I loved every minute. It destroyed a large part of my life, and got me trapped in for 14 additional years. And litterally almost killed me afterwards. But the actual mission was absolutely amazing. I didn't want to come home. I came home with the intention of serving at least 10 missions before I died.
I enjoyed living in Switzerland and making new friends.
I didn't enjoy knocking on doors 10 hours/day.
I didn't enjoy the tremendous guilt I felt for not baptizing. Of course the reason the Swiss were't baptized was because I wasn't faithful enough. It didn't matter that I worked my ass off, I must have done something wrong like letting my mind wander when I readthe scriptures. Something like that.
I didn't enjoy spending every moment within a couple of feet of my companion.
I didn't enjoy having to get up at 6:30 AM EVERY morning for 1.5 years, even on P day. I've never been a morning person and always felt sleep deprived.
I didn't enjoy the mold infested studio apartment I lived in, right next to the expressway.
I didn't enjoy being away from my boyfriend, who was not LDS, and turning off my emotions of love and desire for him. It permanently damaged me.
I loved my mission, and Tokyo actually opened my eyes. So many foreigners being baptized, despite them being an overwhelming minority. Chinese, Brazilian, etc... but hardly any Japanese... and the few Japanese that DID join were kooky or weird in some way.
So yeah, thank you Tokyo. You were the beginning of the end.
I enjoyed the country I served in, the people, the culture and language. Knowing the language and with the internet now I have made several new friends, some of them Exmos, and I have got to travel a lot in Scandinavia with my family, staying with and visiting friends, some old friends and some I have met through internet groups and such something I never would have done if I hadn't been a missionary.
I had a couple of companions and DLs and ZLs that I became great friends with.
I hated the sales aspect, the unrelenting tracting and door to door selling in freezing weather and the mind f__K of the church non-sense and mission rules, the church as careerism and blind dedication to a cult with cult rules.
It had it's good parts, visiting historic places, viewing a new kind of scenery. Leaves in the fall would literally pile up 3 feet in all directions, Id never seen this before. Pollen in the spring would coat everything indoors with sticky orange flakes.
fighting with comps, tracking into nazi-Jdubs or Holy Roller Pastors, or redneck confederates who knew supposedly everything about Jebus... this was always bad.
I like the place I went. Germany is awesome and if my Mormon blinders were off, I might have enjoyed it more.
We weren't terribly, um successful at getting Germans to buy into our story--I can't blame them now. However, that really started to eat at my self-esteem, my sense of self worth. I was worried about my "worthiness" all the time.
At the same time, like Hending I hated the sales aspect and noticed that people who were good manipulators of people's feelings tended to do well at gaining converts. One of them is now on the real estate investment seminar circuit--"you too can get rich like me" and so forth. The promoters, the heart sellers, the exaggerators, the loud mouths--they seemed to get ahead in that system.
As an introvert, I just hated going out there every day and approaching strangers. It was really hard. I can do that sort of thing from time to time--for instance I like going canvassing for political candidates I like. But I don't have to do that every day, and I get the chance to recharge on my own pace. With a mission there's a constant itch to be working harder like the horse in Animal Farm--must work harder!
That's one of the reasons it was really hard to come to grips with the fact that we'd been sent to do all this on the basis of many, many lies.
I finally got to go back to Germany a few years ago. I had been in the Frankfurt mission from 75 to 77. I went back to some places from my mission, but also lots of other places. It was great not to have to worry about boundaries and being able to go see what I wanted to see! Did see some missionaries in Chemnitz and talked to them a bit. There have been lots of changes in Germany. Dresden and Berlin are amazing! Next time I'll be spending more time in these cities.
The mission itself had its good parts and bad. It wasn't as bad as some of the stories I've heard about third world countries. The living conditions, while not always really good, were not horrible. The worst was the depression of tracting for days and days and not having anyone let us in to talk to them.
Not in the least. I worked hard, but as an introvert it was kind of torturous. I could not wait for it to be over. It did not help that my father died while I was on my mission and the mission president told me I could not go to the funeral unless I wanted to be reassigned to another mission. What a great family church right?
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2018 12:51PM by Atari.
hated it! left behind at home everything that I cared about at the time in order to promote the MORmON scam, and to find them converts. The MORmON scam treated the best convert that I got for them like a demolition derby car.
I actually enjoyed it, too. But I think there's a context here...I don't think a lot of exmos enjoyed it. There had to be the right combination of experience and attitude.
The experience was with the people. I was Spanish-speaking in Texas and only dealt with those folks. They were kind, interesting, and even if they didn't care to join the church they wanted to know you and be friends.
