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Posted by: fudley ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:01PM

I never served, but am moved by all the RM stories and current exploits of those who wish to leave their mission. I also do nothing but talk about Mormonism, but would like to change that. There is a void that needs to be addressed and will be needed more and more in the coming years and decades.

We need to provide an organized underground railroad that supports missionaries in transition is various ways. Here's some basic goals and ideas:

1. Provide a network of safe houses for missionaries. Feed them, let them use a computer, let them sleep, provide over the counter medication, and aide in communication with anyone they wish to contact off the Mormon radar. Provide intellectual engagement, resources, and support on any issue. We will not preach, only listen and respond.

2. Provide room and board for extended periods of time if they are in transition and considering going home.

3. Act as a liaison to procure the necessary credentials and travel documents from the Missionary President.

4. Arrange travel to go home or another safe place.

5. Follow up by email and assist with transition and referral services when necessary.

6. Launch a website explaining our mission and goals. Make it easy and safe to contact us.

7. Do No Harm. We do not subscribe to or promote any ideology or world view over another.

How does this sound so far? Any other ideas? If such an organization existed would you be interested in providing a safe house, donation, or service?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/24/2013 05:19PM by fudley.

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Posted by: Tupperwhere ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:03PM

any missionary can contact me or hide out with me. I live in Ogden though, so not very "worldly" But I can and will help send emails and stuff. You can stay here too if you want. I can't cook worth crap but I will order Chinese!

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Posted by: Becca ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:20PM

Any missionary needing a safe haven can come to me as well. I will treat them like one my own.

Netherlands. In a town called Deventer.

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Posted by: BG ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:27PM

(1) I have been thinking along the same lines recently. One thought I have had is if former missionaries can contact the communities and countries where they served and alert governmental agencies, doctors, mental health services about the issues Mormon missionaries face and see if they can protect these kids against the cult tactics of cutting them off from contact with their parents, loved ones and friends, long hours of forced labor, poor food and housing, and psyhcological threats. I wonder if we could help get anti-cult laws passed in our communities and countries.

(2)Create a database of housing addresses by missionaries and leave them information on how they can get help outside the church if they want it.

(3) I really like the idea of getting a website together to help kids get home from missions if they do not want to be there and help them plan for life afterward.

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Posted by: fudley ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:41PM

Thanks, BG. I don't like the idea of tracking missionary residences, but I like the idea of publishing public resources that could help them by state/country. I also like the idea of a website and your point is taken below, safe houses must be vetted.

First we must do no harm, second we must help. I'm sure we could learn much from organizations that already advocate in a similar way.

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Posted by: michael ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:28PM

There used to be a poster here by the monicker NEPA who had told us about an "underground railroad" to rescue missionaries who wanted to go home early. I'd been in touch with him for a while, but he seems to have disappeared from here and he doesn't answer e-mails.

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Posted by: BG ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:32PM

Can we do a "secret" facebook group to communicate with names and addresses?

People can join but they have to be vetted.

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Posted by: Becca ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:56PM

That is a good idea. But if hidden, how will mischies find us?

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Posted by: newcatholic ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:46PM

I live in NE Florida and will help any missionary escape.

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Posted by: shannon ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:14PM

Yup, me too. I'd definitely be a safe house - North Florida as well. I think this is an excellent idea. Please keep us updated on any progress.

;o)

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Posted by: fudley ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:51PM

I forgot to add, NYS and PA missionaries have a safe house at my home.

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Posted by: DonQuijote ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 04:57PM

I love this idea. I'm in Ogden, UT as well, but my house and my assistance is open to any of them. This reminds me of organizations set up like this for fundamentalist wives & children who wish to escape.

I was once a trapped missionary, they wouldn't let me go home. I was physically very sick, also homesick & just didn't want to be there. But eventually I was motivated by "the spirit" to stay and I stuck it out.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 05:04PM

I'm an atheist, and it pains me to say this, but we might need the help of some of the other churches to organize something like this, since they are spread out across the world, and could be motivated to help. That would come with a price though, because most of them would see it as a opportunity to recruit a vulnerable person, who probably doesn't need religion of any kind right now, after having been victimized by one. We'd need some boundaries to set up, and we would need to be picky which organizations we chose to work with.

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Posted by: fudley ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 05:14PM

If we start small, remain strong, and have a proven track record, anything is possible. I think our first goal should be to "do no harm." I'm adding it to the OP.

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Posted by: jpt ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 06:44PM

I've thought about helping a missionary get home/away. But, I can't figure out how to make it happen at the front line level. As soon as I suggest that I'm able to help one escape, word would get back to the local ward and mission leaders, and it would be over before it started. Forever. They'd never (be allowed to) come around my place again. And it would definitely put me on "church enemy status"; I still have a few personal and professional mormon acquaintances.

Otherwise, I'd have to entertain them quite a bit to get to the point where one would be willing to talk about it. I'm not sure I want to make that much of an investment. Even then I still might be the obvious culprit.

