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Mormon church's Provo MTC: Exclusive look of the largest missionary training facility in the world

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  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 20, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    Nice story.
    Grateful senior alumni, 2000.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    March 21, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    Actually I think most Returned Missionary Elders would agree that the MTC was a great place to take the knowledge we had gained and the training we had learned prior to our arrival to be successful missionaries! From Primary and the Young Mens program to Seminary and Scouting we learned the skills that are refined in the MTC. The wonder of the MTC is that it is only a gathering point of knowledge given by faithful leaders and teachers we had in the first 19 years of our lives. Why are missionaries successful and respected inside and outside of the Church in many instances: Because we already had studied and knew the sacred words of the Book of Mormon, but even more the Bible as well. This along with Scouting(teaching the oath and the law, motto and slogan) prepared us for this Mission as well as having caring and loving parents! That is the power given to the MTC. Leadership learned in Troops and in the Priesthood made us ready for refining. Just wanted to mention these few things so as to credit ALL who make the MTC such a special place!

  • Sinder Stansbury Park, Ut
    March 21, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    Wish I had never stepped through those doors. May all new missionaries have a much better experience than I did.

  • CLW Vancouver, WA
    March 21, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    My MTC experience was tough but wonderful! And I thought the food was great :)

    I look forward to going on another mission someday with my sweetheart.

    One thing I wonder about is why worthy older single men are not able to serve. If a single man can be an great Apostle I can't see why they couldn't be great missionaries. I hope they can someday.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 21, 2011 6:28 a.m.

    "And they do so willingly. ..."

    Honestly, the majority of young men who go do so out of a sense of requirement. They don't honestly have a "calling" to serve.

    If they don't go, they get badgering from church fellows, relatives, parents; "when are you going to go", "why aren't you going"...

    My nephew is suffering the badgering right now.

    "Every young man on a mission" makes it a church requirement, a rite-of-passage.

    They shouldn't go unless they actually feel a calling to go. Period.

  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    March 21, 2011 6:35 a.m.

    Thanks. When my husband went on his mission in 1962, there was no language training for German missionaries. This meant he had to teach himself the language while in Germany. While immersion is still the best method, he says it would have helped his first 6 months be more productive had the language training been available.

  • Mike in Salem Salem, UT
    March 21, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    My time in the Language Training Mission (dates me a little--some English speaking missionaries were there in a pilot program when I was there in June-July of 1978 and it was renamed later that year) was some of the most spiritual of my life. I do not think there is a place on earth that the Lord is more concerned with. I felt like He walked the halls with me the whole time I was there.

    I know that wasn't' the case for some missionaries and I don't know why. The only advise I can give to new missionaries going there is to focus on why you are there, stay positive and don't judge yourselves too harshly if you don't think you measure up. I spent way too much time on my mission worrying about my weaknesses rather than enjoying the time I had to serve and trusting in the Lord to compensate for my deficiencies.

  • juni4ling Somewhere in Colorado, CO
    March 21, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    Sinder...

    What in the world happened...?-?

    I stepped in the MTC doors naive, and a little nervous of the unknown...

    I left three weeks later for Australia... I remember good food. I remember making friends with other missionaries.

    I remember that I read the scriptures a lot in the MTC. And had classes on the "Missionary Guide."

    But all-in-all it was a good experience. A lot of fun. A lot of positive experiences...

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 21, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    The MTC was a bit of an enigma for me. I was there 12 weeks thanks to problems getting a visa from my destination country. By the time those 12 weeks were over, I would have done anything to leave. After a few weeks in the mission field, I would have done anything to go back.

    The MTC is truly an amazing and frustrating place at the same time.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 21, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    The MTC was a wonderful experience for me! I struggled with learning a new, complicated, very difficult Asian language but who doesn't? I count the two years I served as the BEST two years of my life in so many ways! It changed me forever!

  • OC64 Edmonton, AB
    March 21, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    The article says that the MTC doesn't try to force people to act a certain way. That wasn't my experience at all. Everything done there seems to be about conformance and breaking down the individual. In some cases that isn't a bad thing but to say it doesn't happy is false.

  • bobosmom small town, Nebraska
    March 21, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    I remember the mtc well. I had only been a member for 4 1/2 years before I went on my mission. The MTC was a very spiritual place to me. I wasnt there very long because there was an air traffic controllers strike looming and they wanted us to get to our mission before the strike. I loved my mission for the most part but it was difficult for me in some ways because I hadnt been raised in the church and didnt have seminary,etc. and my companions kind of acted otherwise, but my mission president was very understanding about the whole thing.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    March 21, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    Good luck to all the missionaries spreading the word.

