Why I Took “Returned Missionary” Off My Checklist

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Disclaimer: This post was in no way written to marginalize missions and the great importance of missionaries, nor was it intended to be used to excuse unrighteous judgment and decisions in any way. Its purpose is to hopefully remove stigmas that I feel are not Christlike. It’s a hard world we live in, and we cannot allow the environment in our wards and hometowns to be just as hard for someone who is struggling. Be kind. 

I remember sitting in my young women’s class one Sunday with a bookmark-length piece of paper my leaders had passed around resting on my lap. Dotting the top and surrounded by curling filigree were the familiar words “What I Want in a Future Spouse.” I wrote down some stupid things, like dark hair and beautiful brown eyes or someone who is tall — it’s really funny to see how preference changes over time — but then there were more important and personal things, too, some that, as a girl, I don’t think I understood fully.

Things like:
“He must honor his Priesthood.”
“He must be able to look past my weaknesses.”
“He should talk to me about important things.”
And then, near the top: “He must be a returned missionary.”
I must have written that last one dozens of times, spurred on by well-intending leaders who made sure that we knew the importance of a mission. I’ll admit to picturing a handsome young man, home from an international mission with lots of stories and a new-found love of a culture. We’d decorate our first home with flags and native prints and tell our children his stories. That, in my head, is what it would be like.
It’s been four years since I left the Young Women’s and a lot has changed since then. My list is no longer hair/eye color focused and I’ve become incredibly picky when it comes to the spiritual things. I, like most people, I’d imagine, regret that I found certain traits so important, and as I get older, I find myself regretting unexpected things.
Namely, I regret that “Returned Missionary” had such an unshakable place on my checklist.


By saying that, I realize full well that I’m stepping into an area of scarlet letters and glaring taboo. It is not socially acceptable where I am from to admit that you’re not necessarily looking for an RM. I’d imagine that’s the case for most of you reading this as well. A lot of you have sat through Sacrament meetings where proud fathers talk of their sons who have returned from serving “honorable” missions. A few of you, like me, have probably gone on dates with some of these RMs who unintentionally use their missions as social/romantic leverage. It happens a lot.

The question I have is this: what are we really looking for? In all of our searching for a potential spouse, is there something else we need to be focusing on? In my opinion, the answer to that second question is yes.

Truth be told, we’ve gotten ourselves into a seriously nasty predicament and a very un-Christlike attitude, I’ll add, without noticing because we’re so focused on the current mission status of the young men in the church. We have a problem, and it’s a problem that stems, in part, from a generation of young women who were told “RM or bust” from a very young age. I’m not saying we should completely throw out the idea of dating an RM, but that we shouldn’t let that define who we date. We are so consumed with returned missionary status or the lack thereof that we completely disregard what I feel are the most important qualities to seek in a potential spouse: outstanding character and temple worthiness. In doing so, we are marginalizing dozens of worthy young men and sometimes justifying the less-than-honorable actions of the young men considered honorable for serving.

I never realized that this was an issue within LDS culture until I was sitting at Angie’s Diner, cleaning “The Sink” with some friends and listening to one describe the dating climate at BYU. She told us of a guy she knew who was perfectly worthy, but hadn’t served a mission or only served for a little bit — I can’t quite remember. He was on a date with a girl, and when the mission question came up and he had nothing to say, she reacted as if she’d tasted sour milk. The date was basically done for her at that point, and he was left gutted and wounded. I remember sitting in our little booth and feeling my forgotten ice cream melt on my tongue as I listened, disgusted. That night was a tipping point for me.

These stories didn’t just go away after that night — in fact, I heard many more of them, some affecting incredible young men that I had the chance to interact with through my calling this year. It is no exaggeration whatsoever when I say that these men are the closest to the Savior that I have ever met. That being said, I have listened to their stories and have had a taste of their pain as they have explained why dating is so hard for them, how they were willing to serve a mission and wanted to, but all girls and all anyone, for that matter, ever sees is how they didn’t serve or didn’t make it through the two years before being sent home. Some of these young men don’t even bother dating to avoid the pain of rejection. In the church as a whole, some go completely inactive and don’t even bother to try anything. They are consistently hurt by girls like me, and that hurt isn’t a mere cut, but a deep wound. Though valiant and temple-worthy and doing all they can to become like the Savior, they are tossed aside because of how they spent or did not spend two years of their lives. The pain of that is something I can only imagine.

It’s honestly a little superficial for me to say that my friends’ experiences are the “close to home” hitters when it comes to missions. I myself am the product of a temple marriage, not between a girl and what many of us consider a typical RM, but my mother and my father, who came home from the London, South mission early due to medical issues (I’ll add that I have met people who would say that that is dishonorable, who would erroneously assume that he got sick because he wasn’t righteous enough. They are horribly misled. My dad is one of my greatest examples of strength and testimony.). Luckily for my siblings and I, his sickness, something out of his control, wasn’t the issue for my mother, but, rather, whether he could take her to the temple or not. That is what mattered to her, and I am here and can spend eternity with my loved ones because that is what mattered to her and to my dad, too.

To the young women my age, I plead, as President Uchtdorf did, stop it. Use discretion, but righteous discretion. We are quite literally isolating and emotionally abandoning a group of young men who are worthy of and have the desire to be sealed to a spouse, but haven’t yet reached that point in their progression because “medical leave” and “wasn’t able to serve” have been made into leprous stigmas in LDS dating culture. Dating, though the main focus of this post, isn’t even the only sphere where this happens; as communities and wards, we sometimes turn blind eyes toward these young men (and young women, too) who come home early or stay home, as if it burdens us to associate with them or as if we’re ashamed to know them. In their moment of dire need, we abandon them merely because we don’t want to look bad. The honorable, two-year RM is laudable. Missions change lives and do so much good. But sometimes we use the honorable RM as an image, an idol, if you will, that we cling to and seek in our loved ones and neighbors because we don’t want to be judged. This is not only wrong, but incredibly cruel and horribly judgmental itself. It is the exact opposite of Christlike behavior.

The reality of missions is that we maybe set them on too high a pedestal. We know how amazing and life-changing they can be — that’s why we encourage everybody who can to serve and make missionary work a personal responsibility in the church. Missions are incredible things, and if you’re willing and able, they can only make you better than you are. But I think we sometimes forget about other important things. A few months ago, I, and a few others, had the opportunity to eat lunch with President Barrington of the Logan, Utah temple presidency. We sat down at our table and talked for a bit, introducing ourselves and such. The conversation, naturally, turned around temple worthiness and preparedness, as well as missionary work. At one point in the conversation, I watched President Barrington’s face contort with frustration as we sat over soup and salad.

“The temple has become nothing more than an item on a checklist for some of these missionaries getting ready to serve,” he said, brow furrowed. “But the temple should really be the whole focus.” Don’t get me wrong, he later said, serving a mission is a great and important thing, but the temple takes priority.

That conversation has been at the back of my mind ever since, in multiple contexts. Is the temple just an item on a checklist to us, whether that checklist be a personal, missionary, or future spouse checklist? Is it just a word on a page? Where is “temple worthiness” on our lists? Where is “the willingness and desire to take me to the temple” when we decide what we want in a companion? Is it below “returned missionary,” as if one cannot exist without the other? Does it take less precedence than the mission itself?

Too often, I think we misuse the scripture “by their fruits ye shall know them” in the context of missions. We assume that the mission is the fruit, that obviously a young man is good and upstanding and worthy of being married in the temple because he’s served two full years. In reality, the mission is more like the climate the fruit has to grow in and fight in, just as the military or life or work or the critical culture of a hometown are the climates that other young men get to fight through. Half the Quorum of the Twelve are perfect examples of fruit flourishing without the aid of a mission. The fruit is simply what a person makes of themselves during and after their experiences.

Two things.
1) Stop it, stop it, STOP IT.
2) Tell that to President Monson.

Truth be told, I have seen both sides — incredible returned missionaries who are a blessing to their community and others who struggle. I have seen what could have been “good fruit” decompose far too rapidly after some missions. I have seen some returned missionaries, men called “honorable” by their fathers and mothers, come home after two years, only to lose themselves in self-gratification, pride, self-righteous judgment, and reckless habits. I have watched RMs willingly distance themselves from the spirit. I have also heard stories of young girls being taken advantage of at the hands of someone they thought was trustworthy simply because he was a returned missionary. RM status has become just that: a status, one that seems to entitle certain wearers to certain perks that are in complete violation of everything they promised to stand for out in the field and the covenants they have made. These young men, the ones not living up to their covenants, are celebrated and respected, when others who try harder and, frankly, deserve better get nothing in return for it. That is wrong. Serving a mission is far more than serving the Lord for two years — it’s devoting yourself to Him for life, and some have managed to do that on their own while others fail almost immediately upon coming home. What a tragedy that is!

I feel that we need to stop using “RM” as a status, as a justification, and as a qualification. It is certainly an accomplishment, and in most cases, returned missionaries are outstanding individuals. Lest I be misunderstood, I’m also of the opinion that serving the Lord on a mission is one of the most rewarding things you could do, and you should do it if you get the chance. But let’s not forget about those who aren’t RMs and let’s not judge them. We cannot stigmatize young men (and these days, young women, because trust me — it happens) who did not serve or only served for a short amount of time. Sometimes that’s due to medical, spiritual, physical, or mental reasons that we can’t see. For us to assume that they are less than or unworthy is for us to become Pharisees. Would Christ do that? Would he refuse to befriend and support and build a relationship with someone simply because they didn’t serve a mission? If you think so, you do not know Christ.

To those young men, who I know are struggling: the Lord knows you. You are so critical to His plan, and He loves you. He never stops loving you. Don’t give up.

For me, the phrase “returned missionary” has been replaced by the phrase “someone who is doing his best to become like the Savior,” and there are lots of young men doing just that. Temple worthiness and dedication to the Gospel have taken complete priority, as they should. I have had remarkable examples of young men in my life who, though they were unable to give their lives to the Lord on a two year mission, have given their lives to Him anyway and never stopped trying.

We owe them much more than we are giving them.

Follow up: A few of you have commented that the Lord, through His prophets, has asked all worthy young men to serve, and you have expressed your shock that I did not mention that in this post. To that I say that yes, that is what He has asked. A mission is rewarding and beautiful, and it is one way to give back to the Lord, who has given us so much. We are told to serve because His children need us and we need to serve, not because it will make our neighbors think highly of us. I did not write this post to advise young men to break commandments of the Lord, nor did I write it to marginalize what He has asked of us. I wrote this post to advise everyone to keep His most basic commandment: love thy neighbor as thyself.

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808 comments

  1. I love you for this. Though I'm not LDS, and not temple worthy, I appropriate what you have spoken. You have captured my feelings and other that of other men perfectly. We ARE vulnerable, and we are hurt. And it's not fun. Quite frankly, we feel like yesterday's Kleenex you would discard on the street corner. As a gentleman to the best of his abilities, I do wonder what in the world goes through ya'll's heads. Although, to speak for personally, I AM truly content to be bachelor. I wrestled with that, and have comes to grip that idea firmly in hand, without being bitter.

  2. One of the primary reasons I didn't go to church the last several years is because of this exact thing you are talking about. When I lived in BYU housing with my brother several years ago, I tried going to church again for a couple weeks. In 3 weeks, I had 4 different girls come up and start talking to me, and when the topic of my age and the fact I hadn't served a mission arose, every single one of them turned around and never said another word to me; not only that, they would no longer even acknowledge my presence. I can't count on both hands how many times it has happened at other times and other places.

    The first institute class I ever went to fell along these lines. It was the Preparing for an Eternal Marriage class normally taught by Brother Hunsaker, but was being taught by another guy that day. I hadn't gone to church whatsoever in probably 18 months, and he got up in front of the class, and said "Young ladies, non-return missionaries are untrained. Don't go for the untrained ones." I just about pooped myself, because it's because of completely false things being said by people taken as teachers and leaders like that that cause these sorts of issues and problems.

    I've had people tell me that they think the reason I'm going on a mission now is because I want to be able to have girls check that box, and I've had to tell people that they haven't the foggiest idea about the Atonement, and that they need to keep their mouths shut.

    This needs to be read by far more people than will probably read it, because I was personally one of those people that gave up all hope due to the "Mormon cultural" problem of being far more worried with a checklist than the person trying to be a better person from the other side of your clipboard.

  3. I married a non-RM (yes, in the temple) and couldn't be happier. I was brought up to parrot the same ideas you mention as being prominent in our culture, but when I met (at that point) my future husband, and realized that he was someone I could respect and love deeply, that suddenly didn't matter anymore. Some people still occasionally turn off on him when they ask that question (at 27, happily married, with kids, does it really matter anymore?), but most often I get the feeling that the reality is they don't really know how to respond.

    Well, I can state firmly and on a deep personal level that just because someone didn't serve a mission as a young person doesn't make them unworthy of any of the blessings offered by our Heavenly Father – or mean they will never serve a mission. Ever heard of senior missions? We plan on going on one someday, when we've raised our kids. My husband is one of the very best men I know, and after 5 years of marriage, I think I know him well enough to say that his heart is in the right place. That is what matters.

    I would also comment to those who don't know how to respond to the young man (or woman) who didn't serve a mission or came home early: I get that our culture puts a lot of value on serving a mission, and there are awkward thoughts that come to mind when someone says they didn't serve, or left early. I do get it. If there has to be an awkward pause because you're not totally sure how to respond, fine. Just don't end the conversation – or the relationship – there. Remember that everyone is fighting at least one private battle you do not – and probably will never – know anything about. As an example, my own husband spent one of his two "mission-age" years serving in a war zone overseas as a U.S. soldier. Thanks to that, he deals with plenty of private battles on a daily basis, and I love him all the more for his Christlike efforts to persevere. We all deserve love and we all deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.

  4. As the only one from my immediate family who served a mission, I'd hate to think that people would think less of my amazing parents or siblings simply because they didn't. I don't feel that I'm any more spiritual or closer to the Lord than any of my brothers, or father.

  5. Bless you, bless you for writing this. I am the mother of three sons, of which only one has served a mission. This topic has been painful for my non-RM sons, and is a contributing factor to the distance they have put between themselves and the Church. While it is said that "every worthy young man should serve a mission", that number will never reach 100%. It is not fair to penalize the young men who do not serve missions, nor is it fair to use the young women as leverage in order to get the young men to serve.

  6. I have to admit that when I first started dating my now husband and found out that he never served a mission, I was torn. It took me a little while to overcome the ideals that I had gained in young women's. My husband is a convert to the church. He joined when he was 18 years old and already had a contract with the army that he couldn't get out of to go serve a mission. The date we went on next after finding out that he didn't serve a mission, we went to the temple to babysit my baby niece so my sister and her husband go attend a session. As we sat outside the temple with my niece, we talked extensively about the temple, and he shared his testimony of the temple with me, and described the place of importance that it held in his heart. That was the last time I ever doubted his spiritual worthiness to date. After marrying and having three boys, I have become a young women leader and I do not tell them to only marry returned missionary, I always tell them to look for a young man with a well used temple recommend. At the same time though, I am doing everything I can to encourage my sons to serve missions. They are still very young, but it won't be long.

  7. This is an awesome post. Thank you!
    "Would Christ do that? Would he refuse to befriend and support and build a relationship with someone simply because they didn't serve a mission? If you think so, you do not know Christ." -I love this!

  8. This was really good! My mission president didn't serve a mission and hes one of the most amazing people i know! the only thing that made me dislike this blog post was when you put " tell president monson this"…..Pretty sure the Lords mouth piece doesn't need to be told how to run the Lords church since we believe his words are Gods words…. but i think this is good for members to know to not be judgmental for those that didn't serve a mission!

  9. Very much needed to be said and needs to be understood. Case in point, excluding time served as mission presidents, only seven of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency served missions. True that most couldn't because of war, but proves the point that there's much more to service and ability to serve than whether one has served a mission.

  10. You've done well by writing this post. Some may say that not serving, or serving an incomplete mission in correlated to one's lack of spirituality or commitment to the Lord. I find this to be as ostracizing a concept as there is in the church. To make the choice to serve a mission, to stay on a mission, and to return home having developed some of the many attainable Christlike attributes is certainly admirable and praiseworthy. To assume that one cannot attain those attributes, serve their friends, family, co-workers, strangers, nature, and influence for good without the aid of serving a mission is in most cases… rubbish. My full disclosure of directly relating to this particular subject in my own life and in the life of a number of friends and family members should be noted. Sitting through a number of Priesthood meetings, sacrament meetings, counseling sessions, and hearing generalized assumptions and opinions has made my heart soften and increased my capacity to mourn with those that mourn. To ostracize such young men and women (which carries over into adulthood and old age) is to fall in line with the hypocrites, who know not what they do. To believe in, and root for, these young men and women who do not serve or serve only for a period of time is truly a sign of those who listen to the Spirit rather than the assumptions and devastating opinions of the majority. A great deal of love and support to those who have been impacted by this tragedy is in order. And it starts with regular folks like me and you. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is marvelous, challenging, and above all… the way to eternal happiness. Let us not forget that a mission, while marvelous, challenging, and one way to develop the soul is not the only way nor the bar we are entitle to use in our personal judgments. Let He who is qualified and knows our innermost struggles do the judging.

  11. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I've talked to many who have gone through the exact things you have. The culture can be so unforgiving, unfortunately, and I'm sorry that you had to go through what you have.

    You'll be a great missionary for it, though. Having an understanding of the Atonement is such a blessing, especially when that's what you'll be helping others to find. Keep your chin up! You're amazing.

  12. Amen, sister! I'm glad you're happy. :) And thank you for your last bit of advice. I sometimes wonder if a chunk of the isolating happens BECAUSE people feel so awkward and don't know what to say. It's a very good point.

  13. Fantastic! I was that young man, I was far from the church by the time I was 19 and when I finally came back I was too old to serve a traditional mission but I fought and got myself worthy of the temple and was striving to b more like christ yet was still getting turned down and ignored and ostracized for not serving. Thankfully I met a girl who saw who I am, not what title I might have and loved me enough to b sealed to me for all eternity in the temple. But she was the exception to the rule, at least for me, it's sad

  14. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry things are hard for your family now. I'm sure that your sons are incredible. It doesn't take a mission to make incredible young men, but love and dedication. My hope is that more people will see that and be understanding.

    Keep hanging in there. I'm sure they're grateful to have a mom who loves them and cares for them through this like I feel you do.

  15. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I really do believe that you can tell more about what kind of a spouse someone will be by how they feel about the temple. Also: your comment about what you tell the young women made me so happy. You're doing great things!

  16. That mission president sounds like he would be pretty fantastic!

    My tone may not have come across clearly with that "tell President Monson" comment. It was more of a hypothetical "I'd like to see you make the claim that the only real men are returned missionaries when the prophet of the church didn't serve and is probably the realest real man you could think of" thing. That was waaaay long-winded, but hopefully it clarified some things.

  17. Exactly! I figure that the Twelve are doing something right, so the whole "you have to serve a mission to be a spiritual powerhouse" thing is a moot point. Thanks for your thoughts.

  18. It sure changes things to be personally influenced by this issue, doesn't it? We should always be championing each other, no matter what situation we're in. I especially loved your last two sentences. Man looketh on the missionary tag, but the Lord looketh on the one painted on the heart, as Elder Andersen might say. :)

  19. I think religion and Christianity and my own beliefs are so beautiful, actually. When it comes to what's wrong with religion, the buck more often than not stops at imperfect people and judgmental people. Being human causes a lot of problems sometimes, and I think a lot of problems could be solved if we just loved each other.

  20. Thank you for sharing this! I'm continually amazed by how many strong individuals like you have gone through the same exact thing. It's a common burden, unfortunately, but by sharing your experience, you're helping so many.

  21. Well expressed! I agree too! I'm a 2nd generation LDS in my family. My dad didn't serve a mission but he is a worthy Priesthood holder and he married my mum in the temple for all time and eternity. I love how you said temple worthiness and dedication to the Gospel should take complete priority. This goes for young women in the church too. I pray and hope that young women go on missions for the right reasons and not because it is an expectation. Thank you for your words! :)

  22. Mormon men are some of the blandest people I know, with their bad haircuts, tacky jokes, and creepy white button up short sleeve shirts, I have no idea how Mormon women do it. I've had a couple LDS girls ask me out for a friendly date just to get a little relief from it all, from what they told me it seems like a complete nightmare. I would lose my mind.

  23. Thank you for writing this! I've been living in Utah for two years now and I really love it here but there is a culture here that can be very off putting at times. It has been hard to put into words and pinpoint exactly what about the culture tends to annoy me but I think you've really hit the nail on the head for at least part of it. Thanks for this post!

    We need to look at who someone is more than what they have or have not done in the past. I served a mission but I'm nowhere near perfect and have learned to accept that I have weaknesses which can be overcome with patience and effort in time. I think it was this culture which falsely brought me up to believe that somehow I would become this invulnerable perfect man by serving a mission. That just hasn't been the case. I certainly grew in many ways and my intellectual testimony of the gospel skyrocketed during my mission, for which I will always look back on the experience with fondness. But it is the inner devotion and sense of true discipleship that needs to be what woman are looking for in a man. Those are the qualities which will get him through the storms in life. Anyone can gain those qualities with time, and the mission is a great environment to help foster those attributes, but it is not the only place to develop them. It is in the actions of your everyday life that you may truly become like Christ.

  24. Thank you for sharing such a great story! And for mentioning the young women. I really wish I would have mentioned young women more after the fact, because the pressure and expectations for them is just as high as for the young men, I'm finding. I bet your parents are just fantastic.

  25. Haha. They're not all that bad. Are you from Utah? Because I have met some young men who could definitely diversify their interests/personalities some more, and I often wonder if it's because the Utah environment is so lackluster. Maybe I'll blog about how to not be a boring Mormon in the future. :)

  26. Thank you for your kind words! The older I get, the more issues I see on a cultural level that have got to be addressed. The Gospel is so simple and so beautiful, but sometimes people don't get to that point because they get stuck in the crossfire of local culture. It's frustrating.

    I love what you said about getting through the storms of life. It's true! The Lord knew that some would not serve missions, and He would never dam their spiritual growth because of that choice.

  27. This will sound really terrible.. But I cried when I read this.
    It's like someone finally understands. Thank you Ari, thank you so much..
    I had a mission call. I was called to the coolest place on earth, the Swiss Alps! But because of some decisions I made, I gave my mission up. It's the Lords mission, not mine. And he heserves the best.

    Members don't see it from my perspective, they just see it as "he sinned so he didn't go. SHUN!". But I still visit the temple every week. I still live an active lifestyle, because I know its not the members church, its the Lords.

    Thank you Ari. I hope more women will consider your challenge.. Because heartbreak gets kind of old after a while.
    Thank you

  28. Returned missionary doesn't mean anything to me. My father, for personal reasons, did not serve a mission. He is one of the sweetest, most spiritual men that I know and has helped more young men desire to become worthy missionaries than I dare to count with his one on one surfing trips to share his testimony with the young men in our ward.

    At BYU I met all types of RMs and discovered that RM means nothing if they didn't let the atonement work in their lives. Some of my worst dates where I felt used and cheated were with 'honorable' returned missionaries and some of my favorite dates with creative activities and wonderful conversations were with men who never served full time missions. The whole point of getting married is to find a temple worthy man who loves you and wants to be with you for eternity. One of my best friends from my mission married a young man who had not served a mission and he loves her and helps her accomplish her dreams more than some of the RMs that my other friends have married. I married a RM and he does the same for me, but not because he served a mission. He helps me because he believes that this marriage is for eternity and as long as we're willing to work together we can help each other become all the Lord wants us to be.

  29. Thank you for this as someone who has struggled with severe anxiety and unable to serve it's been a struggle the last few years. It has been hard to find a place to fit in, I avoided singles wards for about three years because I couldn't handle the rejection. I have missed out on so much do to that fear and i just wish everyone saw what you see. Thank you.

  30. The experiences that I had as a missionary shaped who I am forever. Without the tmisison experience I wouldn't be the man I am an likely not be temple worthy. The impact of my mission is far more than a leveraging tool in an effort to "pull girls" but is something everlasting and meaningful to me that I wouldn't change for anything. Those who don't serve missions will never understand this emotion as well as those who didn't serve their missions with all their heart might mind and strength will not feel this same fervor.

  31. I am serving as a Single Senior Sister Missionary right now, working in a mission office. I have no grandchildren and have become very close to the young missionaries, because they fill a place in my heart that is normally filled by one's grandkids. So I feel despair and real grief when a missionary is sent home from his or her mission, especially when it's for transgression. The pain I feel for them is NOT because of the seriousness of their offense; their sins are forgivable through true repentance. My concern is because, as you so eloquently pointed out, they will face ostracism and condemnation from those who ought to know better.

    Recently, Elder Bednar repeated a story told by another General Authority about a pearl of great worth which had been placed into a beautiful box. Most people admired the box but ignored the pearl. The pearl is the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the box is the Church. It's important not to confuse the two! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown so much that it now embraces far more people outside of Utah than within the state. Over the next few years, the culture of the Church will change, and those who are not ready to accept those changes will be left in the dust. Dating and marrying only a returned missionary will probably be one of those cultural things which will diminish in importance over time. However, to the girls who still cling to this exclusive and narrow ideal, I would like to point out that they will ultimately be judged by the judgment they themselves meet out! If you try to see others as the Savior sees them, you will be a much happier person.

  32. Thank you for this. I am currently dating and planning to marry a man who is not an RM, but who is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. Still, one of the first questions I get asked from the people in my home ward, who've not met him, is, "Where did he serve his mission?" When I tell them he didn't, there is a noticeable falter in their smile, and their voices get kind of strained. They usually just say, "Oh. Okay. I guess that's fine." One of the most helpful said to my mother, "Not all worthy men have a chance to serve," an attitude I wish more people had. So thank you for voicing something that our ever-expanding community needs to hear.

  33. Arianna, I don't know you personally, but I want you to know that you are my hero and that your words touched me. As a non-RM who lives in Utah, I can testify that it is a hard place and culture to live in for people like me. I had my bout of inactivity when I realized that it wasn't just the young women who decided to abandon me as a viable companion, but the members of my ward who I had grown up with, including my bishop. It hurt on such a deep level, something made worse by the fact that my ward didn't even notice that I had stopped coming to church. After a year or so, I started attending at a new ward, and the negative stigma was still there. But at that point I had decided that I just had to know that just because the Church is true, does not mean that the people in it are. At this point, I'm coming up on my 1st wedding anniversary to my beautiful daughter of God, who I took through the temple and was sealed to and whom I couldn't be happier with. I'll just leave this, which is something I came up with when I was feeling neglected: Young women should not have the letters "RM" so high on their list of things they would like in a spouse if those letters stand for Returned Missionary. Instead, let those two letters stand for "Righteous Man."

  34. Fortunately, not every member has to develop the its-ok-to-marry-a-non-rm mentality. Meaning, to blog about such a topic is a bit sad and telling of the underdeveloped self-ability to think for ourselves and realize that, even if this generally true (which it is most certainly not), we have never had to adopt the ridiculous idea to have to marry RM, in the first place.

  35. I am one such missionary who came home for medical reasons. I have found the dating scene to be irritating and not worth my time. I have changed my focus in school and life so that I mean live and work in another country. Good luck to those who stay in this culture.

  36. I like your sentiments. I really do. There is a lot of judgmental behavior that goes on in the dating world. Before I was married (to an RM, who left late because of personal issues), I had no problem accepting dates with guys who had not been on missions. I had no problems being their friend. It has always bothered me that there are girls out there who wouldn't even talk to a guy, even or friendship's sake, just because of his non-RM status. Some of my good friends went on missions late, came home early, or didn't even go at all.

    However, I would like to point out that missions are still important, and I had that on my checklist for a reason. Would I have married a guy who did not go on a mission? Sure, but he had better have had a good reason. Missions are a commandment of our young men– they are told that they should go if they are able. If I had met a guy that I liked enough to consider seriously dating but he had not served a mission, I would have wanted to know why. Was he unable to go for medical or even financial reasons? Did he seriously pray about it and feel that this was not what he was to do at this point in life? If he is an otherwise spiritual man, then I see no problem here. Even if he was unable to go because of past worthiness issues, but now he has repented and is temple-worthy, his lack of RM status isn't important. BUT if he is struggling with his testimony and hasn't gone because of that, or hasn't really prayed about it and has just been dragging his feet, I'm sorry but that does not make him worthy at this moment for a potential spouse in my book. He has more work to do before I would have considered marrying him, and I would feel the need for him to prove to me that he is spiritual enough to value a temple marriage the way I do.

    My point is, I love the general message here and I think it's an important one, but I think it's important that girls also consider the reasons why a particular young man hasn't served, in conjunction with his current worthiness. Don't go blindly into something. There is such a thing as righteous judgment, and it's something we are given to help us make good decisions. Many, many guys have not served missions for completely valid, even honorable reasons. But there are others who are struggling spiritually, and it may not be wise to marry such a person. Get to know the guy. Not all of them will tell you their reasons right away, and I wouldn't expect them to. However, before you make a serious decision like marriage, you deserve to know his reasons so you can make an informed decision.

  37. Having lived in Provo, Utah, for a few years, I understand that the culture can be different there for several reasons. This culture is not necessarily bad, it is just different – in the same way cultures in different countries are different. In each one, there are things that can definitely be improved. Having lived in different countries/communities, the specific problem Ari brought up is really more of a problem in some communities and not in others.

    What Ari has brought up here is a complex issue (brought about by factors that differ in as many ways as there are individuals involved) with a basic underlying principle – love in the Gospel of Christ or love "as [He] has loved [us]". But while the principles she is promoting are true and universal, and the method (specifically of taking an item off a dating checklist) she has chosen is good for her and for some, the method itself, in my opinion, may not be the best for everyone. (Which I don't think she is necessarily saying but I just thought that this should perhaps be clarified)

    In other words, I think it is appropriate for some people to want or expect their future spouses to have served missions. Choices in dating and marriage is a complex topic in and of itself that I don't think it should be wholly relegated to a checklist anyway, whether or not there is an entry there that says "RM" (Returned Missionary). The marriage choice should be done of the person's "own free will and choice" and if that person wants to marry an RM, let him/her marry an RM (or not) – whatever he/she chooses as long as he/she has ascertained for him/herself that the choice and the way the choice was made are right (viewing past the labels and the superficial and focusing on the things that matter most – like Ari taught here). We can choose either way and it could very well be right and it could very well work out (or not).

    Having said that, I think we all should be sensitive to the feelings and situation and spiritual progress of everyone and not assume anything but good things. I agree with Ari on trying to look past the "RM" label (or the lack of it or any other label for that matter) and to look at the good that's really there (if we have the business to be looking in the first place).

    I cannot imagine how hard it must be for people who do not have a certain profile (e.g. to not have completed a mission) to live where that profile is "expected" which is often the case in Utah – more in certain parts than in others. While there is much we can do collectively about this, I know that efforts are being made by general and local church leaders and members to avoid discrimination or poor treatment by labeling (e.g. BYU vs non-BYU, student vs non-student, LDS vs non-LDS, single vs married, RM vs non-RM, etc.)

    One of the best things about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it has a personal and unique message to each of us. In this topic, the Gospel has a message for the person who did not serve a mission for whatever reason, for the person who has served but finds life to be an unending struggle, for the person who has not yet served but could still go, for the person who is considering dating him, and even for the family member or leader who is involved with any of these individuals. It is important to get to the answers that God want you to have and you may, like the others who have commented, find your answers from this article.

    Lastly, this topic reminds me of this wonderful talk given by Elder Ballard, an apostle, called "Doctrine of Inclusion"
    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/10/doctrine-of-inclusion

    I love this talk and I know that what this apostle taught here is true and should be followed. While Elder Ballard did not say this directly, I personally think that extending the lesson beyond the LDS and non-LDS context to the RM and non-RM context to whatever other label we tend to use is entirely appropriate.

    Ari, thanks for sharing! (And sorry for the long comment.) :)

  38. I usually don't post on things like this but I felt I needed to. First off, thank you for writing this. I feel that you put into words how I have felt for some time. I met my fiance three weeks before he left on a mission. He quickly became my one of my best friends (little did I know, he'd become my future companion as well) and we wrote weekly while he was gone. Unfortunately, due to medical conditions, he was sent home after one month of being in the MTC. His loving family struggled with him returning home early because they felt that if he didn't serve a mission, it was a bad reflection on them and they were worried about him straying from the church. It was so hard to see him struggle knowing that he had disappointed his family and he eventually felt like he had disappointed his Savior. It took him a long time to come to terms with the fact that he gave it his everything, he came home early, and that's okay.
    I, like you, made a list of qualities that I wanted in a future husband when I was in Young Women's. Ironically enough, I had listed "doesn't serve a mission because his family offers him a car." As funny as that sounds, my fiance's family did try to persuade him to return to the mission field by promising him a car when he came home. He gratefully declined because he know it wasn't the right reason to be going.
    I am SO grateful to have him in my life. He may not have served a mission, but he is one of the most amazing, young, worthy priesthood holders I have ever met. Every situation is different, just as mine may seem a bit unique to others. However, I have learned that it is not about being a return missionary, but rather a worthy priesthood holder who loves me and honors me as a daughter of God and I could not ask for anything more.

  39. This is big reason why I really have nothing to do with the church. I didn't go on my mission, made some decisions early on and got married and had a kid. Later on, got divorced and started going back to church looking for somebody maybe. Turned out that I really didn't stand a chance as I had a kid and wasn't a missionary, much less temple worthy. So now I am where I am and not unhappy at all. But this issue had me walk away and likely not to come back because of it.

  40. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with most of your points, which is why I stressed temple worthiness. Marriage takes a serious amount of consideration and good judgment, and every single person is entitled to ask the questions you've invited them to ask and should do so. When you're choosing a companion, jumping in blindly and with disregard is reckless. That's what I love about the Gospel. The Lord directs us when we use discretion and ask Him what we should do.

    My main caution would be to not hold someone's past against them if they have allowed the Atonement to work in their lives. Like I said, it takes discretion to see that, but forgiveness on our part is just as critical as true repentance on the part of another.

  41. I, like you, wrote Returned Missionary on my list of desired attributes for a future spouse, every. single. time. we had that activity in young women's. I don't know for sure when my perspective changed, but it has changed, and I am beyond grateful that it has. I have some friends and family members that didn't serve, or they came home early, and I think they're a major reason why my perspective changed. I know we've had the lesson of "marry a return missionary" drilled into our minds, mostly because I think that is the easiest way to get the point of marrying someone temple worthy across the minds of several teenage girls. Thank you for posting this, and helping me remember how much this means to me personally!

  42. Temple worthiness should come first. Thank you for writing this blog post. One of the men I admire most had to come home early from a mission and it was by no means because he was unworthy. He's been a member missionary ever since.

  43. I agree with a lot of what you're saying. You're right. A lot of times, men do get wrongfully disregarded because they haven't served missions and its sad. What I don't agree with is that you're saying its wrong for girls to have "returned missionary" on their list. I have first hand seen what missions do to young men and that is something I want. Im not saying that I wouldn't give a young man a chance because he hasn't gone on a mission. I would still take the time to get to know him and see the more important aspects of him but as of right now, I LOVE that young men take the time and sacrifice to serve the Lord and that is definitely something worthy of being on my "list." Should we disregard those who haven't served? NO. But its something that I definitely look for and theres nothing wrong with that.

  44. I come from a back ground where my father served for 3 months before coming home because of "illness". (he told me he used his sickness as an excuse to come home) I have one son who made some choices that have not allowed him to serve one. My fathers regrets come not because he had difficulty dating his regret came because he did not live up to that portion of his covenant that he made with the Lord at that point in his life. In the case of my son who is not able to serve. He is attending school at one of our church universities and has found out that it really is challenging at times in the dating arena. I am so proud of my son, I believe in repentance! I believe in full and complete repentance! I expect some young lady who is all that I want for my son to come into his life and sweep him off his feet and look past some bad decisions he has made early on and see the real- the new man he has become. I am confident this will happen in spite of some of the natural consequences that come with some past decisions including dating struggles. We live in a politically correct world where everyone is supposed to be able to think and do what they want with no consequences. But that is not reality. I know my angel mother saw my father for the man he really was.
    The first reason I am posting this comment is to give you kudos for pointing out that even when a young man does not serve a full time mission at the appropriate age they should NEVER be shunned or made to feel like a lesser person. As you rightly point out, Christ would NEVER do that! Thank you for helping address that issue.
    The second reason for this post is to address a very important point that your blog seems to have missed. The decision to serve a mission for young men in that age group is a commandment not an option as it is with the young women. Because it is a commandment that "every worthy and able young man should prepare for and serve a mission" it changes the whole dynamics of the discussion you began in your blog. Aside from my two sons previously mentioned, my wife and I are also the parents of three beautiful young women who we want to see every blessing of eternity bestowed on including marriage to a temple worthy young man. My oldest daughter is married to an RM who himself came home from his mission early, waited for one year before returning to finish his service and the remainder of his "full time". He is everything I hoped for in a temple worthy husband for her! My daughters are fully aware that RM status is not a fool proof indicator of the quality of the young men they date. The point however, is that "RM" is not a bad title to carry. It should not be, as you rightly point out, an absolute necessary title for young womens future husbands, but neither do I believe it should be crossed from the list of good attributes in a future husband. I know the lucky young lady that becomes the bride of my non-RM son will have an eternity of happiness. Unfortunately there were some comments to your post that showed a tendency of some to justify their views of not serving. The commandment is for young men to serve if able and worthy. The number who serve not quite so faithfully will always be there as well, but that does not justify anyone in condemning the faithful RM's. The young women who judge wrongly and avoid these wonderful young men who haven't served will be missing out on some real opportunity, but even then, judging those same young women for trying to make eternally critical decisions based on the knowledge that they have at the time is just as wrong and the wrong you addressed in your post. The young women who judge wrongfully of men who have not served missions are just as shallow spiritually as those RM's who claim that title because of time served but had no quality invested in that time. I pray that my son never walks away from one of those shallow young woman's jilt and uses her for an excuse to leave the church or justify another poor decision on his part.

  45. My Mom was inactive and my Dad wasn't a member when they got married. They are my example that just because a man isn't a RM or even a member of the Church doesn't mean they aren't the right one. My Dad joined later (after me) but the message still rings true. These days, we preach extreme pickiness, when what's important is how the significant other treats you and your future children.

  46. Behold, a true disciple who would follow the Fuehrer anywhere and give unquestioning obedience and loyalty.

  47. Hi I'm from Australia. This taboo is not as strong here, but it still exists. Missions don't make a man, that's all I can say. I served a full 2 year mission and can say there is nothing special about a returned missionary. We are just normal people. All our faults and virtues can be found equally in any other part of the population.
    All the best on your life journey.

  48. I see this not only after the age has passed for a young man to serve, but also now in those who are just leaving high school. Many choose to serve now right after their graduation. Those that choose to serve a mission after a semester of college now are also looked down upon in a way.
    I wholeheartedly agree with your post. Missions are nice things, and teach young men – and young women – many things, but they don't make a person perfect, as does not serving make them an evil person.

  49. That's why I left the Mormon church, it is so anti Christ. This is the ignorant attitude that is prevalent in the Mormon church. Arianna thank you for your honesty. Joseph Smith and his 34 have no place in my life. I'm all about God and being spiritual.

  50. Note that Howard W. Hunter never served a mission… but he went on to become P
    resident of the the Church.

  51. Great article, I agree with what you wrote. However, I have found the pendulum can swing too far the other way. My little sister feels there is too much of a push to marry an RM, as a result she has dated a number of guys who would not be able to take her to the temple. It pains me to see her do this as many of those guys to not treat her like they should. They have the attitude "I didn't serve a mission and I don't need to." To me thinking this way is an issue, rather I wish their attitude was. "I wish I could have served a mission," or "I will do all I can to serve the Lord now." The latter applies to both those who did and did not serve a mission.
    Girls and guys, men and women will always have unfair criteria for dating. For example, I have ran across the attitude that the best kind of Mormon is a byu Mormon. I have felt the sting of being rejected by a girl simply because I go to the University of Utah and a byu guy was the only type of guy for her. My wish is that we would all look at someone for who they are and not count them out due to arbitrary criteria. Men do the same thing as I have friends who will simply avoid dating a girl because she is 19 and they are too mature at 22 or 21 or whatever the ages may be. Again, I appreciate what you wrote

  52. I tend to disagree with this comment. I think anytime you are serving the Lord and living the Gospel you feel what you feel on a mission. It's charity. The pure love of Christ. I have felt this serving at a Muscular Dystrophy Camp, as well as other service activities I have participated in. I try to live a Christ centered live and feel his love in my life. The feeling doesn't have to end. I am planning on a year of college before my mission to make sure I'm going for the right reasons. I get people ask me all the time why I doubt my testimony, and that it is better to serve early. I get girls that aren't eager to date me, so you don't trip up before it. I figure if I'm in a spiritual condition that is low enough that I won't be worthy in a year, then I'm not worthy/ready now. It is hard dating. When all the LDS girls we're 'supposed' to date won't date us, or make us feel like crap, who do we want to date? The girls that don't care. The girls without high standards. That's where it can get hard to stay on the path. That is one reason why you see some young men who have been faithful fall. I love your comment about being Christ like. Mother's are so loving of their kids. I wish YW could follow this example of love and love everyone.

  53. Just wanted to say I was BLOWN AWAY by your post! You are very wise. When I was at that stage, RM was also on my list, and after most of the RM's I met were either "one and done"ers (one date, the nothing), or acted like they had eight hands, I had about crossed RM off my list as well!

    Some guys dont go on missions – because they're serving in the military.IN my book, serving our military SHOULD count the same as a mission. I'd stack any of my military family members against RM's any day. Yes, I know not all RM's are jerks, but the RM label tells you nothing other then they left home for two years.

    Nor should anyone look down on someone who came home because they got sick. An ex of mine had that happen to him, and he is one of the most humble, standout, smart guys I've ever known (how he hasn't found a wife yet is beyond me, but that's another story.)

  54. Ari, As a mother of two missionaries who came home early, I cried as I read your article. My first son is now married to a WONDERFUL girl who over looked the fact that he didn't serve two years. This has been my sentiment from the beginning. When the first came home early, we were told that a mission is not a saving ordinance, but temple ordinances are. This was our oldest son. Our youngest son came home early as well, he is running into this same thing. I pray he can find a wonderful girl who feels as you do. Thank you so much for your very well said and beautiful comments.

  55. I really appreciate this post a lot. I myself served in a mission in Utah recently for only about 4 months when I decided myself to confess some past mistakes to my mission president which sent me home. I could tell it hurt my loving family bad and I myself was mentally distraught from such an unfortunate circumstance. I think what hurt me more than anything, was that my parents and close friends had a first concern of whether or not I was going back out? Not once did anyone ask how I was doing spiritually or mentally from the whole crazy situation, it was all about the mission and finishing and having the full two years and blah blah. Now I never blamed them and I never got mad at them because I knew that it was hard for them to understand how much I was going through and that repenting was the first thing on my mind not "needing to go back out as soon as possible to serve an honorable mission". I can agree totally that there is a bad illusion about the RM title, which I think is the most messed up thing about LDS culture. What most people do not realize is that %40 of missionaries go less-active or leave the church completely when they get home after 2 years and that was told to me at the MTC. I actually just recently decided I want to go serve again the right way and not for anybody else but myself to grow closer to the savior. I agree also with the dating issue and that a lot of LDS young women will not even want to go on a first date because of it and I honestly think that will never change unfortunately, but I know in the future if a girl makes that an issue then she wont be my wife. Simple as that. Thanks for such a great and true post.

  56. This is why I hate Utah culture. When I first moved to Utah, I went from being the most innocent, modest, and decent Young Woman in my circle of friends (seriously, I had high school teachers compliment me on being such a good example) to the most vulgar, inappropriate heathen whose shirt showed her belly when she stretched both arms in the air (honestly had someone complain first semester of college). You don't run into this crap outside of Utah. Most people actually understand what the atonement does for people. My husband lived in Utah most of his life, and he wasn't active during his teen years because he associated more closely with the non-members, which i guess made him tainted or something. He wasn't worthy to serve a mission when he turned 19, and he didn't care until he was much older and decided he wanted something different in his life. He was working on turning in his papers when I met him, and when he was rejected I married him anyway. In the temple, I might add.

    I'd also like to add that the worst boob grappler I've ever met in my life was a member of the church. And I'd dated non-members before I ever dated a member (didn't really have much of a crop to pick from where I grew up). He went on to serve a mission, hopefully for the right reasons.

  57. I agree. We should not judge based on ehat they did or did not do, but rather we should consider why it did not happen. If its something such as, i just didnt feel like it, i feel that we should look at that as a warning sign that he might not feel like upholding the rest of his priesthiod responsibility. However, if they were sick, or they and the their church leaders felt that it was not right, but they still had the desire to serve, i feel that they still show their desire to serve. I also feel for me personally, that a mission is a time to grow and learn not just about the gospel, but also about yourself. It's not a label. It's an attitude. A mission isn't a span of 24 months. It is a lifetime of dedication to this gospel.

  58. hahaha This made me laugh. I would say, however, that PEOPLE in general are bland, with bad haircuts and tacky jokes paired with horrible fashion. But you can also find some of the greatest people in our church as well! Not to put myself or my friends on a pedestal, but we lead a much more exciting life than probably 90% of the general population of the world! Last week we rappelled down Mesa Falls (Idaho), the week before that we did the Corona Arch rope swing (youtube it!), this week we kayaked from one city to another (about 22 miles down a river), next week is white water rafting, followed by sky diving the week after that. Now you tell me we're bland and boring…

  59. You go girl. this needed to be said, and read by a LOT of people (which it looks like it has!) I'm glad there are people like you who can put it into words so perfectly. missions are simply NOT for everyone, and it is not our place to judge whether a young man is an RM or not. stay golden!

  60. I agree 100% I am an "RM" and I hate the term so much. Don't get me wrong I loved my mission, but I have many friends women and. Men going through the same things and what I believe is that everyone has their own mission to serve, my older brother didn't serve but he has been the true example of living a life full of the love of Christ. I'm super grateful for this and to know that someone and what looks like a lot of people share my same concern and beliefs as I do. Because you do come under fire from voicing your opinion on this subject, but it will not push me away from what I know to be true and from my savior. I thank you again Arianna!

  61. I feel the same way. The interesting thing is that I am currently on my second marriage. My first husband was a returned missionary who served an honorable mission. We got sealed in the temple, but I didn't realize until after we got married how much at odds with God he was. He ended up taking all his frustration out on me and stopped going to church which led to a very short-lived marriage. My current husband never went on a mission but has a strong testimony, wishes he had gone, but lives a good and faithful life in the church. We are happily sealed to each other and about to start an eternal family. This is why I hate it when girls say that they have to marry a returned missionary. Sometimes the better husband turns out to be a man who never served, like in my case. It's sometimes not the better choice to marry an RM. My ex-husband had some screwed up beliefs that we didn't agree on, however, my current husband and I have completely matching beliefs. It's because of that reason that I know he is the march for me. I paid attention to his actual beliefs instead of a title, like an RM.

  62. A few months ago I was talking to some cousins that attend BYU. They were saying that many guys attending BYU will now not date a girl unless she has gone on a mission because they think it means they are not worthy members of the church. There seems to be a serious groupthink problem in Provo.

  63. I truly enjoyed your article!
    Personally I don't bring up being an RM in any situation. I feel that if a woman merely wants me because I'm an RM, then the feeling of love isn't as powerful. I also feel that going on a mission was my responsibility or duty, therefore, why would I boast about it? I wanted to show my gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the immense love and wisdom he gave me. I know many great men who didn't serve missions, anyone who would pick me because I went on a mission over them is a poor judge of character (in my opinion).
    I would say to women, seek a worthy priesthood holder that can take you through the temple.
    if he's an RM, that's fine, if he's not, that's still fine.

  64. This is the best comment in the comments section. We were shocked to see that the article said nothing regarding the fact that a mission for young men is a commandment of the Lord, not an optional decision without consequences. Thank you for your post!

  65. I grew up in the church. I started growing apart from the church throughout my years in seminary. I would ask questions that my teachers would not know the answers to and I would know more about how the scriptures we would discuss fit in with world history and events. I am now 20 years old and attending college. I do not believe in the LDS faith anymore and try to find people that have come to the same conclusion through their own study. It is difficult to find friends and people to that will listen to my thoughts and conclusions. I no longer think that the false accounts of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price or the weird accounts of dealings in “The History of the Church” to be of the most concern. The biggest problem with the church, and any other similar organization, is the division it creates between people. A person is either good or bad in the eyes of members depending on their membership. I recognized this occurrence when I was young and it saddened me. They were people I knew and my family would talk bad about them. Religion has always been a source of division between people throughout the world.
    I have also thought that about how romanticized the missionaries have become. I associate the missionaries with knights and the temples as being the castles that a couple are married in. The temples are viewed as completely sacred, but are derived from other things. The origins of the endowment process were taken from Genesis, and the keys and tokens are taken from Free Masonry.
    It is difficult to be happy when it is so hard to make new friends. At my age, past friends go different directions. The hardship of making new friends is made more difficult when a person will diminish your importance in an introduction of yourself. The most rewarding friendships that I have had are based on viewing the world the same. We do not treat our social structure as something that is a given. It must be maintained by the character of the people or else it diminishes from what it can be.
    I have interacted with a lot of that think along the same lines that I do. People are not meant to be alone. It is difficult to stay positive when so many people do not want to associate closely with you because you have made a decision to not be a member. It is difficult to change popular opinion. We see through countless scientific discoveries that made people rethink the natural order of things. We see the persecution that those great men and women endured to bring about their truths. While these men and women show that everything can be explained by methods and experiment, we still have people that live with access to the internet and endless libraries that believe in magic and talismans. The priesthood has no more effect on a person’s health than that of a placebo.
    Why would I spend my time trying to help others see my point of view? Just as scientists want to show the people the natural order of things, I think it is in the best interest of the human race. I think it is better to believe in things that can be tested and verified and as easily disregarded. This could just be a fault of my own accord that I do not have enough faith to believe in something that can’t be explained. Maybe I am too insecure to fully trust something other than myself. I am methodical and analytical individual and find it difficult to believe others until I have done the study and research myself. I find it difficult to accept others experiences until I have had them myself.
    This response is a sincere as I can possibly write. I will never feel differently than this. I think that the access to information is important to the future of mankind because it erases the authority figures and frees people from terrible situations. I hope this can change some people to where our society starts believing in each other more than hoping for a God and fairy tale.

  66. This blog post is really dumb. If a man leaves the church because of some opinions of others, flawed opinions or not, then that just lends to why the girl wouldn't want to marry them anyway. It's not just a check box of serving a mission, but the sacrifice and commmitment to the gospel and to Jesus Christ that it takes to serve a mission and then continue to become like Him afterwards. We don't need to baby non return missionaries. Nor do they need disrespect. But leaving the church and blaming others is very juvenile and naive and sad.

  67. Great post. It got me thinking about where one should draw the line between dating preferences and prejudices. Perhaps a similar topic is that of virginity…for example is it ok for a virgin (who has kept themselves pure with the hopes of marrying someone who has done the same) to lose interest in the person they are dating upon finding out they are not? Is this a prideful action or an acceptable choice of preference? What are your thoughts?

  68. I enjoyed your post, and as a returned missionary I had a few companions and friends return early for various reasons. I knew that their return home would be one thing that many would not understand and some even question. I'm glad that there are so many people like you and those that have commented that think other wise. If I may add another point, the whole making a list in general about finding your future spouse is such a problem in the Mormon culture. I like how you said that the important things all have to do with spiritual matters and not on the physical aspects. To many times I have been turned away or rejected because I don't fit the cookie cutter image of the perfect man. We need to all be better at truly knowing people and not be so focused on the physical but rather spiritual and eternal matters.

  69. I cringed when the conference talk was given about his future wife saying she would only marry an RM. Yes, girls can do a lot to help a young man make that decision, but it helped promote that mindset in our culture. I do think it shows a young man was willing to serve for two years, and that's important, but even more, is he still serving? When I was of dating age, I really watched the guys around me to see how they acted in many situations. I saw who volunteered in the community, in church and how they served in their callings. I have two married RM sons and a son waiting (6 months now) for a call. He will probably end up on a service mission – a whole 'nother subject! (Do you know of anyone who is not severely handicapped mentally or physically that was honored for serving a service mission? – Everyone wants to know "what's wrong with them" that they couldn't serve a "real" mission. I am glad you brought up this topic and opened it for discussion. As parents and leaders, we need to emphasize temple worthiness and the willingness to serve , as qualities to strive for in looking for a spouse.

  70. Great post! I am a single woman, and I don't even ask the question if someone's been on a mission. It tells me nothing about where they are spiritually in the here and now. Going on a mission does not guarantee worthiness, knowledge, spirituality, humility, kindness, charity or any number of emotional or spiritual skills that are really important in life and in marriage in particular. Nor does not going on a mission guarantee that these things are not present. I have had too many experiences with returned missionaries who have come home and continued on a path far away from Christlike behavior. Returned missionaries are not immune from temptations or life problems or bad patterns/character. To judge this way is superficial and erroneous, as you so wonderfully pointed out. I am far more impressed with a man who is striving to develop Christlike character, who learns from mistakes of the past and knows how to overcome no matter how long it takes, and who knows the Savior and His atonement deeply on a very personal level. Whether or not such a man has served a mission doesn't matter to me.

  71. "To those young men, who I know are struggling: the Lord knows you. You are so critical to His plan, and He loves you. He never stops loving you. Don't give up. "

    I needed to hear these words. Thank you for being a vessel to fulfill that purpose. You're an amazing woman. God bless.

  72. I somehow stumbled across this page and felt like I'd fallen into a rabbit hole of insanity. Someday in the future Utah will be free of all religion including LDS and humanity will look upon today much the same we today look upon the superstition and ignorance of the Dark Ages. Please people – free your mind from this craziness and get a life. You are all living in a cult.

  73. I came home early from my mission because I confessed things that I wanted to make right. I didn't want to be that guy to live a lie for two years like so many others. That was the hardest decision of my life but I did it because I knew it was right. When I came home my ward members distanced me and showed disdain at even making eye contact. I moved to Provo to be with my brother who attended BYU and felt the difficulties you spoke of. Not even just dating but meeting new people, once I mentioned I had come home from my mission(I for one was proud of the step I had taken in repentance) I could just feel the mood change as their interest to even befriend me withered right then and there.
    If people were more supportive for the repentance process instead of shunning it we would have less issues with secret unworthiness. Going through my paper work was incredibly hard knowing that I was lying. But I lied nonetheless fearing the repercussions that would come to me and my family had I told the truth.
    Realize it everyone. Sin is ugly. Sin is something to be sad about. Repentance however, is the reason The Savior died. And it should be celebrated.
    Thank you for your words. They're uplifting to the hurt I've felt since coming home.

  74. This comment reflects my exact thoughts! I had "RM" on my list of "what I was looking for." Did that mean I wouldn't accept dates with men who hadn't served missions? Absolutely not. Did that mean marriage to them was out of the question? Not for me. And this post really opened my eyes to what a young man who hasn't served a mission has to go through…it isn't right. My brother is an extremely righteous, worthy, married in the temple man who never served a mission. But he'll be the first one to tell you that he wasn't always this great guy. He has a daughter now and absolutely hopes she finds an RM to marry. I think "returned missionary" is an extremely desirable thing to look for in a man, but not a deal breaker. Because, as most of us know, being a returned missionary doesn't necessarily make someone a spiritual powerhouse.

  75. It's not about the mission, it's the willingness to serve God. Sure, some guys just aren't able to serve because of their health. This article didn't grasp the premise that a lot of women want to marry return missionaries because that's what the prophet has instructed them to do – we're not "just so consumed with RM status" – I'd never marry a guy who was an RM but not continuing to serve God after returning home. It's not wrong to want to marry a return missionary. Just because the "ideal world" scenario doesn't always work out, doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it. A lot of the logic in this reminds me of the gay marriage argument, and how people will say "well look at Britney Spears' marriage – they're straight and it sucked". So? That doesn't mean we should stop defending traditional marriage.

  76. I love this church and gospel so so so much. I believe that we should love everyone, no matter the status, culture, race, personality, what school they go to, where they live etc. Everyone has their own opinion about RMs, priesthood holders, and young men and women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But Heavenly Father's opinion is what matters most. We are human. We make mistakes. But Heavenly Father knows that, and that is where the atonement comes in. No matter what religion you belong to, or even if you belong to no religion at all, there is always going to be the infinite love that comes from our savior. He is perfect, so he understands us perfectly. He knows what we go through every second of every day. The world is such an imperfect place full of imperfect people, but it is also a beautiful place. We are all so beautiful. To the men and women who are struggling and have been hurt because they have not served missions and have been judged for that I want to say this: I love you. Maybe I don't know you, but I love you, and I know that Heavenly Father loves you too. I was one who has struggled with this as well. The right person will come, who will want to spend the rest of the eternities with you. There are still good people out there who will take you as you are. All of you. Again, I say, I love you. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church. That's not my opinion, that is a fact. I Know it with all of me. I have felt it, and I love you guys. To those of you who are doubting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…come on sunday! It is the best thing that has ever happened to me! :)

  77. I wish I would have read this three years ago! I was caught up in the "marry an RM" because all of them are great guys thing. Unfortunately, not all RM's live gospel standards and do not respect women, or anyone for that matter, well. Fortunately, my life has been lifted up and I am marrying an RM, but not because of it. This article is great to bust the the old saying and let women and men live above on a more loving and less shallow level of life.

  78. I am so glad to see that someone made this distinction. There are always those that look for loopholes in the Lord's commandments, and this is what really needs to happen. Every worthy and able going man is commanded (add emphasis on "commanded") to go on a mission. If it turns out that they are unable to go on a mission or unable to complete the mission, that is where they come into the world as members that have the light of Christ, but don't have the addition of being an RM. If they're found to be unworthy to go on a mission, that is where the commandment of repentance kicks in hard. Those found unworthy can become Christlike just like any other person. This man's son, and a number of my relatives are an iron testament to that. All of God's children should be considered with His eternal love, even when our shortsighted views make that difficult.

  79. Choosing to marrying is a very personal decision, however I think that comparing those that serve missions to those that don't was unfair. You made good points, but you should've have stuck to "Loving thy neighbor as thyself". Loving people for who they are with out judging them for the decisions they have made. Yes it's sad that some people have this mentality, but no one is perfect and we are all flawed. If you choose not to serve a mission that decision is between you and the Lord, you do not need verification from the rest of the world for your decision. If a young woman has returned missionary as one of the things she would like in a spouse than that is her decision but that doesn't mean that she should be mean to those that are not. And that doesn't mean that she should be ridiculed for her list. Either way you were right to say that we should love everyone regardless of the choices they have made in their life ours is not the place to judge but to love and lift one another.
    The choices you make are personal and you need Heavenly Fathers help. So if it's marriage that you're looking for take it to the Lord.

  80. Thank you so much for this. It brings tears to my eyes. I am an RM myself and I see how people look at young men that didn't serve and it makes me sick. How can anyone be close to christ and treat someone with such disdain just because they didn't serve. My younger brother is one of these. He is struggling to find himself right now and every time I see him all I want to do is show him how much I love him and care for his happiness. I have never cared that he has not served a mission and probably never will. He is a great young man with unlimited potential. Whether he is a RM or not. I see the hurt in his eyes that is constantly there because of the looks he gets from family at reunions and other family events. If there is one place a person should be safe it should be among family and to see the way he is treated makes me sick. That kind of behavior will only push a person from the church, not draw them closer. Thank you so much for your thoughts and your willingness to speak openly on this subject because honestly it is something that needs to be shared everywhrere.

  81. There is nothing terrible about crying while reading this. It's sad that you see it that way. God gave us tears to use, not be ashamed of. I'm so sorry for your heartbreak, so amazed by your service, and sincerity.

    My husband and I are tattooed converts, and we go through our share of shunning. I appreciate your struggle and know your helpmeet will see your true heart.

  82. I remember it was in Young Womens that I decided I wasn't going to make marrying an RM a priority and it was because my brother didn't serve a mission and I still wanted him to marry a girl in the temple and one that would forgive him of his weakness in the church. My husband is one who was married and divorced by the age he would have been a returned missionary. He also has a tattoo. I think about all the other boys I dated and how unforgiving they were of my past and I always thought that was a bit strange, because I was worthy NOW so why did back THEN matter? My husband wasn't active until about 6 months before we started dating and I told him I wouldnt marry him until he started paying a full tithe. I have been able to watch his testimony grow right before me and it has been such a cool experience. We also went to the temple for the first time, together. That was such a cool experience and something not many couples get to do.

  83. I have a friend who returned home early after serving eight months, and since his return has created a support group for missionaries like him. I find it sad that the perception of missionaries who did not complete their full two years is so harsh that a support group is needed. Also, he told me that a mere 12% of early missionaries are sent home dishonorably. Such a small fraction, yet I feel that most men who come home are believed to be dishonorable until proven otherwise. Let's stop the madness.

  84. Josh, I also grew up in the church in Utah. Although I don't have the same conclusion as you come to, I wanted to at least give you some hope. I agree with you that people aren't meant to be alone. People need each other to grow, to talk to and to be there. It is a need. I am sorry that you are having difficulty finding friends and that people who don't look down upon you before they actually know you. I am glad that you are doing what you think is best for society. I do want to correct you on a few things. Religion hasn't always been the source of division. There are other sources that divide people such as politics, selfishness/pride, even scientific studies and researches that have been proven and dis-proven throughout the centuries. Religion itself doesn't cause people to be divided. The people themselves do it because we have agency. There are religions out there that seek to gain their own. If anything, religion is to unity the people whether they are LDS or not. People seem to have this need to have others approve of what they believe, or that they are right. If you look at the last presidential election, people were very divide and wouldn't respect each other (that had nothing to do with religion). This country was create from religious people who sought freedom to be able to believe what they wanted freely. Today, people are fighting to keep that freedom. The problem is people have become less tolerable towards each other. The LDS church continually encourage members to be accepting, loving and tolerable towards everyone no matter what they believe. I believe we forget it is okay to have different of opinions. We can learn from each other.

    I will admit there are things that science has helped to explain. However, science is always changing, because it can't have absolute truth. It can get close and continue to draw closer. There will always be a new study, new experiments, that changes of what we can know scientifically. There are things that science can't prove or dis-prove. One is whether God is real. That evidence has to come from you in having the desire and faith to know for yourself. There are apostles that are scientists (Henry B. Erying). The leaders of the LDS church are up to date with the science, news and what going on through out the world. I know members of the church who think like you in that they need proof, experience themselves, or need hard evidence. Even they found and learned that God is real. People throughout the world no matter what religion have personally learned for themselves that God is real. The evidence to know this is every where. Your exists alone is proof of that.

    There are things that we don't know or fully understand because the Lord hasn't revealed them. To be honest, it is okay not to know everything. That doesn't mean He isn't real or that the gospel isn't true. It is to exercise our faith and trust in Him. There is a lot we know and come to understand. You will find that there is scientific evidence that does backup what the church teaches, such as the Word of Wisdom on alcohol, tobacco, coffee, getting enough sleep … . Overall, it is truly having faith. I am sure we both could go on and on about this subject of religion and science.

    I want to end with, this whether you believe me or not that your choice. I know God is real. It is sad there is a great division as people both in society and throughout the world. God is real. All that I know that I have personally learned from Him whether it was through listening to the leaders of the church, studying the scriptures, going to the temple and to church or seeking out my own answers is true. Without a doubt, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loves ALL of us no matter who we are and whether we believe in Him or not.

    I truly hope you find wonderful friends that see you as you. Everyone deserves a friend. It is possible to have friends with different belief and opinions from you as well as the same. I truly hope you are happy or find happiness now and in the future. :)

  85. I think young women were encouraged in this way so that they would not cause young men to choose marriage over a mission. It has gotten out of hand, but it did start in the right place. From the prophet! We were told these things to encourage the young men in our lives to go. It was not a terrible thing at the time, it's just been misinterpreted all these years and blown up. My sister got engaged to a young man who hadn't gone on a mission and we were appalled because he wasn't ready to get married and said some things about it not being important and how one of the apostles didn't go on a mission because he was drafted. And I kept thinking 'that's not the same thing!' Finally, they prayed about it and he decided to go on a mission, but if she hadn't encouraged him and told him it was okay, he never would have gone. We need to encourage young men (and young women) to go! Not because of some checklist somewhere, but because the Lord needs them to serve. AND at the same time we need to be understanding of those who are unable to serve for ANY reason. Don't live in one camp or the other. BOTH are just fine!!!

  86. Thank you! Someone needed to say this! This kind of attitude is very prevalent at BYU- Idaho… I remember the label that was put on every guy who hadn't served, "Pre-Mi". It always bothered me. Girls avoided them like the plague. I happened to meet my husband there, who told me how much it bothered him before his mission and how his feelings were hurt because of the "Pre- Mi" Label and how girls treated him. I also recall over hearing conversations back in girl's camp about this. I remember one girl saying, "If a guy hasn't even served a mission, he's not even worth dating!" and it just made my stomach turn. Looking back, I wish I had the guts to chime in and set them straight. Yes, like you've said, missions are great life experiences and can be quite honorable, but to require it out of men you date is shallow and narrow- minded. I think they should just be a bonus.

  87. Sorry, I know I just commented but I wanted to make sure this point was clear that I should have said before. It doesn't contradict anything I said. Science has done a lot for society. We wouldn't be where are as society, as people, with technology or have the knowledge that we gained without it. The same can be said with religion. Like science, religion can change society, people and also gain great knowledge. There is a balance between religion and science. In everything, there is opposition. There will always be the good and the bad. Of course, the extremes as well. It is finding the balance and the good in both. As society, we need BOTH science and religion. The reason is because they BOTH have their own purpose that we need.
    Again, I truly hope for the best for you.

  88. You don't make sense. You make it sound like there is a difference. Like if they love the temple, but decide they don't need to obey the commandments(this is referring to missionaries who could serve but chose not to) then it's ok. Your own argument can be used against you. A mission isn't just a check list. It's their commitment to Jesus Christ. You're a sad soul putting down women for wanting a returned missionary because of what that should mean. It should mean they are selfless and committed and willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ. STOP making women feel bad for wanting that.

  89. As an RM I completely agree with your blog. It can be really unfair to some people and its not right. I like some one that can cut through all the nonsense. Would you like to go on a date?

  90. Arianna, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I believe that your post hit it right on the head. Many times we see members that do not go on missions and we categorize them into a group of lesser importance. When in reality it takes a lot of courage to say "a mission is not for me". I am a convert to the church, my beautiful wife that married me, knew that I was a convert and one that had not gone a mission, as we started dating prior to me joining the church. I learned a lot from her in regards to love and how to treat people. She is one of the most spiritual people that I know. With us having married early, neither one of us served a mission, but we have raised a family together and our older son served a mission. We know that one day we will serve a mission together as a married couple.

    But as your post says, girls should not discount boys because the are not RM's, my eternal companion did not discount me and because of her faithfulness and mine of course. I have served as a Bishop and a High Councilman. I am sure that many members back 28 years ago thought why is she marrying him he is not a member. But look at me now, and look at our marriage, we are as happy today as we were 28 years ago. We have 4 children that were sealed to us, two that are living and two that have passed the veil. But if she had not taken a chance on me where would we be? Continue to look for that "Temple Worthy Man" that will make you happy and will be the example to your children. Those are the men that make lifelong commitments to a woman and to their families. As a Bishop as I saw a few young men that were on their missions, because it was the thing to do, or because their families demanded it, but very few of them where there because their hearts dictated that they serve. That was the difference between a good missionary faithfully serving and one just being a bump on the log. Continue to look for that one special person, you will find him when you least expect it. You never know he may just be staring at you in the face now.

  91. Why are you going so far the other way and finding and making excuses for not serving a mission? Yes, there are legitimate reasons why one may not be able to serve a mission. But it is indeed a commandment. And the majority of men are able. This is a commandment from Thomas S. Monson, who you are using as an example as why not to serve. It wasn't a commandment back then and you don't know why he didn't. But you do know that he sure as heck isn't saying… I didn't serve a mission and now I'm the prophet, so you don't have to. He speaks directly for the Lord. You're incredibly immature and annoying.

  92. She isn't downplaying the need to go on a mission. She is simply trying to.encourage people not to stigmatize those who haven't served missions. It's not a bad thing to want an RM, but letting that become the most important factor is the problem she's speaking out against.

  93. It's also a commandment not to judge. And to love one another. And, just to be that person, remember: not a single one of the members in the first presidency served missions. Different times, yes, but still something to keep in mind. If you don't care for what is written here, just move on and find another page to troll.

  94. This post was really well-written and I love that you were willing to address a topic that unfortunately shows up a LOT in the Church! Unfortunately as people, we are all imperfect and often find ourselves judging or looking down on others. I've noticed that this isn't just a phenomenon within the Church, but in all aspects of society. I wasn't raised around a lot of other other LDS people, so most of my friends growing up were not members of the church. Many of these non-LDS friends were also raised with marriage "ideals" such as their parents instilling in their heads that they had to marry a man with a college degree, with certain political views, who went to an Ivy league school, etc. A lot of these friends also really struggled when they fell in love with men who didn't quite match up to their family's "ideals." I think no matter our religious views, we can all learn a lot from the example of Jesus Christ in loving and accepting our brothers and sisters for where they are in their life journeys.

  95. Thank you for this wonderful blog post. It is so interesting to see the connotations that we as members of the Church associate with RMs. I served an honorable mission and I remember being in the office one day hearing about a certain elder going home early. The office sister said that going home early is actually a lot harder than staying on one's mission for the above reasons that every time your mission is brought up, the immense pain of all those people you think you disappointed wounds the soul even more. I understand those that go home for medical reasons or reasons outside their control (I had one elder in my mission go home to take care of his brother after his mother passed away), but for the most part, missionaries should try and complete their service. Nonetheless we treat these people as sons of perdition when really we should compare them to excommunicated members. Being sent home is an act of love and a part of the repentance process and whenever we condemn someone who did not serve or complete their missions but are striving for eternal life and are temple worthy, we prevent them from repenting and condemn ourselves.

  96. Thank you.
    I know what you mean being on that side of the coin more than once.
    My father isn't a member and I was baptized on my 12th birthday. Many of the young men and women in the church didn't care about me for one way or another. I was by myself.
    I didn't go on a mission due to unforeseen circumstances, when I tried to build relationships with young women I was still looked on poorly.

    Since then I've become inactive and sad. I know the truth of the Gospel and the teaching of Christ. I know that it's all true, but how can I walk back into a fold where I'll only be called a black sheep?

  97. Thank you for your well-written cry to be more Christlike! I myself am a returned sister missionary and I learned very quickly on my mission that not all RMs are created equal. I don't know WHY I hadn't recognized it before the mission; probably because like many other young women, I assumed the title "RM" meant that someone was perfectly worthy, honest, faithful, strong in the gospel, etc. When Elder Oaks of the 12 came to visit my mission, he said something that REALLY changed my perspective on things. He talked about how growing up in the Church, we often view serving a mission as the ultimate goal to reach. It's like we associate serving a mission with automatic exaltation; if we can serve our 18- or 24- months, we've DONE IT. We've accomplished what we were sent here to earth to do and as a result, we can just cruise through the rest of our lives. As Elder Oaks pointed out, this is completely the wrong attitude! The mission is incredible important (and as has been mentioned in some of the comments, it IS a priesthood duty for the men); however, it is NOT a requirement to enter the kingdom of God. A mission is not the FINAL goal; rather, it is more of a stepping stone on our ultimate journey to become more like the Savior Jesus Christ. He talked about how sad he is when people put more emphasis on going on a mission than they do on the opportunity to go through the temple and make sacred covenants with God. He emphasized to us that those covenants are the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
    I completely agree with the things you pointed out. We should not be focused on marrying a "title;" rather, we need to be focused on marrying someone who is committed to giving his best to the Lord. After all, hopefully none of us would ever go out looking to marry an "elder's quorum president" or a "relief society president" solely because of their calling (although I suppose some people do this, too). Similarly, we shouldn't be looking for that title of "RM" because like I mentioned earlier, a title means nothing. RMs are not created equal. I certainly hope we are not shunning others or not giving them a chance because they don't hold that "title." In my current singles ward, some of the people I've spent the most time with and would consider my best friends in the ward are people that, for whatever reason, didn't serve missions. They still have strong testimonies, they still are incredible people, and they still are trying their hardest to do what God wants for them.
    That being said, my ideal future husband IS someone who served an honorable mission and who after returning home, still has the desire to serve the Lord and progress spiritually. Because I am a returned missionary myself, I know firsthand how important a mission was to my spiritual progression and how much it prepared me for the rest of my life. I honestly can't imagine who I would be without it. I really want the person I marry to have experienced that as well. However, what is most important to me is where he is NOW in his spiritual progression. It's a lot less important WHERE he served, if he spoke a different language, how many baptisms he had, etc. What I care most about is what he learned on his mission, how he continues to apply those lessons in his life, if he is still looking for opportunities to serve, and if he is still seeking to have that close relationship with Heavenly Father that he developed on his mission. And honestly, these are things that I think ALL of us should be focused on, whether we have served a mission or even are members of the Church or not: serving others and seeking to have a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ.

  98. I'm not trolling I just think it's hypocritical to judge girls for having standards for their eternal companion, just because some men are not willing to serve and then want to be babied for it afterwards. It's all a crock of crap and passed under "love one another". People use that term to judge people for" judging". Women should absolutely have a list and an rm should be on it, and then they can evaluate each rm on where he currently is spiritually as well. And if she comes across a man who had a legitimate reason not to obey the commandment to serve, and he is currently on the right path and at the standard that woman wants, then great! But you shouldn't make a huge blanketed statement that women should not have rm on their list because there are men who didn't serve. It's ridiculous. You people keep judging women for what they want in a spouse though, it makes you look really smart and caring and not hypocritical at all.

  99. I loved your opinion and well-written commentary! As an advisor to LDS 14-15 yr. old girls, I intend to bring this up in our lessons. Marriage is a sensitive subject for some, so many variables, and we all dream of "Happily Ever After". I agree that a temple worthy young man should be at the top of the list, mission or not.

  100. I didn't read through all these posts, but feel the need to point out our own personal and moral responsibility to God. I saw a few people write about this post being an excuse for men and/or women to shrug off the responsibility to serve a mission, to which the viewing of this article is misinterpreted entirely and missionary service is misconstrued in its true purpose. For any young man or women to read this article and feel a new lack of motivation to serve a mission would mean a lack of true understanding as to why they would be serving, and in truth they would fit the stereotype addressed herein about missionary service being merely a checklist item. Serving a mission is a duty to God , it is a blessing and a opportunity of a lifetime and should be viewed as such. Don't allow yourself to make excuses here, if you feel so inclined to serve a mission then fulfill your moral responsibility to God but discover a better reason for doing it than to ensure a dating/marriage companion. Making excuses because of this article is useless for your progression, so stop finding excuses. Period. The brethren relay to us overarching principles and commandments from God, they do not account for every acception or individual circumstance. it is our responsibility to see how we personally apply those things in our own lives. Thank you for taking a more ground level approach to the topic of missionary service, and for helping your fellow members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints open up a conversation about a cultural practice that frequently hampers progression for both men and women.

  101. I am really torn about your article. I believe that the point you are trying to make is that we need not be judgmental, with which I fully agree. I also agree that Temple worthiness should be a very high priority, if not the most important thing, on any girls' "list." There is, however, one other item that should also hold this very high priority, and that is a man that honors his priesthood and his priesthood responsibilities. Serving a mission IS a priesthood responsibility. You may correct me if I am wrong, but from my understanding, the target group of this article were men that were honorably released from serving a mission, or that came home early for physical, mental, emotional, etc reasons. If my understanding is correct, then I would feel girls/young women need to understand that these men HAVE fulfilled their priesthood responsibility and should not be ostracized.

    Another point that you made that I would like to emphasize is that a man (or woman) that serves a full time mission, does not automatically make him (or her) the man (or woman) that we often idolize RMs to be. Having served a full time mission myself I saw many disobedient missionaries. I have also since met many RMs that were obedient on their missions, but have now fallen into transgression. We still SHOULD NOT judge these RMs. We should befriend them and help them back to the straight and narrow path. I feel it important to point out that befriending someone does NOT mean that you have to date them. On the flip side, those that served honorable missions (please keep in mind that I consider those honorable released or that came home early to be in this group) and were changed from that experience to become more like our Savior are gems. These are the men that I hope the young women of the church are searching for and encouraging the young men to become.

    As mentioned in a few of the comments repentance and allowing the atonement to work is the most beautiful thing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord lets all repent and we must too. If we don't let others repent, or if we don't let ourselves repent, then we really do not understand the atonement. Someone above mentioned that what really matters is where the person is now, and I agree. Sometimes when one reaches the point of worthiness they are needed to do other things to build the Kingdom of God. The answer will come through much prayer and fasting and revelation from God.

    I also want to express my appreciation for the person who was ostracized, but continued going to Church because they realized that we go to Church for God and not for the people. Unfortunately we are all sinners and hypocrites at times, but for those that have left the church from being offended by a person(s) judgment, please allow us to repent as well.

  102. I completely agree with this post. While it is serving a mission is an important duty for young LDS men, I feel like whether it happens, why it happens (or doesn't happen), and everything that goes with it, is very personal, and something that is between the individual and their Heavenly Father. If a young man does not serve a mission or does not complete his mission – for whatever reason – it doesn't mean they aren't worthy or even decent "dating material". If they have good character and are temple worthy, that is what matters. And even if they are not temple worthy, we should be a support and encouragement, not a slap in the face.

  103. I have been meaning to write in my blog about this topic. When I was in young women's I too had the same thing on the very top of my list. I actually was waiting for a missionary and I was very serious about marrying him when he got home. His mission pushed me to be closer to the Savior but I soon met an amazing guy with great character BUT he hadn't gone on a mission. I was falling in love with him but holding onto my missionary who I was putting on a pedestal while he was gone. He was after all serving an International mission. I listened to the guy I was falling for talk about girls who would dump him once they would find out he didn't serve and girls who on first impression would overlook him for his roommates who had served missions. He became bitter towards the culture and gospel too. Soon becoming inactive. It is a devastating story. He eventually came back to the loving gospel but of course the pain didn't end there. When I met him he was living with 3 RMs.. but guess what one by one they stopped going to church and started going down bad paths. Soon the guy I was dating the non-RM was the only one attending church. Before we got married we had a meeting with our bishop who asked about his 3 RM roommates who hadn't been to church in months. Our bishop went on to tell us that he didn't serve a mission either and had suffered painful rejections but not to let that define him or anyone else. We were grateful to have his support. My boyfriend broke up with me because I couldn't make up my mind between him and my missionary. It was a month of spiritual journey and finding who I am and what I want to be. I finally had a tough choice made easy on a Christmas Eve. I chose this non RM who had been overlooked by girls over and over again.. we were married in the temple 6 months later. We have been happily married for a year. I have never regretted choosing my non RM, I'm actually grateful for the first time experiences I've been there for with him that he would've already done on a mission. His roommates now 18 months later, one married in the temple, one is still on the fence, and one is completely disowned the church. The title doesn't mean they will be perfect forever like we sometimes are led to believe. :)

  104. This is so so so true and good. I was the same way when I was a little kid and then I grew up and my brother couldn't serve a mission. My perspective completely changed. I love my brother and he's a great person and SO much better to spend time with than a ton of RMs that I know. Now, my priority is a upstanding, righteous, temple worthy man, not one that served a mission. If both of those things apply, that's great, but I realize now that going on a mission is not the only way to be eligible.

  105. Beautiful words. I broke up with an RM whom I had waited for because we had grown apart and he came back changed… I was pretty much told I was giving in to the devil for that. I ultimately married a man who had never served a mission, had actually been inactive for 10 years to "figure out life on his own", but started going back to church and worked hard so we could be married in the temple. He is now a invaluable part of the Elders presidency, and loved and respected by all. He is the perfect man for me, and I haven't regretted my choice for a second. Lots of prayer led me to him, and even though at the time I didn't understand why, I decided to trust and take a chance. Best decision ever.

    P.S. We also live in Logan :)

  106. Thanks for these words. I'm now in my mid-40s, but there was a point where I was sealed in the temple and had a child with a woman who decided she no longer wanted to be with me and shacked up with a kid. A literal kid in his teens. Not 18 or 19. 15. Try being a 25 year old non-RM. Obese. Divorced. With a child. Yeah, it was a very fun time in my life.

    Please understand, I'm not trying to say things were all her fault. They were not. I was (and continue to be) a very imperfect person. But it is easy to reach a point after so much rejection that you just stop trying and start to become what everyone thinks of you: damaged goods. Thank heaven my current wife saw past that to what I could be at a time I couldn't see it myself.

    Posting anonymously to protect people from 20 year old perceptions that no longer hold true.

  107. A lot of females on here write that they agree with these points, yet they married a return missionary. I find that funny. Taking off 'return missionary' from your ideal list is just an extreme statement to make a valid point: not all RM's are what their title insinuates they are. I get that. But really, having a husband who served a full-time mission isn't something you want anymore? If "outstanding character and temple worthiness" are the goals, you think there's a better shot at finding that with someone who didn't serve a mission than someone who did? I thought the prophet commanded every young man to serve a mission. Isn't serving a mission an act of faith and obedience, an act of "outstanding character?" Of course you shouldn't stop dating someone you feel is temple worthy merely because he didn't serve a mission. That's stupid. Anyone who does that is caught up in the bad side of mormon culture. But saying you shouldn't look for a return missionary has the same effect as saying you should: grouping everyone into one category. Which category would you prefer? If you had to choose your future husband from a pool of return missionaries or ones who didn't serve, which would you rather choose? In an ideal world, your husband did serve a mission, has outstanding character, and is temple worthy. It's ideal because that's what the prophet has commanded. It should stay on your list just as much if not more than dark hair.

  108. Amen, Amen, Amen. I am much older than you and feel the same about this matter. I am a woman who served a mission and my husband served as well. But the stigma that follows men who didn't serve, has always bothered me. Circumstances are varied and we are in no position to judge. When the eligible mission age lowered for women, I knew that this stigma that haunts men, will now follow the women of the Church. We have got to get "it" together and stop judging one another. You are a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…You are not alone.

  109. Well written. I'll express a concern: Throughout your post, you mention young men who didn't go on mission "perhaps for medical reasons, or because they couldn't." I think you need to accept the fact that there are great guys who didn't go because, at the time, they didn't want to. Maybe between the time they were 18 and 25, they just didn't have a testimony. I've never understood why we put people into the status of what they were at that time… as though they could never progress.
    Interestingly, the same issue happens throughout life. I'm in my mid-50s, divorced. I constantly see guys who (literally) seduce women by "showing their temple recommend" and talking about all the positions they've held in the Church. I've also had women ask me what positions I've held. Some are just curious as to my experience and what I've learned, but many use it as a barometer of my personal righteousness … which its not.
    In fact, in a posting yesterday on a "divorced LDS singles" page, a middle-aged woman was discussing this very issue, or how men use their "Positions" to lure women (she called it "grooming")(and, if you study that behavior, it is surprisingly like rapist behavior). This is what I wrote (try to sense the irony here… I'm not bragging about myself… at all!)
    "I was an RM. Stake family history center director. Ward mission leader. counselor to 3 bishops. Elders quorum president. High priest group leader. Young men's president. Scoutmaster. Gospel doctrine teacher. Temple veil worker.
    So what. For the last 8 years I've been an Excommunicated adulterer who was stupid and destroyed a good family.
    Next weekend I'll be a rebaptised guy. No calling. No priesthood. No temple blessings (yet). But on the right path and aware of pitfalls."

    One more comment: Sisters, young and old, you HAVE the Holy Ghost! Don't let an RM status, or a Temple Recommend (yes, people lie to get them), or a Church calling blind you any more than you would let nice clothes, a cool car, a good job, or a nice head of hair fool you. Listen to the Spirit… and follow it. And think for YOURSELF!

  110. When I was young and they told us to think about what we wanted in a future spouse and asked us to remember to write down that we wanted to marry a RM, they were NOT saying that all RMs are created equal and stating that this is the ONLY criteria that makes a young man worthy. It was simply a way for them to help us understand the importance of the spiritual side of choosing a spouse. And since going on a mission is actually now a commandment for every worthy young man, it is also a lot easier to see who might already have the spiritual qualities that we want in a spouse. A young man who could not go on a mission or returned early for family, illness, or other good reasons is just as worthy as a man who has returned from serving a 2 year mission honorably. A man who now chooses not to honor his priesthood is no longer a worthy man simply because he served an honorable mission. The RM banner is really supposed to remind us of a list of qualities that we want in our future spouse.

    Any man who leaves the church because he feels that not serving a mission has made him unworthy in the eyes of his peers should consider that maybe the return missionary status is not the only thing that is making him unhappy in the church. Any young woman who refuses to see that a man who has not served as a missionary could be a worthy young man, who is desirable and loving and checks all those other boxes on her list, is not the kind of woman that a worthy young man should want to marry anyway. After all, if she doesn't listen to that still small voice about choosing a spouse and simply looks at a check list from her Young Women's classes, she isn't really the kind of woman who meets his check list of spiritual requirements. I am sorry that any young man should have to face that kind of rejection, but honestly he should consider it a narrow escape from a woman who is not his spiritual equal.

    My friend who shared your post of Facebook probably feels a little irritated that people her age are wondering why her spouse isn't on a mission right now. The fact is, he should be on his mission right now. He didn't go on a mission because they made some poor choices that prevented him going. Now they are married and they have a baby at a time when their friends are just looking at starting that journey. They were not worthy to be married in the temple, he was not worthy to go on a mission. But the important part is that they are now. They have repented of those choices and are now worthy of the blessings of the temple. So perhaps it is this same feeling of unworthiness brought on by her peers misunderstanding that makes her feel it necessary to point out that a RM is not the only worthy kind of man out there.
    My point, in all of this talk, is that you need to wipe away the dust on that old checklist of yours and looks at all the qualities on it. If it were a young man's list would you be able to check all the boxes to be his perfect spouse? Any woman who absolutely refuses to accept a man who does not meet every single point on the list (without regard to his worthiness, and without regard to the circumstances of his life) will find herself considerably lacking when faced with his list. We shouldn't weight any one item on the list more heavily than we rate our Heavenly Father's guidance. Throw away the list if you need to, but remember that the main point about picking a returned missionary is not actually that he was a missionary but that we know he is a worthy man, who honors his priesthood, and will be our spiritual equal in this life and in the next.

  111. I married a man who was not a returned missionary and the initial backlash I received from friends and family was incredibly disheartening. They couldn't look past that one thing and see the amazing person he really was. Now that we've been married two years my family absolutely adores him and are glad I married him, as am I. Missions are wonderful and invaluable, but I really wish there wasn't a need for every guy in the Church to ask him if he served a mission and then an awkward silence that follows when he says he didn't. We need to stop ostracizing non return missionaries from Mormon culture, whether intentionally or not.

  112. Thanks for keeping it real. Im a current missionary serving in the Utah Provo mission, what you have spoken of is kind of what i was thinking about as a missionary. What if a missionary gets medically released, what if he has to go home to repent and then come back or something like that, why should such a thing diminish a persons worth? of course it shouldn't. What we are, is not who we are. =) Glad to see someone can see with the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

  113. I think that this is a great article for most but I hope that feelings such as these will not give boys an excuse not to serve. The commitment to serve a mission is one that should never be taken lightly and it a way to be completely obedient to the commandments of the lord. It is not easy. It is expensive but if a man can, he should. Not just if he wants, he should but if it is possible. The Lord has given us commandments and we are able to choose how perfectly you will obey. I do agree that using Return Missionary as a status is NOT appropriate. "When I was an AP…" means close to nothing to me. BUT in the coming days there will be tests of how obedient we will be to the commandments. You have forgotten to mention the AMAZING young men that have literally changes their lives and the lives of thousands of people serving their lord. Working SO HARD to be obedient. Let us rejoice in the service of so many, let us follow the prophet always and not make excuses for boys not to go.

  114. this was beautifully written. i too was brought up in the time of 'RM or BUST' and it hurts me now that that is all i thought about. I dated a guy for 2-3 years and he postponed his mission. he simply wasn't ready and we fought over it a lot because when i was younger it was serve at 19 or else. i was oh so wrong and i'm sad that i may have hurt him. BUT we remained friends and he did serve a full-time mission. when he left my views had changed and i said the Heavenly Father "i will only married someone who isn't an RM if you tell me to". Well…. I married a man who is a convert to the church and did not serve a mission and he is better for me in all ways than the one who did. My husband serves the Lord in so many ways and he is always serving others. I want to teach my son(s) that a mission is important but you go when you are ready. if 18 or 19 is too early then wait until you are. You are the one that is making the commitment and you need to be ready. i want to teach any future daughters i have that RM is not key. there are so many other righteous qualities to have and to look to their father as an example. thank you so much for sharing this. it's something that has been near and dear to my heart for several years!! :)

  115. I agree. Let us rejoice in those men and women who have given so much time and effort into serving the Lord not make it sound like its not important to go on a mission.

  116. I couldn't agree with you more! I myself am the wife of a very faithful worthy priesthood holder who did not serve a mission. We felt exactly what you are talking about when we announced our engagement…. extreme judgment from those we thought were our friends and even family. Although we were to be married in the temple, fully worthy, all anyone could see was that my sweetheart chose not to serve a mission for reasons far too personal and very much unseen by those judging him. We still face this judgment, 10 years later whenever the "where did you serve your mission" question comes up. It is so sad and hurtful. As a mother now of 4 boys I hope with all my heart they choose to serve missions, but I will never judge them or be disappointed in them if that is not what they choose to do. As long as their goal is temple marraige and they are worthy for that, I will be one happy mama! :-) thank you for this post and your courage to speak out! I love the quote you gave from president Barrington! He was our stake president when we were in our married student ward and I love and admire him!

  117. I really like your thoughts on this. I agree. I want a husband who honors his priesthood, who is temple worthy, and has outstanding character. But I also want one who has tried to serve his Father faithfully and is keeping the commandments. I am not going to count out someone who isn't a return missionary and I am not going to choose based solely on the return missionary status. It is one item on a list of qualities that are important to me. So I am keeping my list and return missionary is still on the list and "taller than me" is still on the list too. If I don't get every single thing on that list, but I still find the right guy for me, I'm okay with that.

  118. If the belief is in something that is wrong then it is not truth. Studying Abraham is the key. It was translated from Egyptian by Joesph Smith. His interpretations of the facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are not correct. This is not the only occurrence of Smith trying to translate things. The manufactured Kinderhook plates were another ( can read about it in the "History of the Church Vol. 5 Pg. 372). The declaration that a Greek Psalter given to him by Professor Henry Caswall ( Caswall's book "The City of the Mormons: Three Days at Nauvoo" is an interesting read) as a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

    Before I found about these accounts the discrepancy that I discovered was in association with the seven scrolls of time that are sad to be a thousand years (Earth time) each (from by seminary teacher Brother John). Three years later I was looking at the facsimiles in Abraham and found in Facsimile No. 2, Fig. 1, that one day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth. This doesn't correlate with the creation of the universe (the universe was not created in seven thousand years, or seven days (Kolob Time). The seven scrolls or dispensations represent the seven thousand years (Earth time) that Man will live on Earth. Mankind has been on Earth much longer than seven thousand years.

    It was difficult for me to change the way I perceived the world. It is enlightening and full of hope. I make the difference for good or bad rather than it already being planned out. The evil in the world is not caused by Satan it is caused by neglect, misunderstanding, and other things. The good deeds done by others to you are not because of God they are because that person cares about you.

    As a sophomore in high school, I started looking at the church and its doctrine from different perspectives. One must research both sides of everything to be able to make a better decision. We cannot depend on intuition alone and feelings alone. I do not care what decisions people come to if they have researched opposing views. I have read many books, articles, talks, and testimonies of people in favor of the gospel. At least research the few things that I have transcribed and form you own conclusion.

  119. I'm a guy who had to come home early due to health problems. I served for 3 months, and came home this past August. Every time I've dated since then, the mission question comes up. Once I explain that I went but had to come home, I don't hear from the girl again. It's real and it's terrible. I wish people understood what you just said – the only thing that matters is that you're trying to live your life the best way you know how.

  120. I agree with the post. There are, unfortunately, some young men and young women who serve a full-time mission but do not become missionaries (see Elder Bednar's talk, "Becoming a Missionary"). Conversely, there are many young men and young women who do NOT serve a full-time mission (because they weren't able or by their own choice) who have, in fact, become real missionaries and real disciples of Christ. We should all desire to marry someone who IS a missionary, not just someone who happened to serve a full-time mission. Of course, that being said, all ABLE young men are still righty encouraged to serve full time, and ABLE young women are rightly encouraged to consider serving full time as well. Good stuff. We need more considerate thinking like this in the church.

  121. I enjoyed this blog greatly, I am an RM from the England London South Mission having served from June 2002-2004. When a part of my mission the motivation wasn't serving The Lord, or more importantly my fellow men, but fear of the stigmatization of not only myself but my parents had I returned home early or not gone. I moved to Utah after returning home, and even though there isn't to many differences in church strength from Utah and Southeast Idaho, it was still a culture shock to say the very least. When I started dating that was one of the first topics that was broached, when I wanted to experiment and see if the women in the church were truly that shallow I would go so far as showing them my temple recommend but tell them that I hadn't served a mission, it surprised me how quickly they went running for the hills. I've been inactive for six years, yet it still surprises me that the women that I date that are faithful members knowing that I'm inactive still gravitate toward the RM status, while vilifying worthy non-mission serving priesthood and temple worthy brethren. I don't want to come across as bitter but I'm not surprised at the growing divorce rate of church members when this is part of the attitude.

  122. Over time our world changes and we forget the value and worth of those things that are great in the sight of God.

  123. It's the things the missionary learns from his mission that will make him a better husband and father – obedience, selfless service, sacrifice, hard work, reliance on the Lord, spiritual maturity, living with a companion, compromise, independence (cutting the apron strings). Some guys come home never having learned those things, and some guys can learn them without a mission. It's the character development you should look for, not necessarily the time spent.

