Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Mission Field

I never understood why Utahns (and SE Idahoans) refer to the other 49 states as The Mission Field. One of the Elders in my MTC district was born and raised in Ogden, UT -- and converted to the Church at 18.

Either way, I know raising kids in "The Mission Field" adds some extra stress for some parents. Who will my kids date? How will I know their friends have high standards? Etc. etc. Mine is, will they really enjoy Seminary?

Well, two of the first sisters I got to know in our new ward share a story. A conversion story. And it goes something like this. "I started dating _________ in High School and he told me he was Mormon. I was like OK? My baptism and his mission later (not always in that order), here we are!"

Last night I helped with mutual and one of the YM had his HS girlfriend, whose appearance alone told me she had high standards, there with him. She's Baptist and I'm sure she walked around with that same OK -- question mark -- in her brain all night, but in the end I know she felt the Spirit and enjoyed herself. Even if the two don't end up together, she'll always have the memory of one spiritual evening inside an LDS Church.

One last anecdote. At my last school I had three gay coworkers. I'd always heard about Later-day Saints working in the DC area being attacked with questions about our standing in Prop-8, and tho I'd prepared myself fully, I really hoped the whole topic would not come up. Well, on nearly the last day of school one of these colleagues asked about my religion and when I said I was LDS he shouted with joy "I was practically raised by the Mormons! I hear the irony, gay jewish boy saying he went to the near by LDS Church more than his own synagogue. I think I even took the, what is it, not communion, but the bread you guys have? Oh, I loved my Mormon Mama!" I was so relieved! Growing up his best friend was LDS and their family took him to all the mid week activities and to Church anytime something "exciting" was happening (talks, programs, etc.) He had nothing but good things to say about the religious community he felt was a big part of his childhood. Another co-worker (who helped me get the job) actually "came out" while studying through an exchange program at USU. Again, he had nothing but good things to say about his fellow Aggies. He even flew back to Utah to stand outside the temple for some of their weddings.

I'm just so grateful for members in "The Mission Field" (USU included) who fellowship others and make sure the Church bares a good name.  I can't help but wonder how differently others' lives would turn out if as parents, we forced our children to only date or play with fellow Later-day Saints.

1 comment:

Tiff said...

Yeah I never understood that "mission field" either. I grew up in Wyoming so I guess that would be included in that area. I didn't hang out with the LDS kids really but I still had friends with high standards. Really I didn't see much of a difference between the kids who were LDS and those that werent. Some kids partied and had sex and some didn't. Some of the first group were LDS and some werent.

My friends who weren't LDS came to church occasionally and always came to the stake dances with me.

I met my husband at the first LDS activity he'd ever been to. Our mutual friend had invited him to FHE and we started dating a month later. He was baptized a few months after that and we were married a year later.

I love missionary work too :) can you imagine how much missionary work would be done if everyone moved to the "mission field"??

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