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Posted by: exdrymo ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 08:06PM

East Valley / Phoenix Metro here. Ive a small place but room on the couch.


http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,900345,900345#msg-900345

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Posted by: deco ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 08:09PM

I would be willing to help from Montana. We have a big, secure house.

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Posted by: orange ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 08:23PM

Any missionary currently feeling like they are in purgatory can look at options like enrolling in a university. They can apply for student loans to take classes and get them room and board. It is a way to escape while also doing something they will need in the long run. They also do not need parental approval to get housing and so on. It is like claiming asylum from the tscc.

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Posted by: Primary Survivor ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 10:25PM

SE Wyoming here, and willing to help.

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Posted by: deconverted2010 ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 10:35PM

I'm in Ontario, Canada. Willing to help.

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Posted by: Never One ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 10:43AM

Where in Ontario? I was born in Kitchener

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Posted by: obsessed ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 11:16PM

As an outsider (nevermo)looking in and as a Christian living in the Morridor (sp?), I can't help but think there are plenty of churches that would love to help and NOT push their own agenda on anyone wanting to get out. Every non-moron church I have ever attended walks on eggshells when the topic of other "local religions" is mentioned. In other words, they do not want to offend anyone whom is now or was or is related to an lds person.
No doubt the idea of God/Jesus leaves a bad taste in the mouths of so many folks posting on here. Believe me when I tell you I am not going to try and tell anyone how to feel as I obviously have no right to do so. I will say it saddens me deeply that so many of you have washed your hands of Him completely because in your minds many of you appear to equate the god of moronism to the God of Christianity. I know that many morons around me consider themselves "Christian" because a few years ago some nut decided the lds church would be more appealing with Christ's name in it. I have argued this fact with the predominately lds community members I am surrounded by, but that is a story for another day. All I am asking is that you give the rest of us a chance to help with no strings attached. The stories I read on here break my heart. And if you are wondering why I read them (as a nevermo) it is because I am gleaning information to (1) arm myself against folks wanting to convert me and (2) cause a seed of doubt to be planted in their minds.
Anyway, food for thought for you all.

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Posted by: GC ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 11:36PM

I'm a bit of a vagabond, so can't help on the shelter front, unfortunately, but having spent the better part of two years wanting to escape, I'd live to help in other ways -- morale support by phone, web posts, etc.

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Posted by: Darkfem ( )
Date: May 24, 2013 11:44PM

Illinois here, and happy to help.

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Posted by: amos ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 01:38AM

One spare bedroom here in Oregon and already offered it to the local mishies should they want to escape. Add me to the list.

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Posted by: snuckafoodberry ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 01:50AM

I'm in Gilbert AZ. Any missionaries can come to my house and play video games, watch TV, take naps or eat. Or swim in my pool and lay out on our rafts. I will NEVER tell on you! But you have to lie and say you were tracting because you can't tell on me either! I work from home so anytime in the day is ok with me. This is for any mishies who just want to make it through two years. Not the kind who are confessors to their bishops,MP's, DL's, ZL's, SP's or parents.
If you need more help than that, I am willing to do whatever it is in my power to help you.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2013 01:59AM by snuckafoodberry.

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 07:14AM

I sort of did this when I lived in Alabama and was more of a New Order Mormon. I told the mishies that I left my back door unlocked and whenever they wanted they could go hang out during he day, watch TV, use the computer, play video games, take a nap, whatever. I kept Popsicles in the fridge for them. Trouble is that it takes a companionship where both are willing to do it without narking. But one pair really took me up on it. Like every other day. I just asked them to leave me a note. I think they spent the day making up stats.

I'd do it now but my house would be very boring with no TV or home phone. But if I did I'd keep Rough Stone Rolling and In Sacred Loneliness and Suddenly Strangers on the bookshelf.

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Posted by: snuckafoodberry ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 09:56AM

That was a very good idea. Yes it would be hard to find two in agreement together in it and it would be difficult for them to keep it under wraps. I just wanted to offer it up. I'm an ex mo but husband is Mormon. It wouldn't be a huge big deal if he were to know about it. I just feel sorry for them because the AZ heat is on its way and if they have to make it two years it might be nice to pass the time in other ways or have a reprieve once in awhile.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2013 09:57AM by snuckafoodberry.

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Posted by: traveller ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:18AM

If you had people with airline ties (and thus buddy passes) or a lot of frequent flier miles, that could be a helpful thing if you had someone that needed to be able to get out of their mission location after a time.

Buddy passes and/or miles would often allow for quicker exits and at significantly less cost than last minute tickets (especially if there were a reason a missionary needed to leave quickly - health/mental health/etc.)

Along those lines, what not everyone knows is that sometimes there are miles that are better used on other airlines. For instance, British Airways miles can be used for virtually nothing to fly on AA or Alaskan Airlines in the US (and for not many miles) whereas using those same miles to fly from Europe to the US or vice versa costs A TON in taxes. Similarly, BA miles are a good value within Europe.

If any members here are also on flyertalk, that could be a good resource if someone wanted to look into what could be the most efficient use of miles if people had them willing to offer up if they were truly needed.

