Subject: Returned Missionaries from Europe
Date: Dec 19 18:18
Author: propigandhi

(Further in this document, a still believing Mormon responds).

Anyone read that guy's proposal ( about RM's from Europe eventually morphing into apostacy? His situation with his brother very much mirrors my own. I was a missionary in Czech Republic, and my brother in Boliva. Needless to say, two very different experiences. Of course, I had my doubts and bouts with agnosticism et cetera before the mish, but decided to take a leap of faith anyway. while there, i rationalized that for the prophet to send me to "teach" such atheistic/agnostic people, he must know how much i identified with them, and that my experinces with doubt could help them. haha..

Subject: Yup, I buy it, to a point.
Date: Dec 19 18:49
Author: Dude

As a European mission alumnus, I would say there's something to the "European malaise" theory, but I wouldn't overstate it. The simple argument that oppostion leads to apostacy is too simple--opposition generally strengthens commitment.

First, I think the converse "bronze god from the North" theory is what really has the effect: a missionary from the States goes to any country south of the border and baptizes thirty or fifty or a hundred people through their preaching. For them to leave the Church is tantamount to admitting they did something terribly wrong to all those people they converted. Alternately, some feel so empowered by their success they can simply never enter into a dialogue of self-doubt that can lead to enlightenment (sometimes referred to as apostacy).

Second, it's not like they throw darts at a dart board when assigning missionaries. If those who have had a year of two of college, for example, are more likely to be called to Europe, then the "European" variable is simply picking up the effect of a different but highly correlated attribute. Everyone takes a language test, you know (do they still do that?). It's not necessarily Europe that's the cause.

Causation is always tricky. I have no doubt the Church has done studies about people who leave. They probably think people who stop paying tithing lose their testimony (it's always about money with them) when, obviously, the causation runs in the other direction.

Finally, it's interesting to compare the rather cynical view of the mission experience of most RMs with the rather idealistic vision of a mission that many have, especially mothers of young missionaries-to-be.

Subject: My experience in France (word)
Date: Dec 19 19:07
Author: Kim

I was in the France Toulouse Mission from 1979 to 1981. I think that my mission had to be one of the lowest baptizing missions in the world. I know during the calendar year 1980, there were more excommunications of former members in the mission than there were baptisms of new members.

We even were pressured to read that Book "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" (referred to in that link.) I think that book and the general attitude that was shoved constantly down our throats that we must be unworthy or deficient in some way to explain why we never had baptisms were largely my reasons initially for letting go of Mormonism.

Hard-working missionaries who fasted, prayed, believed with all their might, tracting their guts out, still never had any success. There is only so much of the negative reactionary blaming that one can take when he or she knows they ARE doing all they can do. Eventually, you just figure out the simple truth that the Mormon Church and mormon missionaries are a fucking joke to the French.

It's as simple as that.

Subject: Missionaries from Europe know the church is a scam
Date: Dec 19 19:42
Author: deadseer

Missionaries who served in Europe know the "The Gospel," as taught by mormons, doesn't deliver on its promises: It doesn't bring happiness and peace, nor does God hear, guide, and direct their lives through his spirit ---praying, fasting, reading the BoM, and living the mormon religion does not result in special blessings, success, or direction from God --- those who disagree haven't actually tried it with full purpose of heart.

If the mormons would actually LIVE the religion they're preaching then they would prove the scam to themselves.

Subject: Kim - have you read this story?
Date: Dec 20 01:19
Author: Dude

I was in Switzerland Geneva, 79 to 81. I read this story with more than normal interest.

Subject: As a missionary in Germany....
Date: Dec 19 19:13
Author: Bob

from 58-61 (in those days it was for two and one half years) I remember knocking on 220 doors one day in Hamburg and not getting in once. People simply were not interested, perhaps since Hamburg had been severely bombed less than 15 years before.

We were also continually browbeaten by Alvin R. Dyer (the Euopean Mission President) who had made some pretty ridiculous prophecies that folks in Europe would begin joining the church by the thousands. It all came down, of course, to the missionaries having the faith to pull it off. When it didn't happen (and hasn't) happened in the past 42 years I guess its just that those damn missionaries just don't have the faith it takes.

I remember one month, with only a few days left in the month, we had not reached the goal for Europe, so "Bro" Dyer sent telegrams to all INDIVIDUAL missionaries (not pairs of missionaries) throughout Europe trying to whip us into a baptismal frenzy in order to reach the goal he had set. Another time, again with just a few days left in the month, the church paid for all supervising elders in Europe to come to Frankfurt by plane, train, car, etc., to get a short pep talk by Dyer, to be fed some "Spagetti O's", to have the sacrament administered to us (on a week day) by all the mission presidents and to watch Dyer browbeat the presidents into setting even more unrealistic goals with all of the supervising elders watching the show. After the show, we all got back on the train, plane or car and traveled back to the field to "inspire" the missionaries we were supervising to try harder to reach Dyer's goal. As I sat on the train with elders from around Europe I wondered just how much this was all costing the church. I played that against the fact that I knew of many poor widows in the church who were literally giving their last "Groshen" to the church in tithing...and the church was spending it like this!!! It was things like this that started me on my way out.

