No Investigators, No Dinner

Categories: The Mission

Rules for meal times vary from mission to mission, but more and more missionaries seem to be going home hungry. This is a result of the “No investigators, no dinner” policy. This basically means that missionaries are no longer allowed to  have dinner at the houses of members unless there’s an investigator present.

There are two main reasons for this policy. First, Elders were spending too much time at the houses of people who don’t need conversion. Second, it’s a huge motivator to make sure you’re not only finding new prospects, but that you’re integrating them into the ward.

Critics argue that skipping meals essential kicks your body into starvation mode, leading to slower metabolism, and weight gain. On the other hand, weakening the body can strengthen the spirit. If your mission is one that skips dinner, be sure to keep a close eye on your physical as well as mental wellness. Let your mission president know immediately if your health starts to fail as a result of this rule. It’s natural to feel pressure to be obedient, but it’s important to remember that your health comes first.

Author: Elder J

23 Responses to "No Investigators, No Dinner"

  1. Brendon Beebe Posted on June 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    This is probably the largest lie on this website out of the hundreds :/

    *Source – Served a 2 year mission and have lived with hundreds of RM’s

  2. admin Posted on June 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    @Brenden – I’m certainly glad this wasn’t your experience. As far as the hundreds of RM’s you lived with, did you speak with them about whether or not they had dinner. I hadn’t realized it was so widespread either until I started asking.

  3. Chanelle Posted on June 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I ate like a Queen on my mission and honestly you have more than enough money to make your own dinner that you don’t need members dinner. That is just a good time to be familiar with the members and non members. We had elders on my mission who were big into weight lifting and had strict diets so they just made their own dinner. No big deal at all. No starving unless you are a terrible cook! 😉 I come from a family of 7 and 5 of us served missions and all of us gained weight even my brother in Haiti! So to say missionaries are starving is a huge lie unless they are just too lazy to cook.

  4. FutureMissionary Posted on June 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

    @Chanelle – I’m so glad they didn’t have that rule on your mission. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of laziness. In a lot of missions if you aren’t fed by investigators for dinner, you’re not allowed to go home to cook, eat out, or even eat at the houses of members.

  5. Jenna Posted on June 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    This is getting ridiculous now. Nobody is starving the missionaries.

  6. Jeremiah Posted on June 20, 2013 at 11:49 am

    This is ridiculous. It doesn’t mean you don’t get dinner. It means you go and purchase dinner.

  7. FutureMissionary Posted on June 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Turns out this “rule” was supposedly in place in Brazil and other Latin countries where dinner doesn’t really even exist. In those countries, lunch is the main meal. Many natives don’t even eat much of a dinner (leftovers or a drink is pretty common). Most likely the rule was imposed because of missionaries who were taxing the members too much. These missionaries probably were setting up lunch appointments and then asking for dinner appointments as well. I highly doubt the rule said you couldn’t eat dinner. The rule probably just said that you should just work through the dinner hour and then eat once you get home.

  8. BarataPT Posted on June 28, 2013 at 7:17 am

    People should shut up about things they know nothing about. Maybe it wasn’t so where you served or where the people you know served, but some mission presidents do come up with some crazy*ss stuff to “motivate” missionaries. A few years ago in the Portugal Lisbon Mission when President Amorim was the MP here, he actually came up with a rule where you couldn’t go to church on Sundays unless you had investigators there. He changed the rule around a bit so after a while missionaries weren’t allowed to go to the classes without investigators but were alowed to go to sacrament meeting. As member I would often see missionaries standing on church door waiting for their investigators that most often than not, would no show up at all. This went on for a very long time until finally some missionaries parents complained and reported the situation, then the church had some GA over to “smack” Amorim around a bit. This rule then stoped permanently. But he had other crazy*ss rules like not allowing missionaries to enter a mall, like ever! Not on prep. day, not to eat at McDonnalds, not do do some bowling (again prep day) NOT EVER!

  9. NoMoMo Posted on June 28, 2013 at 7:58 am

    This was the rule imposed on my home ward–in Missouri–AND later on my college ward in Kentucky. The policy was instituted in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. I’ve had 3 brothers and a sister serve missions and no, depending on where you go you don’t always get enough money to eat well. I had a brother subsist primarily off a 25 lb. bag of rice for months while having to bike through the mountains of Japan. The cost of living is very high there but the amount of money they got for food was based on some average, which means people serving in poorer areas actually sometimes eat better.

  10. Lisa Posted on June 28, 2013 at 9:17 am

    The last week of every month my husband and his comps had to live on bread and matte while serving in Salta Argentina. Many missionaries do go hungry.

  11. Rhonda R. Posted on June 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    That’s great… Starve to death for the Church!

    • ElderJ
      ElderJ Posted on July 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      No one starves over missing a single meal, but it’s still not healthy.

  12. Ben O Posted on August 14, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    I don’t what others did, but I never ate dinner on my mission. For the whole two years I had only 1 meal after breakfast. Usually we put it around 3pm. We weren’t even allowed to eat at members houses, for health reasons.

  13. A. Clarke Posted on August 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Why do some people assume that the rules for their location are the rules wordwide? An then to claim others are lying about their situation? The post clearly states that rules change from mission to mission.

    In our area missionaries can’t come to dinner unless an investigator is present. They feed themselves otherwise, but they really need the meals to stretch out their budget. If they don’t get enough investigators, they go hungry at the end of the month.

  14. ElderYounger Posted on August 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I (& my companions) did indeed have to forgo meals, due to this rule. In retrospect; it was cruel, mean-spirited and heavy-handed. Going hungry didn’t kill me, but it left one uncomfortable and focused one’s mind on anything BUT the gospel. There was no need for this rule. It did not lead to any increased amount of converts or investigators. If people aren’t interested in the hokum, they can’t be forced to listen or even to play along. the Internet has exposed the truth about Mormonism, and it is now collapsing under the weight of the exposed truth.

  15. Wannabe Teancum Posted on October 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I’ve never heard of this and I returned less than a year ago, BUT but I can totally imagine some crazy mission president introducing it. Don’t think we’re quite on the “more and more missionaries” stage though, probably just “some missionaries” are going home a-hungered. And when I say a-hungered, I mean has to go home and cook their own meal instead of being cooked for. Depending on the quality of the cooking, it can be the same thing

  16. Jake RM Posted on March 31, 2015 at 11:25 am

    There is a little truth to this statement. Having investigators was occasionally a stipulation for meals. But is seemed to be coming more as an attempt to make missionaries who spent too much time with the members work harder to find investigators.

  17. Hong Kong RM Posted on October 20, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    It saddens me to see the comments on this post and seeing people get upset by this rule. We had this rule in our mission and I’m so grateful for the wisdom of our mission president in teaching us to become better missionaries.

    This rule is not about “starving missionaries to get them to work”. It’s about promoting a focused, consecrated mindset that is constantly thinking about how to bring others to Christ. It builds trust with members when they see missionaries that are dedicated to teaching investigators, not missionaries that come over for a good meal and unwind after a long day. The benefits are two-fold: when a member invites missionaries over for dinner, the missionaries think about whom among their investigator pool they should bring; likewise, when missionaries begin teaching a new investigator, they think about which member they should invite this investigator to have dinner with.

    It is a false dichotomy to say that a missionary must either have dinner with a member or starve. This simply isn’t true. As many others have pointed out, one could cook at home or eat elsewhere. The missionaries in our mission were perfectly capable of managing their budgets to make funds last even without eating with members. Sure, we weren’t eating in luxury, but food was never an issue. Page 45 of the missionary handbook also clearly states that missionaries can request additional funds from the mission president if needed. The mission president cares for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the missionaries and I simply cannot imagine a mission president denying such requests if there were a recognized need for them. If many missionaries seem to be having trouble staying fed with this rule, I would imagine that the monthly budget for missionaries would be readjusted to meet needs. However, I’ve never heard of anyone in our mission who struggled to stay within the budget even with wise spending habits.

    I emphasize again that the needs of each mission are different and what worked for our mission may not extend to others. We should all remember however, that the Church cares a LOT about the missionary program and invests a lot in each missionary’s output and personal growth. With that in mind, let us be slow to criticize and instead ponder and pray to understand the will of the Lord and his chosen servants.

