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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:07AM

I leave on my mission to Tampa, Florida in a month. I struggled with my disbelief, but now I'm certain that I just want to get this over with and live my life. I have few other real options- my family would almost certainly leave me to the streets, and as an 18y/o highschool grad with little work experience, I have no resources to run away without my mission completed. Idk where to put this, but does anyone have advice?

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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:09AM

I don't know if this is the right forum for this. I hope I'm not disrupting things putting this here. I just don't know what to do and I have very little time. I will be glad to solicit advice on a different forum if I mistakenly posted on the incorrect one.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:27AM

Your post is fine here. It is late at night so you may not get many responses right away. Keep checking back and top the thread if necessary so that people see it.

You are in a tough spot if your family won't support you if you don't go. Unless you have friends of family youcan stay with while youfind a job to support yourself, you may have to do the mission thing.

Your other option may be to see if you can qualify for financial aid to attend school. Your only other option may be the military.

It is certainly a difficult situation to be in

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 03:43PM

I was devious! I was forced into the mission thing so I figured out how to use it as a 2 year foreign vacation.
If you are careful you can apper to be busy and do nothing. They are deceptive! You be deceptive!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 03:44PM by thedesertrat1.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 05:16PM

That is damn good advice. Great seafood in Tampa, and good looking women wear really skimpy clothing.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:46AM

If you are planning to go to college, it will take you 6 years to get a bachelors degree, even if your parents pay the full bill, if you go on a mission.

If you don't go, and if you pay for university yourself, and only go part time, it will take you 6 to seven years. Plus the skills you will develop having to hustle to get through college are at least as useful as what you will learn from flogging religion in Tampa.

I know this is ridiculously scary, because you have never confronted an undertaking as big as college on your own. Hell, it would scare me, and I've done it. There are Pell Grants, scholarships, part time jobs, education loans. People do this. On their own. It is possible. It ain't easy. Neither is a mission.

Whatever you do, good luck.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:47AM

I served a mission as an unbeliever. But it was a way different time. But a basic factor remains: no one can control what you’re thinking.

You’re demonstrating that you know how to “play the game.” Now you get to play it for two years. It can be a very sucky game as a junior companion. But as a senior companion, you’ll have a bit more leeway.

Here’s a day dream for you: You tell your parents you don’t have a testimony and that you are not going to live a two-year lie. They kick you out. Make a sign, “Please help! My parents kicked me out for not going on a mission.”

Show up with your sign at the start of your ward’s 2 hour block, after letting all the local TV stations know about it. What fun!

Then join the Air Force.

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 03:31AM

You can do job corps if you're low income. I think they might take you in if you are going to be homeless through no choice of your own. They provide housing and vocational training.

My niece is doing job corps. She hates it but it was essentially her only option due to family issues, not related to religious reasons, but a deep rift in the parental relationship nonetheless. She says they have ridiculous rules and treat you like an infant and she's surrounded by clowns, but she is the kind of person who would say stuff like that...anyway, I just wanted to throw it out there, it's a 2 year program and you get job placement at the end on whatever field you trained in. You may want to check into it.

Maybe call your old school counselor back and ask them if there's other options? Apprenticeship programs can pay you enough to live on your own. You can get food stamps and Medicaid if you are literally your own household.

I'm sorry you are having to consider this. My youngest kid is 21 and has been doing community college, lives at home, is a barista working on his degree, just saving money. He never had to worry about what you're dealing with and I want to talk some sense into your folks.

Please keep us posted if you find a way out.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 04:01AM

Be true to yourself.

But, being an LDS kid is an acting job. Is the job worth the benefits? Your parents are Mormons, so nothing is going to change their unrealistic expectations. You could save them a bunch of drama by going along with the program. However, drama may be just what you need to distance yourself from the weird Neverland Mormon culture. Mormonism is not your friend. It has all kinds of problems you don’t see yet.

Maybe how you feel about what you do is more important than what you do. If you can make a mission work while disbelieving, why not? You don’t really have to convert anyone. There’s little chance of that in Tampa. I wouldn’t mind the gulf coast for a while. People are nice in the south. It’s probably better than working for Disney.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 04:41AM

Don't panic. I know this is scary for you, but you have some options. You're young and presumably healthy.

If I were in your shoes, I'd take some time to consider my strengths and weaknesses. Do you have sympathetic friends or relatives other than your parents who can help? What about your career? What do you like to do? Would you consider joining the military? It's definitely not for everyone, but some people thrive in the military. My husband did... it paid for all three of his degrees and now he's a retired officer. We live in Germany and get to see the world.

Do you have any unique talents you can exploit?

I second the idea about calling your school counselor or maybe an old teacher who can offer tips. Speaking of tips... maybe you should consider restaurant work. You can make good money waiting tables. It was a lifesaver for me when I was broke and desperate.

