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Mormonism 101: Latter Day Saint/Mormon Missionaries
Who Are the Mormon Missionaries?
If the picture doesn't strike an "Oh yeah!" Then keep reading. You've probably run into them at least once in your life, or they've run into you. Kind of hard to miss, really. Always in twos, wearing black name tags, sometimes on bikes. If its the Elders you'd see the white shirts, ties and backpacks (well, maybe not so much anymore. The backpacks are done, and the black suits can be substituted with tan or khaki. But the iconic image has probably burned itself into most people's memories), but its not just guys that serve missions; there are Sister Missionaries, and Senior couples that go on missions also! (NOT to be confused with Jehovah's witnesses. Watchtower is their magazine literature, Ensign and Friend are LDS)
So are LDS Missionaries really out to try to convert the world to Mormonism? Perhaps it's this portrayal that's the cause of all the door slamming, and "not interested"'s we keep getting.
The Missionaries are coming! The Missionaries are coming!
What do YOU do when you see Mormon Missionaries?
The Purpose of an LDS Missionary - NOT just getting numbers
NO, it is absolutely NOT about numbers! The missionary purpose is "...to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through: Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End." We don't want to take away that faith you already have in Christ, we only wish to broaden and deepen that relationship. Why would we ask you to change something so wonderful as having a faith in Christ? Our entire MESSAGE is Centered on him! "...bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it" - President Gorden B. Hinckley
Just imagine, if reading the Bible was able to bring you into a realization of your redeemer and savior, was able to grow that faith and give you that hope, how much more could another book that also teaches and testifies of Christ deepen that joy? 2 Corinthians 13:1 " In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" On the cover of The Book of Mormon, just under the title it reads "Another Testiment of Jesus Christ"
MORMONISM FACT: The LDS church has NO paid clergy! Fast offerings/tithing are done in private, and all proceeds go to the maintenance, and building up of churches/temples, as well as for helping those in need
That's right, NO paid Clergy
Missionaries included. So now you're probably thinking, "These guys go out for 2 years and they're not even paid for it? Are they crazy??" Perhaps a little. Either that, or we know just how important this message is, and how much its helped us, that we want to share it with the world that badly. (Hopefully its the latter) But really, Missionaries aren't paid to do this. In fact, we pay ahead of time to leave to serve! Now you're probably wondering, "Ok, so, do you have a nice hotel you stay at? Do you have time to just sit back and watch the game?" Answer: Nope. Now we really ARE crazy.
Basically, mission life goes like this: We pay to take 2 years (or 18 months for Sisters) to get sent somewhere in the world to teach and preach to anyone who will receive us. From 6:30 am - 10:30 pm we wake up, prepare, plan, teach, plan some more, study, and retire for bed 24/7. We are given 1 day a week (called Preparation Day, or P-Day for short) to do our shopping, write home, clean the living quarters, relax a little etc (but that's only for 8 hours of the day) Wherever a missionary stays varies. sometimes its in an apartment, or if members of the church are willing, they'll have missionaries stay at their homes with them. While on a mission, comforts of life are practically stripped from you. This means: No TV, No Music (except for mission approved songs, mainly hymns, or church appropriate music depending on your mission president) no phone calls outside of mission purposes (we are allowed texting now, but only for mission specific purposes. Twice a year, Christmas and Mother's day, we are allowed a one hour phone call to home) No literature that's not church produced, no swimming (or walking in/being on large bodies of water, ie ponds, streams, rivers, lakes), or handling dangerous projects, amid other things.
Now you're probably like "Ok, now I KNOW Mormons are crazy!" Eh, it's a sacrifice yes, but well worth it. You learn SO much being on a mission, and the people/experiences you meet/see are just amazing. Don't get me wrong, serving a mission certainly isn't easy, and not anyone can handle a mission. It tests you to the breaking point, then throws more at you. You hit your lowest of lows, and your highest of highs; I wouldn't be surprised if you can develop Bipolar syndrome...
Serving is a Sacrifice, But Well Worth It
Once in a Lifetime
Yes, I too served a Mission. I was called to spread the Mormonism in Minnesota. I had left for the MTC February 8th of 2012, and was in Minnesota by the first of March. It was a huge sacrifice, and certainly not an easy choice for me to make. I gave up my jobs, my car, my schooling and so much more to go WAY out of my comfort zone knocking on doors and starting conversations about God and Jesus to complete strangers. Was it easy? Heck No! It's definitely been a huge stress factor for me, but at the same time, it was one of THE most spiritualy uplifting and testimony building experiences I've ever had.
Unfortunately my service in Minnesota was limited to 6 of the traditional 18 months, as I was transferred to finish at home as a service missionary. Looking back at it now, I'm really grateful for the chance I've had to serve in Minnesota. While being home has its own ups and downs, I continue to trust in God as I still make small differences in the lives of others every day.
- My Missionary Story
Have you ever felt that spiritual happiness and joy that flies all other cares away? Such was the way with a late phone call last night, long distance from Minnesota, containing some of the best news I've ever heard.
- Chat With Us | Mormon.org
Missionaries chat with you in real time and try to help you find answers to whatever questions you may have about the topics introduced on Mormon.org