“The LDS Church is nearly 1,000 couple missionaries short despite the church’s efforts to recruit more volunteers.” So states a BYU NewsNet article, summarizing a recent report they say was posted at LDS.org, although I couldn’t find it there. The article says there are “2,110 senior couples” presently serving, with a need for “3,093 couples” at the present time. Well, if they are short nearly 1,000 couples, they are actually short nearly 2,000 couple missionaries, but let’s ignore BYU NewsNet’s mistake and focus on the problem here: What’s the problem with the senior couples? Is retirement getting a little too cozy these days?
Frankly, I would have thought there was a surplus of senior missionaries out there. It seems like everyone I know has parents or grandparents serving or just returning from a mission of one sort or another. Perhaps some of those seemingly faithful senior couples who claim to be serving a mission on Temple Square three nights a week are actually just sneaking over to Wendover for a little action. Or maybe some Mormons are simply embarrassed to admit their parents or grandparents are kicking back and enjoying retirement like gentile hedonists instead of signing up for the best 18 months of their life, so they pretend their parents are faithfully serving a mission somewhere.
I’ve seen the blue sheet they post on the bulletin board at church and many of the missionary positions offered to seniors (they get to choose their call!!) actually sound fairly interesting. So seriously, what’s the problem? Here are a few tentative ideas: (1) Seniors are just worn out from years of church and temple service. (2) After 50 or 60 years, seniors have learned to resist peer pressure and manipulation by guilt and just say “no” (or “we’ll think about it”) when their Bishop floats the idea. (3) Civil and political unrest around the world makes prudent seniors hesitant to travel abroad. Would you want to live in Khazakstan or Rwanda for the next two years? (4) Big screen TVs, along with 100-channel cable. (5) Too many temples (yes, we overbuilt) are depleting the pool of available seniors by diverting them to never-ending rounds of temple service.
If you have a better explanation, please share it. Or, if you want to have a little fun with Grandpa, call him up, direct him and his browser to Bcc, and have him leave his own comment about his experience or lack thereof as a senior missionary. And just in case anyone should actually do this, I’ll quickly extend a warm Bloggernacle welcome to any pioneering Senior Bloggers who come here to visit. Just click on the underlined orange “Comment” link below and start typing.