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 preach and teach and work as missionaries do.

Every year, about 55,000 young people prepare themselves to serve the Lord by going on a mission. Approximately 10% will come home injured, mentally ill or unworthy to continue serving. This website exists to offer support to the parents, family members and to the early return missionary.  It is an emotional time when a young person comes home from a mission early.  There is not a manual for what to do when your life-long plan to serve a mission doesn’t work out.  By reading the experiences of others who have returned early, hopefully you will receive good advice, find comfort and get answers.  We can support each other.

Please consider sharing your story or advice for the benefit of others.  Leave a comment or email your experience to:  EarlyReturnMissionary@gmail.com.  (Complete privacy is maintained.  All names withheld.) Or leave a comment below.

There is also an email list on another website that can offer support.  Visit the website for an email list for Early Release Missionaries.



A research team headed by Kris Doty (parent of 2 early return missionaries) is now conducting a study to understand the experiences of parents whose children returned home early from their mission. Will you please take this anonymous online survey?  Just click on the link below (or copy it and paste into your browser).  The survey should only take 10-15 minutes.  It would also help if you would forward this to other parents of ERMs you know.

Hopefully this kind of research will help future early return missionaries.



Read What Others Have to Share:


In a press release issued in February 2007, the Church said that while these situations happen, “it is important to point out their infrequency.” According to Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, there are about three to six fatalities among missionaries per year, “but the official death rates for comparable-age young men and women in the United States are eight times higher than the death rates of our missionaries.”


Welcome to all of our new early release missionary moms. You’re probably feeling the whole gamut of emotions.  It’s so hard, but you’re also grateful that they’re home safe with you.  My son’s original release would have been next month.  He came home after 5 weeks because of anxiety.  He’s struggled since coming home and isn’t living the gospel right now.   Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in his life who still believes there’s hope for him.  I can’t stop thinking about his eternal potential.  Our early return missionaries go through so much when they come home.  My advice would be to get them the medical and emotional help that they need.  Some might be resistant to it, but I feel it’s important.

You’re their mom and the one who probably knows and understands them the most next to the Savior.  Just love them. Cry with them.  Hold their hand.  Help them hold their head up.  Stick up for them.  Laugh with them.  Encourage them.  And never give up on them.  I’m hoping my son’s story will eventually have a happy ending, and I’m hoping for the best for each of you and your children too.


“Every early release missionary should be proud of his or her contribution and willing heart. I was told an analogy that has struck me inside again and again. In the military, the view of completing missions and of wounded comrades is quite different from our view of similar situations in religious missions. If soldiers rush into battle and are wounded on their first mission or 50th mission, they are treated the same. They are given medals. They are applauded for their service, no matter how long. Their brothers and sisters at arms risk their own lives to rescue and restore those soldiers to their homes. No one looks at them differently. No one says, ‘Well, you didn’t really help the war effort, did you?’ or ‘Toughen up, man. It’s just a bullet.’ These brave men and women are honored and respected for their service.

So should it be with missionaries. We were willing to go where the Lord asked. Sometimes we get hurt. All we ask for is acceptance and love. We return with dread, hoping our partial offering will still be acceptable to those we care about most. My hope is that every missionary will be loved and respected. With your understanding and support, it can happen.”

(Quoted from When a Missionary Returns Early by Aaron Olsen, March 29, 2011, http://www.ldsliving.com/story/63954)


68 Responses to HOME

  1. Glenn says:

    Thank you our daughter is returning today early due to anxiety, this web page will be very good for our family

  2. Amber Mennenga says:

    I have a son who has been on his mission for just over a month, and have been looking on the web for information about supporting struggling missionaries as our son has expressed the desire to come home. I only read the first page that starts out with “I Hope they Call me on a Mission.” I had to comment on the “Life long plan” to serve a mission, which I can only interpret as the parents life long plan of their son/sons serving missions. It is a rare find to have a young child or teenage boy who truly has a “lifelong dream”, I find they barely have plans for the project due tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that statement, but it does indicate something that is a little far fetched for most.

    • earlyreturn says:

      You have a very good point! I guess it in the church culture that teaches us to sing this song, and think of urging our children to serve missions. Thank you for commenting. I would like to direct you to the Early Release Missionary email list, which can provide support: http://ourldsfamily.com/ldser/

      I hope it works out well for your son.

  3. Darren Bush says:

    On my way to the airport to pick up our son after 4 months of depression and anxiety. We’re having a party tonight.

    • earlyreturn says:

      Celebrate the time he did put in, which is wonderful and honorable! I hope you find success with helping his anxiety and depression. A lot of us have been down that path with our missionaries, and perhaps have suggestions. Sometimes just getting home and out of the stress of mission life is enough. For others, they need more help. I know that after some months we wanted off the prescription drugs (and their unpleasant side effects) and onto natural remedies (supplements, neurofeedback, energy work, etc.) Hope things go well. ; 0 )

    • rex says:

      Have a GREAT time. I am absolutely positive you and your family have earned it 🙂

    • Mark says:

      It should be a cause for celebration! Missionaries are volunteers. The church should be grateful for whatever time they give, at their own expense.

    • oh that’s very nice……….i am Elder Agyemang and i am serving in Uganda …….can you please write to me

    • keith says:

      but what do you do after the party ends? what do you do with the stares and sighs?

      • Experienced says:

        Make sure he doesn’t want to hurt himself, watch closely their behavior and choices and how different they are from the past, both will be different, but they shouldn’t be 90 deg from past
        Don’t let the stigma of professional help stop you, if you get to that point.

        You are experiencing the stigma associated with this by the stares at church. There isn’t anything you can do, it just hurts bad, but try to remember that’s their problem if they can’t show the love and compassion the Savior would.

        This is an incredibly difficult time, remember that sacrament meeting and the sacrament are the only thing necessary for the gospel, you might get to the point where that is the only meeting that can be tolerated, but don’t let this keep you from going to sacrament meeting.

