the Lord and serve others. It is not a vacation and it is not about you.

  • Arizona Border Dude NACO, AZ
    April 22, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    When the day for Younger Jason to depart looms immediate, the final admonition, uttered quietly and personally between the two of you, might be; "Remember what you learned in kindergarten, when you started to use crayons, 'Stay between the lines and pay attention to what you are doing.' because everything matters; pay attention to the slightest detail, because everything matters; do the very best you can every day. Because everything matters to the Lord."

  • BlakeR St Joseph, MI
    April 22, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    Good Advise!Let me add to that from the perspective of a slightly older returned missionary, father of two who have served missions and one daughter now serving, and as one who has worked with literally hundreds of full-time missionaries over a couple of decades "in the field" as a local unit ecclesiastical leader. Youth is centered around competition (academics, sports, social, etc..) and the structure of missions and missionary work can appeal to that conditioned competitiveness. Do all you can to resist that! Sincere motive (Charity / Christlike love --feeling for others some of what the Savior feels for them) is contrary to the spirit of competition and carries incredible strength and power beyond your own (grace) if you are able to access it. A competitive spirit will greatly limit your access to that power. So, despite the natural man tendency, don't be competitive. People are not numbers and are not yours. Don't compete for advancement, position, attention, adulation, numbers. Strive to develop Christlike characteristics (Chapter 6 PMG) and competition is not one of those. Strive to adopt His characteristics and over the course of 2 years you will experience intense joy, the ultimate sign of missionary success!

  • Natester Cedar Hills, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    Great article, Jason. I agree with every word you've written. I'm in a position to see how new Missionaries adjust (or don't adjust) to their assignments. This is right on the money.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    As someone that spends several hours a week at the MTC this is good advice- I usually watch Elders and Sisters spend the first several days and even weeks trying to figure out why they are there and shedding their old life- most finally do it to some extent- that is the miracle I suppose- but how much more they would get from their service if they had just done a little more along the way and been just a little more prepared for the fateful day they walk thru those doors

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 22, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Work on your testimony daily. Learn to discern the Holy Ghost. Allow your love for the Lord to grow and to grow again. As your testimony and love of the Lord grow, don't allow yourself to be embarrassed by them. Wear just a bit of your heart on your sleeve.