"A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Lori C Dec. 2014

I am very happy to report due to this just being brought to my attention that my post about "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries" (attached below) was given or rather read to two serving Sisters and one had now come home early.

I feel so validated that my experience along with so many others has helped open the sorrowful eyes of another suffering human being and helped her make the choice to come home. I'm proud of her courage and her strength and her self esteem. She came home officially due to "depression". I think that' wonderful because to be that miserable and to have the guts to save yourself from that misery is like moving a mountain. Also, this same contact told me that the bishop's daughter also just came home early. Kudos to self respecting women!

So, to everyone...all your hard work is paying off. All of it. Well done.

A word of advice to all new female missionaries...

...preparing to enter the MTC.

As you are just heading out on your mission, I entered the MTC almost the same day back in 1990. I'm now about to turn 44.

I don't think it is possible to understand how Patriarchy hurts women until you actually enter the mission field and you see how the church is run and you see just how little power you really have. You work and work and then have to turn your investigators over to a boy 3 years younger than you to baptize and your investigator is looking at you like you are a weak, weak woman who can't literally work for god on her own. Wait, you'll see.

Then, you'll go to numerous zone meetings where the boys will get up and preside and lead and you will sit quietly with your companion and say nothing.

You will work at least 80 hours a week and still jump when the DL calls and wants you teach one of their female investigators even though you are exhausted, your laundry needs done, you've eaten nothing but pasta all week,...you'll go...because the boys come first and you have to be "selfless". And, when your companion or yourself becomes suicidal because of the lack of any control you have over your life out there...you'll be blamed, not the church, not the program, not the regime.

So, here's my advice and I hope you can here me. Remember this...you are doing all of this for FREE. Either you, or your friends and family are paying for you to be a saleswoman for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the next 18 months, you will attempt to convert people who will pay 10% to the church for a lifetime. You are literally filling the back accounts of the church, while yours is emptying. And when you come back, there is nothing for you. No tuition assistance, no lump sum payment...nothing. But the church could have already made thousands because of your work and hard hard labor.

So, I will tell you what I wish someone would have told me. When you are tired. Don't go out.

When you are sick, go to a doctor, listen to her/him and go back to your flat and don't go out.

If you are mentally exhausted. Stop working and go see the sights and forget the work for the day and just focus on you and re energizing your batteries.

If you are in a flat that is too cold or too hot, or that has mold, or rats, or any infestations...DEMAND to move, immediately. DO NOT JEOPARDIZE your health for this mission.

Remember, if you spent this time in the military, you'd be making serious money, and they would house and feed you well. A mission is opposite, you are being drained and you will feel that in just a few days when your parents drive away and are thinking all is well. It won't be and only you will know that as it's you out there,...not them. Also, if the moment comes where you don't want to be there anymore. If you have given all you can and your soul is on the verge of breaking...don't worry about family, friends or expectations...get home, save yourself and do what you want where you want and pursue your dreams.

Remember, this is voluntary and you are losing money.

I'll tell you the truth, when I got out there...after 2 months I was done. That is a LONG time to give your days and nights for free to any organization. 18 months is extortion...but you'll find that out yourself. Most people stay out because they are afraid of their parents. I was.

Also, when you come home. Move away from your family. Spend time with YOU. Get your own routine back. Do what you love. If you want to be a plumber, go learn to be a plumber. You want to be a cowboy, an electrician...go do that.

If you want to be a parent, don't even think about it until your late 20's. Get your education, get your career stable, get your own place and get some money in the bank and you guard that with your life.

A mission is hard, but coming home with nothing and starting a marriage with nothing and having babies with nothing is harder. Your mother made her choices and you have yours to make. Don't confuse the two.

I mean no disrespect to your mother, but I've been out there pounding the pavement in a foreign country. I know darn good and well what you are up against and no mother who has never experienced that has a right to expect her daughter not to be completely changed by that experience.

Use your instincts. Put yourself first, put your companion second and don't shun her if she just can't go out that day. Help her, comfort her and talk to her and don't guilt her. She's human like you and doing the best she can.

I won't say "good luck" as I know it takes a heck of a lot more than that to survive this.

If you get sick, get checked for worms and parasites. If someplace doesn't feel right...stay away. If you get a companion that you cannot get a long with no matter how hard you try, refuse to work until you get reassigned. Do not suffer out there any more than you need to. Remember, at the end of this 18 months, your bank account is zero, but the bank account of the church could very well be in the thousands that you'll never see and never benefit from. Keep that in mind.

