How happy were you the day your Mormon mission ended?
Subject: For you RM's, How happy were you the day your mission ended?
Date: Jan 18 23:16 2004
Author: Flash

I remember the last day of my mission, 27 years ago, as vividly as if it were yesterday. I remember how happy I was to be finally going home, to know I did not have to knock on another door, to know I did not have to live in cockroach infested dump ever again, to know that I could restart my life.

When the plane lifted off and the wheels no longer touched Virginia soil, I felt like poison was draining out of my body. The higher the plane went, the stronger the feeling of relief. I looked down at the Virginia countryside, I knew somewhere there was some poor Elder wishing with all his might that he could be on the plane I was on. Every day on my mission that I saw a plane head west in the sky, I wished so hard to be on that plane. And now I was on that plane. I was no longer a missionary. I had no nametag (I thru that in the trash at the airport). I was me again and not some morbot droid with the first name of Elder. I no longer had to wear a suite. I no longer had to tolerate the emotional abuse of a mission president or any other member of the mormon church. For the first time in 730 days, I did not have to care about anything.

I cannot list all that I felt as there are not words I know to use that could convey all the feelings. Only those who have experienced leaving a mission could understand.

For those who were fortunate to not have to go, it was not like coming home from college or summer camp. It was like coming back from the dead. The nightmare was over. I was free.

What say you my fellow RM's? How did you feel on your last day?

Subject: Same as you, but more like being released from a prison n/t
Date: Jan 18 23:27
Author: Dark Sparks
Subject: Re: For you RM's, How happy were you the day your mission ended?
Date: Jan 18 23:33
Author: activejackmormon
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I remember really wanting to see my family and the surroundings I missed back home. I knew I'd miss some things about mission life, but I was just plain excited to resume a normal life.

I remember with great fondness my family waiting for me at the airport and the embrace I received. A big banner was on the house welcoming me home, and I couldn't have been happier to be among those whose love I'd always shared and always would.

Subject: My one vivid memory
Date: Jan 18 23:36
Author: Ted Bell
Mail Address:

Is sitting back on the plane and opening a copy of the Globe and Mail newspaper and thinking life is good.

Subject: The happiest week of my life
Date: Jan 18 23:53
Author: Tyler
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The happiest week of my life was the wind down week in Argentina. I didn't have to proselytize and was able to be a tourist with another cool missionary for that time.

I had some mixed feelings leaving behind many good friends and a culture and county I grew to love...but the mission? GAWWWWWWDDDDDAAAAAAMMMMMNNNNNNN I was so happy I could scarcely contain myself.

Every word you said was me exactly. I have no words for the overwhelming joy and freedom I felt at being unleashed from the bonds of the mission prison.

I had done my tour, my duty, my prison time and was free, I was free for the rest of my life! Even as a returning TBM I still had NO intention of ever serving another mission again, not even as an older couple. Come on, serve as an older couple with my wife? F*** that!


Subject: Me too! I was released from the chains of bothering strangers with my strange beliefs...
Date: Jan 19 00:20
Author: just another exmo
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The truly happiest moment is when the airplane touched down onto American soil. As it taxied into the Miami International Airport I saw a giant American flag flapping in the breeze. I was back home! It didn't matter that I had another connecting flight to my final destination.

It was like the scene in the movie "Not without my daughter" where the American woman makes it to the American Embassy in Turkey after escaping Iran with her daughter. Very emotional.

Subject: Mixed emotions
Date: Jan 19 00:30
Author: Phil
Mail Address:

I was thrilled to be free of the bonds of the mission, but was immensely sad that I would have to say goodbye to many of the new friends I had made and the country I had grown to love.

Subject: You are probably correct about...........
Date: Jan 19 00:58
Author: Shummy
Mail Address:

we who are non-RMs not knowing the exuberance you felt upon serving your 2 year sentence followed by a joyous release.

The closest I probably come to that is the feeling of simply getting away from the morg.

I believe Fawn Brodie likened it to removing a heavy winter coat on a hot summer's day.

And bless that old fool in SLC that kept me from suffering thru the 2 years that you mishies did.