  124. Ask yourself this question, how often do you praise the Savior for what he did for you? How often do you praise others for their success, accomplishments, awards, great speeches, or just doing a great job at work, in the home or doing a certain task? How often do we tell our parents, “Great job Dad, Great job Mom” or how about “What a great dinner Mom, way to go, you did awesome!”
    Why is it so difficult for mankind to give a compliment to another?
    What causes a person to hesitate to give a compliment or praise another? Why is our society, our world become a world of looking for all the negative aspects of people’s lives and picking them out. Yet on the other hand we have people and groups shout that we should accept all people and love them, even chastising others by saying the words “Be more Christ Like” as though the Savior never said, “Where art though accusers Women? Go and sin no more” Are we not commanded to be perfect, even as Christ was perfect? Are we not commanded to strive for perfection and set goals to obtain such a place? Did Christ not forgive the Women, but then say “Sin no more” signifying that we must become perfect in him.
    Does being Christ Like mean we accept the sinner into our lives, into our home and praise the sinner for their sins? No, that’s not what being Christ like means at all, but so many get confused and jump on that band wagon and begin calling good-evil and evil-good. We are seeing with many several issues that are moral issues, yet people are trying to make them a political issue. (Another book)
    Before you or I get confused about what is good and what is evil, because clearly that is what Satan is doing today in our society, confusing the children of men, let me attempt to stop you in your tracks right now.
    First, “Praise the man” Can we all attempt to value and appreciate those who do keep the commandments, who do stay on the straight and narrow, who do serve and help others?
    Look, there is an ideal world, and actually when Satan is bound, we will live in it. So, why strive for anything else? That doesn’t mean at the expense of someone else we lift ourselves up, meaning we should never put down or hurt others to lift ourselves. As I have stated we should look to the Lord as a perfect example of how to live, and praise him and follow him. Upon doing so, should we not praise those who do? I know I sure do every time I watch General Conference. What is so wrong for rejoicing within the spirit of God and celebrating the cause of great accomplishments or work ethics, even inside the gospel or outside?

  125. Regarding the topics of RM’s let me tie this in as an example…Instead of shouting from the mountain tops that’s it’s Ok to go against the Lord in your search for an eternal companion by dating those who did not go on a mission and or who came home early because of sins that were not taken care of, why not encourage all young men to be worthy to return with honor from a mission and ask all young women to help sustain the same cause. Why not praise the young men and women who are living lives on a path to an honorable return from a mission and encourage all to pursue such a task as opposed to open a door of allowance of failure or even an acceptance to be less than what one can obtain? Of course we love those who come home early, of course the Lord has set up his kingdom on behalf of all men to come unto him and return to our heavily father. For this cause our goals are set high, so that when we fail, which we will, we can be lifted up. Do not accept anything less than the greatest of all things that the Father has in store for you.
    We should not mock, put down or think less of those who are not worthy to serve a mission, yet we council with them, help them get on the right path so they can return with honor. It is a process to return to live with our heavily father, the bar is set with him; we must not lower the bar because we fail during our test of life here on earth. The reality is even if we attempt to lower the bar, it’s never going to be lowered by the Lord, and our lowering of the bar is a mere smoke screen and deceitful trap Satan uses to make us feel we are on the right path. Satan doesn’t want the children of God to return with him, so he will cause all men to feel Gods bar is too high, not obtainable. Let me correct you by saying, do not accept anything less than a returned missionary because when Satan is bound, all will have that status! The question is will you be there? Will you be the one who accepted that challenge, did you pass the test, did you hold strong to the iron rod?
    Key note: Stay strong in your commitments and goals to marry a worthy RM in the temple, and remember you may be the instrument in the Lords hands to bring a soul unto him, perhaps even your spouse. In your search you may be worthy insomuch that you become a great missionary to the one who came home early and or the person who is of another faith. Just because you set your goal to date only a RM doesn’t mean it can’t happen by dating the person you run into who is visiting the temple grounds investigating the church. When you have your sights and goals on the highest degrees of Gods kingdom all things are possible. But do not lower your sights hoping to provide compassion on those who have fallen or who have lost the grip of the iron rod. Keep your sights, your goals, your desires where the Lord and his Prophets have blessed you with great knowledge, wisdom and love to have them be set; for this is where your father in heaven will be able to accomplish his desire for all men to have immortality and eternal life with him.

  126. Thank you so very much! We have experienced this very situation in our family and it has broken our hearts to watch our son struggle! We love him so and are very proud of the man he is. Love one another!! Thanks for sharing this!

  127. My husband of 6 years came home from his mission after a year – a "release of circumstance" or so it was called. I can say without a doubt that he is SUCH a better man than all of the RMs I dated before him, but I can't even tell you how much he struggled with the fact that he was "sent home" even if it wasn't dishonorable for YEARS after the fact. He never lost his temple recommend, and the church has always been central to his life. It wasn't until he had been EQP in our ward for over a year that he finally let it go – and that was 5 1/2 years after the fact. He still feels like there is a stigma that he didn't serve the full two years – but let me tell you that if you tell someone who isn't a member of the church that he went on a mission trip to inner city chicago for a year, they are incredibly impressed and don't knock him for not serving longer.
    It is crazy to me that we claim to believe in the atonement, and then if anyone has had a sin or a a mistake, we shun them. If anything, those who have gone though the repentance process know the Savior better and more intimately than those who haven't.

  128. Yes she is. She's using as an example any general authority that hasn't been on a mission and saying…" see, they didn't serve, so you don't have to!" Read her comments. They are retarded. She has completely missed the point of missionary work and commandments.

  129. Arianna,
    I think you make many very important and valid points, your references to the nature of young men in general whether one who has served a mission or one who has not served is in fact truth. There are many young men that serve missions because they felt pressured to serve and come home and go through some major life changes and possibly leave the church in search of more worldly "fun". My best friend in fact did that exact thing; and it is true there are many young men that don't serve missions and have never gone astray, or have not done anything that would cause them to lose temple blessings. You see my husband of 25 years did not serve a mission; but he is the kindest sweetest most serving man I know, he has a strong testimony loves the gospel, the lord and his family dearly. Now that being said there are a few things he truly did miss out on by not serving a mission which has had a bit of an impact on our lives. While not serving a mission hasn't made him any less of an awesome husband some key components that a young man can and has the opportunity to learn while on his mission was something my husband missed out on, some of those things could have greatly impacted our marriage in a very positive way; but most importantly the service a young man gives by giving up two years for the lord is in fact full of a lifetime of blessings that we both know in our marriage that we have missed out on. This is not to say everyone will have the same results as we have had, however we have distinct unwavering knowledge that things in our life together would/could have been different if my husband had served his mission. All of this being said – I would like to leave you with a thought that you are right every soul is of great worth, and it should not matter if a mission has been served or not because there are reasons for everything in a persons life. Also, remember to never make a choice for your eternal companion without the direct connection to your Heavenly Father through prayer and a firm answer. That is the most important key because life does happen good and bad and in those bad moments having that confirmation will get you through tough times, as we know everything happens for a reason. I hope that my words have been more help than of hindrance. Keep up the good works you're on the right track.

  130. Hmmm…interesting article, although, in my opinion, terribly misguided. If you take “returned missionary” off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take “member of the Church” off your list because there are those who are less than honorable. A truly honorable returned missionary is temple worthy, he is deeply devoted to the gospel, he has grown tremendously from his two year sacrifice, both spiritually and emotionally. He has matured and returned home a man…who honors his Priesthood and the covenants he has made. To suggest “returned missionary” should be removed from the list is to malign those who truly did serve honorably. And there are thousands and tens of thousands in that category. To remove that from your list is to admit you cannot tell the difference between the missionary who served honorably and is totally worthy of your love and the one who is not. One of the questions in the temple recommend interview has to do with sustaining the prophet…the very prophet who has said it is a commandment for all worthy, able young men to serve full time missions. How can a young man blatantly disregard that command and still be worthy of your love. True, one can repent afterwards and be totally worthy to enter the temple, but there are long lasting consequences to choices we make early in life. One day this father may be trying desperately to have his son receive the tremendous blessings available through serving a full time mission, but then has the choice he made so many years ago thrown back in his face. The Lord wants his worthy young men (and in many cases young women) to serve in his army of missionaries. To present the concept of “oh its fine, maybe even better, if he doesn’t serve in this way” is very misguided. Again, to suggest a full time mission is not vital because sometimes that “status” is abused is akin to suggesting the Church is not vital because of those who dishonor their covenants. This article on this blog seems to be counterproductive to the building of the Kingdom and could indeed sway many worthy, noble young people from showing their devotion to the Lord by serving a full time mission. Just one man’s opinion.

  131. It sounds like the young sisters are focusing on the wrong principle, Its not about serving a mission or not, its about being a worthy person. There are many young men that are worthy to take any bride to the temple who haven't served and you young women are missing out on some great young men. I served a mission for me not for the RM stamp. I served in the England Birmingham Mission 1980-82. married and divorced, went inactive for nine years, meet a young lady in a night club, got married, she joined the church seven years later and she reactivated me and have been happy for the past twenty one years.

  132. Arianna, you do have a gift with words and expressing clear thoughts about the importance of Christ-like love and being non-judgmental towards our fellow man. Thank you. The only think that I thought that was missing from your well-written blog post was the fact that the Church is a proselytizing church. We send missionaries out into the world to bring others unto Christ because of the "Good News" of His Gospel. Some of those converts may never have had the opportunity to serve a mission due to age or financial issues,yet they are worthy members of the Church and Christ-like in word and deed. You are correct in saying that it is far more important to look on the heart of the young man and his honorable intentions towards a young woman as well as his desire to serve His Father in Heaven in a righteous and loving manner. Again, thank you, for your thoughtful words of love and compassion.

  133. There are those that sincerely believe that they love others… I feel the bigger problem is that so few people actually understand what it means to truly love their fellow man. Love means more than just empty words. Love is serving your fellow man, accepting him for who he is and what he stands for. Most of all being willing to take the time to really know him as his own person, as an individual.

  134. This seriously made me cry so much! Thank you for this! It's about time this came to the surface! I have been at college outside of Utah this last year and I can't tell you how many times I felt so much more respect from non-members or even not return missionaries. And I know so many guys that struggle with this. One of my best friends was planning on going on a mission and was just about to turn in his papers when he said he felt a prompting clear as day that he should stay home and he has a bigger mission here. Later to find out he had helped convert his family and cousins to the gospel and was a huge inspiration to many people. But that isn't enough. Girls still toss him aside when they find out he didn't go. Thank you so much for this! :)

  135. Ari,
    I wish I could have read this article when I was 20! I appreciate that you can realize that some times the focus can get a little off course.

    You seem like a really sweet girl and I appreciate your time to write this blog! Best wishes to you! :)

  136. Thank you Arianna for writing this post. It was very beautifully written and I'm glad there are young women out there that share the same opinion that you do. If you or anybody else would like to read my blog you may. I am someone who came home from their mission early. I haven't shared it with anybody besides the people that I know. I'm not sharing it to get my views up or earn money or anything of the sort. I wrote it in hopes to help others and learn from my experience. There is only one post. dustinjamesarmstrong.blogspot.com

  137. This is so right on! This blog post has been bugging me ever since I read it. So I'm glad somebody found the words I've been thinking. Her blog post is very very misguided and frustrating.

  138. There are reasons some people don't serve missions. I was only able to serve 8 months for health reasons and I came home and am currently shunned by 90% of my Ward and all of my Mormon college friends because of my decision to return. I wish I could've returned "honorably " in your mind but that would have killed me. She was right on with her comments and I appreciate them greatly

  139. I believe you shouldn't judge another person. That is not for us to decide. I also am a strong advocate that we should follow the Prophets teaching and that is every 'WORTHY" young man should serve a mission. So we can exclude "UN"-worthy young men. So, if you have a young man that didn't serve but was worthy, can you see why finding an RM is important. I'm not saying they are bad and I really don't care, because it isn't for me to decide their fate. Do you want to be with someone for eternity that doesn't follow the prophet? If you believe the Church is true than wouldn't you want someone that follows those teachings? Again, I am not judging! I am just stating the facts! I did serve a mission, and I did get married in the Temple. Am I perfect? Absolutely NOT, but I promise you this. I would not be where I am today, spiritually, mentally, and as successful as I am today if I didn't serve a mission. So the culture that the Church has is not one that ridicules or judges or despises. That is human flaw. But to set aside the RM on your checklist goes against what the Prophet has commanded a young man should do. So you can make yourself feel better by thinking your doing yourself a favor, but you really aren't. I am telling you this out of love. I know that their is only one person that is perfect, and that is our Savior Jesus Christ. Just ask yourself one thing. What would the Savior have you do. Maybe that is to marry someone that didn't serve. The Spirit will tell you what you should do, but if you are a worthy young man, What would the Savior want you to do?

  140. In the article you used most often the reason for not serving as medical. I think that this experience takes compassion even a step further: My husband served for three months and then chose to come home to get some spiritual things in his life in order. The following months and years were hard and I had to get over to "RM" thing too when I decided to marry him…but I would rather be married to someone who did the right thing by repenting than someone who served a full two years with unworthily. D&C 18:13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! This life is not about being perfect…it is about repenting.

  141. “Do not take the chance of dating members who are untrained and faithless. A girl may say, "Oh, I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a 'fun' date." But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel. ” -Spencer W. Kimball

    If a young man CHOOSES to NOT serve a mission, fulfill a commandment of God, nor follow through with a covenant he made at baptism….why would a worthy daughter of God choose to date/marry him? If he already has a record of disregarding sacred covenants and breaking commandments, why should this daughter of God choose to make new covenants with him?

    The average marriage age of individuals in the church is 25 yrs. old. A young man can leave on a mission until he reaches the age of 29. Every young man is given a 11 year window for serving the Lord and fulfilling this covenant/commandment. If a young woman meets a young man that is under the age of 29 who has not served a mission, why not dismiss him? Dating or marrying him would prevent him from fulfilling this covenant with the Lord. If the young man says he chose not to serve a mission and still resides withing that 11 year window, why would a faithful young woman choose to date/marry someone who is currently disobeying a covenant/commandment of the Lord.

    People keep bringing up the atonement and how it is not our place to judge. There is a difference between judging and passing judgement. Its is a young woman's prerogative to judge whether any young man is a worth suitor. "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

    It is a young woman's right to choose whether or not she dates a young man who has CHOSEN not to serve a mission. Don't turn this around and condemn the young women who have stuck to their goals and are striving to find a worthy companions out to be the the problem.

    A girl shouldn't "scratch "marry an RM" off the list," simply because there are good young me who haven't served missions.

  142. Great response. I too found this article very disappointing. I enjoyed your analogy –“to suggest a full time mission is not vital because sometimes that “status” is abused is akin to suggesting the Church is not vital because of those who dishonor their covenants."

    The author has the right to her own opinion, and she can choose to marry whomever she'd like, but I dislike the way she paraphrased President Uchtdorf's talk to preach her own misguided views. I'm sick of people playing the WWJD card, when clearly he would ask and has asked (not just asked but commanded) that they go on missions.

  143. We had a Stake Priesthood Leadership Meeting early yesterday morning where Bishoprics, YM Presidencies and YM Class Presidencies broke out into a session apart from everyone else. The very point the counselor in the Stake Presidency made in that session is that when we focus on the goal for young men is to serve a mission, we are MISSING the REAL target. He emphasized the REAL goal is to repent in life so that Christ's atonement can save us. He pointed out a mission can be a helpful step to get there, and oft-times is, but it's NOT a requirement for gaining Salvation. A mission can help us develop skills of service and the ability to love others unconditionally, and give us a greater knowledge of the Gospel, but there should be no level of "pride" gained from being an "RM". There is nothing "sanctifying" about a mission, other than giving each one of us the opportunity to come to know Christ better, and to share that knowledge with others. I have two sons that came home early from missions for other than health reasons. One was allowed to finish in a different mission, the other never went back. Both have temple marriages and are "fighting the daily battles" we're all faced with in raising families in a world that sells sin as sugar. At the final judgment, Christ will read our heart…not our resume'.

  144. Anonymous above, I don't know why it is so upsetting to you to read that there are good worthy non-RM's out there. They are not banned from the celestial kingdom. Assuming that another person was not willing to serve and wants to be babied simply because they aren't an RM…please think about what you are saying there. She wrote this in response to seeing good people shunned due to their non-RM status. Lets not shun people. "If we could look into each others hearts, and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care."–Marvin J. Ashton. Here's a fabulous BYU devotional about grace that explains how the atonement is for you and me and even those non-RM young men. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLXr9it_pbY

  145. I'll admit I didn't read the whole post so correct me if I'm wrong but I'd like to understand something. What is the reason for these young men you are talking about? Because yes I know there are some people who can't serve a mission due to health/medical reasons. But remember the prophet did say "every young man must serve a mission". With that said you're right we shouldn't be judging people for there decisions to not serve, we should love everyone. But as for me I would not marry a man who wasn't willing to sacrifice two years for something that is the most important thing in the world to me, this Gospel, and something the prophet has asked him to do, unless their reason is medical. But now days the church has so many more opportunities for those who can't fulfill a full-time mission. So I'd love to hear from those who are for your view. Enlighten me.

    Sierra
    washingtontomexico.blogspot.com

  146. This has been an ongoing theme in my life. I have seriously dated several girls and when this subject comes up it is always an issue for them. Even if they don't necessarily see that fact that I didn't complete my mission as a huge issue, their family usually does. Even in my current relationship my girlfriend's family dosen't think I will be a good member because I didn't complete my mission. I went out when I was 19 and wasn't worthy, I cleared things up and tried to go back out and they said no, what more could I have done. I am tired of paying for a mistake that I made 10 years ago. Meanwhile I see young men who I know severed unworthily and came home and found someone to marry, or worse yet end up having an affair and getting divorced, but no one seemed to have a problem with that young man before the marriage because he carried the title of RM. It becomes absolutely taxing to say the least.

  147. Sierra, While I think your heart is in a good place I think you missed the point of the post. Just because someone served a mission doesn't make them a good person, and just because someone didn't serve a mission doesn't mean they are a bad person. My reason for not serving a mission was not medical. At the age of 19 all of my friends were leaving and I felt left out but was not worthy to go, due to pressure from the ward and my family I put my papers in and went to the MTC without clearing up my issues. While in the MTC I felt guilty and tried to clear everything up while I was in the MTC and then they sent me home. A year later I tried to go out again and my Stake President said that he talked with the bretheren in Salt Lake and I was not to go back out. I don't know what more I could have done to right the wrong. I have tried to live worthily since then, but do you mean to say that I should be continually punished for a mistake I made 10 years ago. If Heavenly Father can forgive me, why can't the members of his church?

  148. Wow, I almost feel like I don't need to respond to this cause so many people already did. I just wanted to say that your post has made it to the Danish LDS community and I couldn't agree more. I served a mission in Paris 5 years ago and am married to an RM. Needless to say, I know for a fact that missions can change lives and build deep testimonies. I have served around missionaries who were great examples, leaders and priesthood holders. I've also served around Elders who did not honor their callings and wasted a lot of mission-time on non-mission related things. If seen both kinds of missionaries. Having served a mission myself really opened up my eyes to the fact that having "returned with Honour" does not mean you're a person who honoured your calling. It does not mean you understand the Gospel fully or that you will be a perfect future spouse. Girls who look for and date RMs really need to learn to see through the label (like you say) and figure out the true nature of whomever they're dating.

    Also, I have people in my circle of friends who have not served for various reasons. There are more ways to serve than on a mission – and frankly, I could come up with so many examples of men who have not served, but who spend a lot of their time and efforts honouring their priesthood callings, serving their families and people around them. They understand the Gospel and it's principles. Some of them want to serve missions later on with their spouses.

    I do believe you're blessed for serving and I believe there's a reason that all worhty men are asked to serve missions. You learn, grow and develop in ways and at a speed you cannot possible do in "real life". The church needs strong leaders and priesthood holders with strong testimonies. No doubt about it. But there is no need for us to judge those who do not to serve or who cannot serve. You're so spot on! Thank you.

  149. Thank you for the great article! My wife posted this in a response to one of her friends who, sad to say, has that unrealistic expectation. She even told us that she met "the most PERFECT guy" but because he wasn't a member, "I cut ALL ties and haven't talked to him since." It made me upset because out of all of the guys she has dated, most of the jerks are RMs. It is true that they use the title as an ice breaker with ladies in Utah. Outside of this state (I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Parents are converts and I was the first one to serve a mission), if you told some random girl that you asked on a date that you served a mission, they could care less. All that matters is if you treat them with love and respect and don't try to take advantage with them since you "broke down the barrier" of being an RM. All I know is if my daughter had to pick between an RM and a non RM or a non member, I would ask her one question "who treats you like the princess that you are?" Who ever treats her with more respect and love wins in my book.

  150. Yes, judging is bad. Also, serving a mission, as you stated, is still a good and desirable quality. And seems essential for boys following God's commandments. Although, of course, exceptions apply: medical reasons, compelled military service, political reasons beyond our control, converts to the church after missionary serving age, Alma the Younger type who had a giant change of heart, etcetera. I would still keep it on "the list" unless it fits a narrowly tailored exception. I wanted to play ball with my friends or play video games would not qualify in my book. Checklists are good insofar as they guide us, but really should not be written in stone anyway. And you're right that temple worthy is a more valuable than RM. As a boy, dating a girl who is a RM is a big plus, but not a deal breaker for sure. Thanks for your insights!

  151. President Thomas S. Monson said: “We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service.” (Thomas S. Monson, "Welcome to Conference," Liahona, November 2012, 4).

    I saw many people mention that "All young men should serve a mission." However, If you read what President Monson said, we often leave out the part about, "physically and mentally capable". Getting sick is not a weakness of your faith, it is called life. Great post and great attitude.

  152. Brilliant! So many members are lowering the bar convincing themselves that it is good and right. The saints did not leave their families and come across the plains to defend a Gospel just so that today's members could translate for themselves how to live it. I cringed throughout this article and found that those who read this will find excuses not to serve the Lord. What a shame. We should love, respect and understand everyone, but we should also expect what Jesus has commanded us. Well said.

  153. Arianna, really, you're so stupid. That's like saying… "oh you drink and have sex and dont obey other commandments? No worries!" The word of wisdom, the law of chastity, and serving a mission are all commandments. For able men. So you're just choosing which commandments you think are slight enough to break, and then trying to convince every woman to be ok with it too. Pull your head out.

  154. I only date outside of the church because of this. People need to realize the difference between the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ and the CHURCH of Jesus Christ. They are two different things. I never served a mission, because my stake president at the time thought I was different because I did not play sports in high school.

  155. To the person who says she did not make sense, all I can say is wow…

    Did you notice where she said he had joined the military prior to converting? I suppose that you think he should have gone back to the Army and said "oh, sorry, I need to go on a mission for my church first?" As a man who is retired from the Army, trust me, that would NOT work.

    Im guessing you vote in every election and claim to be a good upstanding citizen? Guess what, you are not. A commitment to the military is, in my opinion, something that shows he is willing to defend your right to worship however you want (among many other things). I would think that his volunteering to potentially give his life, if needed, to defend your right to be an unpatriotic fool is much more "Worthy" than spending 2 years on a mission.

    Frankly, its a pretty pitiful excuse for an "American" to think that defending their country is not as good as serving a mission. People like you are the PROBLEM, not the answer.

  156. Good for you. I'm not talking about medical reasons at all. Refer to my post above where I said "(this is referring to missionaries who could serve but chose not to)". Thanks though.

  157. Really? I've lived in provo for 5 years and have never heard that. Just because one or two people say that doesn't mean the other 80,000 do.

  158. A mission never ends for those who follow Christ. I never understood the return missionary phrase with in Christ Church. All.of us who call ourselves Christians should be Continuing Missionaries. I have served both "full-time" and I have had callings as a Father, husband and Grandfather. There is no difference as long as we Serve with all your heart might mind and Strength. Once started rather fulltime at 18.or when married righteously in the Temple we never should stop.Bringing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you a women in love with.a fully honorable and Christ centered young man who didn't serve a Mission at 18 I say if after prayer.you feel the Guidance of the Holy Ghost to Marry the.man, Do It! Then commit to serve a couples Mission when retired. The Church needs Senior Missionaries most.desperately. This article is correct in all ways. Righteousness and being Christ.Centered rather.a RM or Not is the key to Eternal Happiness

  159. To the person talking about the military. I never mentioned the military anywhere in my post. Awesome rant though.

  160. I think the key point to get across is to look for a man that has the QUALITIES you would want (that are hopefully found in return missionaries but aren't always, and likewise are often-times found in men who aren't RM's) and let go of the details. My husband is not a return missionary. Both of us were wayward in our youth. We have since been sealed in the temple and have remained active. I will say there are qualities he is lacking that serving a mission may have allowed him to develop. All the same, there are other ways to develop those qualities. Because of my background, many of the RM's I dated wouldn't consider marriage. They missed out on a good thing. :)

  161. One, they are one in the same. Two, if you chose to not serve a mission, neglecting a commandment of God, because of your misguided belief of someone else's opinion of you, that is your issue, not your stake presidents. Step up and take responsibility for you actions. If you don't believe it matters whether or not you serve a mission, that's your deal, but don't blame your inaction on someone else's opinion.

    Comments like this make me laugh at the thought that there are so many disoriented people agreeing with this blog post. Essentially you are all are saying, "I believe in the church… but not all of it. Only the parts I want to believe in, the easy stuff that doesn't require a lot of effort and if you disagree with me you are judging."

  162. As a comment to your picture above "2) tell that to President Monson." I'm assuming you are trying to say President Monson never served a mission. President Monson served as a mission president from 1959 to 1962 in Canada. He has also dedicated his life to the church and has been serving a life long mission since 1963 when he was called to be an Apostle.

    Its sad that you use this great man as a means to push your unrighteous agenda.

  163. Are not all church members missionarys no matter if on our door step in the work place or in the mission feild. A few of my friends sons have servred missions some doing the full two years some not the two years i look up to all these fine young men. We all have our reasons as to why we do what we do and no one should judge us. The lady that posted at the very start well done you for veiwing your story

  164. I appreciated this article. I went on a mission and came home after 18 months due to a broken leg. After coming home, I didn't make much of an effort to date members; not because of any particular bias or because they wouldn't have me, but because where I come from there weren't many options. That said, I observed plenty of this kind of behavior before my mission when I attended a church college, and after my mission I heard about it from friends who had the kinds of experiences you describe. I know it was incredibly unpleasant for them to be continually passed over due to such a silly convention. But, I don't really blame the YSA women who espouse this stuff; they've been programmed to think that way their entire lives. It's difficult (and, they would probably argue, blasphemous) for them to see a different view as plausible.

    It's unfortunate, but I've found that most humans (particularly humans with deep religious convictions) have trouble accepting and applying nuance to their decision-making. It is simply so much easier to have a checklist and mark off "yes" and "no" than it is to think critically about the underlying subject matter. Checklists are easy to understand and apply. Checklists from God are even better, because they're divine checklists. The person is completely free from having to think at all. The most righteous decision has already been made for them. It's great, if that's what you want or if it's all you can handle. But, those kinds of lists will inevitably leave decent people on the wrong side of the ledger. For the checklist-lover, this is not a problem, because falling on the wrong side of a divine checklist is simply an indication that something was "wrong" with that person, which makes him or her of no further consequence. It just sucks for the person who was left out.

    It is much more difficult to apply a "worthiness" standard to such a decision, when the "RM" label is such a handy proxy. Changing entrenched dogma is even harder. But, I applaud you for making the effort. For my part, I left all of this nonsense behind. I have been inactive for many years. Not because of how members act; that's too petty. If the church is what it purports to be, how other members live their lives is irrelevant to one's personal salvation. When I was active, I basically ignored the ridiculousness of my fellow travelers. It can be hard though, so I empathize.

    In any event, this was an excellent read. Thanks again.

  165. I think the man's attitude is also extremely important. If he was worthy and able to serve, but chose not to just because he didn't care enough, and still maintains that attitude of apathy, this could be a serious warning sign that he perhaps does not take his priesthood responsibilities seriously. (If he has since had a change of heart and wishes he had gone, that's a different story). I think it is important for him to not only be worthy of a temple recommend, but to have an attitude of commitment to the gospel. I agree with a lot of the points made in this article though. Where you've been is not as important as where you're going, and it would be a shame for a girl to pass up Mr. Right because she is so focused on finding Mr. Perfect (the guy who meets her checklist requirements, such as being an RM).

  166. I agree totally and nowhere does it say in the scriptures that you cannot go to the celestial kingdom unless you've gone on a mission. I think we've gone way too far judging people. What happened to praying and asking to be guided to the person we should marry?

  167. Don't call this an unrighteous agenda. She's saying that serving a mission doesn't automatically make you righteous and perfect for marriage and that not serving a mission doesn't automatically make you unrighteous. That' how we're supposed to think. Missions are amazing and vital, we should by all means serve missions, but it's not a saving ordinance or a requirement for the Celestial kingdom and there's a reason for that.

  168. We should never quickly judge someone or not be a friend to someone because of inability physically, spiritually, mentally to serve a mission. Some of my closest friends were not able to serve/finish their missions. We are all brothers and sisters and are blessed to have the gospel in this dispensation.

    That being said, I hope my daughters marry an RM. I also hope their future husbands are much more than just RM's. Hard working, kind, consistent worthy temple attendance, humble, obedient, know how to sacrifice and consecrate their lives etc.

    When they meet non-RM's I think they should still go out with them! But I hope those they meet that did not serve or complete their service have a very good reason for not fulfilling this commandment for our young men. A serious sickness is a legitimate reason. If the young men they date did not serve a mission because of worthiness or lack of desire- I pray my daughters are kind to these young men and still get to know these young men, but don't progress their relationships with them unless these young men have been able to fully repent (yes, repentance is real!) and are actively participating in the church, home teaching, worthily attending the temple etc.

    I hope and pray that if I have sons- that they serve full time missions because it is commandment of the Lord to all ABLE young men. Missions help young men focus on the lords work and service and not themselves. Missions are hard work and full of disappointment and if approached the right way are the best way for a young man to come unto Christ and become a little more like him. They teach young men to better study their scriptures. They help young men learn to better be obedient, make sacrifices, consecrate their lives, fast, fulfill covenants, repent, share their talents, help the sick and needy.

    So I guess I hope RM is on the "want list" not checklist for my daughters. But I hope through not only my words but my example that I teach them that not all RM's are marriage material and likewise not all young men that didn't serve are marriage material. but chances are that if they served a mission then those young men will have what should be on a checklist. Obedience, sacrifice, consecration, kindness, hard working etc

  169. This is something I definitely believe in and preach to the youth I work with. There are plenty of RM's I would never want my daughters marrying. Being an RM is not what's important, though it can be an indicator that he may have what is important. What's important is what you pointed out, that they are temple worthy–that they have given their lives to God. It doesn't matter who someone was in the past, it matters who they are now, so even if they didn't go on a mission because they were unworthy, or chose not to go, as long as they have repented of that we must forgive and forget just like God has. What makes someone marriage material is not who they were when they were 19, but who they are now.
    Now, I did serve a mission and it was the greatest experience for my life. I think one reason why we preach marrying a RM so much is to help motivate the young men to serve, but I don't think that is the best form of motivation; the desire should come from within the missionary, not from the outside.

  170. Moderation in all things, I say. While RM should not be a requirement, it is a desirable trait. I say this, admittedly, because I am one of those who absolutely hates the dating scene in Utah. I am 21, have an Associate's Degree and I'm in the US Army Reserves. But I'm not an RM. I've had worthiness issues since I was 14, but in order to fit in I lied about them. I lied to get the Melchizedek priesthood, to get Endowed, and to get into the MTC. I had a change of heart 3 days before I would have gone out to the mission field, confessed, and went home to work through the repentance process. I could have made it 2 years. I could have done great things, taught people, and converted people. That was two years ago, and I'm still struggling with an addiction that makes me unworthy. It is possible I won't be able to kick the addiction. According to most of you, I don't deserve the attention of a worthy young woman. Even those of you who have scratched off "RM" still have "Temple Worthy" on the required list. I am neither, so I guess I'm stuck dating non-members indefinitely.

  171. Attempting to convince others that the dedication of a two year mission holds little to no value and then criticizing young women who seek companions with similar goals, missions, and values…. is an unrighteous agenda. Young men in the church (18-28) are under a commandment to serve a mission. If they choose not to serve a mission and are still within this age range, why shouldn't a worthy young woman be able to shy away from dating them without being judged? They are directly disobeying a commandment of God. Loudly proclaiming that their priorities are greater than God's. A young woman can date and marry whomever she likes.

