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Early Returning Missionaries

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1 hour ago, Amulek said:

Sorry, you were talking about having mission activities be more co-ed, so I assumed  you were talking about something like having one elder and one sister server together as companions, working together as AP's. If that's what you were referring to, then yeah, I think that would be a total disaster.

However, if you just mean for a mission president to have additional assistants who happen to be sisters (say, e.g., two elders and two sisters all serving as AP's) then I think that would be fine. It might not be the most efficient way of organizing things, but I suppose it could be done. 

Oh, and by way of information, 'training leader' isn't technically the highest leadership calling attainable by sister missionaries. That may be true for many missions, but it isn't the case for every mission. I know because my sister served as an AP on her mission to temple square. 

 

We didn't have any sister APs but I knew of a couple missions that did when I was serving.  

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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

We didn't have any sister APs but I knew of a couple missions that did when I was serving.  

Did mission leadership alternate between a sister AP companionship and Elder AP's every 3months or so?  Or did they have 4 AP's, 2 of each gender?

 

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11 hours ago, Amulek said:

Sorry, you were talking about having mission activities be more co-ed, so I assumed  you were talking about something like having one elder and one sister server together as companions, working together as AP's. If that's what you were referring to, then yeah, I think that would be a total disaster.

However, if you just mean for a mission president to have additional assistants who happen to be sisters (say, e.g., two elders and two sisters all serving as AP's) then I think that would be fine. It might not be the most efficient way of organizing things, but I suppose it could be done. 

Oh, and by way of information, 'training leader' isn't technically the highest leadership calling attainable by sister missionaries. That may be true for many missions, but it isn't the case for every mission. I know because my sister served as an AP on her mission to temple square. 

 

Do you have an opinion on the article concerning the massive imbalance of power, dignity, and respect?

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8 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Did mission leadership alternate between a sister AP companionship and Elder AP's every 3months or so?  Or did they have 4 AP's, 2 of each gender?

 

Like I said, I only heard about it second hand, but if I remember right they had two male APs and one AP Sister, who would go on splits with other sisters when they were visiting different areas.  She was in a threesome in the evenings and would proselyte with them at night or when she wasn't traveling.

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Like I said, I only heard about it second hand, but if I remember right they had two male APs and one AP Sister, who would go on splits with other sisters when they were visiting different areas.  She was in a threesome in the evenings and would proselyte with them at night or when she wasn't traveling.

That could work.  My hope would be that an AP sister could have an equal opportunity to have a voice to teach, instruct, train, interview, organize companionships, provide counsel to the mission president(s).

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2 hours ago, blueglass said:

That could work.  My hope would be that an AP sister could have an equal opportunity to have a voice to teach, instruct, train, interview, organize companionships, provide counsel to the mission president(s).

I think it'll vary from Mission President to Mission President, the STL's here, teach, train, do "portion". Although nobody attends ward council from the missionaries anymore, the WML doesn't seem to do anything.

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18 hours ago, Duncan said:

I think it'll vary from Mission President to Mission President, the STL's here, teach, train, do "portion". Although nobody attends ward council from the missionaries anymore, the WML doesn't seem to do anything.

STL's where are they ranked in terms of the org chart of a mission ?  Do they report direct to mission president or to both zone leaders and AP's?

Would like to see them train and teach both elders and sisters. 

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6 hours ago, blueglass said:

STL's where are they ranked in terms of the org chart of a mission ?  Do they report direct to mission president or to both zone leaders and AP's?

Would like to see them train and teach both elders and sisters. 

They are basically like Zone Leaders except they are in charge of sisters in one or more zones. They attend the Mission Council meetings which include the Mission President, possibly his counselors, the APs, the Zone Leaders, designated senior couples, and the Sister Training Leaders. The sisters still work under the direction of their assigned District and Zone Leaders and I know in some missions there are sisters in these roles as well though this was rare and usually only when the zone or district is primarily or exclusively composed of sisters.

