Just last week, BuzzFeed published a new video poking fun at Mormon missionaries and mission life. The video follows “Elder” Alan and “Elder” Dunning for a day as they do normal missionary activities, such as street contacting, tracting, singing hymns, and teaching lessons.
As expected, BuzzFeed delivers a wide range of jabs and jokes, from commentary on the Word of Wisdom, to the Church’s views of the LGBT community, along with plenty of door slamming. Because the video contains vulgar and offensive content, we are not putting it in this article. But, if you so desire, watch it here (at your own risk).
Ironically enough, the potentially offensive satire is drawing a whole lot of kindness in the comments section on Facebook.
Here are just a few of them (go to their Facebook page to see extended comments):
While there is so much negativity directed towards the Church and religion in general online, it is pretty dang cool to see such kindness from members and non-members alike! Whatever BuzzFeed’s intention, it definitely took on an unexpected positive spin.
My Personal Reaction and Experience
Impressed by all the kindness, I decided to see what the all the fuss was about, cringing in anticipation of the harassment that was sure to follow. Before I knew it, I was laughing, thoroughly surprised at the relatability at some parts of the video. It even left me wondering if someone at BuzzFeed is a member, or at the least has friends that are LDS.
Was it the most accurate portrayal ever? Obviously not. There were plenty of parts that I didn’t like or didn’t agree with, not to mention how frustrated I was as a witness to the “elders'” lack of teaching skills. But, after expecting to be shaking with indignant rage, I quite enjoyed watching these “elders” navigate through a day in the life of a missionary through BuzzFeed’s eyes.
There was something I said throughout my whole mission, a catch phrase if you will. I used to say “If it’s not awkward, it’s not a mission.” Maybe that’s why I found this video so funny, because it showed a side of daily mission life that people don’t typically think about, how downright awkward it can be. And as important and serious as missionary work is, one crucial lesson I learned while serving was how to laugh.
I remember the very first lesson I ever taught, fresh out of the Mexico Missionary Training Center. I sat down with my trainer to teach this woman named Patricia, and for the next 45 minutes I felt my brain melt to mush… I had absolutely no idea what was going on, and every time it was my “turn” to speak, I sputtered out the simplest of gospel phrases in broken Spanish, praying that it by some miracle it had something to do with what we were talking about. As we left her house, I decided I had a choice: I could either laugh or cry. I decided to laugh.
And although I had my many crying/full on breakdown moments like the “elder” in the video, from then on I learned that the mission could be a blast if you let it be. And honestly, there are few times in my life that I have laughed harder and had more fun than when I was a missionary. This video brought some of those relatable moments back (i.e. knocking on random strangers’ doors, downright weird encounters with people on the streets, saying something awkward during a lesson, etc.)
Now, I fully recognize that others will have very different opinions and reactions to this video, especially due to some of the vulgar content it contains. My personal take on it by no means condones or agrees with such vulgarity, but I am choosing to appreciate it for what it is: a parody, and a strangely accurate one at that.
However, if you want to know what missionary work is actually all about, watch this incredible video below of real-life missionaries from the Germany Berlin Mission.
What did you think of the BuzzFeed’s video? Do you have any awkward/funny mission experiences? Let us know in the comments below!