Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lock Your Heart

When I was on my mission in CTM, Elder Ballard liked to encourage us as missionaries to lock our hearts. When we arrived in the field we received a copy of President Spencer W. Kimball's talk "Lock Your Heart." I wonder if missionaries today still receive copies of this great advice. One of my favorite quotes from the talk is: "So, can I impress that again? LOCK YOUR HEARTS and leave the key at home! Wherever you live, leave the key home with your folks. And your heart - it's only that part of it that deals with people generally that you open up. We just can't tolerate it, can we? We can't individually; we can't totally. Someone said, "Well, is there any harm to marry a Mexican girl if you are working in Mexico! "No, that isn't any crime, but it proves that some missionary has had his heart open! He has unlocked it! Is it wrong to marry a German girl when you have been on a German mission? Why no, there is no crime in that, if you met her some other way. But when you meet her in the mission field and you have opened your heart, I tell you it isn't right, and you have shortchanged your mission! Just keep your hearts locked. Your whole thought should be missionary work. How can I make it more plain and more important than that? I'd like to because there is no reason whatever for any missionary to ever become involved, not even in a decent way, with any girl in the mission field. It isn't the place! You guaranteed, you promised! You went through the Temple! You remember what you did in the Temple? Remember you promised you'd do all the things the brethren request of you, to live the commandments. That's one of the commandments when you go into the mission field: "Thou shalt not flirt! Thou shalt not associate with young women in the mission field - or anyone else for that matter - on any other basis than the proselyting basis." You promised, and you would not want to break a promise you made before the Lord in the Holy Temple of the Lord. And when you wrote, the letter of acceptance to President McKay that was implied in it. You knew of course - every missionary knows - that he isn't going out to court, that he isn't going out to find a wife! He's got plenty of opportunity when he gets home, and the mission field isn't the place. " Does anyone out there have any experiences of where this talk helped you resist temptation?


BiV said...

We had to read that talk on my mission, too. (But then, I'm almost as old as you! :)) I don't think this is emphasized as much as it used to be, do you? I know a lot of young couples who met while one or both was serving a mission.

I think that being taught how to "lock your heart" was a valuable missionary tool. You just knew you were not out there to meet anyone, and you were able to concentrate more on the work.

Dr. B said...


I have never been comfortable with the fact that many couples have met on their mission. I don't think you can truly have your heart centered on missionary work if you are thinking about marrying a sister later in your field. I know several sisters that were the object of some of our elders' attention. I am amused by many who later say we never even thought about it just happened later. I don't judge them but I wonder if that is the way it really happened.

Anonymous said...

We all had to read that talk on our mission, and were even given a copy. I served in 1994-1996
I, a sister, married an Elder from my mission. You know we really did have our hearts locked. We didn't even start dating until a year after I had been home. We both had other interests. I really, really hate it when people assume something was going on with us while we were serving missions, because there wasn't anything. My husband, on the other hand, thinks it's funny and makes stuff up to tell people who obviously are wondering and jumping to conclusions. (eg--we called eachother all the time, we would write notes to eachother--which never happened)

Dr. B said...


Thanks for sharing. I like to hear both perspectives. I think there just might be some that meet each other after. I remember Elder Monson setting up his sisters who were unmarried with his elders long after they returned. I like to get some discussion going so I was being the devil's advocate. Did you know each other on your missions? There were a lot of sisters I didn't even know who served with me.

Anonymous said...

We did know eachother.

jmh said...

I just happened upon this discussion and find it very interesting. I served my mission in 1999-2001. I eventually married one of the people I taught and who chose to be baptized. I was at her baptism although I didn't baptize her. I too was given one of those talks and we read it each Monday morning before our prep-day. I read it 108 times! I'll tell you now that I put everything into my mission and was dedicated to teaching the gospel and nothing else. I frequently forgot to write home. My heart was locked.
However, the Lord has different plans sometimes. After I returned to visit some people in my mission while on my way to visit a family member living near where I served, I met with (my future wife) and at that moment I knew I was going to marry here. Now at this point I had feelings of utter despair because of this talk running through my head.
After attending the temple twice a week for three months and having discussions with my stake president about the talk and how I had fallen in love with someone I had taught, I got confirmation after confirmation that it was right.
While I too experienced elders and sisters in my mission getting interested in each and others in their areas while they are serving not everyone who marries someone from their mission is in the wrong.
I too hate it when people pass such hurtful judgment on those of us that did find our eternal companion in the mission field, especially when this judgment is based on the lock your heart talk.

Alex Arancibia said...

can anyone tell me if Pres. Kimball actually gave this talk? Where (which book or Journal of Discourses) can I find it?

Alex Arancibia said...

Can anyone tell me where I can find this talk? I got one when I started my mission, but I've never been able to track down when/where the talk was given. Is there any book or journal of discourses where I Can find it? Please.

BiV said...

Alex, <a href=">here</a> is a link to the talk. It was given by Elder Spencer W. Kimball in 1968 on a mission tour in Latin America.

Christopher Bennett Vasquez-Wright said...

I first met my wife in a foreign Spanish speaking mission. She was a local member. "Of course there was no romance! I was a missionary!" I got tired of explaining our story like that to members, so I now joke around with the stigma to see how members react.

I remember reading this talk many times, and it made me worry so much about what church members thought of our relationship. I didn't like the assumptions people had of us. But I understand now that the talk just keeps missionaries in check and it was from 40+ years ago!

I returned to the mission field to marry who I wanted, and I am glad I did. After eight years of marriage not once have I regretted my marriage. I really don't care what anyone else thinks, it is just a stigma they gossip about. All I know is that I married the love of my life, my eternal companion and the mother of my beautiful, intercultural,interracial, bilingual children. My life has been enriched!

So future missionaries, just do your mission work on when on the mission. But remember, life works mysteriously. After the mission you can open our heart and marry anyone you want to in the world. Even if this person happens to be from the mission field, of a different culture and race! It does not matter!

Matheson said...

You can also find this talk here. Lock Your Heart.