Mormon Missions cut short for medical reasons

by Just Once Feb 2012

I've been struck by the seemingly high number of missionaries returning for "medical reasons."
What's the deal? What's actually going on? Is there something going on we're not aware of? Or have missions actually become more dangerous?

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
Apparently missionaries are facing an uphill battle these days. Potential converts are googling between visits and learning the truth. Could missionaries, recognizing the futility of their efforts, be cutting their missions short for "medical reasons" in order to save face. Who wants to return to the ward, the bishop, the family, empty handed? One or two converts (or none) is not a lot to show for a two year mission. Perhaps some RMs could comment on this.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
My TBM brother got "knee problems" while he was in Honduras. The Doctors in Honduras couldn't help him so he was sent home early. He only served a little over a year.

He hasn't had a knee problem since, in fact he joined the air force and later joined the Army, and is flying helicopters for them.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
My cousin went on a mission to France. He was pretty much forced to go by his parents. His older brother was a RM his parents idolized. Well, about 6 months into his mission he returned home due to 'medical reasons'. Truth was that he hated his mission and wanted to go home.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
In my view, many missions that were shortened for medical reasons were actually the result of very unhappy missionaries looking for an "out" while avoiding the negative consequences of revealing the real reason they couldn't finish their mission, i.e. they didn't believe it it any longer, couldn't stand the utter nonsense they were seeing in the mission, were having difficulty with the cognitive dissonance they were experiencing etc.. etc.. This combined with the fact that many probably actually do experience physical illness due to the above.
Sounds like my sister
She went on a mission to WA adn I hink 6 months in, she came home early because of knee problems. She blew out her knee in track in HS and walking around aggravated her issue, plus she had PTSD which was aggravated as well on the mission. You would think that if they really wanted to keep her on the mission, TSCC would provide a car instead of forving the sisters to walk up and down those steep hills in WA.

She came home, had surgery, and started therapy. The bish gave her some serious @#$%& for not returning and she became inactive shortly thereafter. She resigned about a year after I did.

I agree, it's a combination
There really are a LOT of missionaries coming home for "medical" reasons these days. And most 19-21 year old kids are pretty healthy. I believe most of them do embellish any problems they are having, as from what I've seen, they usually have miraculous recoveries after they come home and no trouble later. But who can blame them? Missions are horrible and no one really wants to be there.

But I think maybe many of them actually do have problems like severe migraines, anxiety disorder, orthopedic/muscular problems, etc. that are CAUSED by the stress--physical, mental, emotional--of the mission. Most of these kids are babies from the Morridor, who just don't have the fortitude to deal with the stress and abuse that is thrust on them. You gotta feel sorry for them that there is such a stigma about coming home that they have to either concoct some illness or wait until the stress and abuse creates one for them.

Why can't they say, "hey, I volunteered 10 months of my time on my own dime and I've had enough. This is not for me, but I'd like a little credit for trying, for the time I DID give and for the money I've spent, and I am coming home honorably"? Well, I guess we all know why they can't. It's criminal!

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
A coworker of mine came back after 5 months in the Ventura, CA mission. His only area was Bakersfield, CA. He came back because he had a form of insomnia and missionaries aren't allowed to have any kind of sleeping pills.
Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
When I got to the MTC, I remember putting my head on my pillow that first night and the thought went though my head, "2 Years of this...?" I was not impressed one bit. The 3rd day I was there, an elder in our district decided he wanted to get sent home because he couldn't take it anymore. He had been missing home. He was homesick by all means. We went into his room and he was literally curled up in a ball and shaking as if he was having a seizure or something. Next thing I knew, he was being sent home "honorably" for a medical reason. I know he didn't have any problems whatsoever. He was completely fine when they told him he was going home. I wanted to go home after that, but I couldn't play the crazy dude part very well. When I was on my mission, I ended up having a bleeding issue where I ended up in the hospital and had to be somewhat operated on to save my life. I was bleeding to the point that I needed a couple of blood transfusions. I was thinking in my mind that I was going to be able to go home now. I only had like 4 months left of my mission anyway so it wasn't a big deal to me. My mission president came to visit me (4 hours away from the mission home) in the hospital. First of all, I had been relieved of my companion (I was in the hospital for about 2 weeks recovering and my companion was sent to be with another set of elders) and I was growing a beard because I didn't bring my razor. When he walked in, I said, "Well President, this may send me home earlier than expected." I was trying to hint to something. He replied and said, "No elder, you are an example to those who struggle medically in this mission and I think you will do just fine getting back to the grind." I was baffled! So when I was discharged from the hospital, I literally slept in, had more leisure time, took my time walking around (obviously with my low blood levels) and tried not to do too much missionary work. So the moral to my story is that even though I had a legitimate reason to go home medically, I was not able to, but the dude that was in the MTC that played "crazy" was able to only a few days into it. Oh well... I have learned much since then. I actually work in a hospital now. I also had a buddy go home early for having "separation anxiety" from his family. He went home honorably after a week in the MTC. I thought only dogs had the separation anxiety problem... I guess some missionaries do too. lol
There are some sad stories related to this.
I remember a guy about six years older than I when he went on his mission. A big farewell at sacrament meeting with lots of warm, encouraging talks. The guy was smart and well liked, and seemed to be really charged up about his mission. After a few months in the mission field he came home for "medical reasons." A few weeks later he was found dead on the couch at home of an apparent overdose. Of course, everybody said it was unintentional, he had gotten sleepy, confused, or had a bad reaction to the medicine. It still makes me sad that he suffered that much to make that decision. I have wondered if perhaps, in addition to all the other strain of going on a mission, he might have been dealing with the realization that he was homosexual.

I would expect the population of gay missionaries to be in line with the percentage of the general population. In addition to all the other nonense that young men and women have to deal with on a mission, trying to deal with those feelings must really increase the strain. "Medical reasons" could be a good excuse to go home.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
Being sent home for medical reasons on a mission is like getting "laid off" instead of "fired" from a job. That way the missionary can save face and not get a dishonorable release. I believe they use it very broadly whenever they can get away with it.

My brother has asbergers. He went on a mission before the whole rasing the bar thing - these days they probably wouldn't have sent him. He is arguably the most faithful Mormon I've ever met. The guy never misses reading his scriptures - ever.

So of course he struggles immensely socially. So on the mission they generally put him in a threesome where he was the third wheel out.

Finally he's been out around a year and is in an apartment with another set of missionaries.

He has a bad headache and stays in bed. Being who he is he doesn't explain why. The missionaries in the other companionship hassle him about being lazy. Being who he is he doesn't know how to handle it and just digs in.

They harrass him more and more. They corner him in the kitchen so he grabs a knife so they will leave him alone. They back off.

A couple days later they harrass him again. Again he goes into the kitchen and grabs a knife and backs into a corner so they will leave him alone. One of the missionaries decides to take the knife from him and cuts his hand in the process of grabbing it.

They send my brother home on medical release.

This reminded me about
my BIL's brother--who came home early YEARS ago--at least 30--because of mental health issues. His father didn't believe in such things (even though his own mother had spent time in a hospital after a breakdown). This guy kept having breakdowns. He'd seem to be doing okay for a while and then have to move home and live with his mother (his father was dead by then). He was killed in an accident about 8 or 9 years ago in his 40s--never having married.

A really nice guy who was extremely handsome--and probably could have had a normal life, but he never got the help he needed. It was really sad.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
Ha a number of Kids go home on my mission for mental, physical, homesick, worthiness issues. Revolving door as it were.
Early 70's stateside.
Hearing "where's Elder ____ ? Oh he went home" was common.

Wished I would have had the nuts to go home.Huge waste of time.

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
Perhaps bodies have way's of telling us when things are just not right or we are going against the grain? As a former Missionary, I did whatever I could to stay sane and take care of my body.
ronas: How's your brother today?
How long ago / where was his Mish?

In Mormonism, soooooooooooo much depends on who your leaders are; Bp/SP, MP, RSP, and so on.

Each of them are in positions where their decisions, policies, NO Matter how wacky or inappropriate they are... Can't be questioned or challenged; SELDOM over-ruled, because that would dis-respect them.

Mormonism: Screwed Up in a number of ways.

Re: Sounds like my sister
Itzpapalotl Wrote:
> You would think that if they really wanted to keep her
> on the mission, TSCC would provide a car instead
> of forving the sisters to walk up and down those
> steep hills in WA.

Ha ha ha ha! As if the TSCC gave a damn about the missionaries. Give her a car? Ha! They make these "volunteers" buy their own bicycles.

> She came home, had surgery, and started therapy.
> The bish gave her some serious @#$%& for not
> returning . . .

Yes, She VOLUNTEERS and ends up needing surgery because of it. What does the Bishop do? Tries to make her feel guilty for not doing MORE. The absolute BEST anti-Mormon stuff you could create would be hidden-camera videos of Bishops and Stake Presidents and Mission Presidents chewing out missionaries and potential missionaries. Show that to the world and say "this is what the Mormon Church is really like."

Re: Missions cut short for "medical reasons"
justbreathe Wrote:
> Next thing I knew,
> he was being sent home "honorably" for a medical
> reason.

> I also had a buddy go home
> early for having "separation anxiety" from his
> family. He went home honorably after a week in the
> MTC.

This whole bullshit about being sent home "honorably" is such a crock. They use the term to scare you into staying. How many missionaries would stay if the ONLY consequence was that you weren't on your mission any more? You know, like college or the Peace Corps? You say, "I decided I don't want to do this any more," and they say, "no problem," and when you get home everyone is glad to see you. How many missionaries would stay on their missions if that's how it played out?

They NEED the threats of guilt and "dishonor," to keep you there. You'd think being a special representative of Jesus Christ would be enough, right? Ha!

"Hello, I'm a special representative of a bunch of grumpy old men who want to totally control your life and I have a message for you." How many doors would that get you into?

Re: This reminded me about
cl2 Wrote:

> A really nice guy who was extremely handsome--and
> probably could have had a normal life, but he
> never got the help he needed. It was really sad.

Yes if he had been WORTHY the Lord would have cured his mental health problems, right? The Mormon Church doesn't care about the members. It's all about what the members can do for the Church, not the other way around. A member with mental health issues can't help the Church so they really don't matter.

Besides, there is no such thing as "mental health issues" right? It's just people who don't have the spirit....obviously because they are sinning. I have a friend who is a full-blown schizophrenic and a Mormon. Well, former Mormon because they excommunicated him. In the New Testament Jesus casts demons out of a mentally ill man. In the TSCC they cast mentally ill people out of the Church.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"