Good luck... you're in the right place. There are some awesome people here who have been where you are and can help.

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Posted by: Shannonnli ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 04:45AM

Oh sweetie...I live in Florida, a couple of blocks from the ocean. The ward house is just down the street. I can't tell you how jarring it is to see the mishies all dressed up in Sunday clothes riding their bikes with ties flying and helmets on. Everyone else is headed to the ocean on fat-tired beach bikes, wearing bathing suits and carrying surf boards. No helmets. I want to scream at the Mormon boys to buy a bathing suit and go to the beach with everyone else. Enjoy your tropical vacation! Satan doesn't rule the waters! It's always against mission rules to go swimming. So if you serve in Tampa, be a rebel. Find a partner in crime, and go to the beach...OFTEN. One more thing - you will feel heat like you have never felt before in your life. God did not intend for young men to ride bikes in this humidity while wearing suits.Its not natural. lol. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 10:24AM

Satan does indeed rule the waters because elohim is powerless from preventing satan from ruling the waters.

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 10:47PM

Hi, Shannon!! Long time no hear, girlfriend!!

Just wanted to wave to you!

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 10:18AM

There's lots of missionaries serving with the same concerns/doubts. They don't believe, but their families will disown them and shun them unless they serve.

Some good points.
-You can be more open about not believing
-99% of the population know about the fraud called mormonism
-People can check the veracity of JS in a simple google search
-Many missionaries pass the time trying to serve others: Do you like mowing other people's yards for free?
-I see missionaries doing bicycle tricks/stunts because they are bored

I'm one of the younger dinosaurs who served 30 years ago. You could not exhibit, display or opinion that the church was anything but true. I served with several companions that were truly depressed, but I never earned their trust and confidence. Looking back, I can see that they didn't believe, but very few wanted to be sent home early. There used to be a terrible stigma for failing to serve a full time mission, now it's more common to return early.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 11:15AM

You have been raised to have no options. Others have painted you into a corner without even the possibility of leaping to a sofa. THE CHURCH LEADERS LOWERED THE AGE TO 18 TO ENSURE THAT YOU FELT YOU HAD NO OPTIONS. You had no way to know this was happening. But now this is where you are. This is wrong on so many levels and not your fault. I am angry on your behalf. This is no way to treat the youth that we are supposed to be mentoring.

I don't really have any advice any better than what has been offered but will give my thoughts in case they are of any help.

I did go on the mission thinking I believed. We were dirt poor and I had to pay for my own education anyway. Worked thirty hours a week in freezing weather at a gas station long before self serve. Worked seventy hour weeks in the summer. Lived with three room mates in a tiny basement apartment with bunk beds. Got scholarships. It was harder than hell but I left with no debt and no reason to pretend to be Mormon to anyone ever. Felt good. I do understand that in today's world that may be harder than ever to do. But look at all your options.

I am glad I did the hard parts of my life when I was young and could always bounce back. Life has a way of taking away your options once your own family comes. Your decisions will only affect you at this point.

My family is ultra TBM to the max. They did not disown me, but leaving Mormonism changed everything with our relationship. I found another real family over the years--the closest of friends who love you for you. This is what you need no matter what you do. Conditional love isn't really love. To think your family would disown you for being true to yourself is not the way things are supposed to be in a supposedly "family first" church.

Find people like yourself, who know the Mormon church is a lie, to support you whether you go or stay here on your own-- even as you support them with words and encouragement in return. No matter what you do you need people in your life who care about you and are not using you.

You already know you don't deserve to pay this price. I am afraid it will eat at you once you get on a mission where you are expected continue the ruse. What is next when you get home? Will it be at an end, or, will the education be paid for only if you go to one of the church universities or colleges to continue the act?

If you go though, find the humor in it all. Only that will keep you sane. Only that will make you feel like you have some control.

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 12:35PM

Wow! ^^ This is awesome advice. I'm a RM myself though I was a believer when I did my mission. I can't imagine going through it now without being open about my non-belief.

My TBM family disowned me when I left the cult. Most of them do not talk to me unless they want something.

Good luck to you. I vote for being honest with yourself and not throwing away years of your life for a cult. In the end your family will disown you anyway for your non-belief. They are not worth it.

Join the USAF. I did. Your college will be mostly paid for in 4 years plus you will have skills you can use in the world. Seriously, The GI bill rocks.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 11:47AM

Last week I was in a crisis where everyone was yammering at me to undergo a test that I knew would injure me. My husband was on board with them (because it was for my "good.") I turned to him and told him to Please Stand Up For Me!!

That turned the tide.

Tell your parents to ignore all the yapping going into their ears and "stand up for you." That phrase could trigger something instinctual in them.

