Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Letter to the Mission President

I was just browsing through some old records and I came across this letter that I once wrote to the local mission president. I do not believe I ever sent him the letter, but it gives some insite into myself. You will notice that in this letter, I profess my belief in the church; however, there are clearly doubts and questioning. So, without further aidu:

"Dear President ____:

"In the last few months, the missionaries of the mission have been asking the members to be actively involved with the missionary work by coming with them to all of their appointments with investigators and new members. The purpose, as you know, is to provide fellowshipping. This is a good idea and I believe it will be very effective; however, I have a few concerns that I’d like to let you know of.

"Our ward is quite large and the number of active families is quite small. Even with the active members, there are very few who are willing or available to go out with the missionaries. As such, I have been called upon frequently, which I have done willingly. I believe this program is inspired, but I do not believe that the ward mission leader, the ward missionaries, and the few that are willing should have to shoulder the entire burden. Therefore, I propose that the members go with the missionaries to appointments AFTER the investigator has fulfilled some commitments and has shown a general interest in further investigating the church. I do not believe that this request is unreasonable.

"On top of that, the last time I was supposed to meet the Elders to teach a discussion, I arrived at the home at the scheduled time. I waited outside for the Elders, and when a half-hour passed without them showing up, I finally went home. Now, the purpose of this letter is not to get the Elders in trouble with you, but to again stress the fact that our number of willing members are few and are quickly being burnt out. If the mission wants members to be involved, then the missionaries need to take it seriously and be to their appointments on time.

"I have recently been asked, again, to go with them to an investigators home. The reason I have been asked to go is because the investigator is a single woman, and for the lack of a better word, I am to act as "chaperone". Perhaps I’m wrong with my thinking, but that is the reason they go out two-by-two: not only to give two witnesses, but also to "chaperone" each other. Three men going into the home of a single woman is going to intimidate her. Pardon me for saying this, but the Elders are big boys and since the church continuously praises them for how wonderful they are, then the church needs to back off and let them do their job without continual supervision and strict rules.

"I also have another concern: In order to avoid going to the appointment and the missionaries not showing up again, I asked if they could come by my house and pick me up. I was informed that no one, other than missionaries, are allowed to ride in a mission car. This is not right. Again, if the mission wants the members to be involved, then the “rules” need to be a little flexible. If they want members to come to every appointment, then accommodations need to be made to make it easier on the VERY few willing members.

"Having served a mission myself, I’m sure you are aware that many if not most of the Elders in the field really don’t want to be there. They have simply gone on their mission because of their parents, girlfriends, and all the pressure they have received ever since they could talk. Either the Elder has a strong testimony and kept himself worthy for a mission, OR he had a weak testimony, never repented for past transgressions, and went on a mission to please everyone. All the pressure and manipulation has resulted in a mission field full of Elders who have simply gone to please their parents and girlfriends. Personally, I believe the church is perfectly aware of this, and this is why such strict rules are in place. If the Elders were truly righteous, there would be no need for mission rules. So, if there is a danger of the Elders doing the naughty with this female investigator, they are going to do it whether or not I go with them on an appointment.

"If the church would cut back on the pressure of young men to go on a mission, of course, there would be far fewer Elders in the field. I do believe, however, that the church would actually grow faster because the ones that go are the ones that want to go! There are very few sister missionaries, but they are most often the
MVP’s in the mission. This is because the sisters are not pressured and manipulated to serve.

"I know that this letter will probably change nothing, but I feel strongly about these issues and I believe that the missionary program could be much more effective if we had missionaries who serve because they want to, not because they are manipulated by the system.


"A Concerned Member

"P.S. I prefer to remain anonymous in order to avoid the labels. Even though my issues are sincere, who am I to question our "inspired" leaders?"

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