There seems to be some frustrations with the autocratic way in which LDS proselytizing mission are governed. Perhaps one way for young LDS missionaries to release these frustrations is through some modest form of civil disobedience.
Civil disobedience in wikipedia is defined as the “active refusal to obey certain laws, demands, or commands” of a governing authority. It is generally associated with non-violence.
So what might be possible examples of missionary civil disobedience? How about:
- Chucking the missionary reading list and developing your own? One tailored to your specific needs and interests.
- Doing more volunteer work in schools and hospitals?
- Indulging in activities that further your cultural understanding of the area where you are working?
- Taking an occasional vacation to clear your mind and reset your priorities?
So what is the downside of this rebellion? I suppose the worst case scenario is getting sent home early. However, would a truly righteous Mission President really send home a sincere missionary who’s only “sin” is helping in a hospice? But realistically, the MP would probably warn him or her first. Or who knows, it might actually approve of the activity.
A less severe punishment might be exclusion from hierarchical promotions. If the missionary doesn’t plan on getting an MBA, this might not be such a bad deal. I’m not sure a Mormon mission is the best place to learn leadership skills.
And I’m not so sure that the above examples of civil disobedience might not improve a missionary’s chances of “spreading the gospel” or as they say in the current parlance “hastening the work.”