Reaching LDS Missionaries
I regularly read blogs written by LDS members. What they write are their own opinions and have no official bearing. But they occasionally reveal an intriguing glimpse into LDS culture. This is the case with a recent blog talking about the pressures experienced by LDS young men to go on a mission.
The post was written by a mother whose son was the only one who didn’t raise his hand when a group was asked if they were planning on going on a mission. The leader responded: “If you’re not choosing the Lord by going on a mission, then you’re choosing to be on Satan’s side. It’s that simple.” The writer went on to explain that her son has now left the church.
Her post generated a number of different comments many of which also related negative missionary experiences. Here is a sampling of some of those comments.
•“The mission requirement broke my son. He never wanted to go. We pushed, encouraged, and as a result he felt like a failure. His spiritual, physical, and mental health all suffered. His community turned their back on him.”
•“I watched far too many of my friends become emotionally drained by the demand by their parents that they go on a mission.”
•“My husband says that his mission was important to him, but the really hard part about it was that he was constantly saddled with the guys who didn’t want to be there.”
•“I also fear for them (sons who didn’t go on a mission) not finding a woman in the Church to marry, since non-RM’s (returned missionaries) are often considered lesser people, by a number of YW (young women) in the Church.”
The argument could be made that these are exceptions and not the rule. But I don’t think that would be a valid argument. We regularly encounter missionaries who are not committed to their mission – who are just putting in their time. More than a handful has confided that they are serving a mission only because of family or peer pressure. Some have even echoed the thought of that last quote by talking about how serving a mission will help them marry better.
The bottom line is that most LDS missionaries, more than ever, greatly appreciate it when Christians show them concern and love. I say that not theoretically or in a vacuum. That again has been our experience. Missionaries have come right out and told us that. In more than one case, missionaries, after they have completed their mission, have returned to visit the Christian couple who had shown them kindness. In other cases, they have continued corresponding months after their mission.
This is the case even though in all these cases the Christians did not water down the truth or avoid sharing their concern that Mormonism was leading people to outer darkness. Even after sharing hard truths like that, almost always the missionaries continued to return for repeated visits. We are confident that, even years later, many of these missionaries will remember what those Christians said. We are confident of that because God’s Word is so powerful.
Don’t take my word for it. Experience this yourself. Go to pleaseopenthedoor.com and learn more about how to lovingly and honestly share Christ’s work with LDS missionaries. God could use you to make an eternal difference in the life of one of these young people.