But it was also attitude. I was a believer, but I wasn't stupid and wasn't going to keep every mission rule. Sleeping in, seeing the occasional movie, etc. wasn't a big deal. Kept me sane. And I had heard about missionaries going home "weird" and too serious. I wasn't going to be one of those. I kept my head and wanted to be the same person that I was when I left.
Looking back on my life in the church, I'm angry that it was a waste of time. But the mission years taught me Spanish, gave me a break from school and working, and was almost a vacation. I don't know how many other former missionaries feel the same, but I'm not too angry about those years.
My son is out there now and I'm not happy that he's being further indoctrinated into this mind f***. He wasn't much of a believer before and I'm hoping he isn't buying into it. But he seems to be having fun, bonding with other males, and just getting a break from his a-hole step father. Maybe it will benefit him in the long run, or maybe it will make him waste 20 years in this cult like it did me.
I spent 2 1/2 years in the French East Mission in the early sixties and enjoyed every day of it. Became fluent in French. Met lots of wonderful people. Worked in several great cities . . . Lyon, Toulouse, Besancon, Nice.
Pretty much considered it an extended vacation in an exotic foreign country, marred only by the pesky expectation that I do a bit of missionary work. I was never really committed to (or even very interested in) missionary work or following the plethora of rules we had . . . even way back then.
The mission was very hard. I did my duty. I endured. I never allowed myself to assess my own happiness during those two years.
I have no regrets. I loved the people and the country beyond reason. The food was brilliant and always seemed to come from love. Being out in the world was a vast wonderful feeling and enriched my life like the stilted, obedience obsessed, Mormon church never could.
I didn't know it at the time but getting out of a 100% Mormon valley and away from TBM-to-the-Max family was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. My observation of all the other missionaries and the way they acted was a wake-up call as well as to what the church was all about. Rule breakers seemed to do better than anyone. My mission opened my eyes. I could never close them again. And I learned a language that I still use everyday.
I'm not sure I could have gotten out of the Mormon church without the mission. Partly because in the end, I needed my family to know that I chose to leave for good reasons, that I knew exactly what I was leaving, and hadn't just "fallen away."
They still think I left to sin, but, whatever. Don't cry form me Argentina.
“The Mantle” was rather real for me at the time. So being counted worthy to be a missionary was a source of awe and joy. But at the same time “the mantle” could also be a chafe for my perfectionistic tendencies. When teaching situations would go up in smoke or when our numbers were garbage, I would blame myself for not being worthy enough, or adept enough with the scriptures, or otherwise a sufficient enough channel for the Lord to work his work. I would have bouts of imposter syndrome, doubt my worthiness (sometimes my mental distress itself would lead me into sin), and sink into deep depression for days, sometimes weeks. I should have been kinder to myself. I should have been more realistic in my expectations. There is no denying that I experienced a spiritual clarity on my mission that I had not had before. I’m grateful for the immersion in the scriptures the time allowed me to have —- if for no other reason than it allowed me to see how the secret sauce is made, to see for myself which verses of scripture or passages of sermon or lines in song cause Mormons to think this or that.
On the whole, the mission experience sent me home burnt out and deeply distressed. The experience after my return home was not happy. The post-mission years wound up with me finally questioning God’s existence while in the middle of a degree at BYUI for the sake of my sanity. Mormon God seemed to be a key ingredient and the last barrier to major breakthroughs in mental health for me, so to hell with him. I eventually found RfM at the age of 25. I see this as an inevitable result of my mission experiences.
I met many extraordinary people and had many awesome experiences I am grateful in hindsight to have had, but I wouldn’t recommend anybody go on a mission just for experience’s sake. Your ‘companions’ are snitches and your leaders are deluded idiots under corporate pressure to be obsessed with performance and are often preoccupied with personal advancement within the church. They are ignorant of human needs and limitations.
At no other point in a Mormon’s life are the myths as real and palpapable, but the cultish rules help to enforce all of that. They truly expect divine miracles to happen for them like they did for Christ’s apostles in the Book of Acts, or something of the like. There’s a reason the church wants its young men to go on missions as soon as they are out of high school: to produce an experience that will church-break them for a lifetime. That’s all the mission is meant to do, especially these days that stakes are collapsing and church growth in developed nations is slowing down.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/2018 03:50AM by Cold-Dodger.
I would say yes, for the most part. There are always some bad days that crop up at any time. My MP was Earl C. Tingey. I was in the Australia East Mission 1974-76, Spanish speaking. Yep, "¡G'die, señor!" At one Mission gathering, Marvelous Marvin Ashton was in attendance and between meetings he was standing a little behind and to the side of me and I took the opportunity to break up his boredom with a little joke. He looked at me like I was from another planet.