Thursday, April 23, 2009

LDS Church Strongly Discourages Parents from Picking Up Their Missionary (Form Letter)

Taiwan Taipei Mission
4F, 24, Lane 183, Chin Hua Street,
Ta An District, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

March 18, 2009

Dear Mr. and Mrs. F. A. B.,

We extend our warm greetings from Taiwan and express our pleasure in working with Sister B. in this great part of the Lord's vineyard.

From time to time it becomes necessary to clarify policy on certain matters of concern as we have received a new mission president's handbook. It has become necessary to clarify that "Missionaries should travel directly home from their missions...The Church discourages parents from picking up their missionary." (Mission Presidents' Handbook, pg. 67) We encourage all family members of every missionary to be considerate of this policy.

Should you decide otherwise it would be important for you to know the following:
  1. Your plans must be based on the release date of the missionary. You should not request a change of release date to accommodate travel plans or commitments.
  2. You need to inform the Church Travel Office at least three months in advance if you choose to come pick up your missionary.
  3. You are expected to make your own arrangements, including travel, lodging, and meals. The Mission Office and the Area Office Staff or local members will not be able to accommodate anyone making such arrangements.
  4. You are expected to make your own travel itineraries or sightseeing activities rather than asking your son or daughter to arrange travel itineraries and sightseeing activities as this greatly distracts from the spirit of proselyting. Please allow Sister B. to keep her promise to devote all her "time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs" (Missionary Handbook pg. 4)
Missionaries are encouraged to serve with all their heart, might, mind and strength until the last day of their mission. "[They] are accountable to the Lord and to their leaders of the Church for how well [they] honor their promise." In addition missionaries are not released until they have been interviewed personally by their home stake president.

We send this letter to request that you support this policy which we know will help your missionary feel they have served faithfully giving all glory and honor to God. They will have completed their mission with honor as they endure valiantly to the end of this sacred time they have had to spend in service to the Lord, His church and His children here in the Taiwan Taipei Mission.

With warmest regards,

President Norman S. Nielson


Anonymous said...

You may want to redact the Sister's last name, seeing as how wrote the parent's names in Initials

Dr. B said...

Thanks for the catch.

Ardis Parshall said...

Thanks for posting materials like this -- I like following changes in policies, and without knowing a currently serving missionary I wouldn't have known this had changed in the /cough-cough/, um, many years since I came home.

It's also interesting to read between lines and guess that families have made demands of missionaries, mission offices, and local members that never would have occurred to me to make, or else they wouldn't have been spelled out in this letter.

Another interesting entry. Keep up the work on your blog, Dr. B.

Anonymous said...

I worked in a mission office a couple of years ago on a mission. Parents coming to pick up their missionaries were a pain. They would not adhere to any rules that would not allow them to contact their missionary before his release date. Not all, but enough to make it irritating. One set of parents showed up at the ward he was serving in trying to inolve themselves in their's son's missionary life. You can tell them and tell them not to come....or if they do they cannot come or even see their missionary until the last evening before his release the next day. But they do what they want ignoring any mission rule. And don't think they do not involve him with sightseeing trips before he is through, either.

Anonymous said...

All missionaries about to go home should be transferred to the most dry/boring spot in the mission as a JUNIOR companion, their last month.

Anonymous said...

My FIL was a mission president in popular vacation destination spot in Eastern Europe. One of the best pieces of advice he said he got from the Brethren was "Don't let the parents run your mission!"

(He got more flak over release dates and college start dates than over pick ups. They picked up all four of their children, so the pick ups didn't concern him as much.)

Kim Siever said...

I only assume these policies are in place because parents have done these things. It amazes me parents expect mission staff to help them with travel and accommodation plans.

jrt said...

This seems way to uptight. This isn't a cult. Why not let the family celebrate a successful mission if that is their choice. Obviously, giving the family sensible guidelines makes sense. Just because some are inappropriate doesn't call for slamming all parents. Chill out!

Anonymous said...

I reject this entire thread. This is NOT a letter from head quarters, its a letter from an uptight mission president who is frustrated as the result of some overly ambitious parents.
We have a son serving overseas and let me assure you, we WILL be flying in to pck him up and we WILL (after his last day) allow him to tour us around his mission and share with uis whatever he is most enthusiastic to share. If he wants us to meet some of the lovely families he has brought into the gospel, we welcome the opportunity to embrace those people with our love and hugs. He has served hard and long and made significant sacrifices to serve the Lord. All of you need to seriously repent of your hard hearts on this matter. I can assure you the savior would be in full support of families coming in and celebrating the completion of a worthy mission and sharing love and gratitude with the fine members and Bishops who watched over these young men so far from home.
Shame on each of you for your hard hearts.
With out hesitation we will travel to our son's mission and hug them all and celebrate our son's service.
I urge EVERY parent reading this thread to uterly reject all of what you have read above from those who misunderstand the entire reason for all of this. The savior supports your desire to go, ignore these party poopers.

Dr. B said...

Dear Anonymous:

I have no opinion one way or the other on the matter. If you will give me the name of your missionary's mission I will contact the mission department to see what the mission president thinks about your upcoming visit. It should make for an interesting revitalization of this thread.

Anonymous said...

I agree that parents should not be involved in any way with the mission home or anything else, however if they want to pick up their son they should be able to do so. Their sons just gave two years of his life and spent $10,000+. If his family would like to see where he served, that should be no problem.

Also, they send missionaries home a transfer early all the time for school, or just because they want to go home a transfer early. If the parents get there a week or two early it is no big deal at all.

Tammy said...

I wouldn't let this post discourage you if you want to pick up your missionary. If you look on the church website, in the faqs for missions, it doesn't discourage picking up missionaries at all. It explains how to go about doing it. Also my Mother in Law, who just returned from a South American mission where she worked in the mission office as the President's secretary, said it happens all the time and is no big deal as long as youdon't show up early. Here is the link to the faq page.