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BookofMormonLuvr

"are More Missionaries Returning Home Early?"

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http://bycommonconsent.com/2014/07/22/are-more-missionaries-returning-early/

I have been out of the LDS loop for 14-15 years. Have LDS parents started raising metro-sexual ninnies who can't handle actually doing things for themselves?

It seems a far cry from the LDS Ward I grew up in.

Say it ain't so.

 

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This stat came from the mouth of a General Authority-Prior to 2000, 1.5% of missionaries came home early. In 2013, 3% of missionaries came home early. You can take this two ways. Either be upset that early returns have doubled, or remember that 97%of missionaries fulfill the entire term of their mission and receive an honorable release.

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http://bycommonconsent.com/2014/07/22/are-more-missionaries-returning-early/

I have been out of the LDS loop for 14-15 years. Have LDS parents started raising metro-sexual ninnies who can't handle actually doing things for themselves?

It seems a far cry from the LDS Ward I grew up in.

Say it ain't so.

Yes, several conference talks each year are devoted to counseling good LDS parents to raise metro-sexual ninnies. Extra celestial ponts are earned for the mothers who still pick out the clothes for 26 year olds.

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Yes, several conference talks each year are devoted to counseling good LDS parents to raise metro-sexual ninnies. Extra celestial ponts are earned for the mothers who still pick out the clothes for 26 year olds.

Swing and a miss.

Anyhoo...

I am just wondering if people have noticed a "softening" of young men within the LDS Church that follows the current worldly trend? Is a sense of ruggedness being lost?

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I haven't noticed a softening so much, but I did notice an increase of pressure to go. When pres. Monson announced the age change many members took that to mean you should go at 18, not you could go at 18 if you are ready. I think some of those who are going may be having more stress and depression etc. Because they were not yet ready.

I used to think parents might be too soft now days compared to when DH and I were out, but then I remember how one of his companions had never poured milk on his own cereal before leaving on his mission. And I think of how much more intense school activities tend to be compared to when I was in school. I think parenting now and when I was a teen is more alike than we give credit, we just do the same things in a "different" way a lot of the time.

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It certainly seems to me that many more missionaries are returning early these days.  When I was on my mission in the 80's, we only had one missionary who could not deal with the rigors of the mission and he was not even sent home, he was relocated.  I only knew one guy at BYU who came home early from his mission.  It was shocking to us when someone did that.  My recollections do not include those who returned early for health reasons.  The health returnees I remember were usually Mexico/South American missionaries who were victims of severe parasite infections and who simply could not function and needed to be nursed back to health.  Sometimes they were sent back out stateside when they healed.  Societies change, social mores change, the world changes.  I think some mission presidents are more progressive than others and the ones who are creative probably have a better retention rate than the more traditional ones.  I've felt for some time that I'd really love to see the church give our young people a choice between a proselytizing mission and a purely service oriented mission that is not based on personal "worthiness."  Also perhaps a choice between a two year mission and a mission of shorter duration.  It seems that anyone should be able to complete a two year commitment, but that just doesn't seem to be the reality.  At any rate, I think it is better that a young person make a shorter commitment that they complete than they bite off more than they can chew and experience a lasting sense of failure.  Maybe I'm just too flexible in my thinking, but that would be my pipe dream!   :)

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With more missionaries available to each mission president, it is likely easier at times to send them home then try to accommodate their needs. There is a big difference between being stuck with three missionaries in a group and only having one.

The missionaries themselves may not feel essential as much which can both affect attitude in a negative way, leading to depression and anxiety as well as making it easier to justify leaving (there is always someone who can replace me).

I would be interested to see if more missionaries are coming home from dense (as in lots of missionaries) areas as opposed to spread out (a companionship may not encounter any others save for zone and such meetings).

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Then, too, missionaries more and more don't do "missionary" work (at least stateside). They are coddled and leaders seek to find things for them to do (social media proselyting, waiting at the church for "chapel tours," service, indexing, etc.) to fill up their time with things other than talking to people and trying to find investigators.

 

Our mission president announced that they will start implementing a program churchwide that spends significant time in the last six months of the mission preparing the missionaries to re-enter "civilian life." Workshops and instruction on school, dating, resumes, social skills, etc. 

 

I honestly think that missionaries are made more "sissy" by not expecting them to do missionary work (remember Elder Anderson's talk a few conferences ago? "It's not missionary work, it's missionary 'fun'!") . It is not good for the spirit or the psyche.

 

We actually had a visiting authority for stake conference who exhorted us to ensure that our missionaries only have positive experiences and are shielded from any negatives.