Be honest with them.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:12PM

Like this a lot.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 12:15PM

“This above all: to thine own self be true"

--------------------------Shakespeare's Polonius

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:01PM

You're an adult.
Your life is your own.
If your family would disown you for having the courage to follow the dictates of your conscience, they do not really believe in their own religion they have forced upon you. You could join the military and have them pay to train you, like 3 of my kids did.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:01PM

dtarsenic Wrote:
> I have few other real options- my
> family would almost certainly leave me to the
> streets, and as an 18y/o highschool grad with
> little work experience, I have no resources to run
> away without my mission completed. Idk where to
> put this, but does anyone have advice?

In 1989 I was in your shoes. I had been picked up for pot and thrown in jail in Orem, Utah. No one was going to help me. I called my parents and they bailed me out on the condition that I follow all of their rules. They got me home and going to school and church and pressured me to go on a mission.

I knew if I didn't follow their rules I was back on the street. They saved me from homelessness living in my car and with friends. I was pretty strung out, depressed, and a mess. I was barely hanging onto a job at Little Caesar's Pizza. What I wanted most was to go to college but didn't think I could get over my habits and depression. It was a long rode away from the drugs.

I chose to conform and eventually convinced myself that the church was true while I was on my mission. I hated the politics there and thought many missionaries were self absorbed douche bags. I was called the "dark" missionary since I was reserved and highly critical of all the other people who had followed the plan. I was a dark horse. I had many experiences that these people had no understanding or empathy for.

My advice to you is do what you think will help you the most but realized any choice you make is going to be doing hard things and a long time to do them in.

I wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't gone back home. I didn't believe it. I only believed it before being sexually abused as a child and for a few years during and after my mission which included the year I got married. A long protracted dissolution of my beliefs in Mormonism followed along with three beautiful children.

Best of luck. Being an adult is hard. Recovering from abuse is hard. Recovering from religion is hard. Fighting a borderline personality in myself and dealing with a dysfunctional narcissistic family is hard.

That bright-eyed beautiful blond little towheaded toddler boy I was is long gone. Now is the time to decide what you will do to survive. It takes resolve, luck, and a lot of uncommon sense to figure things out. I'm still trying to.

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Posted by: logged off today ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:03PM

"I just want to get this over with and live my life"

What exactly would that be? Getting a job, finding your own place, a compatible mate? You can either start doing that right now, or serve the mission and then do the exact same thing, but you'll be 2 years in the hole. Not going on the mission will give you a 2-yr head start on "living your life."

I assume you're expecting parental help with college, which they won't provide unless you go to Tampa. Okay, let's say you come back at 20, ready to enroll. Will your parents only pay for BYU? If you don't want to do that, then your parents will be "kicking you to the street" after your mission rather than before, and rather than 18 you'll be a 20-year-old high school graduate. Not an improvement.

Point is, if they're the hardcore disowning type, they'll disown you at whatever point you refuse to toe their mormon line, whether it's mission, temple marriage, inactivity, etc.

You could let them know that forcing you to go on a mission now will put a permanent strain on your relationship and will cause irreparable resentment against them and the church. By winning this battle, they are going to lose the war. If they want to risk that after having been properly warned, that's on them. Their response will tell you just how much (or how little) they value you as something other than a bragging right to the ward.

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Posted by: Fascinated in the Midwest ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:33PM

I endorse exploring the military option. There have been several people here over the years who recommend it.

The military provides medical and dental care, housing, education...a tough job but it comes with a lot of rules and expectations. Can you handle that? If so, it pays in US dollars - unlike a mission.


when you reach 23-24 years OR can prove you are independent of your parents, then US Federal dollars become more available to you for paying for higher education. Research and ask questions. Start at a community college for the first two years, earn your Associate's degree, then transfer to a big-name school or other 4-year institution that appeals to you and offers your major track.

If college isn't really your thing, consider a trade or technical school. Plumbing, welding, a/c repair technician, journeyman electrician are all skills that will always be needed in the future. The pay can be handsome.

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 04:57PM

The Military worked out for me. I joined the USAF in 1991 and retired in 2011. I got to see the world and learn a lot about aircraft and all kinds of different people. Upon retirement I still have medical benefits as well as my pension.

I could have just stayed in for the first 4 years but it was a fun job and I loved it. Had I gotten out after 4 years I would have still had a lot of benefits to include the new GI bill.

Everyone is different and the military is not for everyone. Still, call your recruiter and see what they can do for you.

Your family will eventually disown you no matter what you do. At least you can have a new network of friends and family-in-arms.

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Posted by: schweizerkind ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 01:45PM

I've been in your shoes. Sixty years ago foreign missions were 2 1/2 years. By the end I was sure it was false, and I was through. All I can say is grit your teeth and grind it out. Things will get better after.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:20PM


My question is, who will get to manipulate years (years!) of your life next?

A domineering wife and her parents?

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Posted by: praydude ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 02:32PM

^^ This was me. My first wife ended up being a nightmare. I was easily led until I learned to stand up for myself.