I would absolutely agree that the typical European is not nearly as open and receptive to listening to and agreeing with the missionaries as folks in poorer and less educated countries. I think baptismal statistics bear that least the statistics before people fall away in droves.

Best Wishes. Sorry about the rant...but I could to on and on about a mission in Germany.

Subject: Ditto the Germany experience.......
Date: Dec 19 21:00
Author: lm

Also in Hamburg: 62-65. I came in on the tail end of the "Dyer Dynasty." Shortly after I arrived the odious "Baseball Program" was imported from England.

This, our zone leaders assured us, was an inspired program from God. So the mishies dutifully started stalking schoolchildren right outside the school grounds conning them into coming to a baseball or basketball camp. First, of course, they had to take a swimming lesson (aka baptism).

This was supposed to open doors to the whole family coming in, which of course never happened. There was limited success, but the program soon collapsed of its own miserable weight.

I suppose it was in Germany that I experienced my first cracks in the testimony jar. It was a wonderful culture, a wonderful people, I'm glad now that our success was so limited.

Subject: Re: Ditto the Germany experience.......
Date: Dec 20 00:52
Author: Tower of Cosmic Reflections

I was in Germany from 81-83. That was the heyday of "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven." When I look back, I see that book and all of the hype behind it as the first crack in my belief.

I simply saw that it didn't work in Germany. I also noted that Grant von Harrison served a mission in Mexico--enough said.

We got browbeaten like other European missionaries.

But on the whole, I enjoyed my mission mostly for the culture, and the experience of being overseas. I tried to discount the stuff I had to do for the church; met a lot of interesting people, and explored as much of the country as I could get away with.

Subject: An Italian Experience
Date: Dec 19 19:46
Author: Shiz

This point about the near brutal de-moralizing reality of European mission is very true. I tracted so much in the first several months that as soon as I became a senior comp, I stopped and began using other, less-stressful, more effective means in communicating. I (we) rode buses and struck up conversations, I started a radio broadcast, used the street sign boards extensively, and did a lot of 'park tracting'. Yet, in spite of near endless work, my MP never, never told his missionaries they were doing a good enough job. Later, I was told by an office missionary, that he did not ever want to give us such a compliment as he feared it would signal a leveling off of effort. As if 14 hour days were not enough for 19 and 20-year-olds.

I remember returning home in 1984 from my mission in Rome Italy and realizing that all those guys that went to Third World mission, particularly those in Spanish-speaking countries, could count 10, 20 and 30 TIMES the baptisms that I saw. Such success was lauded over. How could I ever meet up with that. (Although, the uniqueness of serving my mission in the supposed heart of the "Great and Abominable" did draw some attention)

It is a funny thing for me to notice that the vast majority of the exmos that I know (I live in Canada) served either European or English-speaking North American missions. There is an unspoken attitude that we (North) Americans have it all figured out and that these poor Europeans just don't know enough. So, maybe there is found the seed of discontent to the whole mission marketing strategy.

I did not convert Italy, but I am sure now that it started its conversion of me 20 years ago.

Subject: Re: An Italian Experience
Date: Dec 19 21:18
Author: deadseer

Our experiences sound EXACTLY the same ---- I worked extremely hard with extensive billboarding, newspaper interviews, and widely advertised town meetings. I also view my mission as a key contributing factor in my EXIT from the church. I was in Southern France from 1996-1998.

Subject: Re: A French Experience
Date: Dec 19 23:39
Author: Brian R

I was in the Paris mission from 83-85. This was just after the Toulouse mission was closed, so the Paris mission inherited a big chuck of the old Toulouse territory. I spent three months in Bergerac in the south, and the rest of the time up north. At the time we were basically told to knock on doors ALL THE TIME. There were no other organized programs of street presentations, etc. You could do them if you wanted, but it was not pushed in zone conferences. We spent plenty of time in buildings where we really weren't allowed and had to trick someone into letting us in. I think I taught less than 30 discussions in 18 months, and I only attended one convert baptism the whole time. The contrast with all the U.S. and Latin America stories I had heard all my life was staggering. Actually, during my first year at BYU before my mission I heard plenty of stories about missionaries in the U.S. goofing off, secretely dating high school girls, entering local drag races, etc., and still baptizing like crazy. Obviously it had nothing to do with obedience to the rules. And the REALLY devoted missionaries in France didn't do much better than anyone else at baptizing. Still, it took me 13 years after my mission to finally leave, and that had more to do with my wife's testimony finally crumbling than deciding on my own it was all a scam. But my mission experiences certainly helped grease the skids once we began discussing our doubts.

Subject: Re: A Spanish (as in Spain) Experience
Date: Dec 20 00:31
Author: Suzanne

I had to read the heading two or three times to realize that it referred to me. I haven't thought of myself as an RM for more than 10 years. Feels weird. Or maybe that's the wine.

I was in Barcelona 1979-81. Ditto to everything everyone has said about tracting until my feet bled, literally, praying and fasting and pushing members to give names, handing out pamphlets on street corners, annoying people on buses and trains, etc. Being overeducated, I recognized when we were being given hard sell techniques to use, and refused to employ them. I honestly believed that if people were searching for what we had to offer, they would recognize it without being manipulated and coerced.

One of the best days was when a new companion insisted that she had a "never fail" technique. When the man answered the door, she held her discussion binder up, and said, "If you can answer these three questions (Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?), you can close the door and we'll leave you alone. If not . . ." she got to that point when he grunted and slammed the door. I did not laugh -- not out loud, anyway. Spaniards know their rights, they know the boundaries, and they are not afraid to enforce them.

People were extremely polite, however, when we were not obnoxious. Spaniards have a long tradition of religious service, so most of them just thought of us as Mormon nuns. They would tell us how wonderful it was that young people would give up time to serve God. They had absolutely no interest in knowing anything more. I wouldn't say that they were skeptical so much as committed to their own religion and history.

That was the decisive factor for me, the complete lack of respect -- for in fact, the complete denegration of -- Spanish culture by the church. Not only were the people I met honest, faithful, ethical, committed, happily married, excellent parents, and every other thing that we were told only Mormons were, but they lived among history and culture as part of their normal lives. I knew people who were living in buildings that were 600 years old; I stood at the Roman Wall built in Julius Caesar's day; I walked down streets that followed pre-historic paths. And that's just the physical history! I realized that I simply could not be party to the destruction of so much of human history and culture to replace it with some cheap, shoddy imitation that had neither the depth nor the beauty nor the tradition. And this was before they built Disneyland in France.

That wasn't the last straw, or even the primary one, but it was something that wore away at my mind. How could we dismiss all of the human lives, human creativity, human inspiration, art, music, dance, culture as worthless simply because of the way they worshipped God?

I also realized how integral religion is to culture. Spaniards were constantly telling us, "I am Spanish and I am Catholic." The two were synonymous. Spanish Catholicism was the Spanish response to God (whatever that may be), just as Buddhism is the Indian response, CofE is the British Response, Islam is the Arab response, etc. I realized that it was morally wrong to try to destroy that genuine cultural response.

Subject: I've shared my experience in the Rome Mission here before...
Date: Dec 20 00:53
Author: TLC I won't go into detail again. It's enough to say that it was an agonizing two years for me, serving in the country where I'd grown up and being instructed to disrespect virtually every aspect of the Italian culture.

Mormons lie when they say that "our missionaries don't do that." Their missionaries do all that and worse. But as with all things mormon, truth is highly subjective and they could be standing there in Rome in front of a cathedral handing out mormon flyers and still say, "I don't know that we do that."

The shoe never gets put on the other foot with mormons. Their arrogance is in thinking that they have some special entitlement to do whatever they wish, wherever they wish to do it and everybody else just needs to deal with it.

Well ye faithful mormons - the times are changing and the chickens are coming home to roost.

Deal with it.

Subject: My brother was in Montreal/Quebec, I was in So. America
Date: Dec 20 01:01
Author: happyindividual

He wasn't in Europe but he might as well have been. No one there was interested in the church. But he had the funniest stories hands down about the weirdos that they visited and people that called them all the time. He even had a sister missionary in his mission who had been a Catholic nun befor converting to mormonism. She used to call him and say, "Elder Smith, the people who live upstairs are having sex and I can hear them. What should I do?" They had some missionaries who spatter painted their suits and played punk music in the subway for money. He had a crappy mission but came home with enough material for a whole commedy routine.

Subject: Hey--has anyone's Mission President ever APOLOGIZED for being a jerk?
Date: Dec 20 01:12
Author: Dude

So all the talk about "be obedient, keep the rules, work hard, and you'll be blessed with baptisms" talk was just a guilt manipulation tactic to extract more work from impressionable (and obedient) young missionaries. Boy, weren't we a bunch of suckers.

But in South America, a duplicitous missionary could screw the landlord's daughter, still baptize three families a month, and think God has winked at his conduct because he baptized three families!!!! It's like we were all part of some global Skinner box experiment--and we got the shitty European test group. Hey--I was happy to get called to Europe, and I don't regret having gone there as opposed to somewhere else. I'm just upset looking back about the game that was being played, at my expense.

So tell me--has any European Mission President ever apologized for manipulating any of us? Has any European MP ever come clean about doing a two-year mind-fuck on us? (pardon my french, chere frere et soeurs). I've never really looked at it this way before, but now that I do I am kind of upset.
Subject: I hope this isn't a duplicate post. I sent it once, but it was not posted, so here goes again...
Date: Dec 20 00:22
Author: Bob

I was a missionary in Germany (58-61) when a baseball baptism program under MP Woodbury was started in England. It had the blessing of Alvin R. Dyer, the then European Mission Pres. I think it was started to increase baptisms since Dyer had made the "prediction" (inspired of course) that people in Europe would begin joining the church by the thousands in preparation for the second coming.

Missionaries would form baseball teams of young kids and try to get to their families through this process. If they couldn't (which I think was usually the case) they baptised the kids.

In Germany, where we were grinding out few baptisms, all Dyer could rave about was how successful the missionaries were in England and how the spirit of the Lord was moving upon the people there. In those days, missionaries were allowed to travel after their mission, and missionaries from England would occasionally come through Germany and stay with us for a night or so. When we told them of the awe-inspiring stories we were hearing about their success in England and they told us how they were getting the kids into the font...we could not believe it.

Later, when I was a Sophomore at BYU, Time magazine published a very sarcastic article about the Baseball Baptism Program and about Pres. Woodbury and his wife "Bubbles."