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No, I am with BLVR, and I am negative.  I tend to see most America's youth as pretty pansy and incapable of dealing well with challenges, difficulties.  I think one of the ways this is reflected is how more young missionaries come home early.  This would have been unheard of decades ago; it was more of a buck up and deal with it era. 

 

Within our large extended family we have had three missionaries return early.  One suffered from anxiety and two suffered from other health related issues - bad knees a bad back.  I suspect the last two would have been placed in car areas and continued to serve or would have just worked through it.  I don't know how we would have dealt with the first one.  I don't know if they would have just dealt with it or something else. 

 

I don't know if I have ever heard during my day of someone returning early due to health and/or emotional issues.

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I have a bad back and a bad knee and at 60 I can work most missionary aged folks under the table.

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Employers of youth will tell the same stories about the difficulties with training and keeping staff because many want big money and low stress. They also can't be alone without music/facebook/texting etc. Perhaps a boot camp which includes an hour a day shoveling manure inside a hot hog shed to find the flaws. :diablo:

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Then, too, missionaries more and more don't do "missionary" work (at least stateside). They are coddled and leaders seek to find things for them to do (social media proselyting, waiting at the church for "chapel tours," service, indexing, etc.) to fill up their time with things other than talking to people and trying to find investigators.

Our mission president announced that they will start implementing a program churchwide that spends significant time in the last six months of the mission preparing the missionaries to re-enter "civilian life." Workshops and instruction on school, dating, resumes, social skills, etc.

I honestly think that missionaries are made more "sissy" by not expecting them to do missionary work (remember Elder Anderson's talk a few conferences ago? "It's not missionary work, it's missionary 'fun'!") . It is not good for the spirit or the psyche.

We actually had a visiting authority for stake conference who exhorted us to ensure that our missionaries only have positive experiences and are shielded from any negatives.

Yeah, I see this a lot. I think they'd have more missionary opportunities going to college. Of course then their study wouldn't be much on the spiritual side because it would be centered on academics. But it does seem they are coddled somewhat now. I guess the dangers of serving are more precident also. But taking out proselytizing and just going by referrals wouldn't be the same. You could do that while at home. But maybe there's still going to be that. And going out in the world, learning different cultures or doing service and being responsible and a good planner, is a great character builder that can set them up for life.

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I came home early sick. I had lost 20lbs in a two week period. I lost another 20-30 in the months following. I spent two months going to doctors before I was released. I wanted desperately to go back out and preach. Especially after being stuck inside for two months. it was shear torture.

 

Some people come home for very good reasons. If i hadn't come home a friend of mine wouldn't have joined the Church, and she wouldn't have put a Book of Mormon in the hands of another awesome young man who went to serve a mission and baptized several families.

 

Things happen for a reason. We might not be able to finish full time service, but that doesn't really mean our missions are over, just that we are starting a life time of missionary service.

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Then, too, missionaries more and more don't do "missionary" work (at least stateside). They are coddled and leaders seek to find things for them to do (social media proselyting, waiting at the church for "chapel tours," service, indexing, etc.) to fill up their time with things other than talking to people and trying to find investigators.

 

Our mission president announced that they will start implementing a program churchwide that spends significant time in the last six months of the mission preparing the missionaries to re-enter "civilian life." Workshops and instruction on school, dating, resumes, social skills, etc. 

 

I honestly think that missionaries are made more "sissy" by not expecting them to do missionary work (remember Elder Anderson's talk a few conferences ago? "It's not missionary work, it's missionary 'fun'!") . It is not good for the spirit or the psyche.

 

We actually had a visiting authority for stake conference who exhorted us to ensure that our missionaries only have positive experiences and are shielded from any negatives.

 

I disagree....especially with the first bit. Missionary effectiveness has been tanking. The environment where it was acceptable to tract and street contact is almost entirely gone. When you make that your "go to" activity if you have nothing better to do is it surprising that missionaries are having a harder time. While some of that can be good for the soul it can also produce the decision to quit or slack off. Working in affirming activities that succeed or at least accomplish something is vital. I would have quit any secular job that was as failure-rampant and discouraging as my Mission could be. I stuck with it because of the gospel and for the rare successes. Those successes though are, in many areas, becoming more and more rare.

 

I also disagree with your appraisal of some of the Church programs. I think letting missionaries index is a nice change. I have also assisted missionaries with chapel tours and have seen them work. They help a lot with more "skittish" investigators nervous about entering a new environment and investigator church attendance increased along with baptisms. Using social media is just smart. Daily contact with investigators is much easier.

