Date: March 27, 2016 03:27PM
We have some dear neighbors who are devout Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventist church has almost exactly the same number of members as the Mormon church claims. They also, like the Mormons, have an extensive educational system, and an extensive missionary system. (They also have - or had - a prophet, Ellen G. White, whose prophecies were all fulfilled, they claim.)
The differences between the Adventist missionary system and the Mormon system are interesting, I think.
The Adventists only call adults of working age on missions, not 19-year-old kids or retired couples. They are also called for more than two years, often five or ten years. But the main difference is that the Adventist missionaries are primarily sent to actually help people in very practical ways. They are doctors, nurses, farmers, technicians, teachers. They set up hospitals, clinics, schools, sanitation programs, health education programs, etc. The religious part of their mission seems to be secondary. The primary purpose seems to be to do what Jesus said his disciples were to do: help the needy and the poor, and to heal the sick.
Also, the Adventist church pays its missionaries a salary. It supports them financially. They are not expected to finance their own mission.
What do Mormon missionaries do? The young ones are instructed to offer to help clean up your yard or give you a hand with chores around the place, but primarily they want you to take their discussions. The old ones are supposed to show you around Mormon's sacred sites and bear their testimony and tell you about Joseph Smith's First Vision. How many of those 60,000 Mormon missionaries are working full-time in health clinics for the poor, or growing vegetables for the hungry? What percentage of their time is spent really alleviating human suffering, and what percent is spent trying to convince some poor ignorant person to be baptized next week?
I do know of one Mormon couple who served an 18-month mission in Africa, primarily doing work to improve the water supply systems at villages. But I think they are an exception.
Or do I have a distorted view of the present-day Mormon missionary work?
[Disclaimer: this is not intended as a pro-Adventist advertisement. I think their prophet and their doctrines are as false as the Mormons'.]