        I am confident this will be considered an evil response, but I type from experience in more than one situation.

        Hang on and time will help put the pain you are experiencing into perspective.

      • earlyreturn says:

        Sometimes attending church is too traumatic initially. The goal isn’t to make sure you “look good” to everyone at church and secure their approval. The goal is to get the missionary back to a happy place and stable in their life again. And that may require stopping church attendance or maybe going to just partake of the sacrament only. Do what is best in the long run for the missionary. God loves each of us, no matter what we did or didn’t accomplish. We do not have to be approved of by ward members (or higher-ups) to still feel God’s caring concern for us. Try to focus on getting to that goal…feeling God’s love.

  4. Nanci Dickerman says:

    My son returned from guatemala after a month a half in the MTC down there and two weeks in the field. He has anxiety and some problems from his past from our family issues and the two weeks out he saw two people shot, a woman severly beaten, rioting because the government couldnt get supplies to the people after an earthquake, and constantly being followed. While I know he would be watched over as God sees fit he still was scared. He is getting help now. I feel that he saw alot but people including my family and bishop say things like.. He was called by God for two years or just think of those people who didnt get to hear the message because he went home. Honestly I am a bit sick of everyone thinking they know Heavenly Fathers plan for my son. Last I checked the scriptures are full of people who failed and returned to find an even better path ahead. So much for not judging.

    • Michaun says:

      After everything your son saw, I can’t believe people would say such things. There is no way I would have handled seeing those things. It’s sad that people judge others. Especially missionaries. My prayers are with you and your son.

    • Tanner Cheney says:

      Thank you!! Make sure you elder hears that from you especially!!!! I came home early a number of weeks ago and my parents never said things like that but there was one super important person in my life who did! It ate me up inside everyday! Still does! Make sure he hear you say that they don’t know gods plan for him and he’s living it! That’s all he really truly wants to hear… Well at least that’s all I want!

  5. c romero says:

    My daughter just came home after ,four months out she was sent to a foreign country and three days in her new area gets robbed. She did not feel safe and asked to come home. I did not about her being robbed until she was back home. Her mission president told her not to tell me.

  6. Thank you very much. Your site and articles really helped me a lot. One of my closest friends was released early from his mission after serving 19 months. I was surprised and confused. I was really worried and I didn’t know what to do. It is the first time that someone from our branch was sent home early from his mission.

  7. Elder Hunter says:

    I actually want to go home now. My mission president won’t help me. My companions are extremely disobedient. I want to go home and continue the work in my ward and in my family maybe a future family. I know I’m not supposed to be on this website but I don’t know what else to do. I’ve prayed for the 6 weeks I’ve been out and I feel my time and the Lord’s would be best served in the ward as a ward missionary.

    • michaun4 says:

      Have you let your parents know your feelings? Let them know what you are going through. Make sure your Bishop knows. Get their help and input. May The Lord bless you. All will be well! Pray for strength. My prayers are with you in this difficult time.

    • Mark Giles says:

      Mission life isn’t for everyone. Do what’s best for you — you’ve provided some service and have nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Sister Terte says:

      We’re the same elder…and aside from that I’m still depressed coz of the death of my only brother, who died when I’m on the field.. almost 3 months i’ve been praying what to do and what i did was i went home alone, without talking to anyone even my MP, coz i know no one will understand me but Heavenly Father and my parents.. now , I felt comforted ,its hard coz many are judging me even if they really don’t know my story coz I’m not talking to anyone,.. but thanks for the gospel.. it helps me move on and go on with my life and serve the people around me and my family.. I’m now far away from my home ward.. I’m like no mads.. every sunday i went to different wards.. and still doing the missionary work alone..(giving referals,preach by the ways, cheering up the sad, listening to others,helping.. etc) coz a true missionary.. don’t count how many people he helped in one day.. its being true charitable..its being like Jesus Christ.. you don’t have to be a missionary to be able to proclaim the gospel..

      I know that I served Him well and my service will not not end in months but its forever.. i dont need to show everyone that I’m serving.. what’s important is I’m showing Him that I’m still His servant 🙂 Mail me if you want someone to talk to…:)

    • Nick says:

      Elder Hunter, I don’t know if you’re still in the mission field and still struggling, but if so.. I served for 2 years and got home from my mission 4 years ago. Throughout my time there I had some very disobedient companions and ended up seeing at the end of my mission that the mission president purposefully put some of the most disobedient missionaries with me. The time I spent on my mission wasn’t easy whatsoever, and I would sometimes wonder how much better it would be if things were different, but it wasn’t until after in hindsight that I realized I am so thankful that my mission was what it was. At the end of my mission I realized that the only way we can truly improve and grow and learn, is to face challenges that we sometimes feel are overwhelming. Life’s hardships are seemingly unbearable at times and can make us feel like we can’t go on, but after the trials pass is when we can look back and see the good that existed all along. “You’ll never regret the work you did yesterday.”

      On my mission I wondered if I was the only missionary going through that, and it wasn’t until later that I realized I wasn’t. In difficult times it’s hard to see any positive, but when it passes and you look back you can see all the good you did and I promise you’ll see the ways you have grown and you will be a stronger person. Not only will you grow and improve, but your companions and everyone who you never knew were watching you will also be influenced by you. A few of the disobedient companions I had have contacted me after our missions to apologize to me and tell me that they didn’t go home or that they decided to work hard and do their best for the remainder of their missions because I helped them. I don’t want you to think i’m bragging but sometimes we don’t realize how much good is being done until later. Before you know it your mission will be over and you’ll wonder where it went haha and you will miss it everyday and have great memories of it. And if you just focus on loving everyone around you, everything will fall into place. No matter the reason that you went on a mission just know that you are doing something good and God will be with you. Although I don’t know you I wish you the best!!