  172. I don't think you should be punished at all. I think in your situation you did your best. And if a ym goes out on a mission not prepared that is his choice. Yes the age is 18 or 19 but that doesn't mean one HAS to go at the age. I teach a mission prep class and I always tell my students go when you are ready, not when everyone else is going. I have friends who tried to go back out and were not allowed to. I won't judge them. I won't judge you. You tried. Everyone has their own personal situation and you are right we cannot judge. And you are more then right just because you serve doesn't make you a good person. So obviously my "criteria" of him being an RM extends to how he served his mission. But there are so many options for missions now days..check this out: http://www.ldsliving.com/story/75229-church-service-missions-an-alternative-way-to-serve.

  173. “Do not take the chance of dating members who are untrained and faithless. A girl may say, "Oh, I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a 'fun' date." But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel. ” -Spencer W. Kimball

    Seriously, who would motivate that way. God's commandments should clearly be pushed through Robert Allen. Let him guide the Youth.

    I find it so disrespectful when people declare their own doctrine, attempting to establish it as truth, and try to justify it by saying "look at me, I'm a good guy."

  174. Kelly, you hit this on the head. Thank you, thank you. Best comment I've read all day. You should write a post about this topic,

  175. I think this is absolutely fabulous!!! I have had similar thoughts and feelings, and I am glad that I am not alone in thinking this. Thank you!!!

  176. @ANON – so going on a mission is a commandment, and if a young man hasn't fulfilled that commandment, it should be a mark against him. i'll say the same thing about your daughters. we are commanded to love one another. if they have ever acted un-lovingly toward someone for any reason, they have violated the SECOND GREATEST commandment (per the Lord), I will hope my sons can avoid your daughters.

  177. I had a serious medical condition that prevented me from serving… I haven't felt one bit of guilt, as I know God doesn't look down on me at all. It is the classic awkward question that always comes up whether when i meet a girl or just anyone. But I've never been judged. I know that's weird, but I've never been rejected by a girl in the least bit because i didn't serve. I always wonder if it will happen, and I figure that if it does it will just filter out girls i don't want to date anyway if it happened. I know this isn't everyone's experience, and i know this blog post is addressing a very real issue. I'm either lucky or blessed. The last girl i approached said, "i know what you mean, i feel awkward about that question being asked to me too, but like you i feel my mission has been callings in the church and keeping the commandments." I know missions are important, but it's just like anything else, everyone has their own situation. Two of my brothers have served and one is about to leave. One is inactive, but in my eyes just as righteous and good as any of us, just missing something we hope he regains at some point. Heavenly Father is so incredibly loving that even vile sinners are forgiven upon repentance and are white as snow as the saying goes. It has to be true repentance, but it is forgotten as though it had not happened. Obliterated from the past in God's eyes. That is the Atonement, that is why we take the sacrament. I guess if you are a non RM like me and are afraid to date, give it a shot. Let girls see who you really are. In my opinion righteous virtuous women are looking for righteous virtuous men, so unless they have a false pretense that only RMs are righteous then they will be able to love you and see you as God does… I think at one point recently 6 of the current apostles were not RMs… Probably all honorably excused for wars and other reasons, but even that stipulation I'm sure is not a requirement to be an apostle. Also, if you have Christ's light in your eyes, what is more attractive and indicitive of the kind of person you are. RMs may lots of times have that, but a lot may not, and if you have that, well, dang it, girls that are looking for what you are looking for are going to not shy away from you. Light attracts light. Anyway, point is, define yourself by Heavenly Father's view, not judgemental people or misguided people. Everyone who lives worthy deserves the gifts the Savior bled and died for. Including that of a wonderful marriage and family. And all will get it who live for it, just don't believe the author of darkness and all negative discouraging thoughts. Because they are all lies. You are so loved. Be who you are. Also, if you are a girl, don't let a label change your fate or make you miss out on a guy who could sweep you off your feet into eternal life.

  178. Excellent article. And we are all serving a mission everyday, some good examples and some not so good. Not everyone is meant to serve a full time mission, maybe that will come later in life, maybe they will be a huge blessing in someone's life as they continue on the earthly road. We don't know the merit of someone's heart. We do need to accept them because that is what we are suppose to do.

  179. No one should be judged for their personal decisions. Their private life is between themselves and God. I don't see why you are tearing her blog apart with angry, uninventive remarks?

  180. "Serving a mission is a commandment… for able men."

    There is a key word there. It's "ABLE." Arianna is NOT using the several General Authorities not serving missions as justification for not going. She is using them to show that even though they were not able to go on a mission (because of war/military commitments), they still turned out exceptionally well.

    I'm stunned by the amount of ignorance and unpleasantness being directed at Arianna. Then again, I shouldn't be, as this is the internet, and you're expected to be ignorant and hateful towards people who "rock the boat" in the seas of your beliefs.

  181. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when some young men served missions and some didn't, and no one judged them for their decision either way. President Monson did not serve a mission, and Packer, Nelson, Oaks, Hales, Eyring, and Uchtdorf did not serve missions. Young men should once again feel free to make their own decision about the matter.

  182. Why are you judging people on personal decisions? Someone's private life is between them and God and they shouldn't be shunned for it. Why tear apart a nice blog with hateful, uninventive remarks?

  183. The difference being that the law of chastity and the word of wisdom are requirements to be temple worthy. There is no need to insult her for sharing her opinions.

  184. I think it's great you've grown past the "RM on the checklist" perspective. I really think it's a matter of maturity. Everyone has their priorities, and it doesn't make them wrong. I always wanted to marry someone who had served a mission. When I say that, what I meant is, someone who was able to, was WILLING to, and did it. If I met someone right for me who didn't have the ability or opportunity for whatever reason, that person wouldn't have automatically been crossed off my "list," not that I had a list. Wanting to marry a returned missionary doesn't automatically make someone unChristlike or judgmental. Just like wanting to marry someone who had a degree doesn't make them any of those things either. Sounds like you finally figured out that your "checklist" was really more about what sounded good or "right" on paper, and not about the things that matter most to you. That's great, but I think this blog post that calls out young ladies who do put missionary service on their checklist as superficial, unChristlike or judgmental, is maybe also a little judgmental. It's really too bad that some people's actions or words cause harm to others. I wish more young ladies and young men would see past certain 'checklist line items' just as much as you–but really what that says is perhaps they're just not mature enough to be in a marriage relationship yet. Oh if only the world were full of perfect people! What I'm really trying to say is, you're right. Missionary service should maybe not necessarily be the most important characteristic in a marriage partner, but if a lack of missionary service came about by an unwillingness to serve, no desire to serve or overcome hard things, or past grievous sins, you have to understand that those young ladies who have a problem with that have a valid point! I'm quite a bit older than you are and I've been your age and in your position. Now having lived longer, I see how much young men learn and grow during their missions–they are working day in and day out for two full years in service to others. There is so much personal growth in those two years. I see how it takes other young men who don't devote that time to such hard work and service a decade or more to get the same personal growth out of life. That's a generalization I realize that. It's not that way for every single case. I understand that. But generally, that's what happens! That's why a college degree and/or an advanced degree was also on my "list." The most important thing in the world? No. His personal testimony and worthiness and willingness to work on our marriage relationship is. But that said, marriage and life is tough. It's not wrong to want to go through it with someone who has a testimony strong enough to answer the Lord's call, who has worked through any personal issues and is worthy to serve, and someone who isn't afraid of challenges. That's MY personal view, and I've never been sorry. I married a returned missionary who went to college, got a degree, then went to grad school and continues to work to improve himself and to learn and grow. The way he did it isn't the "right" way, it's just the way he did it and that's what I personally was looking for. I don't apologize for having high standards (and that doesn't HAVE to include missionary service).

  185. There's a difference between loving people and marrying them… just saying.

    Men and women, have standards and be prayerful. People are not evil for not serving and I think that is what everyone is saying so I'm beating a dead horse. I married an RM and I am an RM. He is what I always wanted and I searched for a long time. His mission helped to mold him and mine to mold me and I'm so grateful for that! One of my best friends married a man that was only out in his mission for a little bit before coming home early for depression. He's still everything she wanted and needed and we just love them! God is in the details of our lives. Just be faithful and follow Christ. Everything will work out.

  186. Nowhere does it say that girls should only marry returned missionaries. It is a good idea, but not a failsafe, one size fits all rule. I married a returned missionary and he was very self absorbed and our married failed because he couldn't love anyone more than he loved himself. I remarried another returned missionary, one that had been (gasp) divorced. We have a wonderful marriage, still going strong after 17 years, Applying wisdom to the idea that a RM would have had experiences that could make him a better man is needed. I know many converts who are firm and steadfast, who are wonderful husbands, but did not serve a mission. I know of another that returned from his mission early due to mental health issues. He is a delightful and worthy young man, but will probably need some more time and therapy before being prepared for a marriage. I have had my own struggles with mental health. I am a convert as well. Luckily, my husband sees the overall good in me and we help each other to be our best selves. If you aren't prepared for some reasonable exceptions or adaptations, you aren't prepared for marriage to anyone, RM or not. There is always the danger of looking past blaring problems when you get into checklists. In regards to my first husband, I was too new to the Church to know what a man looked like who truly loved God more than man. I made assumptions and he made increasingly selfish choices.

  187. I admit, I skimmed your article and read the part you added at the end about it being a call from the prophet. I just think that is a silly point for people to even bring up as an argument. How many of us have fallen short of something the prophet has asked us to do? Or has fallen short of following some of the commandments? Or preachings in the bible or book of mormon? Every single one of us. There are so many good men and women who have not served missions. I'll admit to being turned away from men who hadn't when I was in college, but I will not teach that same thing to my girls. I want them to seek for, as you said, good, temple worthy men. And…I know plenty of missionaries who were certainly not temple worthy, or who have left the church, or who have very serious sins in their history. It's not all so black and white. Thanks for the article.

  188. Where were all these girls that would only go out with a RM? Girls wouldn't go out with me before my mission and they continued to ignore me after my mission. I'm glad I didn't go on a mission to get dates because that would have been a huge let down. When I finally met the girl that became my wife and told her I had served a mission she said, "That's nice".

  189. Thank you for this, Ari. My husband and I met on our missions, so I understand the importance of missionary work. HOWEVER, we had a lot of friends from the mission field who were sent home as well as friends who never made it out into the field for a myriad of reasons. It's hurt my heart so much to see these young men ostracized in their wards, their Church communities, and by our other friends who did finish their missions. The Church has a beautiful gospel but a twisted culture. I think we all need to keep our world in perspective. Jesus taught love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as thyself are the greatest commandments. If a young man, or even a young woman as is turning the case, abides by these precepts, along with other commandments that are sure to follow when obeying the first two, then they are righteous. We are all trying to be Christlike, even if our paths take different turns. We must make our own way, learning as we go, and becoming who God knows we can be, with or without the stamp of popular approval, even Church members are pretending like they own all the stamps.

  190. Where is the commandment written and where is the punishment for such disobedience written? People turn away from the church due to culture than just about anything else. They find that the people concentrate on being "church like" not Christ like. And it's sad. When the great day comes and Christ returns to the earth I suspect Utah will be his last stop.

  191. Thanks for writing this, it was an awesome article. I always tell my friends or teammates who are looking to serve or currently serving that a mission is life-changing, but it is NOT life determining. God has given us free will and only we can determine how our life will turn out. Life keeps going whether we serve or not and a mission is not about the missionary, or his family, or gf back home, but about the people they will serve. Still, there are few days that go by that something doesn't remind me of my mission. It's a great experience, incredibly hard, but great. Those who don't serve for whatever reason, need to know it is ok and they are just as accepted in the Lord's eye as those who do. We need to always remember that a mission is not an ordinance, it's just an opportunity. The Temple is the ordinance. thanks again.

  192. As an RM, I agree with this post, for several reasons.

    1) What you did or didn't do at 19 will not define the person you are at 19.5, 25, 30, etc. It would be ludicrous if we set the standard that we should "only date those who had 100% attendance to Primary." While my mission certainly influenced the balance of my life, I am more than a nametag. Is it Christlike of us make judgements based on decisions others have made in the past? Divine Comedy's parody song "Provo Utah Girls" includes the line "We'd marry a tree as long as it served a mission" which may seem funny but is in all actually the truth for much of Mormon culture. I have known many people who didn't serve or who served for a few months and returned early. They are no less desirable and certainly they are not less in the Lord's eyes, and I see no reason to have different standards than the Lord…or Marjorie Pay Hinckley…or Francis Monson…

    2) The LDS gender double-standard is rearing its head again in this situation. What is the female equivalent of the implacable RM male standard? Yes, women can serve missions and kudos to them if they do, but are we about to encourage the Priests "don't date any girl who hasn't served a mission?" The response that first may come to mind is that women's calling is to be wives/mothers and men's is to be righteous priesthood bearers and therefore a mission for a man is a more accurate indicator of his future potential. BUT, by the same logic, LDS males should be quizzing girls on their observance of the law of chastity and reproductive health.

    I'm sure your blood probably boiled at that line–and it should–but we are essentially putting men in the same hotseat when we insist that their desirability rests on their mission performance.

    3) To touch on what Arianna says at the end, the Lord through his servants has asked all "worthy, able young men" to serve missions. Unless each of us were in a position to judge a man as worthy and able–and I submit that the only people authorized to do so are their doctors and priesthood leaders, neither of whom should be dating them–then it is none of our business whether they served or not. The Lord has also issued commandments stating that we are to "perfect, even as [He is]" If we are going to point out that a young man who did not serve a mission is less worthy of a young woman's hand, then we might as well point out that he also had an unkind thought about someone in traffic that day, that he didn't pay tithing on the dollar his uncle gave him when he was nine, and that he still hasn't perfected himself. In fact, we should probably write him off as a lost case and refer him to Perdition straightaway. UNLESS… we believe that previous misdeeds, bad choices, and even sins are not the final measure of that man, but rather, "through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved."

  193. I served a mission and wish it could gone on forever, in fact I probably would of been an LDS monk if there was such a thing. Full time service to the Lord and people in general. What could get better than that? In fact it wasn't until 3 kids and 8 years of marriage until I realized I could have those same missionary feelings serving my beautiful wife and children. What made me realize this wasn't anything tramatic, it was just a divine thought that changed my perspective. Thankfully I was always taught that the temple was the goal and a mission was a blessing and result of the covenants made in the temple between me and God. This helped me understand that my best friend who married right out of high school, not in the temple and prior to a mission wasn't lost but just a concern. His wife stopped smoking in order to date him, in college his righteous example lead to a conversion before I even took part in my first baptism on my mission. His example lead his wife to be converted and a temple marriage before I was even out a year. Sometimes the Lord calls us on non traditional mission in life. The Prophet gives us the Lord's commandments to the church as a whole, however the Lord gives us commandments individually tailored. They will always align even when they seem to contradict at first sight. My friend didn't go on a LDS mission but he served and is serving the Lord fulltime and I believe his experience has been no less miraculous or less in any way. If you are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Chirst who would not wish to serve 24×7, 2 years, 40 years, every waking moment. The Lord knows 2 year missions are just a tool, some people are helped to converted by spouses, friends, coworkers and facebook. Other tools the Lord uses are Scouting, geneology, mutual, education, BYU, Preach My Gospel, EFY, family home evenings, sports, Eagle Scout, church callings, etc, etc, etc. Jesus Chirst knows you and everyone personally and all those on born to this planet chose Him in order to get here.

    Thank you, for you awesome blog, hopefully more people will see others and themselves as the Lord see them. We may see others as lost or worthy of concern but the Lord knows his own, may we all see more like the God see us.

  194. You are under direct commandment from God to never lie, never cheat, and never steal. Tell me, have you been perfect? No, you haven't. None of us have. Will a mission get us into the Celestial kingdom? No. Will a mission determine whether we achieve exaltation? No. Is a mission an ordinance? No. It is not a requirement for the temple, not a requirement for eternal life, and not a requirement for exaltation. Even if someone chooses to not serve a mission, they can repent and are no less than you. That is what this article is saying. A mission is a great thing and if someone can go, they should go, but it's not a sentence to hell if they don't. It's also not a determinate to their character or commitment to the gospel. Get over it. A mission is an opportunity, it's not about you, if you didn't learn that on your mission then I hope that you do learn it soon and I invite you to repent and come unto Christ, the atonement is real.

  195. Some good thoughts but my question is this: if we are willing to overlook men's issues about serving missions, will they overlook our weight issues and cross skinny, fit or healthy girls off their lists? It seems only fair.

  196. I joined the church at 20 years old. I had a great desire to serve a mission. When I prayed about it, I got the clear impression that while I was not required to serve, if I wanted to serve a mission, I should go right away. While serving as a follow-up trainer, my companion asked me about what I would look for in a future husband. Specifically she asked if I would only marry a returned missionary. I considered this carefully, and eventually said that I might marry someone who hadn't had the opportunity to serve as long as they were worthy to marry in the temple and they made it a goal to serve together as a senior couple. When I came home to Missouri, there were a few RMs in my YSA group, but I have since married a convert to the church. He was baptized at 24, and we were engaged a month later. We waited 11 months and married in the temple. It has been 8 years, and my husband is a wonderful worthy priesthood holder. Missions are wonderful, but not the sole indicator of a young man's worthiness.

  197. This is such a refreshing post. By some of the comments, it appears to be blasphemy to those stuck in the church bubble. To them I say you are not as special as you think you are. Everytime you judge and look down on others who don't meet the 'high standards' you do you and the church you love a hugh disfavor. Having been on 'hiatus' for the last 10 years, I look back at the suttle way I treated people when I was in the 'bubble' and I look back with shame. If I ever become active again, I will do so with a new perspective on what Christ-like really means. I will know what its like for those who feel like an outsider in the neighborhood and what it feels like when members' kids reject friends just because they 'think' they aren't members. This article is just the tip of the iceberg. As a church, we have such a long way to go to overcome our exclusivity and marginalization just among those that we consider to be our own let alone those that we want to share the gospel with. Thank goodness its the gospel we emphasize on sharing and not the church.

  198. I hope you guys don't think I'm judging young men for not serving. It is not my place to judge anyone. I understand everyone has their situations but the church has made it so no matter who you are if you are worthy you can serve a mission. Yes Kelsey Pres. Monson did not serve a mission but guess what Pres Monson was 19 years old during WWII and he was serving in the Navy and this was also before President Kimball came out and said "I was asked a few years ago, “Should every young man who is a member of the Church fill a mission?” And I responded with the answer the Lord has given: “Yes, every worthy young man should fill a mission.” The Lord expects it of him. And if he is not now worthy to fill a mission, then he should start at once to qualify himself." and then in 2005 Pres. Hinckley said “There has been some misunderstanding of earlier counsel regarding single sisters serving as missionaries. We need some young women. They perform a remarkable work. They can get in homes where the elders cannot. But it should be kept in mind that young sisters are not under obligation to go on missions. They should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men, but some will wish to go”. I don't say this to cause contention I say it to help you guys understand that it is a duty given to worthy priesthood holders. As women in this church we need to be encouraging the ym around us. Not telling them it is okay that they aren't serving but helping them and supporting them on the path to serving a mission.

  199. My mom married an RM at BYU. They lasted 7 yrs before he left her. He went on his mission because that was what everyone expected of him. He had problems there that were never addressed and so he returned "honorably". 14 months later, my mom remarried. My stepfather never served a mission. He never went to Seminary. He was in the Air Force when he was baptized at age 21. I don't know the details of his contract with the USAF. He may have been able to retire while still within the age limit and gone on a mission. The thing is, he never did. He is by far a better man than my biological father. His testimony has been strong through divorce (before my mother), mental illness, financial problems, and more. He is extremely supportive of my mother, even when he really doesn't understand why she wants to do something a certain way for the first few years. My biological father had similar trials: divorce (from my mother, as well as other long-term relationships ending), mental illness (the same as my stepfather's, but not as severe), and financial problems (but he was only supporting himself, not a family). He never supported my mother, even after promising he would in specific instances (e.g. teaching us Spanish at home).
    This doesn't mean I am against missions. My brother comes home 1 month from today. My brother waited 2 1/2 years and was about to resubmit his papers. I can't wait to see how much he has learned and changed (and how often he says funny things like "A to Zed") and how much he is the same. My husband went on a mission between the time I met him 7 1/2 years ago and when I married him 1 year ago next week. He actually turned in his papers 3 times and waited 5 years before he got his call. My husband is very shy, to the point that we sit in the foyer at church, rather than in the chapel. His mission was extremely difficult for him because of this. I am very proud of him for serving a mission when I see every day how it has blessed him. I am very proud of my brother for serving. I have seen changes just in our emails.
    Also, being an RM doesn't guarantee you dates. Before my husband moved here 1 1/2 years ago (after he "returned honorably"), he was in a single's ward in Oregon where they were always telling the young men to ask the girls out. He ask every girl in that ward out at least once. Every single girl turned him down. Every time.
    Girls, please understand what you are doing to these young men. You are extremely important to them, even if you don't know them. You don't know what kind of treasure you could be passing over just because it doesn't have a big label on it that says "SUPER AWESOME HUSBAND MATERIAL!!!" on it. It's like food labels that say "free range" on them when a lot of the time it just means the animal got to look outside for 30 minutes a day. My rule when I was dating was, unless I got a huge "NO!" from the Spirit, I said yes to one date. After that I could turn them down, and I often did. Also keep in mind that they have things they are looking for too. Are you worthy too? Are you ready for marriage? Have you gone on a mission or are you worthy to serve a mission now? I tried to always be worthy even though I never served, because it's not fair to ask it of them and not myself.
    I am glad my husband is an RM. I am proud of him. I would be just as proud if he had joined the military instead, as long as he was temple worthy. They are both wonderful ways of becoming a better person IF you apply it right in your life.

  200. (I can't find my initial response) I don't think it's wrong to want to marry someone who followed the Lord's admonition. It may not always work out that way but it is a nice thing to shoot for. I'll say it again, we will take RM off our list if the men will take skinny and fit off of theirs. No guys I know are excited to be taking out fatties even though some girls have physical and mental issues (same as why some men don't serve or come home early) that keep them from being thin. Fair is fair.

  201. That's an interesting prophecy…

    Also, the "cult" and "insanity" can occur when people attempt to mix simple and misleading human philosophies in with the true word of God. The Word itself, however, is immeasurable and eternal. It will easily throw these things off as truth always does. No need to worry.

  202. I know I'm probably not adding anything new to this conversation, but I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. I've felt this same way for a long time. I met boys my first year of college who were RMs but were more concerned with makingout than church attendance and other boys who were not RMs and were at the temple each month for our ward baptisms for the dead. And vice versa. The label being added to their name really does not guarantee their hearts are set towards good intentions.
    I think the biggest thing we need to remember is that the decision to go on a mission is between a person and the Lord. As is deciding to go to the temple. We cannot judge someone, we don't know their hearts and true intents.
    My husband and I hope to teach our children that the label doesn't matter. What matters is the end goal – building an eternal family (either in this life or the next) and serving the Lord.

  203. Thanks, Arianna. That was awesome.

    I know there's a jillion of us that have already posted, but for what it's worth, I'll join the ranks of the "not an RM" crowd. I was confused. I wasn't worthy. I hated the expectation of having to go on a mission. I wasn't very honest with myself and when I talked to some of my leaders about it they seemed all too eager to ignore my unworthiness and ship me out anyway. I'd had enough and just quit thinking about it.

    Fast forward to 10 years later. I've been sealed to a woman of myriad beauties for the last seven years, and intend to remain so for eternity. I regret having lost the opportunity to serve in the unique way that a full time mission provides, but it can't hinder my progress. I have every opportunity to serve in whatever calling the Lord may extend to me, and the chance to serve a mission(s) with my wife later once our children have grown.

    Missions are commonly referred to among church members as "the best two years of your life." That sounds very nice, and that service is important, but I feel like any two years spent in a worthy marriage should easily qualify as better. Temple marriage is ultimately requisite for celestial glory, and a 2-year mission is not.

  204. To the anonymous person being a douche: you clearly don't understand what it means to be Christlike or empathetic. I bet the view from your black and white church pew of judgement is nice. People like you are the problem in Mormon culture. You just don't get it. And it's sad that you feel the need to treat people poorly because of your supposed truths. Joseph Smith was not like you. Brigham Young was not like you. Jesus is not like you. Thanks though. Oh, and if you have the balls to be rude, have the balls to put a name behind it. Or do you prefer closed doors to tear others down?

  205. Take the leap back, with faith that your Heavenly Father will not fail you!
    Joy comes from Him, serve those around you and you will have peace.

  206. There is someone out there for you! My husband had the same problem and I didn't hesitate to date him. He still gets hassled for it all the time (we're in a highly populated LDS area) but we were married in the Temple, he's an incredible person, and I'm sure you are too. You will find someone who is perfect for you. Just keep the faith and know that you are precious in the sight of God.

  207. Wait, hold up. Your thoughts on this matter are extremely judgemental, and not at all what sentiments would come from someone who is truly loving his neighbor and living the gospel. I am 24 year old man who not only didn't serve a "mission". My worthiness in this gospel is no less than yours.

    While I agree with your idea of don't discount all RM's, I think her point was do not decide who you spend eternity with just on a title but by the true character of a man.

  208. I enjoyed your post! I was the good girl, BYU grad, and I married a man with a past who didn't serve a mission. You know what, he's a wonderful, honorable man who took me to the temple. He's an amazing father to our 3 children. I dated some great RMs and I also dated a lot of RMs that were slime. Serving a mission is a wonderful thing, but it shouldn't be a qualifier because life and circumstances is different for everyone.

  209. This post resonates with me. My checklist item of "returned missionary" was a justification tool I used to ignore more glaring signs of a problem. I believe that the quality of obedience to serve a mission is vitally important to our conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But I believe that the "quality" is obedience, not the full-time mission. A full time mission happens during a relatively small window in a person's life, and if for whatever reason, they missed that window, I know that the Lord's atonement gives us more chances to obey (to heal us and give us hope if we wanted to but couldn't go, and to strengthen our faith if at that time we chose not to). As our life goes on, those "chances" to obey are different. A mission, marriage, following the Spirit to follow a certain career path, stopping to check on a widow, sharing the Gospel with a stranger. If I was forever condemned for falling short of an ideal, that would mean that the atonement never happened. But the atonement did happen, and our desire to serve speaks volumes for our testimony. If we desire to serve, we are called to the work, and the work is much bigger than just the full time mission. Thanks for such a poignant and much needed message!

  210. I am going to keep this simple… the worlds standards change, but the LORDS do NOT! We are not finding simple reasons to give excuses to not do what we are commanded to. He has told us what we need to do and if he is your number one priority and your number one goal then you will accomplish those commandments.
    -And sickness or disabilities is a whole different thing.

  211. Quick question:

    Let's say the culture does not change. What would be the best way for these temple worthy men to respond without lying to casual questions about missions?

    Like how long ago did you serve?

  212. I had a friend tell me that his friends that hadn't gone on missions would wrap tape around their thighs because girls would run their hand up and down looking for Garment hems.

    RMs can be jerks just like everyone else. You've written something wonderful here.

  213. I say well said! Christ has told us not to judge others and to love one another. Your point is very clear! Be temple worthy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  214. I love what you said at the bottom of your post….this is about “loving thy neighbor as thyself”….not about comparing, complaining or criticizing Utah Mormons vs Outside of Utah Mormons, RMs vs non RMs, etc. I totally, totally get what you are saying. Yes, going on a mission for young men is a commandment. But we all have times when we don’t follow commandments. That is why we have the Atonement. WE ALL make mistakes. Let’s give each other a break. And as mentioned, just because you served and “honorable” mission doesn’t mean you ARE honorable. One of our best friends didn’t serve a mission as a young man. He regrets it, but has moved. on. Let us LET EACH OTHER MOVE ON. That is THEEE purpose of the Atonement. Thanks for the post. You are so right.

  215. I both agree and disagree with this post. I agree that the often revered term "RM" has become a stereotype for "marriage material." However, it is very impressive to me the obedience to the Prophet when young men serve missions. It shows me that he is willing to obey Jesus Christ's commandments. That is a worthy attribute which all LDS members should look for, as well as strive to be.

  216. I am a returned sister missionary and I must admit, before my mission "returned missionary" was also on my list as a requirement for a future husband. However, after serving around Elders for my entire mission, my perspective changed and that requirement was replaced. Thankfully, there were Elders who were great examples of spirituality but there were also many who were not. Let's just say, I gained a deeper understanding of the scripture that reads, "Many are called, but few are chosen." It is ironic that serving a mission is what changed my mind about that requirement. President Hunter also said that the focus should be on the temple endowment, not the mission call. As leaders of youth, I think we can do a better job of emphasizing that point. Thanks for the reminder!

  217. I am in tears as I read this. I have had a heavy heart these last few years as it appears my son will not serve a mission. I have wondered what righteous young lady would want to marry a man who is not a missionary. His choices are his, and he is still an amazing young man regardless. The fact that there are young ladies such as yourself that are realizing that it is important to love people as they are and not put a judgement out on them warms my heart and gives me hope. Thank you for being brave enough to write this.

  218. My son decided not to serve a mission due some emotional challenges with anxieties and I prefer for him not have served than to have serve and find himself coming home early due to his challenges. At first I was bummed out, but as you stated in your posting, our church has some cultural handicaps and due to these there are some stigmas associated with not going on a mission or coming home early. All the kids that my son grew up with have served missions and want nothing to do with him, but he does not care and it actually hurts me more than anything, they don't know him, he is the most pure and sincere guy that I know, he will not even tell a lie. He is fighting his anxieties and he is making progress and it will take him some time and patience. He has found some friends that accept him as he is and he even has a nice young lady that he has been dating for a while. I don't think she asked him to fill out an application that included a check box for RM, she likes the man that she sees and the person he is. I told him that as long he is living a temple worthy life he is good with me and his mother. I think as a church we have too many hang ups and cultural problems that we need to overcome, we are not perfect and our job is to be perfected by learning to look beyond our and others imperfections and look to The Savior as our only example.

  219. Anyone who serves a mission learns that the spectrum of faithfulness within missionaries who serve the full two years, is just as wide as within the regular membership in the church. Beside the wonderful experiences I had on my mission, the one most shocking thing to me was the number of missionaries who were not there by their own choice and were not gaining what they could have if they were driven by their own convictions. So some of those men went home even after two years, and didn't live the life they could have. Some even fell away. Would it be ideal for all young men to serve missions? Of course. And a mission is priceless training and testimony building experience of course…IF you serve faithfully and want to be there. I think the point she is trying to make is that serving a mission doesn't guarantee that they are or will be faithful and righteous, or that they share your same convictions and religious desires. Just like you can't assume that just because they didn't serve, they are less worthy and less driven to follow Heavenly Father's commandments. The reasons for staying home are more numerous than we can imagine, and frankly, it is none of our business why. Just like it is nobody else's business what we are working on or struggling with at any given time, as none of us have lived an absolutely perfect life. So each of us have things that we wish we had done, or mistakes in our past. How would it be if our spiritual/physical/emotional struggle that we face was used publicly as the measuring stick of our worthiness? What if your personal struggle or a mistake you made were talked about weekly in church, and you were consistently asked about it and treated differently for having that particular "mark" on your record. Would that be fair? Especially since in many cases, it isn't transgression that keeps young men home. So is it fair that they be punished and have to explain themselves to EVERYONE, and be frequently treated differently because of one detail of their life? Everyone accepts what the Lord commands and of course it is ideal for all young men to serve, but nobody but the Savior can claim they are the ideal person even if they do serve. She is encouraging Christlike behavior and reminding us how He would expect us to treat everyone. And further she is pointing out that we sell ourselves short when we place too much value on a surface event instead of finding out the inner attributes of a person.