Later, the bishop of the ward we were in at BYU along with his wife were called to England on a mission, the purpose of which was to seek out those who, purportedly had been baptised through the baseball program. When they were able to locate such individuals, in most cases those people could not remember even having been baptized.

The program brought a lot of "numbers" into the Morg but was shameful and deceitful in its design and operation. I think most of those baptized never became active since they didn't even know what the baptism signified other than it was required to play baseball with the Americans. As far as I'm concerned, the entire program was a stupid mistake authorized by church leaders at the very top who, of course, will never lead us astray.

Best Wishes!!
Subject: FAIR is lying: missionaries in France have been breaking the law for decades
Date: Dec 19 22:14
Author: deadseer ----- I served a mission in France. 75% of its population lives in apartment buildings. Door-to-Door is FORBIDDEN in apartment buildings, however, that doesn't stop the missionaries. Every building has a list of ringers and names of the people who live there. The missionaries ring several doorbells at once in order to confuse people into opening the lock on the apartment building door --- I personally did this every single day for the first four months of my mission --- then they enter the building and knock on every single door to find people to teach. Going door-to-door in these buildings is ILLEGAL, yet the church strongly encourages it --- it is a fact of everday life for missionaries over there and they never think twice about it. If the french police wanted to, they could single-handedly stop the missionary work in france and throw all the missionaries in jail. Some missionaries spent every single day of their missions illegally proselyting in these apartment buildings.

In response to FARM's assertion that Mormon missionaries respect other people's religions: In my mission, the missionaries were directed by the mission president himself to NOT remove their name tags in cathedrals DESPITE the Catholic Church's insistence that it was a form of proselytization.

Also, we would frequently set-up our book stands directly in front of people's businesses (picture in your mind New York City --- all the stores are side by side except the sidewalks are a whole lot smaller in France) --- we would draw our sidewalk drawings in front of people's stores --- we would proselyte on buses and trains (yes, we would get out of our seats and sit next to people on the trains and talk to them about the church) --- we would attend other people's church's meetings in an attempt to make friends and convert them later --- we would try and convert people in stores --- we had ZERO respect for other people's property.

Subject: Ditto, Frere Deadseer
Date: Dec 19 23:08
Author: Dude

Yeah, that's about right, although I never did the streetboard thing.

Look, missionaries are just glorified teenagers--and teenagers have no real sense of respecting anything. Missionary training tries to inculcate a certain degree of cultural sensitivity, but the whole Mormon mindset of devaluing every other religion or cultural belief scuttles that effort entirely. OF COURSE missionaries show no respect for other religions--they are TAUGHT by Mormon scriptures and examples to have no respect for other religions.

Subject: Moi aussi.
Date: Dec 20 01:14
Author: FellowTraveller

There were usually signs posted on the locked doors to the apartment buildings warning against solicitation. We just figured we were spreading the gospel and not really soliciting. We did our best to avoid the concierge at all cost. We knew it was wrong and our visit unwanted, but we did it anyway.

Being dumb kids, I didn't know that it was illegal. Just unwanted. Hmmm. I learn something knew every day.

Subject: Re: FAIR is lying: missionaries in France have been breaking the law for decades
Date: Dec 19 23:18
Author: I love France

The French love their wine. How did you convince them that they could not longer drink it?

Subject: That was my letter to the Trib that he was referring to.
Date: Dec 20 00:35
Author: TLC

I'm the Tom Clark who wrote the letter, for those of you who weren't around when it was being discussed here on the boards.

It's very tempting to want to get into it with Cooper Johnson but I decided right from the start that I wouldn't get into a battle of words with mormons after the publication of my letter in the Tribune. And I'm going to stick to that.

I will share this with those of you here who are wondering: Every word of my letter to the Trib. is true. Johnson would love to be able to refute my words but he can't. He wasn't there and he doesn't know what went on in Rome during the time I served my mission.

That the directives to proselytize as we did didn't come directly from the mission president is inconsequential. APs, zone leaders and district leaders were the ones calling the shots most of the time. As missionaries we didn't have the option of discounting what they told us and waiting for the mission president to speak before we went out and worked.

In almost every way imaginable, we were disrespectful to the Italians and their culture - regardless of who told us what to do.

Johnson has attempted to discredit my letter by providing a statement from Pres. Larcher saying that no such directives were given. Big deal. We did what we did and every single missionary who served at the time I did, knows it. And missionaries who served in countries all over Europe know it as well.

Mormons love to rewrite history and have become quite adept at it. But one thing they cannot rewrite is my history. It's mine. I lived it and it's not theirs to rewrite, no matter how desperately they may wish to.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tom Clark (TLC)

P.S. If you'd like to read the full version of the letter, I think that Eric has archived it somewhere here on this site. I'll see if I can figure out where he's stashed it. If not, it might be possible to repost it here. [It is here: the Plaza letter]

Subject: Re: FAIR is lying: missionaries in France have been breaking the law for decades
Date: Dec 20 01:07
Author: digrafid (Mormon Response)

I also served in France many years back, and door-to-door was not forbidden in every apartment building. If a missionary so desired, he could do what you described to enter a building, however, it was always better to try to respect the wishes of the inhabitants of the building. There are always two ways to go about preaching the gospel, the in-your-face approach and the more respectful approach. From your post, it sounds like you adopted the former approach and never developed any respect for the French people and their culture. As for the letter to the trib, having read the FAIR response, I would tend to believe what they say since in today's world of terrorism, an attack against the Vatican would be a major coup for any terrorist organization. Also having lived in Italy and been to the Vatican, I have seen the security, so two missionaries contacting passer-bys would be very hard to go unnoticed. They may have gotten away with it for a few minutes, but not for much longer. I am equally sure that if the mission president found out about this, those two missionaries would be getting a good lecture about respect for different cultures, etc.

