|Subject:||Get the Fire Hose! PBS Documentary ...|
|Date:||Dec 23 23:26|
|[ Reference: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/getthefire/
(link valid as of Dec 27, 2003) ]
My wife and I, who are in the early stages of
leaving the morg watched "Get The Fire" on PBS tonight. The
program was interesting, but had the potential to be so much more. The
choice of DuPlessis to use ex-missionaries to offer counterpoints to the
segments of the missionaries was well used, but could have been more
pointed and exposing of the abuses and excesses of the church.
|Subject:||I enjoyed the program very much|
|Date:||Dec 24 00:07|
|The indoctrination, the group think, the programmed
responses, the flatness and insecurity of the "testifying"
missionary came through, loud and clear.
Even more impressive was the clear-eyed, articulate, direct, open--and in some cases only thinly-disguised--hostility, sense of resignation or bitterness of some of the RMs who returned home, turned their heads around and left the Church.
The camera eye was objective and all-seeing. No over dramatization or hokey music--just shots of the mundane manipulated missionaries who, nonetheless, seemed to be pretty good German speakers.
For the Mormon Church, I would consider this program an absolute PR disaster.
|Subject:||I enjoyed it, I got a glimpse of what my husband went through as a missionary in a foreign country...|
|Date:||Dec 24 01:21|
|he's talked about language training, tracting,
street meetings, being a DL, etc. - now I have a picture of what that
was like for him.
The one part that got me was the mission president advising this baby faced boy to go home and find an eternal companion right away! My husband said he didn't get that speech - did anyone else?
|Subject:||The 'go home and get married in the temple' speech....|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:05|
|Yeah, we got that from our MP during our farewell
dinner the evening before we left to come home. Our MP cautioned us
against being alone with girls too long in cars, and he advised us to
"date only temple possibilities."
Well of course church leaders want missionaries to marry in the temple and make babies. The church gets a lot more growth that way than from converts the missionaries baptize. Missions are merely the vehicle church leaders use to indoctrinate young men with the idea of lifetime devotion and activity in the church.
|Subject:||Germany Munich Mission alumnus|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:26|
And I appreciated the program very much. It was particularly good for me because I went to the Germany Munich Mission, and served in the cities of Munich, Ulm, and Stuttgart.
The door-to-door conversations, the discussions, the zone meetings, the shots inside the apartments--all brought back many memories.
Funny how much you forget over a space of 21 years, only to have it brought back poignantly over the screen.
|Subject:||Normally I don't agree with Steve, but here...|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:53|
|...I'll have to say that your observations and
comments are right on the mark.
steve benson wrote:
> The indoctrination, the group think, the programmed responses, the flatness and insecurity of the "testifying" missionary came through, loud and clear.
Wow! And was this ever painfully clear to anyone not pre-programmed by LDS teachings. What was so very clear to me is how the LDS missionary program is operated like a business that take exact accounting of INPUTS and OUTPUTS. There is no room for the genuine intangibles of the SPIRIT, in fact the work appears to be by all accounts...even the faithful LDS missionaries serving as "cheerless" (what did one missionary say?...something to the effect that new missionaries will get use to the tedium of tracting and street corner "evangelizing").
> Even more impressive was the clear-eyed, articulate, direct, open--and in some cases only thinly-disguised--hostility, sense of resignation or bitterness of some of the RMs who returned home, turned their heads around and left the Church.
Steve! Did you miss the tail end comment by one of the LDS missionaries that did return (and that was followed on his mission)? He said something to the effect that he did not like being an RM in Utah...though it did make possible to date more LDS girls and to obtain gainful employment. Pretty shocking and cynical comment from someone that had just returned from a full time mission for LDS Inc.
> The camera eye was objective and all-seeing. No over dramatization or hokey music--just shots of the mundane manipulated missionaries who, nonetheless, seemed to be pretty good German speakers.
