To the Guys Who Will Only Date RMs, From a Girl Who Isn’t One

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Almost three years ago, my life changed entirely when President Monson announced the lowering of the mission age for girls and I chose not to serve.

Don’t get me wrong. I really wanted to. An option that had been, at that point, less than a year away for me was suddenly available much sooner. I thought about it almost every night before I went to bed for a month. Girls I never expected to serve were already announcing on Facebook how they were meeting with their bishops and getting their papers ready. And then there was me, a 20-year old who loved the gospel, but was worried she might choose to serve because everyone else was and even more worried because the answer she kept getting when she prayed about it was no. For the next two weeks, that was the answer that I kept giving. 

So are you going to serve? No.
Is it because you’re afraid? No.
You’re not unworthy to serve, I’d think. No.
Then why not?

Because the answer was no. Not my answer, not the answer I wanted, but the answer the Lord gave me when I asked, and I must have asked him every morning, noon, and night. It was always no.

Over time, I learned to deal with the questions and accept that answer, and what followed that fateful October were, ironically, the best two years of my life. I was given a calling that changed my life, made my weaknesses strengths, gave me confidence in the Savior and the truthfulness of the church, and also led me to share the gospel in unexpected ways, one being this blog. Almost three years later, I am happy that I didn’t serve a mission, because the Lord had another one in mind for me, and it has blessed my life in numberless ways. Could I still serve? I guess so, but the answer right now is still no.

And I am okay with not being an RM.

To some of you guys who have recently returned from missions, however, I’ve learned that that answer isn’t good enough. It’s not okay. And it’s caused me to write you this letter.

It used to be that girls who didn’t serve missions were commonplace and there was nothing wrong. But suddenly, in the world of dating particularly, the tables have turned drastically and unexpectedly. Girls like me who didn’t serve missions are being ruled out as potential dates every day by some of you guys. Girls like me who didn’t serve missions are being overlooked because, as one of you said in my Institute class one day, “I’ve decided to only date RMs. It can only improve church stock to have RMs marrying RMs because both would be on the same spiritual level.”

It doesn’t matter that we sisters are doing our best to do the Lord’s will. It doesn’t matter that we are obedient and hardworking and faithful, that we are growing, too, and that we are making a difference in our communities and schools. It doesn’t matter that we attend our meetings every Sunday, magnify our callings, spend a day every single week in the temple, and it doesn’t matter if we are beautiful, funny, loving, and kind. Because we didn’t choose to serve missions and you did, you’ve ruled us out. I can try to understand why, but the reality is, I don’t really know why. It’s sad to me that an experience I thought would teach you all about humility and not judging others doesn’t seem to hold any water once you come home, look at the girls who didn’t serve, and decide they aren’t good enough for you. The question that must be asked is what makes you think that you’re too good for them?

I don’t know why this attitude exists or where it came from, and I realize that I’m already sounding harsh, but I know that lately, I hear about this all of the time and it needs to stop. I’ve had conversations with great girls who are frustrated and mortified by you because you tell them no. I’ve read comments on my blog by mothers who are completely disappointed in you because you told their beautiful daughters you wouldn’t date them if they weren’t RMs. And honestly, I’m ashamed for you.

Choosing to serve is a very personal, weighty decision–you should understand that. And yet, you don’t allow ‘no’ as an answer, even when it comes from the Lord, even when that girl you’ve unceremoniously scratched off of your dating list spent months on her knees begging to go and still got that ‘no’ as an answer. That is between her and the Lord, and when you reject her for it, in a way, you’re also rejecting the Lord’s will. I can’t imagine that Heavenly Father is too pleased about it.  

It would be remiss of me to not mention that serving a mission is a Priesthood responsibility. Some fulfill it, some do not, but all are still deserving of our love and consideration, still deserving of friends and neighbors who will see their present rather than choosing to focus on their past. That aside, a full-time mission has never been asked of the sisters. Never. So why, then, are you demanding it from the girls you date? Why are your standards so much higher than the Lord’s? And why do you think that only a mission can make the ideal woman? A mission alone has never made the ideal man, and I’ve seen plenty of girls who come home having not changed at all while their friends who stay at home become spiritual giants. Life is not as black and white as you think it is.

Truthfully, I would never trade the last year and a half of my life for a mission. I know the Lord wanted me to continue my education and hold the calling I did. Why? Because the girl who came out of that experience is so much better than the girl who went into it, and many of the growth opportunities I had would never have been presented to me on a mission. Sure. Sometimes I don’t want to do what Heavenly Father asks, but I try my best to do it anyway. And if He asks me to not serve a mission, I know there’s a reason and I listen. So do thousands of girls who want to serve but are told no. So do thousands of girls who choose not to serve. They listen. Are you really going to rule out a woman who puts her life in the hands of her Heavenly Father and does everything He asks of her, even if it hurts, even if it’s not what she wants to do? The fact of the matter is that she’s probably on a much higher ‘spiritual level’ than you assume she is, and it’s really your loss.

There are a lot of us sisters. Some are older and settled in life and asked constantly why they aren’t married or serving. Others are younger and watching their friends serve and wondering when they’ll have their turn. All of us are trying. We might not understand mission terminology like you do. We might not know what it’s like to have a family we’re teaching reject the gospel or what it’s like to be missionary trainers or zone leaders. But we are great women, too, and when you overlook one of us, no matter who we are, you overlook a daughter of God, and in many instances, a daughter of God who is doing everything right.

Don’t allow our lack of a badge to scare you away from dating us. Most of us can preach and teach and work just as hard as missionaries do. 

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62 comments

  1. To me, men choosing not to date women who haven't served missions is like saying that the atonement isn't good enough for said women. It's an entirely selfish and conceited perspective to have, one that is propagated by the adversary in order to marginalize and depreciate the value of a perfectly righteous daughter of God. What a shame. My wife isn't a return missionary, and I couldn't care less. We made the decision to build our marriage on the atonement of Christ, and our faith sustains us through every trial. McKenzie is no less serviceable than I when it comes providing the spiritual strength our marriage craves. To the priesthood holders with grandiose and unfair expectations, repent now. Think back to the times on your mission when you looked upon the weakest of the weak and saw them the way the Lord see's them. Can you not do the same for our magnificent daughters of Zion?

  2. "Because the girl who came out of that experience is so much better than the girl who went into it, and many of the growth opportunities I had would never have been presented to me on a mission."

    You couldn't possibly know that, you didn't serve a mission. You'd like to think that is the case, because it validates the decision you made. Do you think the Lord is limited in His ability to give you the same growth opportunities on a mission? Do you think he wouldn't give MORE growth opportunities on a mission? Or less? Do you think that growth opportunities from the Lord are limited in time and space, by which mission you serve in, if you didn’t serve, or even if you’re following what He says or not?

    What is really troubling about what you’re arguing—the same lack of consideration you and your non-RM sisters are claiming to encounter, is the same lack of consideration you’re extending these brethren. You’re upset that some boys are not dating you and other non-RMs because of a personal decision these RMs made for themselves, yet at the same time, you’re asking for consideration for a personal decision that you’ve made for yourself by not serving a mission.