    As for those who chose not to go, that is up to them. Well meaning inquiries does not equal badgering. I know good people in the church that didn't go on missions, some of the best. It is good however to go if you so chose with full commitment to do good and help others.

  • Old Wanderer Smithfield, UT
    March 21, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    I went through the LTM in 1963, in the first group to go to Uruguay. Nearly 50 years later I still remember that experience as a time of great growth - even more than my in-country experience.

    Now my brother-in-law is a counsellor at the MTC. He and his wife love the missionaries and their calling.

    While I wouldn't say my mission was the best two years of my life, it - and particularly the LTM experience - influenced the rest of my life for the better. I feel so sorry for those who have expressed their disappointment with the MTC/missionary experience.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    March 21, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    Ranch Hand - I have to think that the cultural response to do or not do mission service - like a lot of topics in the Church - is different inside Utah than outside Utah.

    Yes, every worthy young man should serve - as a Priesthood responsibility - but every young man doesn't. My first son did not, opted for getting married early in life. And while I would have liked him to have the mission experience, was disappointed that he did not go, and it makes it harder to get his younger siblings to go on missions, there was no "badgering" by his parents, eccliastical leaders, or local members. There were well-wishing inquiries and open discussions, but no badgering.

    And he is not shunned by family or peers. He knows we love him, and that he is fully able to reach the celestial kingdon without having served a full-time mission as a youth. In fact, we will be going to LA for his temple sealing in July. I'm so very sorry there are uncharitable manifestations by some about your nephew.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    Even my ex-spouse, who is inactive, says it was his best 2 years. He is very supportive of our son serving a mission now.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    MTC reminds me of four words: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    March 21, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    The MTC was one of the best experiences of my life. I frequently wish I could go back.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Otis,

    While we're spreading warm feelings about the MTC, allow me to spread some other warm feelings with you: BYU dominated on Saturday, against Gonzaga, your new favorite team. If you forgot, I'll remind you.

    "I'd like to congratulate Gonzaga my new favorite team on their win over BYU" posted before the game.

    Cheers!

  • TizTheSeason logan, utah
    March 21, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    I feel that one of the processes and blessings of the MTC is the "Detoxification of the World". A place where young men, in particular, learn to leave the things of the world behind and that sacrifice brings blessings from on high. It was there that our son gained a great love for family, the Book of Mormon, and the Savior. One of the biggest challenges for them is letting go and moving forward with the faith that they are there for a divine purpose. The MTC teaches things of the spirit, structure and self discipline that are hard to find in anywhere else. Now, a year and a half into his mission he remains thankful for the 2month "MTC Boot Camp",the hardest days of his life,as his love for the Savior, the Gospel, the people he teaches and serves, as well as his love for family have grown in ways that could never be realized with out that experience.
    I agree that a mission isn't for everyone, but it still remains a Priesthood responsibility that should be "Spiritually" prepared for in the midst of all the technological distractions of today. Thanks for the article. LTM-1975

  • California Steve Hanford, CA
    March 21, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Anybody remember the old mission home in downtown SLC? That's where I went. Five days and it was off to Australia. Never set foot in Provo. But we got to hear Legrand Richards speak.

  • TizTheSeason logan, utah
    March 21, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    Come on people...Is it possible to have a thread that is free BYU sports???
    Just when I was basking in the spirit of the article.

    BTW, we checked in to the Old Mission home before being transferred down to the LTM. We were told that we were the last group that would go through the SLC MH. Great memories. Loved LeGrande Richards' unstoppable monotone zeal in his talks. Does anyone remember seeing him slap away the hand of one of the 1st Prescy. tugging on his pant leg when they were trying to get him to stop talking in conference?

  • CWJ Layton, UT
    March 21, 2011 10:53 a.m.

    My MTC experience wasn't too bad. Not great, but not too bad. My subsequent experience in Basic Training and Technical School thereafter had in many ways more of a deep impact though. That's just my take. All of it really is dependent upon how a young Elder of Sister approaches the experience. Nonconformists probably have a difficult time, and those who aren't socially active may suffer as well seeing as they are now thrust into a setting that requires much interaction with others.
    My son has absolutely no inclination to serve a mission and I will never, ever make it an issue with him. We've said that it would be nice but ultimately the decision is his and his alone. Period. And yes, the cultural aspect of being a Utah LDS member and not serving is entirely an animal in and of itself.