  18. Athena Posted on October 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    As far as the rule goes, I have no comment because every mission is different and mission presidents know their missionaries as well as the general mindset of the membership in their area. They know what is best for their mission. As far as the comments about living only on rice, subsisting on bread, or having to live on their own cooking I have many comments. First may I remind you that the Lord faster for 40 days and endured the greatest temptations of Lucifer during that time. If we are to be like Christ then fasting is a real part of our lives. Fasting one meal per day or living on only one meal per day for a couple of years will not kill you or cause permanent damage to your metabolism. Although, the primary goal of a mission is to study and teach the gospel it is also the place to actively practice budgeting, cooking, doing laundry, and building relationship skills. Hopefully before going on a mission the person, male or female, has been trained by parents in the skills that they need to know. Mothers of future missionaries please teach your boys to cook, do laundry (including the use of an iron), and how to clean a house. Parents, please teach your future missionaries how to resolve conflict through prayer, scripture study, and rational problem resolution skills. Fathers, please teach your daughters that faith and prayer has limits and that yes Jesus turned water to wine but not to gasoline so please do not put water in the tank of the car then pray that it become gasoline. Now I am not saying don’t pray for a miracle but please put the water in a plastic container and pray. If you get your miracle GREAT!!!!! If God chooses to not give it to you then you don’t ruin a perfectly good car engine in the process! (YES THIS REALLY HAPPENED!!!!!) If there are missionaries out there suffering I strongly suggest that they went into their mission blind to the realities of life. Who to blame for that is an individual thing. For the Utah born and bred multi generational Mormon kid who was born to two RMs I can only lay that blame squarely at the feet of the parents. For the street wise convert that is brimming with vigor to serve in the wake of their new found conversion, I ask did you think that God was going to hand things to you on a silver platter? Look at the real world that you grew up in. Those are his children too. Why would he do more for you than for the least of these your brethren? For everyone else I ask, Would you go on a vacation without proper planning and preparation? Of course not! Why then would you go on a mission unprepared for the reality of what you will be doing?
    Missionary work is hard, tiring, and often requires great sacrifice. If you are unwilling to live that lifestyle with joy and praise for the opportunity to serve your Lord and Savior then DON’T Go on a mission!

  19. Neuquen Posted on October 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    As many have pointed out, this is highly dependent on the mission you are in and even when you are there. I served in Argentina where food and water were very expensive since they pegged their peso to the dollar at a 1:1 ratio, making it very hard to feed ourselves. We were also way behind other missions on baptisms, so it was decided if we sacrificed and worked harder we would be blessed with conversions.

    This entailed leaving the apartment every morning at 7:30am, and absolutely no excuse was accepted to return to the apartment before 11pm.We had lunch at 1pm with a member and dinner was prohibited, saying we could eat supper at 11pm. I couldn’t get by on 6 hours of sleep each night, so I would skip supper for an extra hour of sleep. I was skeletal by the time I came back, something like 119 lbs while being 6’1″.

    Unfortunately, since we couldn’t afford bottled water we were forced to drink tap water at member’s houses. We were told to boil it all but you can’t walk around in 100 degree heat carrying 2 gallons of boiled water every day! Within a few months I had a variety of stomach bugs including E.coli and H. Pylori, which didn’t help my weight issues. A fungal infection in my crotch got me but by that time I was puking blood. The Mission Pres gave me a blessing where he told me I was cured and I should stop faking and shirking and transferred me to the middle of nowhere.

    Luckily the GA in charge of missionary health was in my ward and pulled me out. I had to deal with my parents thinking I was a faker (MP told them as much) for a few months until the infectious diseases dr at the UofU killed a few of my stomach bugs. I finished in San Jose, CA while still very ill; they wanted me to take a year or two to recuperate then start my mission again but I insisted on finishing. My stomach has mostly recovered by now, but it was a good 10 years of painful digestion problems that all stemmed from not being allowed in the apartment except to sleep. I hope the missionaries have it better now; no number of converts is worth destroying the health of your kids.

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