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JLHPROF

Health requirements to serve a mission

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In the August New Era a young woman writes:

"I had just finished breakfast when my stake president called to tell me that my mission application had been denied. My heart sank as he told me why —I needed to lose a certain amount of weight before I would be able to serve"

Can anyone provide some insight or clarification why this would be?  I can appreciate the demanding lifestyle missionaries are required to follow.  I assume health concerns figure into these decisions.  But this article doesn't provide any clarification.  Just a young girl being denied a mission call until she lost weight, which she apparently did.

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The rest of the article offers clues.  She doesn't come right out and say, "The physical process of losing weight to qualify to serve a mission helped me prepare better spiritually," but that's the gist of it.  If a bishop or a stake president, rather than someone in the Missionary Department, had said, "A mission is physically demanding, and you need to be better prepared, both physically and spiritually, to serve," I doubt we would hear the end of it hereabouts (until the thread was closed down) about that "mean" bishop or stake president. 

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Thank you.  I figured that's what it was.  The New Era should have been a bit clearer I think.  Not everyone may know of that guideline.

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There's a "Weight Guidelines for Prospective Missionaries" letter from 2007 that lists a table showing max weight limits by height.  It says for use by stake presidents and bishops  and not for distribution so I won't post the table here.

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

The rest of the article offers clues.  She doesn't come right out and say, "The physical process of losing weight to qualify to serve a mission helped me prepare better spiritually," but that's the gist of it.  If a bishop or a stake president, rather than someone in the Missionary Department, had said, "A mission is physically demanding, and you need to be better prepared, both physically and spiritually, to serve," I doubt we would hear the end of it hereabouts (until the thread was closed down) about that "mean" bishop or stake president. 

So now we can talk about how mean the whole church is!  YAY!  ;)

A good part of the problem is that it puts too much of a strain on the fit member of the companionship.

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5 minutes ago, gopher said:

There's a "Weight Guidelines for Prospective Missionaries" letter from 2007 that lists a table showing max weight limits by height.  It says for use by stake presidents and bishops  and not for distribution so I won't post the table here.

Where's MormonLeaks/FearlessFixxxxer (how many "x-es" is that supposed to have again?) when you need him?

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Just now, mfbukowski said:

So now we can talk about how mean the whole church is!  YAY!  ;)

A good part of the problem is that it puts too much of a strain on the fit member of the companionship.

True.  I was probably a liability to most of my companions in more ways than one.  I'm torn: I wonder what sort of opportunity might be carved out for someone with my, dare I say somewhat-unique, skillset under today's "Raised Bar" standards; on the other hand, in at least some ways, I'm glad I served a traditional proselyting mission.

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9 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Thank you.  I figured that's what it was.  The New Era should have been a bit clearer I think.  Not everyone may know of that guideline.

I agree, but as it implies if the bishop is on his toes no one need to know of the policy except the bishop who can catch the problem years in advance and avoid the problem- it leaves it up to the youth to decide if she wants to lose the weight or not, so she can make alternate plans for a service mission etc.

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12 minutes ago, gopher said:

There's a "Weight Guidelines for Prospective Missionaries" letter from 2007 that lists a table showing max weight limits by height.  It says for use by stake presidents and bishops  and not for distribution so I won't post the table here.

There you go.

I knew it was at least 10 years old.

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29 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I agree, but as it implies if the bishop is on his toes no one need to know of the policy except the bishop who can catch the problem years in advance and avoid the problem- it leaves it up to the youth to decide if she wants to lose the weight or not, so she can make alternate plans for a service mission etc.

I agree with you, but it’s probably helpful to remember that not all bishops know their prospective missionaries for years. I knew mine for one month, for example. 

 

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33 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Where's MormonLeaks/FearlessFixxxxer (how many "x-es" is that supposed to have again?) when you need him?

If you want to clean out my garage for me, I am sure that letter is stashed somewhere in one of those boxes marked "Confidential- to be shredded". :)

;)

 

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34 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I agree, but as it implies if the bishop is on his toes no one need to know of the policy except the bishop who can catch the problem years in advance and avoid the problem- it leaves it up to the youth to decide if she wants to lose the weight or not, so she can make alternate plans for a service mission etc.

So in addition to twice a year worthiness interviews should youth now have yearly weigh-ins?  🙂

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I agree with you, but it’s probably helpful to remember that not all bishops know their prospective missionaries for years. I knew mine for one month, for example. 

 

Good point, but previous bishops usually fill in the newbie bishop on that stuff, unless you moved in just before you left for your mission.

On the other hand your new bishop probably had at least a phone conversation with your old bishop under the circumstances. Plus if you had any red flags like being very overweight, I am sure there would have been such a discussion. There are databases of contact info including every bishop in the world, available to bishops and other leaders with a need to know.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

So in addition to twice a year worthiness interviews should youth now have yearly weigh-ins?  🙂

The guidelines are such that the problem would be obvious.  It's not like we are talking 20 or even 50 lbs overweight. No need to weigh anyone or put anyone on a Tithe O Meter or polygraphs for a temple recommend either

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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Please.  My friend just returned honorably and she’s at least 70 lb overweight. 

But being overweight can seriously be a health concern that everyone should take seriously. 

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5 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Please.  My friend just returned honorably and she’s at least 70 lb overweight. 

But being overweight can seriously be a health concern that everyone should take seriously. 

"Run and not be weary, walk and not faint" ;)

 

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10 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Please.  My friend just returned honorably and she’s at least 70 lb overweight. 

But being overweight can seriously be a health concern that everyone should take seriously. 

Hey. Where did she go? I will put my request in right away, so I don't have to plan to use any money for food...

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

If you want to clean out my garage for me, I am sure that letter is stashed somewhere in one of those boxes marked "Confidential- to be shredded". :)

;)

 

Shhhh!   FearlessFixxxxxxxer might be lurking somewhere!  (I wonder, has anyone ever committed burglary to get any of the documents he's been sent?) <_<:rolleyes:

;)

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54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

"Run and not be weary, walk and not faint" ;)

 

I don't think it's simply a coincidence that missionaries are endowed before they're sent out.  Physical challenges, debilities, liabilities (whatever you want to call them) notwithstanding, I think that, for me when I was a missionary, that promise was fulfilled. :)

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59 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Hey. Where did she go? I will put my request in right away, so I don't have to plan to use any money for food...

Utah! 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ksfisher said:

So in addition to twice a year worthiness interviews should youth now have yearly weigh-ins?  🙂

No.  The correct principles are: (1) physical fitness or physical condition, on the one hand, can have an effect on one's spiritual condition, discernment, and so on, on the other hand; and (2) if-and-when the Spirit, in consultation with one's priesthood leaders, manifests that this may be a particular challenge in a particular case, one can govern oneself accordingly. 

The sister missionary in the example under discussion had a choice as to how to respond.  She could have gotten upset with her priesthood leaders and filed suit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her priesthood leaders alleging violation of, e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended.  Instead, she chose to govern herself according to the correct principles outlined above by taking the counsel of her leaders to heart and making changes which benefitted her both physically and, most importantly, spiritually.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

True.  I was probably a liability to most of my companions in more ways than one.  I'm torn: I wonder what sort of opportunity might be carved out for someone with my, dare I say somewhat-unique, skillset under today's "Raised Bar" standards; on the other hand, in at least some ways, I'm glad I served a traditional proselyting mission.

And on the other hand, your needs were an opportunity for them to learn service.

We are all "disabled" in one area or other and on the other side have strengths others do not have. What life is for, I think is finding those and making our own worlds out of the matter unorganized of our childhoods and turning that into a great and productive life which has some impact, no matter how small it may appear, on our brothers and sisters

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Good point, but previous bishops usually fill in the newbie bishop on that stuff, unless you moved in just before you left for your mission.

On the other hand your new bishop probably had at least a phone conversation with your old bishop under the circumstances. Plus if you had any red flags like being very overweight, I am sure there would have been such a discussion. There are databases of contact info including every bishop in the world, available to bishops and other leaders with a need to know.

I did move in just before I left. And I decided to serve a mission only three months before that. 

But in general, I agree that bishops should make sure that all youth understand the things that will be required of them if they choose to serve. 

When I served in 1998-99 I’m not sure those regulations were in place yet. We had a couple of very overweight sister missionaries and though they were great sisters, their health problems and physical limitations were really hard on their companions.  

 

Edited by bluebell

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12 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Utah! 

My son was turning down food offers in Utah. I shall have to ask him if he even paid for breakfast. 

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