  220. I think there are many who honorably serve or have the desire to serve but do not serve the conventional two-year mission because of health issues, and we need to make sure that these people do not feel left out and marginalized from the Lord's work. I really like this because I had to go through much in order to get my call because of my anxiety issues, and I am serving a full-time service mission in Salt Lake City because that is what the Missionary Dept and the Lord think is the best place for me. Many times throughout the last couple months I opened up to people about it, and people have been mostly understanding and supportive, and I am honored to have the chance to serve.

  221. This is the right question to ask. Maybe it's because I'm in the latter half of my 30s now, but as I read this I remembered my BYU days and my friends that struggle with this. I had a friend who came home early because his father died and his mother was legally blind and needed someone to help her. Another came from a very dysfunctional home life that had a lot to overcome before he would be ready to serve. So many isolated and varying stories you'd hear floating around, but together they were a trend. As a culture we were isolating people when we should be fellowshipping them. I even had a guy who stopped dating me because he only wanted to marry a return missionary. I was only 20 at the time, I couldn't have gone, and he had a goal to be married with in the year. Anyway, what I kept thinking as I read this article was…are these people's issues any of my business? I figured anyone I married I would be friends with first. As a good friend, I would eventually know all I needed to know about the circumstances surround a mission status. 5 or 10 years down the road, do we continue to deny a person's growth? Can we look at a person and say "Well, the Lord may have forgiven you, but I don't have to recognize it? My father and husband both were converts, joining around 26 yrs old. Someone on here posted that they could have gone on a mission up to age 29… I'd never heard of that out here, never heard of anyone being encouraged to go that late, but I don't believe that the Lord holds it against my husband for not going. It doesn't stop him from being a faithful member and a wonderful husband and father. If we can support the inactive that totally fell off the 'mormon' bandwagon and help get them back on the path, we should be able to do the same for anyone–even someone who chose not to serve a mission or had to come home for whatever reason. The commandment to go on a mission doesn't carry more weight that any other, but you don't see us giving up on someone struggling to get over an addiction, any more that you'd cut off someone struggling with their testimony of a full tithe. The people we are at 18 do not have to define us for the rest of our lives. That is the beauty of the atonement.

  222. Are there returned missionaries who are horrible people? Yes.
    Are there young men who would make good husbands but decided not to go on a mission? Yes.
    I agree that there's a whole lot of unnecessary judging going on and some other qualities definitely need to be examined more closely, but the simple fact of the matter is:
    IN GENERAL:
    Men with the self-mastery and testimony strong enough to serve a mission (BARRING CIRCUMSTANCES OUT OF HIS CONTROL) are further strengthened in their gospel anchor and made into less selfish people all around. This makes for great husband material.
    People can be selfish early in life, and then change, but they've missed out on a crucial opportunity.
    When boys don't understand the importance of keeping a commandment of God (even a tough one), they miss out on all that growing and learning. Girls for whom all that growing (and commandment keeping) are not important in their future spouse can (and will) feel free to remove RM from their wish-list.
    This is neither wrong nor right. It simply shows that her dedication to the gospel is about equal with the boy who had the chance, but decided not to serve. So, it works out.
    If I were a girl and the gospel was my top priority, I would be much less worried about hurting the feelings of a man with a weaker testimony, and more worried about giving my kids the strongest spiritual anchor available.
    A returned missionary doesn't always fit the bill. I agree there needs to be a full analysis of ALL attributes and background. But to totally discount RM as a goal is to tell the Lord He's silly for requiring it of young men who obviously have better things to do. Arianna may have had good intentions in posting this blog. (Helping those young men who are righteous but made mistakes in the past get "good Mormon wives" and feel better about themselves.) But what she has also accomplished (however unintentionally) is to lessen the importance of serving a mission in many people's eyes and to make young women looking for a stalwart spouse seem unchristlike.
    If you disagree with me, read some of the comments above. The overall theme seems to be:
    WE KNOW BEST. WHOLEHEARTED DEVOTION TO KEEPING THE LORDS COMMANDMENTS IS SILLY. ESPECIALLY WHEN SOME MEN ARE GETTING THEIR FEELINGS HURT.

  223. Darlin, THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! I have been STRUGGLING with these issues for close to 15 years. I am a worthy, honorable, Temple Recommend holder but because I was unable to serve a mission due some serious issues that have since been resolved, I have had almost no success in dating. I was in a Young Single Adult ward for most of that time and felt like it was a waste of my time because none of the girls wanted to have anything to do with someone who hadn't been on a mission. There were times during those years that I seriously considered giving up on church entirely just because I felt like I was giving, giving, giving, serving, asking women out regularly and constantly getting turned down for dates because I was that "Non-Missionary."

    I wish that they'd let me help teach the young women in my ward about how much-ultimately strictly from the standpoint of dating/romance-an RM is no better than any other guy that worthily holds a Temple Recommend and honors his Priesthood.

  224. Thank you for this wonderful post. I must let you know that I had extreme difficulty dating in the church. I was baptized when I was 21. I prayed many times about serving a mission. Every time I prayed the answer was, NO. I don't know why that was the answer, it wasn't from a lack of devotion. I was worthy and willing to serve, but I wasn't supposed to. I was able to go out on 1st dates with a lot of wonderful ladies, but very few would go on 2nd dates once they found out I wan't an "RM." This experience was received in Utah as well as 2 other states, so it is not just a BYU or Utah thing. Luckily, I found a wonderful woman who put more value in suitor that was worthy and actively going to the temple. She is the one that has helped me advance in the priesthood. It is because of her and who we are together that I was a High Priest less then 3 years after our wedding. I hope to instill the same concept with my daughter. I want her to find someone worthy and willing to take her to the temple…not "just" an RM. If they are a RM, great…only if they take her to the temple and continue to live in love and faith.

  225. Though I am sure there are many people who needed to hear your post, I wish a little more could have been added to your post. Before serving a mission, I didn't feel the need to marry an RM. I am a convert. Anyway, it took so little time for me on my mission to realize that was exactly the kind of man I wanted to marry. I had seen Elders who had their who hearts in service to The Lord and those who did not. I would say that of course their are valiant men who haven't served missions, and there are missionaries who return home and do awful things. So just marrying an RM isn't enough. My goal was to marry an RM who loved The Lord and still had a strong testimony. I wanted an RM as a husband for so many reasons. By serving, he would already set an example of missionary service for my children. There are also things you learn on your mission that you couldn't learn in any other way. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned on my mission was to love my most difficult companion. Missions teach you to stick by your companion no matter what. If I could love someone who I was stuck with not by choice, how could I not live my husband who I chose to love? Anyway, my point is that I get the heart behind the instruction to marry an RM. I think if you are following the Spirit, The Lord will lead you to a faithful companion. I know for me, choosing to marry an RM was a no brainier. I wanted a man who would sacrifice everything for The Lord. After serving a mission myself, I wanted someone who could relate to those experiences I had on my mission.

  226. Good posting. Good thoughts. I am confused by the logic behind this

    "I have also heard stories of young girls being taken advantage of at the hands of someone they thought was trustworthy simply because he was a returned missionary."

    Is RMs raping their dates a prevalent thing? What does that sentence mean. is it referring to sexual activity? i cant imagine it referring to monetary extortion or the like. Are you saying that young women throw out their standards of temple worthiness and engage in immoral behavior and then blame it on the man? I loved the post but that threw me for a loop.

  227. You must have a big chalkboard to keep track of all of those "marks" against people. I wonder how many you have. And your sons are probably the pornography addicted jerks who use their RM status to rape girls. I hope everyone can avoid you and your sons.

  228. Hello Arianna, my name is Samuel Jeppsen, I live in Queen Creek, AZ. I have served on two different bishoprics, one in a family ward and the other in a young single adult ward. I have also served on two different stake high councils, served as ward mission leader where I was allowed by the Lord to participate in 11 baptisms. I also served a two year mission in Arizona State Prison where I was in charge of the teaching of two different yards. Currently, I serve as the first and the only LDS law enforcement chaplain for one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Arizona. But like so many other men, I did not serve a mission when I was 19.

    In my 63 years of life experiences, what I will tell you is this. In my many opportunities to be around return missionaries, I have seen so many of them come home and disgrace themselves horribly. Equally, I have seen many other return missionaries come home and continue to grow spiritually toward the Savior and become incredible spiritual giants. To them, it was as if their mission catapulted them forward in life by several years. I so encourage every young man to go serve a mission at 19, because it is a time period that he cannot recapture and it sets the tone for him for the rest of his life–if he will commit to serve and commit to stay strong. I so envy and admire return missionaries and wish I was one but I am no longer fooled by that title. And make no mistake, the young man who did not serve, or who has made some really bad choices in life and cannot serve, can become a remarkable and exceptionally strong and valiant servant of the Lord. The apostle Paul and Alma are such examples. I know so many Paul's and Alma's in my life, men and women who have made incredible changes in their lives, all because of a feeling deep inside them that whispers, "I love you and I will help you." That whisper from the Holy Ghost is actually from the Lord. The Lord loves those that love Him and turn to Him and He blesses them and opens doors for them and He can and will, catapult them forward in life. If they will follow Him, in time, they can be where they would have been. The Lord judges and calls His servants based on their heart, not on their titles or who they once were.

    All callings and titles come and go. What remains is your Priesthood and who you choose to be. Your Priesthood is yours to build or diminish and though we all have the same Priesthood, we do not all have the same power in the Priesthood. You are right. being temple worthy, honoring your Priesthood and committing to the Lord, far out weighs any title we can obtain. As for dating? You only need one girl and if you are honoring your Priesthood, the Lord will lead that perfect girl to you and she will be the one you were to marry in the first place. With the Lord, everything becomes beautiful and perfect. Commit to Him, be strong, stay strong and forget about those that want to see your pedigree. The Lord has that perfect someone, just down the road from where you currently are. He lives and you can totally depend on Him for everything. So fear not and stand tall my brother and focus on the Lord and let the winds blow the shallow people aside.

  229. Great comment Ryan…I didn't really mean to post this as Unknown, this is just my first reply on a blog and I didn't really know how to do it. My name is David Thompson…grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but now live in Riverton, UT. Thanks again.

  230. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  231. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  232. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  233. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  234. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  235. I believe one of the main purposes of serving a full time mission is to build that character in a man. The work, the sacrifice, frustrations…yet you persevere, you stick it out, you work hard and do the best you can…that can build great faith and great strength of character. I think someone who flippantly disregards the prophets command because he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend, or his other friends, or wants to pursue his education, etc. is lacking in character. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons for not serving in that way, medical, emotional, mental, etc. but by and large, those who don't serve make that choice for selfish reasons. I think a young woman should definitely decide who to spend eternity with based on a title…titles like worthy priesthood holder, man of integrity, Christlike in his actions and words…so many worthy titles to which one of our Father in Heavens choice daughters should be attracted. And, yes, returned missionary is one of those titles to which she should be attracted, not because of the title, but because of the obedient sacrifice behind the title.

  236. “I don't see how you can write anything of value if you don't offend someone.”
    ― Marvin Harris

    The fact that a lot of people are angry at you is proof that you forced them to think. This is the epitome of good writing: intelligent prose that causes people to challenge their preconceptions.

  237. “I don't see how you can write anything of value if you don't offend someone.”
    ― Marvin Harris

    The fact that you made a lot of people angry is proof that you caused them to think outside of their comfort zone. This is the epitome of good writing: excellent prose that makes an original point and challenges our preconceptions.

  238. President Monson served a few months in the armed forces as the war was winding down. Then he went off to college. He could have served a mission if he wanted to, but it wasn't considered "mandatory" back then. I don't suppose that anyone would question his spirituality!

  239. Hi Ari. Thanks for your example and thoughts. I am a return missionary (brother) and interestingly enough I was involved in a similar question — should I marry a return missionary sister? Should I make that a requirement for a spouse? This is a far less stigmatised subject — but with interesting parallels.

    In a nutshell my conclusion was this: A returned sister missionary is more likely to have a higher level of spiritual maturity and understanding than one who has not served a mission, but this relationship is not absolute. — that's it. That's the conclusion. Nothing more. I landed up marrying a returned missionary so I am happy! She is awesome!

  240. This is beautifully articulated…(Great writing Arianna!!) as well as addressing a VERY important point in mormon culture. I agree 100%, and I also believe it addresses only a small SLIVER of mormon culture that is un-christlike. It's great to make a list of desired traits in our future spouse…..but it's important to ask ourselves if we are falling in love with those "things on the list" or the actual PERSON who possesses those qualities/behaviors. LOVE is important too….Admiring the person for the way he/she treats others, you, his callings, money, time, etc….. The culture does tend to get caught up in the "things" they are taught, and then feels it to be their right to look down on others who aren't doing those "things." It is VERY rampant and VERY sad….Thank you for addressing this! I don't have a current blogging account…so I chose anonymous…Reda Gomske :)

  241. Thank you for this information. I will be sure all three of my daughters read this. My husband served in the military instead of going on a mission. He wished now he had gone on a mission, but you know what? We both will go on a mission together when our children leave home. Also, we do what we can at home in our own communities. We have been married 30 years. We were pushing our oldest daughter into dating RMs for awhile, but found she was feeling uncomfortable with this because she strayed from the church her senior year in high school. She has a two year old child and has gone through some tremendous battles, but is a better person for them today. She finds it difficult to date a Returned Missionary because they have that attitude that they can get any girl because of their mission, so why look for one with a ready made family? Also, shame on the judgmental mothers of the Returned Missionaries who feel the same way. You may miss out on getting to know some wonderful people. My grandson needs a father who holds the priesthood. Luckily, they both live with us and my husband is an outstanding example for him. The bond is strong. I am so for a worthy priesthood holder any day who has a good, caring heart. These good men are out there and she is finding them. I am sure they are thrilled to know my daughter is a strong member of the church who is willing to accept them for who they are and not what status they hold and I am so proud of her. Nobody knows what struggles these young men have gone through, and many, like my daughter, may have strayed and fought their way back and have the strongest testimonies of all because of their experiences. Bravo for your good words of encouragement.

  242. Anonymous, you keep using the word "commandment." Serving a mission is recommended, and the Lord has said that every young man who can serve should. However, it is NOT a commandment or it would be required of EVERY worthy young man, not just those who are able. (The word of wisdom and the law of chastity are required of ALL members.) People would also not be turned away because of physical inability to serve. Do you see temple covenants restricted by ability to attend regularly? But regular temple attendance is also a recommendation (commandment, according to you) on the same level.

    Worthiness is the point here. No one is going to be denied salvation because they didn't serve a mission. Maybe in your view "not serving a mission" is something to be repented of. In which case, once the repentance process is over it is OVER. Repentance complete, sin purged. At which point, judging that individual for past sins is against the law of God. It is not up to you to say he is unworthy if the Lord has forgiven him.

    "Thou shalt not judge" is also a commandment on the same level, and personally I'd put it higher on the commandment totem pole than "Thou shalt serve a mission."

  243. That is not at all what she is saying, and you are being just plain hateful. You can have a difference of opinion without being rude. I feel bad for you.

  244. I think people in general would rather have a checklist, regardless of religious status. Critical thinking is something learned through experience.

  245. I totally agree with the spirit of what you are saying. I myself have a son on a mission, he has struggled and at times considered returning home due to stress and medical issues. I know he has very much worried about the stigma of returning early. I also personally know several worthy and wonderful young men that have returned early due to medical and lack of preparation. A mission is very stressful and requires a great deal of discipline and maturity that many young men and women do not understand prior to leaving on their mission. I myself wanted to serve a mission, but I was told that the Lord had other things in mind for me. Within a few months I was called to serve a different kind of mission on my college campus. I was also diagnosed with a chronic disease just months later. I would have never been able to serve a full time mission due to my health. My father a convert at the age of 29, married with two children was ridiculed and ostracized by local members because he had not served a mission. Many never asked why. He was worthy to receive the priesthood right away and went through the temple one year later with his family. He always was worthy of a temple recommend, but very often not allowed to comment in meetings because he was not a RM. The Lord knows each of us and in reality each of us have a very individual mission to serve here on earth. Sometimes that does not include a full time mission. I have been ridiculed by many for not serving a mission and I am a woman. Many of my family members still make comments like I am less of a member of the church because I did not serve a full time mission. I have dated both returned missionaries and those who did not go or returned early and believe me many of the returned missionaries were not living the gospel. The point is that we should not judge. We should learn to love and serve the Lord, which means that each person we meet should be looked at as a child of God. I have a very close friend that married a non-member and was devastated that she did not marry in the Temple. She prayed and prayed about it and the Lord let her know that this was her path. Years later her husband is a worthy priesthood holder who serves in the Stake Presidency. The Lord knew what was best for her and her husband. He knew the value of his soul and knew in time he would accept the gospel. I am in no way saying to marry a non-member, or avoid returned missionaries, I married one, but I looked at his soul and his testimony and his worthiness to take me to the temple first. We need to be careful not to make the "returned missionary" a graven idol in our lives. We need to learn to consider each soul as our Heavenly Father considers us. Would we want our Savior to judge us as harshly as we are judging others? I advise my daughter that she needs to look at the person first and then his accomplishments. It is true that the Prophets have said that every young man should serve a mission, but they also have said that they need to be worthy and prepared. Marrying a RM does add additional blessings to your marriage and family, but only if the young man has prepared and served worthily. We all know that the Lord made repentance available to all of us. If you believe in repentance all of the blessings of a mission can be obtained at a later point in time. Study the gospel so that you understand the true sense of the gospel and missionary work. The Lord always provides an opportunity for those that are living the gospel. Have faith and love everyone.

  246. No need to be sad. Maybe the girl is just saying I want to marry someone who is following a prophet of God and who has shown that he has dedicated two years of his life in helping others find and enjoy the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  247. TO: AnonymousMay 19, 2014 at 7:29 AM
    You don't make sense. You make it sound like there is a difference. Like if they love the temple, but decide they don't need to obey the commandments(this is referring to missionaries who could serve but chose not to) then it's ok. Your own argument can be used against you. A mission isn't just a check list. It's their commitment to Jesus Christ. You're a sad soul putting down women for wanting a returned missionary because of what that should mean. It should mean they are selfless and committed and willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ. STOP making women feel bad for wanting that.

    She makes perfect sense. Please re-read the post in its entirety.
    What she is saying is that being a returned missionary should not be on a list of musts that disregard all else. In my younger years, I dated many different types of young men. Short, tall, blonde, dark haired, blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, different ethnicities, older than me, younger than me as well as members and non-members. The fact that they served a mission should not be your only compass. You must use righteous discretion as she states. I have known young men that served “honorable” missions who were more a danger to my chastity then the pot smoking drug dealer who wanted to date me in my early 20’s. Righteous Discretion.
    Do not put statements out that she is a “sad soul” for putting women down for wanting this. She is not doing that. She is explaining a viewpoint and a growth of her spiritual understanding. I like in your comment how you talk about what serving a mission should mean. It should mean “they are selfless and committed and willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ.” Yes it should mean that. What about the young man who serves because he’s pressured to because of this Mormon culture? Serves his two years, comes home “honorably”? Were there lives that were touched for good? Were there lives that got the wrong impression of the church? Those are only questions that the Lord can answer.
    Use righteous discretion in chosing a spouse. I have been married for 8 years to a wonderful man, who did not serve a mission. He often felt bad about this because every other member of his family did serve, even his sisters. He should not feel bad. The Lord knows him and knows his heart. This is for no one else to judge. I could not have asked for a better spouse and father for my children then him. We are forever a family because of the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the ability to be sealed on Earth in the Temple of our Lord.
    Now, anonymous, stop feeling judged or guilty or whatever you are feeling and I pray that you will grow in your spiritual understanding and become converted to the church. That you will use righteous discretion, understand that serving a mission is a lifelong pursuit as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and stop feeling bad about your “checklist”.

  248. So…I recently started dating a guy who tried to serve his mission three times, but each time had to come home because of illness. Even now, years later, it is still one of the most difficult parts of his life that he wasn't able to serve a full mission. You're right. For me, it was a shocker. I've never had "RM" on my list but it's always been at least an INITIAL indicator that that man was willing to follow the prophet. But still, men go on missions for all kinds of reasons. To judge the intent (whether selfish or obedient) would be wrong and just deceiving myself anyway. Many a woman has been taken advantage of by an RM. Now that I've gotten to know this guy better, he is sensitive to the Spirit and sweet and very committed to the Gospel. I admit, I didn't exactly know how to react when he told me he didn't ever really serve a full mission. Probably because I'm a little judgmental and probably partly because I'm just a product of the culture. And it is NOT just Utah. I served my mission in the Philippines and everybody there is all about marrying an RM (for both men and women). I've thought about how we gauge spirituality when we're dating. I don't know how I feel about it. Should you try to gauge another person's righteousness when you're dating them? Or let other things take precedence?

  249. I think "Why" is an extremely important question for both those who have and those who haven't served. In regards to my own personal dating choices, if there was something (illness, military, personal circumstances, anything) that interfered with a worthy young man's ability to serve even though he wanted to, I think he's every bit as honorable as if he had been able to go. If they just didn't go because they didn't feel like it at the time, I'm not going to automatically write them off, but they are going to have to show me that they've changed and they now take their responsibilities more seriously. The atonement is a beautiful thing.
    But likewise, if the reason that an RM went on his mission in the first place was because his parents made him or because everybody else was going and it was expected of him and not because he actually wanted to be out there bringing his fellow human beings unto Christ, that's also going to be an issue, and he would also need to exhibit a change of heart before I considered dating him.
    Actions are important, but so are the desires of our hearts.

  250. It is SO good that You say these things. So many people do have a perspective so wrong and unchristlike. It hurts to read how some members fail to see how hurtful and judgemental they are. I hope many read your blog and go and say sorry to those they have hurt. Thank you for sharing.
    Norwegian lds mum of Five children

  251. No decision, no matter how small, is without consequence but I'd encourage caution here. I agree, that we should not be judging any RM or non-RM (or any person for that matter) toward any form of condemnation; it's not our place. Going on a mission can be a positive and uplifting experience where righteous commandment-abiding persons (and sometimes unrighteous persons) go forth as part of an apostolic charge to "teach all nations.” However, I'd be hesitant to give the mission going experience commandment-level status. It is a "strong tradition" (see Mormon.org) that yields many fruits but I'm not aware of its elevated status as a canonized commandment to ALL (or even half of the) members of the Church. I'll echo the words of President Richards, "I fear dictatorial dogmatism, rigidity of procedure and intolerance even more than I fear cigarettes, cards, and other devices the adversary may use to nullify faith and kill religion … They have garbed it in black and then in white, when in truth it is neither black nor white, any more than life is black or white, for religion is life abundant, glowing life, with all its shades, colors and hues, as the children of men reflect in the patterns of their lives the radiance of the Holy Spirit in varying degrees." Please, let us not elevate the traditions of men by mingling it with scripture. That said, a tradition does not have to be scripture-infused or commandment-based in order for it to be of "good report or praiseworthy."

  252. Such wisdom. You have written about something that could be applied in any faith, in any walk of life. It is called being a Christian and you have great understanding of that role.

  253. Thanks for writing about this! I came across your blog because a FB friend shared it! I shared with a mother of a neighbor that came home earlier and is struggling! Truthful loving and healing words you've written here!

  254. Thank you for your post! I feel like I ran into this problem myself, as a young woman who decided to NOT serve a mission. I've never had anybody shun me for my decision, but as a student at BYU-Idaho I felt quite a bit of pressure to go on a mission. When I prayed about it, I got the answer that motherhood is a very important part of missionary work. I realized that being a mother was my missionary calling, and that nobody's opinion could change that.

  255. to this ignorant fool whoever you are, why dont you tell this to the prophet himself who never served a mission. If you degrade young men who never served a mission or even returned early, then you are defaming the prophet because he falls under the category of men who never served a mission.

  256. I really enjoyed the line "We are so consumed with returned missionary status or the lack thereof that we completely disregard what I feel are the most important qualities to seek in a potential spouse: outstanding character and temple worthiness." It seems you have learned what most have not, that an RM status does not equal an amazing person you can trust to raise a family. I met a woman who told me when she learned her boyfriend was getting ready to propose, she tracked down his mission president and said "my eternal happiness and success will largely be determined by your honesty here- what kind of missionary was he?" A lot of people thought she was too harsh in this action. I praised her for it. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said "show me how a person served their mission and I will show you how they will live the rest of their life". Girls to need to look for much more than a title when seeking a spouse. I agree they need to look for "outstanding character and temple worthiness".

  257. You might not be an RM. I wasn't either. I i was out for 20 months and made a mistake and came home early. I was shunned by my ward and many others also. You might not be temple worthy and neither am I, but you can still become temple worthy. I am working hard to become temple worthy. I keep failing but I am still progressing. I have addictions that are hard to beat, but I try not to loose hope that one day I will be temple worthy. I made it my goal, my focus.

  258. I grew up in Arizona, not Utah, but wherever the Church is strong the culture exists. To be honest, I never wanted to be a missionary. Traveling far away from family, friends, opportunities for fun, to talk to complete strangers about something they probably didn't want to hear? Sounds awesome, right? Some of the missionaries I had met growing up were jerks, too, and I'd seen people come home from their missions and crap out pretty hard. I didn't want to be like that. Now, here I am on my mission (in Utah, I might add), and this article applies so much to things I see on a daily basis. That includes the people I work with, the missionaries I associate with, and myself. Nobody is perfect, especially not missionaries. We're human beings, too, and when others forget that, (or we forget that) something is left to be desired.
    Missions are great, but it's more of a learning experience and a service opportunity than anything else.
    Thanks for the article!

  259. That isn't the point of the this blog. The point of the blog is not to judge men who have nade mistakes in their lives and to accept them. She is not justifying not keeping the commandments

  260. I once sat down with my grandmother, a strong LDS member of the church that immigrated to the US around the time of WWII from Austria. "Immigrated" is better than "fled" but both are correct to varying degrees. She met my grandfather who passed away back in 2004 during his mission to Switzerland. As I was visiting with her, she stressed the importance of serving a mission and how the Lord commanded it but the one thing I heard her say that was different was that the spiritual experiences we find on the mission should continue along with the habits after the mission. If a returned missionary can only comment in Sunday School and Priesthood using his mission experiences that occurred 5 years ago, it begs the question of how he has been living his life since. When we were released, this doesn't mean that the pattern of mission life should be over. I live in Utah. I graduated from BYU. I had missionary-related and spiritually uplifting experiences the entire time and still do while I am up at the University of Utah for graduate school. There are good RM's and there are bad RM's. There are young men who didn't serve that are spiritual giants. If you want to measure the caliber of priesthood holder's power, think of CTR (Current Temple Recommend) and try to find out if he regularly attends the temple. I'm not looking for someone who is simply worthy when the Lord calls on them but someone who makes time to serve the Lord as well. Missions create a lifelong pattern. Lifelong. The same is true with our conversions. Some people in the church will not date or marry someone if they are not a virgin. Whether you are a convert to the church or born into the covenant, there are issues with promiscuity, rape, and other sexual forms of indiscretion and abuse that have become prevalent and are growing in our society. Although I have never been sexually intimate with another person, I don't dig into another person's past. So again, the question should be about our present and future desires which goes back to temple attendance and a temple marriage. I don't care if I was the first as long as I am the last.

  261. Thank you. I can't express to you the impact this "RM or bust" mentality has had in my life, and the nearly a decade of bitterness, pain, and anger that came as a result. These feelings still live with me deeply, although I've been much better able to let it go in recent years. I was a young man who was living by most church standards, but didn't serve, and I felt completely neglected, looked down upon, and alone. To the point where it took joining the military and leaving Utah for me to find any semblance of faith again. I'm still struggling, but I know the end goal is a family sealed in the temple and all that that entails. Meaning I have to find a wife who shares this MUCH more Christlike view that you have described, or else a guy like me would never have a chance.

  262. Thank you. I can't express to you the impact this "RM or bust" mentality has had in my life, and the nearly a decade of bitterness, pain, and anger that came as a result. These feelings still live with me deeply, although I've been much better able to let it go in recent years. I was a young man who was living by most church standards, but didn't serve, and I felt completely neglected, looked down upon, and alone. To the point where it took joining the military and leaving Utah for me to find any semblance of faith again. I'm still struggling, but I know the end goal is a family sealed in the temple and all that that entails. Meaning I have to find a wife who shares this MUCH more Christlike view that you have described, or else a guy like me would never have a chance.

  263. Thank you so much for writing this. I returned home after three weeks in the MTC due to some complicated issues with depression. The experience returning home helped solidify my testimony, it helped me grow and change. It helped me to be more caring and less judgmental. Unfortunately it came with a stigma that follows me every day. I have been dating the love of my life for a few years. Why aren't we married yet? Complications due to members of her family actively disliking me because I am not an RM. I love her, I treat her like the Queen she is. I love the church and the gospel. I have a firm and strong testimony and I love the temple and can't wait to take her there with me. None of this matters to the members of her family, because I had to return home I am less for it in their eyes. They claim that I quit things when they get tough, all because of one instance in my past.

    Thank you for posting this and being understanding. It moved me to tears.

  264. I think you have a great point here. Being a returned missionary I can agree completely. The only thing I disagree is telling the Prophet how to do his job. He is the prophet not you, so no, don't tell President Monson to change.

  265. I don't know if this has been touched on, but I felt it should be included. Also if someone serves part of a mission and comes home early because of unworthiness, then turns his/her life around and is again Temple worthy, they to do not deserve to be shunned or looked down upon. Even at the moment of their return, we should be reaching out, lifting up and loving them. Hoping they will return again to full worthiness. We are all imperfect striving to be more Christ-like. We should never judge others. Christ paid the price for all our sins and it's not too late to return to him. Thanks for the post. This hits close to my heart.

  266. Yes, it is a commandment that every young man serve a mission. But, sometimes it is the willingness and intent of the heart that the Lord really cares about. Those who "came home early" for whatever reason or "weren't able to serve" for whatever reason kept the commandment just by showing they were willing. And maybe that's all that was needed.

  267. I have said it over and over and over…. "Returned Missionary" only means you spent 2 years away from home…. I served a mission and nobody knows what kind of missionary I was except ME. But, I am lumped along with every other returned missionary out there… Some are good, some are great, some were struggling. But, we are all returned missionaries… I did not marry a returned missionary and he is an amazing and wonderful man. My son didn't serve a mission – and he is an amazing husband and father and respected professional. Nuff Said.

  268. I am a convert to the Church. I served a mission. My husband is a lifelong, ancestors knew the Prophet Joseph,member and did not serve a mission. And he has caught crap for it ever since. We are currently living in his small, Mormon hometown. And if there is ever a problem with his business it is because, "he didn't serve a mission". I'm not going to tell you he is perfect. He's far from it. But the judgement he has received over the years, the "oh, he's our special project in Elder's Quorum 'cause he didn't serve a mission" has driven him right out of the Church, almost. He maintains his membership on paper. And that's it. Thank you for writing this candid blogpost. It is very needed. I am raising my children in the Church. Doing my best in what feels like a part-member family. We started in the Temple. There are no guarantees of anything. The Temple President that you had lunch with was ABSOLUTELY correct. Our focus should be the Temple. A mission should be valued and prepared for. BUT the TEMPLE should be our FOCUS.

  269. Exactly, anonymous! This whole blog is such crap. I hate it. Messed up and unrighteous agenda indeed. Yet, she thinks she's being so helpful. Judging under the facade of "love one another", and "wwjd", and "don't judge!".

