Steppin’ Out

I was talking the other day with a couple of friends, exchanging crazy mission stories. A recurring theme is the “comp slipped out at night to go visit his secret local girlfriend”. I’m obsessed with these, primarily from a logistical point of view. HOW?? How is the missionary slipping out in the night, undetected? I want to hear from people who either slipped out at night or got slipped out on. Please explain how this was done. It is like some David Blaine-level escape magic.


  1. Stephen Hardy says:

    This starts with the kind of disclaimer that totally devalues the trueness of the story: This is totally second hand. My companion swore it was true. Thailand, 1975. One companion was into being fit and ran every morning in a local park. He apparently had a girlfriend (a local church member) without anyone being aware. He ran laps at a local park while his missionary companion sat on a bench and read scriptures. His running took him out of sight for about 20 seconds for each lap. I was told that he wasn’t actually that interested in running, but was stopping to talk to and kiss his girlfriend on each lap.

    True? I kinda doubt it. Discussed? Everywhere in the mission.

  2. I awoke in the middle of the night from small pebbles hitting the apartment window. My companion was not in bed. He was the one outside throwing pebbles. He had thrown patio furniture into the complex pool and wanted me to come join him. I did not and managed to convince him to come back inside. I’m generally a light sleeper (the pebbles were enough to wake me up), so I’m not sure how careful he had to be to get out, but I guess I should be glad it wasn’t a secret girlfriend (although that would have made more sense).

  3. lastlemming says:

    No stories here, just an observation.

    Who says they are undetected? It seems to me that if there was a sufficient power imbalance in a companionship, the alpha companion could just do as he pleases.

  4. I’d been in Argentina 2 weeks and my trainer told me we were going to do splits/exchanges with 2 priests in the ward. I went off with one priest, and he left with the other. He then told the kid he needed to use the restroom in our apartment and then told him to head home. My trainer’s ward girlfriend met him at our apartment…He was a good looking Argentine native and apparently had several girlfriends throughout the mission.
    We lived with the Zone Leaders and they happened to go back to the apartment unexpectedly and interrupted my trainer…I got to hear the whole story from the ZLs later on….

  5. I was awakened in the night by one of the other elders who shared an apartment with us. He said that he had woken up and noticed that his companion was missing. Not having a companion was freaking him out and he didn’t know what to do. Should we call the mission president, etc? Not too much time passed before the missing elder came back to the apartment. He said that he had gotten super frustrated with his mission experience and just stormed out of the apartment once we were all asleep. Then after some angry discussions with God decided that he should return and become the missionary that his mom thinks he is.
    So if his companion hadn’t happened to have rolled over and notice an empty bed; he would have left the apartment and come back without anyone being any the wiser.

  6. On probably three or four occasions, Steve, I got up and wondered around the city of Suwon at night while my companion slept. We were the only people in that apartment, and so he was the only one I had to worry about. One time–after a death in the ward that I was torn up about for various reasons–I was out wandering for probably two hours or more. I was in Suwon for 10 months, so I knew how to get around relatively easily without being spotted as some weird night Gringo. (Noting Last Lemming’s comment above: you’re right, I have no idea if my companions were actually aware of my being gone or not. It’s possible they knew, and just didn’t see any reason to report me to anyone. All I know is that none of them ever mentioned my being gone during the night to me.)

  7. I had a secret girlfriend in every word or branch I was stationed in during my Mission. In fact it was so secret even the girlfriend did not know. In fact, now that I think about it maybe it was just and overly aspirational imagination.

  8. Not uncommon in my late-90s USA mission to drug your companion with melatonin before heading out on the town. The dose was usually delivered in a smoothie made under the pretense of “hey elder, do you want a smoothie?” Never did it myself but I have firsthand knowledge of a number of incidents. I wasn’t aware of any secret girlfriend situations, it was mostly going out to the movies or hitting up clubs.

  9. One of my companions used to sneak out to flirt with girls near our house. I knew, but there really wasn’t much I could do about it. We talked about it and the mission president eventually moved him to a new area. My trainer once sent me and another newby Elder on splits with one of the sister missionaries while he and the district leader went to lunch with her companion. We didn’t do much work either but found a place for lunch with milkshakes and wandered the downtown so I guess I was just as guilty. Another companion used to call to call one of the sisters after he thought I was asleep and talk late at night.

    Really, for 20 year old’s in a foreign country all of it is so innocent that I wish I had broke the rules more and not less.

