If I Were In Charge: Create Service Missions

By: Mike S
October 5, 2011

This past weekend was General Conference.  Among other things, there were two topics that stood out for me.  One was President Ucthdorf’s talk in the priesthood session on serving others.  The transcript should be available soon on lds.org, but it was about the importance of true service.  Paraphrasing, he said it didn’t matter how well we knew the scriptures or policies in the Church if we didn’t serve others.  The two great commandments are to Love God and to Love Your Neighbor.  He said it much more eloquently than this (and looked better saying it), but it really resonated with me as it is what I believe.

The other topic that stuck out was the call for more missionaries, particularly senior couples.  It sounds like there must be concern for missionary work.  The numbers won’t be out until next conference, but this is probably based on real numbers if the analysis of the numbers from last conference here on Wheat & Tares holds true.  In my mind, these two topics came together.  As a Church, we need to do more service for the world around us, and we have the perfect vehicle for this already in place: The missionary program.

But wait, you may say, we already have a great humanitarian effort, and older couples are already called on service missions.  Not really.  Regarding humanitarian aid, we don’t really do that much as a Church, as covered in a previous post on humanitarian aid and business profits.  And regarding older couples and service missions, I would argue that the vast majority of “service” they do is for the Church itself, not for people who really need it.  Examples:

  • In the past year, we had a missionary report from a couple in our stake who volunteered to go on a mission.  They were sent to the Midwest where they were essentially in charge of around 10-15 buildings.  They helped coordinate maintenance.  The Church had lost records of the floor plans, so they went through and measured the dimensions of all the rooms.  Etc.  This was all something that was previously done by people hired to do the work, but it was instead made into an unpaid “missionary calling”.  The “service” was done for the Church organization.
  • A couple in my stake also came back this year.  Their mission was to go to a mission and travel to all the branches and wards.  They audited membership records to get them cleaned up and up to date (include correcting baptism dates, ordination dates, etc.)  They helped audit finances, etc.  So again, the “service” was done for the Church organization.
  • The Church owns a for-profit hunting preserve (as described in more detail here on The Faithful Dissident).  Hunters pay thousands of dollars to hunt.  There is a waiting list as the reserve is private, and conveniently near an airstrip.  And the people who run it – yep, missionaries called to a mission as explained here in the Deseret News.
  • People are called to missions to work for free in the Church office building on various tasks.  They work on for-profit farms.  Etc.

If you asked them, all of these people would very likely state they are “serving a mission”.  But who, exactly, is being “served”?  So, If I Were In Charge, I would Create Service Missions.

And by service missions, I mean TRUE service missions.  We should truly serve the needy and disadvantaged among us, both in our own countries and throughout the world, and not just the organization.  We could work in inner cities, volunteer in free clinics, teach agricultural principles, build wells and schools, etc.  The list is truly endless and limited only by our imagination.  A few comments about this:

- We have the resources: In 2010, the US Peace Corps was funded with $400 million.  For comparison, suppose each missionary spends $5000/year @ 50,000 missionaries.  This is $250 million.  Add to this the millions the Church spends on mission homes, MTCs, travel, missionary supplies, etc.  We are in the same ball park.

- We have the manpower: The current number of people serving in the Peace Corps is 8655.  We could triple that number, even if only 1/2 the current proselytizing missionaries become service missionaries.

- We could provide more opportunities: There are many young people who may not “qualify” for a proselytizing mission with “raising the bar”.  And there are others who aren’t really interested in a traditional mission.  But they might do amazingly well on a service mission.  And for older couples, I know I would be MUCH more likely to volunteer if I knew I was going to be actually helping people and not counting bricks or collecting fees from hunters.

- We would be training our youth: What could be better for a young adult than to get them out of their familiar world and let them truly serve other people selflessly for 2 years.  And by “serve”, I don’t mean “try to convert them to the LDS Church”, but truly SERVE.  Help them with their needs.  Make a true difference in their lives.  They would come back changed people and set for a lifetime of service.

- We would be more successful: OK.  I don’t really know this, but I doubt we would be less successful.  The current missionary program isn’t working.   The number of converts per member has dropped 50% in the past few years.  There are as many members in the country where I served my mission now as there were 25 years ago when I served.  But, I do know that on my mission every person immediately pegged me as American and asked why I was there.  They would do the same thing here.  Someone is going to be much more likely to listen to someone who spent the day with them getting dirty to improve their life than some “rich foreigner” walking by in his white shirt and tie.

