The Mish: Knocking Doors or Street Contacting?

Rusty - April 14, 2009

[poll id="7"]


  1. I was never good at either (and did very little of either) but preferred knocking doors because I always needed to prepare myself for approaching it. Street contacting was always too frantic and people were always more bothered on the street.

    Comment by bret — April 14, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  2. I pick “C’: go to Utah on your mission.

    Comment by Kim Siever — April 14, 2009 @ 7:59 am

  3. Doors, because then you never have to talk to anyone. Surprise, surprise, hardly anyone sane just sits at home during the day.

    Comment by Owen — April 14, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  4. Surprise, surprise, hardly anyone sane just sits at home during the day.

    Unless you get called to Europe.

    Comment by Bryan H. — April 14, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  5. i’ve had recurring nightmares about having to do both again.

    Comment by mike d. — April 14, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  6. I could always bring myself to knock on doors. It was structured and the people who bothered to answer tended to be more polite.

    Street-contacting always terrified me and I just felt sorry for the people we were harassing.

    Comment by Seth R. — April 14, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  7. I sort of enjoyed knocking on doors back in Japan. Heaven knows we had little else to do and nobody seemed to like street contacting. The housewives were generally polite, and with only about 1/3 of the people home it was kind of a quiet, meditative activity. I would estimate that about 1/500 door knocks resulted in some kind of substantive religious discussion and 1/100 in a substantive non-religious discussion. Usually something would happen – a shopkeeper would come out to give us juice, the neighborhood kids would get us involved in a game, or someone would invite us in for a snack and chat just because they were interested in Americans – to break up the monotony and make an interesting day of it. So I voted for door knocking.

    Comment by DCL — April 14, 2009 @ 11:47 am

  8. Option C. People hanging out in front of their house with nothing better to do than listen to missionaries. Welcome to Honduras with 30+ discussions a week and 5-10% activity rates!

    Comment by Bill C. — April 14, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  9. The other nice thing about knocking doors in Japan was the fun you could have in comparing responses (since the Japanese are polite to a fault, they never in my experience slammed doors (tough to get the desired effect with a sliding door anyway), and tried to avoid a direct rejection.

    So, at house one, they’d say “Everybody’s gone.”* At the next house it’d be “Everybody’s home.” Then “The kids are awake.” Next, “The kids are in bed.” And then, “We don’t have any children.” Followed (after a perfect door approach in flawless Japanese) by: “Eigo ga wakarimasen.” “I don’t speak English.”

    It was hard not to laugh out loud.

    *We heard this all the time: “Rusu desu.” If a grandmother lived with a family, and was alone at home, she’d almost always say this. To be charitable, we supposed that she thought we wanted to see the head of the household, who presumably was out. Still, having a voice from inside the house call “Rusu desu” seemed to us a little like the children answering “yes” when you call up to their rooms and ask if they’re asleep.

    We did a lot of both kinds of contacting–probably spent more time doing kobetsu homon, and probably spoke to more people doing gaito dendo.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 14, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  10. I pick “C’: go to Utah on your mission.

    Here here Kim, knocking doors on BYU campus was the best. We’d go to the freshmen dorms at Deseret Towers and straight to the RA’s room. He’d proceed to give us a list of all the non-members. I know – bad for mission cred…

    Comment by CJ Douglass — April 14, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  11. CJ, were you actually called to serve at BYU?

    I always felt sorry for those guys. I remember one time I was walking through Heritage Halls and my building was in sight, and I saw the missionaries exit the building. And I thought, “Damn, they were just looking for me.” I walked right past them and headed up to my apartment.

    “Oh, Jack, the missionaries were just here for you,” one of my roommates said. “Yeah, I figured. I walked right past them,” I told her, trying to make it clear from my tone that I was happy to have missed them.

    Another time they were coming down the stairs of my building as I was going up, and I knew that if I started to go into the apartment they would have me. So I walked right past my apartment, sat down in the lobby outside of it, and began pulling out my homework. They hesitated on the stairs for a moment and I heard them whispering—probably trying to decide if they should ask who I was—then they left. As soon as I heard the outer door close, I gathered up my homework and went into my apartment.

    I managed to avoid them until my 3rd semester at BYU.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — April 14, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

  12. I baptized a family on my mission by knocking doors. Very few families were baptized. But another Elder baptized an entire village by street contacting. Just keep working and the Lord will open doors, little ones and big ones.

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — April 15, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  13. Went to England in the 80′s and did a lot of both and enjoyed both. It always surprises me how little current missionaries want to do either. I realize they aren’t the most effective methods, but they aren’t bloody ineffective either.

    Comment by TStevens — April 15, 2009 @ 5:54 am

  14. Jack, First I’ll apologize on behalf of all missionaries called to serve on BYU. We have very little choice but to terrorize the 50-100 non-members on campus. I’m sure it was annoying for you.

    On the other hand, it was a fun place to serve. Believe it or not, a lot of the people we met went to BYU because they really liked being around Mormons. Those were the people calling us up as freshmen saying, “Will you teach me the discussions so I can get baptized?”

    I guess after a while, we assumed every non-mo at the Y was destined for baptism. Again, apologies if you were a casualty of that. :)

    BTW, what years were you there? I served there during the summer and fall of ’99.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — April 15, 2009 @ 6:39 am

  15. On the other hand, it was a fun place to serve. Believe it or not, a lot of the people we met went to BYU because they really liked being around Mormons. Those were the people calling us up as freshmen saying, “Will you teach me the discussions so I can get baptized?”

    Yeah, you know, it was always annoying when I would try to hunt down non-members to invite them to my church or the evangelical Christian Bible study only to find out that they’d been baptized, were soon getting baptized, or were just fine going to their local LDS ward. *shakes fist angrily*

    I arrived on campus in January 2001, so alas, we never had the privilege of annoying one another. But if Mormonism is true, perhaps we’ll still get that chance in the next life.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — April 15, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  16. I’m with mike d. I have this recurring nightmare that I’m sent back to my old mission as an older man.

    On another note, my patriarchal blessing told me I’d be called on a mission where the Tribe of Judah abounds, and then I was sent to North Carolina. But not one “Oy vey, y’all!”

    Comment by David T. — April 15, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

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