The STLs work under their assigned district and Zone leaders in terms of proselyting but in their “training and making sure the concerns and problems of the sisters are dealt with” responsibilities they report to the Mission President though some Mission Presidents will have their wife oversee this work and pass information onto him. How involved the Mission President’s wife is is at the couple’s discretion and that decision usually hinges primarily on whether they have children living in their home. The STLs are also, as I said, in the Mission Council meetings so can of course work with all levels of leadership there and, if the council is run correctly, they will strive to reach unanimity with the Mission President making the final decisions.

Their training is probably focused on the sisters they are assigned to be responsible for but, depending on how Zone Conferences are run, they probably are on the short list to speak and conduct training for those in attendance but the format of those meetings is at the discretion of the Mission President. I had one Mission President where only he, his wife, and the APs spoke, and Zone Leaders would give reports. With another he and his wife spoke and the APs only spoke sometimes and other Elders and Sisters in attendance were asked to speak or train ahead of time. We also had a topic assigned that everyone was prepared to speak on and the Mission President would pick someone to give it with no other advance warning.

Edited by The Nehor
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27 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

They are basically like Zone Leaders except they are in charge of sisters in one or more zones. They attend the Mission Council meetings which include the Mission President, possibly his counselors, the APs, the Zone Leaders, designated senior couples, and the Sister Training Leaders. The sisters still work under the direction of their assigned District and Zone Leaders (and I know in some missions there are sisters in these roles as well though this was rare and usually only when the zone or district is primarily or exclusively composed of sisters.

The STLs work under their assigned district and Zone leaders in terms of proselyting but in their training and making sure the concerns and problems of the sisters are dealt with responsibilities they report to the Mission President though some Mission Presidents will have their wife oversee this work and pass information onto him. How involved the Mission President’s wife is is at the couple’s discretion and that decision usually hinges primarily on whether they have children living in their home. The STLs are also, as I said, in the Mission Council meetings so can of course work with all levels of leadership there and, if the council is run correctly, they will strive to reach unanimity with the Mission President making the final decisions.

Their training is probably focused on the sisters they are assigned to be responsible for but, depending on how Zone Conferences are run, they probably are on the short list to speak and conduct training for those in attendance but the format of those meetings is at the discretion of the Mission President. I had one Mission President where only he, his wife, and the APs spoke, and Zone Leaders would give reports. With another he and his wife spoke and the APs only spoke sometimes and other Elders and Sisters in attendance were asked to speak ahead of time. We also had a topic assigned that everyone was prepared to speak on and the Mission President would pick someone to give it with no other advance warning.

Ok thanks for clarifying.

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On 7/23/2019 at 7:51 PM, blueglass said:

Do you have an opinion on the article concerning the massive imbalance of power, dignity, and respect?

Well, it's not really an article - it's just a collection of quotes from five former missionaries. And, due to their Twitter-esque shortness, I'm not sure how fruitful they may be, but if you wanted to use them as a jumping-off point for a separate discussion that might be interesting. 

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On 7/22/2019 at 10:06 PM, blueglass said:

Perhaps this article w personal experiences of the highest leadership calling attainable by sister missionaries will change your mind?

https://www.the-exponent.com/hearldswomen-sister-training-leaders-are-not-given-remotely-the-same-levels-of-power-or-responsibility-as-zone-leaders/

My verbose on that article. I doubt I will satisfy you completely but here you go:

The primary problem I see with that article is the age of it. The primary meeting they complain they were excluded from was PEC which does not exist anymore. In the rare cases my current ward has a similar meeting it is usually an expanded Bishopric meeting for welfare and it includes the Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum Presidents and does not involve the Mission.

Even back when we had PEC (in another ward) we invited the Relief Society President often to coordinate then Home and Visiting Teaching and welfare matters but there was never much missionary work discussed in it even though the Ward Mission Leader was ostensibly invited. In practice we only discussed stuff in the Mission that needed to be confidential like their welfare status. Whether missionaries (elders and sisters) go to Ward Council is up to the Area, Mission, Stake, and Ward leadership and seems to constantly shift. Mission Presidents seem to go back and forth on this.