This is as about precisely accurate a comment/observation about the documentary as I think will be written. It is a shame that the LDS Church stopped cooperating but there is little surprise in that given their monomaniacal obsession to control EVERYTHING related to the image of the church.
> For the Mormon Church, I would consider this program an absolute PR disaster.
Well, I would not be so sure of that...chances are that they will figure out a way to make "lemonaide" from what they likely consider to be a "lemon". Still, the filmmaker is to be commended for not allowing herself to be USED by the LDS PR machine.
This does give me a thought though...what if copies of this documentary were advertised as being available (esp along the Wasatch Front Utah area) to prospective LDS missionaries? I am not sure how the mechanics of this could or would be figured out, but if it saved ONE dew-eyed, naive LDS young man from throwing away two years of their lives then it might be worth it.
> Well done!!!
|Subject:||Re: Normally I don't agree with Steve, but here...|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:08|
|>Did you miss the tail end comment by one of
the LDS missionaries that did return (and that was followed on his
mission)? He said something to the effect that he did not like being an
RM in Utah...though it did make possible to date more LDS girls and to
obtain gainful employment. Pretty shocking and cynical comment from
someone that had just returned from a full time mission for LDS Inc.
Yeah, and not only that, but the dude had a beard, which clearly shows that he is on the high road to apostasy. :-)
|Subject:||It was shown here in UTAH on KBYU........|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:39|
|the corporation's very own PBS channel which most
mormons watch. Yes, the film WAS offered for sale at the end of the
program here too.
I just imagine a lot of people got their knickers in a knot after expecting a rah rah missionary film and got what they got instead. LOL!
|Subject:||I agree it's probably looked upon as a PR disaster for the Church...|
|Date:||Dec 24 04:31|
|As one of the interviewed Exmormon missionaries (I
served in the Germany, Munich mission 20 years earlier under F. Enzio
Busche, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of Seventy) I agreed to
be interviewed and filmed nearly 2 years ago.
I saw the completed film for the first time this past summer while on business and traveling in Germany. I contacted Nancy du Plessis, who lives in Munich, and she was delighted to allow me to preview the film at her home.
One year into the project, Nancy began having second thoughts about the project that the Mormon Church had so enthusiastically supported. She realized she was only getting a single point of view and the missionaries were so thoroughly programmed that it was impossible to obtain candid impressions, thoughts and feelings that would permit the real, balanced and fair story to be told in the film.
Through the Exmormon Foundation and other exmo organizations Nancy contacted me along with the others who also agreed to be part of the project. Nancy traveled to Portland, OR, where I live to conduct my interview during the summer of 2002.
I had just come 'out' of the closet of disbelief to my family and was very nervous (I think it showed a bit) about the prospect of being part of such a public project.
I recall feeling the tug of strong emotions during my interview as I discussed my feelings of disappointment and anger of being misled about the history and authenticity of the church over many years by church authorities, many of whom I felt purposely deceived me.
I'm proud to be associated with the film and feel it will be seen by non-Mormons as balanced and fair. If I can help others to understand this strange, peculiar and misleading organization for what it really is, I believe (rather, I know! ;-) I will have made a worthy contribution to the cause.
|Subject:||Re: I agree it's probably looked upon as a PR disaster for the Church...|
|Date:||Dec 24 06:09|
|Of all the returned missionaries, I could identify
the most with your comments. I applaud you for agreeing to participate
in this work and admire your courage. I read all of your remarks on the
Get the Fire website.
|Subject:||You came home a year before I got there...|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:31|
|but I do remember your name. Perhaps it was from
reading old investigator records.
I served in Wuerzburg (junior), Gerlingen (senior and trainer), Ulm (district leader), Wendlingen (zone leader), and Munich (AP).
Curiously enough, I also live in Portland, Oregon.
|Subject:||Re: I enjoyed the program very much thanks for the insight!|
|Date:||Dec 24 10:19|
|Well, having slept on it, and having read some of
the insightful comments in response to my initial disappointment with
the film, I do have to say that all of you are right.