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Posted by: Eric K ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 03:24PM

The worst mistake of my life was going on a mission. You can avoid that mistake! These are important 2 years of your young life. Military, Air Force for example, is not a bad choice. I have relatives who have done well joining the military and later get their college degrees and move on in life. It worked out well for them. Be sure you pick an option in the military, if you go this route, that can be used in the civilian world. Going into infantry is not a good career choice for example.

A community college you pay for yourself and working part/full time will be exhausting, but doable. It is better than 2 years knocking on doors selling a cult. Then go to a full time college or university. You will be miles ahead of those who go on missions.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 03:27PM by Eric K.

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 07:43PM

My husband went Navy to avoid the mission. He basically said same as Eric K., but emphasized anyone thinking of it should talk thoroughly with other (and non-Mormon) service members about successfully navigating the recruitment process to set yourself up as well as can be for after enlistment ends, and get it all in writing before you sign anything. He said some recruiters will promise you the moon and hard sell you like it's a used car lot. Before he decided on Navy, the Army guy was promising small and nerdy (his words, not mine) husband a spot with the Rangers. Husband laughed that one off and opted to be an engineer on a destroyer.

Myself, I'm not military material. I don't think even they could knock the Gomer Pyle level heedlessness out of me, especially when I was young enough to join. If I had to choose between which institution to surrender my autonomy to for two years, I'd pick the government instead of having to pay the cult to own me.

There has to be something OP can do besides this mission. I hope he finds a good option.

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Posted by: TonyB ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 05:53PM

Honestly, I can say this because I'm old...

It doesn't really matter if you don't go. Time heals all wounds.

When you try to fake it, your companion will probably find out anyway and tell on you.

It's best to be yourself and get on with your life.

If you have to get a job and pay for training yourself (I would go to a tech school over college... get some real skills), then do it...

STILL better than going on a mission for 2 years and being miserable every single day.

Remember what you will have to do every day... long days, scripture study, companion prayer, trying to teach something that you don't believe in (that will be extremely difficult, if not impossible), and many, many church meetings... endless meetings.

Not worth it.

Hiding a big secret inside you will tear your soul apart.

Take our advice... come clean and let the chips fall where they may...


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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 06:04PM

If U go and you're paying attention, you will notice the difference between different types of companions, ranging from 'gung-ho' go-getter literalist comps who are bucking to be the next GA to those who literally DGAS.

Your mission pres will figure this out sooner or later, no matter how much U try to disguise it.

Chances are if U don't have sex, don't bad-mouth any of the Lawd's annointed, they won't boot you out (your outcomes WILL vary!!)

try not to make waves, try not to annoy anyone.
by all means, as your parental units to send U extra $ & extra goodies, a pre-paid Visa or MC from them or a friend - relative will make U lots of friends!!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 06:08PM by GNPE.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 06:21PM

You know, I bet those of us who didn't mind having to spend two years as a tourist went to interesting places, where the postings were spread out, and you could be hours away from the nearest missionaries. Not to mention that foreign countries are, within the proper perspective, interesting!

But two years in a roughly 10-mile by 20-mile area, with nothing to look forward to but contact with mostly lower economic class Americans AND mormons, that would be hard to take.

Have you gone to to read elders' and sisters' blogs? It will definitely trigger your gag reflex.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 06:22PM

You've been given a lot of good options, above. What I want to ask is, what do you want to do? In what field do you see yourself eventually earning a living? In an ideal world, what would you be doing with your life over the next two years?

If you don't take charge of your life, other people will. And you will not be going in a direction that you want to go. It's best to make a decision now (you can always revise or change it later.) If you don't know the exact job, try to think of a general industry or field that intrigues and suits you. It could be health care, construction, computers, etc.

Just getting any old job will likely lead to poverty. You will need training and skills in order to earn a good living, and to have the life you deserve. Sometimes this is best accomplished in stages, i.e. joining the military, taking an apprenticeship, going to a community college, etc. I compare it to sailing a boat. Learn how to work the sails, and in time, you can go wherever you wish to go. Let the wind knock you about instead, and you will land up in a random, and perhaps undesirable place.

I know that some young people do missions so that their parents will pay for four years of college and give them other goodies as well. How likely is this for you? Sometimes parents give empty promises, or only give a token amount towards school expenses. Do you have older siblings? How has it worked out for them?

Carefully consider your options. If you need specific advice about any career field, we can probably help you.

What do you WANT to do? I realize that no one in your life cares about this right now, but we care. Tell us about your dreams for yourself.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 06:24PM by summer.

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Posted by: tig ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 06:30PM

The average male lives to be 78 in the United States. Sure, some live a few more years, and some a bit less...but 78 more or less. 2 years represents about 3% of that time. It represents more than 10% of the time that you have already lived.

There are things that you will have to do in life. Things that are unavoidable. This isn't one of them.