- It is the purpose of life: We are here to serve each other.  Whether you are LDS, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic, Hindu, humanist, Jewish, etc., that is the fundamental purpose of life.  We are here to serve each other.  And as President Ucthdorf repeated, it is the second great commandment, just after loving God.

I would make service missions.  I would let people choose if they wanted to go on a service mission or a traditional proselytizing mission.  I would let them truly serve people all day long.  In the evening, they could teach people who are interested.  I would help our Church be known as a church that serves for and cares for the world – not through an ad campaign, but through our actions.

So, if I Were In Charge, I would Create Service Missions.

Questions:

  • Do you think “service missions” would work?  Why?  Why not?
  • Would you be MORE or LESS inclined to go on a mission (either as a young adult or couple) if a service mission was an opportunity?
  • Do you think this would HELP or HINDER Church growth?
  • Is Church growth really more important than serving our fellowman?

————————————–

NOTE:  This is one post in a series of non-doctrinal things I would change if I were in charge.  If you are interested in seeing some of the others, please see If I Were In Charge: Overview & Topical Guide.

————————————–

Tags: , , , , , , ,

46 Responses to If I Were In Charge: Create Service Missions

  1. Paul on October 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Good thoughts. Service missions might deploy numbers differently than they are deployed today, as well. The missionaries in our suburban midwestern ward struggle to find meaningful ways to give their four hours of service each week.

    It might require our rethinking some of our existing thoughts, too. We don’t sponsor soup kitchens or homeless shelters in large cities. Perhaps we could.

    That said, some of our missionaries are on service missions today, though the example you cite don’t fit that bill. I have met welfare services missionaries in my global travels, and I know a couple now who man an LDS employment center that places as many non-members as members. Family history missionaries also serve many non-members in their work (since non-members make up the bulk of the genealogists out there).

    It would be interesting to see what kinds of opportunties could be imagined for those service missionaries (young and old).

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  2. oh snap on October 5, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    dont call it a comeback!!!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  3. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Paul:

    I do agree that people helping others find jobs is a great thing, especially in today’s economy.

    I wouldn’t really count the family history folks as “service”, however (even though my grandparents were amazing genealogists and taught classes all over the United States). For someone without food, water, sanitation, housing, etc., I don’t really think discovering their 4th great-grandfather’s christening date makes their top ten list of concerns.

    And I do think we could do amazing things. Instead of trying to find 4 hours/week to do service, I would flip that around. Make the WHOLE MISSION service, and spend 4-5 hours per week teaching those who you helped. Guaranteed they will be much more interested in a message about Christ from someone who provided service like Christ.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 13

  4. BrotherQ on October 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    It seems to me that we lose a lot of young people who, for whatever and various reasons, don’t meet the current standard for full-time missionary service. What a great thing if there was another opportunity, perhaps even more flexible as to the length of service, to offer service to the world. How could this possibly be a losing proposition for the Church? Great ideas! I hope Elder Uchdorf reads Wheat and Tares!

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  5. Paul on October 5, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Of course, Brother Q, local leaders are counseled to provide exactly what you describe for those willing to serve but who don’t meet the raised bar. Doesn’t mean it’s happening, though.

    Mike, I agree that Fam History is not the kind of service you’re talking about. Hence my wondering about soup kitchens and homeless shelters in non-LDS cities. But someone has to have enough imagination to develop the service opportunities for this service army, wherever it is. I don’t mean that as criticism, but as logistical reality.

    One alternative is to send a far greater proporetion of missionaries to the third world to do meaningful humanitarian service. Another is to find service opportunities (beyond raking leaves in city parks and middle class neighborhoods)in the US.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  6. Rigel Hawthorne on October 5, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    “This was all something that was previously done by people hired to do the work”

    This isn’t the type of mission I aspire to do with my wife in the future. I hope we have the health and ability to do something more along the lines that you are describing. I’m not against proselyting, and my mission had plenty of it. I do hope that when my sons are old enough to go on missions that they don’t spend the amount of hours I spent knocking on doors of massive apartment buildings (only to be told “no” by means of an electronic speaker box without seeing the faces of those I was trying to serve).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  7. doglover on October 5, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I wish the church would change and do more of what you mentioned. I have a teenage son and I do not encourage him to serve a mission. (If he chooses to go we’ll pay for it though) It would be better in my opinion to help those who really need help. The missionary program just isn’t that effective at bringing many people to Christ (IMHO) yet I think if we really did service we would probably bring more people to Christ.