You are going to have to be strong. The MTC is not the real world. Be as ready as you can. And, if you get hurt and your parents don't want to hear it because of how it would "look", stop talking to them and find someone who will listen to you...it just might save your life.

On a personal note...I never married or had kids because I hated the gender roles in the church. When I came home from my mission after my full 18 months, my Bishop father forced me to go a singles ward to get married, he gave me no choice and that was it for me. I had just worked my butt of for nothing for the church and I was not going to come home as a 23 year old woman and be disrespected again. I left the church shortly after this. Why? How could a true believing Mormon woman leave the church after a lifetime of living it? Because as a woman I was no longer willing to be subject to a man when I had just worked as hard or harder than them for nothing...and they got the pleasure of baptizing the people I had worked so hard to convert. No, patriarchy and gender roles are not for me.

But...I would never have known that unless I had entered into the pressure cooker that is called a "mission".

Be smart, and save yourself.

Lori C

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Hope my niece reads this, she left for Canada couple months back...

Strength in the Loins
Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
Good letter.

I can recall frequent episodes of banter among my fellow Elders where patronizing and occasionally downright sexist remarks were made. I am ashamed to confess that I would laugh along with the group rather than calling someone out on it. But I deeply appreciated the sisters. They really were a joy to have around when everything else about the experience was just miserable.

I am curious about one thing. You mentioned you had a bishop father. How did he react to your leaving TSCC [this so called church] shortly after your mission? How is your relationship with him today?

I wish I'd had the courage to stand up to my parents, youth leaders, mission president, and fellow missionaries. If I had it to do all over again...well obviously I wouldn't have gone in the first place...but besides that, if I were on another mission, I wouldn't let people guilt me into believing that I was going to hell if I slept in 30 minutes late or came home at 7pm and watched some TV. Like you said, the missionary is the one volunteering the time and money, but they act like you are somehow indebted to them for the privilege of walking around all day doing the church's work.

I guess my advice to any prospective missionary would be 1.) don't go, and 2.) if you do go, don't take it that seriously.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
Solid advice.

Completing a mission for TSCC is my greatest regret in life. It's true I was misled, threatened, and exploited, but I am still ashamed of myself for serving a mission.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

I was lower on the ladder-day heirarchy ladder than you. I was not "missionary material." I had already graduated college, and had several marriage proposals by eligible returned missionaries. I thought something was wrong with ME, because I didn't want to marry any of them (yes, they were arrogant fanatics, who all became Stake Presidents or higher). Ugh. I was not good at taking orders, and I didn't "know my place."

The man I was TRULY in love with, for most of my life, who lived in my neighborhood and attended my ward, left the Mormon church. I was left high and dry, because I was expected to marry a returned missionary. My parents stopped loving him, and encouraged me to at least try being engaged for a while to a good Mormon RM. I dated like crazy, and finally narrowed the choice to two--and I could not choose between them.

I was also unsure about my education, and I was a fanatic TBM, willing to give my life (and give up my soul mate) for the cult. I had an interview with the bishop, to go on a mission. They bishop immediately asked me about my dating situation! The first question he asked me was, "Is there anyone you are dating seriously right now?" I said, "What do you mean?" I was thinking perhaps he was asking me about my morals. He said, "Do you have any marriage prospects? If you stay home, is there a chance you might get married? I told him that there were two RM's who wanted me to marry them, but I wasn't enough in love to decide. He said that The Lord wanted me to get married, instead of go on a mission, and that I should pray, and he would counsel me on my decision. Obediently, I stayed home, and married BOTH of the men. The first one beat me, and almost killed me, and I tried to work things out with him for 14 months of Hell, because it was a temple marriage. I almost killed myself, but got divorced instead, and faced the disgrace and shunning. Then, at the urging of my family and the cult, I married the other RM, and the marriage lasted through 15 years of his cheating, until he abandoned me and our children.

The RIGHT choice is to follow your heart! My Atheist soul-mate is happily married, and we are long-distance friends. His wife is living my dream life...and mine has been a struggle to raise and support my children alone, and to fight for what little self-confidence and self-love I could create, from within the dark walls of a sexist, prejudiced, judgmental, abusive cult. I'm happy to have survived. Sometimes, I wonder if a mission would have circumvented those bad marriage choices.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
joy Wrote: I'm happy to have survived.