Subject: Yo digrafid.
Date: Dec 20 01:28
Author: TLC

Even standing on the Via Della Conciliazione, though it's not directly within the Vatican Walls, is the same as standing outside the temple in Salt Lake. It doesn't take rocket science to know that proselytizing anywhere even remotely near the Vatican would be considered in poor taste and an affront to cultural etiquette.

The article in FAIR would like to make liars out of those of us who know what we know and saw what we saw and did what we did. And your support of their contention doesn't change what we know to be true.

Missionaries for the mormon church are doing every day of the year, what mormons don't want non-mormons doing in front of their temple. It's that simple.

I have lived in Italy off and on for over forty years now - most of that time in and around Rome. I know what mormon missionaries do there. I know what I did there. And nothing any mormon can say will ever change that.

In any event, being called a liar by a mormon is pretty funny when you think about it.

Subject: Re: Yo digrafid.
Date: Dec 20 04:04
Author: digrafid (Mormon Response)

Then if you have lived in Rome off and on for forty years, you will know that what I said about the added security, etc. is true. If you don't like what I'm saying, so be it. Don't call me a liar because you overlooked the obvious. If you so desire to exercise you right to free speech in front of the temple, please do so. That is what America is founded on, free speech. But, please don't whine and moan when the church decides that since they own the property, they should control what goes on there.

Subject: digrafid
Date: Dec 20 04:18
Author: deadseer (Mormon Response)

Did it ever occur to you that those Apartment Owners in France (75% of the country) have put up notice that the missionaries are NOT allowed in their buildings, and yet the missionaries go in anyhow? The church wants to arrest people for doing the exact same thing its missionaries are doing in France.

And what about the business owners in France? Do you think they want you proselyting in their stores, in their trains, in their buses etc? Do you think they appreciate it when 12 missionaries build a book-tower right in front of their restaurant and accost people with BoM's even though it's legal? Do you think that's good for business for these people?

Subject: Excuse me, but, you did NOT serve a mission in France
Date: Dec 20 01:30
Author: deadseer

You gave yourself away when you said:

"There are always two ways to go about preaching the gospel, the in-your-face approach and the more respectful approach. From your post, it sounds like you adopted the former approach and never developed any respect for the French people and their culture."

The only respectful way to preach mormonism in France is to never leave your apartment. Whether or not you were able to translate the French on those apartment building doors or not, you ILLEGALLY entered those apartment buildings (that little plaque next to the sonnette on the door reads: NO AGENTS, NO SOLICITORS, NO PEDDLERS --- The French Police can and have arrested missionaries for this because it's against the law)

The church is arresting people on their plaza for doing less than what their own missionaries are doing in France.

Subject: Re: Excuse me, but, you did NOT serve a mission in France
Date: Dec 20 03:54
Author: digrafid (Mormon Response)

Actually, before you start spouting about how I never served a mission in France, you had better get your facts straight. I proudly served in France and know what little plaques you are talking about since I wore out two pairs of shoes and two suits tracting day in and day out in rows and rows of 4-story walk-ups. As I said before, not all apartment buildings (or as we called them, "bats") had those cute little plaques on them. If you happened to be in the middle of a bunch of HLMs (habitation local de missionaire?), I doubt you saw them. Unless the apartment buildiung said "residence", you could come and go as you pleased. To say that it was illegal is kind of stretching the truth to make a point. I'm sure if it had been illegal as you suggest, the local police would have had no problem arresting us throwing us out of the country since we had to register with them everytime we transfered to another town, or did you maybe forget that little part.

Subject: Three things in response
Date: Dec 20 04:13
Author: deadseer

1) If there is a sign posted on the door or in the lobby of the building and it indicates you are not allowed to solicit, then it is ILLEGAL to tract that building --- if someone threatened to call the police we RAN out of the building --- this was standard missionary behavior.

2) Almost every apartment building that housed FRENCH people had that sign at the front door --- how long has it been since you came home? I was there from 1996-1998. The buildings you are referring to are government housing and don't even have doors much less signs saying 'go away!' They are 90% occupied by Arabs --- missionaries are not allowed to baptise Arabs in France --- so I can count the HLMs I tracted on one-hand.

3)You're assuming that just because you were never arrested for proselyting in a private building that it wasn't illegal. Wrong again. I personally knew four missionaries who were taken to the local police station for questioning after illegally entering a batiment (building) to go door-to-door. That's how I came to know that it was more than just impolite, it was illegal.

4) We were encouraged to PUT OFF getting our 'Carte De Sejour' renewed because the travel costs were enormous. This was a direct order from our mission president. The majority of missionaries I knew were in the country ILLEGALLY after their initial Visa ran out.

