Wednesday, February 25, 2009

From the Horse's Mouth: A Former Mission President Tells All

Have you wanted to know what a mission president does from the horse's mouth then have I found a great source for you. I want to give exposure to a generous person who wants to get out the word. Richard Rife, former mission president in the Daejeon Korea from 2001-2004, has put together a very insightful account of what it was like to be a mission president in his "mission president's journal." I fell upon this blog when reading the Greg Jones Blog who also gave him a plug. I had tackled what a mission president does myself from reading current mission presidents blogs but not extensively as Brother Rife.

Brother Rife says "The journal was originally 530 pages of 11-point type. I have edited it to omit redundancies and to make it a readable 254 pages. It is overwhelmingly positive and edifying, but I have retained enough “negative” experiences and “challenges” to give the reader the full flavor of what it’s like to be a mission president. However, my editing has made it impossible to identify any missionary about whom a negative incident occurred."

His motivation for writing it is explained nobly:

I said that I don’t want money for my book, and that’s true. My mission president experience is too sacred to me to be shared for money. But I do have a two-part request of you, the reader:

First, if you enjoy this book about mission president life, please donate $10 (or more, if you’re so inclined) to the ward or general missionary fund and use the comment feature of my website to let me know. You don’t know how good it will make me feel if you enjoyed this book enough to “buy” it by making a tax deductible donation to help the missionary work of the Church (If you hate the book, please keep it to yourself; there’s no reason to ruin my day).

Second, please tell a friend about this book. Maybe they will like it—and maybe they will donate to the missionary fund.

Serving as a mission president was an exciting and life-altering experience. I hope you will enjoy reading this book, and I hope you will find it edifying and will feel a sense of what it is like to be a mission president.

You can download the book here.

In addition Rife was an early blogger and his Daejeon Korea experiences are on his own generated website Richard Rife.Com. In addition to his recent blogging thoughts in his The Switch blog. It is a clearly organized site with easy navigation. I guess he takes a no-nonsense approach being a former trial lawyer.

Brother Rife describes his site as:

This website:

  • Hosts my blog, entitled "The Switch," flipping back and forth, depending on the day, from spiritual/inspirational to humorous
  • Contains a web page dedicated to the missionaries who served in the Korea Daejeon Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2001-2004
  • Offers a free download of a book entitled "A Mission President's Journal," an edited and redacted look at my three years as president of the LDS Church's Korea Daejeon Mission.

I hope you will enjoy this website and will return to it often.

It also makes for good field research to compare his blog with current mission president's Alan G. Perriton's Anyanghasaeyo:News of the Korea Daejeon Mission blog. It really is good to see different mission president styles and see if there is any commonality between what mission presidents face even in the same mission. I think you can learn a lot by the experiences of both men. I wish I had found Rife's blog sooner when my oldest daughter was serving in the same mission it would have helped me culturally understand what she faced by serving there.

I think future mission presidents and current ones interested in learning about what a mission president really does should check out this site. Even if you just are curious check out his musings. I did and want to share the wisdom I found. You will learn what challenges and joys a mission president faces.


Bookslinger said...

Thanks for the link. I downloaded his book and read most of it. Very inspiring, and a fun read.

He has a wonderful sense of humo

Richard said...

Thank you so much for the plug and for your kind words. The number of people reading my website, both the mission president journal and blog, spiked yesterday because of your mention. Thank you again. I hope members will enjoy reading about my experience, which was very good. Best regards, Richard Rife