I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I am a missionary.

I’ve promised to share my testimony and the teachings of the LDS Church to the peoples of this world*.

If I were to couch in definite terms two of the most potent convictions in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints, I would name: First, an abiding assurance that the gospel, as taught by the Redeemer when he lived among men and which was later modified, changed and corrupted by men, has been restored by the Redeemer in its purity and fulness; and second, following naturally the first, a conviction in the heart of every member of this Church that the responsibility rests upon the membership of the Church to preach the restored gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

David O. McKay, In Conference Report, Apr. 1927, 102

This is different than what most think of with the phrase ‘Mormon missionary.’ In terms of an official calling to serve, there are four specific opportunities:

First is the classic missionary who knocks on doors and hands out copies of The Book of Mormon. Single, unmarried young men or single, unmarried young women may devote a specific period of their young lives to serving and teaching. For young men, they may apply for a mission at age 18 and serve for two years; for young women, they may apply for a mission at age 19 and serve for 18 months. This is different than the standard was for years, when men were 19 and women 21.

Serving a mission in that fashion is a commitment to the work -where the young people are called to a specific area; live and work with a companion of the same sex at all times; and follow rules and regimens regarding dress, behavior, daily schedule, service, contact with family back home (though this has also improved), and what sort of media they view or listen to.

Second, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be called as a mission president while he is married with a family at home. His entire family travels to the mission site with him and supports him and lives their regular lives for the duration of the three-year calling.

Mission presidents share a variety of responsibilities in their service. They are directed to first maintain their own well-being and that of their families. They instruct missionaries to effectively teach gospel principles as well as to maintain their individual health. In addition, the president assumes responsibility for the baptism of new converts and their initial development as new members of the Church.

LDS Newsroom, “Mission President

Third is older adults who wish to apply for and be called to a senior mission:

You may be recommended to serve as a missionary beginning at the age of 40 if you have no dependent children under the age of 18 living in your home. There is not an upper age limit for senior missionary service as long as you are physically able to meet the needs of the assignment.

Senior Missionary Service

Senior missionaries are usually a retired couple, and they can do the same sort of tasks as the young ones everyone is familiar with. Usually, however, they keep to less strenuous tasks like office work, visits, and training.

Fourth is serving in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), or in places like the LDS Church museums. Also, within this and the other three categories, an interested person may be called to a service mission.

Missionaries in all these shapes and sizes and ages do not get paid for their service. Certain expenses are covered by mission funds; like subsidization so all missions for young adults cost a uniform amount, housing for the mission president, clothing for the choir members, etc.

©2022 Chel Owens

*Although I’ve promised to be a missionary, this doesn’t mean I’m attempting to convert any readers. My sole purpose in writing about the LDS Church is to inform, clarify confusion, and answer questions.

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

One Country

“Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail…”

I can’t remember a time when my husband didn’t like discussing politics. Even at 16, he and his best friend would incessantly “converse” about an issue, its counterpoint, its counter-counterpoint; ad naseum.

“Stand navy, out to sea; fight our battle cry…”

Driving in the car together at 19 years young, we would occasionally listen to AM Talk Radio. Callers to the program voiced something, anything; and inevitably got cut off by Rush Limbaugh yelling. I had never seen the man; yet saw his red face, smelt his heated breath, and felt his spewing spittle.

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea”

The introduction of social media, overall, lent a paper-thin mask to that same sort of angry vitriol I heard over a decade before. In our 30s, now, I see good people typing political observations they’d never say to their own mothers.

“From north and south and east and west, the coast guard’s in the fight…”

My own “news”feed is often split down the middle. One man literally wrote that anyone approving the separation of children from parents is a piece of shit; a relative, meanwhile, pointed out that children are being used as free tickets into the U. S. of A. I get the feeling my “friends” would start a nuclear meltdown if accidentally mixed in the same chamber.

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder -climbing high into the sun!”

A person in the military standing next to their boots and backpack on a sidewalk

This past Sunday morning our family watched the live feed of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing from their tour in California. Theirs was a patriotic program to honor our nation’s birthday, today. Anthems played, singers sung. I typed, using it all as pleasant background music. Then, the choir began singing each song of the various armed forces. I looked up.

“Then its Hi! Hi! Hee! in the field artillery, shout out your numbers loud and strong!”

Apparently, representatives of the various armed forces were attending the concert. The front rows of folding chairs held uniformed members -but they weren’t sitting. As was standard, each was standing in respect. Each man or woman in smart, white shirt and tie was at the appropriate attention.

“…First we fight for rights and freedom, and to keep our honor clean…”

Most were smiling broadly. All were singing. The camera panned over the crowd and I saw happy, proud people raising their voices together with the choir and band. I was struck by exactly what it meant to dress a certain way and take a certain oath and stand when expected and mouth the same words: Unison.

“Sail on to victory and sing their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!”

Uniformity is often said like it’s a bad word, a disgusting one. A That’s it, young lady, we’re washing your mouth out! word. Instead, I saw it for the word it really wants to be: teamwork, unity, cooperation, selflessness, union, LOVE.

“We live in fame or go down in flame…”

Thank you, Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Thank you more, proud members of the fighting forces in attendance. Thank you all for feeling so strongly that I couldn’t help but cry in response.

One nation. That’s what we are, and the goal we always need.