Date: October 12, 2021 03:21AM
Early this summer when I learned that my youngest nephew had been called to be a missionary abroad, I was disappointed and secretly hoped he would change his mind or go home early. This morning, his mother sent a short text (to a family group of siblings and spouses of siblings) stating that he'd be coming home tomorrow due to emotional reasons (concluding with a "thanks for the support" comment).
A sister-in-law responded with "oh I'm so sorry, I hope he's not heart broken." My only response was "maybe he can start college in January?" to which his mother promptly responded "absolutely to college if I get a say." I was pleased to read his mom's response, but, annoyed by the sister-in-law's comment.
Several years ago, the sister-in-law created quite a rift with her own son when he elected to skip a mormon mission, continued his college education, and got married civilly to his high school sweet heart (and to my knowledge, he has had nothing to do with mormonism ever since). He and his mom are still very distant emotionally because of his refusal to endure the mormon peer pressured two years of servitude. In my opinion, I feel his mom was more concerned about her church status of being a "missionary mom" than about her son's personal feelings and reservations about mormonism.
I hope my parents (particularly my father) are kind and understanding towards the home coming nephew. He was the only grandchild out of 25+ grandkids that sent in paperwork for a mormon mission; I think dad/grandpa will be disappointed, but, I think he'll not say or do anything stupid. This nephew was their "last best chance" for a grandkid to fulfill a mormon mission. The only other younger grandchild is my daughter (soon to be a teenager) and I was twelve years removed from mormonism before she was born to my nevermo wife and I.
My daughter never experienced the mormon indoctrination, so, it's challenging to explain what mormonism was/is like to her. She asked me about the texts regarding her older cousin coming home and if he'd really be heart broken to go home. I quickly replied, "if anything, he'll be extremely relieved, especially after a short lifetime of cultural indoctrination, being free of the burden of mormon missionary service is very liberating."
I hated the mormon missionary experience, even though by the cult's own measures/standards my personal experience was perceived as a successful endeavor; I went out of obligation, primarily out of familial/peer/social pressure (at the time having been a believer of the "pre-existence" promises of being a missionary, mormon, etc). I hated knocking doors, cold contacts, etc (even if I eventually learned how to effectively perform those tasks). I was emotionally and physically beat down and exhausted at the end of those two long years. I was so relieved that it was over that I actually kissed the ground when I got back home to the USA.
During my missionary daze, several missionaries at the time had died around the world (faulty heater causing carbon monoxide deaths, a couple were shot in south America, etc) - including my initial trainer companion who died in a tragic collision (along with his ZL companion) with a train in their tiny mission car in northern Portugal six months into my mission (and if I recall, about 3 months before those two were supposed to return home).
I explained to my daughter that missions today are a lot different than what I endured back in the 1980s, but, that the peer pressure and family pressure are still powerful and coercive. I also commented that I am glad that the stigma of going home early is not nearly as bad as it once was. I did NOT, however, mention that my dad (her grandpa) would have preferred me to be returned in pine box (coffin) rather than go home early; I also have never told her my father, in a fit of anger, a few months after I left mormonism forever back in 1997, that he wished that I had died on my mission rather than apostatize. I don't think he really meant it, but, it was spoken... and, it made me contemplate how many young men and women wasted their time - and lives (because some small number of missionaries, have, indeed died while on missions) - in such insipid service.
When my nephew left late in July, him mom forwarded a weekly text from him for the first three weeks or so of August; then, nothing but crickets. I crossed my fingers that the silence meant he might soon come home and quit wasting his life in "acts of service" to strangers in a foreign (yet English speaking) land.
I hope the best for him, as I do for all of my many nephews and nieces. None of the others are active mormons (and most do not even consider themselves to be LDS). I hope he soon follows in their footsteps. I am glad he will be back home today.
I had a lot more interaction and involvement with his older cousins, but, when I left mormonism in 1997 I purposely pulled back from them as a few of my siblings are still TBM and I did not want them accusing me of interfering with their beliefs. During that time, I always made it clear that I am not LDS and regretted spending two years on a mormon mission. I hoped, at the time, that living a good, happy, life outside of mormonism would demonstrate my separation from all things LDS was nothing to fear. And, I hope my nephew can eventually have a more genuine life - like all of his other cousins.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2021 03:28AM by 1997resignee.