While there could have been misogyny involved it sounds from their stories like those were just screwball wards in general.

The only time I heard of missionaries potentially being deliberately excluded from a meeting was a joke. My dad is on the High Council in his Stake and was in a Ward Council and missionary work was slow and hard (mostly because it is a wealthy area) and they were trying to come up with ways to improve it. A missionary interjected that she knew why it was so bad. She then said the problem was that the priests and deacons did not sit down first after the administration of the sacrament before getting up to go sit with their families. My dad started laughing thinking it was a joke before realizing she was serious. They jokingly suggested later not to invite the missionaries to Ward Council any more but yeah, it was a joke.

As to the disproportionate power of Zone Leaders yeah, I suspect that is a thing compared to STLs except in the rare case where a Mission has Sister District and Zone Leaders. Part of this comes from missionary work being a primarily Priesthood responsibility and Elders being expected to go and Sisters being encouraged to go if they wish but not pressured to go. I do not want to demean the work of the Sisters in any way and they are as capable as the Elders in carrying the work forward and as entitled to revelation and guidance in the field and get it.

I can say if I was a Zone Leader (please no!) in the current environment I would (absent inspiration to the contrary) structure my Zone meetings so the STLs would get some time before the meeting to all the sisters in the Zone to work with them and find out problems while I met with the District Leaders. Then hold the general meeting. I would probably cycle DLs and STLs teaching during the meeting (maybe two each meeting) and also include some talks from the “rank and file” (both elders and sisters). I would probably take more time then any of the previous speakers and give the closing comments. This depends on the size of the Zone. If the Zone is only ten or twelve missionaries I would be more likely to run it as a council meeting. I was also a big fan of holding meetings in fun locales: the chapel of an abandoned castle, the top of a hill where they used to chuck witches off the steep side, the bank of the river where the first baptisms of this dispensation in the Old World took place. These meetings are more about unity and sharing ideas then extensive training.

As an anecdotal and possibly irrelevant note about sister missionaries my observation and it has been confirmed by many of my friends who have served missions (both male and female) is that Elders tend to run the spectrum from dedicated to “waste of space” missionaries with a pretty even distribution and most falling somewhere in the middle. The sisters tend to be about 2/3rds really dedicated ones and 1/3rd sisters bad who came because they had nothing better to do. I hope that has changed over the years but I felt bad for my friends who were sisters who spent about half their missions dragging around a ball and chain. I did that for only about three months of my mission and spent the rest probably being one to everyone else.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, The Nehor said:

My verbose on that article. I doubt I will satisfy you completely but here you go:

The primary problem I see with that article is the age of it. The primary meeting they complain they were excluded from was PEC which does not exist anymore. In the rare cases my current ward has a similar meeting it is usually an expanded Bishopric meeting for welfare and it includes the Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum Presidents and does not involve the Mission.

Even back when we had PEC (in another ward) we invited the Relief Society President often to coordinate then Home and Visiting Teaching and welfare matters but there was never much missionary work discussed in it even though the Ward Mission Leader was ostensibly invited. In practice we only discussed stuff in the Mission that needed to be confidential like their welfare status. Whether missionaries (elders and sisters) go to Ward Council is up to the Area, Mission, Stake, and Ward leadership and seems to constantly shift. Mission Presidents seem to go back and forth on this.

While there could have been misogyny involved it sounds from their stories like those were just screwball wards in general.

The only time I heard of missionaries potentially being deliberately excluded from a meeting was a joke. My dad is on the High Council in his Stake and was in a Ward Council and missionary work was slow and hard (mostly because it is a wealthy area) and they were trying to come up with ways to improve it. A missionary interjected that she knew why it was so bad. She then said the problem was that the priests and deacons did not sit down first after the administration of the sacrament before getting up to go sit with their families. My dad started laughing thinking it was a joke before realizing she was serious. They jokingly suggested later not to invite the missionaries to Ward Council any more but yeah, it was a joke.