  10. nobody, really says:

    In my first area, I was in a house with seven elders in all. In the three-person companionship, one of the elders was offered a ride by a recent single female convert. He jumped in the car and off they went, returning to her home about two hours later. The mission president got wind of it and sent the elder home – ten days before he was scheduled to go home anyway. He was back in the mission area three weeks later, appearing at a missionary/investigator fireside with a completely different girlfriend from a previous area of his mission.

    On another occasion, I got a midnight transfer into an area where a previous elder had managed to get the teenage daughter of a high council member pregnant. His companion had been playing video games in the living room while Elder Daddy headed to a basement bedroom with the girl. About five weeks later, excommunicated, he was back in the mission with a different girlfriend, and ran into the expectant teen mom and her mom. It didn’t go so well.

    No magic involved, just a sudden daytime escape in car, and a companion distracted with Nintendo and a bag of Doritos.

  11. All the stories like this that I knew of as a missionary involved a confederate, usually a missionary in the same apartment but with a different companion, so these clandestine affairs were handled under the guise of splits. FWIW, I never personally heard of any sisters in my mission doing this. It was only the elders, but then again, there were a lot more of them, so more opportunity for someone to go rogue.

  12. In 2008 in Argentina, in my third transfer, I had a companion on his last transfer. When we weren’t outside, which I’m surprised he even acceded to, he was on his bed — a very exhausting, lonely transfer for me.

    On his last night in the mission field, I woke up with stomach troubles. With the bathroom light on, I noticed something: his bed was empty. What’s more: the cell phone was gone and I was locked in the apartment, the only key apparently with him.

    Having had the rules drilled into my head, I started exploring options. We were on the first floor of an apartment complex, our back patio enclosed by a 6 ft. brick wall that ran the length of the complex. I climbed up and looked over the side: brush in a vacant lot that I was afraid would injure me. So instead I climbed up the back wall of the patio and, leaning against the second floor patio rails, I worked my way across the complex, jumped down into a vacant lot, scaled a chainlink fence, and ran to a taxi station, where I caught one to the zone leaders’ apartment across town.

    I knocked on their window, waking them up; we then called the mission president. I went to bed on an unused mattress, but I heard when my companion showed up at the door.

    We didn’t talk until he left the area on a bus the next day. He just said: “I don’t hold it against you.”

    One of the zone leaders told me afterward that he’d gone through my companion’s camera as they were hanging out that last day and found pictures of a local recent convert and her upper-teenage daughter, apparently taken the night before.

  13. Jesse Stricklan says:

    In my third area my companion would sneak off at night. He was a great companion, actually, great at the language, personable without being overbearing, a rule-follower without being a jerk, and a good teacher both to investigators and to me. I learned a lot from him, and he was appropriately admired — maybe that’s part of why he got away sneaking out on multiple companions. He would and go out smoking and drinking and meet with a couple of girls from the branch, apparently as often as a few times a week. There was another missionary from the area across town who joined him — his companion knew, but didn’t want to get him in trouble. I, apparently, slept like the dead, because I was completely unaware. Once, I almost caught him on accident because he had been smoking in the stairwell outside our apartment, and I complained about the smell. “Why would someone sit right outside OUR door to smoke? There’s an ashtray right over there.” Ha. He eventually decided to come clean and called the mission president on his own initiative. The train ride back to the mission office is one of my most cherished mission memories. He looked a little like he was going to his own execution, but actually our Pres. was great and he didn’t have to worry too much, which we both knew. I was hurt, but I was also full of compassion and love for him. I can just picture how the shadows of the bare winter birches fell on our faces as we talked quietly, just a little, about it all, and laughed at how I never, ever noticed. He ended up going back and finishing his mission in a different country.

  14. I got slipped out on. Some elements of the story are pretty nuts. I’ll see if I can make a little time to write it up later.

  15. 1997. My companion and I were the only 2 missionaries in a small town in northern Argentina. We got along great, had similar hobbies/interests, etc. No complaints.

    One day our zone met in the zone leader’s city for our regularly scheduled interviews with the mission president. I was junior companion, had my interview first, then waited for my companion. He was in there a long time. Came out crying. Next thing I knew, he was heading back to the mission office with the mission president and APs and was going home. Mission president didn’t say a word to me. Not a word.

    I was shipped off to be in a trio with the zone leader in a different city. The zone leader filled me in on some of the details. I don’t think he even knew all of the details.

    A few weeks before this all went down, we’d done splits for a couple of days. I went with the zone leader’s companion to their city and he was with my companion (district leader) in our city. Apparently the two of them just messed around the whole time – went and saw some of the sights, etc. And also apparently hung out and got dinner with a girl my companion and I had seen around our apartment a few times. Young, pretty, probably around our age (~20), always pushing a stroller with her baby in it. Apparently she lived just below and behind our apartment (with her grandma, I think).