    There are many senior couples in my ward (and my parent’s ward) that have essentially been pencil pushers, appliance repairmen for missionaries, cooks for missionaries, etc.

    I do see great programs done by senior couples where they stay at home and serve in inner city wards, help at the jail/prison and with the addiction program.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  8. Kiley on October 5, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    I like your ideas. As a missionary I always wished that we were allowed to serve more. It would have been much more productive than the hours of knocking doors that we spent each day, week, month… (Its been several years, but I believe we were only allowed 5 service hours a week…)Not only more productive, but it would definitely have made the mission a positive and uplifting experience.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  9. SilverRain on October 5, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Umm . . . they do have those kinds of things. A couple in my ward has served three missions, all dealing with building schools, water systems, etc. for third-world countries. I also have two different friends who could not serve regular missions, so served in part-time missions that dealt with humanitarian aid in the U.S.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  10. SilverRain on October 5, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    And, also, the missionaries wouldn’t spend so much time knocking on doors if we members were doing our jobs. Tracting is filler work.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  11. Kiley on October 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    @10 – Well, I can only speak about my mission, but members had been asked and asked and asked over the course of the years… There was more than one family in some of my wards that had been alienated from friends and family for referring the missionaries so many times…

    Plus, isn’t the church’s focus on member missionary work shifting a little bit. In conference the membership was actually advised not to be too direct, “better to be asked” and answer questions than to tell…

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  12. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    #9 SilverRain:

    Those are great examples. I would just love for them to be the rule rather than the exception. Instead of a few hundred missionaries out there doing real service, I would rather see tens of thousands.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  13. FireTag on October 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    I have no confidence that emphasizing service will have ANY impact, positive or negative, on LDS baptismal rates. It had none in the CofChrist.

    Retention rates might be another matter, since personal fulfillment of the missionaries might be important later in life.

    But, as the OP points out, the second commandment ought to be sufficient justification for the effort. It’s about BEING the church, not GROWING the church.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  14. NewlyHousewife on October 5, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    If anything it would be a great idea to support week long trips to other countries that evangelical groups do all the time with their youth during the summer (with the youth footing their part of the bill) and adjusting this for the retired generations. Real service, such as building houses, would be done and none of the social sacrifice of 6+ month long missions would be suffered.

    Plus it would be cheaper making it a viable option for those who are still working and can afford a week or so of vacation time.

    But I honestly doubt the pen pushing, used-to-be-hired-out missions are going anywhere anytime soon.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  15. prometheus on October 5, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Do you think “service missions” would work? Why? Why not?

    I think they would work at least as well as what we have now. I think they would work better in the sense of bringing missionaries to Christ.

    Would you be MORE or LESS inclined to go on a mission (either as a young adult or couple) if a service mission was an opportunity?

    I had a particularly short and grim proselyting mission. A service mission would have been a far better fit for me.

    Do you think this would HELP or HINDER Church growth?

    I think FireTag makes an interesting point, and one that I think I agree with.

    Is Church growth really more important than serving our fellowman?

    No. I think that the service we render is far more important than the administrative and corporate structures of the church. Pure religion is serving those who are wounded and in need of our aid.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  16. Jeff Spector on October 5, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    What’s stopping you? A letter from President Monson?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  17. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    #10 SilverRain: Tracting is filler work.

    I agree. In my mission, there have been between 50-100 missionaries in the 25 years since I was there. A quick calculation:

    60 hours/week * 52 weeks/year * 75 missionaries * 25 years = 5.85 MILLION hours of work devoted to the country. And at the end of it all, there are as many members there now as there were 25 years ago. And that’s just one mission.

    Certainly, there is a much better use for those nearly 6 million hours in SERVING other people as opposed to SERVING a million.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  18. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    #13 FireTag:

    I absolutely agree. God will lead those He has prepared to the truths they need, when they need them. We can have missionaries out there for when this happens.

    But whether people join a Church or not, there is still great value in serving our fellowman – especially without expecting anything in return. Pure service.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  19. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    #15 promethus: I think that the service we render is far more important than the administrative and corporate structures of the church. Pure religion is serving those who are wounded and in need of our aid.

    My point exactly.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  20. Mike S on October 5, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    #16 Jeff: What’s stopping you? A letter from President Monson?

    If this was directed at a particular comment, it’s not very clear. If directed at the whole post, I think you’re complete missing the point I was trying to make. Either way, I don’t have a response.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  21. lol on October 5, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    its been a while since jeff made no sense. glad to have him back.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  22. Will on October 5, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Mike,

    I think this is one of the best posts you have done and it is right on the mark. It also solves the problem Hawk identified in her post.

    Our children are spending way too much time in front of media. It is creating a huge problem in terms of socialization; and mental and physicL health. The solution to the problem is service. By serving others, they will find themselves.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  23. jmb275 on October 5, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I’m in agreement with SilverRain that this happens more than you’re giving credit for in the OP. I personally know several couples (maybe half dozen) who were almost exclusively asked to do service missions. I certainly agree with you that more service wouldn’t hurt, though I’m in agreement with FireTag that it will not effect conversion rates. From FireTag’s analysis it appears that the church’s growth, stagnation, and decline are pretty predictable and mostly unaffected by whatever we do.

    Incidentally, I noticed there was a “stone cut out of the mountains…fill the whole earth” talk in conference. I hadn’t heard one in a while. I think that expressed dynamic is interesting when contrasted with FireTag’s suggestion.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  24. jmb275 on October 5, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    To amend my comment slightly, I was looking at it from the viewpoint of benefiting the church. From the standpoint of personal spiritual growth, I love Mike’s suggestion!! Though I firmly believe that great spiritual growth also comes from the current missionary implementation as well.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  25. Kent on October 5, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    I think that offering a service type mission would be a great idea though it would require a lot more training. Besides a strong back, (debatable these days) what would a 19 year old have to offer someone in the third world? It would also require a lot more of adult supervision.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  26. jcc on October 5, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I wonder if the Church ran hunting camps during the years of Presidents Benson and Kimball. I’m not anti-hunting (though I personally don’t do it), but I remember them being not in favor of killing of animals for “sport”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  27. hawkgrrrl on October 5, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    I dunno. I would much rather spend my time telling people why they are wrong than serving icky poor people. Obviously.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  28. Stephen M (Ethesis) on October 5, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I used to read the fliers for service missions that they had out for couples. Pages of them, every month. Needing specific skills, but interesting.

    My wife really wants to do a couple once she retires.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. Jeff Spector on October 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    “its been a while since Jeff made no sense. glad to have him back.”

    It’s sound like the exception, rather than the rule, so I guess I’m glad about that. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  30. Jeff Spector on October 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    “I’m in agreement with SilverRain that this happens more than you’re giving credit for in the OP. ”

    This is part of my point. One does not have to be called to give service and those who are called DO plenty of service already. In some countries, it is ALL service missionaries.

    I think the post is again much ado about nothing.

    The Church has a mission to carry the Gospel to every corner of the earth, so that is the primary function of the missionary program.

    The service rendered by missionaries and members throughout the world is what give the members a good reputation during disasters.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 4

  31. Ron Madson on October 5, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    #27–well said, and Mike S. again I appreciate your post/question. Here is my thought FWIW:

    I see the “church” or any church as being part of the Kingdom of God only to the extent it emulates that Kingdom as taught and lived by Jesus.
    That being the case what qualifies a church to be counted among His sheep? Matthew 25 answers that –when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit and serve the least we are his sheep. When we don’t then we are only pretenders.

    Answering your suggestion another way, what did Jesus do during his ministry? Did he preoccupy himself with setting out a fixed creed? Teaching doctrinal purity? Or even making sure everyone had the correct ordinances done by the right authority? Maybe here and there incidentally. But what He did do was give sight to the blind, succor those in distress, feed the masses, and give comfort/relief to the least and then told us to do likewise.

    So what do we do? Well, we do those things with a small fraction of our funds/labor, but I venture to guess we spend more money and effort on advertising our works and building monuments to our vanity then direct relief of human suffering.

    If I were in charge I would focus on just being a disciple in deeds then worrying about building an empire of doctrinal correctness and legalism accompanied by wringing our hands in conference about whether we get our definitions/doctrines just right and stressing over whether the world/others understand how we “really” are Christians, or that we have the “bestest” claim to truth–as if having some information/knowledge or legally administered ordinances in and of itself redeems anything–the Pharisees had it during Jesus’ time but it didn’t seem to get them any further into the kingdom then the front porch.

    Just be and the rest will take care of itself. A true light needs no PR campaign, and will be a missionary force that will draw like minded Christians without having to “heartsell” or rope them in with a well crafted rhetoric commitment pattern.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  32. Geoff - A on October 6, 2011 at 4:14 AM

    Jeff does the church have a good reputation in helping with disasters. We had a disaster here in January where parts of our city were flooded. The mayor requested volunteers and 27,000 responded. These people were motivated to help others in need.

    Very few mormons did because they were waiting for P’hood leadership. 2 weeks later some members were out wearing helping hands vests, they were helping as a missionary exercise. Not a good look.

    I served? in the Irish mission and many areas we tracted through every 6 weeks, people would see us coming and say you lot again. Our time could have been used much more productively.

    I like the idea but the problems I see with this idea is that it would take a lot more organizing (unless we send missionaries where there is obvious need)and even then you have to consult so you don’t impose your idea of what you think people need, it would require a complete re think from the missionary motivation to one of pure love where we would help where needed without ulterior motives.

    Could we motivate our members to this kind of service?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  33. Sharon LDS in Tennessee on October 6, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    The most official service mission we are already called on is facing us daily when we wake. What “something” can I do today to lift someone…..or picky up what they dropped..handing it over with a smile, or wishing the sales clerk “Have a Blessed Day”, or sending a birthday card to the Senior in the Ward who is sorely ignored. Serving any stranger in ways you never considered perhaps before…letting them in the lane on the freeway when it’s inconvenient. Congratulating the youth on his smile or tie serving Sacrament. DAILY acts…are just as important. IF we truely love and follow our Savior, the Holy Ghost whispers dozens of ways to serve others all the time…on our “MISSION OF BEING A DISCIPLE”. Perhaps the void of larger, more official church SERVICE MISSIONS exists to give each of us that chance to individually step up, grow up in loving our very own family downtrodden, neighbor next door needy..”here a little, there a little”…he always did say some things are left without a commandment (or an official calling)! Thank you Mike S for the reminder to me that I am essentially really ON a SERVICE MISSION RIGHT NOW and will eventually give an accounting to Him for it later..mano a mano !
    Love to All

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  34. Jeff Spector on October 6, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    Geoff-A,

    “Very few mormons did because they were waiting for P’hood leadership”

    How do you know this? Did you respond? If not, why not?

    In the US, the Church has a very good reputation for responding to diasters with people and resources.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  35. John Mansfield on October 6, 2011 at 7:05 AM

    Something that should be considered in this imagined redirection of the Church’s missionaries is: How did this body of available labor come to be? And the answer is that it’s a pretty direct continuation of Joseph Smith sending out his brothers and any other men he could recruit to tell the world about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Eyeing those set apart and thinking what we could do with them is something like the sultan figuring the Hagia Sofia will be a wonderful mosque.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  36. Mike S on October 6, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    #35: John Mansfield …the answer is that it’s a pretty direct continuation of Joseph Smith…

    I see your point. At the same time, we have changed much of what Joseph Smith did. We don’t practice polygamy. We don’t drink wine. We don’t have a military. We don’t gather people to Zion. Etc. And we’ve already changed things. We have missionaries on the Internet (which Joseph Smith didn’t). We have films and DVDs which Joseph Smith didn’t. We run multi-million dollar “I’m A Mormon” ad campaigns to improve our public image.

    Our Church exists in the society around us and necessarily changes in response to it. None of the topics in this series change anything doctrinal – they are merely practices that could change to better interact with the world around us.

    In my opinion (for what it’s worth), missionaries doing service to help our fellowman is a much more useful use of their time than the current system. And while not the primary goal, I think it would be more effective at spreading the gospel as well.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  37. Mike S on October 6, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Short on time – but to the multiple comments talking about how “hard” it might be, or that it would take more work to organize this program – SO WHAT. We can do hard things. When people feel like what they are doing is important and would make a difference, they step up and do things they never thought they would.

    And I honestly think that a change in focus like this would spill over into the membership and invigorate the Church.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  38. Jayme on October 6, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    As I approached missionary age, being a girl I was not encouraged to do so. Yet I had no direction in my life, having “failed” and what I set out to do in college. Had there been a summer or semester-long service program offered through the church, teaching English, building houses, whatever, I would have definitely looked into it. Instead I ended up as a Disney World intern and did “missionary work” there. Haha.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  39. Bro. Jones on October 6, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    I’ve wondered: if I were called to be a mission president, what would happen if I arrived in the field, called a massive conference of the missionaries serving there and said, “I’m converting this mission into a service mission. Teach people as requested and as the Spirit prompts you, otherwise fill your days with service.” Would I be released immediately?

    Jayme; I was in a similar situation as you, but I was blessed to have connections (non-LDS) who basically set me up in a service mission overseas. A wonderful expeience that changed my life. I wish everyone could have a similar one, but they definitely have to look outside the church.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  40. Jake on October 7, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    I think this shows the dilution of what service has come to mean in the Church. Most service projects that I find get done are more superficial things then things that actually really help people. I mean this year at EFY their service project was ‘thanking people.’ So they all made up songs, dances or skits to express thanks. Yes, its good to show gratitude but that is NOT service by any stretch of the imagination.

    There was an article about ways to serve in the New Era and it really made my blood boil. http://lds.org/new-era/1988/03/fyi-for-your-information As most of the things in it weren’t service. For instance ‘get along with your brother and sister’ how is that service? Offer a zuccinni recycling service? A lot of the list was really just things you can do that can make you feel like you are serving but aren’t really serving.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  41. Mike S on October 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    #39: Bro Jones:

    Unfortunately, you would be released in a heart-beat, as it is a very top-down program.

    In my mission, the Area Presidency decided that contacting potential priesthood leaders was important, so we had a new “inspired” program. We didn’t do the traditional study in the morning, but went out to bus stops, train stations, street car stops, etc. to contact men on their way to work. We then came back mid-morning to do our studying.

    I was in a leadership position at the time, and we explained to the mission president that it wasn’t going to work. He told us it was the way we had to do it because it was obviously inspired.

    So we did it with the faith in your leaders that it the highest when you are a missionary. We jumped in with both feet. After a few months, it became clear it was a resounding failure. But it took a lot of time to pass the results back up the chain of command until we were allowed by the Area Presidency to stop doing it.

    If something this simple was that controlled, I think your proposal would send a tidal wave.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  42. Mike S on October 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    #40: Jake

    I agree with you. The majority of “service” project we do in the Church are lame. They are service for the sake of checking a box to say we did it, or else things done with the ulterior motive of “improving the image of the Church”. There is very little service for its own sake.

    I would absolutely LOVE to see real and meaningful service be done. Let a ward start a long-term soup kitchen. Let them adopt an inner-city school. Let missionaries actually serve. The ideas are limitless.

    We can obviously do all these things as individuals, but it would be nice to also marshal the resources and organization of our Church to do much bigger and more effective projects to make the world around us a better place. Other churches do it. We should too.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  43. The Faithful Dissident on October 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Mike, thanks for referring to my post about the hunting preserves. For the most up-to-date news, here is the latest post: http://thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com/2011/09/re-post-is-church-sacrificing-principle.html

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  44. Mike S on October 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Faithful Dissident:

    Takk for oppdateringen og for den opprinnelige artikkelen.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  45. The Faithful Dissident on October 8, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    Vær så god, Mike. ;)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  46. Meag on October 16, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    When I was on my mission in Spain, pounding the pavement making contacts with little to no success, I often wished to be giving service. It makes so much sense! It would have been a wonderful addition to my mission. I have two girls and have often said if they could do a more service oriented mission, I would highly encourage them, but would not “discourage” them from a proselyting mission.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Archives

%d bloggers like this: