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 Post subject: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:51 am 
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One of my favorite threads on postmormon.org, back when it was operational, was dedicated to Mission Stories. It was a wonderful catch-all where folks shared their tales and recalled their adventures. I’ve not seen that thread replicated here. So if it exists, someone please let me know.

Assuming such a thread doesn’t exist, I would like to start this thread for your mission stories. I’d love to hear the misadventures that will have me rolling with laughter. Perhaps you could share a story that particularly touches you, even to this day. It would also be interesting to hear how some of you served in the same missions, but maybe decades apart.

The great thing about such a thread is that literally any returned missionary has something he or she can share. If you are still a TBM today, you could share not just how the experience maybe strengthened your faith, but also share in relating the ridiculous experiences you had, those encounters that make people of any faith persuasion shake their head! Similarly, even the most ardent exMo might be able to share a tender moment from what overall might have been a miserable two-year (or longer) stint that cemented your exit. You steady RM lurkers out there surely have something valuable to contribute, so I hope you do as well.

As so many of you have said, Mormonism is the tribe or culture that binds you, for better or for worse. For many of you, a mission (no matter how long or how short for whatever reason) is another specific shared experience within the culture. I hope you’ll extend to me the privilege of reading your stories as you recount them here.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:23 am 
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Here's one of many. I loved my mission to northern Germany. I'm actually typing this in my hotel in Tucson right now, at a conference for German teachers near the UofA.

My final area was Braunschweig, a city of a quarter million people. Most of my mission was small villages and branches, so this was my big city with a ward (I also served in the Bielefeld ward, which was a super-active ward rivaling strong American wards). I wasn't jazzed about a big city, preferring door-to-door, but ended up really liking it. It ranked third on my favorite city list, behind Halberstadt (former East Germany) and Oldenburg.

Almost in the closing weeks of my mission, we returned to the apartment after our weekly slaughterfest with Schwester Dubowski. We had to eat everything on the table, and it was an insane amount of food, topped off with what we called the "incredible expanding cake." Every Thursday. We were sick. As we went into the apartment to lie down, use the restroom, etc., the phone was ringing. We let the answering machine get it, because we didn't want to answer the phone when we weren't supposed to be there. A bright girl's voice said, in American English, "My name is ________, and I have been reading the Book of Mormon and want to be baptized." She left her number, and we called it. She was a foreign exchange student from Colorado. Her host family was very not friendly towards Mormons, and they were very suspicious. The host father told us that meeting with her was out of the question, he was responsible for her safety, etc. He did let us talk to her. I forget how exactly we did this, but we arranged to meet her at a town near hers at the train station. This turned out to be a challenge, because it wasn't clear whether her town or the one we were meeting her in was actually in our mission (it turns out that neither was). We met her at the Helmstedt train station, and she was actually very pretty. We walked and found a schoolyard and sat in the far corner and talked. She was miserable with culture shock and her host family. As she was packing to leave, her mother found the Book of Mormon her boyfriend had given her (he was at BYU while she was on her exchange), and freaked out at her. They had an argument, and she insisted that she was going to bring it.

Her host family took her to the French Riviera, and she continued being miserable. She read the Book of Mormon on the beach that week, felt the Spirit strongly, and decided to look up the nearest missionaries when they got home and call them. We ended up teaching her the first two discussions in depth, and she already knew and understood a lot. A teacher or administrator came over to us and asked her if we were bothering her (she was crying), and she said no, everything was fine. Are you sure? because I can call the police and get rid of these guys . . . No, really, they are fine and I want to be here with them. The adult went back into the school.

She told us she was scared, because she wanted to get baptized but she knew her parents would be furious. Aside from parental consent, I told her that I recommended that she wait until she got home and could talk in person to her parents. Putting ourselves in their shoes, you shouldn't do that to them, and how would you feel if your daughter made an important decision you didn't agree with when she was halfway around the world and you weren't there with her? This made her somewhat relieved. She was struggling with friends and culture at school, so we mentioned a church dance that was coming up (I think it was that Saturday). "My host parents would never let me go to that." Well, let me call them and see. They were not at all in favor of that, and when they insisted that they were responsible for her safety, I promised them that we would personally pick her up from the train station and personally see that she made it onto her return train (which at that time of night, ran, but not frequently. We would have to see that she made it, and it would be a late return home). I explained this, with the times, to her host father, and surprisingly, he agreed to let this happen.

