My little brother-in-law has recently turned in his mission papers. That means that in a few months he will get his mission call and he will be gone for the next two years. Your mission is something that most boys prepare for for their whole lives. I have seen books geared to toddlers talking about “When I go on my mission…” It is a huge deal – it separates the “good” mormons from the “bad” for the rest of their lives (“Where did you serve your mission?” is often the first question asked by mormons upon meeting another male mormon), and many young women are looking exclusively for a RM (returned missionary) to marry. I won’t get into the details of a mission and what it entails in this post – suffice it to say that it is strict, long and focused entirely on baptizing as many people as possible.
My husband is grappling about whether he should say something to his brother before he goes. We have always been very hands off about the church and don’t really discuss it with the kid brother and sister because we want to be respectful (even though we technically aren’t because we think they are in a cult) and maintain the peace. But, now little bro is about to embark on a two year service mission where he is going to get laughed at and countered almost every day so my husband thinks that talking to him can’t be much worse. He wants to plant the seed so that he sees the things we want him to see: the fact that people outside of the church live happy, content lives, the fact that outside Southern Alberta and Utah, the mormons aren’t as important or as present as they claim to be (the church highly exaggerates both its membership numbers and its impact) and that a lot of his mission will be a numbers game. Get ’em in, get ’em counted, even if they don’t really know what they are signing up for. We want him to have something to think about so that he might, just might, give some credence to the objections that he hears while he is away.
Missions seem to have one of two effects on people; they either come back Super-Morm or leave the church all together. We would really prefer the latter and just aren’t sure how to go about it. We aren’t the only interested party waging war over this young man’s fertile mind. And while they have billions of dollars, years of brain washing and an entrenched political wing on their side, we have the truth.