Mormon missionaries get younger

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  • JustChuck57

    It will be interesting to see the impact of this increased missionary workforce. The church is facing challenges on many fronts, with the proliferation of the Internet being perhaps the most difficult. Many people are learning things about the church that were previously hidden from open view thanks to Google. Church leaders have privately acknowledged there is an exodus of younger members. Enlisting missionaries at a younger age may well be motivated in part to stem this tide.

    Unfortunately, the church continues to tread uneasily in the information age with two very distinctive versions of itself. There’s the version you’ll hear from the missionaries, and there’s the expanded (and much less flattering) version you can get from Google. See for yourself. Compare the type of information you read on the official church website at with the information revealed by dissident church members at It’s hard to believe they’re both looking at the same organization.

    One good example of this dissonance is with the translation of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries will present warm depictions of a thoughtful Joseph Smith earnestly working at a desk with a stack of golden plates. Actual eyewitnesses, however, never recall this taking place. Smith used a magical seer stone he previously employed in searching for buried treasure. He would place the stone in the bottom of a hat and claim the words for the sacred Mormon scripture would magically appear there. The golden plates were often not even in the room while Smith “translated” them. But ask most missionaries about the face-in-hat translation method, and you’ll just get blank stares. Can you name any other world religions that rely upon a magical stone in a hat to translate their scriptures?

  • Herkermer

    Protestants go on “mission trips” that last a few weeks. Mormons call them “missions,” not mission “trips,” because it’s longer than a mere trip. Missions last two years, with no breaks or vacations.