Opinion: Local Elders Need Real Mission Experiences
To the Utah Valley Community:
Utah Valley missionaries have it good. The locals are friendly. Everyone yells, “Hey Elders!” out their car windows as they drive by on State Street. The local Elders frequently get their food and shopping paid for by generous members. Compared to most other missionaries in the world, the life of a Utah Valley missionary is downright cushy.
I just got back from serving in Siberia. Despite the bleak winters and bitter loneliness, I can honestly say it was the best two years of my life because I grew from it. I knew what I was teaching was true because of all the opposition I received. I knew that broken Vodka bottles were flying at my head and people were pooping on our doorstep because evil will always resist truth. God told Joseph Smith that Joseph would be exalted on high if he endured his afflictions well (D&C 121:7-8). I am so grateful that I had afflictions to endure so that I will also be exalted on high.
As members of the church in Utah, we are doing our local Elders a huge disservice. The Elders are not experiencing the exquisite growth that comes from overcoming trials, and we need to repent and change our ways. The Elders are not passing through the refiner’s fire. They are not having their faith tested by cruelty and depravity and are not receiving the opportunity to increase their faith with even greater strength. How can the seed of faith grow without the scorching heat of the sun?
So, scream profanities at the missionaries. Tell them they worship the devil and they should go back to where they came from. Offer them rides, but drive off as they reach for the door handle while you cackle maniacally. Pretend to be interested in their message, invite them to your house, lead them along for months, but only rarely keep appointments and never commit to anything. Refer them to that angry atheist friend you have, while assuring the Elders that he is very interested and currently trying to find the truth.
Follow the spirit and remember, God will always stop you if you are giving them more trials than they can handle (1 Cor 10:13). I know that when we offer trials to the missionaries out of love, they will endure them well and be exalted on high.