      Sorry for the novel haha,
      take care my friend!

    • Lori Stsrr says:

      It’s been over 20 years since I’ve served a mission, but I remember about 1/2 way, I also wanted to go home. I had a couple of disobedient companions. I talked to my mission President, and he counseled me to fast and pray and hang in there a little longer. I’m so glad that I did. I realized that even tho my companions were being disobedient, I could still serve with a full purpose of heart. I learned to not allow my companions to end my mission – either by physically or mentally going home.Your disobedient companion doesn’t make or break your mission. You are responsible and accountable for your mission being successful. You never know whose life you are going to touch or who heart your going to soften. Good luck, persevered and endure!!

    • Deborah Collingridge says:

      My son has been out three months and feels the same way – he wants to come home and feels that he can do missionary work better in his home area (two of his friends have joined the church in the last year). One baptism happened right after he left for the MTC.

  8. Amanda Keating says:

    I came home early from my mission after 5 months abroad. In the beginning I never felt peace and was severely anxious. I kept praying to feel peace and to know that I was supposed to be there, but the answer never came. I then started to doubt what I was doing and felt like I was falling away. I kept pushing and pushing, hoping that I would feel more comfortable as time passed and I would turn to the scriptures, prayer, and priesthood blessings for support. During this time my mission president would tell me that I was supposed to be there and that in life we do hard and uncomfortable things for the Savior because He did them for us. I started becoming severely depressed to the point I thought about death, and my mission president then decided that the mission “just wasn’t for me” and that was okay and that I could go home honorably because I am a woman. Coming home I was an emotional wreck. I have been seeing a counselor and taking anti-depressants, but I still feel like my world has crumbled around me. I think about the people I could have helped and don’t understand so many things. I continue to pray and ask God for help, but I feel more doubts than I ever have and am not sure what is true anymore. What I before truly cherished something I am fighting to hold on to. Any advice?

    • michaun4 says:

      Satan is going to work extra hard on you to make you feel like a failure. Don’t let him win. Take life one day at a time. You will be okay, I know you will. Go to the temple often, feel God’s love for you. He is there for you.! Get busy serving others. That’s what helps me through depression. Seek the Holy Spirit and let him guide you through this difficult time. My prayers are with you! I have a son that has gone through all of this. He is surviving. You will too.

    • Kelly Bangerter says:

      This is a letter I sent my missionary when we found out she was coming home I think it helps answer your questions as well.

      My Dearest Sister Bangerter (Kelsi Lou)

      I am sure it has been a long night after your phone conversation with President Wirthlin. I am sure you are having a flood of emotions, thoughts of doubt and discouragement, Some times in life we have setbacks and things in our life that happen as result of something we do or choose not to do and more often than not when we are being obedient like you are being, things happen in our lives that we have no control over. The adversary has 2 main tools that he uses to drag us down, one is temptation, and the other is discouragement. One is just as effective at accomplishing his goal as the other and he will do everything he can to drag a missionary down because he can thwart the Lords work. In the history of the world there has never been a larger, more prepared missionary force and I am sure that Satan is pulling out all the stops. Satan has power to bruise our heal but we have been given power to crush his head. To do so we must stay vigilant and obedient and recognize his attacks. When we don’t recognize his attack on us personally we allow him to drive a wedge into our life and little by little he has us. This is why we must see that we have clothed ourselves in the whole armor of God. In so doing we are then worthy for his blessings and protection. That is not to say he will not allow us to have trials and tribulations in our lives and by so doing we become stronger warriors in his army and closer to him. It is these trials that help us to understand that we cannot make the journey alone we must take him with us and make him our constant companion.

      This past few days I have tried several times to right this letter to you and each time it was if my mind could not focus, it is only now that I have the clarity of mind to put my thoughts together for you to read. When President Wirthlin called and told us that he was recommending that you come home to get better I have to admit I was shocked because I thought I knew you were not coming home. After thinking about it most of the night I now realize that what the Lord told me was that he would heal you and that you would have the opportunity to finish your mission. I have also taken this time to look back at your ordeal and dissect it from a mortal prospective in an attempt to understand what is going on and why. This is my thought for what it is worth.

      You have always been an over achiever, one who expects more from herself than others expect from you. Your mission is just one more example of this. I recall when you were about 5 yrs old, you decided you were going to run in place for 15 minutes without stopping. After about 5 minutes mom called us all for dinner and you were still running and would not stop until the 15 minutes were up. You carried this same drive over into your schoolwork, your school activities, and in some cases we even helped you to develop it. Your mission is just one more time where you have had the opportunity to put 110% of your efforts into something. Ambition is a wonderful talent to have. I know people that could use some ambition in their lives. Satan knows our strengths and our weaknesses and in your case he cannot make any headway by trying to use your weaknesses so he comes in the back door and uses your strengths. As you set goals for yourself, he runs out ahead of you and makes sure that you are not as successful as you would like to be and when he does this enough times you begin to feel that you are not being good enough, or obedient enough, so you double your efforts in an attempt to prove to the Lord, yourself and others that you are a good missionary (when in fact you already are a grate missionary) and the cycle starts all over again and you begin to doubt yourself and your worthiness more and more.
      From where your Mother and I stand, we see an obedient, sacrificing, and successful servant of the Lord that we are pleased to call our daughter, and we love you more than words can say!

      None of us knows what is going to happen next in Gods plan for you but I do know that whether you return to the mission field or not is up to you and it is important for you to understand what is going on with your body and how you can best manage it so that Satan cannot use it to frustrate your efforts as you move forward in your life. These past few months, although they have been difficult, they have made you into a stronger person and helped you develop a stronger testimony and stronger relationship with your Lord and Savior. Take this time to determine how best to serve the Lord now and in the future and the direction you need to go to accomplish that. Our Heavenly Father and his Son love you so much and want the best for you, they are willing to guide you and help you along the path that is yours to follow back to their presence. I promise you two things; first, the journey will be hard and in some case it may be harder than the past several months have been. Second, it will be totally worth all that is asked of you to endure along the way. As you look back on your journey you will look with great joy as you hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

      Your Mother and I hope and pray for you to be happy and healthy both physically and spiritually.

      Remember that your Momma and Daddy Love You Very Much

    • Tanner Cheney says:

      Something my dad said to me in the MTC that really bolstered me up in the field and after I had to come home early was something I think could help you and something to keep in mind!
      “God won’t make life easy on you because he can’t it has to be hard sometimes so you can grow! Now that being said what he can do is be with you! When life is its hardest and the storm rages out of control if you stop look and feel the rougher the storm get the closer The Lord stands to you!” I know it doesn’t make everything better but know he’s truly directly next to you and me and all of us erm’s! He LOVES us! Not because we need it which we do, not because its the right thing to do, not because its expected of him and not even because the events which rocked us and brought us home early he loves us because WE SERVED!!! The important part is not the time but the effort and the placement of our heart! The important part is we were willing to give up everything for 2 years for him! We are RM’s and he loves us for this!!! We gave all we had and learned what we were supposed to out there! Now were supposed to learn something here! So find the tender mercies find those who love you pray a lot a ton when life wheels around you and you feel like giving up DON’T! Fall to you knees and thank him what all he’s done for you!!! Then explain your having a really hard time and ask for some help! Just like it says in John 14 “My peace I give unto you, not as the world givers give I unto you.” So hold to his peace and wait for the calm of the storm!

    • Amy B says:

      Let your life be about who you are becoming rather than a sum total of what you do. You will be more empathetic and less judgmental because of your experience. You will be humble and that’s when Christ can reach you. Know that as complicated as your feelings are to describe, your Savior knows how you feel. He is not disappointed in you! You have a choice to make today. What are you going to do with your experience? You can label yourself as a failure or a person who doesn’t belong in the church or a person who isn’t strong. But all of this is wrong and what Satan would have you believe. Don’t let this disappointment be a failure. It’s not a failed experience if you learn from it. Decide that it has been a great learning opportunity and a chance for growth! You are becoming stronger everyday and you will have so many more opportunities in life to be a missionary!

    • Thank you for your story. I myself came home after only being in the field for five weeks. It’s been a year now since I left home to serve, and I still haven’t really made my piece with it. One reason is that I was only out for such a brief period, though at the time each day was agony (I have some emotional problems). My mission president really wasn’t compassionate or supportive at all, he just said that if I couldn’t use the atonement to deal with my problems, then I wasn’t fit to be a missionary. Luckily the lider de zona was really supportive, but I was inconsolable at the time. Still, the prospect of coming home was terrifying, and eventually all the pressure and anxiety and not being able to eat wore me down and I was as close as I’ve ever been to suicide. The worst part is, it didn’t end when I came home. Looking back now, five weeks is nothing. My testimony is virtually non-existent and I hate myself. I have a great bishop and family though, but with the missionary hero-worship in the Mormon culture, it makes it really hard. I worry that I won’t find a wife, since it often seems that to the YW return missionaries are more desirable. But first, I have to get to a good enough place myself. As I am now, there’s no way I would feel justified entering into a temple marriage.

  9. Mark Giles says:

    I served a mission overseas more than 30 years ago. I wanted to come home almost every day. There are two reasons that I believe missionaries come home early and they are both legitimate, in my opinion. First is for legitimate medical reasons — physical or mental — which isn’t surprising considering that I don’t think most missionaries have any medical attention or coverage in the field. I know I didn’t have my teeth checked for more than two years and it wasn’t even discussed by the MP. And a high percentage of missionaries seem to suffer from depression — far more, I think, than the average for young people 18-21. Second is because they longer believe, especially with access to the internet and people asking them questions about things (i.e. several different versions of First Vision, head-in-the-hat translation of Book of Mormon) about history and doctrines that most missionaries haven’t been taught growing up. Many have doubts and need to come home to sort out where they stand.

  10. Dale says:

    Why aren’t missionaries that come home early not allowed to report to the stake high council. Missionaries that come home are second class citizens.

  11. Andrea O. says:

    My boyfriend is on his mission right now and he just found out he has Multiple Personality Disorder…he also has Extreme Major Depression and Anger Management. He had depression and anger management before he left but now that he has MPD I really think he should come home..hes only been gone 2 weeks but this is getting very very serious and I don’t want something to happen to him. He begged me not to tell his parents because they don’t he has MPD I just found out about it today and he found out he had within 2 days of entering the MTC so I really don’t know what to do.

    • Maia says:

      The doctors at MTC are ridiculous. They mess up a lot I can tell you some stories… Be very careful of being over medicated and over diagnosed. Vulnerable young men and women so wanting to please, can be easily mishandled. A friend, was misdiagnosed, reassigned, given 7 heavy drugs, of which several are illegal in his home country. He could have easily been seized at the airport and thrown in jail, if he declared them. Lucky he had no idea and didn’t. It took a number of months to come off the drugs and the local doctors were disgusted at what was done to him. But as a direct result he has struggled physically with weight loss, nausea, walking, reading, with out adding companionships that challenge. His parents dig in and are positive -amazing people! He is in his 9th month. Normally he is an upbeat innocent kid. Now he struggles to stay from week to week. My thoughts are that one should be very careful when discussing thoughts and feelings – even about being sad about inactive siblings can have you sent off down a road you have no control over. Shrinks, anti psychotic meds, reassignment, threat to take the stuff or go home – …outrageous..

