Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another nutty Mormon idea...

I wasn't going to blog again today, but I just saw a thread on RfM that gave me pause.  Someone linked to a blog post about a nutty Mormon idea.  The post, which consists solely of a photograph, shows what appears to be yet another crazy attempt by church elders to maintain control over their young adult members.  It seems like a lot of young folks are abandoning the church.  The reasons for the exodus are plentiful and, in my opinion, totally understandable.  Naturally, church officials don't like to see people leave because they take their dollars with them.  So they have to do something to maintain that sense of authority.

The picture in the blog post is of a list of commitments returned missionaries are supposed to stick to once they are finished with their missions.  There's a place for the returned missionary to sign.  My guess is that someone came up with this idea to stem the tide of inactivity.  One thing I learned when I was getting my MSW is that people tend to honor things they sign.  One of my professors told our class that when he was counseling people who were suicidal, he used to ask them to sign a contract promising that they wouldn't kill themselves before talking to him.  He said it was a remarkably effective tactic.

The posters on RfM are pretty blown away by this contract idea.  While I disagree with making people sign contracts for something like this, I can also see why people in the church came up with this ploy.

Another thing I learned from the same professor when I was in grad school is that people tend to value what they have to pay for.  That teacher told us that he always charged people, even if they were very poor and could only afford a dollar.  Free help seems to be less valuable.  Given that missionaries mostly have to pay for their missions (unless they are like Bill's ex daughter and the church pays for it), that's another way to keep people in the fold.  On the other hand, I guess church officials didn't get the memo that free help is less valuable when they enlisted church members to clean their buildings instead of hiring professionals.  Instead, they sell it as another way of being "in service" to others.

Last night, a local friend posted an ad that was put up on Facebook about a dog that needed to be rehomed.  The person offering the dog wrote that there was a "reasonable" rehoming fee and that interested parties should not inquire ahead of time what the fee was.  That made some people suspicious.  I explained that people usually value what they pay for.  Also, sometimes people charge fees for pets needing rehoming because free dogs and cats can end up being used as bait in dog fighting rings.  People who train fighting pit bulls take docile animals, render them unable to fight back, and set attack dogs loose on them.  I'm not sure if that's why some military folks in Germany are charging fees, but the idea of value and money going hand in hand applies.  Of course, some people may simply be trying to make a quick buck.

I'm sure someone who has saved up money for years to be able to serve a church mission may already be pretty well vested in the idea of being in the church.  Those who come back and sign a contract afterwards may be even more invested.  It seems like a pretty desperate tactic, though.  It also seems more than a bit culty.  I'll be keeping my eyes peeled to see what's next in the wacky world of Mormonism.


  1. Wow. Pretty cult-like if you ask me. They left out the part about not associating with apostates!

    1. I suppose there is always hope the RM can soften the hearts of apostates and bring them back to the fold.


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