The Little White Handbook. Every missionary carries one and every rule is supposed to be followed. Yet, as our missionary shares with us, most missionaries do not follow all of the rules.
A Lesson from My Youth
I would like to share an experience from my youth. In my home ward there was a cool family. I loved this family! They were fun-loving, engaging, and friendly to everyone. Every set of missionaries coming into our ward hung out at this family’s home. There was a pool table, ping-pong table, and a fridge full of food. The father worked from home, with an open door policy for all missionaries.
As a teen, I was so jealous of that family! Their daughters laughingly teased all of the missionaries in the hallways while I stood awkwardly to the side, not knowing what to say to these young men. During fast and testimony meeting, missionaries would share how much they loved this family. I wanted so much to be this family when I grew up!
Eventually, I went away to college to become an adult. Then, stories began to trickle back from friends still in my home ward.
Disobedience Leads to Negative Consequences
The entire mission had been turned upside down! More than a dozen missionaries sent home, a mission president sent home early, and a new, really strict mission president brought in. Missionaries were now on an absolutely one-hour per meal with members rule. Infractions of rules were cracked down on.
Rules were not followed.
The family that hosted all of the missionaries from dawn until dusk? They moved to another state so their daughters could have a fresh start after getting into trouble with missionaries. They are now completely inactive.
I am sure that the parents wanted to provide a place for missionaries to feel comfortable and loved, a home-away-from-home. However, mission rules were not followed. The consequences were not immediately apparent, but disobedience will never bring blessings.
Full-time Obedience is Essential
A fresh missionary is sometimes teased when first arriving in the field about being a “robot” or “green” when he or she express a desire to be perfectly obedient. More experienced missionaries will affectionately chide the new guy for being a bore.
However, perhaps the problem is not with the new missionary, but with the jaded missionary. Perhaps after so many months in the field, the more experienced missionary feels like he knows which rules need to be followed and which ones are not really that important.
Sure, it’s important to represent the Lord well by not using foul language around investigators. However, staying a bit over an hour at a member’s home isn’t a big deal. And if that time slowly becomes several hours and several visits every week? No harm done. After all, you’re with members, so no biggie.
Dipping Our Toes into Shark-infested Waters
The idea that it’s no big deal … dip one toe into the water … is a common one. However, all it takes is one step too far into shark-infested waters to be bitten.
Mission rules are there to protect our missionaries and our members.
Be a friend to the missionaries in your ward by feeding them dinner, then sending them on their way to serve the Lord. Be a friend that encourages them to be righteous.
My son is serving his mission and as a missionary mom, I want you to give my son the boot if you see him disobeying the rules. I have seen the cycle of disobedience end badly more than once during my life. Rules are not made to be broken. Rules are inspired guidance from a loving Heavenly Father who knows how best to guide His children.
About Emlee Taylor
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.