As a convert, I just don't have the TBM view that a mission is a wonderful way to spend two years and the experiences of the missionaries (as well as their doubts and insecurities) really didn't register with me last night.
The hive mind definitely came through in the MTC segment ("you will learn to be immediately obedient [sic.] to the principles in the missionary handbook"). That segment just screamed out the mind-control methodology of the church (obedience to the morg is obedience to god).
Kind of hard to see this as a film as flattering to the morg after a little thought.
|Subject:||Opinion on the show ....|
|Date:||Dec 24 01:20|
|My nevermo husband found the program very
interesting. I didn't serve a mission and have had no one close to me
serve a mission, but I have been friends with enough over the years to
have a general idea, and I learned quite a bit about things from the
show, especially the MTC.
One thing that was barely touched upon that I hate about missions is that once a missionary has served in your ward, when they leave you can't contact them, they can't contact you or their old companions so you can't even find out how they are doing until their missions are done. I've met quite a few in the field missionaries that I wanted to keep in contact with but could not because of "mission rules."
I wish I could have heard more from the RM's who have left the church. I enjoyed hearing their side of the story. I think they probably said much more but they didn't have the time to air all of it in the special.
|Subject:||I just watched it, and think it's great! And the|
|Date:||Dec 24 01:26|
|extra info from going to pbs.org and clicking on the
program was good. Especially the info about the missionaries after they
AND the links to several web sites including Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church!
|Subject:||I really enjoyed it, and would show it to potential missionaries in a heartbeat.|
|Date:||Dec 24 02:34|
|. To those that view the film as anti-Mormon, you're
off base. The director had more on-air time for the "pro" side
than the "con" side by a great margin. She attempted to make
the film as level as possible, and with church cooperation. She had it,
until the church found out they couldn't mold it into a PR bit, and
|Subject:||I don't see the film so much "anti-Mormon" as I see it "anti-climatic" for the Mormon Church PR machine.|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:07|
|The elders come across as naive, easily swayed,
immature and unsure of themselves. Even as "veterans" at the
end of their missions, they still do not demonstrate a broad or
enlightened world view.
There is no passion in the film, from the Mormon perspective. The missionaries try to put on a good face, sing and testify as heartily as they can, shout in loud voices at uninterested passers-by during street meetings and grimly, but with determination, walk from slammed door to slammed door. But they seem out of their league, out of their depth and out of touch. It is an exercise of going through the motions with tentative hopes that, somehow, some way, everything will work out for the best.
The best perspectives given were the mature and measured hind sights of former missionaries who thoughtfully examined their mission experiences, admitted that the Church was heartlessly after numbers and saw the institution as a behemoth that robbed them of their individuality in the process of molding them into doing and being what they were, at heart, not.
This is not a piece of inspiring film-making, from the Mormon point of view. It shows a system pushing awkward, inexperienced, uneasy young men into two years of forced servitude and shows them coming out at the other end as grunts who did their duty for their god and for their church, but with not much to show for it.
For Church PR, two thumbs down.
|Subject:||You're right Steve. The Morg P.R. machine won't be able to salvage much here...|
|Date:||Dec 24 04:48|
|The missionaries got more air time than the Exmormon
missionaries received in their attempt to score points.
And since the film maker used the words of the missionaries and mission president to explain the Mormon dogma (came off definitely as sounding bizarre), there isn't any way to claim 'foul'.
Pretty good piece of journalism, if you ask me...
|Subject:||One thing I did notice that most nevermos will notice too was....|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:45|
|when they were singing as a group near the end....
the guys all had their arms around each other's shoulder including the
MP etc and one WIFE BUT next to the wife were the two girl missionaries
and there was room for at least one more person between the second girl
and the first male mish. NO TOUCHING between them so the line was
To anyone NOT a Mormon that would just be looked upon as WEIRD!
|Subject:||Just finished watching Get the Fire...|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:10|
> Not getting home in time to tape it is my only regret. :(
Not to worry...though it will cost you. Go to the website at pbs.org and at the specific site for this documentary there is information on how to order the video. The video is $39.95 (though you must specify that it is for HOME use only, otherwise they will charge you over $200!).