  270. Thank you for posting this. It is very well written. I've been a member of the church for 35 years. I was married in the temple and sent two sons on missions. One son struggled his entire mission. I asked him before his mission if he wanted to go, he replied "No", I asked why,….his response rings in my ears to this day…"because it's what we do". My heart broke for him that day. Sadly, my relationship with his father was not one that gave me the option to stand up for my son. So he went, he served, he struggled and he came home an honorable RM. His dad never served, and because of that he made sure his sons did. My son's mission president knew of his struggles and allowed him phone conversations with his dad while on his mission. Part of me is grateful that he stayed and "endured to the end", because it taught him that he could 'do hard things'. Another part is sad that he felt like a prisoner for most of the two years…he felt obligated and…he felt unworthy to be "teaching" the gospel to others because he struggled with his own testimony. He's been home for 10 years now. He remains active in the church…he still struggles with his testimony from time to time. He hasn't married yet….so in his case the RM label hasn't helped. :) His father and I divorced after 31 years of marriage. I am remarried to the love of my life and my very best friend. He didn't serve a mission…he has not been active for the past 20 years….we are not sealed in the temple. I'm happier now than I have ever been in my 35 years as a member of the church. I know the church is true, yet I struggle with the fact that the church teaches us to 'love thy neighbor' and not judge, while also teaching us to date only members and "RM's" and go on missions whether we want to or not. My husband is not active nor did he serve a mission….but he is an amazing husband, friend and a very good man. I pray that my son falls in love and marries a wonderful woman. He also knows that I will be just as happy for him if, for whatever reason, he doesn't marry in the temple. I had an active, temple going husband for 31 years. It didn't work out so well. I have a new outlook on what it means to be 'Christlike', 'a good neighbor' and a 'good person'. Those labels are not just for the active LDS.

  271. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable she actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  272. I definitely agree with everything you said, but the point you missed is that the statistics are if a young man never serves an LDS mission, comes home early for non-medical reasons, or doesn’t serve in the military etc, they are more likely to give up on goals that they set for their life like getting an education or holding down a job to financially take care of their family. Statistics show that if a father never serves an honorable mission, the son is not likely to serve either. The same goes for college. I am an honorable return missionary who graduated college and can financially take care of my family. I feel like you beat it like a dead horse focusing on how people judge the person who never went on a mission or came home early. You are right, they should not be judged so harshly or thrown aside, but I think you should have given more credit to the honorable return missionary throughout your article. I can also say that if you had served a mission, you probably wouldn’t be so harsh. One of the missions of the church is to proclaim the gospel, and hopefully one day you will serve for eighteen months and understand that accomplishment. In D&C 18:15-16 it says, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” Please remember how great the honorable full time return missionary is.

  273. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable she actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  274. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable she actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  275. Sorry ladies, but marrying a returned missionary does not guarantee you that your marriage will be all sunshine and roses, nor does it guarantee that you won't be potentially marrying a jerk. People and their circumstances are not so black and white. That's not to say that there aren't awesome loving husbands that are returned missionaries! You just have to proceed with caution :)

  276. I appreciate this post. My son just came home from his mission early because of major depressive disorder. It wasn't by choice-he wanted to stay but his mission president felt that he really needed the medical help (he was overseas and no medication was available). He received an honorable release and was told by his mission president what an inspiration he had been to the entire mission. He refused to submit to the depression but submitted to the direction of his mission president to come home. He is the strongest, most insightful, deep thinking and compassionate person I know, but is now faced with dating after his mission was cut short by something out of his control. The short shortsightedness and rush to judgement of some young ladies is astounding. They tell themselves that they are upstanding Mormon girls but judge others so harshly. If they were worth my breath, I would tell them that my son has been through more and has learned more in the year that he was out than most other RMs do in their lifetime. As has been expressed in other comments, being an RM does not make you a quality human being.

  277. Great article! And SO true! My hubby and I were sealed nearly three years ago. We are 5 years apart, and he did not serve a mission. I remember talking to him when we were dating (and even now) that he feels a bit of a sting when asked if/where he served a mission. Although he didn't have any negative encounters with girls (our YSA is pretty small, so everyone's pretty friendly) he still hated when the topic of missions/age came up. I remember asking him if he had gone on a mission before we had even started dating, I even asked if he was still planning on going on one (he was 23 at the time) to which he said he was unsure. Recently in Elders Quorum they were talking about missionary work, and he was asked where he served. He said he didn't, and the conversation was dropped. He said he felt awkward, and a bit singled out. I love my hubby, and I know that even though he didn't serve a mission, he is a spiritual man. He tries to make sure we teach our 17 month the importance of prayer and I know that she feels his love when he wraps his arms around her to teach her to fold her arms. YW need to remember that even a man without RM status can fulfill their duty as a husband, father, and friend just as well as those with RM status.

  278. I agree ^^^. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable." She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. It not the responsibility of other active members to punish those who didn't serve/came home early in any way, shape, or form. Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  279. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  280. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  281. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  282. I love this post! But I think there was a judgement placed on those who come home and fall away. That does not necessarily mean that they served any less worthily, or that their whole mission was a waste of time with them thinking about all the things they would be free to do once they were home. I certainly didn't come home thinking about all the commandments I wanted to break, or how I wanted nothing to do with the gospel. They put their hearts and souls into their missions, and coming home is incredibly hard! It is something that people who have not experienced it simply do not understand, and even those who have served don't necessarily understand it. It is personal to each individual. When I was serving and right when I came home, it was beyond comprehension for me how any one could fall away or struggle with the gospel. You just spent 18 months-2 years teaching people about how great and important it is! But, I really really came to understand. Unfortunately the hard way. I've made some horrible decisions since being home, but I'm working on it. Just like I taught the people on my mission that they could do no matter what. The Savior is real, his Atonement is real, and we need to not forget that or allow us to say to someone else that it doesn't work for them in judging their life choices. I don't want to feel like I am a terrible horrible awful person for not remaining super strong and steadfast. It's been the hardest thing of my life. I am not perfect. My mission did not make me perfect. I agree that all the judgement needs to stop. I served and am so grateful I did, and I would definitely advocate for everyone to go! I'm biased. 😉 A mission is hard, coming home is hard, coming home early for whatever reason, I cannot even imagine. And it all comes from the fact we are so quick to judge and allow people to feel they've failed in some way. Thank you again for writing this! It all needed to be said.

  283. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  284. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  285. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  286. Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 'And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!' Many people read this scripture and the one after it and forget the most crucial part of it! It annoys that crap out of me that so many people are missing such a simple truth. The one soul mentioned in this scripture is your soul. Your personal soul. That's the most important thing that people should be worried about. Thank you for this wonderful post I loved it so much and it means so much to me that you understand the true Gospel

  287. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  288. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  289. Thank you for writing this. This is something that I feel strongly about because I chose to come home early from my mission and had to endure the stigma that came along with that decision. What most people don't know is that I had become extremely depressed while on my mission. It wasn't at all what I expected. I was told my whole life that it was this amazing, spiritual experience, and when I got to my mission, I quickly found out that it was more like business. Everything that was ever discussed in district and zone conferences was numbers and how we can improve our numbers. In fact, I recall one district meeting where the zone leaders boasted about how many lessons they were teaching a week compared to the rest of the zone and chastised us for being lazy, but in reality, we were in an extremely difficult area to teach. Also, I never once felt the spirit in a single lesson (and it wasn't because I was unworthy as some people would think). So, I had become extremely sad and depressed to the point that I thought of hurting myself so I could go home because I felt that people would be less likely to judge me if they thought I had an accident and was medically released.
    My mission left me with a feeling of contempt for the church, and when I came home, I became inactive. It has been over 4 years since I came home from my mission and I haven't been able to recover the feelings I had for the church before I went, and in fact, have decided to leave the church. I have discovered many issues with its history and with Joseph Smith and have come to the conclusion that it isn't the one true church, but it is a religion made by man – as all religions are.
    I really do hope that the church, for its sake, deals with this and the many other issues that are present. I feel that people are getting tired of its judgemental culture and it's wanting to control every aspect of their lives. The church really is not good for the individual and the leaders need to realize this and make adjustments or else it won't have much of a future.
    Once again, thank you for writing this and thank you for being a free thinker.

  290. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  291. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  292. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  293. The only acceptable reason for a person to discriminate people that did not serve a mission is if their patriarchal blessing specifically counsels them to marry an RM. Other than that, I believe a lot of sisters miss out the chance of marrying a great man when they dismiss the potential boyfriend when they hear he did not serve a mission. My husband did not serve a mission. Instead he joined the navy and served there for six years. Many sisters turned him down whenever they heard he did not serve a mission. Although I served a mission myself, I did not judge him, and we married in the temple four years ago. I am so happy with him, and I know he is even more spiritual than many guys that are RMs.

  294. President Monson did not serve a mission as a young man. He was not a returned missionary – but he was a mission president later in life. It was a good thing that Sister Monson wasn't as judgmental about whether President Monson checked off the requirement of him being a returned missionary or if she simply judged him as being a good man. Hmmmm….

  295. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  296. I don't care for the checklists at all. I think it is a good idea to look for christlike attributes and WHO the person is that you are dating at the time. Not what they have or have not done in their life. Attributes, someone's character and how they treat you are far more important than a checklist of accomplishments. Instead, while dating someone, girls should be taught how to measure their character in their interaction, not by finding out if he went on a mission. Watch how he treats you and others, if he keeps his commitments, if he has a job and takes it seriously, how he treats his family, little children, and those he has nothing to gain from interacting with. How does he act when tired or stressed? Those things will tell you more about someone than a list of accomplishments. If someone is on the honor roll, that is great, but how their name got there is more important. If a young man is serving others, pursuing his career or education, and treats people with kindness and respect and honors his commitments, then if a mission helped him form those qualities, fantastic! A mission should help a young man form those qualities and for many it does, but it doesn't guarantee it.

  297. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  298. I am the mother of a mission aged son that is not planning on going on a mission right now. He is hurt by the "if you're not going on a mission, there's something wrong with you" attitude that he hears from many LDS kids his age, both girls and boys. As he starts school at Utah State University in the Fall and is looking for friends to be roommates, he is feeling left behind or looked down on as he watches many of them leave on their missions. I do applaud his two closest friends, however, that are leaving on their missions soon – they've been just as excited about my son being admitted to USU as my son was about their mission calls. I hope in the coming years that the left behind feelings will be not be as much as a factor as they are right now. I love my son and it's been hard to watch him go through this.

  299. I grew up mostly in Utah, went to Ricks College AND BYU and I guess I had a different experience. I never heard a story where a girl wouldn't date a guy because he wasn't a return missionary. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but it certainly wasn't as prevalent, at least not with the people I was around. I knew plenty of guys that didn't go on missions, maybe they were converts or for whatever reasons, but I guess I just had a very different experience. But I can see where you are going with it.

  300. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week. She is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  301. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  302. This is such a Utah thing and specifically a utah county thing. The church is great but some members are a little brain washed in how they think…Every member should prepare for a mission but a mission isnt for everybody. Ive gone to school outside utah for five years and im moving back in August…wish me luck in momron dating scene with the non-rm status haha.

  303. Thank you so much for this. I admire my daughter so much for not allowing the "not an RM" status of her sweetheart to stop her from marrying him. He had committed an indiscretion as a younger teenager, and his bishop, using the "raise the bar" standard, didn't allow him to serve, even after an extended time of repentance. He was given a firm "no" to serving a mission, even though he sincerely wanted to go. He was assured that his past mistake in no way made him any less worthy to get in to the Celestial Kingdom or to serve in any other way in the Church. It was simply a consequence of an action he had chosen. My daughter was able to buck the social pressures to marry an RM and see him for who he really is. I admire my daughter, but even more, I admire my son-in-law for staying strong in the Church while attending BYU where judgement can be rampant. He has shown just how reliable he is by serving as a 24 year old member of a bishopric in a student singles ward. I also have another daughter who is currently serving a mission herself, but who is planning to marry a wonderful young man who is now investigating the church and is waiting for her. He has passed the age where he could serve a mission, so that is not a possibility for him. I would have been thrilled to have my daughters marry worthy RMs, but I'm just as thrilled that they chose wonderful young men based on character and righteousness rather than a status.

  304. What a wonderful post! In reply to your comment, Arianna, I sincerely hope that you will write a post on young women and the pressure/expectations for them to now serve. I had just turned 19 when the age was lowered at BYU and while many of my friends left, I have received much criticism for deciding not to serve. Women of the church need not serve a mission, but the LDS culture (or perhaps simply, the BYU culture) is starting to harshly judge those women

  305. There are no guarantees in life, except death and taxes. I agree that there are some fantastic men that have not been able to serve missions for whatever reason, or have had to come home early, and there are some total DUDs who served missions. Yes, don't judge the men who have their hearts in the right place. However, I don't think taking RM off your list is a good thing either. Most people do serve and serve honorably. I don't know if you are in Utah or another densely populated Mormon enclave, but think of the world wide church when you write these words. There are more people that show love and compassion to these men who have not been able to serve, or who have come home early than you might think. And when you do run across people being harsh, correct them as the Savior would, with love as an opportunity to teach charity and compassion. Missionary service is important, and is a good thing to have "on your list". I am thankful, that after dating several RMs who were horrible, I kept RM on my list. My husband's missionary service has blessed our family and those in our circle immensely.

  306. As a mother of three girls, I always listed personal attributes they should look for rather than look for a RM. I myself married a nom member that I love with all my heart. He is a great man, husband and father. He is now a member and we are sealed as a family, but the man he is now is the man he has always been. Had I been taught to me narrow minded, I would have missed out on the best man.

    I feel that to judge solely on membership or mission status is just ignorant. There are RMs and members who are awful people and non members who are amazing people. Girls need to look at the man as a whole. Case in point, my sister insisted her girls marry a return missionary. They all did, but one of the men turned out to be abusive, so did that RM status make him a good husband…no. I have a daughter that married a non member who is a good man, a hard worker, kind, loves God and adores my girl. So I ask, who is better off? I say teach our girls (and boys) to chose a spouse that is good and kind rather than by labels places upon them.

  307. Excellent article!! And so very necessary to have this said!! In all these comments I recognize the same story my husband tells. When he was in his early 20s, he went to go visit his sister at BYU and the first question any girl would ask him was where he served his mission. When he said he hadn't gone, they would turn away without another word. His response was, "If you are expecting me to have served a mission in order to even talk to me, then I have every right to expect you to have served. Where did you serve? Oh, you haven't? Then you have no right to judge me." I wish these young women, and members in general, realized how their attitude devalues THEM in all aspects, not the person they are judging. It so happens that my husband did end up serving a mission, but it was between him and the Lord when he served, not an age on a calendar. And, on top of that, he waited for me while I served my mission. We have been enjoying our temple marriage for over 18 years now. Thankfully we are judged of God by the dictates of our conscience, not by what others narrow-mindedly think of us!! Thank you again for a wonderful post!

  308. I have, for years, heard the chants, which are: "When are you going on a mission?", and "When are you getting married?"
    Without as much as asking me as to HOW I felt about this, myself. And, I WAS pressured into serving a Mission, that I did not really want to go on. Even to the Australia Melbourne Mission. Which, I did serve in; yet, most days, I really wanted to go home, and not come back.
    The Church is good at using subtle and covert means at making a man ( or woman ) feel insignificant. And of nil value to anyone. Because the desire is not there.

    I want to say to all whom read this post of mine:
    If you don't want to go on a Mission; DON'T. Nobody has any right to make you do what you don't want to. This is treading upon a person's right to choose. And attempting to destroy their worth.

  309. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  310. However, you will not be kept out of the Kingdom of God for not serving a mission. You will if you don't receive the Temple Ordinances. Another commandment is to be Christlike – not speaking to someone that did not serve a mission is hypocritical and the furthest from being Christlike I can imagine.

  311. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  312. Very well written article. Thank you so much for it. I'm a mother of an inactive, but great in every other ways, son. He asked us one day if we got any bad treatment from people at church for his not going on a mission, because he knows it's a stigma. We said, if we did, we didn't know it because we didn't hang out with people who would do that. We told him before that we'll support his decision of going on a mission but we will not force him to go if he doesn't want to. We believe it's the worse thing to force a young man to go on a mission merely to keep up the image. We love our son and proud of him and his accomplishments. He graduated from college and working really hard.

  313. Thanks so much for this post. I am one of those men that did not serve a mission. I am lucky to have found a wonderful woman who has been by my side for 12 years now. We have 3 beautiful daughters and I would highly recommend this post to them. I don't want them to date or marry someone just because they are a RM. I want them to marry someone who will care for them, love them, respect them and do their best to live the commandments and gospel standards.

  314. Amen to this Blog. As a mother of three sons. Two served missions(twins). One did not, and we almost lost him, at the very least to inactivity. He was told while in high school, by a girl he liked, that she only wanted to marry an RM. I'm sure he had confided to her he did not want to serve back then (by the way, we live on the west coast). It has been a HUGE struggle for both him and me. There is much more to our story. But he managed to make it to church 95% of the time and taught primary while in our family ward. To get a much needed change of "scenery", he moved to Provo of all places, to be around his brothers and look for work. I'm grateful for divine intervention and a beautiful BYU coed for falling head over heels after him and marrying him in the temple (yes, he remained worthy even though he did not want to go on a mission, though therewere a couple nonmember friends back home who wanted to help him fail). He had just told us he was planning to move back home and go back to school saying he felt out of place in Provo, when he met his future wife. She saw his worth and made sure he noticed. A little while later, so did her parents (thankfully, but they had there moment of struggle as well).
    This mission thing and all that manifested itself, was probably the hardest trial of my life and I have had my fair share of hard trials. I think I have been changed by it, but not fully recovered. The mission issue can and is a constant barrier for some young adults. They know the expectations and it makes going to church hard when they feel they're not doing what's expected, never mind what anyone says. When its brought up (innocently or on purpose) it just verifies and intensifies what they think is being perceived.
    Love (charity) is what has kept us from loosing a son. I heard from his brother how the ward members rallied around our non RM son when he moved to Provo. A bishop who kindly interviewed him. There were coed's in the ward who were interested in him (he has always been a little naive when it comes to knowing when a girl is interested in him). If it hadn't been for these young adults and the fun activities they were having, I'm sure our son would have left after 2 months of looking for work with no success. ( Try to get a job against an RM/ or non student, in Provo when you are missionary age and with no connections)
    As my mother has often stated to me the last several years… "We are each in our own classroom of learning". I'm grateful to those who have the maturity to live their religion and help others along there way to gain that maturity as well. It is only through the pure love of Christ and by listening to the Holy Ghost, as we interact and serve each other, that we can "bring souls unto Christ". That is how every member can be a missionary. In order to teach and save souls, we have to build each other up not tear each other down.

  315. Wow, "anonymous" is super heated. You arent being very Christlike yourself, now are you? Calling someone stupid and belittling what she thinks to be important. If you dont like it, dont read it. Nowhere did she say that people shouldnt serve missions. She said that not all men that didnt serve are "bad guys"… I love that you keep saying that they chose not to follow the commandment… You have no idea, and you are doing exactly what you are proclaiming. You are not loving all men.

  316. My son did. You hang in there! My son felt the same way, but didn't even have the temple marriage goal. (I asked him right after he took out his endowments) It's hard to find the right one even when you've done everything right. I have a son now 26yo, who fits that category too. And a son, we couldn't figure out why marriage was just not happening…till it happened (she just had to grow up for him to meet her) Being a young adult is hard period! Be the strong/yet humble young man you sound like and it will work out. I believe in prayer, angels and the Holy Ghost in helping us achieve worthy goals…it may take longer than you would like, but keep it up!

  317. To the anonymous responder above, why must you be filled with so much contempt and choose to personally attack the author? You missed the main point of the blog and you lack maturity. There is no need to be rude and insulting just because you are in opposition to something that has been written.

  318. Great thoughts. I think though, that we need to go a step further. We need to find somebody who we can love and appreciate, and who reciprocates those feelings first. We should not be marrying a label, even the "Temple Worthy" label. We should be marrying a person. You will be with that person for eternity, so you should set how they treat you, and feel about you first. How would you like to look at your husband 150,000 years from now, and your only affection be that he's worthy? Would it not be better to look at him 150,000 years from now and feel an affection for how close you are to him, and how close he is to you, how you have so much love for each other?

    I know many who married nonmembers or recent converts, only to be sealed at a later date. My wife and I were inactive when we met and will be sealed this Thursday after 5 years of hard work.

    Marriage is a road, not a destination. You can both progress to Temple Worthiness someday.

    For that matter, I don't think Sealing should be the goal for the wedding either. Are you ready to go to the Temple, or just ready to get married? Going to the Temple shouldn't be a checklist thing either. I would encourage more people to get married civilly first, then be sealed. Give your marriage time to flourish, learn about your partner. Learn to love them. (And if it falls apart you don't have messy sealing clearances)

    I love my wife more than I did 5 years ago, so sealing means more than it would have when we got married.

    All that aside, I would not encourage young people to get into relationships with young men/women with drug problems or other big no-no's! And I wouldn't encourage premarital sex either. Those can stay on the marriable list. Just be Christlike.

  319. Excellent Article.

    Both of my sons returned early from their missions due to health issues. Both received honorable releases from our Stake President and both were worthily attending the temple the Saturday after they came home.

    As a father, it was extremely difficult to have my sons come home – not the way I expected their homecoming to be. Gossip and speculation were in abundance. However, the part that hurt the most was the exact attitude that you talk about – in many YM (and their father's minds), my sons were not worthy of their attention as they had not completed 24 months of service.

    I find it some of the comments on this board interesting as it shows how members internalize things. For example, when the age of missionary service was reduced, President Monson specifically stated that going out at age 18 was not for everyone. However, I have seen and heard many comments from individuals towards almost every young men as they approach 18/high school graduation of "when are you going on your mission." Yes, the age was reduced as an option, not a mandate.

    And speaking of mandate, I am not convinced that going on a mission is a commandment (despite what anonymous stated). If it is a commandment, then not going on a mission is breaking a commandment, and therefore a sin. If so, then how does one repent from not going on a mission? And if it is a sin, why can a young man NOT go on a mission, and still get a temple recommend? I believe that a mission highly encouraged for all men, but to call it a commandment is a bit of a stretch. As one who serve a full 24 months, I know of the spiritual and emotional growth that accompanies a mission, and I desired that both my sons would have similar growth. However, I know that they are doing the Lord’s will at this time, and at some point, we will understand why events did not go as planned.

    Again, thanks for writing!!!

  320. We should also put on our list "marry someone who is kind, even from the safety of 'Anonymous'". Much can be gathered about people who say cruel things from the safety of their keyboard. Arianna, thank you for your thoughtful post. I particularly like your reminder that even though there may be awkwardness, the important thing is to continue the conversation.

  321. Thanks Arianna. I think you are right on target when you say to look for someone that is temple worthy instead of just the label "RM". My son went away from the church in his teens and so he did not serve a mission. He was recently sealed to his beautiful little family. It took him a little longer to gain a testimony than those 18-21 years olds, but he now has all of the blessings of the gospel in his life. He had his own time table. On the flip side, I have neighbors and family members that are RM's and are completely inactive in the church at this time. It just goes to show that we can't judge so shallowly based on a title. We must get to know others first. Thank goodness for the Atonement! Thank goodness for the gift of personal revelation in life decisions such as choosing a spouse!

  322. I was honorably excused from serving a mission because I have Asperger's Syndrome. Sometimes I don't understand social cues, I have emotional difficulties, basically a close cousin to high functioning autism. Is it hilarious that I felt unwelcome in my Singles Wards? Is it hilarious that I have been so afraid of asking on date's because I know 9 times out of 10 I'll be rejected? Please explain to me dear anon, what's so funny about me facing rejection and knowing that even after I serve a Youth Church Service Mission, I'll be condescended too by most young women because usually Church Service Mission to them means, "Mentally disabled". Please explain to me the joke, since you seemed to have achieved a higher level of humor, my dear anonymous friend.

  323. Wow. For starters, that was really rude. I thought Christ's second most important commandment was to love one another as we love ourselves. I'm assuming that includes respect and not being rude to someone you don't even know. Second, the Lord will judge on a case by case basis. He knows our hearts and will decide what kind of reward we deserve based off of our righteous desires and efforts. If someone didn't go on a mission–I don't care what the reason was–it's none of your business or my business. That's between them and the Lord. And third, I would just like to point out that we as individuals will be judged with the same standard with which we judge others. That's not to say you can get away with anything so long as you're not judgmental, but it's food for thought. If someone sinned differently than you, do you have the right to treat them poorly? I really don't think so. The Lord will forgive whom he will forgive, but of us it is required to forgive all men. And that includes forgiving them for a perceived "sin" of not serving full time.

  324. Tell them he's serves where you live, that his mission is now, which is more important than serving his mission "then," and "somewhere else."

  325. I can only say how grateful I am that there is only ONE who can judge me, only ONE, who has the ABILITY to judge me , because HE is the ONLY ONE who knows what is in my heart. HE without a doubt will judge me fairly.

  326. I think you guys are missing the point of the article! You say, "If you take 'returned missionary' off the list because there are those who return less than honorable, then you may as well take 'member of the Church' off your list because there are those who are less than honorable". She actually states that young women should look for young men who are temple worthy and temple attending-even if they haven't been on a mission. Could that ever be found in someone who wasn't a member?

    And are you implying that people who didn't serve/were sent home early should continue being ostracized as they are now? Because it does happen, and way too often. I personally served an honorable full time mission. It changed my life forever and increased my testimony and understanding of the gospel in inexplicable ways. But, I have friends and family members who didn't serve and honestly to see what they go through is heart wrenching. They are ostracized and mistreated. In no way, shape, or form is the job of the active members to punish those who didn't serve. That is elitist and exclusive.

    Also, there were sadly missionaries in my mission who did waste time and weren't focused on the work or even the gospel during their mission. Granted, it was a very small percentage of the missionaries in my mission, but I wouldn't want a goof-off missionary anywhere near my younger sister.

    I also personally know the author of this blog and will vouch for her fullheartedly. She's involved in the church curricularly and extracurricularly, on Sunday and throughout the whole week and is as active as they come. She would never say or do anything against the Church, but I'm glad she's rocking the "Utah culture" boat, because it definitely leaves something to be desired. I am part of the Utah culture (born and raised) and am not ashamed to admit that there are some problems to be addressed.

    I can only assume you drew these points from her blog because you simply read the title and thought, "oh that sounds anti" and condemned it. Maybe I'm wrong, but carefully read all of her points and the whole article. I think you'll see that it all rounds out quite soundly.

  327. Interesting concept with which I agree. I married a wonderful man who did not serve a mission, even though I was told at a young age to let him know that I would not continue to date him if he did not go on a mission. We were married in the temple at the ripe old age of 19 and were married for 35 years when he was unexpectedly taken from me. Now re-entering the dating field is disconcerting. After being around many "good" Mormon men, with temple recommends, and active, I have found that I am of little value to these men because, they all want to be sealed to their love, even those who are already sealed and who are widowers. They prefer a divorced woman to a widow who is sealed. Talk about feeling of little value. So now, I have found a wonderful, inactive man, who adores me as I am, and treats me like a queen. LOL

  328. Loved my mission experience and time at BYU, and found most of my colleagues to be tolerant and reasonable. Of course there are a few knuckleheads. Find me any group, especially an organized, motivated religion without its hardliners. Without these, life would be pretty boring and TV script writers devoid of good subject matter.

    We all get caught up in titles sometime, and give them more credence than their due — Tylenol, Bishop, "organic" food, Harvard, SPF 15, and RM. All of these carry a certain level of historic trust, but you've seen enough exceptions to distinguish between generalities and the value of one unique individual. With anything important, like choosing a spouse; weigh your options, follow the spirit, and don't make any snap judgments. Ignore the pharisees, unless you want to occasionally sharpen your debate skills and moral compass. Don't marry a bum just to spite the pharisees — way more punishment for you than for them.

    Call me out if I'm wrong, but I don't think a full-time mission is a doctrinal prerequisite to any saving ordinance or step in the plan of salvation. We are all called to serve and preach, and the duties of an Elder in the scriptures are pretty spelled out; but those apply to every Elder, for life, not just those wearing name tags for 18-24 months.

    My mission provided outstanding opportunities for teaching and for personal growth that would have been very difficult (not impossible) to receive elsewhere in that short amount of time. It was the best thing I could have done with those 2 years. But there are happier, more spiritually grounded individuals out there who made different life decisions.

    Good luck! DRD

  329. And, O bold anonymous one, what if those people who 'chose not to serve missions' repent and become better than those who did serve missions? What if they're more worthy potential husbands? Will you damn an entire group of people because of your narrow version of how things ought to be?

  330. This blog post was a lot of writing just to say that one shouldn’t base their evaluation of one’s spirituality or their potential to be an eternal mate on whether that individual served a mission or not; which I agree with. And it’s very clear that this is from the perspective of girl in her early 20s in a “bubble” environment.

    I do know a number of men who are more spiritual and righteous than those who have served missions; but with that being said let’s delve into what data has told us over the years regarding serving a mission. We do know that young men who serve missions have a much higher rate of staying active in the church and this perpetuates generationally. This means marrying a man who has served a mission gives your children a higher chance of being active members as adults. Keep in mind that no man every says that he’s glad he didn’t serve mission.

    The author makes a poor assumption that generally young women will only date/marry RMs. I have found this to not be true at all. Many have a preference, which I think is warranted.

    There is some stigma within the church regarding young men who don’t serve missions or come home early, but in reality this occurs because we’ve all witnessed too many young men who made poor decisions or came home early under false pretenses. And it is a shame for those honorable young men who simply couldn’t serve because of reasons that have nothing to do with choices in their lives. I would advise young women to take into consideration why someone didn’t serve.

  331. Well said sister. I believe a mission is a great head start into the adult portion of this life's adventure. What one does with that head start is what matters. You have to run to the end of the race, no matter where you start. There are great returned missionaries and there are great men and women who did not serve a full time mission–there are also lots of goof-balls in both categories. You hit the bullseye with the idea of continuing to improve and temple worthy. Thanks for a thoughtful and thought provoking post.

  332. Ok I have issues with this whole post and will be commenting about that later. However, in regards to this particular comment, let me just say a couple of things. First of all, financial reasons are not reasons to not serve a mission, the church will help you if you are unable to support yourself. Secondly, I take issue with this line from your comment, "Did he seriously pray about it and feel that this was not what he was to do at this point in life?" Uh, sorry, but it doesn't work that way. That's like praying before I want to have premarital sex and asking if it's ok at this time in my life. It will never be ok, because it's against the commandments. The Lord will not, through His prophet, command young men to serve missions, but then tell one young man he doesn't have to. It doesn't work like that. It's a commandment. Obviously, there may be medical reasons for a person not to serve, but just because it's not right at that time is a load of crap. That's an excuse.

  333. When exactly is it we covenant to serve a full time mission? Apparently I missed that somewhere along the line.

    "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

  334. But what kind of "character" does a man have if he chose not to obey the prophet of God? I'm sorry, but that isn't the kind of man I want raising my children. How does one tell their children they should obey the commandments, when they didn't?

  335. Ari- you are awesome! I read this last night and I enjoyed every word. I told you my story of returning early from my mission and its hard when you meet girls that want a "perfect" future and when I'm not up to par well… it makes me not want to even try to date.

    Thank you Ari- Keep writing.

  336. This post has been bugging me since a friend of mine linked to it on Facebook. It is full of nothing but justification for people who chose not to keep the commandments. To me, there are two, and only two reasons for not serving a mission. One is a convert and the other is health reasons, although let's be honest, some men use "health reasons" as an excuse not to serve. I am an RM (a female) and I served in a very hot and humid climate. I suffered from severe asthma after starting my mission and had to be put on four medications to control it so that I could serve like I was called to do. It NEVER become an excuse to come home!! NEVER! So "health reasons" is a little iffy to me. Using members of the twelve as your reasons why it's ok not to serve is so wrong. Those who didn't serve missions, lived in a time when it was not a commandment, and therefore, they were not being disobedient to the Lord. It is now a commandment. We don't get to pick and choose which commandments we follow. The Lord has commanded, through his prophet, that every worthy young man serve a mission. Plain and simple. You are providing justification for the men who decided not to serve, but now want to be look upon as "equals" to those who did. I'm sorry, they aren't. Those who served chose to follow the commandments of a prophet. They chose to sacrifice two years of their lives, money, time away from family, and everything else in order to serve the Lord as they have been commanded to do. Those who chose not to, chose to disobey a prophet. That absolutely should be a consideration for choosing an eternal companion. How do you raise children to follow commandments when you yourself didn't?

    I agree we shouldn't shun men who didn't serve missions. But I for one, don't date men who didn't serve missions, unless they have an acceptable reason. It IS a priority for me! Obedience to commandments IS a priority!

  337. My Grandpa never served a mission at 19. Him and my grandma had 9 children and been married 50+ years. They have since gone on three missions together. 2 to Africa and 1 to New Zealand. They have such strong testimonies and love the Gospel very much. And my Grandpa is one of the best people I have ever known.

  338. I had a very long list of things I wanted in a husband…by the time I was 29 that list was getting VERY small. In the end I wanted 2 things: someone that served others and wasn't bald. I am happily married to a great man who loves the Lord and is the kindest person…he is bald!

  339. Interestingly enough, i grew up in Utah and was raised with the RM stigma, but it was never a personal requirement for me. My father, who raised me well in the church, did not serve a mission. . nor did one of my three brothers. Although my desire for an RM changed after I served a mission and saw how much I changed and grew. But the desire is not just for any RM stamp. . but an honorable returned missionary, who honors the Priesthood. Someone like my father, or Joseph Smith or President Monson. I have gone to college outside of Utah for 4 years, where few members live, and dating is difficult/non-existent.. but I know the Atonement is real and it's not fair to put a status or label on anyone who is striving to live the same standards as I am. I'm trying to be like the person I want to marry.

  340. Being a mom to sons, (one who served, and one who didn't) I can tell you that not only are they judged, but the parents are judged as well. The son who did not serve was on track to play in the major leagues. Many times during his college career, parents of his childhood friends who knew he didn't go on a mission would ask specifically where he was serving, how his mission was going, and when he was coming home. I replied tongue-in-cheek that he was on a "baseball" mission and answered their questions based on how his season was going, where he was playing, and when he was coming home…Let's just say it left them speechless :) When his "friends" returned from their missions they didn't have "time" for him. This action from "disciples of Christ" really bothered me and caused a lot of heart ache for my son. I am hoping that he will become active some day and that his friends will grow up and accept him for the tremendous person that he is. My son who served did not marry in the temple, and has become inactive. The judgment of him is just as hard for me to watch, so I will continue to love these young men, and pray that our society will judge them by their good works. Thank you for this article…it is very timely!

  341. I was serving as an Officers in my countries Army from 18 to 27. People like me cannot server as missionaries. Anyone who converts at or after age 25 cannot serve a mission. if they are male. I do know a number of men heard from the pulpit " All unmarried men over 25 are a menace to society " decide to leave to the church rather than continually be insulted week after week. Especially ones who had proposed to girls in the church and been rejected. Heck it was enough for me to become inactive for many years.

  342. I agree with you. I was married to for 5 years an RM. My list was similar to yours as is most YW's. Today i am 46 years old, i have 5 kids, 3 of those kids belong to my past 'RM' marriage. I thought that by marrying an RM that he would honor his priesthood, be living a Christlike life, and so on especially after dedicating 2 years of his life to the service… I escaped my marriage after 5 years because he was abusive physically towards me. I quickly learnt that just because someone is an RM means diddlysquat. I realize not all RM's are like this, i remarried another RM and he is wonderful. My point is, look beyond…look deeply at the REAL person – not all the banners that are attached to a person (eg: RM, family status in the church etc). My son is not an RM for his own personal reasons, but this does not in anyway reflect on his beliefs or his LDS standards. He is a wonderful, kind man, and treats people how they should be. Is he marriage material for some YW? – too right he is!

  343. Fantastic post! Very insightful and well thought out. I appreciate this more than some. I too was taught to only date/marry and RM. I married one who went for the right reasons, served for the right reasons, and was blessed. I have son who, under current guideline, will not be allowed to serve a regular FT mission. Those who commented "that the Lord, through His prophets, has asked all worthy young men to serve" I feel are well meaning but a bit uninformed and with a narrow mind set. Many very worthy young men and women who truly want to serve and are worthy will not be able or allowed to serve a full time mission. Those with certain health issues or certain past issues that they may have fully repented of, but may still preclude a mission, etc. Are they to be deemed undateable? Unmarriable? I hope not. My son has high functioning Autism. He has come far and will likely be a 100% functioning adult. Even at this point, he has come so far the most people don't even realize he has autism. He is closer to God that most adults I know, at the tender age of 11. The Spirit speaks to him in ways I can't fathom. But, under current guidelines, he will not be deemed eligible to serve a full time mission. I certainly hope that he meets women who are like you. Spiritually focused, looking at him as a person and child of God, and evaluating him for who he IS not whether he has checked a mission off of his list.
    Some will respond to this and tell me about the service mission opportunities etc that are affording to those who aren't considered eligible to serve regular full time missions…"I know someone." "I worked at the temple is a kid who had…" I hear it often. But don't they understand that young men who serve those types of missions are looked at like they were less than worthy by many? I've heard the comments. It's the "back up mission" plan in the view of many, (Even though serving the LORD is serving the LORD) It is our mindset that needs to change. In all aspects, we need to make sure we are looking at people as people. Not the sum of a checklist. Thank you for sharing this.

  344. Anonymous ^^^
    I seriously doubt you read the article. There are people who do not serve and /or complete missions for several reasons. I am not going to go into them. Perhaps you should pull your self – righteous stereotypical Utah Mormon head out of your nether regions and understand that, even though every worthy male SHOULD serve a mission, not every one CAN. I believe that was the way that particular commandment was worded–using the word "should" instead of "must at all costs or you're in danger of hell fire, or worse!"
    Good thing you're not the prophet.

  345. An interesting point of view. I believe 1) if a young man is physically, mentally and emotionally capable then he should, 2) the vast majority of young men who serve missions are good guys and not creeps, and 3) we should show love and kindness to all. Having said that, as a scientist, I like to look at data. From a study of 6000 men and women who served LDS missions and 6000 men and women who did not serve LDS missions (conducted in between 1999-2000) some pretty interesting findings were made. The entire study can be read here: http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/shield-faith/8-family-life . An important point for this discussion is:

    Significantly more Latter-day Saint men, both returned missionaries and non-returned missionaries, are married, compared to men across the United States. Ninety percent of the returned-missionary men and 63% of the non-returned-missionary men are currently in their first marriage, with 7% and 18% who are remarried, respectively. Fifty percent of men nationally are in their first marriage and 11% are remarried.

    Relatively few returned-missionary men are single (1%) or are currently divorced or separated (2%). Twelve percent of the non-returned-missionary men are single, and 8% are divorced or separated. By contrast, almost one-fourth (22%) of the men from the GSS sample have never married, 11% are remarried, and 16% are currently divorced.

    This data demonstrates that marriage stability (and farther in the article, marriage happiness) correlate very strongly with the father serving a full time mission. Of course you can find examples on both side of the divide of a returned missionary who is a toad-stool and a non-returned missionary who is a wonderful husband and father. The numbers, in their aggregate, suggest greater marital success over 17 years after a mission. This by no means suggests there should be any lack of love and support and camaraderie given to the individual.

  346. I feel that her post is being terribly misconstrued by some. She is not saying anything against returned missionaries. She is simply stating that she feels she and others should look at the whole person, not a checklist. If a young man willfully states he is NOT going to even attempt to go on a mission because of X/Y/Z reasons (whatever they may be) that is different from one who does not go on a mission for medical or other issues. Conversely, if a young man goes on a mission to check it off the to-do list and makes it through 2 years without getting sent home, that should be looked at differently from one who goes with the heart of a servant, wanted to serve God and cherishes their time. As the mother of a son who under current guidelines will never be allowed to serve a typical full-time mission, I am grateful for this young women and her mindset of looking at the hole and heart of a young man, not where he fits on a check list. I hope that when my son is older, he is blessed to meet someone like her.

  347. Thank you so much for this! I'll be honest, I'm not much of a blog reader or comment writer, but I want you to know how true what you've said is. Before I go any farther I should say that I was blessed to be able to serve a mission and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. However, I almost wasn't able to go, and that scared me for many reasons, one of which being that I was sure marriage would be impossible for me. I'm glad women like you feel otherwise. I also have to chuckle at the vision you shared of your teenage dream RM. It's remarkable to me how much of ask emphasis is placed on missions, and that apparently the most spiritually worthy and capable young men/potential spouses serve foreign missions or at least learn another language. I served in the states and spoke English, and sometimes I feel that there's a stigma against where I served. My roommate also recently had his mission papers rejected, but he is one of the most spiritually upstanding and worthy men I know. Thank you for speaking out about what is most important, namely the temple and worthiness to enter. I've felt ever since I received my endowments that too much emphasis was placed on missions and marriage in the youth programs of the church and not enough on the temple. It felt rushed as though it was merely a check mark on a long to do list and didn't receive the focus it deserves. We should serve missions to bring God's children to the temple! We should live audio that our families can have the blessings of temple marriage! And EVERY WORTHY MEMBER is allowed to enter the temple, which is literally the house of God

  348. Fantastic post! Very insightful and well thought out. I appreciate this more than some. I too was taught to only date/marry and RM. I married one who went for the right reasons, served for the right reasons, and was blessed. I have son who, under current guideline, will not be allowed to serve a regular FT mission. Those who commented "that the Lord, through His prophets, has asked all worthy young men to serve" I feel are well meaning but a bit uninformed and with a narrow mind set. Many very worthy young men and women who truly want to serve and are worthy will not be able or allowed to serve a full time mission. Those with certain health issues or certain past issues that they may have fully repented of, but may still preclude a mission, etc. Are they to be deemed undateable? Unmarriable? I hope not. My son has high functioning Autism. He has come far and will likely be a 100% functioning adult. Even at this point, he has come so far the most people don't even realize he has autism. He is closer to God that most adults I know, at the tender age of 11. The Spirit speaks to him in ways I can't fathom. But, under current guidelines, he will not be deemed eligible to serve a full time mission. I certainly hope that he meets women who are like you. Spiritually focused, looking at him as a person and child of God, and evaluating him for who he IS not whether he has checked a mission off of his list.
    Some will respond to this and tell me about the service mission opportunities etc that are affording to those who aren't considered eligible to serve regular full time missions…"I know someone." "I worked at the temple is a kid who had…" I hear it often. But don't they understand that young men who serve those types of missions are looked at like they were less than worthy by many? I've heard the comments. It's the "back up mission" plan in the view of many, (Even though serving the LORD is serving the LORD) It is our mindset that needs to change. In all aspects, we need to make sure we are looking at people as people. Not the sum of a checklist. Thank you for sharing this.

  349. This is just epic. As a recent convert, I am unable to serve a mission because I'm 27. Which is apparently "too old". From my view I consider that unfair, because the RM is a big thing. I feel as though I'm under pressure to live up to these high expectations and change everything about me. When it comes to dating.. I'm open to dating anyone either from with-in the church and with-out. We fall in-love with whoever we do, it doesn't matter what their "status" is. We shouldn't judge them for who they love.

  350. Unfortunately, there is a lot of the "checklist" culture here. I find it so ironic, as it literally reminds me of the Pharisees in the Bible whom the Savior said were so caught up in the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. They simply missed the mark. A checklist (in and of itself) doesn't really hold any weight at the end of the day – whether that's a mission, or going to church every Sunday, etc. What actually matters is WHO WE ARE BECOMING through the process of the things that we choose to do. If we simply go through motions and measure ourselves by titles and checklists, we gain little to nothing at the end of it all. And I believe that we are even going backwards at times in our personal progression when we choose to start looking down and judging others who have not "measured up" to the guidelines we place on them. When was it ever our place to judge in this way? So many times we fail to understand that the commandments are there for us to improve ourselves and come closer to God, not to "check-off" and use as a way to compare how we're doing against others. Ahem….pride? This life is a personal journey for each of us and we each struggle with different challenges and weaknesses that we need to overcome through the atonement. The character of an individual speaks far louder to me than the items they've checked off of their list. Now, does this mean just marry any old mo-jo who you find? No. Of course not. But get to know their true character, not their resume, so to speak.

  351. My husband was baptized only a few days before leaving for basic training, so he didn't have the opportunity to go on a mission. But he is a wonderful man who honors his priesthood–and yes we are sealed. Our teenage boys regard their Daddy very highly! Our sons plan to go on missions, which is terrific. I would hope that if something prevented them from this dream that they would still be seen as the worthy boys they are. I don't tell my daughter to "marry a return missionary"–I say marry someone who can take you to the temple. Anyway, my hubby and I plan to serve a mission together when we're old and wrinkled. 😉

  352. I have an interesting story. I started dating a guy. We'd both gotten home from missions recently. After about two weeks of dating, I went to church with him. He didn't take the sacrament. After church, he explained to me that he had been sent home two weeks early because of a poor decision he made in the heat of the moment right at the end of his mission. I could tell he was so nervous telling me this. He presumed I would immediately reject him and all would be over. I was so torn. I liked him, but how was I to take this news?

    Then I remembered an experience I heard about a good friend of mine just the day before. She started dating a guy, and then talked to him about an indiscretion that she'd had in high school. He immediately stopped dating her. She felt like garbage. Ended up leaving the church completely because she felt so judged and that she could not be forgiven.

    I had a choice. Would I still give this guy a chance and get to know him before measuring up his character, or just toss him out because of a mistake that he made? I chose to stay. And you know what? A year later we got married in the temple and now have a beautiful family together. He is the most non-judgmental person I know. He has taught me so much.

    I made the best decision of my life that day. And no one but the spirit could have told me that. If anything, we need to teach our youth (gals and guys alike) to learn to receive personal revelation. While guidelines can be helpful, they are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. It is unfair to ostracize people. In fact, some of the best members I know are the ones that took the hard route at some point in their life – I feel that maybe they truly understand the atonement, whereas many of us just go through the motions.

  353. I'm an RM and I still can't get girls to talk to me. LDS, non-LDS. What I find and what I found for years is that there are always excuses. People blame Utah culture. People blame young women's. I've lived in 4 states, with Utah being one, and they are all alike in the fact that righteous women want righteous men. If you are haven't served a mission, then that is not the reason they are not talking to you. It's something else. Do some soul searching to figure out what, or just find other girls. I get turned down so often I decided to make it a skill. But blaming always leads to feelings of resentment, which leads to losing the truths you know. Cynicism is about commandments is cancerous.

  354. No need for anonymous name-calling if you disagree with Arianna's post. She never told anyone to be ok with someone who is unrepentant about breaking commandments. If a young man is temple worthy, he is in good standing with the church. God's love is unceasing, even for someone that may have drank or had sex or disobeyed other commandments in the past. If that person utilizes the atonement of Jesus Christ and truly repents, God remembers their sin no more and neither should we. We all need to judge a little less and love a little more. I'm sure young men that missed out on the opportunity to serve a mission (whether as a consequence of disobedience or a result of something out of their control) are acutely aware of the experiences and blessings they have missed out on. We don't need to keep reminding them of it daily and further hinder the progress they're making to come to know their Savior.

  355. My husband came home early from his mission. While on his mission he suffered from depression. His first Sunday back at church a young woman came up to him and said, "Tell me the truth. Why did you really have to come home early? What did you do?" That is not acceptable behavior.

  356. I have wanted to reply to a lot of these posts! But this one really stood out to me because I have a son who is almost 20 and has not yet chose to serve a mission. He just finished his first year of college and like the above reply mentions, that too is now frowned upon. (college before a mission) It's just all so sad and makes me shake my head all the time that people who proclaim to love their Savior can treat their fellow man so poorly. It truly baffles me. My husband (yes an RM but was not a requirement for me 32 years ago when we were married in the temple) is a recently released Bishop and I now serve as the RS President in our ward. Believe me there are so many more serious problems out there and so many people suffering right under our noses that it is truly heart breaking people actually take the time in their lives to treat other people so poorly. Instead of loving them, serving them and trying to be more like the Savior. We have had several boys and girls come home from missions early in our Stake, for various reasons, and to see and hear the way they have been treated is also heart breaking. (we don't live in Utah, so it does happen other places!) It makes me wonder if these kids had not even gone out on their missions if they would be stronger in the church today and not have to be in counseling for feeling like they failed themselves, their families and the Lord.

    Also the above post mentions the age change for missions… we have seen a lot more immature missionaries in our area since the ages were changed. It would have done most of them a lot of good to go to college for a semester or a year and learn to be away from home, learn some social skills and how to interact with people on a more mature level.

    Thank you for your post Arianna, it brought this 52 year old mother of four to tears. You are wise beyond your years. I'm grateful a friend chose to share this blog with me. God bless you for sharing your inner most thoughts with us. Ü

  357. You write a lot of things that many members within the faith would do well to read. I will say however, there's a frustration I find in the culture relating to the temple, since you've stressed this point in your writing on this issue. That is, the idea within the Mormon culture that its someones job to be worthy to take you there. It's you, its your own responsibility and worthiness to "take you to the temple". The idea that any women feels she wants or needs someone to take her to the temple makes me crazy to hear and frankly, is a sad commentary among women within the faith. Were it not for marriage, how many women in the church would go to the temple on their own accord? How many would make the personal choice to take their endowments out solely on their own and from then on, attend the temple. Not too many, sadly.
    I'd love to see this issue have more light shed on it and more encouragement put out there for women to seek this out for themselves when they feel the time is right in their lives because at the end of the day its your endowments, its your promises to God. They don/t need to be taken via some worthy man.

  358. Why this type of behavior goes on anywhere, is beyond me, but in a faith that is taught incessantly to simply one another is such a shame.
    And no, it isn't acceptable behavior. Wish people could learn some sensitivity.

  359. I actually have to agree with the person who wrote the comment. The gospel of Christ is something thats been around since Christ, obviously. The church of Christ is the man-made institution to encompass or carry, if you will, the gospel of Christ. Its like saying theres the gospel and then saying theres the mormon culture, basically. So no, they are not one in the same. Not by a long shot actually and especially in Utah.
    And as someone who's been turned down renewing their temple recommend due to personal reasons of the bishop, outside of me being worthy, those things stick with you and they have a massive impact for the negative, unfortunately. When you find yourself on that side of the coin, you'll understand.
    Lastly, when ever in the church was it made a COMMANDMENT to serve a mission?
    Last I checked, there were 10 commandments given to humanity and none of those mentioned being an LDS member commanded to serve a mission…
    You people are funny,

  360. Thank you Ari, thank you so very much. :) As a young man in the church who has been unable to serve a mission this post has given me so much hope. I wish you well as you continue to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ!

  361. Girls, just because he's a return missionary, doesn't mean he's an amazing guy. I met plenty of RM's at school that were definitely not temple worthy, and one in particular was the most disrespectful guy to women I have ever met. I'm not one of the girls who's only looking for an RM. I'm looking for a man who can worthily take me to the temple. A man that can respect me, and my values, and my boundaries. I've met too many RM's that just want to make out, touch your boobs, and do things that make them, and you unworthy to enter the temple. Now it is disheartening and quite annoying, when you meet a guy who you thinks gonna be great because he's an RM, so you assume he has the same values and boundaries as you. But 2 days into talking, he's trying to get you to send him dirty pictures, and he's sending you dirty text messages. When you make it clear that it is NOT okay to do that.
    I have cousins that didn't serve go on missions that are more worthy than and RM is. But those cousins get looked down upon because they didn't serve a mission. GIRLS, SHAME ON YOU IF YOU TURN DOWN A GUY JUST BECAUSE HE ISN'T AN RM. Chances are he's a way better, worthy, respectful, man than a lot of the RM's I've met. That being said there are RM's that are completely temple worthy and everything, and amazing guys. But Non RM's are also temple worthy and amazing men. Get it out of your head that you MUST marry an RM. and Get in it that he needs to be temple worthy, and respectful to you, and others.

  362. I love part of the talk by President Kimball in 1981 when he was speaking about missionary work. He did say that young men should serve a mission, but he also said the following:

    "Someone might also ask, “Should every young woman, should every father and mother, should every member of the Church serve a mission?” Again, the Lord has given the answer: Yes, every man, woman, and child—every young person and every little boy and girl—should serve a mission. This does not mean that they must serve abroad or even be formally called and set apart as full-time missionaries. But it does mean that each of us is responsible to bear witness of the gospel truths that we have been given. We all have relatives, neighbors, friends, and fellow workmen, and it is our responsibility to pass the truths of the gospel on to them, by example as well as by precept."

    So every one of us should strive to serve a mission in the best way that we can, no matter what our age. Just because a young man wasn't set apart as a full time missionary doesn't mean that he didn't and isn't serving a mission. My cousin married a man who wasn't able to serve a mission because of his family situation, and I can tell you that he is a wonderful father and man.

  363. I truly hope this gets around. I grew up in the church but fell away while working on my mission papers and by the time I found my way back I was too old to serve. I spent 4 years in a YSA ward but rarely went on dates because everyone knew I was the "bad kid" for having fallen away and not serving a mission. I may not have been able to go round for round in scripture quoting challenges but I knew my stuff. I got kicked out of the YSA ward due to age and attend a family ward. Even with a profile on one of the LDS dating websites I never get messages, or even replies from messages I've sent. The website asks if you served a mission and the responses you can choose from are YES, NO, NOT YET. Plastered right on my page for everyone to see it says I have not served a mission yet. What they fail to see a few inches above it is where it says Temple Status and it states that I currently hold and am worthy to hold a temple recommend.

  364. Seen a lot of comments stating that serving a mission is a commandment.
    Where is this commandment within the LDS faith? Because I've never seen nor heard it be a "commandment".
    Encouraged, yes, by every leader all the time but a "commandment"?
    Classic example of the culture made rule/guideline that everyone else feels is "gospel".
    Theres only ten commandments folks, check your bible. Its been there for ages. Those are your "commandments"

  365. I have to say that I wrote a missionary through his entire mission. He ended up coming home and he thought he was higher than me spiritually now that he is an RM. Fortunately I ended that pretty quickly, but it just proves that we all have things we need to work on and missions don't make you into a perfect being. It's important that we strive together to lift one another up to be better through Christ, not beat each other down. Missions shouldn't end when you get home.

  366. Thank you for writing this Arianna. As a male convert to the Church, that phrase of marrying a returned missionary has always torn at me a little. I was baptized at age 25, which is right at the cutoff for being able to serve. Shortly after my baptism, the mission president (who was very involved with my conversion to the Church) told me he felt impressed that serving a mission at that time was not required of me and that I could actually do more good close to home. I accepted this, was called as Ward Mission Leader, and resolved to serve a mission with my spouse later in life.

    Thank goodness there have been young ladies willing to look on the heart and my desire to become like Christ, despite the fact that I have not yet served a mission. I admire and envy those who have had the opportunity to serve missions in their young lives. But I am also grateful for your efforts to open eyes to the fact that mission service is not the only qualifier of a righteous and worthy priesthood holder.

  367. Wonderful post. I have a son who may not be able to serve a mission because of psychological issues that people may not even know about. I worry about him because people act like this. I wish more thought like you and would TELL OTHERS like you are brave enough to do. Less about a check-list, more about loving like Christ.

  368. I absolutely love this! My husband did not go on a mission. It was because together neither of us were worthy. We made a mistake but we have repented of it and got married and then we got sealed. I love my husband so much because he has all the right traits. He truly believes the gospel and follows it to the best of his ability. When we decided that we were finally ready to get sealed and worthy to, we met with our bishop. We hadn't been going to our ward very long so he did not know our story. When we told him we saw his face completely change from a smile to a frown. It got worse when he learned my husband did not serve a mission. I could see him judging us both but judging my husband worse because he was the man. He basically told us that he would not allow my husband to go to the temple unless he could prove he felt the spirit by crying. My husband is not a crying man. We tried to explain this to him but he would not listen. We tried to continue going to church but every time we could feel him just completely judging us. I'm not one to let that get to me but there was no way this bishop was going to let us go to the temple. Even though we had repented and done everything we needed to. We stopped going to church because of how unwelcome we were by him. When our lease was up we moved. I had never been so wrongly judged by a bishop and it was heart breaking. Almost every time members find out that my husband did not go on a mission we get a look. It is a horrible look. We have been sealed and are living the way we should yet we are still judged because of it. I love this post because it speaks the truth. I have known rms who were horrible but I have known good ones. You judge a man by his character not by his status! I hope many women and men read this and learn that it is not ok for them to judge these righteous men so quickly.

  369. I am SOO grateful that you wrote this. I got back from my mission not long ago. I'm now under that stigma from my peers, at least, from those who have any idea that I came home 6 months earlier than expected. I've been dreading getting out and dating, because already people ask questions and give me looks, and when I don't answer or try to answer as best as I can they instantly distance themselves from me. But I knew that was what I would be coming home to. I chose to be honest and regain my integrity by admitting and confessing on my mission, because if I was to truly love my mission then I had to be true to it, and that meant confessing, in full knowledge that I'd be labeled and blacklisted. I knew that, and still went through with it. I'm not temple worthy right now. But that will change. I loved my mission with my whole heart and soul, and that's the driving force for my change right now, but the stigma is still there, regardless of me being set for a temple recommend in the not far distant future. I just wish other people understood like you do. Thank you so much for writing this. I have a date tomorrow. Wish me luck.

  370. I was raised by awesome parents. I was never forced to church or told I had to marry an RM. My dad, who is literally the best dad you could ask for never even served a mission. I have always been taught to never be religious but to be spiritual and learn all that is good, be kind to those who hurt you, work hard etc…I also have been taught that missions come in many different forms. Personally I know my mission isn't far away for 2 years but that doesn't mean I'm not serving. I believe that you can serve in many ways. Breaks my heart that these amazing guys/girls are getting looked over because of a title placed on them. Talk about judging a book by the cover. Makes me sad. I'm glad I've always have been reminded that a good husband will stand by your side, love you and place god before anyone/anything else. And yes going on a mission is one way to show it, but every mission is different. I hope people look for true genuine spirits.

  371. Volf, you have spoken well. I have lived the greater part of my life, and have been happily married for 43 years. Yes I served a mission, but the mission didn't "make" me. It certainly helped me to grow, but my testimony and knowledge of the gospel and my love for the Savior is what makes me who I am. Being sealed in the temple is one of the saving ordinances, along with Baptism, and (for a male) receiving the Priesthood. Going on a mission is NOT a saving ordinance or even an ordinance at all! Yes, it helps with growth but it is not mandatory for our salvation! Great comment!

  372. Arianna, thank you for writing this. I have lived the better part of my life now and I have been married for 43 years. I did serve a mission but my mission didn't "make" me what I am today. I have been through the temple, many times. Baptism, the Sacrament, Receiving the Priesthood-and honoring it (for men) and being sealed in a temple for eternity and having the Holy Spirit of Promise sealed on us are all saving ordinances of the church. We cannot enter the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father without them. A mission, while a wonderful training ground, is not a saving ordinance! A young woman needs to choose a young man who wants to, or has, the Priesthood and honors it, and will take her to the Temple, then honor his temple covenants. A mission is nice but unfortunately I have seen too many RM's fall away from the church. One would be living in fairy land if she thought that all RM's are wonderful. Your blog really hits the nail on the head! Thank You for your post. Do you mind if I share it with my wonderful son, not a RM, who was married in the temple, and has a sweet little family? I would like him to have an opportunity to read this. Thank you again dear sister.

  373. Wow! I almost gave up to comment there're so many long comments.
    As an international student I was nearly oblivous to what was really going on because I lacked understanding of the Utah culture. Now in my native country, I can easily see what people are still saying.
    I honestly came home saying I only need a worthy priesthood holder who first loves Christ and therefore can honor his priesthood.
    I see that if you are different from what is accepted as normal, you will have a trying life living in ut.
    No one likes to be told their wrongs. Like in the BoM I guess. But this self rightousness will be the demise of what is precious about the city built on top of a mountain.

  374. This is a great blog post . Love it :) . I am a convert to the church an so is my husband . I must say that at the beginning I wanted to marry and RM. I served as mini-missionary ( for about 3 month , but a mini-mission last 6 weeks) and I came to learn that serving on a mission is not going to make anyone a better person/spouse . I have met a lot missionaries that went on a mission for wrong reasons – like culture , the parent will buy a house if he is and RM , not to break his mom/dad heart etc . I also met missionaries that understood the importance of the mission and went to serve and had a testimeny about the mission. My husband also knows this things because he served on a few mini-missions (he couldn`t serve a full time-mission because of medical problems ) and we came to understand that there are many more important things in life than serving on a mission . we have kids and we will teach them the importance of a testimony and reading the scriptures and the temple and also a mission but if they choose to go on a mission is because they have a testimony about it .
    I came to undestand that the important things in a marriage are – temple recomend , job/s , respect , the way he treats me and the kids , scripture study , prayer .
    Also the greatest mission that one will ever make is in his own family . And another thing that I learned is that the mission is not about fiding people is about the missionary because he/she may gain a testimony – as I have seen many young missionaries coming is the field without a testimony and leaving with a testimony .
    To you I wish you to find a husband that will love the Saviour and you with all his heart.

  375. Through the Atonement of Christ, everyone can overcome the unique challenges they face in life. Making and keeping covenants with God, such as the covenant of temple marriage, are honorable goals and necessary for our entrance into the Celestial kingdom. Struggling with an addiction, even though one's upmost desire is to live worthy, does not change God's love for that person. I believe that it is a praiseworthy goal to marry someone who is temple worthy, and I also believe that everyone, through reliance on Christ, is able to become temple worthy though it may not be easy. The apostles and prophets have said that temple blessings are available to all those who prepare to receive them.
    I too, like every other human being, have much room for improvement when it comes to keeping all of the commandments. I often think back to 1 Nephi chapter 3 verse 7 which teaches us "that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." I can testify of that truth, God ALWAYS provides a way. I also testify that God loves us all equally and hopes for us all to return to live in His presence. Again, I know that there is a way, and that way is Christ. I pray that I may live worthy to be able to make and keep temple covenants with my future spouse as I would hope they would do the same. Again, God loves us all and our value as children of God is unchangeable. YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP ON TRYING!

    See the April 2014 talk “Fear Not; I Am with Thee” by Sister Jean A. Stevens

  376. To the one who said yw should have rm on the list… even though now going on mission is a commandment, it doesn't make you perfect. Mission is a challenge and the scripture do say if you are willing to serve then ye are called. But if your parents or anyone influence you and are not really willing to go, then in my opinion it's like fasting without prayer and purpose. You're simply going hungry. Temple worthyness to me is of more importance. You may have served a mission but are no longer temple worthy (to take it to an exreme) so will the young lady accept a temporal marriage down the registrar s office ? Our our prejudice s can be our downfall. Ofcourse choose rm if he's temple worthy. Otherwise choose a temple worthy make to take you to the temple.
    In honesty , someone might just lose a bkessing of a temple marriage if they are a single adult convert.
    And someone said if we ciuld see tge hearts of men instead of tge outside only , we would be kinder in our judgments, to tgat effect. NO actually. We would probably kill tgem or something. The lord chose to hide the hearts from us because as humans we don't know anything about judging. Yet we still think we can do it with our eyes closed.
    Nisi.

  377. May I just add.. who you are today is what matters most. What was chosen at 18 or 19 years old does not define you at 25 or at 50. A lifetime of choices culminate, a lifetime of experience creates. Choose your husband based on prayer, righteous judgements and remember that there are no throw aways. Look to the heart, not the past.

  378. So… you're saying that any guy who didn't serve was/is either unworthy to do so, or unwilling to follow God's commandments?
    What about those non-RM's who have always tried to do right by the Church, God, and their families, but were always rejected by th