A Meal with the Missionaries

Today I took the local Missionaries out to lunch at In 'N Out.  I had a pretty dang good time with them.  They are both greenies (the trainer has been out I think 3 months and his greenie has been out about a month) so it was fun to chit chat with them about mission life and what not.  It is so weird that they are both 19, making me 9 years their elder, and yet I feel like we are about the same age.  On the flip side, I remember being on my mission and being around guys in their late 20's and thinking they were SO much older than me.  Do they look at me that way? Am I the old guy trying to hold on to his youth?  Possibly.

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.


  • I'd be really careful of what I say about things the prophet says. Of course you have to apply them as you see correct to yourself, but you're implying that he spouts totally incorrect things, and I don't believe that's true. But I'm not going to get into a debate with you - we just have two different viewpoints.

  • I think you are partly misinterpreting what I am saying. You are entitled to your opinion though.

  • I agree with you 100% on your last statement of the post. Maybe I don't understand what you meant about the prophet - but I don't think he gets up in conference and gives us iffy information. As for the BYU stuff - if you don't like the rules, don't go there - and you didn't. They make rules like no beards because you can't count on people having any sense. Most would have normal, acceptable facial hair. And then you'd have the idiots with beards down to their waists. It doesn't make them bad people, (and no one says it does except fanatics) it just doesn't give out the image BYU wants to project. And it's their private university, so if you can't go by their rules (and honestly - did you really want to grow a beard? Or drink, or defy any of the other rules?) don't go there. I guess I don't understand why the rule simply being there makes you crazy if you didn't want to break it in the first place. And yes, I think sometimes other church members in authority positions (bishops, stake presidents,etc) sometimes do/say goofy things. But they're just people trying to do a good job. I try not to criticize, be supportive as much as I can (because I wouldn't want their job) take what applies to me and don't worry about the rest. Getting bitter and resentful (which a lot of people do as its a convenient excuse) is only counter productive to me being where I want to be in my life. So what if you couldn't email on your mission? You lived through it, and did well. No lasting damage. Why be all mad about it now? The missionaries out now will probably wish they could have had the technology the ones in 10 years will have. I wish I hadn't had to share an apartment with 5 other girls at BYU. But then I would have missed out on girls who were really the best friends I could have had. BYU - and Utah in general - can give off a weird vibe. Probably because I didn't grow up with it. But I realize now it wasn't because of the rules. It was because of the odd judgmental people that you can find in any ward all over the world. The ones whose whole self image is tied to them being perceived as spiritual giants. I just steer clear of them because they're a little toxic.
    Now look what you did. You dragged me into a debate. You know I love you, Snubbs.

  • Always good to hear what you gotta say. I definitely agree with just about everything you said. Course you already know that I'm on the same page as you with this topic.

  • I think I'm with mom on this one...Don't be mad ;-)

  • Of course you are Katie. Im not mad, I just think you are both misunderstanding what I am saying and also a bit doe-eyed when it comes to the church. You think I am "speaking ill of the Lord's annointed", I am really not. Mormons love to think that EVERYTHING done in the church is inspired. That isn't true. Not to say that people are spouting false doctrine or anything. Its like how Mormons love to say that it is against our religion to drink coke and watch rated r movies. Not true. I don't understand why so many mormons like you and mom have such a hard time with the idea that not everything the GA's say is doctrine. Thats the beauty of our religion. Otherwise we are like Catholics who say that the scriptures are infallible and the pope is infallible. If we believe that our leaders ARE just men, and that they CAN make mistakes, why is so hard to believe that they DO make mistakes. Nothing major but just small things that aren't anti or apostate, but aren't necessarily doctrine either. I suppose you will brush off my explanation and say you disagree. That is fine. Im ok with that. We can disagree.

    @Nate Thanks man.

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