Suggested Changes in the Mormon Missionary Program

In a recent post on bycommonconsent.org, John F. makes some very helpful suggestions for improving the missionary program:

  • “The missionary program be modified to more directly account for the Church’s recently announced ‘Fourth Mission’–caring for the poor and needy.  Missionaries would spend daytime hours primarily involved in full time service  in activities and venues that provide permanent, reliable succor to the poor and needy worldwide.”
  • “Focus will be to serve in these capacities as directed by mission leaders without ulterior motive of winning converts [emphasis is the authors] but rather service for the sake of the service.”
  • “At the end of the hopefully fulfilling and exhausting workday, missionaries will make full use of the traditional ‘prime proselyting time’ to find and teach investigators.”

This proposal by John F. received numerous comments.  Most of them favorable:

  • “I really, really wish [this] would happen.”
  • “It would fill my heart with joy and make me really want to encourage my children to go.”
  • “I would love it.”
  • “I really like the idea of replacing tracting with volunteer work.”
  • “It’s actually a small change from an institutional perspective but a huge change from a focus or vision perspective.”
  • “It would mean so much [to me] to see the church out there as a transformative agent in low-income communities.”
  • “It would break up the monotony of the proselyting work with time for mental reflection while doing physical work.”
  • “[This] is where we are going to be sooner or later.”
  • “I do wish we had a greater sense of urgency about relieving the suffering of the poor.”
  • “I believe the best way to make significant change in how we are perceived and welcomed in the world would be [to adopt John F’s proposal].
  • “I would be thrilled if missionary work meant more service.”
  • “I think the service idea is a beautiful one.  I think part time would be a more reasonable option.”
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6 Responses to Suggested Changes in the Mormon Missionary Program

  1. Bryant Smith says:

    Roger, I agree that this would be a wonderful, positive change in the missionary program.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I tried to listen to the Mormon Church broadcast on lds.org, but there wasn’t much new there. So I soon lost interest. But I wasn’t surprised at the lack of any real meat in the “new” proposals.
      For me personally, I feel the Church’s missionary efforts could best be enhanced by providing examples of living a Christ-like life. By this I mean, helping the poor, sick, infirmed, less fortunate, handicapped, etc.
      Our current image is that of a “corporate” church. I would personally feel much better if our image was that of a “helping-the-poor” church. I think this would help our missionary efforts greatly. And improve the spirituality of our converts.

  2. Trey says:

    The best way to lift people out of poverty and squaller is to preach the gospel to them. Thats clearly evident in the Book of Mormon. The church already is doing everything you mentioned, the church just doesn’t “Give it’s alms before men”

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Hi Trey. It doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. I think missionaries can do both. There is no doubt that church membership can help individuals and families. But so can humanitarian work. Sorry, I don’t understand the quote “Give it’s alms before men.”

      I left for my mission 49 years ago. The tracting experiences of all the missionaries in my mission was generally not good. And many good missionaries went home without baptizing anyone. I would have loved to do some sort of humanitarian as part of my mission. Roger

  3. The “Alms before men” comment simply means the church does not like to bring attention to itself for giving, helping and donating. Most of my mission in the Cook Islands, was service and aid where we could give it, its apart of the convent we make in baptism so I dont see why the church would need to make a program for it . The church has other things to run, it cant just give the majority of its wealth to people in the form of food or housing or medial attention. The church is now building less ward and stake houses because it is reallocating those resource to the missionary movement, which by the end of the year could be over 100,000. At the end of the day, the church is all about brining people to Christ, and the best way to do that is through the examples of the members and missionaries.

    My in-laws just went to Uganda to be mission presidents, and they told them, dont give food away to people… Why would they tell them not to do that? Because if you do, people will constantly be asking you for food, and then soon all of Uganda will figure out that the LDS church gives away free food and to line up at the door of the mission presidents house or members houses asking for it. Our goal is to give them the bread of life, and to have them drink from the fountain of living water who’s water causeth a man to never thrust.

    Here is a great article about what the church did in 2011
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/2011-costly-year-global-disasters

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