This two-part episode focuses on the unique experience of Mormon missions–their wonderful, powerful, light aspects, as well as those elements that can lead things to go wrong and be potentially unhealthy. Panelists Derrick Clements, T.K., and Rory Swensen join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in sharing about their mission experiences (two of them quite recently completed, the other two more than twenty years ago), how they interpreted what they were going through then versus now with post-mission lenses that are influenced to some degree by their faith journeys since the time of their service. Knowing what they know now, or viewing theLDSChurchand gospel as they currently do, how would they serve differently? Would they still choose to go? Should their children want to serve, would they support that decision? And, if so, how would they frame for their child some of the potential negative aspects of mission life–the pressures to reach goals, to teach things in a certain way, to testify to things they may not fully be converted to themselves, to live rules to the letter (sometimes pushing themselves in ways that are detrimental to physical and spiritual health), etc.–in ways that might mitigate potential damage? What would they encourage their children to focus on instead? Whether one’s mission is a wonderful or negative experience, it is certainly a pivotal experience in one’s life–one worthy of much reflection and consistent revisiting.
In many ways this episode is a public conversation that many listeners to this podcast likely have had (or still regularly have) with themselves and others regarding their own experiences as Mormon missionaries or as they have thought about a loved one’s mission. We’d very much encourage everyone to share their stories and thoughts in the comments section below!