Thursday, January 19, 2017

Called (Expected) to Serve

"I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two.  I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do".

-LDS Children's Songbook, p169.

I remember singing this song as a kid, over and over again.  We'd watch videos and give talks and have activities centered around serving a Mormon mission.  It was expected of us at a very young age to work towards this day in which we could serve the church.  To go on a two year mission (for males) or a 1.5 year mission (for females).  Being raised in the Mormon church, I was expected to serve when I turned 19.  Notice I said expected.  The church does not necessarily command it's young men and women to serve missions, but it does expect it.

If someone decides a mission is not for them, then you can expect a lot of questions and concerns coming from the remaining members of your particular ward, which is the congregation you attend designated by geographical boundaries.  Every person who attends the same ward as you are well aware of happenings and they know when someone should be going on a mission, but isn't.  You would be looked down upon and many will just assume you are some sexual deviant that has greatly sinned against the Galactic God's rules.

It's no surprise that when I turned 19, everyone was scrutinizing what I was doing.  In fact, I wasn't able to go on my mission once I turned 19, because I had to wait to be forgiven for some sexual escapades I had participated in (you know, just the tip sort of things).  To make matters worse, I had to spill the beans to my own father because he was my Bishop! YAY ME!  What an awkward conversation that was.  I was a good looking young man, and very desirable.  I'm not just blowing up my own head here, but just disclosing this information with integrity.

I remember I was dating this girl while I was in the forgiveness process, and she was bisexual and wanted me to join her in some fun with a friend (a female friend)!  Every man's dream correct?  Well, dutiful Kyle I was, and preparing for my mission, I declined the offer and said, "let's just make out".  Now I can barely get my own wife interested in a one on one session.  To be a teenager again....

So I waited until my dad, er..I mean God, was done forgiving me.  I say my dad because he's the one to get the notice from God on my behalf, since he was the Bishop.  It took approximately 7 months.  During this limbo period of forgiveness, I had to forgo partaking the sacrament, praying in church and giving talks.  Again, EVERYBODY notices these subtle changes.  Mormons are so nosey.

I wasn't really sure I wanted to go on a mission, but knew if I didn't, then my life would be very uncomfortable staying at home.  So, I accepted my fate and submitted my paperwork to serve a Mormon mission.  Fortunately for me, I got to leave the country and flew to London England to serve for two years as an Elder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

I was in the thick of it now, and there was no turning back.

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