  • jdub Ephraim, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    I remember the MTC very well. I have a good story for it as well. I entered on February 2nd (Groundhog Day). It was the movie to a tee. Every day the exact same as the day before. I loved the food, the Spirit enveloping us, seeing 2 or 3 of my cousins in there at the same time.

  • dj2 Saint George, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    The greatest thing I ever heard about the MTC went like this: "It was a great place - not as spiritual as home - but a very good place"

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    Otis,

    I don't blame your lack of faith, it indeed has been a long drought. And just as in life sometimes our lack of faith gets smacked....... I simply wanted to remind you your new favorite team got worked.

    And hopefully history DOES repeat itself this year, with a trip to the Elite 8. And hopefully its not another 30.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    At the SLC MH, 1970, I was not enjoying the experience, but really loved my time in the LTM of Laie, Hawaii to study Japanese. It is amazing at how a soul can be so lonely, feel so isolated, lost, even unimportant while surrounded by Christian missionaries in training...even missionaries need love, a friend, some tangible human soul to sincerely care about their success. I am grateful for the Hawaiian LTM, but have a feeling I would not have liked the Provo MTC. The article needs to emphasize the gifts of the Holy Ghost supercede any technological approach to learning and speaking a new language, succeeding in a totally new culture and environment.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    March 21, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    While I learned a lot in the MTC, I found the actual mission field to be a far better experience. The Elders were A LOT more comfortable around the sisters by that time and stopped trying to A) Talk down to us or B) Avoid us and treat us as temptresses. Not all Elders had hang-ups with the sisters, but enough that it made the MTC a pretty miserable experience for me.

    It is nice to see that the daily regimen has changed. It seems more like the actual schedule they will follow while out in the field.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    March 21, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    I taught at the MTC for three years before moving on after graduating last April. I have great memories of the MTC and it is a very special place to me.

    As a missionary I found it difficult even though I was well prepared. Having three older brothers helped me to be somewhat familiar with what goes on there. I had a very difficult time with my companion but still enjoyed the devotionals and weekly temple trips very much.

    As a teacher I worked very hard to make sure my missionaries not only learned the language and how to teach, but learned how to love others and become selfless representatives of Christ. I'm sure I learned far more teaching the missionaries than they learned from me. There are so many amazing young men and women serving missions! It was a pleasure to meet and try and help so many of them.

    The MTC has made so many efforts to make the MTC experience more effective in preparing missionaries. Language learning is focused on teaching and teaching is focused on helping people instead of just sharing a nice message.

    Still the MTC is only what missionaries make it.

  • mtgregson Holladay, UT
    March 21, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    No matter what you do in life, the experiences that we have with whatever we choose to do is all about our attitudes, and what we make of it. The MTC and my mission were by far the most spiritual, and incredible experiences of my life. I would never have left my mission if there was some way I could have stayed. The other missionaries that I met in the MTC are brothers to me and some of my hero's. How grateful I am that I was able to be a part of the greatest work on this earth.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    March 21, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    The comments above remind me of President Uchdorf's message in this month' Ensign.
    Those who look for long enough for negativism will always find it.
    Those who look for the good, will always find it.
    No one says a mission is fun or easy.
    My mission 35 years ago in Central America was very rugged and rustic
    compared to the conditions of today.
    Most missionaries go for the right reason.
    Those who don't, will never feel it was a worth while experience unless they
    at some point "choose" to do the Lord's will and not theirs.
    It's all about what you put into it and what you're willing to give up for those two years.

    I absolutely LOVED my mission and can't wait to go again.

  • nottyou Riverton, UT
    March 21, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    You get out of it EXACTLY what you put into it...nothing more, nothing less.

  • Aggie84 Idaho Falls, ID
    March 21, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    I spent 3 months in the mtc during the last 3 months of 78. I was sent 3 days before the Utah deer hunt. I can remember the pain of watching 4x4s driving by with hunter orange. Then came the operation a week before I was to go to Spain. My foot became infected (severely) and I was about to call it quits and go home. Then some BYU chorallers(sp) stop by my room and sang a couple of christmas songs. I would like to thank them. Hard thing for an Aggie to do. I ended up in California instead of Spain. Being shot twice, spit on, beer bottles thrown at me were the fun and memorable points of my mission.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    March 21, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    MTC is there basically to weed out those who arent ready. It was fun and considered it good practice before we got the real thing. Loved my mission, I think about it everyday.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 21, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    "If they don't go, they get badgering from church fellows, relatives, parents; "when are you going to go", "why aren't you going"..."

    This is an interesting claim: that 19 year olds might make major life choices based not on their own personal interests or best judgment, but out of "badgering" from others.