Just a thought :-)

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Posted by: 4ofusfamily ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:56AM

BC, Canada here: available to shelter and help

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Posted by: spanner ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 03:03AM

This was a situation where the MUG was floated earlier:
http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,713770,713770#msg-713770

We were not able to help this missionary, but if the MUG were in existence, and missionaries knew about it, maybe he would have had someone to contact who could have raised the nearest exmo through RFM (or other boards). We were hoping the lad would google his own name, which didn't happen; if word got around about the MUG it may be easy for missionaries to find if they needed help.

Maybe a central website with useful information that links through to this board (and the other ex/postmo boards), with instructions to post with MUG in the subject line - there are exmos posting round the clock for support and advice, and there is a good chance of raising a local exmo for practical assistance.

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Posted by: Mr. Happy ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 06:59AM

Well, I think your heart is in the right place but I don't think your focus is.

You talk of helping missionaries who are considering going home. Have you stopped to think that perhaps the folks at home don't want the missionary back before his time is up? Do you think just because the missionary wants to bail off of his mission that the folks at home will be waiting with open arms? In my experience, that was about as far from reality as one can get. In fact, while on the mission, the threat and fear of being SENT home haunts every missionary and allows them to be manipulated in the mission field.

If you want to help a missionary to go home, I suspect you will have to ramp that effort up to how do you help the missionary once he gets home. Or even better, how do you help the missionary once he gets home, is kicked out of the house, shunned by the ward, and has his "RM dreaming" girlfriend break up with him? Will you take him in, give him a job, buy him a car, pay for his schooling, etc.? Easier said than done.

Right now myself and a friend are helping out the kid of another friend of ours. He had a full-ride athletic scholarship to BYU but after one semester he decided that the BYU experience was not for him. He came home and his TBM parents promptly kicked him out. He has no desire to serve a mission. So what we are faced with is a kid with little cash, no job (and really no job skills), no food, no place to stay, and no direction.

My friend and I were able to pay for, and get him enrolled in the local junior college this past semester. He was able to find a few friends to crash with at their place, but that ran out. My friend and I paid a few months of rent for a room in advance for him because he had no references. The part-time job he had laid him off due to overstaffing and finding another one has been difficult. Fortunately he has a car, but no money for gas. We will continue to help him financially to get him on his feet but I see it as a long difficult process. I share this as an example of what a potential early returning missionary might face at home. Fortunately for this kid who left BYU he has myself and another buddy to help him out. Who will be there to offer a financial commitment to these "Underground Railroad Missionaries" when they are not welcomed home. For most, it is the fear of this outcome that drove them to serve a mission in the first place and keeps them out there for two years.

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Posted by: The other Sofia ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 07:43AM

Good point, Happy. It is really sad that a parent's love is so conditional on their child's behaving a prescribed way.

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Posted by: flybynight ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 09:57AM

Mr. Happy makes a good point. If anyone is minded to set up a website aimed at helping missionaries escape, they should include information (and maybe a checklist of preparations) about surviving after the mission bailout.

Miserable missionaries might not be thinking about what it will take to support themselves after they escape, especially if parents kick them out or refuse to assist them. Now that missionary ages are lower, we're talking about a cohort that has probably never lived on their own and will be unprepared for the realities of getting a job and housing or enrolling in college with no parental support. A page with links to useful resources would be a good idea, too.

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Posted by: exmomedic ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 10:53AM

I'm in Victorville, CA & would be willing to help out missionaries that want out anywhere relatively local SoCal area

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Posted by: Once Morew ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 01:38PM

Someone (or perhaps a small group) needs to take responsibility for organizing the Missionary Underground Railroad.

At the very least, we need an email address and/or a Facebook site that is by invitation only where all volunteers can send their contact information, outline what services they are offering, etc.

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Posted by: Once More ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 01:40PM

Forum Administrators: Please keep this thread alive well past your usual 30-post limit. We need to let everyone weigh in.

Can we also put this subject on the home page?

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Posted by: Cowardly lion ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:20PM

This is truely disturbing to me!After reading about the run away NZmishie! I dont know why I didnt realize they took their passports away! This is criminal to me! I knew they served missions out of family pressure & church pressure; But this is slavery! They dont own us! One of my bro. almost died on his mission! MY father threatened to sue the church if they didnt release him! I remember how solem we all were (&privately questioning) When my dad said "Its not the church its the people; the church is true".

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Posted by: sizterh ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:22PM

I'd like to help. Could not house anyone but could drive them somewhere.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: May 25, 2013 02:31PM

someone who knows me, please pull me into it.

Mr. Happy is absolutely right. There are so many ramifications when a missionary goes home that the last thing you want to do is have him or her jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Their needs vary -- many might not want to go home but need a place to relax.

There are so many possibilities and moving parts, and you also have to be wary of all of us using pseudonyms -- will any of us report them to the MP?

All this could be worked out in secret. Vetting people who want to help the mishies is another issue in and of itself and shouldn't be taken lightly.

"I'm here to help" can mean many different things.

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