> P.S. To those that view the film as anti-Mormon, you're off base. The director had more on-air time for the "pro" side than the "con" side by a great margin. She attempted to make the film as level as possible, and with church cooperation. She had it, until the church found out they couldn't mold it into a PR bit, and bailed out.
Now having seen a bulk of the documentary (ok, I am at work and we have a tv, so I missed only about 10 minutes or so since I work alone tonite) I can NOW say that I think Du Pleiss did as good a job at balancing the pro and anti content as possible. In fact, the ExMo RM's she interviewed were somewhat muted in their criticisms if anything...not to mention the fact that they were given so little time to balance the corporate LDS Inc. line.
|Subject:||Muted? I assumed it was editing.|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:25|
In fact, the ExMo RM's she interviewed were somewhat muted in their criticisms if anything...not to mention the fact that they were given so little time to balance the corporate LDS Inc. line.
I'm assuming that she simply asked for their mission experiences, regrets, and how it affected them personally. This is what was shown. I got a good sense of balance out of it. It's not the director's fault that the 20-second testimony of exmo RM's is more resounding than 50 minutes of 19 year olds attempting to reassure themselves. ;)
|Subject:||Good point, Mollusk, Re: Muted? I assumed it was editing.|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:32|
> Pericles wrote:
> In fact, the ExMo RM's she interviewed were somewhat muted in their criticisms if anything...not to mention the fact that they were given so little time to balance the corporate LDS Inc. line.
> > Pericles
> I'm assuming that she simply asked for their mission experiences, regrets, and how it affected them personally. This is what was shown. I got a good sense of balance out of it. It's not the director's fault that the 20-second testimony of exmo RM's is more resounding than 50 minutes of 19 year olds attempting to reassure themselves. ;)
I was not blaming it on the director...only really observing that for all the talk by LDS that this was an anti documentary, it really was quite balanced. I do imagine that quite a bit of material from the ExMo RM's ended up on the editor's floor (any chance such snippets will be added back in in a "directors cut"? you know, all the material that had to be cut to fit it into the 60 minute time frame given). Those RM's could have and probably did say some pretty bitter comments...all true, but still bitter from the experience of feeling used.
|Subject:||Well, one did say...|
|Date:||Dec 24 03:36|
|... that he tried to find the heart of the church,
but it has none. It's a money-hungry corporation.
|Subject:||Yeah, that was a to the core...|
|Date:||Dec 24 04:17|
Bottom line? If you "sign up" to be an LDS fulltime missionary expect that you will be USED to build up the kingdom of LDS Incorporated.
|Subject:||The film was good|
|Date:||Dec 24 07:49|
|I thought the film was excellent. I hope it gets
more exposure during the next run on PBS.
It is impossible to compress the 2 year mission experience into 60 minutes and have it make sense to a non-Mormon. How can one convey the pure drudgery of knocking on doors or preaching on the streets day after day in any European country? I would of attempted to show more the boredom and loneliness of tracting. Also, demonstrate how missionaries are taught sales techniques in the development meetings. More time is spent on salesmanship than learning doctrine.
The missionary's comment from Hinckley that Germany could double was disturbing. My daughter, 19, watched the film with us. When I heard that comment about Germany doubling if the missionaries have faith, I choked up. I told her that the church controls people by giving them impossible goals and then making them feel guilty when they do not achieve them. I never felt good enough or faithful enough because the goals we had as missionaries were never achieved. This sense of failure permeated my life for years to come.
|Subject:||Re: The film was good|
|Date:||Dec 24 08:22|
|>I thought the film was excellent. I hope it
gets more exposure during the next run on PBS.