    I wonder how those who make such a claim feel about 18 year olds being allowed to join the military, sign legally binding contracts, and voting. Are these decisions being made of their own free will? Or are 18 year olds subject to "badgering" in terms of educational and career choices, signing contracts, and even how they cast their vote?

    If 19 year olds are going on 2 year LDS missions for reasons other than their free choice, we can only imagine what 18 year olds are doing relative to casting votes, using tobacco, signing contracts, and joining the military.

  • ThatsY Layton, UT
    March 21, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    My experience at the LTM was "unforgettable", mainly because I entered in November 1963, with a call to one of the Mexican missions and eventually ended up (with five other Elders) going to the Central American Mission. Obtaining a Mexican visa was at times challenging, in those days, for missionaries called to serve there. After "23 weeks" at the LTM waiting for a visa to Mexico, and not knowing if or when a visa was forthcoming, the six of us were offered the opportunity to serve in another mission. ... and yes, did we ever jump at the chance to finally leave the LTM. By that time we were living in one of the homes on 900 East (there should be a photo included of those homes). After the initial 12 weeks of training at the LTM there was no formal program for those waiting on visas. Without a doubt, my time there, was MORE than I expected!

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    March 21, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    When I was 19 I made the choice to serve because I had a testimony of it. Yes members ask 19 year olds if they are going constantly, yes they do strongly encourage it, but no they dont force anyone to serve. I was grateful for those who encouraged me but most grateful for Heavenly Father giving me a chance to be an instrument in His hands. I wouldnt trade my experiences and friendships on my mission for the world. Yes it was hard but nothing thats worthwile in this life comes easy. Like someone said above you get what you put into it. If you are not ready to serve at 19 please dont. Gain a testimony of it first, make prayer a priority asking God what you should do. Missions are hardwork but in the end one of the greatest blessing of your life. Dont let the opportunity pass you by.

  • kiaoraguy Provo, UT
    March 21, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    I also went to the SLC Mission, second week in October, 1978 and we were told we were the next to the last week before it closed. Meals in the 'White Tower', two sessions in the SLC Temple and a meeting in the Solemn Assembly Room, the President forgetting that those going across the International Date Line were leaving a day early, and a bunch Elders Panicked because they still had stuff to get at Mr. Mac- the time rushed by and then you are in the field, having to learn while you go. My sons were far more prepared when they arrived in their field of labor. The MTC is not perfect, but neither are the leaders and the missionaries blessed to live there for a short while. Think it's not a very special place- try being in the same room with over 200 voices singing 'Called To Serve' and the spirit just en-robes you like warm chocolate.

  • Niximus Tooele, UT
    March 21, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    Don't drink the Orange Juice! Bad things man, bad things.

  • CLW Vancouver, WA
    March 21, 2011 5:01 p.m.

    I mentioned my experience was tough but wonderful. Here are some experiences that stood out.

    1. I was the first in my family to serve a mission. I told all my friends I would call them and let them know how I was doing. What!? Surprise, there are no phones!

    2. My assigned companion didn't show up at the MTC and I was placed as an orphan in a three-person companionship, then called as DL.

    3. I had always been in church choir and my mom played the organ. At the first devotional, the missionaries all stood up and began singing a song I had never heard before in my life - Called To Serve - which wasn't in the old hymnbook! Right then I wondered if I was raised in the same church as everyone else?? (I was not from Utah)

    4. One day when I was a bit frustrated, another missionary said "Elder, you can't have the Spirit with that attitude" which bugged me. I responded curtly "I did something wrong this morning and the Spirit left then! He's not coming back till tomorrow!" :)

    Man, what great memories!

  • I say this Emery, UT
    March 21, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    My MTC experience was OK. The "real" mission field was much better. I was stuck with a homesick Californian who had nothing good to say about Utah for eight long weeks. I learned patience and charity but it was the hard way.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 21, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    I never went on a mission. I joined the USAF at 17 straight out of High School. I served 20 years and though I miss the mission experience I wouldn't have traded those 20 years for anything. I've served as a counsellor in the Stake Mission Presidency and as a Branch/Ward Mission Leader. I've seen what these elders and sisters go through. Most that I have met over my life all say the same thing, how enjoyable and challenging life is in the MTC. I often ask myself why some don't and the answer came to me through a Stake President one time. It is one word, PRIDE. Yet, I'm not sure that is always the answer. Sometimes it is because they didn't go to seminary, didn't grow up in the Church or quite possibly because it wasn't taught in the home. Either way my experience is that those who have gone through the MTC have enjoyed it and count it as one of the most enjoyable moments of their life.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    March 21, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    Bill

    I don't think you can lump everyone together like you do. Some of us WERE prepared and HUMBLE, entered excited to serve and tried to maintain positive attitudes, but did not have great MTC experiences.

    When you are sequestered with the same 9 people for 12-14 hours a day, every day for 2 months, their attitudes affect you. Sometimes, 19-year-old boys do not know how to interact platonically with females and treat them with hostility instead. I know that I am not singular in having this experience. It was with great relief that I discovered the Elders in the field had learned to be professional and friendly while keeping the appropriate boundaries. In short, it was nice to be treated as a person again.

    As for my mission, I loved everything about it except the MTC. It helped to increase my testimony and faith. It helped me to understand the gospel on a deeper level. I still feel great joy at hearing from those I taught and seeing their progression in the Church and in their testimonies.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    March 21, 2011 7:05 p.m.

    @Jennie Richards: Sorry you hated your mission. Hope you didn't stay on grudgingly, did you? If you did, then I can understand why you hated it. The Lord would not have loved you any less if you had decided to spare yourself the agony of doing something you probably didn't want to do in the first place. His work will continue to roll ahead whether we're willing to help along with it or not. My own mission experience was definitely not the best 2 years of my life but it was undoubtedly the very best 2 years FOR my life.

  • CLW Vancouver, WA
    March 21, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    Because the MTC is designed so that you are never alone, it is a particularly hard experience for introverted people, which is nearly 50% of missionaries.

    Introverted tendencies, especially the need for some private downtime to relax, think, and ponder away from people, are unavailable in the current MTC structure.

    The hardest part of the whole mission experience for me was getting used to never having private time. I need it, even in my marriage. I need that time to hear the Spirit whisper to my soul.

    I think the MTC experience could be substantially improved for many missionaries by spiritually creating some ways for those who need more private time to experience it, while still maintaining the spirit and structure of missionary life.

  • readAbook Provo, UT
    March 21, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    I would like to respond to all those "attitude is everything" comments. It isn't! I went into the MTC and my mission with a very strong testimony. I was a 22 year old sister who had had the spirit confirm to her on several occasions the need to go. I had 13 baptisms and both good and bad companions. I loved working with inactive members and count them as my greatest successes. I had a good attitude in my opinion and loved the people I worked with.

    HOWEVER, all that positiveness doesn't change the fact that the MTC was the most miserable and testimony wounding experience of my life. My current struggles have their roots in my mission; the way I was treated by teachers at the MTC, my mission Pres who didn't like having sisters in the field, etc.

    If it hadn't been for the great people at the Ogden Institute the years after my mission I'm not sure what my testimony would be like - spiritual wounds heal slowly. Missions are not for everyone and even the faithful can come to hate them.

  • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight Riverton, Utah
    March 21, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    A few months ago the mission president came out with a new programme: the missionaries could eat with members only if a non-member was present. If the missionaries had a discussion appointment that night, they were to bring their "investigator(s)" with them. If the missionaries didn't have an investigator to bring, and the members didn't have a non-member present to legalize the proceedings, the missionaries were to give the members a discussion after the meal.

    This immediately ended the dinner appointments in the ward. The members didn't want to take the chance that the missionaries would bring some weirdo, or several weirdos, into their homes. Also, the members didn't like the idea that, in addition to the weirdness factor, they wouldn't know how much food to prepare. They might theoretically sign up to feed the elders, and end up with half-a-dozen "guests". They also didn't like the idea of dinner potentially turning into an all-evening affair with them having to sit through a discussion, with or without the "investigator(s)".

    So they simply stopped feeding the missionaries. Totally. The mission's baptism statistics are in the toilet.

  • Mormon in Michigan Detroit, MI
    March 21, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    My time spent as a Mormon missionary was a long, laborious, boring and depressing experience. I tried to seek out mental diversions and ways to enjoy my European experience, but the constant guilt, shame and sheer drudgery of the experience left me anxious and filled with further doubt and uneasiness. The plus was that I was able to experience a marvelous culture and history, learn a fabulous language and in some small ways experience the beauty and charm of European life. Those were the positives for me. Friends made, experiences which left me with happy moments among the drudgery and depression are what I look back upon with fondness, which leave me with some small attempt at salvaging any meaning for being there in the first place.

    I returned from Germany as an emotional wreck. I felt that my testimony of the Mormon Church had been severely weakened instead of strengthened. I felt severely disconnected with reality, and in some ways I felt that parts of me, my inner self, had died or become severely atrophied in the process. It was a long road back to some semblance of me again.

  • BoiseSuperBlue Twin Falls, ID
    March 21, 2011 8:15 p.m.