I am glad too that you survived.
I hate what this cult does to good people.
It takes our finest human qualities and attributes, and exploits these to our own enslavement.

Lori C
Oh Joy, my heart breaks for you...

...I have heard of numerous women who were not in "love enough" get married and been horribly abused. The first guy I was engaged to was horribly physically abusive. I ended the engagement over it. The patriarchy gets solidly into the heads of some of these guys. It's no damn joke. I'm so glad you survived.

I wrote this song for people just like you..."Horror In Your Eyes"...


My father was furious that I left the church and still is. We have no relationship. He has firmly chosen the church over me...and I believe he always will.

Lori C
In fact I'll tell you about my father...

...when I broke off an engagement to an RM that was not right for me...( I was engaged twice to two different RM's, was absolutely not right, I broke them off, and then stopped dating. I was just no longer interested. Years later when I was able to undo some of the cult indoctrination I was able to see I was a lesbian anyway, so I saved myself a lot of heartache!)...my mother and father were evesdropping on the "breakup". When the guy left, my father physically grabbed my arm and forcefully, literally pulled me down the hallway violently and threw me into his room. My very verbally abusive mother followed. The next 10 minutes are a blurr as the words out of their mouths were so violent, so cruel, so blaming, so judging that I emotionally cut them off right then and there. All I remember was something about how I was not living my life the way I was told to and what was wrong with me and something really cruel and everything was said in screaming tones and I finally turned around went for the door and said my emotional "good by" and prepared to move out. I realized then my life in their home was never, ever about me and what I wanted for my authentic life...it was about them, appearances and making them look good and they didn't care if they killed me and broke my heart to get it.

There are days I'm really jealous of Chelsea Clinton. Regardless of the issues and political ambitions of her parents,...I really think they both actually give a damn about her and don't try to shoot her in the foot for making a decision for herself.

Re:Great story Lori C. Thanks for sharing 

Re: In fact I'll tell you about my father...
Lori C Wrote:
> ...I realized then my life in their home was never,
> ever about me and what I wanted for my authentic
> life...it was about them, appearances and making
> them look good and they didn't care if they killed
> me and broke my heart to get it.

Arrived at the same conclusion here precisely with my own parents. It was freeing to finally see it.

The phenomenon of the prideful parent who gladly sacrifice their own in self-promotion seems so prevalent wonder:
- Is it that people like this are drawn to the cult?
- Does the cult create clueless narcissists like this?
- Is it that there are more self-centered prideful people in general, -some of whom become parents?

Re: In fact I'll tell you about my father...
Real glad you got out of that Lori C.
Glad I did too.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Bravo. So critically important and so well written.

I saw it in my mission. The sisters were treated as second class. Period. You have spotlighted this beautifully Lori C, and also the fact that it is a life time sentence.

And you make beautiful music!

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

The sad thing is that the recent missionary surge is likely to backfire on many missionaries -- men and women alike. Sudden, organizational expansion always causes management, education and control problems.

And now they're working mostly with teenagers!

This could be especially difficult for young Mormon ladies who have been taught to be subordinate and to internalize the failures of their environment.

Lori, you are a hero with obvious talent! You are exactly the kind of person these young ladies (and the men) need to hear from. The world is changing quickly, many of them need someone to follow.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Thank you Lori-- Your letter could have described my mission. Turning over your converts to a 19 year old man to baptize and then add to his stats--

But, I wouldn't have had my eyes truly opened to the church and it's diseased outlook if I had not done it.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Good post, Lori. I went on a mission in March 1975 and flew into Shreveport Louisiana from SLC after a week in the Mission Home in SLC. My first interview upon arrival with my mission president was a red flag. He told me that if he had his way, he would send all the sister missionaries back to SLC for reassignment; that they did not belong on missions and many had mental and emotional issues. A great way to start a mission. No one wanted the sister missionaries in my mission--a reflection of the MP's attitude. Later, my mission president created a district of only sister missionaries and made me the district leader--which was one of the few times I was given a car to use. I had a firebird at home and knew how to do some light maintenance and one day the zone leaders stopped by on our P-day, and I was under the car changing the oil. They thought that was hilarious and told the mission president. After that, the MP made it mandatory for the elders to change their own oil. It was one of the few satisfactions I experienced.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Even the amount of time served as a woman is different. Why 18 months, not 2 years? Another unequal aspect of missions. A couple of classmates (male) in college said that their US state missions were a waste of time. Those who went on foreign missions at least learned a language and another culture. I was going to write about this in a new topic weeks ago, but I'll put it out here in this thread. Has anyone heard the reason for the time difference? Both elders and sisters should be out on their missions for either 18 months or 2 years.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Wonderful letter. Much of this also applies to the boys. We work our butts off, on our own dime, only to get reamed for not working hard enough, not having enough faith, etc.