As to the disproportionate power of Zone Leaders yeah, I suspect that is a thing compared to STLs except in the rare case where a Mission has Sister District and Zone Leaders. Part of this comes from missionary work being a primarily Priesthood responsibility and Elders being expected to go and Sisters being encouraged to go if they wish but not pressured to go. I do not want to demean the work of the Sisters in any way and they are as capable as the Elders in carrying the work forward and as entitled to revelation and guidance in the field and get it.

I can say if I was a Zone Leader (please no!) in the current environment I would (absent inspiration to the contrary) structure my Zone meetings so the STLs would get some time before the meeting to all the sisters in the Zone to work with them and find out problems while I met with the District Leaders. Then hold the general meeting. I would probably cycle DLs and STLs teaching during the meeting (maybe two each meeting) and also include some talks from the “rank and file” (both elders and sisters). I would probably take more time then any of the previous speakers and give the closing comments. This depends on the size of the Zone. If the Zone is only ten or twelve missionaries I would be more likely to run it as a council meeting. I was also a big fan of holding meetings in fun locales: the chapel of an abandoned castle, the top of a hill where they used to chuck witches off the steep side, the bank of the river where the first baptisms of this dispensation in the Old World took place. These meetings are more about unity and sharing ideas then extensive training.

As an anecdotal and possibly irrelevant note about sister missionaries my observation and it has been confirmed by many of my friends who have served missions (both male and female) is that Elders tend to run the spectrum from dedicated to “waste of space” missionaries with a pretty even distribution and most falling somewhere in the middle. The sisters tend to be about 2/3rds really dedicated ones and 1/3rd sisters bad who came because they had nothing better to do. I hope that has changed over the years but I felt bad for my friends who were sisters who spent about half their missions dragging around a ball and chain. I did that for only about three months of my mission and spent the rest probably being one to everyone else.

Many good ideas and anecdotes here.  I agree that meetings have changed to include more of the voice of women .  1)no PEC, now ward council 2x

2)Women from RS representation in ward mission leadership

3)stake leadership training which used to be only males now expanded to include the entire stake council.

4)more opportunities for STL leadership to extend to both elders and sisters. 

I have three daughters and hope they will all chose to serve a mission.  

Edited by blueglass
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On 7/23/2019 at 8:22 AM, bluebell said:

We didn't have any sister APs but I knew of a couple missions that did when I was serving.  

We didn't have any sister APs but there was a sister in my mission who was nicknamed "The Apostle" because well when she talked, everybody listened.

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On 7/16/2019 at 1:42 PM, clarkgoble said:

IMO raise the missionary age back up.

and/or have missionaries work and save for their missions. 

1-they'll know how to work

2-Only those who actually want to be there will go. 

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41 minutes ago, jpv said:

and/or have missionaries work and save for their missions. 

1-they'll know how to work

2-Only those who actually want to be there will go. 

I would make exceptions for those who have already been working to help their families. There are also those who might have learning disorders and need to have extra hours of tutoring or are committed to a performance career who have no time for a job due to hours of practice required outside of school. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2019 at 1:42 PM, clarkgoble said:

IMO raise the missionary age back up.

One-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solutions are rarely optimal.

What you suggest would unfairly impact those who are mature enough and ready to serve at age 18 (my intuition is that those who stay full term and serve successfully far outnumber those who return early).

Why not focus on making it crystal clear that serving at age 18 is permitted but not required? Then leave it up to the prospective missionary in counsel with his or her parents and priesthood leaders to determine the best time.

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, jpv said:

and/or have missionaries work and save for their missions. 

1-they'll know how to work

2-Only those who actually want to be there will go. 

I believe young people should work, but it ought to be mainly to fund their post-high school education/ career preparation and saving for a down payment on a home.

The young missionary is already making a substantial sacrifice just by being there and serving. Funding the mission ought to be a shared responsibility with immediate and extended family members, friends, ward members, etc. For most of us, contributing to the funding of someone's mission is arguably the most convenient way there is to participate in the effort to spread the gospel. And the tangible support is bound to benefit the missionary -- spiritually and psychologically as well as materially.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Too many of these kids are making this commitment without truly being committed. But what do you expect from a 18 year old-ish kid?

That's the simple answer. 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, thatjimguy said:

Too many of these kids are making this commitment without truly being committed. But what do you expect from a 18 year old-ish kid?

That's the simple answer. 

From some 18-year-olds I have high expectations indeed, and they have not disappointed me. 

The scriptures and Church history are replete with accounts of individuals who have been given very weighty responsibilities at young ages. Let’s not shortchange our rising generation by doing a blanket dumbing-down of what we expect from them. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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On 7/28/2019 at 1:04 AM, Calm said:

I would make exceptions for those who have already been working to help their families. There are also those who might have learning disorders and need to have extra hours of tutoring or are committed to a performance career who have no time for a job due to hours of practice required outside of school. 

I agree with you and Scott, hard work of some sort and desire is the important than actually paying for the mission. 

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10 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

From some 18-year-olds I have high expectations indeed, and they have not disappointed me. 

The scriptures and Church history are replete with accounts of individuals who have been given very weighty responsibilities at young ages. Let’s not shortchange our rising generation by doing a blanket dumbing-down of what we expect from them. 

This, I have heard more then one apostle state that we cannot expect the rising generation to endure greater evil while paradoxically expecting less from them in terms of virtue and service but that seems to be the approach many leaders and parents take as if we will drive them out with any responsibilities or demands being put on them.

President Packer was fond of saying that our youth want doctrine, real doctrine and that we do not need to sneak up on them and whisper it in their ear while they are distracted.

I am not convinced it is the youth that are the problem. I think it is the parents. There is an epidemic in my Stake where many (not all) parents seem to think that they get their kids to 18 or 19 and then they go on a mission funded entirely by the ward and they get sorted out. A previous bishop even had a single mother come in complaining about how her kids were unmanageable and told the bishop he was not fulfilling his responsibility by finding her a righteous husband to help her. My uncharitable response when I was told this is that she should focus on guys who have been kicked in the head a few too many times by mules. She went less-active and her kids are 8 hours plus a day internet zombies. It is a great concern of mine. Part of me wants a youth calling to try to help.

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7 hours ago, jpv said:

I agree with you and Scott, hard work of some sort and desire is the important than actually paying for the mission. 

I do not think it needs to be hard work. Any kind of valid work will help and school work does not really fit. Smart kids realize they are just playacting with that “work” and that it has no real value.

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10 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

This sounds to me like a specific cultural issue that might pertain in certain segments of America. By the time our young men turn 18, they've been out of high school for c. two years. During that time, they've either been working, engaged in an apprenticeship for a trade, or studying at a senior secondary college.

Peer pressure not to serve can be tremendous. No master tradesman, for example, is going to say to a second-year apprentice, 'Sure, why don't you just run off and preach to some people for a couple of years? We'll be waiting for you when you get back'. The young man who broke our nearly 20-year drought back in 2012 had to face fierce opposition from his inactive parents; they thought he was throwing away his future career, which in fact is what actually happened. His dad didn't speak to him for six months. They've since repented and fully supported their second son's service, but this was a hard thing for the first lad. So yeah, I expect our missionaries to be 'truly committed', and they are.

And from what we've been told, the Church is trying hard to stop imposing policies on the rest of the world's Saints that address American-specific issues. If you have young men who are serving at age 18 without being truly committed, you need to do something about that. We don't need to coddle our children because you can't get your acts together, thank you.

Yeah, the 18 year old thing is probably more for many foreign areas. In many areas in Europe especially being able to go at 18 is a big help in not interrupting a kid’s life.

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On 7/28/2019 at 9:32 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

From some 18-year-olds I have high expectations indeed, and they have not disappointed me. 

The scriptures and Church history are replete with accounts of individuals who have been given very weighty responsibilities at young ages. Let’s not shortchange our rising generation by doing a blanket dumbing-down of what we expect from them. 

The key word here is "some". 

I am sure there are kids that are great. Never said that there weren't. And these are the kids that should be going. Not the others on the fence or who are doing it only because of pressure. Those numbers are not small. 

 

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