Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The manipulative Mormon missionary program...

I haven't been writing as many Mormon related posts lately, mainly because I've sort of been outgrowing my interest in Mormonism.  Bill's ex daughters are long out of our lives and may never come back.  And really, though I did have a passing interest in Mormonism before I married a Mormon, I doubt that I would have stayed interested for long if Bill hadn't come into my life.  I am not sorry I've kept up with the LDS church's bullshit, though, because I've ended up meeting some great, like-minded folks online.  Ex Mormons are some of my favorite people, after all.  I have Bill's former wife to thank for that, along with freeing Bill from their disastrous marriage so he could reboot with me.

Anyway, I am prompted to post this morning about the very manipulative Mormon missionary program.  As I was trying to take my mind off of Kelly Gissendaner's execution, I opened up RfM and immediately read two posts concerning missionaries and how they've annoyed, inconvenienced, and even manipulated innocent people.

The first post I read was entitled "Damn missionaries!".  It was written by a guy who was minding his own business in his house when he heard his dogs barking.  Two Mormon missionaries were riding their bikes in his neighborhood and one of them made a loop and rode across the poster's lawn.  This pissed off the homeowner, who went out and yelled at the missionaries.

The missionaries, probably all of 18 or 19 years old, were stammering, trying to explain, and one of them finally said "It was a 'learning experience'."

The homeowner said, "I thought you guys had all the answers.  Didn't you ever learn to respect other peoples' property?"  I have to admit, the guy has a point... although the mishies are probably not enjoying their lives much at that juncture.  I might have felt sorry for them, but he clearly didn't.

After the missionaries left, the homeowner noticed that his sprinkler, which had functioned fine earlier in the day, was now broken.  He's talking about billing the church for the sprinkler head.  Some people are saying he should just let it go, but he's pissed and wants to be the source of an important life lesson.

I'll be honest.  If it were me, I'd probably not bother with getting the church to buy a new sprinkler.  I'd probably just call up or email the mission president and ask him to have a talk with his missionaries about respecting peoples' property and not trespassing.  But then, trespassing is part of what missionaries do.  And they think they are being virtuous when they do it.

The second post was even more egregiously obnoxious.  It was about "less active" members being assigned to feed the missionaries.  Basically, what has been happening is that members who are not very active at church are being signed up against their wills to provide meals for the missionaries.  If they can't feed the missionaries on a particular date, they are expected to find someone who can.

The original poster writes that a missionary had said it was "a way to get into less active homes."  Wow... talk about manipulative and underhanded behavior!  And what, pray tell, is the purpose of "getting into less active homes"?  You don't go to church for whatever reason, so we'll send the missionaries over and guilt you into feeding them.  You aren't available that day?  Well, you'd better find someone who is.  Otherwise, these poor "kids" are going to starve and it'll be on YOUR head!

One person brought up the idea that having "less active" members feed the missionaries is one way the church can spend less money.  After all, if members are providing food, the missionaries don't have to buy as much for themselves.  And they don't have to use electricity or water to do their own cooking.  They'd also spend less time shopping for food, right?  It's the same rationale that was raised when church members were asked to house the missionaries and be custodians of their meetinghouses.  Less rent money and salary paid to professional janitors means more for the church's coffers.  More money for malls, cattle ranches, and other projects that promote the Mormon way of thinking and living.  Of course, not paying a janitor means that one more person needs a job and may have to rely on church largesse rather than paying their own way (and tithing).  Just sayin'.

I see it as also a way the church can get information about people.  Missionaries come in for a meal... and maybe they'll spot the bottle of wine or the coffee maker.  Or the R rated movies in your DVD collection, if you still have one.  I know the one time I had mishies in my house, they remarked on my movies.  They seemed kind of jealous and impressed, but I'm sure some of the more lurid titles would have raised some eyebrows among church people had Bill been a "more active" member at the time.

Hell, we were not married then, so it was bad enough that we were "living in sin", though without any sexual activity.  We literally just slept together during the six months before our wedding.  As a matter of fact, that's kind of how it is now, too.  ;)  Blood pressure meds, middle age, and chronic exhaustion can really do a number on a man's libido.

I'm sure there are a lot of folks in the church who think this stuff is just "kid stuff" or otherwise perfectly okay.  Consider the fact that Mormon missionaries are legal adults.  Yes, they are young adults, but they are still adults.  They presumably chose to be missionaries and their decision has nothing to do with anyone else.  Yes, I know that a lot of them are sort of coerced into going on a mission by overbearing family members, but it's still a choice when it comes down to it.

I do think that 18 and 19 year olds should know better than to ride a bike across someone's private property.  If you've reached the age of majority and don't know to respect peoples' private property, your parents clearly didn't do their job all the way and you probably shouldn't be unleashed to mingle among an unsuspecting and innocent public.

And I do think that young adults should be able to shop for and cook their own food without bothering and spying on "less active" church members.  If the missionaries do manage to score a dinner date, it should be because someone invited them, not because a less active family was "assigned" by a third, uninvolved party to look after them.  Church leaders are engaging in coercive and manipulative behavior.  Perhaps instead of "trying to get into less active homes", they should make their church more interesting, inviting, and exciting and less intrusive and annoying.

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