>It is impossible to compress the 2 year mission experience into 60 minutes and have it make sense to a non-Mormon.
True. Carrie, Laura, and I watched it, and my first thought was that it was too short.
>How can one convey the pure drudgery of knocking on doors or preaching on the streets day after day in any European country?
Believe me, it was no different in Australia. :-) I HATED those Saturday morning "street meetings", where we would stand on the sidewalk of the busiest block of town and bother people while they were trying to do their shopping. I was in that one city for eight months, and we did the street meeting thing almost every Saturday morning, trying to get the attention of the same people walking past week after week. I never did like it, so I would just smile and say hello to people. At least there were always a lot of girls to look at. :-)
I chuckled when the missionary in the film announced "We welcome you to our street meeting this morning!" as though the citizens were there to hear them, instead of just being out taking care of business.
>I would of attempted to show more the boredom and loneliness of tracting.
Yep. It showed just a glimpse of the experience when the missionaries were rejected on two straight door approaches. I also felt for the one missionary who was calling 'referrals' on the phone, and they were rejecting him as well. Those are supposedly people who had requested a video or BOM, but they were no more receptive than the cold calls. Bad memories of a whole 'nuther lifetime. Didn't you hate it when you got a referral, hoping for a good reception and a 'golden contact', but the people were actually no more interested than anyone else you met?
>Also, demonstrate how missionaries are taught sales techniques in the development meetings. More time is spent on salesmanship than learning doctrine.
Yep. One thing the film showed a lot that I had forgotten about was how much time we spent singing hymns, bearing testimonies, and hearing motivational speeches. That reminded me of how much time and effort it took to indoctrinate us and motivate us to keep going day after day.
>The missionary's comment from Hinckley that Germany could double was disturbing. My daughter, 19, watched the film with us. When I heard that comment about Germany doubling if the missionaries have faith, I choked up. I told her that the church controls people by giving them impossible goals and then making them feel guilty when they do not achieve them.
Amen. And it's even more egregious because they are flat-out lying about the number of potential converts, based on past baptismal numbers. Various studies, as well as European RMs here, all agree that baptisms in Europe are woeful. But the leaders can lie to those 19-year-old kids, because they don't know the past baptismal numbers. So when they don't attain their "goal" of one baptism per month or whatever, they feel like failures.
>I never felt good enough or faithful enough because the goals we had as missionaries were never achieved. This sense of failure permeated my life for years to come.
Indeed. And then you go home and feel like a failure again for not getting all your home teaching done, or for not attending the temple enough, or not making enough money to pay full tithing, et cetera.
But then one day you realize that the solution to all those problems is to reject the system that makes you feel that way. And then you begin to cure your sense of failure with lots of fly fishing and gin & tonics. :-)
|Subject:||I recall our zone being chewed out by the AP|
|Date:||Dec 24 09:37|
|because it was near the end of the month and the
baptism total for the entire mission for the month was only 3!
This was in the Germany Munich Mission.
I contrast that memory with the article quoting Jeff Holland during the 2002 Winter Olympics of how the Mormon Church doesn't put their missionaries under pressure to produce numbers.
|Subject:||there is some truth in that|
|Date:||Dec 24 09:58|
|The Church has decreased substantially the pressure
on baptism numbers. And the pressure continues to be less, far less,
than it was in the 80's and early 90's. During my tenure as president, I
rarely felt the all seeing eye of SLC fix it's gaze on me with regard to
baptisms, nor did I place that burden upon my missionaries. Of course,
just as they were doing that, and retraining mission presidents to focus
on reactivation and retention more, Gordon Hinckley came out with his
"double the number of baptisms" speech, and effectively
rekindled the flame. Old habits die hard. Ironic since it was Hinckley
himself who enthusiastically spearheaded the toning down in baptismal
pressure. This semi reversal of the previous reversal of policy was no
doubt a knee jerk reaction to the precipitous drop in baptismal numbers.