I served a mission. It wasn't bad. I was in a place I liked (England), most of my companions were good people, and I was a true believer at the time. Even then it was difficult at times and definitely NOT the best two years of my life.

You don't sound excited about Florida, you aren't a believer, and we have no idea what your companions will be like. It could create a huge hit to your mental health.

Is some pain of being honest with your family worth all of that? Others have given you some great options (not all of them might be right for you) of school, military, work, etc. If you would like to talk...the admins should be able to give you my email.

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Posted by: battlebruise ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 09:12PM

Go join the US Navy this week. Serve your four years. During your stint in the Navy learn a trade that can be carried forward into civilian life like electronics or something in the medical field. Get out of the Navy and get a job. Many companies hire vets at premium wages. Or get out and go to school on Uncle Sam's dime. (GI Bill) Let the government pay for it and get a degree. My son served his time in the navy and now works for the Department of Defense as a federal employee making over over $100k a year with no college degree. You have options, don't feel trapped. You can make it without the help of your parents. The time spent on a mission is nothing more than two years of Mormon indoctrination.Don't fall into their trap. Don't waste your time selling a false religion to people who don't even want to talk to you. Start your life NOW! Good luck my friend.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 09:14PM by battlebruise.

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Posted by: Aaron ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 09:38PM

I feel for you, I get it, and I support whatever decision you make.
If I may, please, imagine yourself telling your story to your children some day. How cool would it be to tell them you were true to your beliefs and values. You saw through the fraud. You had immense courage and determination. You stayed home and made your own way in the face of enormous pressure. Against the odds you earned your degree through your own blood sweat and tears.
Will your parents cut you off? Will they disown you? Maybe...maybe not. What is it worth to you?
I will leave you with this quote:

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

- Nietsche

Welcome to the board, of course you are welcome here anytime. Let us know what you decide!

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 09:50PM

You should do the easiest thing, walk down to walmart and apply. Lots of kids do, many get hired, and they can get promoted. There are lots of ways to get ahead, look into warehouse work, or production. Big companies take care of their people.

You don't need the headache of school just yet. Sounds like you need a paycheck.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 11:37PM

What's the first thing they build on an Air Force base?




The golf course. Sure you'll get jokes like Chair Force and stuff like that, but six months on a carrier? No thanks. I poop on sea duty.

IIRC, you can serve two years active duty and two years as a drilling reservist, and then another four as inactive duty reserves. I think those were called 2 by 2 by 4s. The military is entitled to up to eight years of your life. I was active duty for six, and I was subject to recall for two more years. I was never a drilling reservist.

Please don't join the National Guard. IMHO those service members are being activated too often and for too long. They're needed for the global war on terror (GWOT), that has been going on for so long that it's now considered to have begun during the first Gulf War. Things are very hard for the Army and Guard service members right now.

If anyone ever tells you that you knew what you were signing up for, please punch them for me. None of us has any idea what we are signing up for, even those of us from military families. Your experience would be unique. The people you serve with will be unique.

What I can guarantee is that after bootcamp, you will have a larger extended family than a fifth-generation Mormon. Some of them you'll hate. But 99.999999999% of the time, when the shit hits the fan, they will have your back, and you will have theirs.

And you can't quit. When you're like, "Eff this BS!", and you will think that at times, you. can't. quit. The gov't owns you and you give up some of your rights.

If my kid were to join the military, I'd recommend the Air Force. They were some super-chill and smart folks I worked with. Also, when you choose a job, choose one that can translate into a civilian job. A lot of people become lifers because American Airlines isn't hiring someone to work on their FLIR radars. Also make sure that your training will pass civilian certification. For instance, I went to advanced x-ray school. At the time I was in, the Navy was the only branch that had x-ray schools that were accredited by civilians. Basically the Navy lets any Hospital Corpsman irradiate folks, but if you want to take what you've learned straight into the civilian world, your job has to be relevant, and civilians have to have given your training their stamp of approval. I was able to take civilian certification tests, but other people who were as good as and better than me couldn't get certified because their branch's school wasn't accredited. I cannot stress enough how important it is to leave with a marketable skill. THEN you have a ready part-time or summer job when you go to college on your GI Bill.

You do not belong to the military until you raise your right hand and swear to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, etc. etc. That means that you *can* leave before you biometrically sign those papers and say those words.

Your recruiter will most likely lie to you. A lot. And your recruiter will most likely tell you to lie when you have your physical. Don't do that. Okay? Do not do that. They'll do a background check on you, so fess up about the speeding tickets and any other stuff like that. You will be given a piss test at some point before you leave the recruiting station, and they will give you one once you arrive at bootcamp. A whole lot of pissing in cups in front of people is in your future. Don't worry - you'll be a pro at pissing in public when you get out.

Don't let your recruiter lie to you about how many slots they have open for whatever thing you want to do. You can join the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and wait until the job you want is open. I think being in the DEP is a good idea period. You'll also take an aptitude test called the ASVAB. It's multiple choice, and your score will determine what type of jobs are available to you.
Study for it if you need to. It's nothing like the SAT or ACT, but you want to knock it out of the park.

There's no shame in hiding in your bathroom when the recruiter bangs on your front door to take you to MEPS. I did it with a Marine Corps recruiter, and I turned out fine. (I bailed when I learned about Parris Island.)

So, yeah. Do your homework. Stand up to the recruiter if s/he is an ass. They have a quota to meet, and believe me when I tell you that a few people in my bootcamp company had absolutely no business being there. One woman could barely speak. And I'm not talking about English. I never heard her say a word, and she stood around looking like she was lost. She wasn't bathing, and the company commanders made three people bathe her in the showers. That might not sound like much, but it was awful for her and for them. Then they kicked her out. Think her recruiter knew that she would wash out? Yes, yes s/he did, and s/he did not care.

The thing about the Air Force is that they don't have to break your will as much as the Marines and the Army do.

The Coast Guard has one of the hardest jobs, and they don't get the credit they deserve. They basically save idiots dead set on drowning themselves, and they jump onto drug smugglers' boats. I love the Coasties.

Soooo, I guess that's all I have to say about it. My six years were a mix of awesome and really, really shitty. I was in during the Montgomery GI Bill, so my GI Bill was kinda shitty but better than nothing. I don't regret enlisting, and I guess I'm kind of proud I served. Yeah. I am.

My best to you. Whatever you decide to do, you'll be fine. There will always be bumps in the road no matter how old you are. You get better at avoiding potholes after a while.

ETA: Everything is going to be okay. I promise. I don't know when or how, but everything is going to be okay. Okay? Okay!

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 11:56PM by Beth.

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Posted by: Bednar ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 11:41PM

I was manipulated to go by family 25 years ago. Went to the east coast from MT. Stayed two weeks and came home. Took quite a bit of heat but it laid the groundwork for my eventual exit from the religion.

Don’t go. It’s miserable. You will just be wasting prime years of your life. If you can’t go to college find a career in the trades - they pay well and often pay for your training too.

Stay in touch! Please update us.

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Posted by: Bednar ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:08AM

Thank you for the update.

You’ll be miserable knocking on doors and forced to conform to the mission mold unless you get lucky and have a like minded companion.

You seem very smart, just need some confidence to make a decision that you, and you alone, own.

Keep us posted!

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Posted by: Bednar ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:09AM

Thank you for the update.

You’ll be miserable knocking on doors and forced to conform to the mission mold unless you get lucky and have a like minded companion.

You seem very smart, just need some confidence to make a decision that you, and you alone, own.

Keep us posted!

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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 12, 2019 11:54PM

Wow, I never expected this many people to take such a genuine interest in my plight. I will give earnest consideration to all of the suggestions put forth, and I just want to thank you all for helping me. I was actually moved to tears reading some of these; perhaps a result of not being used to support for what I genuinely believe (or rather, don't believe) in my heart. I have a job at retail currently, and I have definitely considered the military route before. This whole thread put things into perspective for me.

I feel like a mission wouldn't destroy my mental health, but good points have been made all around. The main allure of 'faking it' is that, yes, my parents would help me through whichever college or career I go into, and I could basically skip town and slowly de-transition from all things Mormon after I come home. I have 3 older siblings- all sisters- and one of them (the only who is secretly apostate like myself) actually did that successfully, minus the mission part. I also planned to take the mission time to write- I love writing poetry and music more than almost anything- probably during the allotted study hours, as well as any other moments I can make it look like I'm being productive. As far as the intense schedule, I figured the military would be the same way, abd most of my life has been an intense schedule in my extremely orthodox family regardless so I've learned to cope. Seriously, it is not a stretch to say that mission life isn't even a transition given my life at home.

In the face of all this, however, I also want to listen to those who have counseled me to not go at any cost. It just seems like I'm too far deep to back out now, but that could be the fear talking. The status quo is easy. Creating a life for yourself from scratch is not. I will let you all know what I end up doing. I feel closer to you than I do to my parents, which is really hard because I want to like them. I may disagree with the way I was raised and their crazy beliefs being forced on me, but they're still my parents... sidenote, my apostate sister would not be able to feasibly accommodate for me moving in with her, and I've put serious thought into trying to make it work. Regardless, I appreciate all of you, no matter what I end up doing.

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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:03AM

Also: how would I go about enlisting for any of the military branches? I have no idea what to actually start with. If I contact a recruiter, won't they basically hound me relentlessly until I'm in? Is there any way I could kind of... discreetly join? Of course I'll still have to ultimately face my parents and tell them, but if it could be a bandaid ripping situation instead of a gradual painstaking process that would be much easier to convince myself to do

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:08AM

They're usually lined up in a strip mall. And tell the recruiter that they cannot bother you at home if they want you to enlist.

