Missionary

Missionary work, common ground, ethics, and deception

March 17, 2010 | 29 comments
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A fascinating New York Times article and follow up blog post discuss negative reactions to a build-on-common-ground Christian missionary initiative among Muslims. The blog post details: An outreach technique that some Baptist missionaries use with Muslims. It involves stressing commonalities between the Koran and the Bible and affirming that the Allah of the Koran and the God of the Bible are one and the same. . . . The “overture” — the missionary’s initial bonding with Muslims via discussion of the Koran — is precision-engineered to undermine their allegiance to Islam. This approach is quite similar to what I... Read more »

Feeding the Missionaries—in the Internet age

February 3, 2010 | 60 comments
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As life-long LDS Church members, my wife and I know the drill—how to feed the missionaries. Then, with our son serving an LDS mission, we got an email that changed everything. Read more »

When Should We Fear Discourse?

September 8, 2009 | 55 comments
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In Nephi Anderson’s short story, “On the Border-land of Light,” his protagonist meets a woman who knows little of Mormons: “Have you never been down in the lower valley?” he asked. “No, never. You see we were afraid of the Mormons at first,… Read more »

Sister Missionaries and Opposite-Gender Attraction

September 5, 2009 | 56 comments
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A wonderful woman who served as my Education Counselor a number of years ago served a mission for the church around the time she was 19. She fell in the fabulous loophole. Her father was a mission president, so she was allowed to serve while he served, even though she was “underage.” But George Durrant was not just any mission president. Read more »

Remembering 18 Months

September 4, 2009 | 39 comments
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Saturday, my son passes the 18 month mark of his mission–and he will then also pass me, having served longer on his mission than I did on mine. I confess, I’m a little jealous. Read more »

Does the BYU Football Program Have a Spiritual Mission?

September 2, 2009 | 86 comments
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With the dawn of another much-anticipated season of college football nearly upon us, I’ve been thinking about a series of conversations I had this past year with a friend regarding the allocation of resources at BYU. This friend was bothered by the fact that the BYU football program has received such a tremendous amount attention and financial support from the alumni and administration while what he saw as more deserving schools and programs within the university went underfunded. The standard answer to such concerns seems to be that the football program is shown preference because it serves as an... Read more »

Mission Websites — Mission.net or what?

July 31, 2009 | 3 comments
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Its been 25 years since I returned from my mission, and this past week I got an email from a friend asking me to join a new website for my mission. The first thing I asked myself, before joining, is ‘why do we need another mission site? Read more »

Safety in Mozambique and Elsewhere

June 1, 2009 | 40 comments
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I was in Mozambique. I felt safe. Read more »

The Ninety-Nine and the One

April 17, 2009 | 41 comments
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It isn’t easy to be inconvenienced, especially when we are asked to tolerate the views or the actions of the other, and love them too! It would be easier to ignore them, cast them out, keep things easy and pure. But that isn't the plan. Read more »

Asking the Right Question

April 10, 2009 | 21 comments
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The news yesterday was that President Obama will hold a Passover Seder in the White House tonight, the first time a Seder has been held in the White House. So, who is going to ask him to hold Family Home Evening some Monday night? Read more »

One Last Book Before I Go

March 24, 2009 | 52 comments
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So your mission call finally arrived (see here, here, or here) and you suddenly realize that it starts in 44 days but you don’t know that much about Mormonism or what it is you are supposed to teach for two long years. You are suddenly serious about “missionary prep.” What book should you read? Read more »

Collateral Damage: Missionaries and Prop 8

November 3, 2008 | 77 comments
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An anti-Prop 8 organization has released a new commercial drawing Mormon missionaries into the fight over Proposition 8. To say the ad is inflammatory is putting it lightly. Read more »

Missions and the Art of Togetherness

September 12, 2008 | 10 comments
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One unique aspect of the missionary experience is the opportunity to focus everything you do, day and night, directly on the goal of serving God. It can be kind of scary to set that as your project, because it is a tall order. Serving God for one day is hard enough; you run out of ideas. Serving God for two years takes a lot of creativity and thought. Read more »

Missions, art, and surveillance

September 11, 2008 | 23 comments
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One unique aspect of the missionary experience, quite distinct from life before and after, is the feeling that someone is always watching you. It’s probably the one aspect of my mission that I could have done without, although I wouldn’t say that it was entirely unproductive. Read more »

iTunes Gospel

July 29, 2008 | 26 comments
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So my colleagues have caught on to my secret plan to convert them all. Read more »

Church halts sending North American missionaries to Russia

July 14, 2008 | 43 comments
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Last week BYU Newsnet posted and then pulled offline an article announcing that North American missionaries were no longer being called to serve in Russia. The move left many wondering about the state of the missionary program in Russia with some tempered hope that perhaps the Newsnet article had jumped the gun on a situation that was being resolved. Unfortunately, however, the news now official. The Deseret News has confirmed that the Church is no longer sending North American missionaries to Russia “due to new, tougher visa laws.” North American missionaries currently in-country will stay, but those newly called... Read more »

Called to leave

May 31, 2008 | 39 comments
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My grandmother, mother, and I all served missions, so I was delighted when my firstborn announced her intention to serve, submitted her papers, received her call. Little did I know. Read more »

Joseph Smith, Again for the First Time

January 12, 2008 | 29 comments
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Sometimes I have suffered from convert envy. Read more »

Watching conference

November 28, 2007 | 34 comments
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Stake conference in the mission field. Still the mission field, for although we are a stake, there is no stake center, only a chapel in some of the main cities, and rented rowhouses elsewhere. The stake covers some 10,000 square miles. Therefore we gather in this huge, sparsely lit movie theatre—theatre number 14 in a massive cinema complex close to the highway. Read more »

Race, class, and retention

June 19, 2006 | 99 comments
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As a missionary, I was constantly admonished to ensure that our potential converts were spiritually, and not just socially converted. Read more »

My Conversion Story

October 29, 2005 | 61 comments
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The reason that I don’t like to tell my conversion story is that it is boring. If I were to appropriate the famous Joseph Smith line, I would have to modify it thusly: “No man knows my history. . . . I don’t blame any one for not staying awake through my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have stayed awake through it myself.” So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Read more »

David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism

August 16, 2005 | 78 comments
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David O. McKay presented a dramatic contrast to his predecessors: an athletic, movie-star-handsome, clean-shaven figure who often wore a white double-breasted suit; contrasted to the dark-suited, bearded polygamists (or, in the case of George Albert Smith, son of a polygamist) who preceded him as Church President ever since Joseph Smith. In an age prior to professional image-makers, he instinctively grasped the importance of appearance, and coupled it to the substance of a professional educator to become an icon of Mormonism whose persona did much to change the negative image of the Church in much of the world. Read more »

Converting the Missionaries?

April 26, 2005 | 7 comments
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There has been a very interesting and vigorous discussion on Blake’s thread on “raising the bar” for missionary service. I’d like to pick up a theme from early in that thread that I think needs more attention: what sort of spiritual development should we be hoping missionary service will provoke in the missionary? Read more »

Statistics on Missionaries and Baptisms

April 25, 2005 | no comments
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Statistics on Missionaries and Baptisms

Blake’s post prompts me to share some information I culled while listening to conference last month. First up are the raw numbers of missionaries and converts. Read more »