CommunitySolution Proposal for the LDS Missionaries
Community Solution Proposal for the LDS Missionaries
ThesisStatement: Problems that are encountered by LDS proselytizersespecially from the society when it comes to them leaving the missionat all or even not going for one and offer helpful solutions thatwill help counter these problems.
Problems that face LDS evangelists that go on the mission
Lack of proper medical care
Isolation from other people that they are familiar with
Long hours that involve a lot of tasks
Stress, fatigue and depression
Being treated as outcasts if they fail to complete the mission period
Problems faced by LDS members that cannot go on the mission
Stigmatization from the society and no one wants to be associated with them
Some risk being disowned by their families
Hard for them to find marriage partners
Recommendations for these issues
Medical services should be available for the proselytizers while on mission
The Mormon clergy should explain to the society that they should not judge those missionaries that fail to complete their missions due to reasons beyond their control
The mission selection committee should fully vet all applicants and discern those that are able to handle the undertaking
Oliverwas sent on a mission to Chile in 2002. His main task was toevangelize to the locals and also help in humanitarian activities.The nineteen-year-old had never been that far from home before, andit was a challenging experience. A few weeks into the undertaking, hebegan experiencing severe stomach cramps. Due to embarrassment, heneglected to mention this problem to anyone. After a month, he hadlost a significant amount of weight, and it was then that he decidedto approach the mission’s president’s wife and explained to herthe issue. Oliver was denied medical attention and was only givenfiber powder to apply on his food before eating. The problem was notresolved, and he lost even more weight. It was then the agitatedOliver demanded to see a doctor who gave him some deworming pills. Heexcreted a several inch long parasite that had permanently damagedhis intestines (Chou, 200).
Missionsfor the members of the Latter Day Saints church are an important riteof passage. Every youth has to undergo this part for them to progressfrom being considered as juvenile members to senior members. Becauseexaltation or salvation is a vital component for this denomination,members have to follow through all the church requirements for themto attain this exaltation. The situation makes the members go throughthe rigorous activities that involve mission work. The work doneduring a mission is usually physically and mentally draining. Itinvolves working long hours a day for seven days a week. The workthey do includes evangelizing, community work and other voluntaryservices that can help the society. The activities of a mission leadto a lot of stress on the youths conducting this mission work. Themissionaries receive no form of payment or support from the motherchurch and, therefore, all expenditure is on them. The mental impactsof this work have been attributed to some suicide cases. This isbecause a person that leaves a mission before completion of itsduration is subjected to a lot of social stigmas. Many youths mayface serious health issues while at the mission but they push on forthey might fear being shunned by the society (Mueller, 150). Othersmay have physical impairments that might make it hard for them tofulfill their mission duties and would rather opt out of it. However,for someone to fail from attending a mission outreach, it would meanthat they will never attain full salvation (Doty et al., 42). Theissues that arise when these LDS youths go on missions are many.Considering that they are not allowed to communicate with their lovedones and how they are denied medical care shows that this problem hasto be handled for these individuals to have peace of mind when theygo on their missions. The clergy should look into these problems andfind ways that they can make the situation easier for themissionaries so that they will continue to spread the gospel. Theadministration of the Mormon Church should also consider theindividuals that cannot withstand the physical requirements ofmissions and they have to enlighten the society on how to treat suchindividuals rather than just shunning them. This paper will fullydescribe all the issues that young Mormon proselytizers face and howthe problems should be tackled (Wolfinger et al., 2013).
Theaudience for this paper is the administration for the Mormon Churchthat includes the local clergy as well as priests. These people canlook into the underlying problems and also read the recommendationsthat have been offered. They have the authority to push for thesolutions suggested that can help deal with the challenges that facea lot of the missionaries.
Thisessay will look into all the problems that are encountered by LDSproselytizers especially from the society when it comes to themleaving the mission before its completion or even not going for amission and offer helpful solutions that will help counter theseproblems.
WhenMormons are sent into missions, they face a lot of challenges. Firstof all, these evangelists are usually young adults in their lateteens or early twenties. Added to this, most of them have never hadthe chance of going anywhere outside the United States. They are sentto developing countries in rural and isolated areas where they haveno contact with family or friends except for special days such asChristmas and Mothers’ Day. The duration of such missions is abouttwo years. A true member of the Latter Day Saints is expected tocomplete their full mission before being accepted in the Mormoncommunity. While on the mission, the missionaries find it hard toaccess medical attention if they ever come down with a seriousillness. The reason is that some fear being branded as complainers oreven they might be branded as lacking in faith. Most of these youth sbefore they embark on their missions, they are told to disregardsicknesses or injuries as they will be protected by the Holy Spirit.Another fear that these young evangelists have to make them avoidmedical care is that they fear to have their mission cut short andbeing sent home. Any proselytizer that fails to complete theirmission faces a lot of stigmatization back at home and many people donot want to be associated with them. There are some missionaries whofailed to complete their missions that have been disowned by theirparents (Mueller, 150). Thus, these problems will make most of themissionaries to continue with their work at the risk of losing theirlives.