    Ok, wow. As I’m going through this I’m remembering a lot more of the details. This isn’t going to be short.

    So fine, they did some questionable stuff, but no big deal I guess. Well, some time between then and the day he got shipped off, we got a love note shoved under our door. It might have happened twice. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it had hearts on it, etc. My companion acted completely surprised and clueless. So weird he said. He suggested that maybe it was from this lady we’d been teaching who was starting to seem like she maybe wasn’t the most stable person. I bought that as a possibility because I had no clue who it could be from.

    Eventually I went back to my city with the zone leader, having been told we had to find a new apartment and move. I was with him and his companion in their neighboring city until my new companion showed up next transfer. So we get there and are figuring things out when we run into the baby in a stroller girl. She approaches us and is hysterical. She wanted to know where my companion was, they were in love, etc. So yeah, apparently it was her. And I was *angry* (for a long time, really). We told him he’d been sent home and eventually left her there crying or something.

    And obviously the members are wondering what in the world is going on. I don’t even remember what we told them.

    And, like I said, mission president didn’t say a word to me until we had our next regularly scheduled interviews ~2 months later, where he confirmed everything and said that he hadn’t talked to me because my companion had admitted he did it all on his own without me knowing. As we talked it over, president said my companion had asked him if he should come back and marry her or something (they’d obviously been having sex), and president told me his response was, “Elder, do you think the Lord would bless that marriage?” Ouch.

    I don’t know how many times he snuck out. The *only* thing I can point to as possible evidence of that was that one night I woke up and saw him standing there in his underwear like he’d just gotten out of bed or something. I’m a pretty good sleeper but apparently he made enough noise to wake me up. He said something like, “Did you hear me coughing? I have to step outside to get some air.” Or something like that. Still mostly asleep, I mumbled something, rolled over and went back to sleep. I can only assume now this was one of his meet-ups with her.

    So you’re not going to believe this last part but I swear to you that it is true. While the baby stroller girl was losing her mind to us when she discovered my companion was gone, going on about how she loved him and she needed to know where he was, etc. she dropped the name that she called him – Pecos Bill. You see, my companion was from Texas. And Pecos Bill is like a Texas folklore folk hero guy. And apparently that was either the pet name he had her call him or maybe that was just straight up what he told her his name was. We’ll never know. Pecos Bill. I promise you this is true. She was crying and wondering where Pecos Bill had gone. Well ma’am, he’s gone home. Back to Texas.

  16. Just an observation. I’ve always been amused that the mission home in SLC (pre-MTC) across from the church office building had bars on the windows to keep anyone from wandering off.

  17. Easy. My comp “slipped out.” & I didn’t tell.

  18. jlouielucero says:

    My second companion left every night after I fell asleep and got Jack in the Box and brought it back. Eventually I caught him randomly and just asked why he wasn’t getting me anything. He was mostly just needing to be alone for a minute and feel normal. I didn’t push because he was the senior companion but he started going earlier and bringing me something before bed.

  19. Noxad — whoa, what small town in Northern Argentina? My incident also took place in Northern Argentina (Sáenz Peña!)

    I remember reading something in the mission history from the 90s about a pretty dramatic moment wherein, IIRC, a missionary in the town of Mercedes just ran away to live with a local girl…

  20. My first roommate at BYU came to Utah to continue dating the man she had dated while he was on a mission. I don’t think there was much “slipping out.” I got the impression that they were quite openly dating. She thought I was incredibly judgmental to think it was wrong. According to her, it was simply the way things were done in the “mission field” areas of the U.S.

  21. MH – It was Puerto Rico in Misiones. Lovely town. Not so lovely memories.

    Sáenz Peña was actually my first area. And my second companion apparently went back there after he was released to try and date one of the girls in the branch (Rama Obrero).

  22. (noxad = Brett Rogers – sorry – the noxad comment was in the middle of sorting out my profile stuff)

  23. Geoff - Aus says:

    PWS, I have wondered in an anti gay church why same sex couples are allowed for missionary work. We often had double beds.
    On my mission 1968 to 70, We were in a different country from the mission home. My DL arranged for his girl friend to come from california, and they went off for a week together; sight seeing I assume. I was not righteous enough to make DL.
    Another companion was writing a musical called “The sex life of the outer mongolian wood ant” comparing it to “a college girls life when she tries to become a wife”.(words from the musical) BYU?
    On our mission we were required to have reel to reel tape decks to play tapes to investigators. One companion had 7in reels which was a big sound system, with separate speakers. He had a collection of beatles, beach boys etc. He also (i think it was the same one) had a collection of playboy magazines. I had not read playboy before, there were some good articles, and pictures too.

