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Must converts serve missions?

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I know someone who was baptized at age 17, but is doubting whether or no he wants to serve a mission. Does the church have a stance on this? Is he under the same obligation to serve as other men are? 

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I know someone who was baptized at age 17, but is doubting whether or no he wants to serve a mission. Does the church have a stance on this? Is he under the same obligation to serve as other men are? 

 

I can understand why a 17 yo convert may need more time to wrap their head around the idea (and thus not go at 18) but yes, the obligation is the same for all able-bodied men (as far as I know anyway).  It is not uncommon for young men at this age to have reservations (whether convert or not) so I would suggest he talk to his bishop about it.  Furthermore, maybe he was prompted to join the Church sooner rather than later so he would have the chance to serve.  You never know!  Also, has he gotten his Patriarchal Blessing?  That could help with the decision as well.  Just a thought.

Edited by notquiteperfect

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I know other people will disagree with me here, but--

 

I really object to the language you "have" to go on a mission.  A mission should always be a choice, convert or not, male or female.  Going should be highly encouraged, especially for the guys, but not mandatory.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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As another thought, I have observed that converts usually make AWESOME missionaries because they know what it's like to be in the investigator's seat.

 

A very insightful comment, and one that I agree with totally.  

 

There is a language school not far from me that intentionally uses non-native speakers to teach the beginning courses for a foreign language.  The rationale is that non-native speakers can explain the twists and quirks of the new language to new learners far better than a native speaker could.  I think this is a close parallel to convert missionaries.

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I know other people will disagree with me here, but--

 

I really object to the language you "have" to go on a mission.  A mission should always be a choice, convert or not, male or female.  Going should be highly encouraged, especially for the guys, but not mandatory.

 

Missions are not mandatory, any more than obedience, happiness, or exaltation are mandatory. But full-time missionary service is the duty of every young Priesthood holder, unless specifically excused.

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I can understand the reservations. Granted, I don't know a lot on the subject because while I thought about it at a younger age (late teens when I converted), I was inactive at the time when it would have been possible for me to serve a mission. Funnily enough, if the ages had been lowered sooner, I probably would have despite my concerns.

 

For me, the big concern stemmed back to: what would my parents think, how can I afford this financially (because I know my parents would not have supported such a decision), and the delay in starting my career.

 

Obviously every situation is different, and serving a mission is an honorable decision, I can understand the hesitation for a late teen convert, as well, having been there myself at one point.

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I know someone who was baptized at age 17, but is doubting whether or no he wants to serve a mission. Does the church have a stance on this? Is he under the same obligation to serve as other men are? 

 

I believe this is like asking - if someone is born - must they breath? 

 

However, there are many ways to serve missions.  Full time missionary is only one possibility.  But a full time mission is temporary and as such have only limited impact on a person.  It is far better to determine to serve G-d and our fellow man for a life time.  With such realization a temporary full time mission may or may not be a necessary step in a life long journey.

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When I served my mission, I baptised several people very close to my own age, all over the age of 17. Three of them were serving full time missions before I finished my own mission and all of them were almost fully financially supported from the general church mission fund. They each felt that serving a mission was the best decision they had ever made. In general terms, and without knowing the details, I think that it is in this young man's best interests to serve a mission and he should seek his own confirmation from the Lord if that is what the Lord would have him do. And I fully agree with notquiteperfect's suggestion that the decision to serve should be informed by his Patriarchal blessing.

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I know someone who was baptized at age 17, but is doubting whether or no he wants to serve a mission. Does the church have a stance on this? Is he under the same obligation to serve as other men are?

Serving a mission is not required to be a member. As a people we are supposed to live per this quote; "every member a missionary". As such we come out of the waters of baptism into our calling as a missionary, and are released upon our death here on earth. However we also know that our mission field will then be to administer to those who never had the opportunity in this life...that mission will not end until the "final judgement. I try to go out once or twice a week with our missionaries, as a convert who was already married, I could not go. But now that I am retired so I try to help the missionary cause and calling.

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I wondered the same thing before I became a member. I love how our church teaches "Every member a missionary". Some of us don't like to wear suits and cover our piercings and tattoos-so I couldn't be a "normal"  missionary. No apologies whatsoever for that. I've witnessed to several people about the veracity of the book of Mormon and have gotten great success because "I don't look like a Mormon"  

Edited by MormonGator

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I think, if all possible, male converts of the appropriate priesthood and age range should seek to serve a mission if so. It is a duty of the priesthood, and I tire of the opinion young men shouldn't feel some level of obligation to serve.

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I think, if all possible, male converts of the appropriate priesthood and age range should seek to serve a mission if so. It is a duty of the priesthood, and I tire of the opinion young men shouldn't feel some level of obligation to serve.

While I understand what you are saying and don't really disagree-keep in mind some people can  be wonderful missionaries who can bring even more people to Christ (I've baptized three people in the two years since I've held the priesthood) their own way. 

A lot of my friends simply won't open up the door to a guy in a suit, much less their hearts and minds. When I come in I can talk the way they do. "Aw, man-I love your ink, where did you get that done? Tell you what-if I can a five minutes of your time we can swap tattoo war stories brother!" (I've used that line before, verbatim. It worked, though he hasn't been baptized yet). 

 

Speaking from my own experience, I wasn't very comfortable at first talking with two guys who dressed in suits. I wasn't sure I had anything in common with them.

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Gator, you're right and we all can be missionaries. But I don't think your kind of story and the nature of the priesthood duty of official missions necessarily are opposed. Why should it only be one or the other?

Very good point. 

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I suppose every member a missionary doesn't trump priesthood duty, nor does it automatically replace the duty to seek to serve. To say "I don't feel like serving a full-time mission, I'll just do the everyday thing to share" seems like a cop-out. That isn't to lessen the importance of all our duty to share the gospel.

If a convert is worthy and able, he ought to serve.

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I am sympathetic to the fact that there are young men who for one reason or another were unable to serve or had to return early from a mission and may not have been treated in the most loving way. Of course this is wrong.

 

But if we use the excuse of "No one should judge" to justify "I will do what feels good because no one should judge" we run into problems.

 

I do believe those who think missions should be a choice (and they are, when it comes right down to it) have the best of intentions.

 

But I see so many churches out there, groups of Christians, where so much of the doctrine and the lifestyle is "Love Jesus and do whatever you want". There's not much conviction.

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But I see so many churches out there, groups of Christians, where so much of the doctrine and the lifestyle is "Love Jesus and do whatever you want". There's not much conviction.

You and I are in complete, 100% agreement on this. 

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To directly answer the thread's title, the answer is NO.

 

Both my parents are LDS converts and neither served missions. So as far as it being mandatory, nope, it isn't. That said, both my parents were in their mid to late 20's when they joined, I believe. They already had children, etc., so it just wasn't in the deck of cards for them, too. Now that the are retirement age, they are considering serving a couple's mission.

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