    You chose not to go. There are some opportunities that won't be afforded you because of that decision. You missed out on the experiences of a mission in lieu of 18 months of school and work, which you yourself said made you a better person. You're experiencing a real-life spiritual opportunity cost. The same cost a sister would pay for going on a mission and missing 18 months of dating, music, movies, and writing blog posts about not serving a mission and the boys that are passing her up because of that decision. You missed out on teaching lessons in another language, getting up at 6 a.m. every day, tracting, hurtful rejection, and yes, even some RM’s that won’t date you because of passing those things up. OWN YOUR DECISION! If you have enough faith to follow “no” answer you claim is from the Lord, have the faith to follow outcomes of that decision.

    I'm curious, what if you were to leave today? What if you put in your papers and reported to the MTC February 1? (Well, February 4th, because that's a Wednesday). Do you think the Lord would bless you? Do you think the Lord would provide you with growth opportunities? Without falling back on "I don't have to think about that, because the Lord told me not to go," What do you think would happen?

  3. I couldn't agree more. This sounds more like buyers remorse for not serving a mission. Own your decision and accept the fact you don't get the advantages of serving a mission, if you haven't served. She really wants to have her cake and eat it to.

  4. You don't need to be so harsh. But ultimately I agree with you. I'm usually pretty suspicious of the idea that God didn't want someone to serve a mission. It's like people who said to me know the mission that they prayed and God told them the Book of Mormon wasn't true. Going on a mission is only going to help you, regardless what you think your answer is, just like following the principles of the Book of Mormon will, regardless of what you think your answer is.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts, Will. I can tell you write really well, and I admire that.

    I didn't serve, no, and I guess I can't know what opportunities I missed out on in doing so. By your own comment, however, the Lord is not limited in His ability to give me the same growth opportunities at home as I would have had on a mission, so your response is a bit contradictory. If we're arguing that growth opportunities are missed out on, however, then one opportunity I would indeed have lost had I served a mission was the opportunity to serve on two Institute councils at the exact time in my life when I needed to serve on them. I used my talents to help organize huge activities, my testimony grew enormously, and I met people because of that who changed me, and I would not have met them otherwise. Maybe one day. Who knows? But not at the time when I needed them the most, and maybe they needed me then, too. That's not to say that a mission is and would have been a bad thing for me. Missions are great, and I could still go on one if the Lord felt the timing was right. I don't use my experiences as a way to validate not serving or make myself feel better. I see them as blessings and evidence that the Lord is directing my life, and contrary to what some of your comment implies, He was the guiding hand in that decision. Maybe the growth opportunities would have been the same on a mission, but who's to say that the Lord didn't need me to stay and help the people in my sphere of influence at school?

    Honestly, I'm not one bit concerned that some boys aren't dating me, especially if those boys are going to judge me for a decision that has no bearing on my qualifications as a spouse/gf. I'm not interested in them. I'm more concerned that I see this happening to and hurting my friends all the time, and I relate simply because of the decision I made to not go. The sisters can see right through it. It's judgmental and it's wrong, and it hurts both parties. An RMs decision to not date a sister because she didn't serve a mission, in my mind, in no way compares to a sister's decision to not serve a mission. The one is most often made between an individual and the Lord while the other is either made between an individual and his ego or his confused perceptions about a person's worthiness. If it's not a worthiness issue, then it's a status issue, which is just as bad.

    I don't know why the Lord doesn't ask all sisters to serve, but the facts are that He doesn't. And I can't help but think that if the Lord didn't ask that of all of the sisters, then He would OF COURSE have another plan and another way to serve in mind for many, if not most of them, and He wouldn't want His sons to hold that against them. Take it to Him if you have questions about it, because I can't answer them. Honestly, we should talk more about life as a mission, about being a member missionary, because it is and we are. How are we all doing with that?

    If the Lord asked me to go on a mission today, I would do it. Of course He would bless me. Of course I would grow. Not because I was going on a mission, necessarily, but because I was doing what He asked of me. I didn't think I was that far off the mark by suggesting that the Lord asks different things of different people. He didn't ask Alma to sacrifice his son like Abraham. He didn't ask David to flee to the promised land like Lehi. And sometimes, He asks a sister to serve a mission and tells her friend she needs to stay in school for right now. I don't know why that is. Right now, I'm trying to figure out what He wants for me so I can prepare to do it. So is everybody, I'd think.

    I hope that answers your questions, if you wanted them answered. I apologize that my response was so long-winded.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great night.

  6. Oh please, Brother, I'm a fellow believer, but you're way out in orbit on this one. Is there any functional benefit to serving a mission? Would any of those functional benefits be (cough) beneficial to a marriage? Would some of those benefits of serving a mission be absent if they one didn't server a mission? Of course! Wanting a wife that served a mission isn't making a statement of the validity of the Atonement for Heaven's sake! There are some significant benefits to service that any person could see as advantages, especially in marriage. A lot of those benefits come from the actual nature of missionary service, coupled with the spiritual growth—including and especially the schedule, the selfless nature, and the priesthood mantle of authority as an official representative.

    If a girl didn't go to college, but chose instead to go to beauty school, would there be a difference in her education level? Maybe her vocabulary? The accredited credentials she might have? Well of course! They're difference experiences, while both are still schooling. You can't expect a vastly different experience like beauty school to breed the same skill set as college. Some people would see an advantage to the skills provided by college over beauty school. It doesn't make someone less valuable, just different. Some might see an advantage in beauty school over college. Both individuals could pursue their various professional aspirations, but ultimately, they will to some degree, be limited by their experience based on the decision they made to go to either type of school.

    In theory, one could learn everything one learns in college on their own, while going to beauty school. But that theory doesn’t practicality exist in the real-world. A lot of people fall back on an idea or argument that is basically a theory of what could or couldn’t happen — they appeal to the fringes for justification. For all the things that COULD happen, but what DOES happen is that a beauty student gets a beauty school education and a college student gets a college education.

    There is another way to slice this. In theory, if we never sinned we would never need the Atonement for cleansing. Just like our beauty school / college analogy avoiding spiritual death by simply not sinning ever, doesn’t really exist in practice, in the real-world, though it could exist in theory, or COULD happen. It’s a fringe that no one achieves in reality. What DOES happen, is we all will sin in some way, so we need the Atonement. In practice, (what DOES happen), there is advantages that college has over beauty school, a mission has over not serving, and the Atonement provides over trying really hard not to sin.

    Now, before someone freaks out about my education comparison, it wasn’t a literal comparison (so don’t chose to have hurt feelings), but I was using it to illustrate a principle as to how you’re entirely wrong.

    Serving or not serving a mission doesn’t make girls (or guys for that matter) “not good enough” as you stated. Our value is inherent as sons and daughters of God. The mission experience provides advantages that guys might be looking for in wife—a personal decision they make for themselves—like the personal you decision you made not to serve a mission.