 

Does this make current missionaries missions easier than mine? Probably. Does that make them a bunch of sissies because they didn't have to ride out to an area and tract for 10 hours uphill both ways with dinosaurs nipping at their heels? No. I am okay with missionary work being a little less emotionally draining. The gospel is enough of a test without retaining artificial challenges as a kind of ageist machismo. 

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I came home early sick. I had lost 20lbs in a two week period. I lost another 20-30 in the months following. I spent two months going to doctors before I was released. I wanted desperately to go back out and preach. Especially after being stuck inside for two months. it was shear torture.

 

Some people come home for very good reasons. If i hadn't come home a friend of mine wouldn't have joined the Church, and she wouldn't have put a Book of Mormon in the hands of another awesome young man who went to serve a mission and baptized several families.

 

Things happen for a reason. We might not be able to finish full time service, but that doesn't really mean our missions are over, just that we are starting a life time of missionary service.

 

My nephew returned after less than two months in the mission field.  For whatever reason his health issues were just too severe to handle the mission experience.  He returned home with an honorable release. His mission president told him that he finished the work he was called to do and to move forward with his life.  

 

The rub is the confusion that may be caused for those of you who honorably serve, but just don't serve what is called a standard mission term and members who expect to see what is termed the standard.  Then we have those that are sent home early for moral issues that were not properly handled with their bishop. Then there are those who just cannot hack it (one missionary I knew grew a beard on his mission and just flaked out).  Then there are those that commit indiscretions while on their mission.  

 

The challenge is to know who you are and know that you were honorably released; there is nothing left to do.  You are like my son that came to earth and died after three months; I hope he is never confused about not having lived a full life or regrets only being able to stay for three months.  

 

This thread is about those who are not valiant in their efforts.  It is the kind of life lived that causes the individual to look in the mirror and not feel good about what he sees.   

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What a nasty, judgmental article. He doesn't want to "disparage" those coming home early, but then does just that by pointing out that they aren't undergoing any church discipline, medical care, or social cost.

First of all, why would they face Church discipline? They were given an HONORABLE release. How dare he then imply they did something wrong. Then, medical care. He doesn't know what they are receiving because it is simply none of his business. Also, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through to get proper counseling. Again, none of his business. My son has been home almost four months and we still haven't been able to set up what he needs. As for social costs, that really depends on the individual's family and ward. Some are very much seen as failures.

The fact is, there is only so much a mission president can do. When Raising the Bar was first put into effect, those on the autistic spectrum were not allowed to serve at all. If a missionary is diagnosed with autism or other problems while they are out, the default may be to send them home. Others, like my nephew, struggle for months before they and the MP comes to grips with the idea that the missionary and the mission would be better served by a release. You can argue all you want about the cause, but there are increasingly more people being diagnosed. So yes, you will see more being sent home.

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I think people are being more realistic about treatment of emotional issues. A drug treatment can take up to 6 weeks or more to see if it is working and it is not uncommon for clients to need several tries before finding one that works for them. For those suffering from depression or anxiety, it is like exposing them to constant torture and having them "grit their teeth and work through the pain" often makes short and long term treatment less effective and less successful.

I have known of missionaries who come home 'full term' with a physical problem that could have been dealt with early on but now they have to live with the damage the rest of their lives. Given this will affect how well they will be able to serve the Lord in the Church, I don't see it as worth the cost. And the same problem of an improperly treated acute emotional problem becoming chronic exists.

A lot of people view emotional problems as less difficult to live with. Having had both in both severe and minor variations I will take physical over emotional any day.

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I haven't noticed a softening so much, but I did notice an increase of pressure to go. When pres. Monson announced the age change many members took that to mean you should go at 18, not you could go at 18 if you are ready. I think some of those who are going may be having more stress and depression etc. Because they were not yet ready.

I used to think parents might be too soft now days compared to when DH and I were out, but then I remember how one of his companions had never poured milk on his own cereal before leaving on his mission. And I think of how much more intense school activities tend to be compared to when I was in school. I think parenting now and when I was a teen is more alike than we give credit, we just do the same things in a "different" way a lot of the time.

 

I don't know about the rest of the Church, but we have in our ward a truly awesome set of Priests and Laurels.  In over 30 years in this ward I have never seen such a hugely strong and faithful group of young people.  We currently have seven full time missionaries out in the field, and three more who have recently received their calls.  It is amazing.  Those who are not quite old enough are just absolutely sterling, too.  We cannot be so unique; there are bound to be many more.

