Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

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  • user warning: Table './exmo_08072012/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>hopefulhusband Aug. 2014</p>\n<p>I served a mission 20 years ago in Poland. This was a couple years after the fall of the Berlin wall and Eastern Europe was only beginning to open up to mormons. While I had some amazing un-mormon experiences, and saw some amazing historical sites, my mission could be explained as: 2 wasted years.</p>\n<p>We had this businessman Mission President who was numbers driven...he created this \'point system\' to record your weekly points...1 point for a contact, 5 points for placing a BOM, 10 points per discussion, etc. At weekly meetings, we reported our hours working and gave a point total....and we were ranked against all the other missionaries. It was brutal.</p>\n<p>Polish was a tough language to learn. Winters were brutal. We were expected to tract to fill the time from 8 am to 9 pm if we didn\'t have appointments (we NEVER had appointments). When we weren\'t tracting, we were contacting people on the bus, trams, or on the streets. It was brutal: constant rejection. Door slamming. Imagine walking up to strangers, on a bus, with everybody listening, and trying to sell mormonism to strong-believing Catholics!</p>\n<p>There were few members and few meals provided for us. We lived in crappy soviet-styled apartments. At that time, the Pope was from Poland, so everybody was proud of their Catholic pope and nobody was interested in other religions. Like some other faith setting up shop in Utah.</p>\n<p>My whole mission I never once taught anybody beyond the 3rd discussion. Zero baptisms for me. In my 2 years over there, I attended 1 baptism for some missionary in my zone...that was the only success we had to celebrate. And it was done at a crowded indoor swimming pool with people screaming and splashing while the baptism happened. It was a terrible experience, the spirit wasn\'t there, it was so noisy.</p>\n<p>While I was there, the first Polish couple was married in the Temple (in Germany). Both were returned missionaries, she was cute and he was a dink. They had a write-up about them in the church news! It was a huge thing for us missionaries! They divorced my last few months over there.</p>\n<p>I served my last 6 months of my mission in the hole. A city of 200,000 (plus several other smaller cities) with 1 active member (a female!). My last sunday there, I prepared this final talk to share with her for sacrament meeting. I gave it and afterwards she admitted that she didn\'t even believe in the church, she just liked the missionaries and that\'s why she attended.</p>\n<p>While I was there for 2 years, more members were excommunicated then joined. (we had 600 members in a country with 40 million people, if I remember right).</p>\n<p>So, after all this, I get home and people come up to me at church to ask me about my best two years....nobody had a clue. To make matters worse, all of my best buddies served in south america and had tons of baptisms and \"success\". Like, 40 baptisms a month, success.</p>\n<p>Returning to BYU, one time, sitting around talking with these buddies and a bunch of girls...they all shared these super fantastic success stories and the girls were drooling/crying. When it was my turn, I talked about how hard things were and how I had zero success, despite trying my best and getting up each morning to go tracting/street contacting--&gt;which I hated with a passion (I\'m an introvert). When I finished, there was a long silence and one of the girls mentioned I probably should have prayed more. One guy told me I should\'ve worked with the members more to get them to bring their friends to church.</p>\n<p>I can\'t believe I survived that brutal experience. For what it\'s worth, I loved the food, the scenery, the city transportation, the kids, the soccer I played with kids in the neighborhood on pdays, etc. So, I found value in my time over there....but how could God have sent me to fail so miserably as a missionary?</p>\n<p>Was anybody\'s mission their best two years?</p>\n<hr />\nkolobian<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I really enjoyed my mission.</p>\n<p>Probably wouldn\'t have seen through it all if I hadn\'t gone. Learned a lot of valuable lessons. Met some really cool people. Learned another language. Didn\'t walk around with guilt like most other missionaries. Got over my fear of public speaking. Learned to appreciate the little things.</p>\n<hr />\nzeezrom<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>Did you attend the Wolska Chapel in Warsaw?</p>\n<p>If so you were there just about the time or a year or two after when my first missionary from Poland got baptised? She is around 43 now. Served her mission at around age 35 here in the Uk.</p>\n<p>She never heard about the Head in a Hat and Rock before I told her, such was her infantile and very basic education of Mormonism. or un-education you could say.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>hopefulhusband<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>That\'s right. To be fair, we only had one chapel in the whole mission, but that\'s the one. I knew several Polish RM\'s who served in the UK. I believe I know who you\'re talking about. We did have several Poles serve missions much later than \"normal\".</p>\n<p>I want to point out, that although my post above would seem depressing, I am not depressed. My life has turned out awesome and I love it.</p>\n<p>My main point of this thread: I was told repeatedly that a mission would be the best two years of my life. College was way more fun. Fatherhood has been more rewarding. My career more lucrative.</p>\n<p>Nothing \"better\" about the 2 years on my mission. Not that I didn\'t learn things or gain new perspectives...but that would\'ve happend in the military or college or at a job. My mission didn\'t live up to the billing.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>ftw<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?<br />\nWell I went to the USA. I had long periods with no baptisms, but there were lots of active members, and I had lots of success at the end.</p>\n<p>I had a stretch of 13 months when I wondered what was wrong with me, other missionaries were baptising and I was more obedient and harder working than all of them. District and Zone leaders would check up on us and go on splits and try to figure out what my problem was, etc. Mission pres kept saying things to us and pushing us. Makes you feel awesome... So if constant depression, sleeplessness, and self doubt counts - I\'d rank that as one of the \'best\' years of my life.</p>\n<p>So enough of that, lets talk about successes. I had investigators fail to show up to their baptism, a couple times, and they weren\'t generally flaky. Had a golden convert get anti\'d (by a member no less) and hate me for lying to her. Turns out, many years later, that I did lie to her, I just didn\'t know it at the time... Another couple I baptised got excommunicated a few weeks later... Several of my companions were sent home... The whole time I was very TBM and followed the rules as best I could.</p>\n<p>I had one young woman we baptised try to date me, I said no... and she married my companion. lol.</p>\n<p>There were a few part member families and kids that I baptised that seemed to do well, though more than half of my baptism went inactive in the first year.</p>\n<p>Still it was probably a cupcuke compared to what you went through and to be fair, the last 7 months or so were pretty good, despite some of the issues.</p>\n<p>It was a good learning experience for me. I don\'t entirely regret it.</p>\n<hr />\nzeezrom<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>\" I believe I know who you\'re talking about. \"</p>\n<p>J.E.S ?</p>\n<p>She got very upset when I tried to express my concerns. I mean what Mormon doesn\'t? But she did say not to be afraid to ask her the difficult things so that she can research and grow and learn. She had no idea what there was to know and actually I think I scared her with the facts, however friendly and softly softly approach I tried.</p>\n<p>I eased of after she mentioned her life would be destroyed if the church wasn\'t true.</p>\n<p>Now I\'m shunned anyway. At the end of the day I had to explain why I was giving up after nearly two years attending.</p>\n<p>I was a Golden Investigator.I was very happy to attend and investigate. I didn\'t realise at the time how difficult it was for them to get anyone interested.</p>\n<p>The rushing for baptisms with investigators was a great concern for me. Also the statistics and quotas being reported back to Mission President like a sales force reporting to a sales manager. I did some tracting and saw the young elders logging how many books of Mormon placed, how many houses entered to teach a lesson and such like. I got to see a few door slams too! lol JW\'s were very receptive to us at the door but thought we were on the wrong side. haha</p>\n<p>I met good missionaries(good kids) over the two years and some of their families too when they returned post mission. One of them has come out an unbeliever! I predicted it when he was serving his mission, though he really thought it would never happen.</p>\n<p>He was too educated and intelligent. We would debate a lot and study LDS apologetics!</p>\n<hr />\nhopefulhusband<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>Yeah, even as an exmormon, I don\'t regret my mission. The area I last served in had some serious problems (unemployment, alcholism, fathers beating kids, fist fights, crime, etc). So, only elders were allowed there. While there, I really got to know the kids in our neighborhood and wound up playing soccer with them all the time.</p>\n<p>When I left, they had a going away party and they were crying, it was very touching.</p>\n<p>I enjoyed the service projects over there....was really impacted by my pday trips to Auscwitz and death camps....saw some beautiful farms and scenery. Heard what it was like having \'orange snow\' after Cherynobyl blew.....met some incredible people, etc.</p>\n<p>It\'s just a different experience from what I was told. And I hear and have heard it millions of times: your mission will be the best two years of your life.</p>\n<p>Not true.</p>\n<hr />\nmsaaa<br />\nSounds like my Vienna Austria mission\n<hr />\n<p>battlebruise<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>I learned how to be an effective salesman on my mission. I can think of no better place to learn the art of selling than on a mission. My mission president had a degree from Harvard Business school and a degree in marketing. He taught us very well. His brother was Steven R Covey no less. I overcame my shyness while serving, I learned how to approach people, I mastered the art of small talk and was taught how to do a proper presentation. I have been complimented many times on my \"talents\". When asked where I learned my craft, the answer shocks many. I know this to be true, if you can go to a foriegn country, even learn a new language and knock on a door and tell people that their religion is no good and sell them a new one....YOU CAN SELL ANYTHING!</p>\n<hr />\nBradley<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>No experience in life is really a waste. You were merely the victim of a practical joke that\'s been running for about 200 years.</p>\n<p>You kind of need these things to realize that the world isn\'t messed up because of a conspiracy of evil. It\'s because people are dumber than sh!t.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>blueorchid<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>Not the best two years. No. But I don\'t regret the mission as hard as it was.</p>\n<p>It was a very good thing for me to be in another country at that age away from my completely Mormon town and upbringing. Seeing another culture was such an eye-opener for this hayseed. And I wouldn\'t be me without all the stuff that happened to me. And I like being me.</p>\n<p>\"You take the good, you take the bad,<br />\nyou take them both and there you have<br />\nThe facts of life, the facts of life.\"</p>\n<p>No, I did not watch that show, but I always liked the theme song.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Son of Abraham<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>A few months back I was with some TBM family and my mission came up. I was in Argentina when Juan Peron died - 1975. I told them that it was a scary time to be there. Political instability in Chile - torture victims and refugees fleeing the border where I was at. 30,000 kids my age were abducted and murdered (the missing). When we walked down the street in our suits, we were jeered at and called CIA.</p>\n<p>I had no baptisms either (grateful now). When that plane took off, I was very happy and relieved.</p>\n<p>They were expecting the routine heart warming story, but not from this apostate.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>kolonko<br />\nAs a polish nevermo from Warsaw i understand you</p>\n<p>As I stated in the topic I have never been Mormon never had any Mormon family member or known a Mormon personally. But I lived in Jelonki neighborhood which is a few bus stops away from Wolska chapel and sometimes played basketball with friends in front of the chapel. Many Mormon missionaries would appear in my neighborhood as it was close to chapel and especially as one young girl from my block showed interest in Mormonism. I feel sorry for you because you couldn’t go to a worse place for a missionary than Poland (Well you could go to North Korea. No there are no missionaries in NK so I guess first statement is true).</p>\n<p>It isn’t exactly that we are such a catholic nation. Most of my friends were either agnostic or atheist and only a few would go to church. The thing is that for Poles Catholicism is strongly connected to Polishness and if you join other denomination it is only slightly less serious than treason. You can be atheist or be nonbelieving non active catholic (no this is not a mistake I wrote nonbelieving catholic) but you just do not join other churches. In 37 million country we have around 200 000 Christian orthodox, 125 000 Lutherans, and 125 000 Jehovah Witnesses (plus few thousands members of other denominations).</p>\n<p>The other problem for Mormons is that they are often confused with JW as they also go door to door. We know JW and are thought from early childhood how to behave when you encounter a missionary. Most people tell you not to open the doors and ignore them, priests tell you to politely refuse a conversation (although I heard of a priest who would tell his parishioners to let the dogs out after spotting JW). The most popular and best solution is to ignore them. I talked a few times with JW but after that they started coming more often so I asked them not come to my home again. They said that they care about me so much that they will not listen to me. So later I only opened the doors and ask the visitors if they were JW and when they confirmed I closed the doors (once the people said no we are not JW we are from Latter Day Saints church and I also closed the doors- I hope It was not you).</p>\n<p>And as you probably remember in most of polish apartment buildings there are gates and intercoms. I remember tv show in which a intercom installing company’s ad was shown. The ad said “the intercoms let you avoid thief’s, gypsies, and JW’s”. This was a real ad I have to say. I think 20 years ago gates were not as popular as they are now but maybe you remember better. In villages when missionaries from whatever church appear priest informs parishioners about that fact during the mass just after sermon. So people know not to open their doors. Recently there was an article in polish biggest daily written by a ex JW who said that he was often attacked while proselyting (though this happens most often in rural places and in Warsaw people are more polite). I suppose they do not send mormon missionaries to rural areas and have to tell you how lucky you were that you remember only city folks lack of interest.</p>\n<p>There is also the thing that all denominations other than catholic church are perceived as cults. Young people might take BoM from you but they will never think seriously about joining your church as we all believe in evolution and no one buys a crap about nephites. And still because most of you are from US and we are friendly toward this place you are treated way better than JW who are Poles so do not have a feeling of anything exotic.<br />\nYou also wrote that you ate poorly. I used to buy stuff at Geant hypermarket (few tram stops away from wolska chapel toward western outskirts – jelonki. I do not know whether it existed when you were a missionary and if yes under what name it operated) and sometimes met Mormons there. I remember a 45 or 50 year old Mormon lady and I am not sure if she was not a mission president’s wife, buying premium potatoes in that store. As she didn’t speak polish I helped her a little bit and I still remember this were the premium potatoes because most Poles bought the cheaper ones. So not everyone was that poor</p>\n<p>Thank you for writing that there were only 600 mormons in Poland because on wiki they say there are is over 1000 in which number I simply couldn’t believe. My friend who was wrote a piece about Mormons to a Polish weekly told me there are 400 of them in Poland but it was around 10 years ago.