I think it's time I talked a bit about my mission. I served two years as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I served in an English speaking mission in the USA. For my security, I won't say where.
I'm not going to tell a specific story this time. I'll just share some of my thoughts I had and truths that I came to personally believe.
I came to understand right away that the mission rules were nothing more than control. My first companion was a drill sergeant and I quickly discovered that all the Elders who were staunch rule keepers were also assholes. They believed in Satan's plan: they would make you obey. As a missionary, the church completely takes away your freedom and practically your personality.
About a year into my mission, having had mostly good companions, but also having had a few staunch rule keepers, and having developed somewhat of a reputation as a "non-conformer", I came to the understanding that the mission rules were not inspired. Now, this is a TBM missionary, who wasn't doubting if the church was true, but just that the mission rules were totally not inspired.
I had one apartment which had a basement and I used to take a chair down there so I could be alone and just meditate. I came to some very important discoveries:
Because of all the pressure on young men to serve a mission, most of them really don't want to go, but are there to please their families and girlfriends. Knowing this, the church puts strict guidelines on them. They watch each other and report any discrepancies to the mission president. Now keep in mind that these "inspired" rules come straight from a true prophet of god, so if you don't obey them all, then you are openly rebelling against a true prophet and therefore god. They even threaten your eternal salvation if you do not obey.
- They tell you what time to get up in the morning.
- How long and what to study.
- What time you need to leave the apartment.
- Pray before doing ANYTHING.
- If you have a car, using the backing rule (One companion stands behind the car ANYTIME it is going in reverse. I grew to despise this rule).
- Never be alone.
- The two of you can not be alone with a girl (the chuch is seriously afraid that the three of them will have a spontaneous orgy. The only physical contact you can have with someone of the opposite sex is a handshake).
- You only listen to music that is appropriate for sacrament meeting (this varies by mission).
- Absolutely no TV or movies.
- No personal time, except an appointed day called P-day in which you do laundry, grocery shopping, write letters, play sports, etc. (Actually it's only half a day)
- Always wear your missionary attire unless you are playing sports.
- No calling anyone at home; the only exception is that you may call HOME on Mothers Day and Christmas.
- Every night you report your numbers to the distric leader. This includes: hours spend finding, hours spent giving service, number of first discussions taught, number of 2-6 discussions taught, number of contacts, number of Books of Mormon given away, time spent with members, etc. (They claim it's not about numbers but people, but that's utter bullshit!)
- They tell you what time to be back at your apartment and what time to go to bed!
If you do anything personal on a non-Pday, you are stealing time from god and it could effect your salvation. As a missionary, they keep you under tight wraps, and threaten damnation if you do not completely conform. You are required to write a weekly letter to the mission president and have a monthly interview with him.
I could see right away that it was nothing more than two years of brainwashing. I came to the conclusion within a few months that the rules were not inspired and were there to keep all the missionaries (who didn't want to be there) under control. What a system!
I didn't doubt that the church was true but I seriously believed that the missionary program was completely uninspired. Why did I need such strict rules when I supposedly had the "spirit" to guide me? Why did I have to be watched so closely when I had (for the most part) kept myself worthy to serve a mission? If I could control myself when I was alone before my mission, why did they need to put me in a fish bowl now? In other words, if I had met the standards to serve a mission, why were they so afraid that I would suddenly turn into a hellion? Why did I need a companion to be constantly with me when missionaries in the Book of Mormon when their separate ways ALONE? (Alma 17:17)
17 Therefore they separated themselves one from another, and went forth among them, every man alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him.
This is something that all missionaries experience. And yet a TBM returned missionary will not tell you that. He will tell you how wonderful and uplifting his mission was. It was the most amazing time of his life. Many of them will brag that they loved it so much that they didn' want to come home. Lots of returned missionaries have a hard time adjusting back to "gentile" life. They are so used to having all of their thinking done for them, that they can hardly function when they get home. The transition was a piece of cake for me. I wasn't about to let someone else do my thinking!
As such, I was junior companion my entire mission, even though I had some companions who had absolutely no regard for any of the rules at all! I had one senior companion who would sleep in until noon, listen to whatever music he wanted, call girls from his past areas, punch holes in our apartment walls, never do any missionary work, leave me alone while he went somewhere wearing regular clothes, and abuse the living hell out of our mission car. I was no where near that rebellious, but it just goes to show how "inspired" my mission president was. This guy was the senior companion and who was I to oppose his leadership as the senior companion?
When I got home, I'll never forget the clown who officially released me from missionary service. I met him in his office and he asked me a few brief questions. The only one I really remember was, "Since you have been home, have you continued to obey the mission rules?" What a completely pointless question! If I say "no" what are you going to do? Not release me? Send me back? What a moron! Anyway, I got safely released and my new purpose of life was to HURRY and find my eternal companion.
That does remind me of one experience. One of my last companions had a guitar and I would play it occassionally. I learned how to play, "I hope they call me on a mission." In addition to the regular lyrics, I made up some additional verses to go with the song:
"I hope they call me on a mission
When I have grown a foot or two.
I hope by then I will be ready
To teach and preach and work
As missionaries do!
"Now I am serving on a mission
Now that I have grown a foot or two.
I hope that I can stay worthy
To work and sweat and slave
Like missionaries do!
"Now I am a returned missionary
I've worked hard for a year or two.
It's now my duty to get married,
And steal your girl like returned
Ah the memories. I almost did steal some missionaries girl. It turns out she was just using me for making out until her man got home! Being used never felt so good! She had some huge titties! Unfortunately, I was so worried about being righteous that I never played with them. DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! They were nice and big!
Just another evil apostate...