    If you can really be “okay” with not being an RM (which I wonder, considering the content of your post) you really have to be “okay” with guys not want to date you because you’re not an RM.

    Another way to say it is, “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” Or in this world too, I might add.

  7. Perhaps being married for several years and having a few children myself, I can provide a different perspective to this.

    My family was very active. My mom was a lifelong member. Her dad was a bishop for 17 years. My dad was a convert who did not serve a mission. They were staunch members. It was always expected of us to live the gospel
    with exactness. Not all of us did at all times. My parents still encouraged them to live the gospel. We had family prayer religiously,day and night. We studied the scriptures. We had FHE. My parents attended the temple regularly. I never heard them swear, we never drank caffeine, and we never watched TV on the sabbath. They served with exactness in every calling. My father served in a bishopric and other presidencies. My mother taught seminary
    and gave 100% to every calling she had. They worked hard to be good examples to all
    us. I love them terribly for that.

    The very first mistake I made BEFORE having children, was telling my sister that MY
    kids will mind me. They will do everything I ask. She looked at me and laughed, hard.

    Four kids later, I realized how ignorant I was. I too taught my children as my parents taught me. They
    too have had their struggles and made bad choices at times.

    The fact of the matter is, you may have dreams of perfection from your children, but the
    reality is you won't get it. You are not perfect as a parent, so don't expect it from
    your children. You will do them a huge disfavor.

    One of the hardest things I am dealing with now is a son of mission age that has no
    desire to go. He is worthy in every way, he just has no desire. He has had four friends
    go and return early. Not sure if this is doing something to him or not. At times when I
    pray on his behalf it is not without tears. Because I always wanted my
    boys to serve missions. I wanted to be able to see that growth that comes through that. Can I force him to go? No. Do I
    love my son any less? No. Didn't our Father in Heaven give all of us the freedom to choose? Is that not His plan? I have learned that no matter how bad I want something, or how much I want my child to do something, they still are free to choose. It is not always the choice I want them to make, but it is the gift He gave us, so we can come to love Him on our own.

    My son is a wonderful. He is active and is temple worthy.I know his heart and I know his spirit. When I hear other people passing judgement because someone has or has not served a mission it kills me. Do I see my child as only a mere speck of what marriage material is because he hasn't served? No. Do I want others viewing him as such because he hasn't? No.

    I dare say that those who have posted negatively on this subject aren't married and don't have children. Because if you were or did, you would have a different view. I would be very careful in your virtual plotting of the perfect life for your kids. You may very well have a son or daughter who chooses not to serve or who may even fall away from the
    church. You will not want others viewing them as less of a human being and will in fact find yourself praying constantly for someone to come into their life to help them when you have exhausted all you have. Be very careful when casting that first stone. Be very careful when passing judgments that every return missionary is perfect. Elder or Sister.

    With that said, we don't get to draw the lines of who the Atonement is for. It is for everyone. We all make mistakes. We should never hold someone to a higher standard that we ourselves are unwilling to live.

    To the above "Will", I hope you don't have a beautiful daughter who chooses a different route for herself than a mission and then is deemed of no worth to some because of it. It will kill you as a father to see it and it will horrify you that someone could so quickly pass judgment on her because of it. Do her a favor and trust in her ability to
    get revelation for herself. A mission has never been required of girls. Marriage is their
    first and foremost. Look it up.

  8. I would like to make a few comments to Will myself. It is apparent that you served a mission. Thank you for making that choice in your life to do so.

    I would like to give you some food for thought. You gave two years of your life, loving and teaching people about the gospel and how it can change their lives. You spent many hours on your knees praying for these individuals to accept the gospel or to find individuals you could bring to the truth.

    These very individuals quite frequently become branch presidents, bishops, stake presidents, seventies, relief society presidents, stake relief society presidents, etc. Many of those individuals do not serve missions. So by the very fact that you only see young women that have served missions as worthy marriage material, is hypocritcal of two years of your life you gave serving the Lord.

    How would those members you taught the gospel to and changed their lives for the better feel if they knew this side of you? Would they stay in the church? Would they say to themselves, "He didn't believe what he taught us. He taught us we can change and be right in the Lord eyes, but he himself does not see us in that same light."

    Each one of those individuals that you taught deserve more than that from you.

  9. Will, I have one last question for you and one last comment.

    Question: Do you not have the faith that the Lord will qualify anyone who diligently and obediently applies themselves to His Gospel, whether they are serving full-time or not?

    Comment: You and I both are going to walk away from this having the same opinions we did before, and it's a shame that we couldn't both discuss this civilly with the need to understand rather than the need to be right. I'd rather talk about things with people when they're open to perspective than when they're hostile about it. I'm sorry we didn't get to have that kind of a productive conversation.

    Good luck with life.

  10. Did you know that many of our General Authorities didn't serve a mission? Granted there were several wars going on and they were serving our country, but don't you think that The Lord had a plan for them? Our Prophet didn't serve and I consider him pretty spiritually based. And the last time I checked, young women serving missions was optional not a requirement. You don't want to date me, fine your lose. Just remember that The Lord has a plan for everyone, and for some a mission is something different than a black name tag and leaving for two years. Trust in The Lord, and he will have control over your life.

  11. A few thoughts:

    1. God has the power to grant both missionaries and non-missionaries the experiences they need to learn and grow.
    2. Both missionaries and non-missionaries can learn and grow or fail to learn and grow from those experiences.
    3. Assuming someone has developed necessary skills and qualities because they served a mission is not a very good idea in dating; it's important to get to know people rather than assuming who they are.
    4. There is an important difference between what men and women may glean from service or lack of it. With exceptions where applicable,
    – Men are generally commanded to serve a mission and a man who refuses to serve a mission when he is commanded to may be evidencing disobedience unacceptable to potential suitors.
    – Women, by contrast, are not generally commanded to serve and in general do not evidence disobedience simply by not serving.

    In sum: If he serves, don't assume he's got what you want. If he didn't serve because he refuses to obey, you have a right to use your judgment in your personal affairs and not date him because of that. If she serves, don't assume she's got what you want. If she didn't serve, remember that she's not necessarily disobedient because she's not commanded to.

    There is a numbers argument to be made here: if you highly value qualities (for example, familiarity with PMG) that may be more prevalent in RMs than non-RMs, it might make more sense to focus your dating on that group. However, it's important to recognize that by doing so, you will make a decision that excludes worthy candidates and includes unworthy candidates. You're making a personal choice that will prevent you from dating people who could be great for you and have the qualities you want. If that's a risk you're willing to take, that's your choice.

  12. I almost served a mission 21 years ago but opted to stay and get married. My husband and I have ten children now (our oldest son is currently serving a mission and our 2nd is planning to go later this year.) It was hard to choose not to go, especially since both my parents served missions before they got married but one thing I have realized over the years is that formal missionary service is not a necessary choice for someone to be a good wife and mother–which may be a very compelling reason President Monson has not issued a mandate for all women to serve, if you believe "wife and mother" to be important roles. I have watched as my good friends have all become parents and one thing has been pretty common for all of us, RM's or not–becoming a mother pretty much rocks your world. My friends who are RM's all seem to have had the same struggles with motherhood as the rest of us–which leads me to believe missions develop a certain skill set but NOT necessarily the same skill set needed to be a good mother. So my two bits of advice (which I am teaching my children) is YES! have standards about who you date–DEFINITELY be choosy. You certainly want someone who is hard working, honest, fathful and committed to the gospel. Do NOT settle for anything less, BUT don't be foolish enough to suppose that (especially for women) those things can only be learned by serving a formal mission. Being an RM MAY be an indicator of those traits, or it may not. Those abilities and traits can DEFINITELY be fostered and grown in a women who has NOT served a mission.

  13. Will, I invite you to consider the words of the Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley,

    "I say what has been said before, that missionary work is essentially a priesthood responsibility. As such, our young men must carry the major burden. This is their responsibility and their obligation.

    We do not ask the young women to consider a mission as an essential part of their life’s program. Over a period of many years, we have held the age level higher for them in an effort to keep the number going relatively small. Again to the sisters I say that you will be as highly respected, you will be considered as being as much in the line of duty, your efforts will be as acceptable to the Lord and to the Church whether you go on a mission or do not go on a mission."

    It is not a duty or a requirement of women to serve a mission, thought they are appreciated and respected when they choose to go. Serving a mission isn't a requirement for anyone to worthily attend the temple or even achieve entrance into the Celestial Kingdom.

    And lastly, to whomever thinks that a woman is less or not a spiritual as her husband if she did not serve a mission and her husband did, they will have to dictate the hundreds of thousands of women in wards today who serve as spiritual leaders in the church and in their homes. The idea is ludicrous, insulting, and FALSE DOCTRINE.

  14. I absolutely loved this post. Ari your ability to communicate your ideas is inspiring and I truly appreciate your Christlike responses to less than Christlike comments. It shows the depth of your understanding and testimony of the gospel in a profound way. You are a powerful voice of truth and are blessing the lives of complete strangers. Thank you.

  15. Just an anology to add onto Will's on education. My husband and I married right before our final year of college, while he was preparing for medical school. He performed very well on the MCAT, and was studying human biology in his undergraduate work. We both assumed this undergraduate emphasis would help him during medical school.
    And it did. For maybe the first week. After that, the pace and content of his studies moved so far past what he had done before that it made our assumptions look ridiculous. The study skills were invaluable. The willingness to work hard, humility, and tenacity: those mattered tremendously. The content of his studies? It mattered very little.

    I feel that way about my decision not to serve a mission. It is true that according to Will, I got the spiritual equivalent of beauty school. I pursued a foreign work/study program that gave me many, if not all, of the social benefits of missionary service. But yeah, I'm not an RM. I didn't get the same course material during my "undergraduate degree" and you assume I was somehow less because of it.
    Marriage and motherhood have become my spiritual graduate school, as they will for you. Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies, and as He asks more of me, He adds more to me. I have exactly the tools in my spiritual armory to face the challenges I'm asked to, because the Lord gave them to me. He will give them to anyone who has figured out how to ask for them… and that doesn't require a mission.

    It's easy to see the blessings and benefits of serving a mission when up to that point, it was the hardest thing the Lord ever asked of you. But marriage–whether immediate or unwillingly delayed–is where life's real lessons are painfully, joyfully learned. I am grateful every day for the experiences I had living in Taiwan in the same way my husband looks back gratefully on his mission. But is is not our premarriage experience that keeps us equally yoked, but rather the infinitely more valuable years of shared experience as a family!

  16. This is a very interesting article. I like the tough love approach Will, I think we need more of it in the Church. I'm surprised at how many people are replying to Will's comments so illogically. It reminds me when Joseph Smith told his stories to the "professors of religion" and they would "revile him" for the truths that he spake. While contrary to what you want to believe Ari and others, Will's comments are very logical and unlike most of the other comments on here, follow very valid premises.

    It's all here in black and white, people are arriving at conclusions that their premises don't support, or are completely misreading what was said. People are also making unqualified statements, that are only hurting the truth, not helping it. As you will read, I didn't serve a mission. EVERYONE who hasn't served a mission, can't comment on what a mission would or wouldn't have done for them. I agree with Will, it sounds like a lot of validating.

    It's amazing how many people in our faith lack fundamental understandings of the doctrine of Christ as well. Reading blogs like these help me to understand how apostate movements like "Ordain Women" can happen. When conclusions are based on half-truths, untrue, and misunderstandings of truth, no wonder people find themselves in the "mists of darkness.. wandering in paths and are lost."

    I'm very qualified to to comment on the matter. And I applaud Will for standing up and pointing out half-truths, even when others are bullying him! Bravo!

    My comments are too long to write in one box, so be below for content of my response.

  17. Everyone can have their own opinion, because I think dating is a personal decision. As a father, I’m a fan of tough love. Lovingly, but directly, everyone needs to get over themselves about this. But I will point out, Ari, you didn't read what Will wrote, or you read what you wanted to read.

    "By your own comment, however, the Lord is not limited in His ability to give me the same growth opportunities at home as I would have had on a mission, so your response is a bit contradictory."

    Just a reminder of what he said, “Do you think the Lord is limited in His ability to give you the same growth opportunities on a mission? Do you think he wouldn't give MORE growth opportunities on a mission? Or less? Do you think that growth opportunities from the Lord are limited in time and space, by which mission you serve in, if you didn’t serve, or even if you’re following what He says or not?”

    He never said one way or another, he asked questions. I think his point, on that portion at least, is that the Lord will bless you no matter what. Those blessing manifest in different ways, and some opportunities, not constituting blessings, are dependent on our experiences. Which makes a lot of sense since we HAVE to come to earth to get a body. If we don’t come to earth, we don’t get a body, we can’t be saved in the Celestial Kingdom.

    Missing certain opportunities, at certain times, can be limiting for a period of time. This doesn’t make God unjust or not merciful, it’s a pattern we find in his plan: The first shall be last, the last shall be first. Those that didn’t receive certain opportunities in this life to hear the gospel have to be taught it first before they can progress. Still others have to wait to be resurrected because of choices they made. These weren’t bad people, but in fact were good people, who have to OWN the decisions they made.

    Obviously certain opportunities provide different experiences and challenges than others, I do agree with him on that. He did make a pretty good point on "opportunity cost." Judging by all of his comments, I think you're projecting an insecurity more than anything. He's not claiming you're inferior because you didn't serve a mission, but just different. I didn't serve, and I'm okay with being different. Can you be okay with being different?

    Well, maybe not, since you're not being very logical in your arguments. In fact, most of the comments on here aren't very logical. Like most people relying on untruths, you focus on your feelings and point to suppositions. But I humbly invite you to reconsider your pride, because this tendency isn’t from God. I know, because I had to learn the same lesson.

    Will didn't claim that someone is not better, not worthy, will go to hell, won’t go to the Celestial Kingdom, or any of the number of other conclusions people are jumping to, if someone doesn't serve a mission. Most people in the Celestial Kingdom, will never have served missions. You might say, well then why do missions matter? Well then why does anything matter?

  18. He was making a pretty valid point that all of you emotional people refuse to see. A mission isn't mandatory for women, no, but serving a mission will provide amazing experiences you couldn't get otherwise. I also believe, that not serving could provide amazing experiences as well. I've had a fantastic life, not having served a mission.

    But I missed out. So did everyone who didn't serve a mission. But it's okay! You can still go to the temple, you can still go to the Celestial Kingdom! You have to be okay with missing out. Even those that miss out will still be saved.

    Anyone that didn't serve a mission can't expect their lives to be the same as if they served. To use some other posters words, you're "marginalizing" missions. I never served a mission, but I know that there are things that I'll never experience or appreciate the same because I didn't serve. That's okay. Ari, it really is okay.

    I was passed up by girls because I didn't serve a mission. This happened way before they lowered the age. It's far worse on the guy side of things. If a guy doesn't serve a mission, his dating prospects are almost zero. You know why? Because most Mormon girls want to marry an RM. And you know what? THAT'S OKAY!!! I can own my decision. People not wanting to date me wasn’t a commentary on my value. Dating is about matching, I totally agree with that point. We all have preference that we match with better. Girls that didn’t want date me because I'm not an RM weren’t saying I don’t have value, they just prefer an RM. I preferred girls who didn’t care if the guy they dated was an RM (hopefully the humor shows through here). It’s a matter of preference. You can’t deny someone’s agency to only want to date RM’s.

    The Lord never promised that all of our experiences and opportunities in mortality would be the same. We’d like to think because we’ve repented, that we’ll still get everything. While this is true for our ultimate glory in the eternal world, it’s not true for mortality. We will miss out, even when we repent or even if we choose something that is also good.

    My family is personal friends with the Fausts. When I chose not to go on a mission, President Faust had a sobering conversation with me. He told me something that he later used in one of his talks (almost exactly what he told me.)

    “We remember that the prodigal son wasted his inheritance, and when it was all gone he came back to his father’s house. There he was welcomed back into the family, but his inheritance was spent. Mercy will not rob justice.”

    The prodigal son may have received a robe, a ring, and fatted calf but the inheritance he squandered in mortality was gone forever.

    Just like I didn’t do an Eagle Scout project, I’ll never be an Eagle Scout, President Faust told me. He said that if I didn’t serve a mission, that I’d never be a returned missionary. He told me to think on that. He said, that if I didn’t go, I might regret it. If I did go, I would never regret it. Whatever decision I made though he said, would have to be mine. The Lord would love me either way. He said to remember that only missionaries can be returned missionaries and there are SOME BLESSINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES YOU CAN’T GET IN ANY OTHER WAY.

    I wish I would have thought a little harder on his words, but ultimately I know he was right. I ended up not serving a traditional LDS mission.

  19. Not every blessing and opportunity mortality can possible present is a requirement of salvation, therefore, some blessing and opportunities will not be offered us for one reason or another.

    And you know what? I’m still okay! I’m married with amazing children and a great calling as Elder’s Quorum President and a former seminary teacher. Yes, the Lord is qualifying me in everything I do. I have felt more than a few times though, that some of the abilities I have sought would have been granted me if I had gone on a mission, which are temporarily being withheld to teach me this valuable lesson.

    Nowhere, does it say God will give us every gift, but we do have to qualify for some gifts, and I know personally, that some of those gifts can only come through full-time missionary service…the Spirit has born witness to me of this.

    I think people need to stop being so entitled. When I stopped being so entitled, my life got better and I’m happier for it. I lovingly invite you to do the same thing. You choose to take offense or have your feelings hurt. The choice is your own!

    A prophet of God has clearly stated, you decide to have your feelings hurt, no one else:

    “When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”

    Elder Bednar

    I can’t wait for Sunday, to share this with my Quorum! God bless!

  20. Disagreeing with someone's point and speaking the truth "with sharpness" is not un-Christlike. Remember, Christ cleansed the temple with a whip, called a women a dog, and called Peter Satan. There surely hasn't been any literal whips or naming calling. It's a shame that your understanding of the Gospel is so limited. I lovingly invite you revisit the scriptures and the words of the Prophets. Even Christ said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

  21. I have to comment on this reply.

    "It is not a duty or a requirement of women to serve a mission, thought they are appreciated and respected when they choose to go."

    No one had ever said that a mission was a requirement of women. (Though it could be argued otherwise, but that's a discussion for another day.) Your comment is really unrelated to the discussion at hand.

    "Serving a mission isn't a requirement for anyone to worthily attend the temple or even achieve entrance into the Celestial Kingdom."

    No one ever said that a mission was a requirement for the temple or the celestial kingdom. Again, you're comment is really unrelated to the discussion at hand.

    "And lastly, to whomever thinks that a woman is less or not a spiritual as her husband if she did not serve a mission and her husband did, they will have to dictate the hundreds of thousands of women in wards today who serve as spiritual leaders in the church and in their homes. "

    No one has claimed nor even eluded to women who don't serve missions are less or not a[s] spiritual as her husband. Yet again, you're comment is really unrelated to the discussion at hand.

    "The idea is ludicrous, insulting, and FALSE DOCTRINE."

    Yes this idea is insulting and false doctrine, but you were the one that pulled it out of thin air. It wasn't stated or inferred by anyone. You're obviously projecting an insecurity as was stated before, as you brought this unrelated idea to the table.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. A good Latter-Day Saint is a student of the Gospel and truth, not a slave to emotional whims. The points presented before this reply were of a completely different nature than what you're refuting.

    You read one thing, and chose to "hear" another. You responded to what you "heard" rather than to what was actually said. This is dangerous. This is exactly the type of jump-to-conclusion-ism that creates fragmentation in the Church. You might claim that my comments are fragmenting, but I stand on the ground of relevant truth. I humbly and lovingly invite you to really examine yourself and your approach to the Gospel. Such reactions are hurting, not helping the kingdom of God.

  22. As a 44 year-old returned missionary, I find the entire new phenomenon of sisters missionaries bemusing. I was standing in the BYU bookstore when I heard a young man talking about how he had told his girlfriend to serve and if it was right, he would still be there. I'm still a bit in shock that I heard that.

    We used to get the unspoken presumption that, obviously, a sister was serving because she had failed to find a husband (yet). Right. I remember the night I felt called to serve a mission, and I remember my reasons, so it never bothered me.

    My own daughter approached mission age, and we did our best to made it clear that it was her decision to serve, and we would support her on a mission, and we would support her if she did not serve. I wanted her to serve because my own mission had been so pivotal in my life, but I knew that it had to be her decision, and her prayers, and her feeling that she was called.

    I am proud of her now as a missionary, but I would still be proud of her if she were not serving.

  23. This is a great article Ari. You have brought to light a slow growing trend I have been seeing. I work with a young woman of exceptional faith and testimony. She related to me an experience she had similar to this very thing.

    She was dating a young man that had told her that she was exactly like a return missionary. Strong testimony, relief society president in her ward, great personality, beautiful. Everything he wanted except for one thing. She had not served a mission. He told her could no longer date her because of that.

    Bob, I say to you, behind every good man is a good woman. I'm sure you have heard that saying before. I hope you do share this article with your quorum. Because until you and Will and those like you stop passing judgements on people you know anything about, you will find it hard to find a good woman. Hopefully by you sharing this it will help some of the elders see how they belittle a young woman by attitudes like these. More of us men need to hear it. I am surrounded by wonderful, faithful, strong women in my life. Some of which have gone through life experiences you will never have. Grown men would break under the stress of these trials, and these women rely solely upon the faith in their Maker to get through because of the unwaivering testimonies they have. To see how some young men can so quickly pass judgement on them and their potential is very concerning. Just as Christ was harsh in the temple, so has Ari been harsh. She saw an issue that needed to be tackled and knew that by tackling it she knew that she would in fact get responses just like yours.

    Now you can say she can't get the mission experience without going on one. Young man, she has just had the door slammed in her face by every comment you and Will have made in your false assessments of her. The difference is, that you have the ability to judge and be hurtful and her never see your face. Would you be so harsh facing a stranger in the mission field? I think not. Would you be so judgemental in the mission field? I hope not.

    We can talk about validation or justification all you want, but when a young man refuses to date someone because they don't have a title there is an issue. If he don't want to date you because you aren't a good match or whatever that's fine. His choice. The girls choice too. But to deny someone your love because of two letters is quite frankly one of the most judgmental and ignorant things one can do.

    By your response I feel she has hit a nerve or you wouldn't have taken so much time to prove her wrong.

    Keep up the good work Arianna. You are a brave young woman. Braver than some missionaries will ever be. You have touched and reached more people than any missionary could do in two years and have taken a beating more than a lot of missionaries ever will.

    I appreciate your ability to help us see where we can improve. That is always good. I believe Heavenly Father thinks very highly of you for your courage. Keep the faith and keep up the good work!

  24. I happen to agree with Will on this one. The experiences that are shared go a long way in providing common background in a marriage. I am an RM, having served some 27 years ago when it wasn't popular to serve and there wasn't as much pressure to go. It was quite the opposite of today's thinking. Back then the belief was girls only served a mission because they weren't pretty enough or couldn't get married. Funny how things change. Ü My husband wasn't necessarily 'looking' for an RM, but he was sure grateful he found one. It has helped with commitment, communication and empathy. It has also been an advantage for when my children have decided to serve as well (all girls). Can a girl be a righteous daughter of God by not serving? Yes. Can she be a wonderful wife and mother? Yes, of course! Does God have a plan for each person that may/maynot include a mission? Yes. The fact that some people (men AND women) choose to look for an eternal mate with that as one of the qualifications shouldn't be upsetting. We are counseled to not be 'unequally yoked'. Is it necessary for a successful marriage? Obviously not. While President Benson married an RM, Presidents Kimball, Monson and Hinckley did not. Whatever the choice is (to serve or not serve) if your answer came from the Lord, let that be enough. Be confident in your choices and direction and let others be confident in theirs. Marcie

  25. As a young woman about to enter the mission field, I whole heartedly agree with this. There is no reason that a woman who has not served a full time mission should be seen as less worthy for following righteous desires than one who has served. You may not have gotten a calling in the form of that white envelope to serve for 18 months… but your calling came on a much less public scale. We all have callings, we all have roles to fill within God's plan for His children. My plan was made very clear to me when I received my patriarchal blessing, and in the end, I chose to serve a full time mission because of the potential it had to help me in that larger calling I'm working toward. For some, that higher calling might be to start a family instead of a mission, rather than after a mission. For others, it might be the need for an education or the fulfillment of a calling within their own community. It breaks my heart to see so many girls turned down time and time again, when they are every bit as worthy as their return missionary sisters. Are we not all on the Lord's errand? The Lord's mission?

    The same goes for sisters when dating men. I noticed you'd written about that as well. I have a dear friend from high school who did not serve a mission (she married at 19 before the age change) and was married in the temple to a very strong, righteous priesthood holder. Through my conversations with them over the last 3 years, I can tell that God is at the center of their relationship. They speak openly with each other on faith, and both of them have been made incredibly strong by their lives' experiences. Her husband did not serve a mission either. He was nearing the end of his window of opportunity when he was finally returning to the church, and received the guidance to be married instead. They're starting their family now, and I do feel that choice was made with the Lord, and for that reason is a better choice.

    Watching my own brother, who is now 19, struggle and not want to serve, I know it can be hard for them when they struggle with either the ability to serve (due to physical or mental health reasons) or the worthiness to do so. However, that being said, I'd rather date a young man who did not serve and went through proper repentance rather than an unworthy young man who hid his sins to serve a mission for the title of RM and does not honor either that title or his priesthood. God will not be mocked. It's only a requirement for priesthood holders if they are worthy and able to do so. There are so many who cannot because of physical or emotional reasons, and that is just fine. God has a plan for each of us. That plan is not the same for each of us.

  26. If I was a single RM and I read of other LDS guys who would only date RMs, I'd be VERY happy. Those brothers are cutting themselves off from the vast majority of temple worthy, quality, beautiful young ladies. Will begins his comment with a fallacy: "Would some of those benefits of serving a mission be absent if they one (sic) didn't server (sic) a mission? Of course!" That's a fallacious argument because while serving a mission may be one way to gain those qualities, it most certainly isn't the only way. All of us can think of examples of people who learned the lessons Will espoused in ways other than missions, even before they are married. Certainly the lessons a young lady learns on her mission are important. But believing those lessons can only be learned on a mission and cutting your pool of prospective mates by roughly 75% is ridiculous.

  27. I am horrified by some of the comments on this post. She didn't choose not to serve a mission. God told her that a mission was not right for her, and she followed God. She was not robbed of spiritual opportunity. God knows us better than anyone else knows us. He knows what is best for us, and He knows how best to guide us. A mission is not for everyone.

    I was recently engaged, but I had to break it off because my fiance was not upholding his priesthood duties. He was an RM, and yet he was not following the commandments. Just because someone served a mission does not mean they are necessarily spiritual giants.

    During the time I was engaged, I turned 19. I could have left to go on a mission, but instead I stayed because I thought I was going to get married. My experience with having to break off my engagement months later taught me that I didn't have a healthy relationship, and it taught me what a healthy relationship should look like. It taught me that both in the couple need to be close to God, and a number of other things. I have come out the other side having a better idea of what I need to look for in my future husband, and the things that I need to avoid. I wouldn't necessarily have had that experience on a mission.

    The Lord knows me, and He knows how I need to be taught.

    My step-dad married an RM, and she was abusive to him. She was definitely not keeping the commandments, though she had served a mission. They were later divorced, and my step dad married my mom years after. My mom did not serve a mission, but she is my greatest role model. She is an amazing woman, and they have had a great marriage.

    I don't think it is fair for boys who return from their missions to say that they will only date girls who are RMs. People walk different paths in life. For some, a mission is the right path for them, and for others it is not. It is the Lord's place to judge. From experience, I know that not all return missionaries are saints. I think it is admirable to want great spiritual qualities in your future spouse, and that could come from an RM or it may not.

    I don't know what I am going to do now. I am not getting married yet. I could serve a mission, but I have not been able to decide if it is the right thing for me yet. I am currently teaching English to college students in Paraguay. I know that this is the right place for me to be right now. The students need me here, and I am doing a good work. A mission is a good work, and I commend all of the girls out serving. I will see where God directs me, but wherever I am, I plan to always be engaged in doing good works.

  28. Ha ha, I'm not sure where to start… I can see the points both are trying to make, but feel like Will and those "siding" with him are missing Arianna's point and those "siding" with Arianna are explaining more than they should need to. Arianna said it in one of her first replies… They're both going to come out of this with the same opinions and it's too bad it's not going to be an open minded discussion.

    She wrote this for the sake of those who are still open minded and possibly being swayed by those like Will. They can set their requirements for RM significant others, but they're narrowing their potential spouses significantly and influencing others to do the same. And it does seem judgmental, and it is.

    I got the answer to prepare to serve a mission when I was 19 (the age was 21 then). So I treated my life like I was going to leave soon and took missionary prep classes, read and studied Preach My Gospel, and used my time in the singles ward as a mission. I later received the answer that marriage was more important and my family needed me here. I'm married now and have 3 children and could never have foreseen the horrific things that my family was going to go through that I needed to be prepared for by what God asked me to do.

    If you feel like God wants you to only date RM's, then fine, but I'm pretty sure He doesn't usually give people that impression. Just please be careful to not pass up a prompting or someone that could be perfect for you and your future family because of such a specific goal.

  29. Thanks for your comment, Marcie. I'd just say that there are lots of good men and women who, with us, would be equally yoked, even if they didn't formally serve. We should be careful to not overlook them, because many of them can communicate, commit, and empathize just as well as those who served a faithful mission.

  30. Thanks for your comments. :) We should definitely all be careful to look upon the heart of a person rather than just what we perceive to be qualifications or the lack thereof. I expect that having kids who've gone through things like this can really help you to recognize the power and wonder of the Atonement.

  31. Thanks for your comments, Natalie. I think it's important to recognize that the Lord is always helping us to grow, no matter what our circumstances may be. You've hit on that point well here.

  32. Thank you so much for your comments, stranger. I don't have your name here, but your words have touched me and I'm grateful for them. People agree or disagree and I think it's important that we all talk about it kindly instead of letting our egos get involved. Which, I'll admit, is really hard. Speaking with sharpness can be appropriate as long as it comes from selflessness and not ego. The trick is to figure out how to do that. :)

  33. Thank you so much for your comments! I love what you've said about the lessons we learn in a marriage setting. It's so important to realize that our entire life is a growth/learning experience.

    One thing that I don't like about the education analogy is that it ignores the fact that the "dean" of our spiritual education does not deny us any lesson we are willing to learn. He's ALWAYS going to reward us for the efforts we put in. No matter what.

  34. Thank you so much for your words and for standing up in my defense. They have brought me a lot of comfort and encouragement after what has been a rough week and I appreciate them more than you know. :)

    You can tell that young woman you work with that a man who would only date her for a status is probably not worth dating at all. I hope he realizes that before he has to learn it the hard way.

  35. Thank you so much for your comments, and for your Christlike understanding of what some individuals go through. I'm kind of going through the same thing with a mission-aged family member myself. It's hard to see him struggle to make that decision, but it's even harder when a few people who could do so much good in helping him choose to point out where he's lacking. That's tough on a person. I think you've hit on a great point — we need to be supportive of each other. All of us, to various extents, are trying. That being said, thanks for choosing to serve. I can tell that the mission field's getting a pretty great sister. :)

  36. Thanks for your comments, Matthew! I'm actually kind of laughing to myself because you hit on a very good point. If someone's going to judge me for not serving a mission, that's one less dating option I have to worry about and one more option for the fantastic guys who are open to it. Haha. :)

  37. Thank you so much for your thoughts and insight, Mary. I'm sorry about your engagement. I can imagine that would have been so hard. We're all trying to figure out what to do in life, I think, and sometimes we learn lessons in different ways than our neighbors do. That's really great that you're teaching students in Paraguay. That sounds amazing! I wish you luck in figuring out life. Haha. It's hard, isn't it? I'm definitely at that stage.

  38. Thanks, Steph, for keeping it real. :) The basic fact is that the Lord teaches us all in different ways. And each one of us needs the lessons he chooses to teach us.

  39. Oh, please. This is just another example of women demanding a long list of standards from men while men are allowed no such thing from women.

    "You have to accept me, faults and all. But you have to meet all these criteria I made up in YW class six years ago."

  40. I must admit that I bristled at the comment that someone was "suspicious" of women who pray about a mission and get the answer of no. Wow. Talk about presumption! As someone further down that road, Arianna, I can tell you that when God says no it may be quite a while before you really know the reason why. I desperately wanted to go on a mission and was devastated when the answer was no. The whole story is way too personal to post on a public blog, but a series of things fell into place that would never have fallen into place if I had taken a year and a half off from my education to serve a mission. Now, 20 years later, I can clearly see the hand of God in the answer of no, even though it was very hard to accept. I look forward to serving a mission in the future.

    As far as only dating RMs is concerned, I had that on my list of requirements when I was young because it was a sign that this was a man who took the prophet seriously and fulfilled his priesthood duty. Now that I am 41 and out in the dating world again, that isn't necessarily on my list. Oh, the idea that I want a man who takes the prophet seriously and fulfills his priesthood duty is definitely there, but a lot of things can happen between 19 and 40. Ideally, the man I marry will be one who has always fulfilled his priesthood duty, but I understand that "RM" is a shorthand for something else on my list of desired qualities. The idea of men only dating RMs doesn't quite convey the same thing (for all the reasons you outline). I can understand men making that statement, though, and hope that they can realize what qualities they are really looking for when they say they only want an RM. If they can't look beyond the label then I don't think you've lost much in not being able to date them. Judgmental and narrow minded are on my list of qualities to AVOID in a man.

  41. Thank you for your comments, Marianne. It does me good to hear of women who've had similar experiences. :) And you're very right! When it comes to dating, I think any girl would rather date someone open-minded and non-judgmental.

  42. Your title for this page "To the Guys Who Will Only Date RMs, From a Girl Who Isn't One" caught my eye because I can definitely say I've never heard anyone say it. Usually you hear about girls who will only date guys who are RM's. Either way guys or girls I would like to shed some light on the reality of things when it comes to people say they will only date date RM's. I served my two years in St. Louis Missouri and had a very amazing/life altering experience over all. Like many who will and are entering the mission field I went to the MTC holding missionaries (both elders and sisters) a very high esteem. They were valiant, vigilant, and infoulable in my mind. After serving for a little while I realized that we were all just kids all made mistakes and that was ok. As time went on I learned there were all different kinds of missionaries. Hardcore missionaries that ran from door to door; relaxed, calm and personable missionaries that took there time; missionaries that tried hard but struggled regardless; and many other kinds in between. However there were those special missionaries that their only accomplishment of their mission seemed to be the never ending trials they provided for everyone around them. Its not the fact that someone served a mission that says they learned, grew, and matured into someone you want to date; it's the how they served their mission that shows your they grew. So, to guys and gals who feel they can only date RM's know that just because someone is an RM doesn't mean they are worth your time, and just because they are not an RM doesn't mean they aren't.

  43. Hey. No worries. :) Thank you for your comments! You're very right. What someone does and who they become on their mission is much more important than the fact that they've chosen to serve one.

  44. Ari, this has been enlightening, with equal doses of encouragement and discouragement. I never would have imagined that this was even an issue! That there really are LDS "men" who won't date girls who aren't RMs! The logic of those who support that is juvenile and preposterous. Two respondents here, whom I will not honor with their names, are breathtakingly arrogant and unbearably pompous. Perfect examples of the scriptural warning of being learned without being wise. Your responses are charitable, which I admire. I remember running into overbearing priesthood holders when I was investigating the church. Happily, I was able to look past their self-absorption and see the truth of the doctrines of the gospel. This is a dangerously misguided direction and I fear this more than the OW movement, which one of your detractors tried vainly to connect to your posting. Others here have done a great job of taking apart their verbose nonsense, so I won't add to their good efforts. You're in the right, Ari, and I'm afraid I don't suffer fools gladly, and your detractors sound pretty foolish.

  45. We don't serve missions for our own personal growth. We serve missions to "serve others" and to serve the Lord, and in doing so, we grow both spiritually, intellectually and in experience. My mission took me to Mexico. There I had many wonderful experiences and taught many wonderful people. I had never had a desire to go on a mission; heck, I even said that I was not going to serve a mission. But one Sunday, my bishop called me out of Sunday School class and asked if I had ever thought about serving. I told him, "No", to which he asked If I would like to serve. Without hesitation and without really thinking, I replied that I would. The Spirit told me at that very moment that I needed to do this for Him. I have a testimony that the Lord does speak to us, and Ari, I know that He spoke to you. Only your answer was to not go. I was an OK missionary, not great,sometimes not a very good one. But I was never a bad missionary. The idiotic idea that all missionaries return home as spiritual giants is truly that: idiotic. Look at the number of missionaries who go inactive after being an advocate for the Father and His Son. What's up with that? That you have faith and are loyal to your covenants should be enough for any RM. In my book, a lack of RM status should have nothing to say about anyone, man or woman. I applaud you for being the faithful sister you are. I would be proud to have had you in my earthly family. I am proud to call you my pre-mortal sister. I would give you 10 thumbs up, but I only have 2. The few detractors who have responded here did not learn much about humility and love while they were in the mission field. I hope they did learn about repentance. They taught it. Now they need to apply it.

  46. I'm so glad I found your blog. I was in Dr. McCuskey's Detective Fiction w/ you and Jamille. I sat by y'all and Elinor. (This is that awkward, "Do you remember me?" comment).

    This is such a problem in the church. It makes my heart ache. Thank you for addressing it on both sides, men and women.

    I know RMs who, 30 years after returning are not good people. Or they are not living the gospel. Being an RM is no guarantee of worthiness. It's not a guarantee of faithfulness.

    My friend married a man nearly 11 years ago. She had decided she would marry an RM because she had dated a man who wasn't, and he became abusive. She wanted someone who loved the Lord, who wanted to serve Him and follow Him, who would worthily take her to the temple. We met the man she married when he and his brother came back to church, attending our single's ward. He was preparing for a mission. Then, President Hinkley, "Raised the Bar" and he was no longer worthy to serve. They decided to marry instead. They married in the St. Louis temple, have 4 kids (2 of each) and both serve in church callings. He is a wonderful husband and father and friend. She found who the Lord prepared for her.

    When I was 21, I started preparing for a mission and also received a no answer. It was the most devastating answer to prayer I had received. When President Monson announced that the age was lowering, I was 29. My first thought was, "why now, why not when I could have served?" It was hard. But I know the most important thing is to follow the Lord. To have an open and prayerful relationship with him. I prayed to be prepared for marriage in His time. I prayed that He would lead me to my spouse. I married at 22 and have 3 kids. It was right for me to stay, to serve in a different capacity. It was promised in my patriarchal blessing that, "motherhood would be the greatest calling for (me) on this earth." It has been.

  47. It's about time!

    For years girls ignored us non-rms like yesterday's garbage for not being able to serve (health, converting too old, etc…). And now many of these same girls are now getting passed over for the same "must be an rm" stance.

    It's ironic in a way….welcome to my living nightmare good sisters :(

  48. I didn't serve a mission, I went into the military 4 days after graduating high school, I did stay active in the church while in the military, I was never put down though by members actually got a lot of respect (I think it was because of the Uniform though), I did pray about joining the military and was given the answer that the was a good path for me, several years later I was feeling bad for not going on a mission, I asked the Lord for forgiveness, I received one of the most beautiful answers in my life, The Lord told me I had served him in the capacity He had called me to serve, I then remembered all of the times that I was asked "What do Mormons believe?" I had to memorize the articles of faith just to answer what do Mormons believe, I found out missionaries aren't allowed to proselyte on military bases, but I could spread the gospel where the missionaries couldn't. I served in a capacity that the Lord asked me. I feel so sorry for the prejudice that is given to all young women who are judged for following what the Lord tells them, I think we get enough attacks from the world, I find it sad that a person could be so judged without even knowing the situation, or the reasoning behind person's decision not to serve. We should seek to build up the kingdom not put down anyone who is a member of the Lord's church.

  49. I completely agree with you and what you said about God telling you "no" on the topic of serving a mission. It makes me sooo sad to have read through so many of the comments made saying that this article was just an act of remorse and you need to own your decision.

    I do not believe that's true. Guys, if a girl asked you if you hadn't served a mission and you said no, then she walked away saying "oh I can't date you, you didn't serve." It would make you feel bad. That's what this is about, not anyone regretting a past decision made. I am currently dating a guy who hasn't served a mission and I don't look at him any differently, so why should he look at me wrongly either? Missions can be so many different things: getting married and starting a family, finish schooling to help others around you, going abroad to teach English to some less privileged children. Missions are fantastic and everyone who feels like they need/should serve one should. But the judging others based on not serving needs to stop.

    God has a plan for everyone of us and if being called to a different state or country to spread the gospel is what we need to do, He will let us know, other than that, we all are serving a different kind of mission.