  24. Man, I didn’t see any of that stuff. Worst thing I did was break out my mix tapes on my birthday and rock out to New Order. Well, that and tell the greenie that I was not in the mood to go street contacting on a Saturday night when it was 15 degrees outside, and I was plenty happy to take a nap in the chapel.

    There were many a days where I just wasn’t up to rudely interrupting people’s day, so my comp and I just leisurely walked the park. Funny enough, it was during one of these park days that a family walked up to us and asked us who we were. That family was one of two that I taught that got baptized.

    I saw little correlation between scrupulous rule following and “mission success “ Rather many of those who were more lax about the rules had the “resourcefulness” to meet their numbers.

  25. My comp slipped out while we were in the MTC. Several times in fact. We were the only 2 elders in the room and I sleep heavy. He slipped out through the side door of the building where the vending machines were (1994) and put the door kick in the way do it wouldn’t latch closed. Apparantly these doors weren’t monitored closely. A few times he called his brother who picked him up and they drove around during the night. The last time he did it he took another Elder from the District and they went to a local dance hall in Provo. He had gf and thought she might be there that night. They got asked to dance refused and after a few times admitted to being missionaries then left. The next day was the first I learned of any of it when he confessed to the Mission President about a ton of stuff (probably not about skipping out) and got sent home. A few weeks later he snuck his gf and pizza into the mtc. That only scratches the surface of the crap I witnessed and was sometimes complicit in in that mtc district.

  26. Measure twice, cut once says:

    Only major interruption I had at night was being woken up once in the Philippines (early 2000s) by a sister missionary knocking at our apartment door who I was the DL for. She had walked across town a couple miles since she had gotten in a spate with the other sister missionary who came at her with a pair of scissors. She had ended up getting one of her long braids cut off and a small cut on her arm. Since we had no phones I ended up walking across town with my companion and told the sister to wait in our apartment after we calmed her down and put a towel on her cut. They had a phone in their apartment for some reason. Got to the sisters’ apartment and the other sister was just sitting on the floor weeping uncontrollably. I picked up the scissors, told my companion to watch her and I called the MP. He just said to keep them separate, take the other one to a clinic to get looked at and tell the crazy sister to stay there as the APs would come to pick her up in a couple hours. It was a really long and awkward couple hours as she just mostly cried and sang to herself. By the next day the crazy one was on a bus back to her hometown in another part of the Philippines and the other sister assigned to a threesome.

    Other stories of adventures from the mission include the episode where the Church security guy out of Hong Kong coming to a zone conference with photo lineups we all had to look through because of a ring of former elders going back to old areas and breaking into apartments. We were told to try and detain or distract them and have some one call the mission office who would get in contact with this guy. Because that sounded like a great idea. At least one was an old companion who I knew was pretty well off at least for someone from the Philippines. Or the time a differently recently released companion who came back to an area and hooked up a girl in the ward and got her pregnant but then ran off with her older sister. Or the time the father of a family in a branch raped his daughter but was then killed in jail on the orders of his father in law who was chief of the local police. And then the branch ostracized the family and refused to let them do a funeral at our new chapel because his ghost would haunt it.

    My mission was a foreshadowing of all the things and problems I would see in my career in the legal world and law enforcement. Definitely a prophetic call to serve where I did!

  27. Six out of the ten elders in my district at the Provo MTC got up in the middle of class and went to a BYU football game. None of them were sent home–but our district was completely reorganized with new companionships and a new district leader. We were a feisty bunch–but we did pretty well once we got out into the field.

  28. Six out of the ten elders in my district at the Provo MTC got up in the middle of class and went to a BYU football game. None of them were sent home–but our district was completely reorganized with new companionships and a new district leader. We were a feisty bunch–but we did pretty well once we got out into the field.

  29. Truckers Atlas says:

    My North American mission had a Korean elder in his mid-twenties who had lived a fun live before joining the church. A few months in, he got tired of it all, snuck out at night, and bought/smoked a whole pack of cigarettes on a park bench near his apartment. Power move.

  30. Returning to the OP: I’ll admit that I’m somewhat perplexed at the disbelief that missionaries would be able to sneak out. If a missionary is quiet, why would sneaking out be tantamount to magic?

  31. In my mission in Italy, we had a sort-of-investigator who had the hots for my companion. One time she invited us to check out the next town over. (No, it wasn’t P-day. We weren’t working that hard anyway.) When we met up with her, she produced a “date” for me, with the idea that we’d each pair off. My companion and I said “No!” simultaneously. We knew that, even if nothing happened, our mission president would send us both home without any questions.

  32. Then there was the time I couldn’t sleep and got up around 4 am. My companion was asleep, but one of the other missionaries in the apartment was up. A few minutes later, his companion came in the outside door to the apartment. I don’t know how long he was out.

  33. One time I took out the garbage (we were in a high rise flat so literally just going to the hallway stairwell) and realized while I was out there I just needed a moment for myself. I couldn’t have been out there more than 10 minutes. Sitting in a dirty stairwell next to a rubbish chute.

    When I came back into the flat, my companion, who I thought was my friend, was on the phone with the AP’s ratting me out for ditching him. Had he even just opened the door and walked into the hallway, he would have probably seen me.

    Aren’t missions great?

  34. it's a series of tubes says:

    Not exactly “sneaking”, but when I was in the MTC in 1996, it was so overcrowded that closets had become bedrooms, including one closet with ladder access to the roof trapdoor. A key had mysteriously been obtained, and a group of elders who called themselves the “Gadiantions” would hang out on the roof after curfew and smoke weed. It was nice to relax on the roof and destress a bit (it was funny to look only a few blocks south and see DT where I had been living a few weeks earlier), although I was far too scrupulous at the time to partake of the herbs on offer.

  35. Roger Hansen says:

    In the 1960’s, we were just all trying to survive. I don’t remember seeing any missionaries dating. But weekly reports were rarely real accurate. With liberal definitions of tracting and lessons taught. By going on splits, you could double count lessons.

    Since we were in Western Europe, traveling outside our area was a constant temptation. A “sin” many of us enjoyed. It was a respite from the drudgery. I traveled with my companion, or with another missionary on splits. Or by myself, with my companion temporarily joining another pair. Occasionally, a group of us would disconnect the odometer cable on the DL’s van and take a day trip.

    I don’t remember any instances of missionaries being reported to the MP. We were just trying to survive, and still fulfill our obligations as missionaries.

  36. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Had a companion who I got along with quite well. I finished my 2 years before he did, but was eager to attend his homecoming talk when he got home. At the appointed time I called his home to chat and ask when he would be giving his talk. But when I called his sister answered and said his homecoming had been pushed back a week because he was on his honeymoon! Apparently, as soon as he was done, he was honorably released by the Mission President and proceeded to get married (in the local temple) to a woman he had taught and baptized a year earlier. No idea how he could have managed to court/date someone and make arrangements to get married while still a missionary. And yes, that was one awkward missionary homecoming/introduction to his new wife.

  37. These comments have me wondering about my very last companion. We had a local investigator–a young married immigrant whose husband was almost always away for work. She lived pretty close to our apartment. It was pretty obvious she had a thing for my companion. Once she arranged for a friend to be at one of our appointments, hoping she could convince her friend to pair off with me so she could have some time with my companion. Fortunately neither I nor her friend were interested in that scenario.

    I remember one evening my companion wanted to stop by her place and I told him we needed to start following the rules with her and actually bring a member with us when we visited. He was pissed and threatened to go visit her without me. I called his bluff.

    Thinking back, though, he’d always sleep in quite a bit. I wonder if he snuck off at night and I just never caught him.

  38. This might be somewhat long for its payoff. Set up: The bishop who put in my papers in the late 1970s is a relative. (One who, unlike me, is uber outgoing — regaling family members of how he did such things as sneak out of the Missionary Home in Salt Lake during the 1950s to see his girlfriend! lol.) He’d said I myself might benefit from a mission that employed a large measure of supervision (which I imagined was because I’d had long hair . . . otherwise, I was about as LDS pharisaical as a young man could get!). The one to which I ended up being called had word-of-mouth of its being but, at least by the time I got there, was this was as superficial as the outermost skin of white onion. Congenitally softspoken (unless I actually become histrionic, which at the time I was only rarely prone to do) at one transfer I got a companion who I sensed, in my prejudice, of the wrong side of the railroad tracks somehow, yet this within about the most milquetoastish way possible. (Fittingly, I was about as milquetoasty as a person could get, myself!) // String-of-events No. 1: There was a family in the ward where we were serving who, in my estimation, fit this same exact description to a tee. He and the married lady of this family seemed to have a thing for each other. I’d wake up in the morning and he’d not be there. I mentioned this to the next person up within our chain of command. (I stated this case exactly once, without much if any emphasis; see “Set up” regarding my personality, above.) I imagined that someone or another, thereafter, _might_ have talked with him about this(?) But, I never _knew_ if they did! // I haven’t got to the main part of my story yet. No. 2: What I’ll call a General Conference-type gathering with visiting General Authorities was being set up in the city in which our mission was headquartered. This companion said (and milquetoast me completely believed him) that he’d gotten permission from the mission home to split off during the conference. I was driven to the home of a very well-to-do elderly lady in this city and dropped off. The only male there was her informal butler, a nonmember, who’d it had been arranged with to accompany me to the conference. Meanwhile, my companion went off to visit a family he knew in the area. // Epilogue: Very soon after my mission, while I was living in Orem, Utah, I met a girl who happened to be from this mission (she’s a very genteel Southern-U.S. pronunciation & helped me pronounce her name in an acceptable fashion) who, by sheer coincidence, brought up her amazement that this very missionary who’d been my companion (whose name and hometown I’m obviously not providing) had allegedly received the okay from the mission to hang out without his companion with her and her family during this conference, implying that it was her he’d been so interested in seeing. I expressed to her the same surprise and (as when it’d transpired), likewise, I simply shrugged.

  39. 1991-92 in France as a ZL I took a few solo train rides between cities. Condoned but dangerous, actually I just enjoyed the quiet solitude.

  40. Not sure how this happened but in my Stake we have a brother who served his mission here, from another country, who in 1980 got one of his investigators here pregnant. He was exed and then rebaptized like 7years later. Same mission, my friend’s mom served her mission here 1978 ish and she got pregnant by his dad. I don’t know if he was a member or investigator though. He later cheated on her and he got exed too. He apparently tied up her companion and that’s how all that went down.

  41. Had a companion who was also our district leader which included a couple of sister missionaries. Nothing ever happened when we were companions (that I know of), but after I transferred he asked one of the sister missionaries in the district to marry him. He was promptly transferred to the mission headquarters after that. Wasn’t sent home and ended up NOT getting married to the sister missionary.

  42. NZ in ‘04. I was a terrible sleeper and embarking on a year-long bout of depression as my companion decided he was going to go sleep in the living room “because it was hot”. Frequently stepped out, but I was so busy trying to go to sleep that didn’t bother to find out why he was stepping out. Once he transferred, his replacement found a love note from one of our “investigators” about her being in love with him, and it basically sounded like he was in a relationship with her and her boyfriend. Sent it up to the mission president, no idea what happened after.

    My second-to-last companion had a cell phone (these were verboten at the time) that he used to call his girlfriend that he’d baptized a few months earlier on the South Island.

    After I left, I found out that one of the mission bullies had disappeared for a few days with some girl he’d met, and that they’d gone out to some resort town.

    Makes me almost wish that I’d done worse things than occasionally getting comics or a book to read.

  43. I don’t think there was stepping out involved, but one of the elders in my mission asked the mission president for his blessing in his exit interview. The elder and the mission president’s daughter had been corresponding for months.

  44. your food allergy is fake says:

    The way these stories read, with limited explanation and context, is hilarious. It’s like you’ve invented a new literary genre. “Crazy Mission Stories in Four Sentences.”

  45. The companion I became closest friends with on my mission came out a few years later. It’s difficult for me to say if we were good friends because he had some attraction to me or not. There are some clues, maybe. That rattled me for a bit. But he was a level headed guy in a mission where I kept having comps that I just found to be odd in various ways.

  46. I love all of these stories so much.

  47. I don’t think this counts as stepping out, and it’s totally secondhand, but one of the assistants (who later became my roommate at BYU) told me about a missionary who got thick with the bishop’s daughter, but it was all out in the open. She would ride on the back of his bike as he and his companion went about their missionary work. They were apparently always together. The Sunday before he went home, the bishop stood up in sacrament meeting and proudly announced the engagement of his daughter to “our district leader.” The mission president didn’t catch wind of this until the elder was home, but my roommate reported that he shouted, “He did what?!!” Don’t know if they actually got married.

  48. My brother locked all the other elders in their apartment, left the phone outside, and went on a multicountry vacation in Europe. When he turned himself in at the mission office in another country, they let him go back and finish his mission. I have no idea why.

  49. A couple of stories, the first one I was directly involved in, although I’m not sure there was any actual stepping out. I was in a big (geographically speaking) mission in Brazil, and my second area was out on the edges of the mission, more than a day’s trip from the mission office. My senior companion and I became pretty good friends, and he talked to me a lot about personal things. One of the things he frequently talked about was that he was upset that he had been banished to the outskirts of the mission because two areas previously there was a teenage girl in the ward that had developed a crush on him and become somewhat of a stalker, following him to his next area. Mission president then transferred him to the boonies so that she couldn’t find him, and he thought that was unfair, since it wasn’t his fault she had stalked him. I was always a little suspicious of his story, as he was very flirtatious with the YW in the ward, although he never broke the rules to my knowledge.

    In my next area, I became his district leader. He started teaching and then baptized a girl who was our age and it was pretty obvious that they had crushes on each other. Again, there were no shenanigans to my knowledge, but he finished his mission in that area, went home, then immediately came back to take her home and marry her. They’re still married, so I guess it worked out.

    Story #2: I was not directly involved, but there were definitely shenanigans. Several of us were waiting in the hallway for interviews with president after zone meeting. Elder A (senior companion) went in with president and his interview lasted the normal 10 mins or so. Elder B (junior) went in and was in there for much longer. When he was done, mission president came out with him and called Elder A back in. President was visibly angry. Elder A was in that interview for a very long time. While we were waiting, Elder B told us everything: they would frequently go on splits with a couple of the priests in the ward, and Elder A would go with a kid who was quiet and kind of a pushover. During these splits, Elder A would meet up with a girlfriend and they would spend alone time together, presumably having sex, leaving the quiet kid behind. The quiet kid figured out what was going on (I don’t recall if he actually caught them in the act) and told Elder B, who then told president in his interview. Elder A was immediately sent home. None of us were surprised, as Elder A was universally disliked for being a terrible person.

  50. Kevin Barney says:

    No sneaking off stories either way. But I did lots of adventurous stuff, eithe with my comp or as a foursome. (Example: four of us going skinny dipping in the apartment complex pool in the middle of the night.)

  51. purple_flurp says:

    Texas in the late 00’s. A story that was always reported second or third hand was that of one companion drugging another at night to get away with various things.

    The worst one I heard (but I don’t think was true) was that of an elder who developed some kind of rash in his anus and upon going to see a doctor, the doctor asked him how long he’d been gay or something like that, as the rash was apparently the result of unprotected anal penetration. The elder then remembered that his companion would make him a drink every night so he concluded that he was being drugged. The story goes that the next night he didn’t take the drink and later woke up when his companion got on top of him in the middle of the night.

    Again, this story reported second or third hand.

  52. Away from the Mothership says:

    @purple_flurp I overheard that one in the 90’s. Except it was a roommate at BYU.

  53. Lots of good stories here. Burt Wilson would have collected half of them for his folklore studies. Levi Peterson tells a story of his own in his autobiography. Check it out

  54. nobody, really says:

    purple_flurp: The most unbelievable part of that story is that mission medical would have approved a doctor’s visit. My mission president would have required fasting, prayer, a blessing, boiled wheat for breakfast, and essential oils.

  55. There was and Elder and Sister in my mission who were widely known to have an interest in each other. Their companionships spent time together on P-days, they always talked to each other at meetings, etc. All aboveboard stuff for the most part.

    The stake center in their area had the style of baptismal font where there is an entrance on either side from a changing room connected to the bathroom. The changing room area of the bathroom was usually locked, but missionaries had the keys.

    As the font was covered by a partition, it made a perfect spot for a secret meetup during district meeting. The Elder and Sister left their companions to ‘use the bathroom’, entered the font from their respective sides, kissed in the unlit font, and returned through the bathrooms. No one was the wiser until a few weeks later when the story starting spreading like wildfire through the mission. If I remember correctly, the source was the Sister’s companion who was in on it and eventually broke down and told the MP.

  56. This isn’t exactley “stepping out” per se but this happened ten ish years ago in this mission. A guy was in serious trouble with certain criminal elements and needed to get out of Utah real quick. His cousin was going on a mission here and so he beat him up terribly, so bad that he was in a coma. This guy impersonated his cousin and made it through the MTC and came out here and was serving. Not long after the RCMP acting on a tip from the American police went to the elders apartment and he was arrested and shipped home. So, that was crazy

  57. Nate Daniels says:

    Just before leaving the MTC to the mission field (Brazil) in 1999, one of my roommates went up to Lehi (he said he left the MTC and hitchhiked) to see his girlfriend. He served a full-time mission. I don’t know or remember the full details.

  58. I went on a US missson. Of course there were TONS of stories. There are only 2 I know enough to know for sure they were real. One was a “Step Out” that happened during a baptism at the church. The companion who remained in the mission (and told me about it) had to talk really hard to explain that there was enough priesthood in the building that he wasn’t concerned about his companion being gone for 20 minutes.

    The other instance was more of the collusion idea. One companion had a drinking problem, and the other companion took advantage of the time he was drunk to sleep with an investigator.

    Sorry, not many details. I didn’t really want them.

  59. I don’t recall anything from southern France, 1974-76. However, while at the LTM, my companion and I, on P-Day, would regularly take off on separate errands, activities, etc., then meet up later in our room. I thought this was how things worked.

  60. Had a companion who would sneak out to an all night convenience store, buy candy and soft drinks then come back just before dawn and sleep all day.

    Another comp was transferred to a nearby town where a new elder had a pilot’s license. One weekend the whole district flew to another country and partied for three days. Only the pilot got in real trouble I think.

    A friend was in Costa Rica and told me his district had a long standing deal with a local red light district.

    Once I was transferred into an area and girls kept waving at me on the street. My comp finally admitted that the elder I had replaced had romanced several teen girls in the town. They would both regularly take girls on dates, movies, make out parks, etc.

  61. During my mission the mission president gave the missionaries permission to see The Karate Kid at the movie theater (in Japan). My apartment of 4 were joined by the district leader and his companion from the next city over on P-Day and we bought tickets and watched the movie. It turned out that it was a double feature and the second movie was Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, with Tanya Roberts as a female tarzan riding a zebra in a bikini or less. After The Karate Kid, we said goodbye to the district leader and his companion as they headed to the train station, then used our tickets to re-enter and get the full benefit of our paid admission.

    There was a notorious incident in our mission of an elder who snuck out during the night and caroused around and was not ever discovered until he decided to break and enter a department store. The stories then came out and he lived at the mission home until his legal issues were cleared up so he could return home.

  62. My second area was meant to re-energize a “dead” missionary for his last couple months before going home. He would sleep ’till late morning, then go on long runs while I trailed him in the car. A few times he ducked into an alleyway and disappeared, only for me to find him chatting (and more) with his local GF. Never reported him but now fell bad I gave him such a hard time while I was trying to be strictly obedient. Then half-way through my mission as ZL the mission home messed up the move schedule and I ended up in a companionship with the “cute sister” for 24 hours. Stayed on the straight and narrow but we certainly went out after the mission to work through some of that 20 yo “what might have been” tension..

  63. On my mission in Texas in 1986 I was in an area without a car. It was a huge area and super hot out. One time, our executive AP got a girl in the mission pregnant. He got sent home. We got his car.

  64. I had a companion who had a girlfriend one the branch. He was the branch president and she was the Relief Society president. Whenever we went on split with branch members (often clueless teenagers) he would go to her house to have a “PPI” which definitely involved making out and may have involved more

    I had another companion who would occasionally while walking out the door alone, shout, “I’m going on splits with the Holy Ghost!”

  65. mission trippin' says:

    Back in the 19070’s and before, a folk tale circulated in almost every mission world wide. Burt Wilson did collect quite a bunch of them. Most of the stories had a common structure. Two missionaries take a trip. In some areas, phones were expensive and communication was mostly on paper. The missionaries gave a trusted person, (landlord, member, investigator etc.) copies of their report for the vacation week before they left with instructions to wait a week and send the report in. The plan comes unraveled, the mission president finds out and is waiting for them when they return . Usually they were disciplined but not often sent home. We got away for a lot more back then. No first hand witnesses but a fried of a friend etc.

    In Kyushu, Japan the story was about the missionaries sneaking off to Korea. In Okinawa, they sneaked off to Hong Kong. And so forth. Hundreds of accounts. were collected, some even more elaborate.

    The most elaborate one was from the Swiss mission. A pair of rowdy missionaries pushed the mission president too far. Rather than send them home, he sentenced them to an isolated mountain village for the rest of their missions where they could do no more damage and would have no more contact with other missionaries. After getting bored with skiing every day, they absconded an old VW minibus and headed out, destination anywhere. They traveled in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel. Then it was on to Egypt, Kenya, and further south. hey had many adventures. Eventually they reached the southern tip of Africa, where they sold the minibus and flew back to Switzerland a couple weeks before the end of the mission.

    The so-called proof was missionaries in South Africa ran across the minibus and found maps and paperwork documenting the trip. They also had an extensive collection of pictures which they shared at a number of firesides back at BYU. Roman coliseum, Parathion, Jerusalem temple, Egyptian pyramids, herds of exotic animals on the Seregenti, Victoria falls, etc. Now, which mission was it that you boys were assigned? Switzerland??

    I think I see a common thread between the mission trip stories and these steppin’ out stories. Notice how much tighter is the leash on which our missionaries are now kept.

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