Regardless, I had a good time with them talking about their investigators, their mission president, and just their missions in general. Even though I have only been home from my mission for 7 years, quite a bit has changed since I was out. All the teaching materials I used have completely been swapped out for a new system. New guidelines and new rules have been instated. Even the overall outlook and attitudes of the leadership has changed. This is all on top of the change of stance on the use of technology. Even though there was email, cell phones, internet, and the like when I was out, there was a strict policy against using such things. Only 7 years later missionaries are allowed to email home and use cell phones to help with there work (they can even text!). It makes me wonder how much more technology will be used in the future. Will every missionary be assigned a laptop/iPad to do all their studying and scheduling on? Kind of a cool thing to think about actually.
While talking to the Elders I couldn't help but feel bitter about not being able to use all these things when I was out. We had all the same technology and yet were not permitted to use it. Its another bullet point in my mind on the list of evidence that NOT EVERYTHING the church/church leaders do is inspired. The two places I feel like this is apparent most is in the mission field and at BYU. A lot of the mission rules and BYU rules really make me scratch my head. When I here some ridiculous rule I think, "Is this really inspired by the spirit, or was it instilled by some crazy hardcore mormon who thinks all their ideas are doctrine (i.e. no beards at BYU)." I think some of these people mean well, especially in the mission area, but are just misguided in their attempts. It also creates a problem when people that attend BYU or missionaries on their mission, think that everything their leaders do is right and inspired by the spirit when that isn't the case. One of the great things about this gospel is that we recognize that not only are the scriptures fallible, but our leaders are fallible as well. We know that not everything the prophet and apostles say is doctrine and is correct, much less mission presidents, stake presidents, BYU school officials, and everyone below these people (I urge people to read a 1st edition copy of Mormon Doctirne by Bruce R. McConkie for some evidence). That might sound like a bad thing to some people but I think its a great principle. We are left to use the spirit and to live the lives that WE want to live. What is right and good for one, might not be right and good for another. With the spirit we can discern what is right and good for ourselves and our families, or our missions.