Friday, February 24, 2017

It's All About the Numbers

These are called "Blue Planners".  These are just a few from when I was serving my Mormon mission in England.  Missionaries are to keep record of all their doings while serving a mission.  This is how we kept record on our mission.  It was very important to get "numbers" while serving in an area.  Your numbers gives a visual representation of the work you are doing, and is a way to keep missionaries accountable for their time.

At the end of each week, every missionary companionship would submit their numbers over the phone to their District Leader, and the District Leader would give the numbers to the Zone Leaders.  The Zone Leaders would then give the numbers to the AP's (Assistants to the President), who in turn handed the data over to the Mission President.  

If a companionship failed to produce some reasonable data, then the District Leader or the Zone Leaders may pay the companionship a visit to see what's going on.  Sometimes, a surprise visit would occur to ensure productivity.  I can recall standing on the High Street teaching people, when I would see our Zone Leaders walking up the street.  They were just popping in to "help" us out.  In fact, I had done this too while I was a Zone Leader.

The Mission was very numbers driven.  As I look back on it today, I can see how off this really is.  Of course, looking back on the entire Mormon church, I see it for what it really is.  A corporation.  It was like being a high pressured sales man, and reporting my work to show my worth. It's very  reminiscent of how the business world operates.  I guess that shouldn't surprise me.  Day in and day out, I did the work and I kept track of my contacts, lessons, baptisms, commitments, etc.  You can see at the bottom of the blue planners what we kept track of:

TPH -        Total Proselyting Hours
1-              first discussions taught
BOM Vis-Book of Mormon visits (when we gave out a book of mormon)
2-6 -          discussions 2-6 taught (there were six total discussions)
2-6 Mem - discussions 2-6 taught with a member present
Inv Vis -    Investigator Visits
Mem Vis - Member Visits
LA Vis -     Less Active Visits (Less actives were members of the church that didn't actively attend)
TFH -        Total Finding Hours (This is the time spent looking for people to teach)
PFH -        Don't remember
Mem Ref - Member referrals
Med Ref -  Media referrals
Inv Ref -    Investigator referrals
TI -            Total investigators (investigators are those being taught by the missionaries)
ATC -        Investigators attending church
LAC -        Less active's at church
TC -           Street teaching hours
CS -           Companionship study sessions (must begin and end with prayer and last an hour)
Bap Com - Baptism commitments 
Bap Ach -  Baptisms achieved

I began to see Investigators as a number to pad my self worth.  I wasn't truly disappointed when investigators decided to not go on with the discussions.  Well, I was disappointed, but not for the right reason.  I was supposed to make it seem as thought I was concerned for their eternal well being, but it was really because I wanted the stats.  Missionaries are notorious for baptizing investigators they know are not ready.  They know they really have no clue.  The missionary discussions are aimed to make a quick commitment and conversion.  It's not supposed to be a lengthy process.  In fact, the most common goal from initial contact to baptism was 2-3 weeks.  They don't have time to properly make a decision, because it's all fast paced.  I wasn't out there converting people to the Mormon church because their soul needed salvation.  In the end, it was all about the numbers.

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