Most of you who have served a mission spent a considerable amount of time in the Missionary Training Center in Provo (or elsewhere). Robert Kirby’s recent article about surviving the old Salt Lake Mission Home made me realize that my five-day sojourn there for a domestic mission is an experience that probably few here ever had. So I thought I would pull out the old journal and share my contemporary perceptions. I was in the Mission Home for five days, from October 15th to 20th, 1977. (Note: When I read the Kirby piece, my initial thought was that I found the Home to be fine, but I only spent five days there and not two months. But rereading my journal, I several times called it “a drag,” so I guess I had forgotten that impression of my [limited] time there.)
Well, the first day of my mission was a drag. Today should be a little better, since it is Sunday. After breakfast, we are checking out the Visitor’s Center, and then we are going to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Later there is a sacrament meeting, and I guess the rest of the day is study time. Yesterday I got two letters, one from X and one from Y.
The “home” is still a drag, but it is really a great growing experience. Today was an uplifting one spiritually. We got up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the Visitor’s Center on Temple Square, after which we watched the choir perform live in the Tabernacle. It was magnificent. Elder Thomas S. Monson, Chairman of the Missionary Committee, spoke to us today. As for all the talks, I had a front row seat, due to the fact that my name is BArney. I’m out of time, but I’ll record more on his remarks later if I can remember them.
I’ve got a few minutes before we go to the temple, so I will try and relate a story Elder Monson told last night. He told us of when he was the President of a Canadian mission, and the “armpit” of the mission was a town called Kingston. Elders used to pray for the day they would be transferred from there. While reflecting on the situation one day, his wife was reading from a children’s story book. In it, she discovered that Brigham Young once served a mission in Canada. He trudged through miles of waist-high snow just to get to Kingston. Once there, he baptized over forty people. Elder Monson, upon hearing this, exclaimed “That’s it! We’ll close down that area.” Well, after about six months time had elapsed, he started slipping rumors that a great new area was about to be opened. To make a long story short, all the missionaries begged to be sent there, and with the new attitude, hundreds were baptized.
I’m almost used to the regimen here now. This morning was a very spiritual one, as we attended two temple sessions. In between, we were invited to the solemn assembly room, where Temple President Curtis answered any questions regarding the temple. When we returned, Rex Pinegar, of the First Quorum of Seventy, gave a very inspirational talk. He related the story of Fred, a short basketball player, who was installed for only three or four seconds a game, when it was imperative to get the ball. The coach knew he wouldn’t make excuses–he would merely do whatever had to be done.
Well, it’s time to sign off now. Until tomorrow.
Today we heard remarks from Mark E. Petersen, of the Quorum of 12. He gave a fantastic talk relating to the scriptures. Also, President Byrd gave a very inspirational message concerning writing letters home. Tomorrow is the last day in “the home,” and it promises to be a good one. Unfortunately, I am out of time again, but perhaps I can write more tomorrow.
I have absolutely no time to write anything tonight. I am very excited, as my plane leaves at 7:25 a.m. tomorrow. Elder Richard G. Scott of the First Quorum of Seventy spoke to us today concerning Joseph Smith. Hopefully I’ll have more time to record spiritual events in a week or so.
And that was that. The next day I flew to Denver, Colorado to start my mission in earnest. So now you have a small taste of what a brief stay in the Mission Home was like.