Subject: after my request for an extention was denied
Date: Jan 19 01:01
Author: SLDrone

I stepped onto that airplane with the heaviest of hearts and a feeling of great sorrow. I loved my mission, I loved the people, I loved the calling. I believed I served the Lord of all creation. It was for me a sorrowful day, attenuated only by the prospect of the freedom to associate with girls again.

Subject: God, I was so excited that I could have flown home WITHOUT the jet! nt

Subject: Have you had the nightmare about receiving a 2nd missionary call???
Date: Jan 19 01:42
Author: Mr. Eyepatch
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After I had been back about 3-5 months I started to have a semi-recurring nightmare about being called on a *second* mission. These dreams were *horrible*...I'm being serious here...these dreams were excruciating life-draining events. Thank God they slowly became further and further apart in frequency.

Subject: Re: Have you had the nightmare about receiving a 2nd missionary call???
Date: Jan 19 02:00
Author: yikes

after 20 years I still occasionally have that dream. In that dream I plead with them (whomever them is) that I already served a mission. I'm always so relieved when I realize that it is only a dream.

Also, in my mission it was a joke that when a missionary was down to two months that any jet that flew over you had to stop whatever you were doing and stand at attention and salute the plane. My last area was by an international airport, I did a hell of a lot of saluting during those last two months. Oh what a relief when you actually step foot on the plane.

Subject: I think most of us do. (naughty word warning)
Date: Jan 19 15:40
Author: Stray Mutt

Thirty years later I still have an occasional back-on-a-mission dream, only now I have a f*ck-this-sh*t attitude in them.

Subject: Oh my HOLY HECK! These dreams are sheer agony! Talk about waking up with gnarled guts and cold sweat! nt
Subject: I kissed the ground!
Date: Jan 19 02:10
Author: Travis
Mail Address:

My group traveled home together & got permission to stop in Washington DC for a couple of days and be tourists. One of the six Elders in my group had a married brother there who was very TBM, so we got permission to stay at his house even though we were not yet "released". Anyway, as we exited the plane we all got down & kissed the ground! It may have been an airport floor but we did it anyway.

I was overcome with emotion while we toured the sites around our nations capital. I teared up several times. I remember how tears rolled down my cheeks as I read the Gettysburg address at the Lincoln memorial.

It confused me at the time because the "feelings' seemed stronger than those of my "testimony"! I still remember how surprised I was at my own reactions to these landmarks!

Yet, as we drove by the Washington DC Temple, I thought BFD! It was just a pretty building.

Subject: Heck Yes!! No More Robert C. Witt To Deal With
Date: Jan 19 14:53
Author: Helaman

He was such an ass hole. On the airplane, I tried to write my feelings in my journal but got only about 2 hours into it before I was completely drained and didn't want to continue. I ended up watching the movie instead. When I arrived home, my family was late picking me up so I sat around the airport for a while until they showed up.

Subject: I chortled in my joy.
Date: Jan 19 15:13
Author: tanstaafl
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I remember being in the airport in Rio for about 4 hours waitng for our connecting flight back to Miami. I hadn't felt the spirit much in the last 6 months of my mision, but I felt it then. Ohh, did I ever feel the spirit. The spirit of Carnaval that was going on outside the airport doors. ;-)

Then, tomorrow was another day
The morning found me miles away
With still a million things to say
Now, when twilight dims the sky above
Recalling (only imagined) thrills of love
There’s one thing that I’m certain of
Return I will to old brazil
That old brazil
Brazil, brazil

Subject: Oddly enough, I wanted to stay
Date: Jan 19 15:22
Author: Ex-pat
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I had mixed emotions about returning. Sure, I wanted to see my family and friends again. I wanted to walk around the streets of SLC and soak in the "atmosphere" of my home. I wanted to stop annoying strangers. I wanted to stop knocking on doors.

On the other hand, I had an impulse to stick around this odd Asian country I had grown comfortable in. Not as a missionary, but as an expatriate. I'd felt deceived and manipulated by the church. I knew going back to SLC would require me to continue living a lie.

One could easily find work teaching English and be able to survive on the income. Lots of beautiful women, good food, interesting sites, pleasant climate, all excited my imagination.

I should have stayed, but I'm a coward. Instead I went home and found a part time job as a janitor and spent my meager income on ditsy mormon girls who wouldn't French kiss with me.

Subject: Mine ended three days early.
Date: Jan 19 15:33
Author: Stray Mutt

The MP was going to be away, so my group got a few days off our sentences.

They also closed down my last area, so my greenie comp and I drove our mission vehicle from central Saskatchewan to the mission HQ in southern Alberta, which is like driving from Denver to SLC. We wore our civilian clothes and were just two guys in a pickup truck. I had plenty of time to decompress and let the new reality sink in. I had the whole summer ahead of me to with no pressures except to find a job until school stated. Rolling through the flat Canadian farmland with the windows open, it was like I was taking my first real breaths in two years. Aaaaaaahhhhhh....

Compare that to six months before when, after being knocked down with hepatitis, and feeling guilty for who knows what, I petitioned the MP to have my mission extended. It was a fad at the time among elders who wanted to prove how valiant they were. I'm glad it didn't happen.

Subject: Bittersweet
Date: Jan 19 15:43
Author: conformist

I was going to miss the country, people, culture, and food.

It would be nice to partake in some new freedoms, and to finally have some rest from my labors.

But there was always that lingering question. Could I have done more? Some more time might have given me a chance to compensate for my imperfections and make it up to the Lord.

Subject: It was the best day of my life so far. An amazing feeling. nt

Subject: The party's over now.
Date: Jan 19 16:40
Author: Kim
Mail Address:

I too was excited to return home after two years in France, however it was bittersweet as well. I had just spent the last 17 months of it being as much as a tourist in France that I could. I decided after about the first five months there that the mormon church just wasn't working for me. There was just too much desperation on the part of the MP and missionary leaders to make us feel guilty for not being able to convert people in a country where the Mormon sect is simply too American to ever catch on.

It was October and I had just spent the last two months in Perpignan, France...enjoying the gorgeous summer weather, the beach on the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees. My companion and I there never ONCE went tracting.

To go home meant coming back to the beginning of cold weather and going back to school. I was sad to leave France because I loved its culture and beauty. There was an awful lot of it too that I didn't get to experience.

Subject: I can't blame you on the beauty and culture of France.
Date: Jan 19 16:49
Author: free
Mail Address:

I am glad you had time to enjoy and be a tourist.

Subject: I was very sad to leave because I was going back to Utah.
Date: Jan 19 16:45
Author: free
Mail Address:

I loved London England and I really had great friends at school and in the LDS church. I left an English boyfriend (no, I was not a missionary, just a mission president's daughter) whom I was crazy about! But, he was not American nor was he LDS.

Going back to Utah was like back-tracking. I did do just one day of tracting in the mission field and all I knew from that experience was that I would never go on a mission.

I sincerely feel sorry for your missionary suckers. I would put up with boot camp any day (and it is HELL) because at least you get paid and you don't have to harass people.

Subject: Re: For you RM's, How happy were you the day your mission ended?
Date: Jan 19 17:01
Author: wisedup
Mail Address:

I, like others, hated leaving because of the great people. I also hated leaving a good bunch of fellow missionaries. Every one of my companions were teriffic people - and I knew I would likely never see them again. I also liked my Mission President and his wife. I loved the work - because I really thought it was true.

However, I was so freaking happy to be able to think thoughts other than missionary stuff. I liked my mission but I never got to enjoy the countries I served in. I was too TBM. Most of my companions were TBM too. I look back with a lot of regret - so many missionaries had a blast - touring etc. I was so brainwashed - I really thought I was serving the Lord.

Actually, my mission enlightened me enough so that I was eventually able to leave the morg. It really opens your eyes to interact with those who have so many different ideologies.

Subject: Still having nightmares...
Date: Jan 19 17:18
Author: siouxm

about being called back on a mission. It is all very vivid, the MTC, the tracking, the MP, being tied to one person at all times of the day and night, no freedom, talking to wonderful and beautiful people who were supposedly "lost", the horrible feeling of leading people down the path of righteousness...but somehow knowing it was all wrong, being hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away from your family and friends, feeling forced to do something that you wish you could escape from, the pressure and degradation you would feel from the MP...and then I wake up in a sweat, take a deep breath, realize it was just a dream, and thank gawd it is not real anymore. (I served my prison term 16 years ago)

Subject: Re: For you RM's, How happy were you the day your mission ended?
Date: Jan 19 17:54
Author: Jason Gagnon

If everyone was so happy to be leaving their missions,
and were so miserable during them... why did you go in
the first place?

