Back to uniform, if you don’t think a guy wearing a dress shirt and tie riding a bike isn’t cultish and not something a person trying to make a good impression would do, we live on different planets. I’m all for bike riding missionaries to keep transportation expenses down, but the uniform should match the task and the times.]]>
And while I wouldn’t argue that there are many “outsiders” who would have the sort of “first impression” you describe, I would be a little more skeptical about making the claim that such reactions are typical of all, or even most Americans.]]>
It all comes down to first impressions, and what works in one time or country usually won’t work in another time or place. Most of our bike riding missionaries today, at least in western countries, are utterly wasting their’s and the Lord’s time out there. I clean polo shirt, cotton slacks and casual shoes would go much better with the bike and helmet (we didn’t have the helmets nor backpacks on my mission).
For the record, I have a son on a mission now, and I don’t share these views with him so as not to undermine his motivation, not encourage disobedience to his Pres and let him find his own way. But I am very sad for him that he hasn’t found nearly as many receptive people as I did, and I served in what many LDS feel is a mission hell hole.
I also found the old book How to Win Friends and Influence People was by far the most useful book on my mission, better than anything on the approved list, but that’s a whole other story.]]>