Hey guys, I just wanted to take a minute and reiterate that we are NOT anti-Mormons, wolves in sheep’s clothing, or any of the other things that we get accused of daily. I’m amazed at how many people assume that just because we are honest about church history, and talk about the not-so-pleasant aspects of a mission, we must be anti-Mormons who are trying to prevent kids from serving missions. Let me be clear that our goal is NOT to keep anyone from serving a mission, unless that person is truly not cut out for missionary service, in which case they have nothing to be ashamed of and should not feel pressured to go. In all other cases, our goal is to prepare missionaries for what they will be dealing with in the field. Although ultimately it is the spirit that converts, that doesn’t mean that a future missionary shouldn’t strive to become as knowledgeable as possible about everything that pertains to the Gospel.
The first time I went through the temple, I had a good experience. I grew up in Utah, so I’d been told my whole life how extremely weird/crazy/shocking/unsettling it was. It was so built up for me, that by the time I actually went through, it didn’t seem like such a big deal, and I was actually able to feel the spirit and enjoy myself. My husband had the opposite experience. He grew up outside of Utah, with very few Mormons around. He’d been told by his parents and leaders his whole life that the temple was a wonderful, special, spiritual experience. Without having been the least bit prepared for the weirder, cult-like aspects of the endowment session, he freaked out and felt like everyone had lied to him, and that maybe it was a cult after all. How sad that his first temple experience was ruined by lack of preparation.
Here at futuremissionary.com, we don’t want any of you to feel like a deer in the headlights when you get to the MTC, or the mission field. We want you to be as prepared as possible – mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, academically – to serve a happy, successful mission.
There are plenty of websites out there to help you get ready for your mission. We started this site because we couldn’t find a single one that talked about the hard parts of serving a mission. When my nephew got his call a few months ago, he’d been taking a mission prep class, and had asked for mission advice from every RM that he came across. When he came to my husband and me, he said, “Be honest – what’s a mission really like?” As you can imagine, we gave him an earful. He genuinely seemed to be grateful for the honest truth. He’s a really smart kid, and spent the month before he left familiarizing himself with some of the more controversial topics. Now, instead of looking like an idiot who doesn’t know his own church’s history, he’ll be able to calmly explain things when faced with tough questions.
We definitely understand why so many label us as anti-Mormon. My husband’s family is of the opinion that anything difficult in the church’s history, or that might paint it in a bad light, should never be spoken of. He was never taught about any of these things growing up, and when, after his mission, he brought them up to his parents, they chastised him for trying to stir up trouble, and told him that he shouldn’t be reading anti-Mormon material. He tried to explain that it wasn’t anti-Mormon material – it was all true stuff, verified by the Church. But they wouldn’t listen – they just told him that it wasn’t pertinent to his salvation, and that to talk about it only destroys testimonies. It’s because of them, and others like them, that we don’t use our real names. We don’t want to upset our family, and we don’t want to cause any issues in our ward either. We realize that a good portion of members feel the same as my in-laws. We knew we’d get a lot of flack for talking about the “meat” of the Gospel, and that we’d even get called anti-Mormons. It’s not fun – in fact it’s down-right infuriating, but we believe it’s worth it to get the truth out there. Yes, it can be tough to still have a testimony when you know about this stuff. But learning about and having to defend my religion has made my testimony much, much stronger. We hope to be able to help strengthen the testimonies of all who come to our site.
Let me close with a few quotes from our leaders:
“Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, Dec 25, ’05 interview with The Associated Press
“There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit. Their faith never goes below the surface soil of authority. I plead with everyone I meet that they may drive their faith down through that soil and get hold of the solid truth, that they may be able to withstand the winds and storm of indecision and of doubt, of opposition and persecution. Then, and only then, will we be able to defend our religion successfully.” – Apostle Hugh B. Brown
“Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t seek revelation or answers…because we think we know the answers already. Brothers and sisters, as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit.
Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf