Your (not) Monday poll #23

[poll id=”112″]

I realise that obedient/rebellious, conservative/liberal are horribly blunt labels, but consider your missionary self and decide whether your post-mission self is cut from similar cloth.

Apologies to the un-missioned.


  1. I have a notebook from high school where I stated that I considered myself a “moderate Republican.” I remember conversations with friends and siding with pro-choice on abortion. I liked Paul Tsongas in 1992, but was fine with Bill Clinton. Some of what Ross Perot said made sense, but generally, I did not hope for Bush continuing as president. I didn’t care for the first Gulf War (and y’all know my views about the second Gulf War—or the third one to come very soon).

    I went on my mission, kept all the rules, had a wonderful, but hard mission, and came back home. What pushed me away from Republicans was living in Utah and seeing Fox News. As long as Fox News represents the views of the Republican ideology, I will never touch Republicans, never ever consider myself a Republican (moderate or not), and would advise everyone likewise. The extreme conservative views of Provo Utah pushed me towards the left, making me consider at times socialism. I decided otherwise. The way to fight the extremism of today’s unhinged conservatism is not to rush to the other extreme, but to stand firmly in moderation. So many conservatives have shifted so hard to the right that they have lost their bearings. Come back to the middle guys. It’s better here. Don’t rush to wars. Iran is not our enemy. They mourned with us on 9/11. We don’t need to kill them. It is silly to even consider killing Iranians. It is childish. It is beneath the qualities of America, at least the America I was taught to love.

  2. I should add, I don’t think that “liberal” or “conservative” have anything at all to do with how obedient one is to the rules. I take offense the implication that the more liberal you are, the more rebellious and rule-breaking you are. One’s ideological inclinations have nothing at all to do with how well one follows God’s laws, the church’s guidance, or the missionary rules. I’m not leaning towards the liberal side because I’m rebellious or wish to break rules. I lean towards the liberal side because that is the ideology that best expresses charity and care for others. Conservatism today is very self-centered, selfish, Rand-influenced muck.

  3. Norbert says:

    Yeah, I think I would be considered a disobedient missionary. I didn’t buy crack, go on dates or steal anything, but I traveled more extensively than the rules permitted and used my time in a more flexible manner than my mission leaders preferred. I was also more successful than the average missionary in my mission, for what that’s worth.

    I’m reading ‘liberal’ mormon as a way of evaluating my position toward the church, not my political ideology. I grew up with good examples of faithful but unorthodox mormons; in my case, my attitude toward my mission (and my time at BYU) was an extension of that experience of keeping my mormon faith balanced with other influences related to faith, truthfulness and morality. It wasn’t always easy, but it was that or not go for me.

  4. Yeah, this isn’t about politics. Perhaps orthodox/unorthodox would be better. Alas, all of these labels are problematic.

  5. Ronan,

    Sorry, my apologies. The labels are problematic.

  6. What threshold needs to be reached to have been an “obedient missionary?”

  7. Peter LLC says:

    What threshold needs to be reached to have been an “obedient missionary?”

    Since it’s hard to measure slavish devotion to the White Handbook, let’s say first quartile in hours, BoMs, discussions, baptisms, etc. for your mission.

  8. Yeah, I don’t feel like I fit in either the obedient OR rebellious categories. Troubled would have been better, or immature….. or even stupid.

  9. That would rule you out, LLC.

  10. true to the gospel, rebellious to the mission rules.

    i’m sure ammon would have been considered a rebellious missionary, but his mission president would have then backed off when he saw that he helped convert so many lamanites.

    mission president: “elder ammon, you have been called to preach the gospel, but instead all you’ve been doing is herding sheep. you need to do more tracting like your brother aaaron. you can’t be baptizing anyone unless you are telling as many people as you can about the true religion.”

  11. I agree with Seth. I would definitely put myself in the “stupid-what was I thinking?” category.

  12. I was a politically liberal and obedient member when I went on my mission, was an obedient missionary, and am now politically moderate. Not sure the options reflect the nuance.

  13. What about former missionaries who are totally inactive/name-removed now? Seems like one more category at least, is needed.

  14. Peter LLC says:

    That would rule you out, LLC.

    Yeah, but only because my numbers weren’t inflated.

  15. This poll assumes, correctly I believe, that people’s beliefs are not static. I think that is why terms like orthodox or liberal are such poor fits.

    As for me, I was a missionary who obeyed every word of command with exactness.

  16. These are such great questions, but I I’m somewhat stumped as how to rate myself on both scales.

    I would describe myself as a thoroughly average missionary, in every sense. (Or, like Earl, I could also accurately describe myself as just plain troubled and stupid). I was disobedient without being rebellious, in the sense that I regularly broke rules but subsequently went through agonies of repentance about my rule-breaking. I didn’t gleefully go out of mission bounds or go on dates or to discos; I just occasionally listened to forbidden music, slept in, blew off companionship study, or stayed out after dark (against the rules for sisters in my mission). And then felt guilty and vowed to reform, smitten with remorse at the possibility that I wasn’t seeing any success not because I was introverted and tempermentally unfit for mission life but because I was (gasp!) disobedient.

    Neither can I figure out how orthodox/religiously conservative I am. On the Bloggernacle I feel relatively orthodox, partly because I strongly prefer the company of those more unorthodox than I am to the company of those more orthodox than I am. One way to put it would be that I’m fairy orthodox doctrinally and wildly unorthdox socially.

    But on the other hand, going to church often makes me realize, with a shock, that I may be a lot more unorthodox than I realize. The Bloggernacle has ruined me. I keep hearing people make various confident assertions about doctrine or history or whatever and thinking to myself, “That kind of thing would never fly online!”

  17. Obedient missionary; moderate member.

    #10 – As for Ammon and his brethren:

    Each fulfilled his mission obediently, but Ammon got the easier assignment, frankly. He got a king who offered him a daughter to marry BEFORE he started serving the king; his brothers were rejected out of hand and ended up being abused in prison. I’m not about to criticize them for their work and tell them they should have just done what Ammon did. That’s like saying those who get called to Spain and maybe see one baptism somehow are less in tune or righteous than those who serve in Mexico and see lots of baptisms. We rightly reject that conclusion now; why do we hang onto it with Ammon and his brethren?

  18. Conservative member is viewed by activity and calling and dedication; moderate when viewed by most who label themselves either conservative or liberal. That means both sides think I’m off my rocker when we talk about some specific topics, since I just don’t see very many things in black and white.

  19. “IF” viewed by activity . . . Yikes, I can’t type today.

  20. Exact as a missionary. I felt guilty for weeks when I glanced through an Australia photo book I’d purchased to take home.

    I’m a moderate member, though in Utah I’m probably considered liberal.

  21. Left Field says:

    I guess I would have been considered an obedient missionary. I probably would have identified myself as a liberal member then and now. I don’t think I’m particularly rebellious now either, so I suppose I’m cut from the same liberal obedient cloth as I was then. I don’t know if that’s what’s supposed to be implied by the obedient then; liberal now answer.

  22. I considered myself an obedient missionary, but one companion still says “Hello Darkness, my old friend” when we talk. I think mostly because I kept my eyes open when we prayed. But I wouldn’t go swimming, on dates or buy comic books when my trainer wanted me to.

    As for membership, I’m certainly not orthodox, but probably more orthodox than most of the online community.

  23. I considered myself an obedient missionary, but one companion still says “Hello Darkness, my old friend” when we talk. I think mostly because I kept my eyes open when we prayed.

    I had a companion that thought I was a rebellious missionary because I clasped my hands in front of me while we knelt for prayer instead of folding them across my chest.

  24. ray:

    the lamanites didn’t immediately open up to ammon either. they arrested this ‘son of a liar’ and took him to the king. i think a big difference was that ammon began with “i’m here to live and serve, until perhaps the day i die.”

    aaron went out and began with “hear and accept my message or you aint gonna be saved.”

    later on aaron takes up his brother’s service approach and that’s when they really start to listen.

    i came across this the other day and found it rather sad and really funny (especially when the greenie tries to overpower him with his testimony at the end). i wonder if things would have been a little more pleasant if they had started out with the ammon approach.

  25. I think mostly because I kept my eyes open when we prayed.

    I had a companion that thought I was a rebellious missionary because I clasped my hands in front of me while we knelt for prayer instead of folding them across my chest.

    If this kind of thing is the standard, I was a far more rebellious missionary than I previously thought. I had one companion whose 6:30 a.m. prayers always put me to sleep. She had to pray for everyone she could think of individually, and I just couldn’t stay awake for that much righteousness.

  26. I was mostly obedient (except for stupid stuff like “Cancel that discussion. We’re having an impromptu district meeting.”) and I’m a little liberal now. So that (obedient/liberal) was my choice, but none of them fit very comfortably.

    I feel a little dishonest saying I was obedient when I certainly kicked up a fuss from time to time. And I am nowhere near as liberal a member as most of the people I’ve met in the bloggernacle, but way more liberal than most of the people I go to church with.

  27. Matt W. says:

    please define conservative and liberal.

  28. SingleSpeed says:

    In many ways, I think my extreme obedience to rules I didn’t care about or see any justification for on my mission is what led me to re-evaluate my view of the church as a whole and arrive at my now “liberal” view of the church.

  29. Dan, (#1)
    Are you telling be that socialism and the Democratic party are that similar?.?.?. Well now… all this time I thought that Rush guy was crazy saying that socialism and Democrats go hand in hand… but I see Dan was “considering” socialism and then went with the Democratic party and therefore they must…
    Please don’t jump on me because I am just pointing out the obvious… in jest of course…

  30. Comment of the Year, Gar.

  31. hawkgrrrl says:

    Rather than “obedient” missionary, maybe “oblivious to the existence of some of the rules” might have been a better description for me. And like Ray, most conservatives would say I’m liberal, but the libs would say I’m conservative. Since I’m a girl, I went with liberal. I prefer the term “awesome.”

  32. hawkgrrrl, You are awesome.

  33. I had a companion that rocked herself to sleep singing “Dear to the Heart of the Shepard” when my mom stopped by the Senior MTC (they housed the sister missionaries there for the summer) to visit and bring some Dr. Pepper. My companion thought I was going to hell (also because lights out was at 10 and if we hadn’t said companion prayers I’d make her stay up an extra 5 minutes to pray AND leave the lights on while doing so)

    In Zone meetings when Elders would ask to put our numbers on the chalk board I’d put up zeros when we really had fabulous numbers because I thought the Elders and the numbers were moronic.

    Now, I’m a full-fledged church going member that recycles and wants to improve public education. I follow the teachings of the gospel but think Saturday’s Warrior is a crock and that our young girls need to focus on getting an education rather than getting married.

    I don’t know how to answer this survey!