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“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Planes, Trains, and Bicycles July 21, 2016

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Humor, Responses.
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Continuing the 1968 guidebook for prospective Mormon missionaries:

Chapter 4. Travel Care

Like the previous chapter, this surprised me with the amount of good advice it contained.  Sure a lot of it was information about specific luggage weight allowances for different countries that’s now outdated, but a lot of it is helpful information for young people taking a flight or a train for the first time.  What to expect at the airport, how to deal with motion sickness, how to tip properly, how to pack your bicycle, remember keep your tickets handy, all very practical stuff.   And, of course, strict rules for polite behavior, because the missionaries are supposed to be perfect role models, not just normal teenagers.

But of course, there are still some wonderfully hilarious or head-scratching moments in this chapter. Amongst all the advice about how to behave and dress while travelling on a train, there is this:

“If you find a stranger sitting at the table with you, a word of greeting is all that is absolutely necessary, but the meal is sure to be more pleasant if you find some general topic of conversation to share.  Actually you’ll be missing the boat if you don’t ask him the Golden Questions!” (pg 40)”

Golden Questions?  What are those?  I went and looked them up.  Here they are:

“What do you know about the Mormon Church?”

And, regardless of the answer, “Would you like to know more?”

Oh boy.  These kids are expected to start right in on preaching at the poor unsuspecting random person sitting in the dining car with them.  If I’m trying to have a nice dinner on a train, and another person at the table starts in on this, I think my response is going to be “Waiter?  May I change tables please?”

And regarding airports, she starts off with this:

“There will always be people who have to run to catch a plane, but if you are on your courtesy toes….” (pg 45)

Courtesy toes?  Are these kindergarteners she’s talking to, or young adults?  Sheesh.


Her description of what the stewardess on a plane can provide makes me a little nostalgic for the bygone days of air travel:  Chewing gum, airsick pills, tranquilizers (really?), a pillow, socks, and the now-seldom-seen complimentary meal.  (Then I remember that smoking was allowed on planes back then, and I think I’ll stick with today’s foodless cramped steerage seats.  At least I can breathe now.)

But no relaxation for the young missionaries during their flight, nosirreebob!

“HINT: Flight time is valuable time for memorizing scriptures, doing further work on your discussions, or asking the Golden Questions.” (pg 46)

Great, if there’s anything worse than a preachy dining table companion on a train, it’s a preachy seatmate on an airplane.

Next up, what to do about homesickness. This oughtta be good!

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1. Godless Cranium - July 21, 2016

So basically be obnoxious to strangers and continually self indoctrinate. Lol

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - July 22, 2016

And it’s ironic, given how much of the rest of this chapter is about how to be a polite traveller. Be on time, say thank you, don’t monopolize the stewardess, don’t recline your seat into the lap of the person behind you. But it’s fine to spend your flight annoying the crap out of the person trapped next to you.


2. makagutu - July 22, 2016

It’s hard being a missionary! All this while I thought they felt called by deity, woke up and left.

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - July 22, 2016

They make it hard on purpose. We value things more when we work hard to get them. Having done a mission gives a Mormon higher social status in their church, but they want it to come at enormous personal cost. That’s a feature, not a bug.



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