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Strength in the Loins<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>Even in my most believing days, I would roll my eyes at the whole \"two best years\" line. It really should have clued me in on the group-think and self-deception that is inherent to Mormonism. After going through the experience, I realized that 98% of people that called the mission the best two years of their lives were lying through their teeth. The other 2% had really shitty pre-mission lives.</p>\n<p>People only say this because it is not acceptable to be candid in mormon culture. You can never say things like, \"my mission was hell\" or \"the temple experience was really fucking weird\".</p>\n<p>I never once referred to my mission as the best two years...despite the fact that I remained a hard core TBM for quite a few years after my mission. I viewed my mission as a sacrifice. I thought of pioneers and martyrs and others who had sacrificed to build the kingdom and thought I was doing something noble. But I never looked upon the experience as enjoyable. It sucked.</p>\n<p>While there were certainly some positives that came from the experience, the negatives outweighed the positives by a wide margin. If I were give the choice between a refund of all my tithing money or a refund of those two years of my life, I would take the two years without a second thought.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Hopefulhusband </p>\n<p>Thanks for writing that. While I was there, it became apparent to me that most Poles weren\'t strongly practicing, so much as identifying as Catholic. With the whole freedom movement and fight against Communism, it\'s seems the Catholic church played a major role there...to turn against that would be sacrificing their identity and something most weren\'t willing to do. I can totally understand that (moreso now that I\'m 20 years wiser). It was frustrating as a missionary; we were led to believe that the fields were white to harvest (a mormon promise about missionary work that failed for me). In fact, when the mission opened in 1990, it was promised by a prophet that chapels would dot the land of Poland. 20 years later, there is still just the one chapel in warsaw, so that prophecy is either false (I believe) or very slow (haha).</p>\n<p>When I said I ate poorly, it was because we were given so little money and had to cook for ourselves so much. A lot of rice for me; cheap but not tasty when a 19 year old cooked it. Bigos and Pierogi were delicious and I loved eating at restaurants (about once a week or so). The few times I ate dinner with people, the food they offered me was delicious.</p>\n<p>Anyway, thanks for your reply. I seriously appreciate your perspective.</p>\n<hr />\nme again<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>+1! I viewed my mission as a sacrifice, too. I was storing in heaven the blessings of my sacrifice.</p>\n<p>Now that I\'m out of the church, I see it as such a waste of time. I could\'ve learned many of the same skills by working full time. I\'d be two years nearer retirement now!</p>\n<p>I agree so much with this statement...I have to search for the positives and overstatement them to make my mission seem as though it was worth it.</p>\n<p>My advice for questioning mormons reading this (who are missionary age): don\'t go. Join the peace corp if you really want to serve, go to college, join the military, or just go skiing. You\'ll get out of those experiences a whole lot of memories.</p>\n<p>A mission is sold as service. I think you get to serve 4 hours a week. Volunteering at a local food bank once a week could meet this if you\'re trying to do some good in the world.</p>\n<hr />\naxeldc<br />\nI would have killed myself if that were true<br />\nIf the mission were the best 2 years of my life, I would have offed myself. I would classify them as among the worst so far.\n<p>The positives:</p>\n<p>1) I love France and got to spend 2 years in Paris and nearby<br />\n2) I learned French better than 99% of non-native missionaries.<br />\n3) I loved talking to French people on about non-religious things<br />\n4) I love French history and went back to BYU and took 4 classes in it. I would have done my Phd in French history if I hadn\'t realized the economics of the job market.<br />\n5) I loved the members in France. They were by and large very nice people. Being Mormon in France is tough and they loved the missionaries. Since I spoke French fluently, knew a lot of idioms and loved French politics, history and art, I had great conversations with members.</p>\n<p>I was just in France and realized that the only things I got out of my mission were what I took from it despite what the MP wanted from me. He really attacked tourism and wanted us to forget about being tourists, but that\'s the best I got out of it.</p>\n<p>I wish the worst part of the mission had been what I expected. I hated tracting and contacting people, since I\'m an introvert myself. I knew I was bothering them and I empathized with their annoyance. I hate religious nuts bothering me when I\'m out on my business.</p>\n<p>The weather wasn\'t that bad there, the scenery was great, and I made lots of friends among members and investigators.</p>\n<p>The worst part was the church itself. I had grown up thinking the church was this loving organization like Primary, very nurturing and caring. On my mission I encountered the nasty, backbiting, greedy bureaucracy. In my sexist TBM mindset, I called it the Mommy church and the Daddy church.</p>\n<p>The mission bureaucracy was about numbers and results. Instead of thanking us for our service, they demanded more and guilted us for not giving everything. They hated individualism. Instead of developing your natural talents, they wanted automatons who fit their model of non-thinking sales reps. Know the spiel, but don\'t know the truth behind what you are selling. We were like in-person telemarketers instead of teachers. Service was just another part of the sales pitch.</p>\n<p>Instead of caring about getting a handful of great, dedicated people, they wanted to churn through the numbers. Lots of baptisms, and let the members deal with actual conversion and retention. The result was long lists of inactive members on the rosters. Members resented the baptisms because they just represented more work for them instead of more people actually attending and serving.</p>\n<p>To make matters worse, my 2nd MP loved rumors and loved snitches. It was not unusual for him to call out of the blue with some wild accusation he\'d heard. Instead of hearing you out, he would just yell at you and make you feel like crap. Most of the people I liked in the mission got that treatment and we hated him for it. I went to both reunions for my 1st MP, but I refused to go to one for my 2nd MP. The worst part is that he became Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court! I\'ve never met a man less interested in justice in my life.</p>\n<p>When I came home, I had a lot of great memories of France and the people there, but very few of the church itself. It took me 5 more years to leave after I got home, but it was on my mission that I got my first glimpse of the ugly corporate side of LDS, Inc and it was not something I wanted anything to do with.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>poin0<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>I never went on a mission, but I know I would have hated it. I was an introvert, so being around someone 24/7 would have been very stressful for me, and my testimony wasn\'t THAT strong that I\'d love it for spiritual reasons.</p>\n<p>I think some TBMs lie about it being their \"best two years\". They just see all their role models saying it when they\'re kids so they say it too when they do their missions. However, I\'m sure there are people out genuinely had a fantastic time on their missions. I remember a thread on here a while ago and a few people said they did enjoy theirs.</p>\n<hr />\naxeldc<br />\nEurope is the museum to Christianity\n<p>Europe has so many beautiful cathedrals, abbeys and other relics from Christian history. The problem is that they are all empty except for some old relics themselves in the pews. Most Europeans are apathetic to religion and only really old people go.</p>\n<p>In France, they claim to be Catholic but their real religion is Existentialism.</p>\n<hr />\naxeldc<br />\nYou cannot admit you hated your mission\n<p>I once told a friend that I had hated my mission. He broke down and cried and told me how much he hated his. He spent the next hour telling me how awful it was and how mistreated he felt. The worst part was that he had been home 2 years and felt that he couldn\'t tell anyone. He was afraid if he didn\'t put on a happy face that people would look down on him, and he was probably right.</p>\n<p>Missions can be damaging experiences, and the worst part is that you are not allowed to express your pain. One of my friends was in counseling for things her mission president had done and said to her, because he was a misogynist who hate sister missionaries and she had a strong feminist streak.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>sonoma<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? </p>\n<p>I always believed RMs when they said it was their best two years. I knew plenty of theses losers in my mission with such pathetic lives that any time and activity away from their Morridor homes would seem \"awesome\"!</p>\n<p>I, on the other hand, have lived a fantastic life. I made the best of my time in Japan. I even returned to teach English. But missionary work SUCKS, even if you are brainwashed.</p>\n<p>I can only pity those with such sad lives, that selling the Mormon Cult to an uninterested world would seem the best time you\'ve ever had.</p>\n<p>Pathetic.</p>\n<hr />\naxeldc<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I guess if you go on a mission to Denmark, come home, get married and try to get through college with a pregnant wife, then work for the rest of your life raising 5 kids in Ogden while giving all your free time and extra money to the church, then the mission would be the best 2 years of your life. For some of these poor schmucks, it is the only time they will spend out of their small, isolated cities. The reminisce about seeing the Eiffel Tower or eating sushi in Tokyo while they are saddled with kids, mortgage, job and church until they retire. Maybe that\'s why so many retirees go back on missions.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>hopefulhusband<br />\nRe: I would have killed myself if that were true</p>\n<p>Thank you so much for this post. It validates alot of what I experienced.</p>\n<p>I believed in the church that I preached about. That\'s why I did it. On my mission, I began to see that the church I cared so deeply about didn\'t exist as I thought it did. MP\'s were not inspired. They were businessmen, driven for number results. My MP was a jerk. How would Christ have callen such a man??!! Leaders that came to \'inspire us\' primarily scolded us for not producing enough new members. We weren\'t faithful/obedient/hard working enough. What a screwed up philosophy.</p>\n<p>The last 1/4 of my mission, I began to site see more and visit local cathedrals, architecture, and the mountains. Beautiful. In Poland, they have these massive cathedrals that are beautiful inside, just huge and awe-inspiring. Visitors are welcome to (respectfully) walk in un-announced and tour them. Imagine somebody doing that at the temple! haha.</p>\n<hr />\nhappyfeet<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>My tbm daughter served a mission on temple square. She contracted a parasite and almost died. When she returned home from her mission, she confided in me that she did not have a great experience. Her companions, mostly foreign, were very close to each other but often excluded her. Since then, my daughter will not admit that she had a bad experience. Now my son is on a mission in a foreign country--am I supposed to feel happy or excited about it? I only regret that I raised them to want to serve a mission and blame myself. They (my kids) know I\'m out of the church, but they listen to my tbm ex and write off my opinions as a \"lost\" soul.</p>\n<hr />\nblueorchid<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I stood when I returned from my mission and said it was the best two years of my life. OF course it wasn\'t. How bad would the rest of your life had to have been for that to be true?</p>\n<p>The thing is, I didn\'t even consider whether it was true or not. IT was expected of you to say that. The congregation listened for that phrase. I wanted my gold star and so I said it.</p>\n<p>I was brainwashed and indoctrinated from birth in a cult. I became their shill. I am very proud that I was able to get out of cult, to shed the brainwashing.</p>\n<p>If anyone says it was the best two years of their lives then they are completely unaware of what the other options were--which is just he way the Mormon church likes it.</p>\n<hr />\nCA girl<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I think the one thing I prayed about the most on my mission is for God to confirm to me that I was doing something important - something that mattered. I don\'t remember ever getting a confirmation of that. Most of my time in Spain was spent either enjoying living and working in Spain or dealing with absolutely bat-sh*t crazy companions. I had an average number of baptisms, all of whom are probably inactive today. That makes me feel better, knowing I didn\'t permanently damage anyone\'s life. And I finally became fluent in Spanish, something I\'d been trying to do since I was a little kid. But there is something about really living there that makes all the difference.</p>\n<p>But no, it wasn\'t the best two years because I had no control over my life. I was forced to live with strangers - to have them in my sight 24/7. That overwhelming violations of my boundaries, my personal space, gave me anxiety attacks that took me years to overcome. I need my personal space to stay sane and got mere hours of that in the 1 1/2 years of my mission. I had to go into situations I didn\'t want to be in, simply because I didn\'t feel like socializing. I met many great people who are still friends decades later but I was forced to be an extrovert when I\'m a decided introvert and not allowed to read (other than a short list of church-approved material) when reading is an actual necessity for my well-being.</p>\n<p>The church really strips you of your friends, family, personal boundaries, choices and necessities and demands you become who they say you need to be. That is so damaging. And while I don\'t regret my mission because I loved living in Spain and speaking Spanish, it probably did as much damage as it did good. Compared to a lot of people on this board though, my mission was a cake-walk.</p>\n<hr />\nhopefulhusband<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I watched the bbc doc \'meet the mormons\' about the missionary in the UK. It was pretty spot on. My wife (a TBM) watched maybe 2 minutes with me. She got up and said, \'It\'s not like that; they\'re just showing it to make the church look bad.\'</p>\n<p>I served my mission for 2 years and she didn\'t. She has no clue.</p>\n<p>Looking back, to be cut off completely from family/friends (except for 2 phone calls a year!)....how is that what Christ would approve of? Missing marriages and funerals?</p>\n<p>Anyway, for 20 years I\'ve rarely mentioned my mission. Few would understand.</p>\n<p>No reading (except church books), no movies, no music (except church music), no hanging around and playing (except p-day which was a half day per week to do laundry, clean apartment, shop, write letters home, etc). No time allowed to go exercise. Get up at 6 am. Study scriptures. Comp study (remember that?). Shower, breakfast, go out and get shot down for 10 hours.</p>\n<p>At one point, I quit writing letters home, it was too depressing and I was tired of sugar-coating things to my parents. My mom, apparently, contacted the mission pres to find out why I wasn\'t writing home. He called me to chew me out, something that happened every few months, anyway.</p>\n<p>For some reason, I never realized I was a volunteer. I was free to choose my days and how I spent my time! I was paying for it, for crying out loud. What a waste.</p>\n<hr />\nblueorchid<br />\nRe: Missions -- the best two years? seriously? \n<p>I just have to say your experience is one of the worst I have ever read and it is a perfect illustration of the mormon thinking that if things didn\'t turn out with the way the delusional mormons expected then it was YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU WEREN\'T WORTHY AND YOU WERENT\' VALIANT.</p>\n<p>Your story is important. Your story is why I won\'t stand for anyone saying the church is just another social club or tribe. It is insidious, it targets and destroys.</p>\n<p>\"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org\"</p>\n', created = 1490328881, expire = 1490415281, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:d085758a25c1710414ba6fd73d38bdee' in /home/exmormon/public_html/d6/drupal/includes/cache.inc on line 112.

hopefulhusband Aug. 2014

I served a mission 20 years ago in Poland. This was a couple years after the fall of the Berlin wall and Eastern Europe was only beginning to open up to mormons. While I had some amazing un-mormon experiences, and saw some amazing historical sites, my mission could be explained as: 2 wasted years.

We had this businessman Mission President who was numbers driven...he created this 'point system' to record your weekly points...1 point for a contact, 5 points for placing a BOM, 10 points per discussion, etc. At weekly meetings, we reported our hours working and gave a point total....and we were ranked against all the other missionaries. It was brutal.

Polish was a tough language to learn. Winters were brutal. We were expected to tract to fill the time from 8 am to 9 pm if we didn't have appointments (we NEVER had appointments). When we weren't tracting, we were contacting people on the bus, trams, or on the streets. It was brutal: constant rejection. Door slamming. Imagine walking up to strangers, on a bus, with everybody listening, and trying to sell mormonism to strong-believing Catholics!

There were few members and few meals provided for us. We lived in crappy soviet-styled apartments. At that time, the Pope was from Poland, so everybody was proud of their Catholic pope and nobody was interested in other religions. Like some other faith setting up shop in Utah.

My whole mission I never once taught anybody beyond the 3rd discussion. Zero baptisms for me. In my 2 years over there, I attended 1 baptism for some missionary in my zone...that was the only success we had to celebrate. And it was done at a crowded indoor swimming pool with people screaming and splashing while the baptism happened. It was a terrible experience, the spirit wasn't there, it was so noisy.

While I was there, the first Polish couple was married in the Temple (in Germany). Both were returned missionaries, she was cute and he was a dink. They had a write-up about them in the church news! It was a huge thing for us missionaries! They divorced my last few months over there.

I served my last 6 months of my mission in the hole. A city of 200,000 (plus several other smaller cities) with 1 active member (a female!). My last sunday there, I prepared this final talk to share with her for sacrament meeting. I gave it and afterwards she admitted that she didn't even believe in the church, she just liked the missionaries and that's why she attended.

While I was there for 2 years, more members were excommunicated then joined. (we had 600 members in a country with 40 million people, if I remember right).

So, after all this, I get home and people come up to me at church to ask me about my best two years....nobody had a clue. To make matters worse, all of my best buddies served in south america and had tons of baptisms and "success". Like, 40 baptisms a month, success.

Returning to BYU, one time, sitting around talking with these buddies and a bunch of girls...they all shared these super fantastic success stories and the girls were drooling/crying. When it was my turn, I talked about how hard things were and how I had zero success, despite trying my best and getting up each morning to go tracting/street contacting-->which I hated with a passion (I'm an introvert). When I finished, there was a long silence and one of the girls mentioned I probably should have prayed more. One guy told me I should've worked with the members more to get them to bring their friends to church.

I can't believe I survived that brutal experience. For what it's worth, I loved the food, the scenery, the city transportation, the kids, the soccer I played with kids in the neighborhood on pdays, etc. So, I found value in my time over there....but how could God have sent me to fail so miserably as a missionary?

Was anybody's mission their best two years?


kolobian
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I really enjoyed my mission.

Probably wouldn't have seen through it all if I hadn't gone. Learned a lot of valuable lessons. Met some really cool people. Learned another language. Didn't walk around with guilt like most other missionaries. Got over my fear of public speaking. Learned to appreciate the little things.


zeezrom
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

Did you attend the Wolska Chapel in Warsaw?

If so you were there just about the time or a year or two after when my first missionary from Poland got baptised? She is around 43 now. Served her mission at around age 35 here in the Uk.

She never heard about the Head in a Hat and Rock before I told her, such was her infantile and very basic education of Mormonism. or un-education you could say.


hopefulhusband
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

That's right. To be fair, we only had one chapel in the whole mission, but that's the one. I knew several Polish RM's who served in the UK. I believe I know who you're talking about. We did have several Poles serve missions much later than "normal".

I want to point out, that although my post above would seem depressing, I am not depressed. My life has turned out awesome and I love it.

My main point of this thread: I was told repeatedly that a mission would be the best two years of my life. College was way more fun. Fatherhood has been more rewarding. My career more lucrative.

Nothing "better" about the 2 years on my mission. Not that I didn't learn things or gain new perspectives...but that would've happend in the military or college or at a job. My mission didn't live up to the billing.


ftw
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?
Well I went to the USA. I had long periods with no baptisms, but there were lots of active members, and I had lots of success at the end.

I had a stretch of 13 months when I wondered what was wrong with me, other missionaries were baptising and I was more obedient and harder working than all of them. District and Zone leaders would check up on us and go on splits and try to figure out what my problem was, etc. Mission pres kept saying things to us and pushing us. Makes you feel awesome... So if constant depression, sleeplessness, and self doubt counts - I'd rank that as one of the 'best' years of my life.

So enough of that, lets talk about successes. I had investigators fail to show up to their baptism, a couple times, and they weren't generally flaky. Had a golden convert get anti'd (by a member no less) and hate me for lying to her. Turns out, many years later, that I did lie to her, I just didn't know it at the time... Another couple I baptised got excommunicated a few weeks later... Several of my companions were sent home... The whole time I was very TBM and followed the rules as best I could.

