Tags

Share this Episode

Comments 17

  1. Scott, your book was most impressive to me because you stayed true to yourself regardless of the mixed messages given to you from a religion you grew up to trust and love. Your book was cathartic (as it was to your son Kirk) helping me to not feel so isolated having had similar experiences on my mission in the ’70’s. I laughed so hard when you read from you journal while still in the LTM realizing “that the church was full of s**t!” It’s all I can say when people ask me what I think about the church today!

    Mark, a “chess piece” is exactly what I felt like on my mission. No more than an inanimate number in a sea of numbers creating more members to pay more numbers ($) for the church.

    Thank you John and to all for this excellent discussion about this wonderful book. Thank you Scott and Mark for writing The Book Of A Mormon. It healed my soul.

  2. The part that resonated with me was “Speak Your Language.” The mission I was in had a reverse policy: “Don’t Speak Your Language.”

    I went to the Philippine Cebu Mission in 1982-83. I literally went from my house in Manila to the airport and landed on the mission field in Cebu within a couple of hours. The next day I was transferred to Bacolod and hit the ground running. I never went to the MTC. There was no MTC yet. I never passed through a temple to have my endowments. The temple wasn’t built yet. I finished my mission wearing only “chapel garments” as underclothing. This was normal during my time for those like me serving locally.

    I learned my discussions by borrowing my elder brother’s “rainbow discussions”. They were in English and the Philippines was considered an English-speaking mission although the natives spoke English only as a second language. There are many dialects spoken across the Philippines. Many of the local members can speak English but with a thick accent.

    The mission rule was to speak only in English, even in the Elders apartment, even when two Filipinos are talking to each other. We were not to teach in the local language even if the natives begged for it. The local members who went to fellowship our contacts knew the policy and would question us about it. They had referrals who wanted to hear us but could speak no English, and we had to turn them down because of that policy. So on many occasions, this question would be referred to the higher ups.

    Can you imagine people coming to you, wanting to hear your message, and you have turn them away?

    The official mission answer was that the Church was seeking people who could one day become leaders. Natives who spoke English were considered having attained better education than the “no speak English” masses. After all, the scriptures and manuals were all still in English. None of them have been translated locally. This was the early 80s, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses have long been distributing their books and pamphlets translated in all the major dialects of the country.

    This is all history now. My last mission companion was the first batch in the local MTC. There are two temples now standing. The BoM is now available in many local dialects. Foreign missionaries are now allowed to teach in the native language. When I tell these foreigners about our “Speak English Only” policy, they could not believe it.

    I could not believe it either… Yet at that time, I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker!

    1. Rico:

      Thanks so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks as well for sharing your experiences. I’d like to say I was surprised but given my experience your description sounded all too familiar.

      The most telling for me was your observation, “that’s all history now.” My thought I’d that the church is currently making new history, and calling it truth. I’m sure many will look back on what is held as doctrine today as foolishness. Alas that is the danger of a good memory (and the Internet).

  3. Weird to hear the title ‘the Christ’ keep being used as if it had any real significance other than that ascribed by Christian and Jewish myth.

  4. I’m curious to read the book now that I’ve heard Scott and Mark talk about it. The curious aspect for me was the dynamic of losing one’s persona in order to adopt the desired Church ideals. This message and the time period brought to mind Rush’s song Subdivisions “…conform or be cast out…” While my mission experience was a decade later, I saw much of this same behavior in Texas. However, I never cared about contrived authorities nor empowered them and was the type of missionary that Hans described. They knew they couldn’t control me through the normal guilt methods employed so they were somewhat at a loss and just let me do my thing. This book interests me (and I bought it straight from Scott’s website figuring he’d get more of the profit) because it alerted me to the pain that many missionaries felt, may not have even consciously noticed, and certainly couldn’t talk about.

      1. So…I got your book yesterday and started reading it late in the afternoon. I went to bed at 0320 after finishing it. Great book, Scott and Mark. Your mission was far stricter than mine and, I admit, I was shocked to hear about the snitching and interrogations the district leaders conducted. We were a polar opposite in Texas. We handled everything “in-house” as missionaries so it wouldn’t ever get to the mission president.

        Scott and Mark, the best part of the book for me was when Scott, your companion J.J., and Stephanie climbed the 60 meter tower to see the view. Although it was perilous and you and Stephanie were frightened and concerned along the climb, the view was worth it. Furthermore, when Stephanie changed your perspective concerning what you had lost in the church to a view of what you had gained through the knowledge you had acquired, I wanted to applaud. I know I’ve felt that same ache, but the shift in schema you experienced is a message of light for me. It was a fantastic way to end the book just as it concluded your mission.

        Thanks for taking the time to write this, gentlemen.

  5. Just finished the book. The most important lesson I learned from it…. Love. Love others, love yourself, love life. I’m sending a copy to my 19 year-old son. We left the church almost 2 years ago. He’s glad he’s out but feels he missed out on having a missionary experience. I think your book will give him a glimpse of what that might have been like for him. A big mahalo for the courage to share your story.

  6. I found Scott Miller’s comments on his difficulties in the mission field fascinating. I went on a mission to Germany about 10 years earlier and also had many challenges, not cultural and social like Scott’s, but rather growing doubts about the doctrine I was teaching over there. I have written it up as chapter in a much larger work I have written for posterity that describes my spiritual discoveries during my lifetime. I have this chapter about my mission in the Google cloud: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9FC_KzyzMlNUkw1WWR6SUNQVVk if, by chance, you are interested in another perspective.

  7. this podcast has completely resonated with me to the point of bringing me to finally write down my own experiences from my service in South Carolina. Thank you for sharing both thru your book and for this podcast. And thank you John.

  8. I know which mission president you served under. When he was a missionary in Sweden, he served as the assistant to his mission president. I served as the president’s secretary, so we were in the mission office at the same time. Our mission president was very kind, friendly and easy going. He treated all missionaries very lovingly, even helped many who had problems. It surprised me to read that President T did not do the same. At the same time as President T served in the Sweden Goteborg Mission, his older brother served in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. There could have been some kind of competition going on there regarding most baptisms, discussions, etc. Maybe that’s why he was so strict.

  9. Nice podcast. I wish I had the courage and integrity to stand against the BS that happened in our mission. It was managed like an Amway/car dealership type of business. There were awards for baptisms which led to all kinds of questionable methods to find converts. We had no time for any kind of service and we were always under the gun for results. Any sign of opposition guaranteed a visit from the zone leaders, AP’s, and eventually an interview with the mission president. Further repercussions would include a permanent junior companion position for the rest of the mission and constant supervision. We all know the shame we would feel if we quit and went home early and that was never an option. My greatest regret about serving a mission was that I did not look for opportunities to find and perform acts of service.

  10. Excellent podcast and thanks for sharing your experiences. My biggest regret from my mission was that I didn’t look for more opportunities to perform acts of service. I was too cowardly to stand up against all the BS in our mission and too worried about not achieving the numbers that were needed to keep the leadership off our backs.

  11. Thank you Scott for sharing your experience. I was re-living my experiences in Sweden of 15 years earlier when it was only one mission. I love the country and the people so it brought back good memories. I was fortunate to have a good mission president who actually cared about his people. Maybe your MP did you a favor by giving you a wake-up call to the deceit and deception of the whole enterprise. It took me another 30 years to make the break. I envy you in that regard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.