    I remember very well what I was doing when I heard of the murders of Todd Wilson and Jeff Ball, two missionaries who were working in La Paz, Bolivia, in May of 1989. My wife and I were sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Spanish Fork, Utah, and the announcement came over the radio. I couldn't breathe when I heard the news. It was as if someone had punched me in the stomach and driven all the air from my lungs. My wife and I sat there, staring at each other and unable to speak.

    Over the next couple of weeks some old, suppressed feelings came back to me. I remembered the hateful insults, the threats, the things thrown at us--all because we were different from most people in Bolivia. We were strangers from the United States, and we were mostly greeted with a mixture of distrust and fear. Many people believed we were agents of the US government, and many more saw us as agents of a cultural and economic imperialism that threatened Bolivia on many fronts.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    March 21, 2011 8:19 p.m.

    RanchHand they do have a calling to go. Every worthy able young man is called at 19 to go on a mission. I never seen any talk were it was otherwise. Plenty were you are already called, Through your bishop and Stake President let the Lord tell you were you will serve.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    March 21, 2011 9:36 p.m.

    What is the rule on missionary dinner appointments now? I think most you can eat just keep it brief and not during prime proselyting time. Hard to do. Impossible to be out by 6 if Husband is not home until then. Customary hour is what handbook says.

    Some may have rules less active and part member families too. I think they vary. Longwinded members can keep missionaries from proselyting when they should.

    How does the Telecenter work now? I did five weeks in the MTC since I did the telecenter. Does every English Missionary get a shot at it now? How it worked was people would call commercials for Scriptures and videos and we would have missionaries deliver them. Were told to be pushy there. I did not baptized anyone media referal myself. Wonder how it works now.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 21, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    It should be noted that three weeks is fluent English speakers assigned to teach in English. There are many missionies who are called to serve in English-speaking areas who are not fluent in English and thus spend 8 weeks in the MTC. My last companion, being from Mongolia, fit this description. As did missionaries in my mission from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and I believe a few other nations.

  • common sense 11 Lehi, UT
    March 22, 2011 12:32 a.m.

    I have my call to the Colorado Denver South mission and I cant wait to go! Only 2 more months and ill be down in Provo to learn how to teach the gospel in spanish. I seriously cant wait! We all live to serve:]

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    March 22, 2011 6:03 a.m.

    AZRods--"The comments above remind me of President Uchdorf's message in this month' Ensign.
    Those who look for long enough for negativism will always find it.
    Those who look for the good, will always find it."

    Yup-- I thought the very same thing.

  • windsor City, Ut
    March 22, 2011 6:20 a.m.

    readAbook--sorry about your negative experiences.

    Serves to remind everyone else connected with missionaries (Presidents etc) to remember THEIR OWN attitudes and actions and motivations are just as important as expecting the missionary to have it together in those things.

    I implore all leaders in the Church, (not just mission presidents) to remember this is THE LORD'S Church, (not theirs) and that they are to follow and incorporate the direction of the Lord, the First Presidency and the Twelve in fulfilling their callings (not their own.)

    Then "spiritual wounding" like readAbook suffered would be a lot less.

  • cliff Blossom, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    The MTC can be both a harrowing experience and a spiritually edifying adventure at the same time. For those who are less inclined to conform to the prescribed behavioral, affective, and cognitive routines that are often rigidly enforced in the MTC, the adjustment can be a significant challenge. Nevertheless, the weekly temple sessions, Tuesday evening devotionals, intense Gospel study, and personal reflection and prayer can give you the strength to endure some of the peculiar perspectives espoused by a few of your instructors and fellow missionaries (those with whom you closely associate for several weeks). Indeed, the MTC can be a valuable primer for being an active member of the Church in adult lifeteaching you to embrace the spiritual truth that emanates from the Holy Ghost (which is in great abundance in the MTC and the LDS Church in general) while being relatively unperturbed by the few who think the Gospel is about trying to legitimize ones self-aggrandizing perspective that they would have you believe is sanctioned by the Lord. The MTC can be a great place to learn to more fully communicate with Lord while blocking out all types of potential noise within the communication process.

