“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Stuff September 30, 2016Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Humor, Responses.
Tags: missionaries, Mormons, music, religion, stupidity
Continuing the series on the 1968 guidebook for prospective Mormon missionaries:
Chapter 14, Extra Equipment – Help or Hindrance?
OK, enough of the motivational rah-rah talk from last chapter, now she’s getting back to useful discussions about preparing for the trip. This chapter is a discussions about reasons to bring (or not bring) particular items of optional equipment.
“It has been said that everyone will be able to tell when the end of the world comes because the Mormon missionaries will be there with their cameras!”(pg 124)
She actually has some practical advice about not bringing expensive camera equipment that might be damaged, lost or stolen. But she makes an assumption that the result of their photography will be slides, not snapshots. Because everybody will enjoy sitting down for a couple hour slideshow when the missionary gets back, right? (Uggghhh.)
“The flip charts replace the use of flannel boards in proselyting…”(pg 127)
Flannel boards? Are you kidding me? Are we in preschool? It’s insulting enough that they send 19-year-olds out to tell everybody else that they need to change religions, but flannel boards?
“Taking a radio into the mission field is basically discouraged. … Admit that uncontrolled radio listening can make you homesick, and it can be a waste of time as well as distracting. How does one keep spiritually elevated while listening to very earthy rock and roll?” (pp 127-8)
“Some missionaries also feel that being able to comment on the news, either local or worldwide, is a good “in” when making initial contact. (Of course, this works in reverse too: often a good approach with contacts is to ask them what’s going on.)” (pg 128)
Great, so remaining deliberately uninformed is a strategy for persuading people that you know what you’re talking about.
There are several reasons why mission presidents discourage the use of tape recorders among their missionaries, and they all center around the word “temptation”. (pg 129)
Yes, this was 1968. What was happening in 1968 that a missionary could listen to, that might be considered “temptation”?
Oh right. That.
So what does our author have to say about this?
“…the biggest temptation is wanting to record jazz music for one’s own enjoyment. One elder even had his mother send him a tape of the Smothers Brothers and he listened to it every time he stepped inside his apartment.” (pg 129)
Wait, this book was published in 1968, and “temptation” was listening to these guys?
OK, I admit I’m a fan of the Smothers Brothers. Their TV show was pretty politically subversive. But their albums were mostly just them mangling folk songs, getting history wrong and arguing with each other. No screaming, no wailing guitars, just two impossibly cleancut young men telling us about one-humped camel races and the ballad of Big Ben Covington. Given the music that was happening at the time, the Mormons should have been thrilled for their missionaries to be listening to the Smothers Brothers!
“Two missionaries advertised in the local paper that they would give free music lessons to children and baptized ten people in three months. The one elder gave the musical instruction while his companion talked Mormonism to the rest of the family” (p 134)
That’s not “free”. That’s “bait and switch”.
“Guitars, accordions, harmonicas and jews harps are useful when working, or rather relaxing, with young people and they are good for your own personal enjoyment on your day off, but they are bad for “goofing off.” (pg 135)
Jews harps are useful? For what? Are they going to talk about nose flutes while they are at it? (For those of you who don’t know what a jews harp/jaw harp is, watch this video.)
Next up, a chapter on missionaries behaving badly. OOOOH, can’t wait!