We picked her up at the train station around 7:00 (probably earlier, since the dance probably started at 7:00), and took her via S-Bahn to the church. The youth were known quantities (they were really good), and they took her under their wing, practiced their English with her, and helped her have a good time. It didn't hurt that she was pretty, either. I want to say that we didn't get her on the train until after 11:00 PM, but she had a really good time at the dance, and it seemed like a weight had been lifted.

We then found out that not only wasn't she in our area, she wasn't in our mission. We told her about this, and got her set up to meet with the sister missionaries. Right before I went home, she sent us a card thanking us for helping her, stating that "for the first time in my life, my faith is clear," and asking if she could still come to us with questions (but that she was glad to be working with the sisters).

This was just an all-around good experience that involved some problem-solving, diplomacy, and "righteous" rule-breaking (curfew for a higher cause, because we had personally guaranteed that we would ensure that she made it). In hindsight, we should have had member families do it, but it's a good experience that is a fond memory for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:43 am 
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Here's another one that I'm a little embarrassed about (and my wife says, "Why did you do that? I can't believe you did that.").

When I was transferred to Oldenburg, we lived in a garden house in an elderly couple's backyard. They were functional alcoholics (we used to joke that you wouldn't measure their blood alcohol level, you would measure their alcohol blood level --- how much blood is in their alcohol). Vodka from dawn to dusk. He picked me up from the train station and drove just fine. I think if we went off of it, he wouldn't have been able to drive.

She doted over us, and this had so bothered the zone leader I had replaced (who had gone home), that he had convinced the mission president to get us a newer apartment. Several set of elders had also been throwing away the food she made us for quite some time, but I loved it. Greasy, but "meat and potatoes." She was a good cook, and I repaired some of the ill-will from some previous missionaries. They had flushed her food down the toilet, and when she called a plumber, he found . . . lots of her old food. She was deeply hurt by this, and I insisted (truthfully) that I liked her food. I assured her that we weren't flushing it down the toilet.

She was very proud to take us to her brother's Catholic funeral, and we spent the day as part of the family at the funeral, the dinner afterwards, etc. The family did not want us there, but Mutti was proud to have us and treated us as one of the family.

She was absolutely devastated when the move was finalized. I assured her that I had nothing to do with it, and if it were up to me, we would have stayed there. But, we moved to the brand new apartment. Hooking up the phone was delayed, and Sunday night came and no phone, and we had to get reports from the district leaders and report numbers to the APs. Outside the apartment was a payphone with a long line of people, and it was freezing cold (this was the winter that the Elbe froze over, and it was bitter cold out near Ost Friesland where we were, too), so I told my greenie to get the phone and put it in his backpack. We were going to take the bus and sneak quietly into the garden house, plug the phone in (I was sure that the hookup was still live), and handle our business. We were being quiet, but Mutti barged in, saw us, and demanded to know what we were doing there. I told her very sheepishly that the new place didn't have phone service yet, and we were trying to get our reports done. She said, "Oh, my place isn't good enough for you, but your fancy new place is having problems, is it?" It was really embarrassing, and after what the mission had done to her, it was extremely nervy of me to do that. I can't believe the gall! And it was just for reports that could have waited until tomorrow.

She said, "Well, it's freezing out here. Let me make you some hot chocolate. And, it's late, so you should sleep here tonight. The radiators still have hot water access." She insisted, and it was the least we could do. And, it made her day to keep us for one more night.

Looking back, I really can't believe I did that, when we could have just not done the reporting for that week.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:36 pm 
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Some brutal mission stories here:

https://www.timeforcambio.org/letters-home-1


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:50 pm 
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Mission stories, you say? How about I up the ante just a little and give you. . .

My entire mission?

Front to back, introduction to epilogue, Day 1 to Day 773, it's all here:

Elder Shades's Missionary Journal

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:31 am 
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There's always this:

https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Up-Here-J ... 1105296946

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:57 pm 
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Maybe I'll tell the tale of how our judo instructor ward mission leader hog tied a drunk guy with neck ties and then we cast demons out of him..........

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:18 pm 
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SteelHead wrote:
Maybe I'll tell the tale of how our judo instructor ward mission leader hog tied a drunk guy with neck ties and then we cast demons out of him..........
I'd like to officially cast my vote that you SHOULD tell this story.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:28 pm 
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I don't know if second hand stories count, but apparently a close relative of mine started a commissary business while out on his mission, some 30 years ago, selling hard to get items at ridiculous mark-ups to very desperate elders. He financed the start-up by telling his parents his bike was stolen and he needed cash to replace it. SIX TIMES.