I had one young woman we baptised try to date me, I said no... and she married my companion. lol.

There were a few part member families and kids that I baptised that seemed to do well, though more than half of my baptism went inactive in the first year.

Still it was probably a cupcuke compared to what you went through and to be fair, the last 7 months or so were pretty good, despite some of the issues.

It was a good learning experience for me. I don't entirely regret it.


zeezrom
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

" I believe I know who you're talking about. "

J.E.S ?

She got very upset when I tried to express my concerns. I mean what Mormon doesn't? But she did say not to be afraid to ask her the difficult things so that she can research and grow and learn. She had no idea what there was to know and actually I think I scared her with the facts, however friendly and softly softly approach I tried.

I eased of after she mentioned her life would be destroyed if the church wasn't true.

Now I'm shunned anyway. At the end of the day I had to explain why I was giving up after nearly two years attending.

I was a Golden Investigator.I was very happy to attend and investigate. I didn't realise at the time how difficult it was for them to get anyone interested.

The rushing for baptisms with investigators was a great concern for me. Also the statistics and quotas being reported back to Mission President like a sales force reporting to a sales manager. I did some tracting and saw the young elders logging how many books of Mormon placed, how many houses entered to teach a lesson and such like. I got to see a few door slams too! lol JW's were very receptive to us at the door but thought we were on the wrong side. haha

I met good missionaries(good kids) over the two years and some of their families too when they returned post mission. One of them has come out an unbeliever! I predicted it when he was serving his mission, though he really thought it would never happen.

He was too educated and intelligent. We would debate a lot and study LDS apologetics!


hopefulhusband
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

Yeah, even as an exmormon, I don't regret my mission. The area I last served in had some serious problems (unemployment, alcholism, fathers beating kids, fist fights, crime, etc). So, only elders were allowed there. While there, I really got to know the kids in our neighborhood and wound up playing soccer with them all the time.

When I left, they had a going away party and they were crying, it was very touching.

I enjoyed the service projects over there....was really impacted by my pday trips to Auscwitz and death camps....saw some beautiful farms and scenery. Heard what it was like having 'orange snow' after Cherynobyl blew.....met some incredible people, etc.

It's just a different experience from what I was told. And I hear and have heard it millions of times: your mission will be the best two years of your life.

Not true.


msaaa
Sounds like my Vienna Austria mission

battlebruise
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I learned how to be an effective salesman on my mission. I can think of no better place to learn the art of selling than on a mission. My mission president had a degree from Harvard Business school and a degree in marketing. He taught us very well. His brother was Steven R Covey no less. I overcame my shyness while serving, I learned how to approach people, I mastered the art of small talk and was taught how to do a proper presentation. I have been complimented many times on my "talents". When asked where I learned my craft, the answer shocks many. I know this to be true, if you can go to a foriegn country, even learn a new language and knock on a door and tell people that their religion is no good and sell them a new one....YOU CAN SELL ANYTHING!


Bradley
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

No experience in life is really a waste. You were merely the victim of a practical joke that's been running for about 200 years.

You kind of need these things to realize that the world isn't messed up because of a conspiracy of evil. It's because people are dumber than sh!t.


blueorchid
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

Not the best two years. No. But I don't regret the mission as hard as it was.

It was a very good thing for me to be in another country at that age away from my completely Mormon town and upbringing. Seeing another culture was such an eye-opener for this hayseed. And I wouldn't be me without all the stuff that happened to me. And I like being me.

"You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life."

No, I did not watch that show, but I always liked the theme song.


Son of Abraham
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

A few months back I was with some TBM family and my mission came up. I was in Argentina when Juan Peron died - 1975. I told them that it was a scary time to be there. Political instability in Chile - torture victims and refugees fleeing the border where I was at. 30,000 kids my age were abducted and murdered (the missing). When we walked down the street in our suits, we were jeered at and called CIA.

I had no baptisms either (grateful now). When that plane took off, I was very happy and relieved.

They were expecting the routine heart warming story, but not from this apostate.


kolonko
As a polish nevermo from Warsaw i understand you

As I stated in the topic I have never been Mormon never had any Mormon family member or known a Mormon personally. But I lived in Jelonki neighborhood which is a few bus stops away from Wolska chapel and sometimes played basketball with friends in front of the chapel. Many Mormon missionaries would appear in my neighborhood as it was close to chapel and especially as one young girl from my block showed interest in Mormonism. I feel sorry for you because you couldn’t go to a worse place for a missionary than Poland (Well you could go to North Korea. No there are no missionaries in NK so I guess first statement is true).

It isn’t exactly that we are such a catholic nation. Most of my friends were either agnostic or atheist and only a few would go to church. The thing is that for Poles Catholicism is strongly connected to Polishness and if you join other denomination it is only slightly less serious than treason. You can be atheist or be nonbelieving non active catholic (no this is not a mistake I wrote nonbelieving catholic) but you just do not join other churches. In 37 million country we have around 200 000 Christian orthodox, 125 000 Lutherans, and 125 000 Jehovah Witnesses (plus few thousands members of other denominations).

The other problem for Mormons is that they are often confused with JW as they also go door to door. We know JW and are thought from early childhood how to behave when you encounter a missionary. Most people tell you not to open the doors and ignore them, priests tell you to politely refuse a conversation (although I heard of a priest who would tell his parishioners to let the dogs out after spotting JW). The most popular and best solution is to ignore them. I talked a few times with JW but after that they started coming more often so I asked them not come to my home again. They said that they care about me so much that they will not listen to me. So later I only opened the doors and ask the visitors if they were JW and when they confirmed I closed the doors (once the people said no we are not JW we are from Latter Day Saints church and I also closed the doors- I hope It was not you).

And as you probably remember in most of polish apartment buildings there are gates and intercoms. I remember tv show in which a intercom installing company’s ad was shown. The ad said “the intercoms let you avoid thief’s, gypsies, and JW’s”. This was a real ad I have to say. I think 20 years ago gates were not as popular as they are now but maybe you remember better. In villages when missionaries from whatever church appear priest informs parishioners about that fact during the mass just after sermon. So people know not to open their doors. Recently there was an article in polish biggest daily written by a ex JW who said that he was often attacked while proselyting (though this happens most often in rural places and in Warsaw people are more polite). I suppose they do not send mormon missionaries to rural areas and have to tell you how lucky you were that you remember only city folks lack of interest.

There is also the thing that all denominations other than catholic church are perceived as cults. Young people might take BoM from you but they will never think seriously about joining your church as we all believe in evolution and no one buys a crap about nephites. And still because most of you are from US and we are friendly toward this place you are treated way better than JW who are Poles so do not have a feeling of anything exotic.
You also wrote that you ate poorly. I used to buy stuff at Geant hypermarket (few tram stops away from wolska chapel toward western outskirts – jelonki. I do not know whether it existed when you were a missionary and if yes under what name it operated) and sometimes met Mormons there. I remember a 45 or 50 year old Mormon lady and I am not sure if she was not a mission president’s wife, buying premium potatoes in that store. As she didn’t speak polish I helped her a little bit and I still remember this were the premium potatoes because most Poles bought the cheaper ones. So not everyone was that poor

Thank you for writing that there were only 600 mormons in Poland because on wiki they say there are is over 1000 in which number I simply couldn’t believe. My friend who was wrote a piece about Mormons to a Polish weekly told me there are 400 of them in Poland but it was around 10 years ago.


Strength in the Loins
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

Even in my most believing days, I would roll my eyes at the whole "two best years" line. It really should have clued me in on the group-think and self-deception that is inherent to Mormonism. After going through the experience, I realized that 98% of people that called the mission the best two years of their lives were lying through their teeth. The other 2% had really shitty pre-mission lives.

People only say this because it is not acceptable to be candid in mormon culture. You can never say things like, "my mission was hell" or "the temple experience was really fucking weird".

I never once referred to my mission as the best two years...despite the fact that I remained a hard core TBM for quite a few years after my mission. I viewed my mission as a sacrifice. I thought of pioneers and martyrs and others who had sacrificed to build the kingdom and thought I was doing something noble. But I never looked upon the experience as enjoyable. It sucked.

While there were certainly some positives that came from the experience, the negatives outweighed the positives by a wide margin. If I were give the choice between a refund of all my tithing money or a refund of those two years of my life, I would take the two years without a second thought.


Hopefulhusband

Thanks for writing that. While I was there, it became apparent to me that most Poles weren't strongly practicing, so much as identifying as Catholic. With the whole freedom movement and fight against Communism, it's seems the Catholic church played a major role there...to turn against that would be sacrificing their identity and something most weren't willing to do. I can totally understand that (moreso now that I'm 20 years wiser). It was frustrating as a missionary; we were led to believe that the fields were white to harvest (a mormon promise about missionary work that failed for me). In fact, when the mission opened in 1990, it was promised by a prophet that chapels would dot the land of Poland. 20 years later, there is still just the one chapel in warsaw, so that prophecy is either false (I believe) or very slow (haha).

When I said I ate poorly, it was because we were given so little money and had to cook for ourselves so much. A lot of rice for me; cheap but not tasty when a 19 year old cooked it. Bigos and Pierogi were delicious and I loved eating at restaurants (about once a week or so). The few times I ate dinner with people, the food they offered me was delicious.

Anyway, thanks for your reply. I seriously appreciate your perspective.


me again
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

+1! I viewed my mission as a sacrifice, too. I was storing in heaven the blessings of my sacrifice.

Now that I'm out of the church, I see it as such a waste of time. I could've learned many of the same skills by working full time. I'd be two years nearer retirement now!

I agree so much with this statement...I have to search for the positives and overstatement them to make my mission seem as though it was worth it.

My advice for questioning mormons reading this (who are missionary age): don't go. Join the peace corp if you really want to serve, go to college, join the military, or just go skiing. You'll get out of those experiences a whole lot of memories.

A mission is sold as service. I think you get to serve 4 hours a week. Volunteering at a local food bank once a week could meet this if you're trying to do some good in the world.


axeldc
I would have killed myself if that were true
If the mission were the best 2 years of my life, I would have offed myself. I would classify them as among the worst so far.

The positives:

1) I love France and got to spend 2 years in Paris and nearby
2) I learned French better than 99% of non-native missionaries.
3) I loved talking to French people on about non-religious things
4) I love French history and went back to BYU and took 4 classes in it. I would have done my Phd in French history if I hadn't realized the economics of the job market.
5) I loved the members in France. They were by and large very nice people. Being Mormon in France is tough and they loved the missionaries. Since I spoke French fluently, knew a lot of idioms and loved French politics, history and art, I had great conversations with members.

I was just in France and realized that the only things I got out of my mission were what I took from it despite what the MP wanted from me. He really attacked tourism and wanted us to forget about being tourists, but that's the best I got out of it.

I wish the worst part of the mission had been what I expected. I hated tracting and contacting people, since I'm an introvert myself. I knew I was bothering them and I empathized with their annoyance. I hate religious nuts bothering me when I'm out on my business.

The weather wasn't that bad there, the scenery was great, and I made lots of friends among members and investigators.

The worst part was the church itself. I had grown up thinking the church was this loving organization like Primary, very nurturing and caring. On my mission I encountered the nasty, backbiting, greedy bureaucracy. In my sexist TBM mindset, I called it the Mommy church and the Daddy church.

The mission bureaucracy was about numbers and results. Instead of thanking us for our service, they demanded more and guilted us for not giving everything. They hated individualism. Instead of developing your natural talents, they wanted automatons who fit their model of non-thinking sales reps. Know the spiel, but don't know the truth behind what you are selling. We were like in-person telemarketers instead of teachers. Service was just another part of the sales pitch.

Instead of caring about getting a handful of great, dedicated people, they wanted to churn through the numbers. Lots of baptisms, and let the members deal with actual conversion and retention. The result was long lists of inactive members on the rosters. Members resented the baptisms because they just represented more work for them instead of more people actually attending and serving.

To make matters worse, my 2nd MP loved rumors and loved snitches. It was not unusual for him to call out of the blue with some wild accusation he'd heard. Instead of hearing you out, he would just yell at you and make you feel like crap. Most of the people I liked in the mission got that treatment and we hated him for it. I went to both reunions for my 1st MP, but I refused to go to one for my 2nd MP. The worst part is that he became Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court! I've never met a man less interested in justice in my life.

When I came home, I had a lot of great memories of France and the people there, but very few of the church itself. It took me 5 more years to leave after I got home, but it was on my mission that I got my first glimpse of the ugly corporate side of LDS, Inc and it was not something I wanted anything to do with.


poin0
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I never went on a mission, but I know I would have hated it. I was an introvert, so being around someone 24/7 would have been very stressful for me, and my testimony wasn't THAT strong that I'd love it for spiritual reasons.