  • cliff Blossom, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    The MTC served as the framework to a spiritual journeyone which I hope secured a strong spiritual foundation for my life as an active latter-day saint. That is not to say that I dont think some in the MTC would have you follow like robots. I think some of them would. To all of you who have been spiritually wounded by harrowing experiences in the MTC or elsewhere in the Church, I sympathize with you. I recognize your legitimate hurt and deep concern for spiritual matters. Please do not allow those who might try to usurp your agency and individuality cause you to project negative judgments on our Heavenly Fathers plan for you. Our Father is a loving God who values your individuality and can heal your spiritual woundsand He can do it more easily and intimately when you are an active and endowed member of the Church. Anyone who thinks they have to take away your individuality for the good of the collective does not understand the essential need for individuality within the plan. You battled for individuality once already in the pre-mortal realm. Keep battling for it here.

  • mtgregson Holladay, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    Windsor- I implore all leaders in the Church, (not just mission presidents) to remember this is THE LORD'S Church, (not theirs) and that they are to follow and incorporate the direction of the Lord, the First Presidency and the Twelve in fulfilling their callings (not their own.)

    Thank you for this! When I read comments concerning God, His plan for us, and what we think of it all on these blogs. It is suprising to me how many of us, are so quick to give OUR own personal thoughts and opinions on God and how His plan is and how we think He should run things.... What do we have power to create? Everything we have doesn't truly belong to us, it is on loan from God himself. The only thing that truly belongs to us is our will, the power to choose one or the other. We can't build anything or create anything without Him, and being an instrument for Him to use. Choose you this day. It is a choice and an attitude, and it is only one (Heavenly Father) or the other (The adversaries) way. We do not create our own way!

  • In Stitches Provo, Utah
    March 22, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    I read fresnogirl's comment with great shame.

    We had an amazingly pretty Sister in our MTC district. We did not know how to handle that. We policed each other. If any of us talked to her too long, or too often or sat next to her voluntarily, he would get remarks or The Look from the others. Quickly, it became easier for all of us to avoid her. When we did have to interact with her, we made sure that no one around could think we "liked" her. We were rude.

    She was easily the best prepared to be there -- both Spiritually and Academically.

    But, by the end, she barely dared to speak in our district or make eye contact with any Elder. She did nothing to deserve our treatment. Her only "crime" was being too pretty while we were too immature and insecure.

    We should have treated her as a Sister, but (to my everlasting shame) we made her an outcast. I never got to apologize to her, so I apologize to you, fresnogirl. It is the one thing I regret about my mission.

  • cliff Blossom, UT
    March 22, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    It is always interesting when one derides the expression of opinion by offering nothing other than opinion. We all have opinions. The strongest opinion posted seems to be the post that tells us not to have opinions. I find help in shaping my opinion with regard to creating through President Uchtdorfs comments: The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul..we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can create..Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. In my opinion, those who believe in God want to align their opinion more fully with that of their creator. Sometimes we approach that process differently than how other mortals may wish. We are on this earth to learn how to think for ourselves and to endeavor to exercise our agency to align our opinion more closely with Gods. It is not about having no opinion at allit is about refining our opinion the best way we know how. It seems that we have a generous God who mercifully helps each of us do this.

  • windsor City, Ut
    March 22, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    cliff--"...teaching you to embrace the spiritual truth that emanates from the Holy Ghost...while being relatively unperturbed by the few who think the Gospel is about trying to legitimize ones self-aggrandizing perspective that they would have you believe is sanctioned by the Lord."

    WELL SAID.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 22, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    Arguably it would be much more accuaret to say Elder Lozano is preparing to "teach in Spanish" than to "speak Spanish." This may not be how people talk about the issue but it would more accuarately convey what is going on.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 22, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    EWCTs comments about how the missionaries are probably teaching "weirdos" probably illustrate the real reason baptisms are down. With the attitude that other people are weird and one should not have to associate with them, who would want to join the Church?

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 22, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    Higv,
    The rules about missionaries eating in menber homes are usually at the discretion and direction of the mission president, which in general means he will consult with his counselors on the matter. There is no churchwide policy because the situations and needs in each mission are different.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    March 22, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    Why would you let your mission president, a companion, other missionaries, or anybody else determine whether or not you enjoy your mission? I didn't particularly like my first mission president. I had a companion who hated my guts because I was an American. Most of the food I ate was just barely edible. But I had the time of my life on my mission. I'd go back in a heart beat. I wouldn't trade the friends I made and the service I was able to give, or the love I received in return for anything. You have to take the bad with the good to fully enjoy this life.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    After reading these comments, it is amazing what a difference a mission president can make. I still remember the comments from some missionaries (I used to feed them every week) talking about why they miss the just returned home mission president. I always told them to remember this is the Lord's work althought I would had liked to say that to the mission president!

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    March 22, 2011 3:08 p.m.