We found out when another relative of mine told the story of bikes being stolen, and found out that that mission was one of the safest-- stolen items were incredibly rare. A little more investigation turned up the story of the Elder who ran the equivalent of "the company store," as in "I sold my soul to.." It turns out everyone hated him, but no one could resist the immediate acess he provided to things like m&ms, a proper razor refill, the occasional tie, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:25 pm 
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Having served only five weeks of a mission in the MTC, I will share my abbreviated story.

Due to having “carnal relations” nightly with a beautiful nymphomaniac BYU coed my entire freshman year, I was required to meet with a G.A. (Henry D. Taylor) prior to submitting my mission papers. The stake center I drove to (Pasadena) had a line of perspective missionaries waiting to speak with Elder Taylor. He was such a nice, gentle, caring old man that I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I hooked up with my BYU gal about a month prior. I only told him what I had done while away at school.

Fast forward to the MTC. Everyday I was hammered with “If there is anything you haven’t confessed to…you won’t be able to learn the language, won’t be able to have the spirit, blah, blah, blah.” After a while I started believing that poop and went to my Branch Prez. He immediately kicked me up the ladder to the MTC Prez (Max Pinegar).

Pinegar told me to write three letters explaining what I had done - one to my Stake Prez, one to my Bishop, and one to my father. I told him that two out of three wasn’t bad because there was NO WAY I would be discussing, or even mentioning, my sexual escapades to my father. He told me to write the other two.

A week later I met with him again after a G.A. (Carlos Asay) fireside at the MTC. Asay was sitting there with him in the office and my Stake Prez was on the phone. My Stake Prez told me he loved me, all was forgiven, and to have a great mission. Pinnegar said that my Bishop was in agreement with me staying. Then Asay said, “And we told your father…he too agrees with you staying.”

Pinegar and Asay sat back in their chairs and looked like they were expecting me to thank them enthusiastically for allowing me to stay. Instead, in a state of shock, I heard myself say, “You sons of bitches…I told you my father was not to be told.” They made some sort of comment about how supportive my father was. I said “perhaps morally supportive, but he hasn’t spent one dime on my mission to this point.” There was a pause, and then I said, “I’m outta here. Do you make arrangements for a plane ticket home or do I?” They did all they could to convince me to stay, but I was PISSED and DONE. Perhaps their tactics had worked on other missionaries, but they picked on the wrong missionary this time.

Three hours later I walked out of the front door of the MTC, hugged the crying Elders and Hermanas of my district, then jumped into a van heading to Salt Lake City airport for a flight home and a whole new chapter of HELL in my life.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:33 pm 
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Jonah wrote:
Having served only five weeks of a mission in the MTC, I will share my abbreviated story.

Due to having “carnal relations” nightly with a beautiful nymphomaniac BYU coed my entire freshman year, I was required to meet with a G.A. (Henry D. Taylor) prior to submitting my mission papers. The stake center I drove to (Pasadena) had a line of perspective missionaries waiting to speak with Elder Taylor. He was such a nice, gentle, caring old man that I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I hooked up with my BYU gal about a month prior. I only told him what I had done while away at school.

Fast forward to the MTC. Everyday I was hammered with “If there is anything you haven’t confessed to…you won’t be able to learn the language, won’t be able to have the spirit, blah, blah, blah.” After a while I started believing that poop and went to my Branch Prez. He immediately kicked me up the ladder to the MTC Prez (Max Pinegar).

Pinegar told me to write three letters explaining what I had done - one to my Stake Prez, one to my Bishop, and one to my father. I told him that two out of three wasn’t bad because there was NO WAY I would be discussing, or even mentioning, my sexual escapades to my father. He told me to write the other two.

A week later I met with him again after a G.A. (Carlos Asay) fireside at the MTC. Asay was sitting there with him in the office and my Stake Prez was on the phone. My Stake Prez told me he loved me, all was forgiven, and to have a great mission. Pinnegar said that my Bishop was in agreement with me staying. Then Asay said, “And we told your father…he too agrees with you staying.”

Pinegar and Asay sat back in their chairs and looked like they were expecting me to thank them enthusiastically for allowing me to stay. Instead, in a state of shock, I heard myself say, “You sons of bitches…I told you my father was not to be told.” They made some sort of comment about how supportive my father was. I said “perhaps morally supportive, but he hasn’t spent one dime on my mission to this point.” There was a pause, and then I said, “I’m outta here. Do you make arrangements for a plane ticket home or do I?” They did all they could to convince me to stay, but I was PISSED and DONE. Perhaps their tactics had worked on other missionaries, but they picked on the wrong missionary this time.

Three hours later I walked out of the front door of the MTC, hugged the crying Elders and Hermanas of my district, then jumped into a van heading to Salt Lake City airport for a flight home and a whole new chapter of HELL in my life.


I love this. I wish I could have had the balls to do what you did. Instead, I had Hartman Rector in my head the whole time making me feel guilty if I didn't run in between contacts. What was the Hell afterward? You need to tell us what happened next.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:25 am 
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Jonah wrote:
A week later I met with him again after a G.A. (Carlos Asay) fireside at the MTC. Asay was sitting there with him in the office and my Stake Prez was on the phone. My Stake Prez told me he loved me, all was forgiven, and to have a great mission. Pinnegar said that my Bishop was in agreement with me staying. Then Asay said, “And we told your father…he too agrees with you staying.”

Pinegar and Asay sat back in their chairs and looked like they were expecting me to thank them enthusiastically for allowing me to stay. Instead, in a state of shock, I heard myself say, “You sons of bitches…I told you my father was not to be told.” They made some sort of comment about how supportive my father was. I said “perhaps morally supportive, but he hasn’t spent one dime on my mission to this point.” There was a pause, and then I said, “I’m outta here. Do you make arrangements for a plane ticket home or do I?” They did all they could to convince me to stay, but I was PISSED and DONE. Perhaps their tactics had worked on other missionaries, but they picked on the wrong missionary this time.


This cannot be true, because we know Carlos Asay doesn't meet with missionaries...

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:50 am 
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Exiled wrote:
I love this. I wish I could have had the balls to do what you did. Instead, I had Hartman Rector in my head the whole time making me feel guilty if I didn't run in between contacts. What was the Hell afterward? You need to tell us what happened next.

When my flight from Salt Lake City to LAX landed (around 10:00 pm), I had no idea who, or if, anybody would be there to pick me up. As i walked off the plane and followed everyone towards the gate, I could see my father standing at the door. When I walked up to him there was no hug, no pat on the back, no arm around my shoulder. Instead I received an angry look of disgust and his extended hand to shake mine. “You look good…I can’t say I am glad to see you” was all he said. As we walked through the airport to pick up my luggage he mumbled, “You can live in the house for now but don’t expect much of anything else. If your mother cooks a meal you are welcome to eat. Don’t even think about asking to use a car, the phone, or help with your education.” Once inside the car, he screamed at the top of his lungs at me for the solid 30-minute drive home. “How could you do that to a daughter of our Heavenly Father??!!” was an oft repeated line. I so wanted to respond but I had to sit there and take it. I had little money and nowhere else to go. I was dependent on my “loving” family who would have preferred that I came home early in a box than to come home dishonorably. When we reached home, the house was dark and quiet. I hustled up the stairs to my room, closed the door, stripped off my suit, climbed into my bed, covered myself up…and shook uncontrollably until I fell asleep.

The next day I woke up early while it was still dark outside. I dressed and jogged to the beach in an effort to clear my head. I returned home before anyone was up and moving around. I hid in my room. There was a knock at my door. When I answered my older sister was standing there with tears in her eyes. “How could you do this to our family?”, was all she said before I slowly closed the door on her. My room became my refuge and my prison. For the first few days I only ventured out early in the morning or late at night as to avoid contact with anyone. My mother couldn’t face me for three days. Can you imagine that? Being the mother of a child in such emotional pain, under the same roof, and having nothing to do with him for three days?

Word got out that I was home. My best friend (who I had baptized a year or two before) heard and tried calling my house. Whoever answered the phone shut him down saying I couldn’t come to the phone. So he drove to my house, pulled into the driveway, and screamed my name until I heard him and appeared at my window. He opened the door to his car and motioned me to come. I dashed down the stairs, bolted out of the door, and dove into his car as he sped off. He immediately asked if I was O.K., and then he pulled over a few blocks away and told me to get out. He got out as well, came around the car to me, hugged me, and told me everything would be O.K. He didn’t let go, my legs turned to jello, and I collapsed in his arms. He took me out to a restaurant and fed me the first real meal I had eaten in 3-4 days. He saved me.

All of the money I had earned prior to my mission was spent in preparation for, and while on my mission. I returned home with around $600. $500 of that money was a gift from the ward that my Bishop told me should be used for a plane ticket to the MTC and other incidentals. When I went to church the next Sunday, the Bishop cornered me and asked for the $500 back. I told him I would get it to him when I had a chance. However, the next week I started looking for a job. The only mode of transportation I could use was a ten-speed bike. That wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t afford a car, so I looked into buying a used motorcycle. Sorry Bishop…that's where the $500 went. Fortunately, he never asked for the money from me again.

I got a full-time job at a grocery store at the top of Bel Air, CA. A cool little place where lots of movie stars stopped by. The work also got me away from the house, but didn’t pay enough to move out. I basically was only home to sleep, and I saved every penny I earned. I had a few run-ins with my father, mainly they were opportunities for him to “kick me while I was down” and tell me what a loser I was. After a while he could see that I wasn’t hurting as much and was prospering. That bothered him, so one night about six months after I had been home, he approached me and said, “I think it would be best for the family if you were to leave.” I asked him to give me two weeks and he agreed. He must have told my mother what he had done while she was vacationing in Utah. She cut things short and returned home the next night. She grabbed me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I think she sensed that if I were to leave she/they would never hear from me again (she was right). She told my father that I wasn’t going anywhere. This caused a rift between them for months.

I saved, slept, and stayed in the house under tense conditions for about another year. By then I had saved enough to buy a car, get married, and pay for my own schooling at BYU.

Whenever I hear of prospective missionaries questioning whether to go on a mission or not, I always counsel them that it is way easier not to go than to go and come home early. I have known many who STAYED on their missions BECAUSE of the fear of what they would face from family, friends, and church members upon their early return. I can vouch that those fears are valid. Anyone advising a doubting missionary that they are an adult and should just quit and walk off the mission…well…that is a LOT easier said than done. Particularly if there is no supportive family to come home to.

It has been a little over 40 years since I walked out of the MTC. I remember it like it was yesterday. One final note…my buddy who came to my house and screamed my name in the driveway until I came running out, who I had baptized earlier…well, years ago he saved me again by helping lead me out of the cult. Today we catch up with each other once a week over dinner.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:53 am 
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I have a question wrote:
Jonah wrote:
A week later I met with him again after a G.A. (Carlos Asay) fireside at the MTC. Asay was sitting there with him in the office and my Stake Prez was on the phone. My Stake Prez told me he loved me, all was forgiven, and to have a great mission. Pinnegar said that my Bishop was in agreement with me staying. Then Asay said, “And we told your father…he too agrees with you staying.”

Pinegar and Asay sat back in their chairs and looked like they were expecting me to thank them enthusiastically for allowing me to stay. Instead, in a state of shock, I heard myself say, “You sons of bitches…I told you my father was not to be told.” They made some sort of comment about how supportive my father was. I said “perhaps morally supportive, but he hasn’t spent one dime on my mission to this point.” There was a pause, and then I said, “I’m outta here. Do you make arrangements for a plane ticket home or do I?” They did all they could to convince me to stay, but I was PISSED and DONE. Perhaps their tactics had worked on other missionaries, but they picked on the wrong missionary this time.


This cannot be true, because we know Carlos Asay doesn't meet with missionaries...


LOL!! I feel so special :redface:

I'm just lucky that Pinegar didn't drag me down to some sex room in the MTC basement. :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:24 am 
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Jonah wrote:
When my flight from Salt Lake City to LAX landed (around 10:00 pm), I had no idea who, or if, anybody would be there to pick me up. As i walked off the plane and followed everyone towards the gate, I could see my father standing at the door. When I walked up to him there was no hug, no pat on the back, no arm around my shoulder. Instead I received an angry look of disgust and his extended hand to shake mine. “You look good…I can’t say I am glad to see you” was all he said. As we walked through the airport to pick up my luggage he mumbled, “You can live in the house for now but don’t expect much of anything else. If your mother cooks a meal you are welcome to eat. Don’t even think about asking to use a car, the phone, or help with your education.” Once inside the car, he screamed at the top of his lungs at me for the solid 30-minute drive home. “How could you do that to a daughter of our Heavenly Father??!!” was an oft repeated line. I so wanted to respond but I had to sit there and take it. I had little money and nowhere else to go. I was dependent on my “loving” family who would have preferred that I came home early in a box than to come home dishonorably. When we reached home, the house was dark and quiet. I hustled up the stairs to my room, closed the door, stripped off my suit, climbed into my bed, covered myself up…and shook uncontrollably until I fell asleep.

The next day I woke up early while it was still dark outside. I dressed and jogged to the beach in an effort to clear my head. I returned home before anyone was up and moving around. I hid in my room. There was a knock at my door. When I answered my older sister was standing there with tears in her eyes. “How could you do this to our family?”, was all she said before I slowly closed the door on her. My room became my refuge and my prison. For the first few days I only ventured out early in the morning or late at night as to avoid contact with anyone. My mother couldn’t face me for three days. Can you imagine that? Being the mother of a child in such emotional pain, under the same roof, and having nothing to do with him for three days?

Word got out that I was home. My best friend (who I had baptized a year or two before) heard and tried calling my house. Whoever answered the phone shut him down saying I couldn’t come to the phone. So he drove to my house, pulled into the driveway, and screamed my name until I heard him and appeared at my window. He opened the door to his car and motioned me to come. I dashed down the stairs, bolted out of the door, and dove into his car as he sped off. He immediately asked if I was O.K., and then he pulled over a few blocks away and told me to get out. He got out as well, came around the car to me, hugged me, and told me everything would be O.K. He didn’t let go, my legs turned to jello, and I collapsed in his arms. He took me out to a restaurant and fed me the first real meal I had eaten in 3-4 days. He saved me.

All of the money I had earned prior to my mission was spent in preparation for, and while on my mission. I returned home with around $600. $500 of that money was a gift from the ward that my Bishop told me should be used for a plane ticket to the MTC and other incidentals. When I went to church the next Sunday, the Bishop cornered me and asked for the $500 back. I told him I would get it to him when I had a chance. However, the next week I started looking for a job. The only mode of transportation I could use was a ten-speed bike. That wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t afford a car, so I looked into buying a used motorcycle. Sorry Bishop…that's where the $500 went. Fortunately, he never asked for the money from me again.

I got a full-time job at a grocery store at the top of Bel Air, CA. A cool little place where lots of movie stars stopped by. The work also got me away from the house, but didn’t pay enough to move out. I basically was only home to sleep, and I saved every penny I earned. I had a few run-ins with my father, mainly they were opportunities for him to “kick me while I was down” and tell me what a loser I was. After a while he could see that I wasn’t hurting as much and was prospering. That bothered him, so one night about six months after I had been home, he approached me and said, “I think it would be best for the family if you were to leave.” I asked him to give me two weeks and he agreed. He must have told my mother what he had done while she was vacationing in Utah. She cut things short and returned home the next night. She grabbed me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I think she sensed that if I were to leave she/they would never hear from me again (she was right). She told my father that I wasn’t going anywhere. This caused a rift between them for months.

I saved, slept, and stayed in the house under tense conditions for about another year. By then I had saved enough to buy a car, get married, and pay for my own schooling at BYU.

Whenever I hear of prospective missionaries questioning whether to go on a mission or not, I always counsel them that it is way easier not to go than to go and come home early. I have known many who STAYED on their missions BECAUSE of the fear of what they would face from family, friends, and church members upon their early return. I can vouch that those fears are valid. Anyone advising a doubting missionary that they are an adult and should just quit and walk off the mission…well…that is a LOT easier said than done. Particularly if there is no supportive family to come home to.

It has been a little over 40 years since I walked out of the MTC. I remember it like it was yesterday. One final note…my buddy who came to my house and screamed my name in the driveway until I came running out, who I had baptized earlier…well, years ago he saved me again by helping lead me out of the cult. Today we catch up with each other once a week over dinner.


Thank you for telling more of the story. I could read a book about this, hint hint.

Also, I am glad you could at least benefit from the reduced BYU tuition.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:31 am 
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Runtu wrote:


I still need to get this one!


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:13 am 
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Jonah wrote:
When my flight from Salt Lake City to LAX landed (around 10:00 pm), I had no idea who, or if, anybody would be there to pick me up. As i walked off the plane and followed everyone towards the gate, I could see my father standing at the door. When I walked up to him there was no hug, no pat on the back, no arm around my shoulder. Instead I received an angry look of disgust and his extended hand to shake mine. “You look good…I can’t say I am glad to see you” was all he said. As we walked through the airport to pick up my luggage he mumbled, “You can live in the house for now but don’t expect much of anything else. If your mother cooks a meal you are welcome to eat. Don’t even think about asking to use a car, the phone, or help with your education.” Once inside the car, he screamed at the top of his lungs at me for the solid 30-minute drive home. “How could you do that to a daughter of our Heavenly Father??!!” was an oft repeated line. I so wanted to respond but I had to sit there and take it. I had little money and nowhere else to go. I was dependent on my “loving” family who would have preferred that I came home early in a box than to come home dishonorably. When we reached home, the house was dark and quiet. I hustled up the stairs to my room, closed the door, stripped off my suit, climbed into my bed, covered myself up…and shook uncontrollably until I fell asleep.