At the beginning it seems nice. "I'm doing the Lords
work!" and then it turns into "Holy shit get me the
hell out of here!"

I did not serve a mission. I am thankful that I did not
go for many reasons. One of which being gay and Mormon
don't mix very well. My mission would have been suicide.

So why do people put their lives on hold like that? It's
not because it's expected of you - don't say that! You
had a choice, you made it - made you're bed and slept in
it for two miserable years.

Life goes on. You were missed, welcome back from you're
long horrid nightmare!

Subject: Simple -- peer pressure and the desire to please family goes a long ways.
Date: Jan 19 19:48
Author: free
Mail Address:

Besides many are still stupid at that age and have been indoctrinated all their lives.

Don't ask me why converts go -- I guess they are dumb enough to buy into it in the first place.

Subject: Re: For you RM's, How happy were you the day your mission ended?
Date: Jan 19 19:59
Author: Wag

You're all familiar with my story. I went AWOL on my mission and ran off to Vegas to marry a girl from my mission field.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic!

I think the reason was that for the first time in my life, I was doing something for myself. Not what everyone else in my life expected me to do.


Subject: I was quite sad, actually, as I enjoyed my mission experience in Europe
Date: Jan 19 20:19
Author: Shiz
Mail Address:

Hey! I was in Italy!!
Subject: Is it really a choice to go on a mission? Thoughts for Jason Gagnon.
Date: Jan 19 20:58
Author: TLC

In another thread, Jason asked:
"If everyone was so happy to be leaving their missions,
and were so miserable during them... why did you go in
the first place?

So why do people put thier lives on hold like that? It's
not because it's expected of you - don't say that! You
had a choice, you made it - made you're bed and slept in
it for two miserable years."

Well Jason, for someone who didn't go on a mission, it might be hard for you to understand. But let's give it a go.

We are expected to go on missions. I was taught from the time I was able to form sentient thoughts in my head, that I would be going on a mission at 19. It was drilled into me with unrelenting frequency and fervor by both my mom and those who taught me in the church. It was a constant, repetitive dialogue that pounded against my consciousness with the same insistence that waves pound against the shoreline.

When I turned 19 I was in a place in my life where I really, really, really didn't want to go - and I said so - and dug my heels in and refused to complete the necessary paperwork. My twin brother dutifully filled out his papers and shipped off a few months after we turned 19. I enrolled in another semester at BYU and was determined that I wouldn't follow him.

But my mom and various bishops had other plans for me and they began an all-out frontal assault that eventually totally wore me out. My mom in fact, with the support of my non-mormon dad, said that they would no longer be helping with my education if I didn't get in gear and go on a mission. My scholarships and part-time work weren't enough to keep me enrolled at BYU and living in Provo without their help.

During all of this I was struggling with some serious and professionally diagnosed depression that came about as a result of my awakening homosexuality. I knew it was wrong for me to go on a mission feeling like I did - but nobody listened to a word I was saying. All they wanted was for me to get out there on that mission, promising me that if I did, all would be well and my "feelings" would go away because I'd be doing the lord's work.

I finally caved in and sent in my papers a few months after my 20th birthday. I was in a terrible state of mind and crying constantly and doing other really dangerous stuff. But no one was listening. The pressure to go on a mission was insufferable and I just got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.

I went Jason, because I was virtually forced to. I had been brainwashed all my life that I'd be going and even though I tried to resist, it was futile. So I went and most of my mission was a devastating experience that took a lot of years to recover from. I ended up falling in love with and having sex with a young man that I met over there in Italy while serving my mission. The fallout from that nearly did me in.

So yes, it's easy for someone to say that going on a mission is a choice. But my experience doesn't support that. I said no, that I wouldn't go. I chose not to go. But my family and bishops wouldn't take no for an answer and ignored all of the overwhelming evidence that I shouldn't be going and forced me out there anyway.

Do I regret going? Absolutely not. There was enough good (that had nothing to do with being a missionary) that the bad was outweighed. But it's still very clear to me today, thirty years later, that it wasn't my choice to go.

Do young mormon men really have a choice in the matter?

Maybe some do. But the life-long conditioning and the unrelenting pressure to go, coupled with the stigma of not going, can make it seem like no choice at all for some of us.

Subject: Who-Ra TLC!!!
Date: Jan 19 21:38
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac (Like unto Theo, always swearing)
Mail Address:

I've explained it too, to people who insist that there was/is a choice.

How about the first two songs I learned at three years old being:

Mormon Boy


I Hope They Call Me On A Mission

Yeah, sure, I had a choice.

I brought this up to the parental units, and in classic mormon blame-the-victim mentality the reply was, "you are right, maybe you weren't ready"

So, to conclude, I'd like to put a bit more of a Theo spin on it.

To the next person who insists that I had a choice to spend two years of my youth slaving for Joseph'Smyth, I respectfully insist we play word jumble. See if you can get these two words in the correct order: You & Fuck.

Subject: LOL Insomniac!! (language)
Date: Jan 19 21:46
Author: TLC

A lot of mormons I know wouldn't be able to get it right, so I'd end up having to do it for them. Which is ultimately more satisfying anyway. :-)

Another variation:
As the dyslexic said, "You Fuck."


Subject: Missions are romanticized
Date: Jan 19 22:05
Author: Tyler
Mail Address:

Growing up in a predominant mormon culture most everyone you know, like and respect is either mormon or RM. You go to farewells where the departing missionary is given attention and positive praise for his worthy decision. You go to homecomings where the grown up missionary is now a mature man (in the mind of a young person) and has the respect and adoration of his/her peers for serving a mission.

The whole experience is romanticized, "It was the best two years of my life" is heard over and over and over again.

The truth is that it is the best two years of your life if your whole life has been lived in a F***ing Gulag in Siberia, then yes a mission would be the best two years of one's life up until that point. Problem is, that NO ONE tells you the truth about a mission.

Sure they say it was "challenging" or "hard work" but those are just euphemisms for, "DUDE, a mission sucks shit". It is all in code and pre-missionaries don't yet read that code.

You get all the positives (yes, there are some positives) and none of the negatives. The negatives of a mission are about 10 to 1 in favor of the negative shit you have to suffer through. Most RM's positively talk about the few positives they have. Secondly, baptizing people is not the greatest thing about a mission. Connecting with people and loving people is the best part of a mission. The church does not want its missionaries loving people, they want them baptizing people. That is a monumental difference and it is what confuses people about how shallow a mission feels.

Above and beyond all the social pressures one feels just like TLC and others have stated, exists the romanticized myth that baptizing people is the greatest joy there is. That is complete and utter bullshit.

Some of the people I loved I baptized (God forgive me) and some of the people I loved wanted nothing to do with the church. The fact that some were baptized is a non causal relationship to the love I felt for them and hopefully they for me.

The greatest tragedy of a mission is that it is geared to cut short by design what would otherwise be lifelong relationships created by missionaries for the people they meet to further the church's agenda for baptism.

I digress, but I was fooled into a mission by my culture and the idealized romance that was spoon fed me with knowing all the facts.

Still glad I went, because it opened my eyes.


Subject: Very insightful Tyler.
Date: Jan 19 22:24
Author: TLC

I hadn't thought about it before, but your comments on loving the people really hit home. Many of the people I learned to love and value the most on my mission, never got baptized. Some of them did - but their eventual baptism or not, wasn't the issue with me when it came right down to it. It was the love and the friendship that mattered the most and what is still with me all these years later.

Thanks for sharing those thoughts Tyler. I always seem to really resonate with the things you share here.

Subject: Re: Is it really a choice to go on a mission? Thoughts for Jason Gagnon.
Date: Jan 19 22:21
Author: Claire
Mail Address:

I remember sitting in a sacrament meeting some 20 years ago where a guy had the guts to tell the truth about his mission in Germany, and missionary work in general. Instead of being understanding, people labled him "negative". Needless to say,he never was called to any high positions in the stake, poor guy. TBMs can't handle the truh.

Subject: Re: Is it really a choice to go on a mission? Thoughts for Jason Gagnon.
Date: Jan 19 22:39
Author: Charley
Mail Address:

I didn't go on a mission despite being brainwashed my entire life that I would go. I spent one semester at BYU and lost my religion completely. I hated that place. I went home at xmas told my parents I wasn't going back and that I definetely wasn't going on a mission. Well things got pretty bad at home after that so I finally got a place with some friends. After that my bishop who is my cousin hounded me for two years. He even came and got me out of work to go and sit in his car while he badgered me about a mission. He only got away with this because I was working for a TBM. Finally I told him that I smoked pot and did acid. It was the acid that did it. He never bothered me again. I have only been to church twice since in the last 30 years other than weddings or funerals. Now they are trying to get me to take missionary lessons but I've been there before. Sorry for the length, just had to get it out.

Subject: That's very true Claire.
Date: Jan 19 22:41
Author: TLC

No one really tells the truth about serving a mission. If they did, no one would go. Like Tyler said, there is an amazing romanticization that goes on amongst mormons when it comes to missions. That's just part of the drone and no one dares rock the boat.

As difficult a time as I had on my mission, I'm sure that my homecoming talk was all glitter and romance with talk about my baptisms and spiritual experiences. Problem is, I left out the part about a romantic nighttime journey across the Mediteranean Sea with Gianni wherein I surrendered my restless virginity to him. That was the inexorably and achingly romantic part of my mission.

God forbid I should have mentioned that in my homecoming talk. :-)

Truth for most mormons, is the ability to repeat what they've been told. Rote is a great way to learn and mormons have the thing down pat. A homecoming talk for most missionaries isn't about telling what really happened on their missions. It's about their ability to remember what countless others have said before them and then being able to repeat those words flawlessly and articulately, one by one until the perfect homecoming talk is given.

Truth has nothing to do with it.

Thanks Claire. You're spot on.

Subject: I went when I was twenty, I held off, then I was screwed over by my Bishop
Date: Jan 19 22:37
Author: AFNO
Mail Address:

He knew our wards were going to split, so he held on to my papers for about 4 months before he sent them in, the another 2 months to get a response with a call. He did this so I would be a missionary stat from his new ward. I was really upset when I found out he diddled with my paperwork for numbers, but I put it aside like a good little MoMo.

I stayed on my mission because I would be WEAK if I left early. I should've just fuckin' left because I would've been STRONG to do so, not weak. But living with that as a TBM for life would've been such embarrassment.

Thank GAWD I had some decent scenery to help with with my WASTED two years. Spain is beautiful and running with bulls against mission rules was stellar and Spaniard, male and female are delicious to the eye and taste, I'm sure.


Subject: I so admire you AFNO, for running with the bulls.
Date: Jan 19 22:49
Author: TLC

It remains to this day one of my all-time favorite missionary stories - and what an image that conjurs!!! There's always been something of a rebel in you it seems, even when you were heavily into the mormon thing.

Wouldn't it be fun someday to publish a collection of mormons missionary stories? I mean, you know, the good ones - the stories like running with the bulls ....


Subject: Re: Is it really a choice to go on a mission? Thoughts for Jason Gagnon.
Date: Jan 19 22:53
Author: Jason Gagnon

I know that when I didn't go on my mission, people were
very critical. I was looked at as a 'lost soul' and even
a slothful person. They were so busy to point out my own
faults - they neglected their own though.

Being gay was a big factor in my not going. I remember the
look on my Bishops face when I told him why. He was I have
to admit understanding. He was never the same towards me
though afterwards.

The pressure that people place on others just to get them
to live by someone elses standards... it's unreal. I grew
up in the Mormon faith and I chose at the end to buy a
nice pair of "FUCK YOU SHOES", and they have not come off

I understand that everyone has different circumstances, and
I certainly know what it's like to have a whole ward down
you're back. I also know that if I make a choice and they
don't like it... I DON'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO THEM.

I've been out of the LDS church for a while now. I am very
happy to be me. The church can suck my $&@%!!!

Subject: Your age might have something to do with it Jason.
Date: Jan 19 23:07
Author: TLC

I suspect you're a whole lot younger than me and that does make a difference. I had never even heard the word gay when I was 19 and didn't really have any concept of what homosexuality might mean, other than it being about two guys or two gals. Today, saying you're gay automatically disqualifies you from serving a mission. Thirty years ago it was barely even talked about, much less made an issue for serving a mission.

I had nothing to fight back with when I was trying to get out of going on a mission. Nothing. I just didn't want to go and that wasn't enough leverage to get everybody off my back.

So my suggestion Jason, is to be a little more understanding about those of us who felt like we had no choice, because for many of us, there wasn't a choice and no easy way of getting out of going.

Times change and anybody who's a little clever today, can get out of going on a mission if they don't want to go. Twasn't always so though.

Subject: In some cases, there is little choice but stats show that overall, choice IS exercised.
Date: Jan 19 23:01
Author: Sometime board watcher
Mail Address:

I take the points you made and agree that for a proportion of young Mormon men there is little or no choice. However, as someone on this board pointed out recently, there are still only about one third of young Mormon men serving missions - this indicates to me that there are a majority who do have the choice, and are exercising it.

Subject: One third of all young mormon men serving missions...
Date: Jan 19 23:12
Author: TLC

...would likely take into account other countries (third world countries?) where serving isn't always an option. Do you know if the one third figure would hold true in the States? It doesn't seem likely to me that only one third of eligible young men in the corridor are serving. That stat doesn't go down easy for some reason. But factoring in young mormon men from all other countries would make it more likely it seems.

Subject: I didn't go...
Date: Jan 19 23:19
Author: jed
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... but then my family has always been supportive of whatever I choose to do with my life. If my family had been like TLC's - I'm pretty sure at 19 I would have buckled under the pressure and went anyway. It's funny because the church contradicts itself in so many places. I would hear growing up that you should only go on a mission if you want to, but then I'd also hear that it's your "duty" and you "owe it to God" to go on a mission. LOL crazy. Not to mention the way people gossiped about the one's who didn't go. Afterall, they must be committing some grave sin, otherwise they'd want to serve the lord.

Yup, lot's of SHAME SHAME SHAME and GUILT GUILT GUILT. To some people, drudging through 2 years of a mission is better than the aftermath of choosing not going. Yes, even after all that - it IS still a choice (by definition anyway), but your choices can be manipulated easily when you're young.

Subject: Re: Is it really a choice to go on a mission? Thoughts for Jason Gagnon.
Date: Jan 19 23:39
Author: Claire
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The pressure some misguided Mormons put on their children is simply unbelievable. We rented out a house to a Mormon family who had this really sweet and shy 8 year old son, and they were getting on him because HE WAS NOT A LEADER! How crazy is that. ONE can only guess at the damage being done to a kid who is made to feel like he is not o.k. as a human being by his own parents! And all this from a church that's built on a hoax - it boggles the mind.

Subject: If it were a "true" choice, then there would be respect...
Date: Jan 20 00:25
Author: Kim
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...accorded to those who choose NOT to go. That certainly isn't the case though, is it? It's more like, if you choose to go, then you will be treated cordially, with a decent amount of respect. If you choose NOT to go, you will be emotionally and financially cut off, you will be denied employment opportunities and all those kind, compassionate, Christian mormons out there will go out of their way to treat you like shit.

Some great choice!

I wanted to go on a mission, but I didn't want to be a missionary. I just basically wanted to go to Europe. I didn't ever have any burning desire to "spread the good word." I just wanted to be a tourist, and the reason I started taking French in Seventh Grade and every year thereafter was to get me sent to France on my mission. Turns out I was lucky.

I never considered not going. At age 19, I wouldn't have ever been able to face the ostracism.

There were no conversion stories to tell during my homecoming speech. Instead I told stories about French culture and getting spit on. Incidentally, I also told about running with bulls, as I personally joined in that fun during a Basque festival in Bayonne, France. I didn't utter the tired cliche about it being "the two best years of my life" although at that point it was the two best years of my life. I just didn't want people to hear that and assume what most TBMs assume when they hear it.

I was exposed to something other than Utah, and I figured out there was much more to life than the Mormon Church. In that light, those WERE two pretty good years.


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