Thursday, September 9, 2010

MTC Sign Down for Construction or Is It?

Sister Amanda Ostler
Today as I was finding new mission blogs I came across Sister Amanda Ostler's blog Light Will Rise.  Sister Ostler who is going to Illinois Chicago Mission has a picture of her standing in front of the familiar sign yesterday Wednesday, 8 September 2010. Most families take a picture of their incoming missionary there.  Sister Ostler's parents reported that the sign "has been taken down permanently."  I didn't know if that was true or not.

So I called the MTC to find out if the sign was being removed.  The receptionist informed me that the sign was down for the next two months because of construction.  I asked if it was permanently removed and he told me that he didn't think so.  I asked him to verify it with a supervisor. No one in the front area could confirm or deny the report. So it might or might not be back.

I can see reasons for and against the sign staying or going.  The sign has come to be one of the most photographed areas of the MTC.  Most missionaries get a picture taken in front of the sign. My three daughters have all had there pictures taken there.  I am disappointed that my fourth daughter will not have her picture taken there since she enters on October 6th 2010 during the construction phase.  It really is a good bonding moment for families to show their missionary spirit having a family photo in front of the sign.  It is one of the few times we have actually had our family in a photograph representing our Mormonness.  Most family photographs we take only tangentially have something to do with the church since pictures inside chapels and temples are discouraged.  We have pictures taken at baptisms in hallways and in front of the church. The MTC was one of the few places that a picture with a sense of Mormon pride that a family was supporting the missionary cause.  The picture acted as a symbol of that for parents and other children who might one day serve a mission and attend the MTC.

A negative to taking the pictures are: It actually delays dropping off missionaries.  Not only that you have to find some other person to take your picture(s) since you want every member of your family in the picture.  Usually you grab another family member of some other missionary doing the same thing so you hold up multiple missionaries from checking in on time.  I have seen also seen occasionally MTC missionaries on the way to the fields to work out or going to the temple accommodate families by taking a picture or two. This eats up the time of at least two missionaries who are on limited schedules.  It also clogs up the corner in front of the MTC so that there is a safety issue on the corner as you get ten or twenty people there for an extended period of time. In some ways it is a good thing if it is removed permanently for the same reason family meetings were canceled.  It frees up time and gets the missionary moving faster to check in to the MTC.  It is just sad to see another tradition bite the big one if it turns out it is permanently being removed.

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