The next day I woke up early while it was still dark outside. I dressed and jogged to the beach in an effort to clear my head. I returned home before anyone was up and moving around. I hid in my room. There was a knock at my door. When I answered my older sister was standing there with tears in her eyes. “How could you do this to our family?”, was all she said before I slowly closed the door on her. My room became my refuge and my prison. For the first few days I only ventured out early in the morning or late at night as to avoid contact with anyone. My mother couldn’t face me for three days. Can you imagine that? Being the mother of a child in such emotional pain, under the same roof, and having nothing to do with him for three days?

Word got out that I was home. My best friend (who I had baptized a year or two before) heard and tried calling my house. Whoever answered the phone shut him down saying I couldn’t come to the phone. So he drove to my house, pulled into the driveway, and screamed my name until I heard him and appeared at my window. He opened the door to his car and motioned me to come. I dashed down the stairs, bolted out of the door, and dove into his car as he sped off. He immediately asked if I was O.K., and then he pulled over a few blocks away and told me to get out. He got out as well, came around the car to me, hugged me, and told me everything would be O.K. He didn’t let go, my legs turned to jello, and I collapsed in his arms. He took me out to a restaurant and fed me the first real meal I had eaten in 3-4 days. He saved me.

All of the money I had earned prior to my mission was spent in preparation for, and while on my mission. I returned home with around $600. $500 of that money was a gift from the ward that my Bishop told me should be used for a plane ticket to the MTC and other incidentals. When I went to church the next Sunday, the Bishop cornered me and asked for the $500 back. I told him I would get it to him when I had a chance. However, the next week I started looking for a job. The only mode of transportation I could use was a ten-speed bike. That wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t afford a car, so I looked into buying a used motorcycle. Sorry Bishop…that's where the $500 went. Fortunately, he never asked for the money from me again.

I got a full-time job at a grocery store at the top of Bel Air, CA. A cool little place where lots of movie stars stopped by. The work also got me away from the house, but didn’t pay enough to move out. I basically was only home to sleep, and I saved every penny I earned. I had a few run-ins with my father, mainly they were opportunities for him to “kick me while I was down” and tell me what a loser I was. After a while he could see that I wasn’t hurting as much and was prospering. That bothered him, so one night about six months after I had been home, he approached me and said, “I think it would be best for the family if you were to leave.” I asked him to give me two weeks and he agreed. He must have told my mother what he had done while she was vacationing in Utah. She cut things short and returned home the next night. She grabbed me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I think she sensed that if I were to leave she/they would never hear from me again (she was right). She told my father that I wasn’t going anywhere. This caused a rift between them for months.

I saved, slept, and stayed in the house under tense conditions for about another year. By then I had saved enough to buy a car, get married, and pay for my own schooling at BYU.

Whenever I hear of prospective missionaries questioning whether to go on a mission or not, I always counsel them that it is way easier not to go than to go and come home early. I have known many who STAYED on their missions BECAUSE of the fear of what they would face from family, friends, and church members upon their early return. I can vouch that those fears are valid. Anyone advising a doubting missionary that they are an adult and should just quit and walk off the mission…well…that is a LOT easier said than done. Particularly if there is no supportive family to come home to.

It has been a little over 40 years since I walked out of the MTC. I remember it like it was yesterday. One final note…my buddy who came to my house and screamed my name in the driveway until I came running out, who I had baptized earlier…well, years ago he saved me again by helping lead me out of the cult. Today we catch up with each other once a week over dinner.


Thanks for that. Like Meadowchik says, your story would make a wonderful book. BYU must have been tough too. Any discrimination or shunning like behavior directed toward you at BYU because you came home early?

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"Religion is about providing human community in the guise of solving problems that don’t exist or failing to solve problems that do and seeking to reconcile these contradictions and conceal the failures in bogus explanations otherwise known as theology." - Kishkumen 


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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:21 am 
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Jonah wrote:
Whenever I hear of prospective missionaries questioning whether to go on a mission or not, I always counsel them that it is way easier not to go than to go and come home early.

I think 'easier' might be too soft a word. It's way more beneficial to your own personal mental health and self esteem, as well as your familial relationships not to go, than to go and come home early. And that speaks volumes about the culture in the Church and in Mormon families than it does about those young men and women who make the effort to try a mission but for various reasons it would damage them more to stick it out. It is much safer to your eternal relationships to not try, than to try and be labelled by those around you, a failure. That's Mormons and Mormonism, for you...

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:02 am 
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Meadowchik wrote:
Thank you for telling more of the story. I could read a book about this, hint hint.

For some time now, I have been kicking around the idea of making a documentary about early returned missionaries. I know there are others who faced tougher times than I did...perhaps even committing suicide. I would like to tell my story and theirs. We'll see.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:40 am 
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Exiled wrote:
Thanks for that. Like Meadowchik says, your story would make a wonderful book. BYU must have been tough too. Any discrimination or shunning like behavior directed toward you at BYU because you came home early?

No, not really any discrimination or shunning. However there were plenty of uncomfortable times. The ward I was in was full of young, married, poor, student couples who were all in the same boat. Of course we all gravitated together which led to the inevitable "Where are you from? What are you studying? How long have you been married? Where did you go on your mission?" questions. When it came to me, if I couldn't change the subject or avoid the question, it was definitely a conversation stopper. Nothing lethal (like discrimination or shunning), but awkward. Still, we had a good circle of couple friends in our ward that we hung out with. One of those couples turned out to be current BYU Prez Kevin Worthen and his wife.

It took more of a toll on my bride when her and the other wives would get together and chatter (usually about their husbands). One night (eight months into our marriage) after being out with her friends (perhaps at Relief Society) she came home and there was something strange about her. She proceeded to tell me that she had made a mistake getting married (we were married in the temple), she had married too young, she should have gotten her degree before getting married, I had robbed her of her "college experience", she should have married someone more spiritual, AND...she should have married a RETURNED MISSIONARY!! All that from the gal who asked ME to marry HER.

I was devastated. We spoke with our Bishop who told us, "All young married couples go through difficult times." Things were never the same between us as from that point on we grew in different directions in a miserably resentful marriage. I should have left her then but I was young, dumb, and scared. Nineteen years and four kids later I was a bitter shell of myself and could take no more. I left her and dumped the church at the same time. Life soon got a whole lot better and I returned to the fun, loving, caring, compassionate human being that I once was so many years before.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission Stories
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:18 pm 
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I have a question wrote:
Jonah wrote:
Whenever I hear of prospective missionaries questioning whether to go on a mission or not, I always counsel them that it is way easier not to go than to go and come home early.

I think 'easier' might be too soft a word. It's way more beneficial to your own personal mental health and self esteem, as well as your familial relationships not to go, than to go and come home early. And that speaks volumes about the culture in the Church and in Mormon families than it does about those young men and women who make the effort to try a mission but for various reasons it would damage them more to stick it out. It is much safer to your eternal relationships to not try, than to try and be labelled by those around you, a failure. That's Mormons and Mormonism, for you...

So true. Fortunately it appears that it is now somewhat "culturally acceptable" in the church to come home early from a mission due to "depression", "anxiety", or whatever other mental disorder one can come up with. This seems to give the missionary (and parents) an "out" when it comes to saving face (for appearance sakes) with other family, church members, and peers.

I have read articles and seen other websites that have discussed how to handle and treat ERM's. They seem to focus on building the ERM's esteem, worth, and spirituality while at the same time walking on eggshells. The goal seems more like "How do we keep him/her as a positive productive member of the church?" as opposed to "How do we keep him/her from jumping off the roof?" What a load of B.S.!!

The only thing...THE ONLY THING...an ERM needs is the UNCONDITIONAL love, help, and support of his family. Nothing else matters. I longed for a scenario where my father would sit down with me and say something like, "O.K. Jonah, the mission is out...I get that. So let's sit down and kind of map out a plan for you to successfully move on with your life. Let's get you some transportation and from there we can get you a part-time job and back into school. As long as you are working and going to school you can live here room/board free. Let's set up a savings account and figure out what percentage of your paycheck to deposit, how much you will need to budget to pay us back for a car, and how much you'll need for yourself each month..." That never happened. Instead I was made to pay for the shame and embarrassment I had brought to my family. Whenever I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, my family tried to make sure that light was a freight train headed my way. They tried. Sometimes they were successful...other times not. That was a lot for a 19-year old kid to handle. Their examples taught me an awful lot of what NOT to do in how I treated people and when facing certain situations in life. For that, I am grateful.

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