I think some TBMs lie about it being their "best two years". They just see all their role models saying it when they're kids so they say it too when they do their missions. However, I'm sure there are people out genuinely had a fantastic time on their missions. I remember a thread on here a while ago and a few people said they did enjoy theirs.


axeldc
Europe is the museum to Christianity

Europe has so many beautiful cathedrals, abbeys and other relics from Christian history. The problem is that they are all empty except for some old relics themselves in the pews. Most Europeans are apathetic to religion and only really old people go.

In France, they claim to be Catholic but their real religion is Existentialism.


axeldc
You cannot admit you hated your mission

I once told a friend that I had hated my mission. He broke down and cried and told me how much he hated his. He spent the next hour telling me how awful it was and how mistreated he felt. The worst part was that he had been home 2 years and felt that he couldn't tell anyone. He was afraid if he didn't put on a happy face that people would look down on him, and he was probably right.

Missions can be damaging experiences, and the worst part is that you are not allowed to express your pain. One of my friends was in counseling for things her mission president had done and said to her, because he was a misogynist who hate sister missionaries and she had a strong feminist streak.


sonoma
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I always believed RMs when they said it was their best two years. I knew plenty of theses losers in my mission with such pathetic lives that any time and activity away from their Morridor homes would seem "awesome"!

I, on the other hand, have lived a fantastic life. I made the best of my time in Japan. I even returned to teach English. But missionary work SUCKS, even if you are brainwashed.

I can only pity those with such sad lives, that selling the Mormon Cult to an uninterested world would seem the best time you've ever had.

Pathetic.


axeldc
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I guess if you go on a mission to Denmark, come home, get married and try to get through college with a pregnant wife, then work for the rest of your life raising 5 kids in Ogden while giving all your free time and extra money to the church, then the mission would be the best 2 years of your life. For some of these poor schmucks, it is the only time they will spend out of their small, isolated cities. The reminisce about seeing the Eiffel Tower or eating sushi in Tokyo while they are saddled with kids, mortgage, job and church until they retire. Maybe that's why so many retirees go back on missions.


hopefulhusband
Re: I would have killed myself if that were true

Thank you so much for this post. It validates alot of what I experienced.

I believed in the church that I preached about. That's why I did it. On my mission, I began to see that the church I cared so deeply about didn't exist as I thought it did. MP's were not inspired. They were businessmen, driven for number results. My MP was a jerk. How would Christ have callen such a man??!! Leaders that came to 'inspire us' primarily scolded us for not producing enough new members. We weren't faithful/obedient/hard working enough. What a screwed up philosophy.

The last 1/4 of my mission, I began to site see more and visit local cathedrals, architecture, and the mountains. Beautiful. In Poland, they have these massive cathedrals that are beautiful inside, just huge and awe-inspiring. Visitors are welcome to (respectfully) walk in un-announced and tour them. Imagine somebody doing that at the temple! haha.


happyfeet
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

My tbm daughter served a mission on temple square. She contracted a parasite and almost died. When she returned home from her mission, she confided in me that she did not have a great experience. Her companions, mostly foreign, were very close to each other but often excluded her. Since then, my daughter will not admit that she had a bad experience. Now my son is on a mission in a foreign country--am I supposed to feel happy or excited about it? I only regret that I raised them to want to serve a mission and blame myself. They (my kids) know I'm out of the church, but they listen to my tbm ex and write off my opinions as a "lost" soul.


blueorchid
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I stood when I returned from my mission and said it was the best two years of my life. OF course it wasn't. How bad would the rest of your life had to have been for that to be true?

The thing is, I didn't even consider whether it was true or not. IT was expected of you to say that. The congregation listened for that phrase. I wanted my gold star and so I said it.

I was brainwashed and indoctrinated from birth in a cult. I became their shill. I am very proud that I was able to get out of cult, to shed the brainwashing.

If anyone says it was the best two years of their lives then they are completely unaware of what the other options were--which is just he way the Mormon church likes it.


CA girl
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I think the one thing I prayed about the most on my mission is for God to confirm to me that I was doing something important - something that mattered. I don't remember ever getting a confirmation of that. Most of my time in Spain was spent either enjoying living and working in Spain or dealing with absolutely bat-sh*t crazy companions. I had an average number of baptisms, all of whom are probably inactive today. That makes me feel better, knowing I didn't permanently damage anyone's life. And I finally became fluent in Spanish, something I'd been trying to do since I was a little kid. But there is something about really living there that makes all the difference.

But no, it wasn't the best two years because I had no control over my life. I was forced to live with strangers - to have them in my sight 24/7. That overwhelming violations of my boundaries, my personal space, gave me anxiety attacks that took me years to overcome. I need my personal space to stay sane and got mere hours of that in the 1 1/2 years of my mission. I had to go into situations I didn't want to be in, simply because I didn't feel like socializing. I met many great people who are still friends decades later but I was forced to be an extrovert when I'm a decided introvert and not allowed to read (other than a short list of church-approved material) when reading is an actual necessity for my well-being.

The church really strips you of your friends, family, personal boundaries, choices and necessities and demands you become who they say you need to be. That is so damaging. And while I don't regret my mission because I loved living in Spain and speaking Spanish, it probably did as much damage as it did good. Compared to a lot of people on this board though, my mission was a cake-walk.


hopefulhusband
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I watched the bbc doc 'meet the mormons' about the missionary in the UK. It was pretty spot on. My wife (a TBM) watched maybe 2 minutes with me. She got up and said, 'It's not like that; they're just showing it to make the church look bad.'

I served my mission for 2 years and she didn't. She has no clue.

Looking back, to be cut off completely from family/friends (except for 2 phone calls a year!)....how is that what Christ would approve of? Missing marriages and funerals?

Anyway, for 20 years I've rarely mentioned my mission. Few would understand.

No reading (except church books), no movies, no music (except church music), no hanging around and playing (except p-day which was a half day per week to do laundry, clean apartment, shop, write letters home, etc). No time allowed to go exercise. Get up at 6 am. Study scriptures. Comp study (remember that?). Shower, breakfast, go out and get shot down for 10 hours.

At one point, I quit writing letters home, it was too depressing and I was tired of sugar-coating things to my parents. My mom, apparently, contacted the mission pres to find out why I wasn't writing home. He called me to chew me out, something that happened every few months, anyway.

For some reason, I never realized I was a volunteer. I was free to choose my days and how I spent my time! I was paying for it, for crying out loud. What a waste.


blueorchid
Re: Missions -- the best two years? seriously?

I just have to say your experience is one of the worst I have ever read and it is a perfect illustration of the mormon thinking that if things didn't turn out with the way the delusional mormons expected then it was YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T WORTHY AND YOU WERENT' VALIANT.

Your story is important. Your story is why I won't stand for anyone saying the church is just another social club or tribe. It is insidious, it targets and destroys.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"