Please also know that one of the hardest things about enlisting is that some people (read: officers), will assume that you are stupid. The hierarchy is sucktacular. But many officers will see you for who you are. One ordered me to take night classes when I was stationed at Camp Pendleton. Some officers are true assholes, though. Try to ignore them.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 05:22AM

Bear in mind that getting the military placement you want could take a few months. So you might need to find a place to crash for a while. Check the "roommates wanted" section of Craiglist, your area newspaper, community college student union bulletin board, etc. You can interview prospective roommates to find a good fit (ask about how they handle bills, food, cleaning, having friends over, general noise levels, any alcohol/drug use, etc.) I lived with roommates for years at your age, and it's a good way to keep your expenses down and maybe make some new friends.

If you need temporary employment to tide you through, try a chain hardware store, possibly a grocery store, delivering for Amazon, etc.

From comments that board members have made over the years, the Air Force is often considered to have the best quality of life. I would look at the AF and the Navy. But really focus in on the career training that each particular service can offer you. And if you can acquire a security clearance during your service, that's money in the bank when you eventually transition to civilian life.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/2019 05:25AM by summer.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:03AM

And maybe not even after that. ;)

Please tell us how you're doing. You're always welcome here no matter what you decide, and yes - we do really care about you.

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Posted by: logged off today ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:22AM

Two points:

1. "it is not a stretch to say that mission life isn't even a transition given my life at home"

Seeing as how you haven't begun the mission yet, and although you think you have a good idea, you can't possibly know what it will be like.

Living at home, now, are you ever allowed to be alone? I bet yes. On a mission, you're supposed to be with your companion 24/7, and you can't pick who you'll be living with. That was the hardest adjustment for me, bar none. Your MP may assign you a hardcore rulebook fanboy who will insist that the two of you are never out of the other's view, and who sees his job as keeping you in line, willing to rat you out so he can climb the ladder of righteousness. Time for writing music and poetry? Not on his watch. You better hope for a series of chill, mellow companions.

Also, you'll be expected to lose a great deal of your personal identity. No first name for you any more, "Elder" Arsenic. Get used to it. The mission experience is pure cult. Really, it's hard to imagine if you haven't been there.

2. "my apostate sister would not be able to feasibly accommodate for me moving in with her"

That may be, but she might just reconsider, depending on how much of the rent you can chip in each month. The prospect of extra money has a way of changing people's minds.

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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:33AM

I definitely appreciate the advice. As far as point #1 goes, you're correct. Having not been there yet, I have no REAL idea how a mission will be. Good point. As far as #2 goes, you also make a good point but, unfortunately, it is one I already followed up on without success. I will keep the last bit in mind, however. Maybe there are other options I can try with that in mind. Again, thank you for keeping it straight with me- I respect someone willing to give a reality-check and criticize flawed thinking.

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:36AM

Migraines? Back problems? Panic attacks? There are a number of things. Have a slow recovery after you get sent home then get on with your life. No one remembers after a year or so what The early-return mishies were miraculously cured from after they came home. Your parents just need you to go and get an honorable release so they can check it off their celestial to-do list. But you could move your life forward a year or so earlier.

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Posted by: dtarsenic ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 01:07AM

This is something I'm seriously considering if I do end up going. I struggled with some mental health issues after my bio mom died and it's on my medical record, so it's feasible I could get off early for a related issue, and I plan on it, if that's the route I take.

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Posted by: Ted ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 07:32AM

Best not to go in the first place. Those MP's can keep you so busy, under pressure, and are experts at talking you out it.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:55AM

Our older son:
He left for his mission as a happy, upbeat kid. He came home a sullen man. Something happened. We still don't know what.

Our youngest son:
We drove from CA to drop him off at the MTC in Provo. By the time we got back to CA, he was at our airport. He beat us home. Thank God.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 01:43AM

Do what my nephew did and join the Coast Guard. That worked out real well for him. If you earned your Eagle in scouts you get more starting pay. My nephew was in a similar situation and he served in the coast guard and then went to sound engineering school and has a great job now. He just bought a house.

A mission is not where you want to be and not believe. You will just end up leaving early because you will be so miserable.

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Posted by: wondering ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 03:57AM

If you do the mission, your parents may only pay for BYU college. In the real world that will label you, force you into religion classes.

I agree with some of the others. Join the Air Force, you will get college money for whatever school you want. You can save wages to support yourself. Classes from the Air Force May transfer to college.

If you are unhappy about the mission, to continue the path could be rough. If you do the mission you will return penniless at you parents mercy.

Decide how you want your future to look like. I wouldn’t even discuss it with them if you take the usaf path. Sign up then tell them. You’ll be fine.

Keep this site for reference. We will be there for you whatever you decide.