Theother problem that arises with these Mormon missions involve thoseyouths that are impaired in one way or another from being able tohandle the rigorous trials and fatigue that happen. These youthscould have health conditions such as emotion instability or othermental issues, physical handicap and they could even be overweight orobese. Such youths that cannot complete their missions are frownedupon by other members of the society as being inadequate Mormons.They, therefore, find a hard time relating to other members of thesociety and rarely have friends. When they reach the age where thebegin looking for a marriage partner, they are unable to find one.This is because a young Mormon that has not gone on a mission islooked upon as a weak individual that does not have the mental andphysical strength to handle the trials that might come in life.Therefore, no person wants to be partnered with such people inmarriage. This problem, therefore, makes youths that lack the abilityto handle the stress of the mission to force themselves intoundertaking them where they might suffer irreparable injuries or evenlose their lives through suicide (Doty et al., 40).
Thecommittee of the Mormons that handles missions’ operations needs tocut down their expectations from the young evangelists. The rule onseeking medical attention should be more flexible and those thatsuffer any form of illness should be given a chance to receivetreatment without any judgment or loss of character. The medicalreports should also be kept confidential to protect the identity andreputation of those that receive treatment. Even though the Mormon’srely on their faith, faith without action is dead. Thus, they shouldallow their proselytizers to receive treatment while having faiththat the God will heal them through the treatment (Morris, 92).
Thechurch’s clergy should work on sensitizing the Mormon society andmake them have more empathy for the individuals that fail to completetheir missions due to situations far beyond their control. Suchsituations could be serious diagnoses such as cancer or other chronicillnesses and some severe injuries that render a person incapable offulfilling their mission tasks. These individuals should be shownkindness and love by the society, and they should not be judged aslesser beings as they did the mission to the extent of theirabilities (Hanciles, 54-57).
Theboard that assesses the applicants for the missions should conduct athorough examination of these young individuals. Persons with casesof mental and emotional breakdowns should be further studied todetermine whether they are under any medication and whether they canhandle the stress that comes from working on a mission. Applicantsthat are overweight and cannot handle the physical requirements ofbeing in the field should be disqualified and encouraged to undertakeother activities within their community or even advance theireducation and careers that will in one way or another help developthe church. The applicants that are handicapped should also be givenother church related activities that will give them a sense ofpurpose and fulfillment (Shields, 160). These persons should not besubjected to scorn or ridicule by other members of the community asthey were willing to serve on a mission but their minds bodies failedthem. They, however, are still useful individuals within the Mormonsociety.
TheLDS missions are a rite of passage where a young people show theircommitment and strength in their Mormon faith through sacrificingalmost all essentials. However, the trials and tribulations sufferedby such missions are usually too much for some to handle. Cases whereevangelists are denied medical access even with serious diseases andinjuries are common. Once a person fails to complete their two-yearmission duration they face a lot of stigmas back home. Those that arealso unable to go for these missions are shunned by other members oftheir society making their lives much harder. The solutions for theseproblems involving allowing the proselytizers to receive medicaltreatment whenever they have need of it, the society should besensitized on conditions that might make some of these young peoplefail to attend or finish their missions, and the vetting board shouldonly select fully qualified candidates for these missions. When allthese steps are followed, the young people in the LDS will feelprivileged to serve such a faith, and they will fully devote all oftheir focus and energy towards the development of the Mormon faith.
Chou,Hui-Tzu Grace. "Mormon Missionary Experiences and SubsequentReligiosity among Returned Missionaries in Utah." SocialSciences and Missions 26.2-3(2013): 199-225.
Doty,Kristine J., et al. "Return with Trauma: Understanding theExperiences of Early Returned Missionaries." Issuesin Religion and Psychotherapy(2016):33-46.
Hanciles,Jehu J. "“Would That All God`s People Were Prophets”:Mormonism and the New Shape of Global Christianity." Journalof Mormon History 41.2(2015): 35-68.
Morris,Paul. "Polynesians and Mormonism." NovaReligio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 18.4(2015): 83-101.
Mueller,Max Perry. "History Lessons: Race and the LDS Church."Journalof Mormon History41.1 (2015): 139-155.
Shields,Steven L. "Community of Christ`s Evolving Approach toMission."Journalof Mormon History 39.2(2013): 139-164.
Wolfinger,Henry, and Matthew Bowman. "The Mormon People: The Making of anAmerican Faith." (2013): 251-256.