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While I don't think this is the ONLY factor in play, it should be remembered that some time back we "raised the bar".  In my understanding, this was somewhat of a cultural shift wherein we stopped using missions as "rehab" for wayward youth.  Given that, we might expect a higher percentage returning early as mission presidents may be less inclined to keep a missionary who continues having problems.

 

Having said that, I don't want to make it sound like mission presidents are heartless and unwilling to help these young men and young women.  My dad recently returned from having served as a mission president and I know that he did everything he could to keep missionaries out in the field.  I'm just thinking that these days the threshold may be different than it was 15-20 years back.

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I think I have posted about the fact that during my mission in the late 70's, in a very low-baptizing European mission, one elder went home, one elder was sent home wearing different underwear, and one elder that I knew of was essentially babysat the last few months of his mission to keep him out-the MP felt it would make a big difference in his life to complete his service. 

Fast forward to my daughters mission a few years ago stateside. On the one hand, she only knew of one sister and a couple of elders who packed it in, one elder who went home early with health problems, and one of each who were sent home within a few months of arrival for non-disclosure and non-repentance of pre-mission misdeeds.

Now, having said that, the church employed a full-time professional counselor who covered her mission and an adjacent one, and was kept very busy and put a lot of miles on a church vehicle working with missionaries of both genders on a variety of emotional issues. Some of these missionaries might have gone home, for others, it just helped them when times were tough and made them more effective.

But I confess to an eye roll when I heard about it. Tough times? Try going a month between discussions while tracting at least thirty hours a week, and only seeing other missionaries once during that time period during a district work day, while eating potatoes three times a day because all your food money was gobbled up buying a train ticket to zone conference. Not to mention walking uphill both ways to your tracting area in two feet of snow during a howling blizzard.  :)

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I've been a member of the same ward for 30+ years.  In all that time, of the 100+ missionaries serving from this ward, only two did not complete their missions because of health problems, and only one did not complete his mission due to worthiness issues (he left his mission and joined the US Army).  All of this happened before the Raising of the Bar.

 

I suppose we may be typical.

 

In my mission in Germany one of my companions told me about a missionary of his acquaintance who was sent home early for transgression, and I knew one sister missionary who was a bit of a problem child (she was a wild-eyed feminist).  But I heard nothing else of note during the entire 2 years.

 

If you've read Heaven Up Here you know that the Bolivian Mission had a fair number of problem missionaries (but still, not too many early returnees).

 

Maybe I should write the story of my mission -- but it wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting as John's book, though.

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 Not to mention walking uphill both ways to your tracting area in two feet of snow during a howling blizzard.  :)

Barefoot?

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Barefoot?

AND wearing a white hair shirt just to promote humility.

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I have a million opinions on this and agree with everyone who has replied to this. I am the WML here and this mission sends home missionaries on a regular basis, 5 this last transfer and in the past year 6 were from our ward.I keep in contact with the ones who went home early. I see emotional health and testimony problems as  the biggies. The other thing too is there just isn't enough to do and now there are 6 missionaries in each ward and usually 4 for branches, so not a lot to do but with more people to do it in. One of the elders sent home in the last group thought he was literally King David from the OT. He punched an elder among other such things, he was sent to the local Psych ward and was deemed unfit for travel. So, someone from his family and an escort...had to assist him home on the plane. Apparently this mental break happened before. No one knows why he was sent out. This mission went from 56ish missionaries to 150 plus missionaries in a short period of time, like other missions. 2013 was a gigantic mess, with new areas, more coming in, more going home and all kinds of troubles. But what can you do except love the ones you have for as long as you have them

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I agree with there being a problem with nothing to do. I tracted a lot on my mission. Most of our baptisms came from tracting even though we were constantly being taught that it happens more through member referrals. Even with few doors opening I at least felt like I was doing SOMETHING.

Our ward is a half square mile. Until last month we had a set of elders only covering this ward. Even if they were allowed to tract they would cover the ward in a very short time before they would have to start over, especially during the day when few are home.

For a month we have had sisters covering 2 wards. Still there has not been a lot for them to do. So now they will spend half their time here and half at the Mesa visitors center.

Having had a couple of companions that would refuse to do much tracting I can tell you it was far easier on me to tract than to have nothing to do. I love that they can now spend time on the internet with teaching opportunities. Many of these people they are teaching would rarely be reached through tracting and other methods. More and more of my internet acquaintances refuse to open doors to strangers and spend more time online than going out to see people and having them come in.

Missionary work has changed because the world has changed and the amount of missionaries has changed. I'd really like to know what some would have the missionaries do when they feel the work now is not hard enough because tracting is just not going to work in many parts of the world anymore.

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