When you get to the MTC, one of the first things you’ll be taught about is Quiet Dignity. I’d never heard the phrase, and let’s just say it didn’t come naturally to me. Quiet dignity is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. As a missionary you are expected to carry yourself with grace, poise, and dignity, being quiet and reserved in all that you do. And they are pretty serious about it. If you start to speak too loudly, or laugh too boisterously, without fail someone will (quietly) rebuke, “Quiet dignity, Sister (Elder)!” It’s . . . pretty much the most annoying thing in the world.
Here is just a small list of things that are off limits as a quiet, dignified missionary:
- telling jokes
- thinking anything is funny (you’re allowed to be mildly amused, just be sure not to laugh loudly)
- yelling (e.g., quietly yelling across a small room, “Hey Elder, can you grab one for me, too?”)
- using slang (this includes, but is not limited to: hey, like, sucks, freakin’, you’re the man, chill, dang, cool) *actual list from ’06 Minnesota mission handbook
- running, or even walking inappropriately fast
- getting overly excited or animated about anything
- calling attention to yourself in any way
Basically what I’m saying is, you may have to say goodbye to your personality. If you’re anything like me, get ready for your spirit to be squashed. Unless you’re already quiet and dignified, in which case you’re going to make a wonderful missionary.