What’s the Deal with “Missionary Week?”

MCQ - March 12, 2009

I think this is so odd.  This week, my son’s 9th grade seminary (all classes) have been doing something called “Missionary Week.”  What is “Missionary Week” you ask?  A week where the kids learn how to spread the gospel, maybe?  No.  That would apparently be way too sane.  Here’s the dope:  All the kids have to obey the missionary rules.  That’s it.  No teaching the gospel.  No bearing of testimony.  Just a bunch of sucky restrictions from the white bible: no music, no cell phones, boys need to get haircuts, girls need to dress modestly, no email, no facebook, no TV… you get the idea.  The teachers make the kids sign a statement ratting themselves out every day if they don’t obey the rules.

Here’s my question:  What’s the point of those restrictions if you’re not teaching the gospel?  Why would anyone want to be a missionary if you have all the rules, but none of the reason for the rules?  Whose idiotic idea was this?  Does anyone else know about this?  Has seminary gone completely round the bend?  Help me out here!

17 Comments »

  1. We did this back in the day, and I think there is some purpose in that they get a sense for how different their live will be if/when they serve missions. In today’s super-electronically-driven world, where these kids are constantly connected to some device, that is not such a bad thing, imo.

    But we also had a Book of Mormon project that same week where we had students write testimonies in them. I don’t remember exactly how we did it, but we had a goal to give a certain number (I think it was 1,000) away. So there was that element, too.

    Are they not doing *anything* else? If not, it’s a sad, missed opportunity, but it’s not all a waste, imo.

    Comment by m&m — March 12, 2009 @ 1:33 am

  2. no email, no facebook

    On what planet are missionaries not using email and facebook?

    Comment by Peter LLC — March 12, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  3. I am pretty sure missionaries do not use facebook, but they do use e-mail with some restrictions.

    I think missionary week is supposed to be like fasting–denying yourself of something normal will give you a better appreciation of it when you can go back.

    Comment by esodhiambo — March 12, 2009 @ 6:02 am

  4. Is it just coincidence this is being done during Lent?

    Comment by jimbob — March 12, 2009 @ 6:40 am

  5. Mormon Lent!

    Comment by Rusty — March 12, 2009 @ 6:40 am

  6. Here’s what I remember from the white bible:

    “Smile… look people in the eye… shake hands firmly but gently… be genuine… make up your mind to succeed…

    Not really bad habits to bend to for a week. But for a 9th grader? As Brando once said: “The horror… the horror…”

    Comment by David T. — March 12, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  7. I agree with #1 –my experience was similar, but we also did service projects and “friend lunches” where during lunchtime, the seminary teachers would serve hotdogs and it was only $1 if you brought a friend that didn’t go to seminary (or something like that).

    As a mom, I’ve often done no TV/movies/video-games days just because my kids need it. We all need it every once in while, don’t we? I know I do!

    But yeah, if your son’s class isn’t doing anything else, it’s kind of sad –they should at least do some kind of service project, you’d think…

    Comment by cheryl — March 12, 2009 @ 7:12 am

  8. I am pretty sure missionaries do not use facebook

    Huh. Since facebook became available to the masses, I haven’t met one that hasn’t.

    Comment by Peter LLC — March 12, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  9. Seeing how I’m not a fan of missionary rules for missionaries, I’m not a fan.

    Comment by Tim J — March 12, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  10. My kids have had missionary week sponsored by seminary. In addition to some of the things in the post, they have also been encouraged to invite friend to mutual and share a book of mormon. My kids have enjoyed the experience. I think it helps them to think about sharing the gospel now, and in the future when/if they serve a mission.

    And my kids are learning about Paul and his missions right now in seminary, so missionary week goes along with that.

    Also, I have been told by my kid’s seminary teacher that they encourage the kids to dress nice that week and the teachers at the school (even those who are not members of the LDS church) say they feel a difference in their classrooms during missionary week. And they appreciated it.

    Comment by Karen — March 12, 2009 @ 7:56 am

  11. We did a missionary week, with *some* of the rules, and others left out. No tv, no inappropriate music-but not as restrictive as a missionary, study by yourself and then with a friend, do an hour of service, yada yada yada….the big thing for us was having them BE MISSIONARIES. (who knew?) yup The big idea was for them to dress a bit nicer at school invite their friends into discussions about the Gospel, invite them to a special mid-week activity at Mutual, and such. If they followed the tv rule, etc., woohoo, but if not, we they still being a missionary? That’s where our kids got *brownie points*. After all, not all of us are set apart full time missionaries, some of us are still living real lives…but expected to live the “every member a missionary” life.

    We had a lot of fun, the kids really liked it and in the long run we had a couple of investigators and one baptism. But more than following the rules was *being* a missionary.

    Comment by s'mee — March 12, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  12. Yeah, for those of you that have actual missionary activities during the week, I’m all for that. I’d even be supportive if they just taught the kids how to be missionaries. But that’s not what’s happening. It’s just the rules, with no actual spreadin’ the gospel stuff. I think that’s sad, and it really has nothing to do with being a missionary. I can tell you that it’s not making the kids want to go on a mission. Quite the reverse.

    Comment by MCQ — March 12, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  13. Peter LLC–OK, let’s put it this way: I am pretty sure missionaries ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO USE FACEBOOK.

    They are not supposed to surf the internet. They are only supposed to use their church-issued web-based email address and that is all. They are not supposed to check their yahoo accounts or read or write blogs (many have families put their letters on blogs for others to read).

    I would guess that exceptions are made for missionaries who, near the end of their missions, need to re-apply to schools.

    Comment by esodhiambo — March 12, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  14. Actually, missionaries can use Facebook to update their status and check messages –just like how they use email. As far as spending lots of time on there? It’s the same as with email (one mass email to family, etc.). However, this could differ depending on the Mission pres…

    Comment by cheryl — March 12, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  15. yep, facebook is a mission president rule, not a general one. our last mission president assigned his niece to keep up on all of the missionaries on myspace. some of them were committing no-nos, posting it on their myspace, and several got busted for it.

    isn’t this also “turn off the tv week,” or whatever they call it? that might be playing into it. as described, i don’t see anything wrong with the missionary week, but yes, they are missing an opportunity to do more.

    Comment by makakona — March 12, 2009 @ 10:51 am

  16. Teenagers are dumber than they have any right to be, especially in the US. Asking them to obey mission rules AND do the service and/or proselyting that goes along with them would overwhelm their simple, hedonistic mindsets. (Exceptions to the rule do not disprove the rule.)

    Sounds like the idea behind this one is to let them make converts out of themselves via mission rules. Not a bad idea if you ask me. Sure, it’s self centered. By why not let them (especially the young men) get that part of the process out of the way so by the time they hit the mission field, they’re ready to apply mission rules the way they’re supposed to?

    Just throwing that out there.

    Comment by Paradox — March 12, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  17. Thank you cheryl and makakona. That’s what the elders I work with have reported to me.

    Comment by Peter LLC — March 12, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI