Date: January 11, 2018 08:50AM
Yes, but I think it reflects more on the decline of the church than the actual caliber of missionary.
In the past few years, I've noticed that missionaries are really starting to look like children. Yes, this is partially because I'm getting older, I realize. All their lives, these kids have been told that if they are faithful and obedient, there won't be enough time in the day for all the teaching and baptizing they will be doing. Not so. Before the surge, I feel like missionaries at least had a year or two to pump the brakes a bit and realize that the real world won't be quite as perfect as the church movies make it seem. For a lot of the young missionaries, this realization can be hard - it's great for us, because this causes a lot of them to question their faith. Others, however, get discouraged because they assume they aren't able to find investigators because of some personal shortcomings on their part.
I have only met a very small handful of missionaries since the age limit was lowered, but the few I met were genuinely nice kids. They were a bit immature, and maybe even idiots, but Lord knows that I was a dope when I was 18. They should be off being obnoxious with their friends at college, or starting to learn about the real world in the workforce - instead, they are paying to be emotionally abused by an institution they have been taught loves them.
A perk I have noticed is that the younger missionaries are MUCH more passive than their older counterparts used to be. The church tracked me down a couple months ago, which led to a set of missionaries at my door. I'll give them a pass on the fact that they forgot my apartment number and went through the entire building asking for me. When they finally got to my door, they asked for me. "Nope, no one here by that name here" I replied. "Shoot...alright, thanks for your time..." they responded, and that was the end of it. Back when I was in the church (only 10 years ago), the missionaries would have asked me where I was (lolololo), asked if they could share a spiritual message, went home and got my address, then returned the next day. While this new mindset might not be as good for the church's statistics, it might leave some people with a better taste in their mouths in the long run. It always pissed me off so bad to have some condescending 20 year old tell me "Well we get moved around a lot, so I can't promise that missionaries won't be back here next month..." when I asked to be put on a no-contact list.
The missionary effort is absolutely a disaster right now, but I honestly don't think it's fair to place the blame entirely on the missionaries serving. Everyone knows about Mormonism by now - the internet has made it incredibly easy for anyone who hasn't heard to learn. The world is becoming more secular - despite what the priesthood and MTC lessons may tell them, people aren't sitting in their homes praying that some messengers of truth will come share the gospel with them. The number of people who identify as atheist or agnostic is on the rise, and people who DO believe are quite happy in their religious communities. The world is also becoming more private. I can't think of anyone who enjoys having strangers drop by to try to sell them religion.
My town just established a city-wide "No-Knock" registry. While it excludes religious representatives from its protections, the city actually had to hire a new part-time employee to help process all the registries. No one wants to be bothered, which is bad news for door-to-door missionaries.