While serving my mission, I was quickly infected with the Mormon tendency to “be the best.” I quickly noticed that district leaders, zone leaders, and assistants to the president were seen as “better”. It was evident that a missionary received more recognition, praise, and benefits as they moved up the ranks in leadership. My young and naive self bought in to this and “went to work” to receive those benefits of leadership. At 6 months DL. I was writing home about my new responsibility and the enjoying the benefits of such, like carrying around a cell phone(not all missionary companionship’s had one at this point) and getting on other missionaries for not working hard enough. I wanted more.. At a year, ZL. Again, excited about the high leadership position and being in charge of more missionaries. Not to mention, attending special meetings with nicer meals, being recognized as a “better” missionary, and of course the highly praised augmentation of trust from the MP. However, I saw how the APs lived... a pickup truck to themselves (no other missionaries had cars), working half the day in the mission office, frequent traveling, dining with MP and wife, more leniency with bedtime and other rules, etc. THAT was the most coveted leadership position. I worked for it and at 1.5 years the MP asked me to be an assistant. I used to be proud of this progression of leadership (don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my work ethic when striving to achieve something), but now it makes me think of how higher church leaders may feel. The benefits only increase as one increases in leadership whether it’s more power/dominion, recognition, or other benefits. Stake presidents wanting to be MPs, MPs Receiving so many benefits and realizing how much more they could get as a GA, thus working harder to always “be the best”. I don’t like to try and assume people’s thoughts/feelings, but if I felt this way about church leadership, is it likely that others do?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2018 03:39PM by lemonite.
You describe a certain mindset. What also merits discussion is the status and prospects of those people who don't?
Slightly off-topic, but discussed on other threads, is how women fit into this. The consensus is: "vicariously," that is, status, rank, and power are obtained through their husband's achievements, not their own. As I understand it, power-positions for women are few, notably the RS and Primary presidencies.
But you're onto something. Power is intoxicating. Also addictive, in that as one becomes habituated to it, the amount of power (like alcohol or drugs) that was sufficient a while back is insufficient now, so a stronger dose is desired.
"I don’t like to try and assume people’s thoughts/feelings, but if I felt this way about church likely is it that others do?"
It is "The Spirit" upgraded to men who might have more joy than other Mormons because they have been called and "chosen" thereby becoming The Chosen with all that implies including substantial perks the closer you get to having your calling, employment and retirement correlated and made sure better than most.
I felt the same way you did. When I first got out on my mission. We started with a similar trajectory: I was made "senior" at 3 months, and then DL at six months.
But shortly after that is when I decided to stop playing the game. Decided that being ZL and then AP wasn't worth what I'd have to do to get those coveted positions (and it wasn't the work that bothered me, it was the deception and brown nosing and sucking up and belittling of the "lazy mishies").
So before it came time to consider the fast-rising missionary-me for ZL, I started sending in actual reports. Not fudged ones. I got dressed down for my district not working hard enough -- when in reality I was probably the only DL in the mission that was being honest on the reports, and not lying about hours/investigators/etc.
Then at a zone conference, after having been "counseled" (yelled at, essentially) again for my slacking-off district in front of all the other DLs, I told the MP, APs, and ZLs there that we were working very hard, that my reports reflected that, and that if they weren't up to the other district reports it was because the other DLs were lying on their reports.
It caused a bit of a commotion. Groups were broken up. Heated words were exchanged. Some of the other DLs admitted they'd been fudging reports, some didn't. We all got rather somber talking-tos. Things got smoothed over. But my honesty had ended my path up the mission leadership ladder. I got transferred 2 more times in my final year, but was always just DL. Nobody wanted an honest ZL or AP :)
Yeah, the GAs enjoyed the additional perks all the way up the ladder. It was motivation, it fed their ego. And like all the other church leaders I knew who did that, they lied and fudged and kissed butt on the way up, just so they could be the ones getting their butts kissed eventually.
I forgot how much lying went on on my mission. I remember always inflating my numbers so I would look better. I was a ZL for the last year of my mission and I remember inflating the numbers for my zone.
It is really a culture of lies. The better liars are rewarded.
I suppose this is only natural because the whole thing is a lie.
We lied to ourselves for pretending to feel the burning bosom. We lied to our bishops for saying we didn't masturbate. We lied on our temple recommend interviews for the same and for claiming we paid a full tithe.
We lied about our hours spent track-ting when really we were goofing off.
The lies were a part of our culture and it was only natural the ones who were better at it were promoted.
I think the unwritten rule was simply lie and don't get caught.
mightybuffalo Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > There were two types of missionaries in my > mission: > > Those who coveted leadership (including some who > cried when they weren't given it) and those who > pretended like they didn't want leadership to > justify not having leadership.
I probably was the latter (day saint) missionary. I day dreamed of the perks but couldn't stomach the requirements. I went so far as to humiliate several ZL who eventually became APs. I learned from my office elder friend about transfers several times and leaked that info. I sent around to a couple of friends drawings making fun of missionaries I disliked including them. I was known as "the dark elder" since I couldn't stand the shiny happy people missionaries and it showed.
I basically did everything wrong. I became a senior and DL half way through and then got demoted to a Jr for the rest of my mission.
I didn't realize it at the time but I went on a mission for something to do for a couple of years. I was never cut out to be a missionary. I didn't have the zeal. Not only that but after arriving in south America. I realized it was a big mistake. I did it for a year and then figured how to make it back home withourt losing face.
It's funny about the lying and how that is the real character of the church. I went from a missionary that was told by the DL and ZL to fudge the numbers to "reconciling" sacrament attendance because the bishop wouldn't accept the actual attendance.
Well you all out-ranked me that's for sure. I was a ward missionary for two years later on because I felt so d#mn guilty for not serving a mission, mainly guilty by family. They never talked about my real world achievements like they talked about a cousin going on a mission.