Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

If you want your children to go on missions.

January 24th, 2018 by Bookslinger

If you want your children to pray regularly after they grow up,  they need to hear and see you pray regularly while they are growing up.  And they need to practice and establish the habit while they are growing up.

That’s just common sense, right?

If you want your children to read the scriptures regularly after they grow up, well… same thing, they need to see/hear your example, and practice/do as children.

If you want your children, when they turn 18 or 19, to talk to strangers in public about religion, shouldn’t they see/hear you talk to strangers in public about religion?

See my blog for ideas about how to talk to strangers in public about religion.  Ethnic restaurants and grocery stores are the easiest for me.

Think about it.  Most, maybe the vast majority, of Mormon parents expect their children to leave home and do something in public that they have never seen their parents do.

Comments (7)
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January 24th, 2018 15:13:25

John Mansfield
January 25, 2018

A strong element of the mission concept is accepting a call to do something you wouldn’t otherwise be doing, similar to suddenly being the leader of the ward or the Relief Society, the focus of the attention of dozens or hundreds of fellow saints. That element makes it natural for a missionary to pick up his task, like a soldier sent to the war, and do things that weren’t part of the life he knew.

January 25, 2018

JM: But youth see the rank-and-file of their ward stepping up to those caloings. They have a “lifetime” of seeing ordinary members of those wards perform the outward things of those callings.

Missionary companionships no longer split up and go 2×2 with ward members. It’s now threesomes, right? And even with the new theessomes, are any 16/17 year olds going out and contacting with them?

Well, “contacting” is now being phased out in missions. Many missions are actually discouraging if not forbidding it for missionaries. So a lot of places now, members have to make referrals, or people self-refer through internet/media.

There are some interesting comments about it over at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com

January 25, 2018

I don’t know if the changes occurring in contacting are a bug or a feature. Is the missionary dept experimenting with “not contacting” because it turns off missionaries and prospective missionaries, keeping prospective missionaries out of the field, or “damaging” some of the phone-addicted snowflakey 18/19 year olds who never learned to talk to people face to face? Or is it because converts who don’t have any pre-existing LDS friends/connections have such a high attrition rate?

It is really hard to get a convert with absolutley no previous LDS connections integrated into most US wards.

Ivan Wolfe
January 26, 2018

My own personal experience:
My father talked with strangers about the gospel all the time. He picked up hitchhikers and always gave them church literature (that was back in the day of dozens of different “pamphlets” on church topics).

Didn’t help me much. I was (still am, somewhat) too socially awkward. Talking to strangers on my mission was torture – I would have rather been waterboarded.

January 26, 2018

I’ve observed situations similar to Ivan Wolfe’s. I think that often children of very gregarious individuals fail to develop in that area. Sometimes they pick it up, I just don’t think the correlation is reliable.

That’s no reason not to get out and effectively share the gospel, but just a caution to people who are tempted to think they can solve all their kids’ deficiencies. My observation is that less gregarious children of gregarious parents might be even less gregarious than they might have otherwise been, because the perceived ‘deficiency’ is amplified by juxtaposition. Sometimes the gregarious parent has a hard time not constantly harping on the issue.

But I say that as someone who consciously embraces my less gregarious side. I’m not awkward, just suspicious of the benefits of my gregariousness because of my irresistable vanity in such situations.

January 27, 2018

Lucinda, gregariousness is not needed. The humility of timidity is frequently attractive to those who would be receptive of a gospel message.

Gregariousness in other people is _naturally_ uncomfortable to timid people. People usually seek out kindred spirits. And a gregarious person would be just as uncomfortable in a room full of Harvey Milquetoasts.

Yes, there are several ways to make an approach (to a stranger) that are meek, humble, mild, gentle, respectful, and non-threatening. No gregariousness needed.

A little timidity is good, because like you say, too much confidence/gregariousness can come across as being cocky/vain.

But the better word is merely “humble”. One can be humble and talk to a stranger, and stay between the extremes of timid/fearful on one hand, and gregarious/cocky on the other.

The enemy of sharing the gospel is mainly fear; fear of rejection, and fear of being thought of as uncool or stupid.

I say parents can help children overcome those fears by example. Let the kids see mom/dad “match” or “pace” people in all sorts of interactions and situations, gospel discussions not required. But if a gospel offer is made, and if rejected, let the kids see mom/dad carry on as normal, no big deal.

Let the kids see mom/dad not care if people think them uncool. That is required nowadays for gospel living. Christians are definitely uncool in the eyes of the world these days, whether theyshare the gospel or not. Chastity, word of wisdom, tithing, 3 hour church, prayer, scripture study, all uncool.

“Reflective” or “mirror behavior” interaction is good in many settings. The greeter/approacher/sales-person/missionary starts out as “neutral” as possible, then tries to get a “read” of the other person and “mimics” their emotion/manners; perhaps calm, cool, slow speaking, or bubbly and excited. Dale Carnegie called it “pace and then lead”.

“… because the perceived ‘deficiency’ is amplified by juxtaposition. ”

Ummm, that comes across as arguing for parents to not be good examples, at anything.

January 27, 2018


I see what you are saying. I guess I’m suspicious of doing things to “be an example”. You should do them because you want to do them. Being an example follows doing good things for their own sake.

I’m not saying it doesn’t work, I’m just not convinced it’s best to think, “Hmm, I want my kid to do such-and-such, so I will do such-and-such”. I know I think that from time, and it has kinda helped in some ways, I just wonder if it works as well for actual goodness as thinking, “God wants me to do such-and-such, so even if it embarrasses my kids and makes them uncomfortable with the church permanently, I will do it.”
So insofar as the actual goal is to share the gospel, whatever little carrots that actually help might be good.

The thing is that I personally have tended toward a kind of pragmatic approach to life, and have often thought that the various sticks and carrots were useful But as I’ve reflected about my vanity, I’ve come to see the desire to *appear good* is completely inimical to my desire to really be good.

But I think that’s what you were getting at when you talked about humility. I just wanted to caution those, like me, whose vanity really does get in the way of being good, that you have to begin with the willingness to permanently look uncool/dumb, including to your own children. The humility has to also mean a willingness to carry on as normal when your kids decide they don’t want to go on a mission, or have a terrible mission experience.

So the thing I want to show my children is living true to eternal principles. Effectively sharing the gospel is part of that, and I certainly agree with getting into the details to help people accomplish their righteous desires. I only question whether it’s good to tap into the fundamentally vain desire to be exemplary rather than giving primary consideration to the desire to do right in the sight of God.

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