Subject: Re: Three things in response, no four
Date: Dec 20 05:32
Author: digrafid (Mormon Response)

1) If there is no sign on the building, then you can and exit as you will. If there is a sign, then obviously it is illegal. If you were doing things illegal, then why? Because our mission president said so is not a good reason. And by-the-way, who was your mission president?

2) Not all HLMs are inhabitated by Arabs. In one of the branches most of the members, who were french, also lived in the HLMs. Not all low-income people in france are arabs. There are many french also who would be considered low-income so where do you think they would be able to live???

3) First of all, if the police took them to the police station, they must have been bored or the missionaries must have mouthed off. The police know who we were and what we were doing, so it is easier for them to just make the missionaries leave then drag them to the police station. Or maybe they were without any type of ID. That's a sure fire way to get a trip to the station and probably the reason why.

4) I would like to know who your President was or what hoops you supposably had to jump thru in order to renew your Carte de Sejour. Knowing how big the missions were in 1996-1998 (five missions right, Paris, Geneva, Marseille, Bordeaux and Bruxelles) and the distances involved I cannot see how it would be too expensive to have you travel somewhere to renew your carte since you could do it in the city you happened to be living in. I cannot believe that your President told you to break the law in order to preach the gospel since the 12th article of faith, I think says that we believe in being subject to rulers, etc. and obeying the laws of the land. I would like to know what mission you belonged to and the name of the mission president to see if this actually happened.

Subject: Are you insane or just totally brainwashed?
Date: Dec 20 06:40
Author: deadseer

It's fun how you so easily discard reality and mold the facts to fit your beliefs.

1) Missionaries in France ILLEGALLY enter buildings because they believe that God wants them to, afterall, "His will is higher than any law." All the mission presidents since the world began have known about this --- and it isn't a big deal to ANYONE in the church --- they don't even think about it anymore --- ALL OF THE MISSIONARIES in all of the French missions are doing the same thing --- Take away tracting and missionaries in France have nothing to do. Street contact? Sure, that works in Paris, in Toulouse, in Marseille etc, but it doesn't work in small towns.

2) I'm glad you were able to make up a totally false version of what happened to the four missionaries who were taken 'downtown' by the police for trespassing. I told you exactly what happened and you changed all the facts so they would fit into your little mind.

3) For decades missionaries had to annually RETURN to the town where they first arrived to stay legally in the country. Inotherwords, no matter where you were in your mission, you had to travel to your first ville and renew your carte. This meant train tickets for two people and at least two days flushed down the drain. I know for fact that President Thatcher and President Wooley both told their missionaries to put-off these trips until they were in more convenient locations because the expense was enormous. Inotherwords, if you lived close to where your mission had begun, fine, but if you lived no where near there, you did not have permission to travel (you had to wait until you lived closer). When President Dansie came into town, he changed that policy and began a strict enforcement on carte renewal.

4) Why don't you speak to the fact that missionaries contact people on trains, in buses, and at stores --- they don't care WHERE they are, they contact people and proselyte. Many of these places are private property and the owners risk losing business because of the missionaries offensive and agressive tactics.

5) We haven't even began discussing the whole issue of tracting houses in France --- Let's talk about that --- 8 out of 10 people who open their doors are completely outraged and offended that you've stepped onto their property. Is it illegal? No. Is it offensive, rude, and disrespectful? Yes. Ask the French how they feel about it. They DESPISE the missionaries for it. You're pretending that missionaries are respectful and polite. If you served a mission in France, it wasn't the France the rest of us went to!

6) Why don't you tell everyone here more about yourself, who you are, and what your goal is here?

Subject: Re: digrafid
Date: Dec 20 06:49
Author: deadseer

Do you think it is respectful and polite when 12 missionaries build a book-tower right in front of a restaurant and accost people with BoM's even though it's legal? Do you think that's good for business for these people?

Do you think a flock of missionaries descending on the same people in centreville from 9:30am to 9:30pm, day after day after day is polite, respectful, and well-mannered?

Please, stop for a second and ask yourself one thing: What would the French people say if they heard the church is arresting people for doing the same thing missionaries do in their country? The mormon missionaries in France proselyte on PRIVATE PROPERTY. It is an irrefutable fact.

Subject: Re: Are you insane or just totally brainwashed?
Date: Dec 20 08:54
Author: digrafid (Mormon Response)

1) First of all, generalizations don't work. Not all missionaries enter buildings illegally. Maybe only the ones you were associated with or maybe it was something you heard. Either way, that kind of attitude does nothing to further the work of God.

2) unless you were one of the four, you only told me what either they told you or what you heard. I gave a very plausible explanation for what happened, an explanation that any missionary in France would be very well acquained with.

3. For decades????? How many??? I wonder who has been filling you full of this??? When I was there, and it wasn't decades ago, we did the Carte de Sejour renewal in the town that we happened to be living in when it expired. So, I don't know where you got your info but it is blatantly wrong since once I left my first city, I never saw it again during my whole mission.

4. What is wrong with missionaires talking to people in public places? If a missionary feels compelled to speak to someone, then he sould do it, not wait because, oops, I can't talk to anyone here in the train station, bus station or on the street. You are making a big deal out of nothing. If it is rude, then maybe it is rude to you. If you want to see what offensive and agressive is, go to Temple Square and get a good lesson and then think back on what you did during your mission. A big difference, right?

5. Now knocking on a house door is considered bad. I'm sorry, but unless you want the missionaires contacting in the street, something you have already said is wrong, then this is what you get.

6. Actually, I am asking myself what my goal here is since everyone here is anti-Mormon everything. As I have often said, if the church was giving away $10 bills to anyone who happened to walk thru Temple Square, you would all complain that it wasn't $20! Grow up, get a life and if you don't believe in what the church says and don't want to be apart od the church, fine. Go your way and live your life. BUT, don't blame the church for your problems. That only goes so far in explaning why you are bitter.

7. Actually, I'm neither insane or brainwashed. I believe that my problems are my own making and I don't need to blame somebody else to justify my actions. I would ask you who brainwashed you into leaving the church, and don't tell me after long nights of thinking and reflection, I came to the realization, yada, yada, yada. More justification from another anti.

Subject: Trying to remember..Portugal.
Date: Dec 20 07:29
Author: ExMoron

how it was in Lisbon, Portugal, back in the mid-'70s. We mostly did the aggressive style of tracting there. I went in plenty of apartment buildings, though I honestly don't remember if they were posted for no soliciting. I would bet muito (a lot of) money, some, or most of them, were. We hit people up in buses, and trains. We scoured the city parks looking for targets of opportunity, and conducted street meetings outside of businesses (a few times, at least.) But we aggressively confronted people whenever we could. If it was in front of a Catholic cathedral--so be it. I didn't consider cathedrals to be of any particular import. They represented the whore of Babylon, after all. I was preaching the true, restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt it would have been criminal for me not to disregard local conventions, if it meant I wouldn't give the Portuguese a chance to learn the truth.

And, oh yes, I WAS just a glorified teenager that didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground.

Subject: missionaries in a small suburb of hamburg, germany
Date: Dec 20 07:44
Author: J.

sometimes come over here to the town centre.
they hold the doors to the main department store open so it's difficult to avoid them. they talk with people going in and out. pushy. no boundaries.
most people they speak to totally ignore them.
until they get someone like me who says, i've heard it all before and you can't fool me as i'm an escapee of utah county.
ponderous expressions cross their faces as i fleetingly glance and head off.

a bit of a shame as the gentleman who sells the magazine for the homeless usually does this task (door holding). and most polite he is too. merely saying, Gutten Tag and gently nodding.
a bigger shame as those who sell the magazines are homeless themselves and they earn a little something every time they have a customer . . .

Subject: In defense of Deadseer and his missionary observations
Date: Dec 20 09:54
Author: sonoflds

The post is now closed, however, I read with interest not only Deadseer's report on what went on in his mission in France, but also enjoyed the TBM rebuttle. Did the TBM or Deadseer serve a mission in France? Dunno. I've never been, joined the Church after mission age, but they both sound plausible to me as far as being there.

What I find typical is how the TBM, just like his beloved FARMS, tries to find anything about which to attack the "anti" so that people will focus on that and ignore the facts. My only advice to Deadseer is to ignore the buffoon. No one listens and they typically get deleted though I do appreciate admin leaving up some so that the world can see the TBM idiocy.

That being said, as Bishop and SP I saw the EXACT same behavior in the US of which Deadseer says occurred in France.

Missionaries would go to other Churches to make friends so as to try and convert them. They would go to other religious events to hand out pamphlets or "mingle" to troll (their word) for converts. They would steal books from the library they considered "anti". They broke into one investigator's home to wake him up for Church.

My dear misguided TBM dork out there, the list goes on. I was rebuffed on more than one occassion by higher-ups when I complained of some of these practices. The attitude was, and the statements made indicated, that the Lord's Church can do what it wants. These other Churches aren't real Churches because they aren't true. They don't have the priesthood. What they do is eternally meaningless.

So hang in there Deadseer. While it sure appears you served a mission in France, I do know that what you say about missionary activities is rampant and true.

Subject: Re: In defense of Deadseer and his missionary observations
Date: Dec 20 10:12
Author: deadseer

I welcome your support....I totally understand your experiences and appreciate your taking the time to post them...I was begining to feel like I was out in left-field :) .....and I can assure everyone here that between my brother, sister, and myself, we spent a combined 6 years serving missions in France. Sure, I have my opinions about it and they're different then a lot of people, but the facts remain: Missionaries in France are JUST as offensive as missionaries on main street. If you told the French people that the mormon church had banned missionary work from a public plaza in the middle of town they would choke on their baguette and cheese in disbelief. Being accosted by two missionaries at home, on the street, in the subway, on trains, and at stores is a way-of-life for them.

Subject: I read it all. I'm choking on my Starbucks over it.
Date: Dec 20 10:30
Author: Cheryl

Mormon trolls intrude here and expect us to somehow defend our real life experiences. They talk about plausibility and waffle all over the place as if we are the ones lying or mistaken.

The fact is you are right. They shouldn't intrude here just to make trouble. We don't act that way toward them. How dare that idiot complain about Temple square harassment when he is here exprssly to harass.

Then once you proved your points as well as you could in this two dimentional print world, he goes on the attack. "You should get a life? You are bitter? You should take responsibility?" All TBM troll clap-trap! He's just spewing insults because he's feeling cornered. Poor baby.

The fact is every peson's experience is valid to that person. We can't, and shouldn't have to prove it to anyone. TBMs are desperate to find fault because they live on a house of cards and know we have been there, done that and know where their structure can collapse and topple them.

Take care.

Subject: A close TBM friend of mine serverd a mission in France in the early 70s
Date: Dec 20 10:31
Author: sonoflds
Mail Address:

He told me stories just like yours about the missionary approach there. And it rings with the same facts as your story.

Subject: digrafid mentioned something....
Date: Dec 20 10:18
Author: Miranda

First, deadseer is my husband and I can verify that he went to France on his mission as did two of his siblings. They all have similar stories.

Second, digrafid rudely suggested deadseer take a trip to temple square and see how people show no respect for other's cultures...well, digrafid, we did live in Utah for many years and took weekly walks around temple square. As a totally believing mormon I NEVER liked being approached by the missionaries. To me they were pushy. I wouldn't say harrassing, but pushy. On the other hand, I was NEVER approached by an "anti". They were there and they would hold out their pamphlets for people to take, but they never approached me.

If I, as a TBM at the time, was tired and offended by the missionaries, how did innocent tourists feel who just wanted to learn a little "history" and/or enjoy the beautiful sights?

I feel anger and sorrow for digrafid and others like him who are still living in a dream world. Their reality is skewed by the brainwashing leaders they follow. Boy they make me mad.....

Subject: Former French missionary and daily trespasser ...
Date: Dec 20 11:39
Author: Soho Preacher

Virtually every day of my mission, I tracted out "buzzer bats" (buildings with intercom systems). Most of these buildings had signs indicating that solicitors weren't welcome. We had a mindset that weren't selling anything, and therefore weren't excluded. We would get in by waiting for someone to open the door OR by buzzing someone and pretending (in our very best French accent) to be someone else in the building who had misplaced his key. The fact is that this was a near universal practice - only one mishie I knew ever refused and, in a threesome that day with a ZL, the ZL and I bullied him into going in to one. If we didn't tract those buildings, we would have done a lot less "work".

I also attended Catholic, EV and JW meetings and wasn't shy about telling attendees there that they were misguided and we had the truth.

Oh the shame!

Subject: I was in France from 1979-1981, and can tell you...
Date: Dec 20 11:42
Author: danboyle

we ALWAYS found a way to get into "buzzer bats" (bats was slang for the french word for buildings). My FAVORITE experience was when I encountered a policeman with a gun pointed in my face, he hauled us off in a paddy wagon, and held us for an hour or so. Turns out someone was ringing door bells, busting in on people and robbing them just one week before we tracted out the building. I always wanted to ride in a european paddy wagon with that goofy least I got my wish
Subject: Paris - I just saw missionaries and felt SO sorry for them...
Date: Dec 21 12:56 2002
Author: Expatriate in Paris

As I was walking in central Paris a couple of hours ago, in the busy area of Chatelet/Beaubourg, I saw two missionaries in the crowd trying to stop passers-by and talk to them... I felt SO sorry for them. Nobody cared, and those two "gringos" looked so pathetic holding their Books of Mormon and trying to sell a product that does not appeal to ANYBODY here...

I almost stopped to talk to them. I am sure that they would be thrilled to have someone acknowledge their existence, but I kept walking.

I really felt sorry for them. It is really cold, windy and rainy here these days, and there they were standing in the cold, in a public plaza, doing something that, deep inside, I am sure they would rather not be doing. 19-year-olds certainly know better ways to spend their time than standing in the cold trying to convince hard-hearted French people to listen to their weird, unbelievable message...

And I thought of my own mission years ago. I did not serve here, but it was hard, too. I certainly know the feeling of being rejected, and the pain of trying to sell a crappy product...

The Church is so cruel to impose this kind of thing on teenagers. So freaking cruel.

Subject: I know. That's what I was thinking about last night
Date: Dec 21 13:10
Author: sg

I posted yesterday about 2 coming to my door. Mind you, this is So Cal. I said it was cold--it was about 60F and clear, so nothing like the winter conditions you describe. And this suburban neighorhood has lots of mormons -- not at all hostile.

All the same. This isn't what these kids should be doing. And the guilt trips and mind bending. The prohibition and heavy handed guilt about masturbation -- an entirely normal and healthy urge. Making them feel guilty for being human, for gawd's sake!

It was the biography board and the missionary stories here that first got me examining the effect the cult had on my life. They are heart breaking. All you RMs -- I don't know how you did it!
Subject: saw them in germany a few months back
Date: Dec 21 23:42 2002
Author: Ripper

I was in Germany last May/June on business.  I saw a group of about 8 elders standing in the midddle of a very busy outdoor shopping area. lots of was Saturday. I was embarrassed and sad for them at the same time. never did street stuff like that, but I can imagine it's as bad, or worse, than the tracting I did. I sat and watched for a while from a distance. Their tactic was to have about 6 of them singing or testifying (they had a p.a. system) and then 2 of them would mingle and try to chat w/ anyone who looked remotely interested. Since no one was interested, I sat and watched them essentially stalk people. They would walk along side and try to shake their hands. No one would shake. No one would give them eye contact. but they kept going. In the end, I was no longer felt badly for them. I was only embarrassed by their behavior. It was so cultish.

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