    President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked why two different people in the same meeting can have totally different impressions of the talks presented with one having a wonderfully spiritual experience and the other not feeling the spirit at all and coming away empty. His response was that when we are placed in a position to feel the spirit it is up to each of us to be ready and to be receptive. If we don't feel the spirit, when someone has prepared diligently and been guided by the spirit in what they say it is our own fault.

    So it is with missionaries. Those who are inspired by the MTC and grow from the experience go in with the right attitude and spirit. Those who don't weren't ready. My son is coming to the end of his mission and has had wonderful experiences at every turn. He loved the CTM (MTC in Brazil) and has loved each of his two mission presidents. I know there have been difficult times for him, but his attitude has always carried him through.

  • man of few words SALT LAKE CITY, ut
    March 22, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    I think it's easy to judge those who did not have the kind of experience WE want them to have had. There must be something wrong with THEM. I disagree. There is nothing wrong in admitting that parts of an experience were hard and not enjoyable.

    Look at Fresno Girl. Anyone who reads the sports boards will tell you that she has about the most positive attitude possible. All of her black clouds have silver linings. All except this one, that is. That to me says a lot. I can't imagine being surrounded by openly hostile people all day for 2 months and not having a hard time.

    She says her experience is not unique. I have known many returned Sister missionaries. The pretty ones usually say the same things about their missions. While they loved being in the field, they hated being in the MTC. The reason is always the same as well, the Elders in their districts were unkind to them. I don't know how this can be improved. But I don't think we should blame the Sisters for not having a great MTC experience as a result. We should be more Christlike.

  • cliff Blossom, UT
    March 23, 2011 5:10 a.m.

    In The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball discusses ones individual responsibility to feel the spirit in the specific context of sacrament worship services. He chastises those who will only attend a sacrament meeting when the speaker is eloquent, etc. He says worship is an individual matter that must come from within. It seems that President Kimball was speaking directly about worship services, not whether or not someone had a good experience in the MTC over a 4-8 week period. Interestingly, when speaking specifically about the context of marriage, President Kimball said that an abusive husband should not be honored in his priesthood". Although this is in the context of marriage, it seems like a far leap from telling the victim that if they felt abused that they were probably not prepared spiritually and that it is their own fault. Although it is wonderful to hear that your children had such wonderful experiences in the MTC, I imagine that parents with children whose experience was not that wonderful may have a different take. The day may come when you have a different take as well.

  • Heathcliff Barnes Roy, UT
    March 23, 2011 5:40 a.m.

    The LDS Church has developed first rate missionary training centers across the world that excel in teaching the Gospel and foreign languages to numerous missionaries. If nothing else, this series of articles is demonstrating how much care the Church puts into instructing its missionaries and helping them learn Gospel truths and a foreign language in an environment that is conducive to the presence of the Holy Ghost. If learning the Gospel and acquiring a second language were simply a matter of ones individual perspective and spiritual maturity, why is the Church going to such great lengths to develop the most conducive environment possible? Why not just throw a bunch of missionaries into a room and say: if you learn something you are spiritually prepared, but if you do not learn, then it is your own fault and all of the parents who have had kids think they succeeded should feel justified in pointing their fingers of scorn at you. The fact is that not everyone is treated with dignity and respect and sometimes deep spiritual wounds can result (especially when this experience is concentrated into 8 intense weeks during a key spiritual growth period).

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 24, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    My one week in the mission home was worthwhile. My mission was 2 years of adjusting and growing and making mistakes and helping others. It wasn't the happiest two years of my life, but it was the most important two years. Now, nearly 50 years later, there hasn't been a day go by that I haven't thought of that experience.

  • kosimov Riverdale, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 9:47 p.m.

    Beat this! Joined in 1967, MTC 1968, scared to death. My fiance' convinced me to take discussions, vowed to wait. First area was a nightmare; almost went home, similar to President McKay's experience. After 8 months sent home for surgery, then returned to mission field. Ex-fiance' married day I entered hospital. So much for young girl's promises!!

    Enjoyed rest of my mission most of all; worked with Celestial candidates! Eventually, went home again; infections and complications from first surgery (doctor was on drugs and alcohol etc. botched the surgery and left me sterile; in fact, I had what next doctor called "chemo therapy intensity antibiotics", which was very difficult. I was miserable and depressed beyond belief.

    Vietnam had reduced many missions to 18 months (complaints Mormons using missions to dodge draft -- false!), so I was released since I'd served long enough. I'd met future wife at end of mission; dated at BYU, married in 6 months.

    Oldest son didn't serve mission; other three did. Not to worry, though; President Monson didn't serve a mission but the Lord seems to like him OK. If you didn't serve, STOP WORRYING!