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Posted by: alsd ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 04:36AM

My son is in the Army reserves, doing cyber security stuff. I think he has a pretty good deal overall. He seems to be enjoying it so far too. I believe, but could be mistaken, that since he did a six year commitment with his reserve unit, as soon as he finishes his career training at Fort Gordon, he can start to utilize his GI Bill and start college right away, just doing the weekend drill and the two weeks active duty annually. I do wish he had gone into the Air Force, as they do have some better educational opportunities, such as the Community College of the Air Force. But I think he got a decent deal overall. We'll see what happens over the next eight years though.

But if you are truly going to be out on your own if you don't serve a mission, I think looking into a military option is your best bet. It can provide housing, healthcare, job training, and educational opportunities, and do it all completely independent of what your parents want.

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Posted by: Ted ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 07:25AM

I hope you come back and read all of these comments, and most of all, I hope we can collectively talk you in to NOT going on. I agree with Eric K above, serving a two year mission (and my mission was in Europe) was a complete waste of my precious life. You life, those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and 2-years are precious. You can never get them back. You will regret wasting 2 years of your prime. I do. I wish I would have spent the time in college. There are student loans, working part time, and even the military. My son chose to go into the military instead of going on a mission at 18. He decided to himself. He was like you, an unbeliever. He ignored the pressure. It was a quick four years, the GI bill paid for all of his undergrad when he returned. He earned on-line college credit while in the military. Now taking the MCAT, and will go to med school. So many options son - don't do it. Don't go. Just say no.

To be honest, I doubt your parents will kick you out. I bet they will let you stay there, especially if they see you enroll in college.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 10:25AM

Why I would say, 'Do not give up the next two years when you would be writing your music, writing your poetry:'

Do not give up the two years of your life where you become part of the real world's abundance of thought and exploration. Your brain is at the best stage to absorb the most and your growth mentally, emotionally, and creatively will be in a coma for 24 months if you go. These are the years your are free to pursue our dreams.

I have spent a life time making up for lost time and stunted growth that the church and my mission caused.

The Mormon mission is designed to keep you in embryo.

"Life does not accommodate you; it shatters you. Every seed destroys its container, or else there would be no fruition."---Florida Scot Maxwell.

If you go, you are giving up more than you could possibly imagine. Shatter your shell.

There is a song by Jack White and the lyric goes, "Two against one--you and me against me." The Mormon church has taught you to be a partner with them in your own subjugation---the Mormon church and YOU against you. It is up to you when you shatter the shell and emerge. It is your choice still what you lose.

Good Luck.

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Posted by: ex_texmoron ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 12:00PM

I am in the military and can say that military service is a great option. Yes, life may suck while you are going thru basic training and such, but you are getting paid, learning a skill, and have ample opportunities to get college paid for. I have head of countless people and worked with many that credit the military for shaping their lives for the better.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 01:06PM

The discounts alone !!!

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 01:27PM

I went on a mission as a strong true believing member of the church. I was sent to Korea in the early 90's. My mission was a nightmare. Companions, that I had to stay with 24/7 who thought they were God's gift to the country we were in. A native companion who, even though he could speak fluent English, refused to speak English to me to help me understand what was going on and often delighted in my frustration (he was assigned as a Branch Pres in the area we were in, technically I was his 1st counselor, but was never involved in anything). I could go on about that companion...

I honestly loved being in a foreign country, learning about a different culture and getting a different perspective on the world. I wish I had done that though being a foreign exchange student or simply traveling there. Suffering though a mission to do it wasn't worth it.

I don't know what all you have to deal with, what your options are, or what your situation is. Maybe going on the mission is the right answer, you at least have the knowledge that the church isn't true to help you deal with situations. Just please keep in mind that while those around you think they know what you should do, including going on a mission, and they may love you very much. It's still your life, you're the one who's living it, make the choices that are right for you, not the ones that are right for them.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 01:56PM

I have now been on this planet for almost 84 years and I can tell you that life is too short to be oppressively ruled by theocracy AKA religion.
Bail and do your own thing
Live life the way you want
Right or wrong at least it will be yours.
quit allowing other people to f&^% up your life

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Posted by: pogie ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 02:23PM

ok take a step back if your family is paying for your mission and also paying for school then go keep your mouth shut let them pay it will be hard. on the other side look at it as a 2 year vacation. You will be in Florida. I went to the Philippines I hated my first few months got transferred to my 2nd area and was put with a good friend of mine. Yes we broke all most every rule. After that I didn't care any more and did my own thing had a few comps where where cool with it the others just worked with ward or branch members. I got back and had a few scholarships. I didn't go to BYU I went to an out of state school.

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Posted by: Leaving ( )
Date: December 13, 2019 02:34PM

You don't want to pretend forever, so you have to decide when will be the best time to tell your parents you don't believe anymore. It may be harder the longer you wait.

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