The subject of Mormon full-time missions has been a popular discussion area on the bloggeracle lately. Two recent posts make important points.
Dave Banack on timesandseasons.org states unequivocally: “We need to make the LDS mission a better experience for our missionaries (emphasis his).” He suggests 4 changes that I totally agree with:
- Emphasize service over direct proselyting.
- Get them out of business suits, they are not salesman.
- Allow more education and culture into the reading and study program.
- Get them more involved with the wards they serve in.
Most of the comments to Banack’s post were generally supportive, but a few fell back on the argument that the LDS Church is a top-down organization and that the members should just be supportive.
Julie M. Smith, also on T&S, while reviewing Craig Harline’s latest book Way Below the Angels, made a plea for more candor in missionary reports. Commenting on Harline’s struggles during his mission to Belgium in the 1970s, she states:
We get very few missionary narratives like this. Which is precisely why the young Elder Harline was able to begin his mission with such an absurdly optimistic expectation for what his mission would be like.
Tire Road Warrior has consistently argued for more candor about the missionary experience.