Now, on the other hand, I served in a mission with a MP who loved the sisters and as a result, we also loved and honored the sisters. In fact, he created sister only districts with sister district leaders. Some missions are now doing that, 35 years later.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

We were all slaves male and female. The sister missionaries were spared many of the hardships dangerous areas etc. There was a set of sister missionaries that lent their car to a member who then wrapped around a telephone pole. Another set of sisters got their car stolen. Whatever the case cars were immediately taken from elders and given to the sisters in such cases. There were few cars. There were hardships for everybody I think if you look at the total situation the sisters had it better.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Thanks Lori. It's good advice even for us guys. I wish I would have had a friend, family or even urine-stained-homeless-man giving me sagely advice like that before my mission. Instead I like many others went out and really never came back. The real me was dead long ago and nobody cares.

Lori C
Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Oh Beeblequix and all, I hear you, I see you, and I care. I remember the mental agony of that mission...knowing something was terribly wrong, feelig like someone was trying to pry my identity and individuality away from me. It was horrible. There was one time I looked in the mirror and didn't even know who it was looking back at me. That was the first moment I became terrified. The lack of self, the lack of freedom, of personal expression, the forced sales duties and the constant personal blame was too much.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Amen and amen to every word of the original post. Beautifully put. How I wish I'd had something like this to read during my mission, or better yet, before I left.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Thank you Lori C. Wonderful post. If it's not too much of a give away, how did you get the message to the missionary? I understand it's near impossible to communicate with the censoring that takes place.

Lori C
Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
Hi Expanded,

The message went through a ex-TBM who reads these and the FB boards. She had printed it off and had asked the Sisters over. When they arrived she showed it to them. I thought it was brilliant. From her conversation...it feels like the girls now hungry for something real, something truthful. It sounds like the depression and anxiety are horrible as per usual out in the "field" and the conversation with this woman and the letter were honest and authentic and it spoke to that honest place in them.

Btw, thanks for the compliments about my music. It comes from a very real place in me.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Oh ladies, I have so much respect for all of you. Fist is raised.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
Excellent post -- spread it around.

Save the youth.


Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"
Bravo Lori C!!!

Elder OldDog
Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Jamie, it's all a matter of perspective. Based on your perspective, you are General Authority material.

Have you heard of the Peace Corps? That's a program that actually does useful service. The mormon missionary program is not about doing something for ghawd or the people you're out trying to beguile into the church. The primary purpose of a mormon mission is to ensnare the missionary into a life time of being a member, meaning paying money and putting in time for the church. Obviously ghawd doesn't need their help!!

The church has a paradigm: every faithful missionary who comes home and stays faithful means a really big number of tithe-paying members three generations down the road. That's what the missionary program is about.

The desire of a member with doubts to break free of the abuse is something I celebrate. And don't worry, there are plenty of sheep who will seek a calling, and put up with this unique rite of passage. After all, the more faithful you are in the mission field, the cuter the spouse will be that ghawd gives to you!

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

" Has anyone heard the reason for the time difference? Both elders and sisters should be out on their missions for either 18 months or 2 years."

I've puzzled this one out, I think. The Church likes to always always always make a point that men and women are different, and they will always differentiate in any way possible to make that point. Even if the differences are irrelevant. Look at their lesson plans for YM and YW---for the same topic, they will make small annoying changes, just to make the point that men and women are DIFFERENT. It's an obsession.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

Powerful stuff, Lori C. It's time for you to be heard.

Re: UPDATE: "A Word of Advice to All New Female Missionaries"

This rings so true with what I watched happen 30 plus years ago as a missionary. The most effective were the sisters, but they got no respect. They did the grunt work, found some great investigators, but were never able to baptize. I had so much respect for them putting up with such a patriarchal system and the crap they took from the elders. I wonder how many sisters from my mission have since left the church.

When Monson lowered the missionary age for sisters, my first thought was that they either need to change things dramatically, or this will be the beginning of the end for TSCC.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"