SophJ

What to write to a missionary if I am a nonmember?

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I grew up in the church, and up until about a year ago I was an active member. I am no longer active nor do I wish to be, it’s not something that works for me. The complicated side of that is I was seriously dating a boy who left on a mission recently and I have no idea how to write to him. I want to write to him and send him uplifting things and support him, but I don’t know what to write about considering I don’t believe in the same things as the lds church. So I don’t want to send the typical weekly miracles, favorite scriptures, uplifting Sunday school lessons, etc. because that would just be fake. So what do I write? He knows me, he knows I’m not active and don’t plan on being, and that’s been totally okay for a long time now. 

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Welcome, @SophJ!  If you are sincere in your desire that he have a successful mission (and I have no reason to believe you aren't sincere, I'm just stating that as a prerequisite to what comes next), then you should be able to write the following:

  • Sincere expressions of hope that all is going well for him and encouragement to continue on despite hardships
    • Once there's a back and forth, you can comment specifically on any hardship he relates
  • Regular reports of your daily life
    • Perhaps leave out pop culture like what's happening on your favorite TV show and mentions of new songs
    • Include what you are doing, why you're doing it, thoughts on your experiences, expressions of gratitude for good things and people in your life, etc.

Things to leave out would be:

  • Expressions of doubt, criticism, or disagreement with what he's doing or Church teachings
  • Things which are not appropriate for a missionary to be exposed to - bad language, discussion of things which violate various Church standards - I'm assuming you can figure out what these things would be

I think just being able to relax and read news from a friend would be sufficient - you don't need to artificially include encouragement - whatever comes naturally from being a true friend who wants him to succeed and be happy should do the job.  Correspondence will naturally start out short - because there's nothing significant to report, and no topics of conversation have been established - but once started, each of you will begin to have news to relate to the other, and responses to the others' news, and thus the conversation gets longer.  It will ebb as a reports and responses reach a natural end, and flow again as new things happen.  Don't worry about that, just continue conversing.

And, to quote Ben Franklin:

Quote

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

If you can't think of anything to write to him worth reading, go out and do something worth writing.

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7 hours ago, SophJ said:

I grew up in the church, and up until about a year ago I was an active member. I am no longer active nor do I wish to be, it’s not something that works for me. The complicated side of that is I was seriously dating a boy who left on a mission recently and I have no idea how to write to him. I want to write to him and send him uplifting things and support him, but I don’t know what to write about considering I don’t believe in the same things as the lds church. So I don’t want to send the typical weekly miracles, favorite scriptures, uplifting Sunday school lessons, etc. because that would just be fake. So what do I write? He knows me, he knows I’m not active and don’t plan on being, and that’s been totally okay for a long time now. 

Welcome to the forums @SophJ!

Since when did correspondence have to be a scripture verse?   No, no.   Just tell him about your life- the same you would any other friend.  

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

Welcome to the forums @SophJ!

Since when did correspondence have to be a scripture verse?   No, no.   Just tell him about your life- the same you would any other friend.  

Yeah, I don’t quite get the perception in the Church that missionaries need to be remotely mollycoddled.  They’re grown adults, for one thing; and for another they’re getting plenty of spiritual nurture from the work that they’re doing.  The value in a letter from home is in the preservation of old friendships and in passing on news of interest; not in yet another dose of spiritual saccherine pulcritude.  Don’t dump drama on the guy—but don’t be afraid to keep things real, either.

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8 minutes ago, zil said:
23 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

pulcritude

Really?

Is it National Thesaurus Day and no one told me?

Coupled with "gluten", I think it's National Mispeling Day. (See what I did there?)

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

Coupled with "gluten", I think it's National Mispeling Day. (See what I did there?)

Bah.  Pulchritude!!!

The irony is I had it spelled right the first time, but my keyboard shifted into Portuguese without me catching it and the Portuguese autocorrect insisted there was no “h”.  

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5 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

We both know you’re about to go write the word ten times with a fountain pen, just to see how it looks.

If I had a flex pen inked at the moment, that would probably be true. :blush:

2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Bah.  Pulchritude!!!

The irony is I had it spelled right the first time, but my keyboard shifted into Portuguese without me catching it and the Portuguese autocorrect insisted there was no “h”.  

Uh-huh.

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Honestly, this is an indictment of English spelling and phoneticism (or the lack thereof). But, hey, nineteenth-century America rejected the Deseret Alphabet, so we have only ourselves to blame.

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24 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Pbbbbt.  We both know you’re about to go write the word ten times with a fountain pen, just to see how it looks.

You're welcome.

OK, just for you.  (And @anatess2.  And @Vort & @Grunt, cuz, ya never know, they might want to buy some Robert Oster Caffe Crema ink.)

pulcHritude.jpg.2cad0954efda22f017e30f145d77ae0d.jpg

Edited by zil

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1 minute ago, zil said:

OK, just for you.  (And @anatess2.  And @Vort & @Grunt, cuz, ya never know, they might want to buy some Robert Oster Caffe Crema ink.

pulcHritude.jpg.2cad0954efda22f017e30f145d77ae0d.jpg

It's a pulchritudinous "r". And I really like the fancy wavy "t" crossing.

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10 minutes ago, Vort said:

Honestly, this is an indictment of English spelling and phoneticism (or the lack thereof). But, hey, nineteenth-century America rejected the Deseret Alphabet, so we have only ourselves to blame.

No, it’s an indictment of the Portuguese language and the IOS keyboard’s insistence on reverting thereto with no prior warning.

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