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JLHPROF

Health requirements to serve a mission

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I put together and have been monitoring statistics about missionary deaths (See below). There were a total of about 165 deaths since 1987 and more than 40 of them were from some sort of disease or medical condition, including collapsing while exercising and unknowns.  Because of this I can see why they want to be very careful about the physical condition of those who are called to serve.
28128868_missionarydeaths.jpg.c09db0f1560a267f8d70b80419391979.jpg

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2 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

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

Ha, it's on the Missionary Online Recommendation System homepage so lots of people have access to it.

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48 minutes ago, JAHS said:

I put together and have been monitoring statistics about missionary deaths (See below). There were a total of about 165 deaths since 1987 and more than 40 of them were from some sort of disease or medical condition, including collapsing while exercising and unknowns.  Because of this I can see why they want to be very careful about the physical condition of those who are called to serve.
28128868_missionarydeaths.jpg.c09db0f1560a267f8d70b80419391979.jpg

Well I have known personally two men who were in top physical condition who collapsed and died while exercising.  The data doesn’t indicate that these missionaries died as a result of fat. 

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Posted (edited)

However, obesity (especially morbid obesity) increases risks (exercise raises blood pressure which may already be high, for example).

https://www.livestrong.com/article/554136-exercising-dangers-for-obese-people/

Also increases risk of heat exhaustion as the obese individual has a harder time regulating temperature.

Fit people do die of the same things obese people do, obese people just tend to do it sooner in most cases.

Quote

A new analysis of almost one million people from around the world has shown that obesity can trim years off life expectancy. Moderate obesity, which is now common, reduces life expectancy by about 3 years, and that severe obesity, which is still uncommon, can shorten a person's life by 10 years. This 10 year loss is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319224823.htm

Edited by Calm

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6 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

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.

I received my mission call to Central America, but in the subsequent paperwork that accompanied it, I reported that I had dislocated my knee over a year before. A follow-up letter asked me to have it checked. Yep, it required surgery, so my report time was moved back 3 months. Some of the damage could not be fixed. My application wasn’t “denied,” but I had to have the surgery before I could go. Ours was an all-walking mission. I wore a knee brace sometimes. Now a few decades later I have a brand new knee. Whooopppie!

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Well I have known personally two men who were in top physical condition who collapsed and died while exercising.  The data doesn’t indicate that these missionaries died as a result of fat. 

No but think how much higher the death toll might be if missionaries were too obese.

Edited by JAHS
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As a WML I see many missionaries.  That had their district meetings at my house as an example.  There are many that are overweight.  The problem, especially for the sisters (in my experience) is that they go to the doctor often.  They just seem to be sick more, like ten doctors visits in eight weeks.  Mental health problems are more prominent than overweight problems though.  I wish I had a dime for every time the word anxiety and missionary were used in the same sentence.  

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7 hours 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". :)

;)

 

I could use a change of scenery.  I like California.  Would you like to PM me with some in-real-life info to facilitate the visit? ;):D  (Seriously, if I ever find myself in your neck of the woods, I'd love for our paths to cross!)

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6 hours ago, bluebell said:

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.  

 

Yes I think 2013 was the year. It was part of the new "tightening up" policy. I have forgotten the correct name for that program

Edit: "Raising the Bar"?

 

https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2003-01-18/time-has-come-to-raise-missionary-standards-104356

Edited by mfbukowski
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16 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I could use a change of scenery.  I like California.  Would you like to PM me with some in-real-life info to facilitate the visit? ;):D  (Seriously, if I ever find myself in your neck of the woods, I'd love for our paths to cross!)

Sure, just pm me if you get around here

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1 hour ago, readstoomuch said:

As a WML I see many missionaries.  That had their district meetings at my house as an example.  There are many that are overweight.  The problem, especially for the sisters (in my experience) is that they go to the doctor often.  They just seem to be sick more, like ten doctors visits in eight weeks.  Mental health problems are more prominent than overweight problems though.  I wish I had a dime for every time the word anxiety and missionary were used in the same sentence.  

I have a relative who is an RN who is involved in checking missionary health problems who has found the same thing 

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Yes I think 2013 was the year. It was part of the new "tightening up" policy. I have forgotten the correct name for that program

Edit: "Raising the Bar"?

 

https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2003-01-18/time-has-come-to-raise-missionary-standards-104356

I think there were some guidelines before 2003 regarding weight but they were less codified. Going off vague memories here.

I just went into the system to look it up. According to the letter there published in 2007 the stated weight guidelines were put in place in 2003 and the letter was a reminder. I think it was at the tail end of the “raising the bar thing that happened when I was on my mission so 1999 I believe.

The weight guidelines are generous. Honestly people 10 pounds below the cutoff are almost certainly still in terrible physical condition. The cutoff is in the grey area of BMI between obese and morbidly obese where you are considered morbidly obese if it is impacting your health. There is also an exception for athletes. A VERY intense athlete in a muscle building sport could be up that high and be in good shape and will probably lose a lot of muscle when they first go out.

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9 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

As a WML I see many missionaries.  That had their district meetings at my house as an example.  There are many that are overweight.  The problem, especially for the sisters (in my experience) is that they go to the doctor often.  They just seem to be sick more, like ten doctors visits in eight weeks.  Mental health problems are more prominent than overweight problems though.  I wish I had a dime for every time the word anxiety and missionary were used in the same sentence.  

If my ADHD had been diagnosed as a kid I doubt I would have been allowed to serve. Very mixed feelings about that. On one hand looking back I can see how it held me back in many ways. If I had been medicated I think I would have served much better. One the other hand I could definitely understand the church not wanting to send missionaries out on medication that potent (and controlled/illegal), especially overseas.

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11 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

As a WML I see many missionaries.  That had their district meetings at my house as an example.  There are many that are overweight.  The problem, especially for the sisters (in my experience) is that they go to the doctor often.  They just seem to be sick more, like ten doctors visits in eight weeks.  Mental health problems are more prominent than overweight problems though.  I wish I had a dime for every time the word anxiety and missionary were used in the same sentence.  

Honestly in the olden days kids were used to dealing with serious problems on the farm, or even running the place by the time they were 18, getting married, dealing with the death of loved ones, getting drafted, etc. Serious stuff.

People faced death at much earlier ages in previous times. Our bodies can reproduce at the age of 12 or 13. Can you imagine raising a modern family at that age? You have two or three kids by the time you are 18 and perhaps one or two died already? Your parents might be gone by that age?

These generations are still babies at that age, in dealing with serious real life problems.

And then they lower the ages for missionaries.

But you can't increase them either because then it interferes with college Etc.

It's the devil or the deep blue sea.

How far do you raise the bar or how low do you lower it?

Edited by mfbukowski
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21 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

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.

The decision might be governed by the body mass index (BMI) figures, which can tell a lot about risk of heart attack or stroke.  The LDS Church is skittish about sending out anyone in poor health.  In fact, even determining which mission to send an older couple can be  based heavily on what sort of medical care is available if an incident occurs.  For example, we have an older couple from my ward in MTC now, and they are being kept in the USA, rather than being sent to a foreign land, just because of the husband's health condition.

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18 hours ago, JAHS said:

I put together and have been monitoring statistics about missionary deaths (See below). There were a total of about 165 deaths since 1987 and more than 40 of them were from some sort of disease or medical condition, including collapsing while exercising and unknowns.  Because of this I can see why they want to be very careful about the physical condition of those who are called to serve.
28128868_missionarydeaths.jpg.c09db0f1560a267f8d70b80419391979.jpg

Does anyone know what happened in 1989,2000, and 2013 for the large death toll ? natural disasters? 

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7 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Does anyone know what happened in 1989,2000, and 2013 for the large death toll ? natural disasters? 

Nothing most likely. You are going to get swings in some years. Might as well ask what policy changes led to no deaths in 2009.

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34 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Does anyone know what happened in 1989,2000, and 2013 for the large death toll ? natural disasters? 

Various reason in 89. In 2000 there were four missionaries killed in the same car accident,  various reason in 2013.

Check this link and scroll down towards the middle of the page where I Have listed all the reasons.

Edited by JAHS
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I am getting ready to send my youngest daughter on a mission so I don’t like seeing these statistics.  In my own life, someone from my high school class died three weeks after graduation so I know it happens.  Young people are not supposed to die though.

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4 hours ago, JAHS said:

Check this link and scroll down towards the middle of the page where I Have listed all the reasons.

Thanks for this. Looks like there needs to be a defensive driving course added to the curriculum...as well as a defensive walking course. 

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On 8/11/2019 at 4:47 PM, ksfisher said:

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

I know you say this in jest, but it's not a bad idea. 

The old Pursuit of Excellence program could be useful in this respect. Whatever became of it? I wish it were still around. 

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4 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Thanks for this. Looks like there needs to be a defensive driving course added to the curriculum...as well as a defensive walking course. 

Defensive driving was already being taught when I was a missionary.

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5 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Thanks for this. Looks like there needs to be a defensive driving course added to the curriculum...as well as a defensive walking course. 

Already in place, from what I hear.

Someone I worked with who had been a missionary not long before she hired on with us said the missionaries hated backing out of a parking stall, because the requirement was that one of them get out of the car and direct the other one. They always looked for a "pull-through" space so they wouldn't have to back up.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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12 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

I am getting ready to send my youngest daughter on a mission so I don’t like seeing these statistics.  In my own life, someone from my high school class died three weeks after graduation so I know it happens.  Young people are not supposed to die though.

Maybe that great philosopher, Billy Joel, was more right than even he (let alone we) knew when he sang that, "Only The Good Die Young." 

 

As much as we might look forward to, and plan for, a long life, none of us knows how long we have left, whether it's hours, days, weeks, months, years, or decades. (My sister-in-law, who is one of the finest people I have ever known, while she may not have been as young as your daughter is now, was looking forward to a few more decades when cancer had other ideas, is a good example of that.)  The only thing we can do is make the best use we can of whatever time we do have left and, in the words of Colonel Sherman T. Potter from M*A*S*H, do the best we can to "hit what's pitched" (even if it happens to be an unexpected, unforeseen, unanticipated, and very wicked curveball.)  I don't know why what happened to my sister-in-law happened to her (and in some ways, I don't know why I'm still here: if the Grim Reaper had asked for volunteers among our extended family and said that he was taking Rita if no one else volunteered, I would have raised my hand.)

At least part of the reason why I'm still here is because even if I don't know the answers to these questions, I have faith that God does.  Best wishes to you and your daughter. :)

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On 8/11/2019 at 3:45 PM, JLHPROF said:

"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.

We have a young man in our ward who ran into the same issue. He was a former athlete but had gotten significantly out of shape and was not able to satisfy the weight criteria - though he was worthy in every other respect.

When I was a young man, we had a missionary serving in our area who was...I believe the technical term is: humongous. It caused all sorts of issues - practical and otherwise.

He couldn't ride a bike because most bike frames couldn't support his weight. Bed frames didn't stand a chance either - we had to put his mattresses directly on the floor, and we ended up having to get an additional foam mattress because the springs wouldn't hold up. None of this was really great for his self-esteem, and it wasn't great for his companions either. Even though most of them were pretty good-natured about it, it was clear that they really looked forward to things like being to go out on splits and be more effective with their time. 

 

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