It seems this predictable eventuality was unseen by the Mormon
|Subject:||Re: there is some truth in that|
|Date:||Dec 24 10:12|
|If the pressure is off to produce baptism numbers,
why then did my son, a zone leader in his mission, just write a letter
full of joy because their zone had achieved a numbers goal the MP had
given them and thus got to have a big party? They pressured some dude to
get baptized on the last day of the month in order to reach the goal.
Poor sap probably got it laid on pretty thick to get dunked! I read that
letter and almost felt sick to my stomach.
|Subject:||yes, old habits die hard|
|Date:||Dec 24 10:18|
|the Church removed most of the pressure of few years
ago, then panicked at the results and reapplied some, but not all of the
pressure. Each mission president as an individual does what he does
however, and many of them served their own missions under times of
intense pressure. It has been my experience that the missionary's
experience and perception of his mission is greatly influenced by the
attitudes of the president. In the end it is a corporation, and their
are those occasional area presidents and mission presidents that
understand that on some level and are doing their best to climb the
|Subject:||"Get the fire!" gives me flashbacks of Spain 91-92|
|Date:||Dec 24 10:50|
|Wow. I didn't expect "Get the Fire!" to
touch me so deeply.
There was saying we had in the mission to cheer each other up on a particularly bad day. We remind each other that after the mission, the Lord would bless us to only remember the good times and forget the bad.
For the most part that's been true, until tonight sitting and watching "Get the Fire!" on PBS.
It's been over ten years since I served in the Spain-Barcelona Mission and I'd all but forgot how the hard times felt. But seeing those missionaries in the MTC, sitting exactly where I sat, hearing the same indoctrination brought back a flood of emotion.
I could recall what it felt for me to be going through everything they showed in the film. Based on what I saw, the German missionary experience is nearly identical to the one I had in Spain.
The producer did an excellent job capturing in a single hour the essence of the missionary mentality and experience. To condense a two year "adventure" into one hour is not an easy feat, but she pulled it off.
I can understand why TBMs will find the film offensive. They are so conditioned to church propaganda short films like "Labor of Love" and "Called to Serve" that seeing the real deal comes off "anti-Mormon." But "Get the Fire!" is a very accurate representation of what a mission is like.
Imagine that movie magnified over two years and you start to appreciate the mission life. The few minutes shown of them knocking doors really goes on for for hours nearly every day in the mission. The brief clips of showing feelings of missionary loneliness, inadequacy and delusion are constant themes.
Although my older brother had served a mission before I did, I had little idea of what a mission was really all about. The stories returned-missionaries tell are of the faith-promoting or humorous variety. It wasn't until the night before I entered the MTC that my brother had a sober talk with me about the mission experience. He told me two things:
- There will be a moment in your mission, when you're walking in the rain with your companion, you'll be cold and wet and it will hit you just how lonely, tired and inadequate you really feel. You'll start thinking about all the other places you'd rather be than on a mission. Just put those thoughts out of your mind.
- You'll reach a point in your mission when "The Mission becomes all that you are. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you think will be because of "The Mission." When it gets that bad, back off an have a real good P-Day away from the mission experience. Be careful not to loose yourself because that's easy to do in the mission.
I didn't exactly understand what my brother was saying at the time, but I had several "in the rain" experience just like he had described. And for most of the time, I was lost in "The Mission."
I would tell anyone considering on serving a mission to see "Get the Fire!" because it's at least a brief view into what it is really like out there.
|Subject:||I was a mish in Deutschland many years ago. When...|
|Date:||Dec 24 11:01|
|I watched "Get the Fire", I could only
watch it until the missionaries depicted actually got to Germany and
started talking to the German people. So many uncomfortable memories
came flooding back that I had to shut it off.
|Subject:||Yeah, me too. Taiwan '94-'96|
|Date:||Dec 24 11:27|
|I got the sense we were all actors in a drama that
we had no part in creating, playing roles we had cleverly been
manipulated into taking.
Where scenes previous considered inspiring - "isn't it wonderful to hear a whole bus full of nineteen year old boys singing church hymns on the way to serve the lord?" - comes across as insipid and contrived when viewed from the outside.
A drama where a middle age man asks you bluntly "Are you free from sexual sin?", and such an invasive question doesn't shock you in the least.
Where upon arrival in the mission field, the assistant to the president instructs you with the following gem: "Gordon B Hinckley has said the number of members in Germany will double. And since he's said it, it will happen."
I also loved this gem. "Elders I have witnessed miracles. People calling down from balconies saying 'Please baptize me'"
Where a 20 year old boy declares to a room of his peers (in only half jest) "I have the most authority in this room right now."
And upon completion of the drama, at the ripe age of 21, a religious authority instructs you to "..go home and find a partner. Are you prepared to do that?"
All those feelings of guilt, anger and humiliation came rushing back while watching this last night.
|Subject:||Great documentary, matched my mission in Thailand|
|Date:||Dec 24 13:14|
|Some things were different in my mission, such as no
knocking on doors and no preaching on a soapbox in a town square...but
the emotions were all the same. Rejection came indirectly in my mission
rather than directly as in most non-Asian countries. The Thai people are
afraid of offending someone so they will listen to your message but
never tell you they are not interested. It is only after weeks of
'teaching' do you realize they will never join. I can count on my hand
the number of times I was flat out told to go away.
Still the rejection and feelings of inadequacy were tremendous. Especially when you are told at zone conference every month that if you are not getting baptisms it is due to your lack of faith, worthiness, and effort.
Watching the MTC director reminds me so much of cult indoctrination when he said (paraphrasing), "You will follow every rule in the missionary booklet."
This documentary, which I recorded for friends and posterity, really hit home for me. I understand that online at PBS.org you can read updates of the three missionaries.
|Subject:||I found the film to be an dark, heavy reminder of . . .|
|Date:||Dec 24 13:49|
|the grind of daily missionary life.
It lacked the sparkle of propaganda but conveyed the "push through" drudgery of reality.
It was sad, more than anything.
Onward, elders, we can make it through another day.
|Subject:||Taken back by "Get the Fire" on PBS|
|Date:||Dec 24 02:25|
|I am more than a decade removed from a mission and
this film really took me back to the awkwardness, the false sense of
truth, the conscious effort having been made to "serve a
mission" - whatever that meant.
This could have been filmed in my mission and that has me thinking two things: not much has changed; and what was I thinking at the time???
I know I did my best to "serve a mission", as captured in this film. Somehow many of the truths about the Church I have learned in the last year from research on this board and elsewhere were already known to me during the time of my mission; I just hadn't given them fire yet.
How does serving a mission set you up for a big fall later in life?
Why at the time and for many years did I view the experience for more than what it was? I had it on my resume for years for heaven's sake!
|Subject:||Brought back memories|
|Date:||Dec 24 10:32|
|Been there, done that!
Watching the PBS documentary was deja vu all over again. It's been many decades since I too was Europe going through the same motions as those hapless missionaries - sludging through the snow, holding street meetings, having a zillion doors slammed in my face. Then all of us going through the self-talk trying to convince ourselves that we were doing the Lord's work, that we really loved this pointless abuse.
I was also told that:
"If you don't have a testimony then bear a testimony like you did have one, and keep doing it until you do have a testimony."
This attempt at deliberate self-induced self-delusion succeeded only in forestalling the inevitable: reality eventually breaks through, and one wonders how he could have ever been caught up in the singular delusion of Mormonism.
One man's comment that
"The church is a corporation, and it's run like a corporation, and at it's heart it has no heart"
was spot on.
It would be interesting if PBS did a follow-up in five years and see how many of those same missionaries were still in the church.
|Subject:||"Get the Fire" shows me this...|
|Date:||Dec 24 14:31|
|Author:||Lost no more|
|Elders and sisters are trained to deliver a message
but they don't receive input very well. When someone isn't interested in
religion or mo'ism, they just don't know quite how to take it.
I had plenty of door-knocking (clapping) experience and asking "golden questions" on the streets of Argentina. Now I wonder what would have happened if I had attempted to really LISTEN to the people? What if I had tried to learn FROM them instead of proselytizing AT them ad nauseum?
In retrospect, I get a guilty sense of how badly I invaded people's privacy on the streets or knocking on their doors at all hours of the night and day.
Thankfully, I never had to do a street meeting in Argentina as they showed in "Get the Fire." Seeing the missionaries out singing and preaching to the passerbys made sick. The Germans just seemed to look on these young Americans as an oddity, a nuisance, or perhaps someone to be pitied, but hardly with respect.
Through it all, I see how ignorant missionaries are about their host cultures. That is one of the tragedies of an LDS mission. Those young people could be true envoys to the world (real friendship and understanding) if only they had a clue, but that is hardly the goal of LDS, Inc.
Had I woken up in time, I would have certainly gone back to South America to study or at least immersed myself in Latin culture back in California. Instead, I went straight to BYU to engage in stereotypical post-mission activities.
Sad that I missed some critical connections, commitments, and experiences that I should have had along the way. I'm at that middle-aged point where one looks at his/her life and wonders about the ultimate meaning of it all, only to have the premise, the sandy soil of belief, blown away.
|Subject:||I was amazed at how revolted|
|Date:||Dec 24 14:43|
|I felt just watching the show. It was
sickening to me to see anything mormon for one thing, and then to see
missionaries trying so hard to do the right thing for a cause that is so bogus... what a sad waste. I found myself wishing that all of them would find out what a big hoax the church is.
|Subject:||My Take on "Get the Fire" (language)|
|Date:||Dec 24 14:55|
|Note: I served in Tokyo 1980-1981.
I found myself getting extremely uncomfortable when the guys were shown trying to use their language the first day in Germany. Reminded me of those humiliating moments when I would start into a topic not knowing the vocabulary, and having to abandon it half-way through, simply because I didn't know the words. Also, trying to understand the listeners' responses was pretty uncomfortable.
The MTC footage was remarkably familiar: has nothing changed there in 20+ years??? Unbelievable.
One thing interesting: as much as I despise(d) my mission president (Groberg) and his ridiculous wife, I found the ones in the documentary to appear so benign. Surprisingly so. My mission president wouldn't be caught dead offering an elder a hug, that's for sure.
The homecoming was sweet in the documentary. Nice to see blonde-mishy's mom getting all happy like that. That part reminded me of good times in the mo' church. That and the comaraderie among the elders. While it's true we had our share of a*holes and backbiting, truth be told, we were a bunch of 20 year olds who for the most part were extremely supportive of each other. Especially the MTC group I went with--bonds with those fellas never seemed to fade (still in contact with a couple of them to this day).
Overall, it was a refreshingly balanced view of the church's inner workings. Amazed at the access this filmmaker was given, truly.
|Subject:||It's true that one often forgets the bad....|
|Date:||Dec 24 15:07|
|...memories of a mission and remembers the positive.
If this weren't so for me, I think I might start bashing my head against
the wall remembering just how awful so much of that time was for me in
France from '79 to '81.
I think the mission experience was also very realistically portrayed in "Get the Fire." To think back at how we would go out day after day to the absolute drudgery of knocking on doors to virtually 100 percent rejection makes me think that church leaders are nothing more than sick sadistic bastards to force that futile exercise of human indignity on anyone.
It didn't seem that horrific though at the time, thanks to the miracles of brainwashing. It's amazing what 19 year-olds will put up with.
Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church - www.exmormon.org