  12. naumumom says:

    My son just came home yesterday. I haven’t been able to sleep, eat or even think since I found out he was coming home. He was out 4 months and came home because of some disobedience. He is strugglling and I see a light gone in his eyes. He is not able to eat or sleep as well. He was given the option to return and I am leaving it completely up to him. I know the Lord has a plan for him and for our family and I am just struggling with all kinds of emotions. How do I help him? How do I make him feel better? How do I get out of this funk I am in? I know that the Atonement is there for him and for me and we need to use it. I just feel so bad for my son and don’t know what to do?

    • Maia says:

      Hugs to your family and son. A young man came home from MTC (3 days in) for unconfessed sexual sin years ago and stayed home a year. I was so proud of him and his family. They just stayed quietly faithful. He then returned, did well and is now married in the temple to a sweet girl they have 2 children and are strong. xx LOVE, gratitude, faith, humility, community. Live those things and be overflowing and when you look at your son, he will recognise his worth and value. He will see his goodness, because he still is everything wonderful!

  13. swinters80 says:

    We just received word our son will return after 7 months of dedicated service due to health issues. He struggled all 7 months but did his very best. He has the opportunity to go back as things stabilize and he feels he can withstand the rigors of missionary life. Do we treat this homecoming as his homecoming or will that discourage him from the option to return? What if he doesn’t go back and this is his only homecoming? Maybe I just answered my own question but I am interested in what others have done. What do you with experience recommend?

  14. Emilee Beaumont says:

    Hello! I am a “come home” early missionary. I had just a few days before leaving the MTC for my mission in the Philippines when I broke my thumb in gym volleyball. I have been home for almost six months now. Even though I will soon be going back, I will never forget how hard it is to come home early. When I first came home, I wanted to find someone who understood what I was going through, some one who could give me advice. While I may not understand how every situation feels when you are sent home, I do believe that I understand the embarrassment, pain, and doubt that all “early released” missionaries experience. I have written a few entries in my mission blog about coming home and I wanted to share it with anyone who is seeking the same empathetic understanding that I once did. I hope it will also help the parents of “early released” missionaries to understand what their missionary might be thinking, but not saying.
    Here is the link to it.

  15. Kyli says:

    I’m an early return missionary. I got hurt at a ward activity a week before I was supposed to leave. The doctors told me I shouldn’t go, that i should rest and wait a few weeks. Four people from my Sunday school class had already come home early and my parents kept commenting about how grateful they were that they didn’t raise wusses. That they could count on me to push through anything and do what’s right. I went the day I was assigned. I didn’t even tell my companion. After a week, 4 days before I was supposed to be on a plane to Pennsylvania, I blacked out. I begged them to let me stay. I cried and pleaded, but they sent me home.
    I have met so many people who just needed someone who was there for them. I have helped them as best I can, and i believe I was supposed to come home when I did. But i still feel alone and scared. I hate going do church because it seems like every lesson is about how serving a full time mission will help us raise our future children and create better relationships.
    I’ve needed support, and if not love, at least some understanding. A new bishop was just called in my ward. He sent me here, and to other websites. I’ve prayed everyday for the last 10 months for a ray of hope or help. Reading these comments gives me that.

  16. Susie says:

    I just got the dreaded home visit from our Stake President, our son is coming home 4 weeks shy of finishing his mission. I have so many mixed feeling right now. I feel scared for my son. I don’t want him to go inactive. I want him to get back on track and do the right thing. I don’t know how to deal with the ward. I just feel sad. We were planning on going to go get him so this is a real blow for us. If anyone has dealt with this please help to help my son and share any thoughts you may have on how to cope.

    • Mark says:

      Four weeks early; so what — he served as a volunteer for 23 months! You probably realize that by now.

  17. David Z says:

    To the parents of any missionary that comes home early, please please PLEASE love your missionary. I know it’s a struggle for both the parent and the missionary. I have been there and have learned a great deal from this experience. I am an early return missionary due to depression and anxiety. The biggest issue that a lot of early return missionaries face is feeling like a failure.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley (First Worldwide Leadership Training, Jan. 11,2003″ states:
    “There are parents who say, If only we can get Johhny on a mission, then the Lord will bless him with health. It seems not to work out that way. Rather, whatever ailment or physical or mental shortcoming a missionary has when he comes into the field only becomes aggravated under the stress of the work.”

    Even if you are honorable released and return home, you feel like you have failed your family, your mission, and the Lord. There weren’t that many resources when I came home to deal with issues like this, so I am one of the lucky ones. My family and friends helped me through my struggles.

    There is a reason on the mission call it states, “you are ANTICIPATED to serve [specific length of time]” Also when you go on a mission you are answering the call, no matter how long your mission may have been. I have talked with many missionaries who have come home early. The best advice I can give is to love your missionary. The way they experience things when they get home will affect them and their perception of the church. So please, love your missionary, treat them like they served a full mission. Talk to them about the future, and their goals. Help them understand that the Lord loves them. If you have any questions I would love to help in anyway that I can.

    • Jackie says:

      Thank you for your words. My son has been serving for 6 months and wants to come home so badlly. His mission president has been wonderful to work with him but he has become hard hearted. He will not email me or any of the family. He is directing all of his anger toward me. I need to know how to act when he gets home. I can’t help being disappointed and if he were depressed, ill, or having anxiety then I would be more understanding. He just doesn’t want to be there…it’s to hard to get along with companions. Please help me know how to prepare myself if he comes home.

      • David Z says:

        Hi Jackie,

        I am deeply sorry to hear about your son. I think the biggest thing you can do to help your son is to realize that he has his agency and can choose what he thinks would be best for himself. Even though he might not have the insight that he needs, and that he will still have to face his decision head on later in life. Projecting his anger on others will not help him at all. When I came home, I found it difficult because I felt like nobody understood what I was going through and I was right. Nobody will ever understand what I went through. There weren’t resources like this blog at the time I came home. So I just had to work through it. I think the biggest thing you can do is pray for understanding for your son. Love him, realize he is still your son, even though it can be difficult, and we as sons do make stupid decisions sometimes. I think if you were to make your son stay, he might become more resentful toward you and the Church. But again every situation is unique and I would suggest to pray for understanding. That is the biggest advice I can give you besides love him. He might not realize the blessings that he is foregoing and he will have a difficult time once he realizes that. If your son comes home just realize that he will go through a period of distancing or depression where he will push people away but realize this isn’t your fault. Spend time together with him as a family, show interest in things that he likes, and help him realize that you support him no matter what. The second thing is to help him see that his life doesn’t stop after the mission because of the decisions that he made. He still can serve in other capacities if he desires, that he can get an education, and still have a happy life. Teach him not to be offended by others comments. Teach him that he is still a child of God and that God still loves him. He will always feel like a failure because he came home early but don’t let him. I don’t if any of this helps but please let me know if there is anything further that I can do.

  18. Denise Fries says:

    My daughter returned home early for depression after serving 7 months in Yuma, AZ and Bahia Blanca, Argentina and has shared her story through her blog. She is open to talk to anyone with questions or missionaries that are just feeling alone in their struggle. You can email her through her blog.

  19. Lisa says:

    What I haven’t seen discussed at all and it is very surprising to me, is a propensity for missionaries to have difficulties in the mission field due to prior exposure to pornography. With the flood of technology and this generation leading the way, just about every young man and possibly many young women will have viewed it to some extent before serving. Some by accident, some intentional… Some become addicted. I just wonder if this underlying condition may be a cause of some of the anxiety,depression, headaches, lack of being able to feel the spirit, etc. Pornography is one of Satan’s greatest tools now and probably something many missionaries would not want to divulge…even if they feel it wasn’t a problem before they entered the field. Anybody have any experience with this? Not judging or downplaying illnesses, just curious…

  20. Brandon Jones says:

    Thank you all for your messages and experiences. I would like to share my experience as well. I served in the Russia Moscow West mission before it was split. I had amazing desires to serve because of my own life experiences with the gospel and knew that I could help others feel and have what I did. I loved every minute of my service. In the MTC, however, I began to have some chronic pain I had dealt with prior to serving. I spent deep moments in prayer and pleading to be able to go to my mission area. I knew I should be checked before leaving and test were performed and I was allowed to go. I spent 5 wonderful months in the field and I loved it, even the hard days (at least afterwards). I had wonderful experiences with people and I watched the spirit truly touch a number of those I came into contact with. I had a successful mission to this point. Then I caught a cold which slowed me down some, from which I also recovered. But a few weeks after this my health declined. The pain I had dealt with before came back in full force, my appetite was barely that, I had no energy and could only perform work for a few hours a day. The thoughts rolled in about going home. I felt that I was failing the people I had been sent to serve. I thought that if I ended up going home I had failed, or was failing those I had learned to love. How would they view me for leaving them? I was a missionary, even if rest may have helped, I couldn’t see taking such time for myself when there was someone out there I might be able to talk to. It became evident I would not improve and needed to be sent home for better care. My parents had moved while I was out and upon return, I didn’t know anyone other than my parents. They were happy to see me and supportive, but outside of them, there was no warm welcome. When I met with “my” stake president, I felt as though I was given the one size fits all approach and that I had done something wrong and had no choice but to return. I also had an MTC Doc assigned to me to check up every two weeks. I would often be asked how I felt and when I tried to reply honestly, I was told how I felt or should feel and that I had a bad attitude. I was just doing the best I could. I would get along and start figuring things out and get that call which would bring all the emotions rushing back. One day after the Doc called and I had again been told I had to think differently than what I was truly feeling I broke into tears because I was truly trying to process and figure things out. My mother, who may never know how much I appreciated this, called him back and asked him not to call anymore as it did more harm than good. Finally, I informed my leaders that I would not be returning, something I had already known in my heart before I came home, as well as for continued testing needed to diagnose the issue. My message is that I did make it through. When people seemed to be my biggest burden I remembered that I did not go out to serve for any of them, but because I had the desire, my Lord and Savior asked my to, and for those I touched as a missionary. I owed those back at home nothing. I served, I was qualified, I gave all I had; and though I returned early, I had nothing left to give. Some days are still difficult, but I was able to accomplish other things by being home. The best of which was to ordain a young man I taught to the office of Elder. We got back in touch at BYU-I. I was able to continue to help him by being home and I am so very proud of him as he now bears the title of Elder. There is hope in my life and joy. I am now married and planning a bright future. I found hope by staying close to and searching for my savior and holding even clinging to my testimony. One truth I continue to learn is that only God truly knows your potential. He would not have brought you home if it wouldn’t benefit you in some way, or allow you to serve the Lord in the way he needs you NOW. The greatest strength I had was knowing I was not alone in my trial. To any of you who come home early and find this, you most definitely are not alone and I love you for what you have done, and at least two others are as well.

  21. Michael says:

    It sounds like you were fortunate to have a seventy meet with you. I had the same thing happen to me inside the MTC seven years ago with anxiety, except, there was nobody there for me when I came home. My own father was extremely disappointed in me. The feelings of failure and suicide urges have been very strong since, because of the church community. I cannot support the church in missionary efforts because of the… sick effect it has on those who “wash out.” I wish the church presidency paid more attention to this. It isn’t right!

    • earlyreturn says:

      Yes, I agree, and I understand. I believe that it will be coming, that the church will offer some sort of support and encouragement and honor for those who have served, and had to come home early. I hope so at least. People are people, even stake presidents and general authorities, and they don’t act just like Christ 100% of the time. So sometimes there aren’t the words, the help, the compassion, that are needed. God bless you. He knows your service.

  22. J. Mahlon Allred says:

    It is really quite fantastic to see such a support group come together. I just got back from nearly a year’s service in Arizona when the Lord finally saw fit for me to come back home. It is tough, and I have seriously related with many of these people, which really makes the burdens lighter. I have noticed that when I think of the mission as a whole, it is still an anxious and negative experience, but when I think of those few times when the Lord really used me to accomplish His work, even though few and far between (or at least I feel that way) it makes it easier to say that I accomplished something and had some incredible help. Thank you all, and as most say on here, there is nothing to be ashamed of, though I have no idea on how long it will take before I actually feel that way. One day, until then I guess I will keep taking a day at a time and relying on that Infinite God that got me here in the first place.

  23. Andy Proctor says:

    I just wrote an article on this on my returned missionary blog. Here it is if you want to share it with your followers: http://bit.ly/U882bR

  24. Cindy says:

    Today our son is returning early fro his mission. This is by far the hardest day of my life. I am trying my hardest to stay strong but Satan is really working on me. Our son is the most tender heart young man and I worry about how this is going to affect him. It is our prayer that he will have the desire to return when things get corrected. Thank you for this site I will be here often.

  25. No Name says:

    I have been looking for something like this. My son was sent home 16 months ago and I am still struggling every day. This week was particularly rough watching two of his peers on our street arrive home with the banners in the yard, etc. knowing I will never get that. His mission was so traumatic I found myself struggling with my testimony , but have come out stronger. Our family never talks about his mission, it’s like it never happened, and I wish it hadn’t. His experience strengthened my younger son, but seems to have been the final straw in destroying my daughter spiritually. It is so hard to listen to other Mom’s complain about cost, missing, location of call, etc. When we got the horrible phone call I kneeled down and told my Father in Heaven He could take anything, my home, my limbs, my life, just PLEASE stop this from happening. Before I even finished asking I knew the answer, but I also felt His love for me and my son. My son is at BYU Provo now, with the most of the same struggles as before that I spent most of his growing- up years thinking a mission would “cure”, had he really been given the chance. It is one of those things that happens to “other families”, not to us. I struggle with murmuring thoughts of “Our family did the check lists, prayer, daily scriptures since he was two, weekly FHE, everything. How come boys from families who did none of this make is the whole two years?” Mission farewells and homecomings ( or whatever you call them) cut like a knife. I play the organ or I just wouldn’t go. But I sit up there and try not to look at my husband or the tears start to flow. I guess I am rambling but this is something that is very hard to talk to people about because they give you the standardized answers. My younger son will go in 27 months but I wonder if I will feel any joy when he does or will it be more of feeeling hurt for my returned son? Here is my question I ask the Lord every day: WILL THE HURT EVER GO AWAY?

    • David Z says:

      I’m so sorry about the pain that you are going through right now. I am an early return missionary. I have been home for 7 years and I will tell you this, the pain never fully goes away. It will always be there, whenever someone talks about how great their mission was or whenever people say how proud they are of their child for making it through their mission. Your son will always feel like he doesn’t quite measure up to those who completed their missions. But please realize this…Your son accepted the call, he had a desire to serve a mission. You should be proud of him, love him, he served the Lord. He did the best he could and that’s all the Lord asks. I know it’s hard as a parent, I know you are probably asking what could I have done better. Please realize it’s not your fault. Things happen for a reason sometimes, and sometimes those reason are to help people through their hard times. If you have any questions regarding early return missionaries please contact me. I would love to help in any way that I can.

    • Maia says:

      It’s been 5years for us. It still hurts for sure. We did so much too. My husband served as bishop for 7 years and the stake presidency for 7. It also destroyed our daughter and now the other doesn’t go either. Blaming hasn’t helped. Eventually I have realised their own journey has to be travelled. We try to travel it with them as much as possible. We now have no active children, but feel positive about the future. It seems our ERM has gratitude for the gospel and has had some intense spiritual experiences, how ever his lifestyle isolates him from active LDS life. I recognise how blessed he has been through serving a mission. And at times he does also. It was very painful to discuss his mission of 18 months. But at some point I decided to begin reflecting gratitude for it and now he complains less. I’ve become more confident in sharing truth with him, and feel freer from the pain. My husband doesn’t like to talk about anything uncomfortable, and after 30 years I feel that may not have been the most successful approach to problem solving with in the family. My back ground is more to confront things. I’m excited for your younger son! Your ERM is having his life journey. It’s unspeakably hard, but let them go and increase your love and belief in them. Our kids have trouble looking at us when our faces reflect pain and disappointment and we cannot afford to do it because it confirms every negative thought they have about themselves. Check your face every five minutes. Put the timer on if you have to. It is no longer about you any more. Let them see and feel the love of God in your adoring smile and they do adore you! Hugs to you and your family. We’ve been treated badly by some members and leaders too, which has been unhelpful, however, my testimony stands tall and stronger.
      I had a gratitude party last week to cope with things, but more as a statement (to me) as my flag of liberty.
      I invited women who had helped me personally this last year in different ways. Example, inspiration, love, listening, kindness. It was hard to draw the line at 30 in the end. I asked my daughter to cater (fantastic food! Elderberry jelly with edible flowers….etc) we played pass the parcel. Every time the parcel stopped and was unwrapped I read out loud to that person what I admired about them, and how they had helped or influenced me for good. Some were so funny there was some hilarity too. I had painted a canvas but had left the word “gratitude” as plain canvas to reflect light, this welcomed them with 2 bright dancing helium balloons. They loved it, our family benefitted.
      I just couldn’t keep going in numbville, or isolation. The dark road was beckoning… I want to take back my own life. I have faith that this thinking will aid my children to have a desire to take back theirs. The negative was a victim mindset, and they act like victims. We’ll see how we go. When you play the organ my dear, I want you to think of your gratitude painting with the dancing balloons beckoning you to feel happiness in the blessings which bare you up. And you look out at those peeps and smile your gratitude right into their hearts, we are all sinners looking for acceptance, looking to be inspired. You can do it. Belonging to LDS women has been a gift. True story! xx

  26. Brandon says:

    About 14 months into my mission I started to notice how sad I was becoming. It’s like something was taking over my mind and telling me to not take another step. I was just tired and wanted to return home. I told my Mission President my thoughts and I set up an appointment with LDS Family Services counseling. After about 4 weeks of that I was put on medication for Depression. It took a while to get feeling better again. I looked for every opportunity I could to go home. I was having terrible thoughts and creating plans to get sent home, mainly injuring myself. I didn’t want to be seen as the Elder who “couldn’t cut it”. After another 2 months of fighting myself I decided to tell everything that was going on to my Mission President and my Parents as well. I was terrified that I would be judged harshly. On the contrary, they were very kind and understanding. They helped me get through the hardest time of my life. My parents told me that they wanted me to finish, but that no matter what they would always support and love me. Ultimately the decision was mine.

    I decided to stay out and try to finish the 2 years. I now have 45 days until I return home. I am so grateful for all of the support that I was given. I have learned so much and feel a great respect for anyone who would give any amount of time from their life to serving the Lord. If you are having doubts or it is getting too hard, tell those that you care about how you feel! It will help! As for the Parents of missionaries who are thinking about coming home, never stop supporting your missionaries! They need every bit of love that you can give them!

  27. Sadie says:

    Thank you so much for this! I don’t think any missionary should have to deal with this on their own. Another really awesome site that I’m loving for helping me right now is earlyreturnedhonor.com. I thought it was really encouraging that the pain will go away! It took almost a year before I felt okay again. I’m so glad for people like you who help provide a resource for early returned missionaries to know that they’re not going through this alone!

    • valerie says:

      My son has been in Argentina for a year. We were just informed this morning that he is being sent home! I had no idea any thing was wrong. Is not the mission pres. obligation to inform the parents so they may help their own child? This has really rocked my boat! My sons weekly emails were always positive and upbeat about successes he has had. I’m in shock. I don’t even want to attend church for all the negative gossip . Frankly I’m not sure what to say to my son at the airport. I’m mad, disappointed, ashamed, but most of all feel like a failure as a parent and hope my oldest son’s actions will not have a negative impact on my 17 and 18 year old boys . Reading the blogs has helped some. I’m finding it difficult to know how to think about this . If I accept my son unconditionally then will he think his coming home early is not a big deal? I was not directly informed concerning my sons early release cause the mission pres. didnt speak english so all info. was second hand, but what I did understand was rather minor I thought, like going to the store after curfew to buy fruit. I’m really just numb right now . I pick up my son in 2 days. Please tell me how to show love without accepting his actions as acceptable. Maybe this is the wrong mindset. I’m open to anything.

      • earlyreturn says:

        Yes, I agree with you that you should have been informed. Things don’t always go like they should. You owe loyalty to your son, he is your child. Yes, unconditional love. Trust that he has done the best he could under the circumstances. There is always more to the story than it appears. Of course your son knows that coming home is a big deal, and he is the one who is going to have a big load to carry in living with it. He needs you, your support, your unconditional love. Being loving to him is what Christ would act like, and after all, isn’t that why he even went on a mission, to act like Christ and help others believe in Him and act like him too. So, please, for your son’s sake, and for your own sake, muster up all the love and acceptance you can, and act like Christ would in this situation because it is crucially important you do. For your son’s sake, and for your own sake. I am sure you are mad, disappointed, ashamed. It is hard not to let us affect us, as mothers, but this isn’t about you and how you look to others. This is between your son and the Lord. He needs you to show 100% love and acceptance and understanding. Trust that he has done his best. Trust that love and acceptance and open arms from you are what he needs. Trust him. The story will come out eventually if you are fully accepting with him. Best success. I know that is how the Lord would treat your son.

      • Mary says:

        Hi Valery… When I read about your feelings I though Wow! that is exactly how I feel…100%!!!… My son is currently serving a mission…he reaches his year mark this Friday… last Monday I found an email my son sent to the MP explaining a “plan” he had asked for, after what seems to be some sort of broken rules and repentance process… at the end of the email he wrote “After what has happened I know this is almost impossible but I would really like to stay and finish my mission”… my heart sunk when I read that…. Today is Wednesday and I’ve had the worst days of my life…I feel devastated… as a mother, I feel like I didn’t do enough…
        I wanted to ask you, if you don’t mind sharing, how long did it take before a decision is made?…and once a decision is made, how long did it take for the MP to contact you….did he fly right away?…
        I don’t know all the details about my son’s situation, but I know the problem doesn’t involve anybody else, apparently it has to do with the computer usage… I’m so sad…I’ve been reading blogs about coming home early and trying to find ways to support him if he gets sent back home….how is your son doing?
        Thank you very much for your reply.

      • valerie walker says:

        HI Mary, in response to your questions about your son in Argentina, I received a call on a Friday afternoon from my new stake president and a bishop who spoke Argentine. They informed me of a conversation they had with the MP who spoke no English the day before. We knew nothing was wrong, neither did my son. Because of the lack of understanding between my son (who had been out just 1 year and his command of the language was not great at the time) and the new MP who spoke NO English, lots of miscommunication occurred. My son was sent home 2 days later. We were told very little until my son explained it to us. He should not have been sent home at all for what had happened. The MP can send home any missionary for anything, it’s so arbitrary. That is not right. Especially that we were not allowed to talk with him. I won’t say anything negative because I can’t do anything about it. My son came home Memorial Day 2015. Our new stake pres. was no help either when my son came home. He had so little empathy and was unsure of my questions. Ex. What can we do as a family to help him?, How long before he can return?, What is expected of my son before he can return? I got absolutely nothing from my SP. My son attended the singles ward and was helped by the bishop there but I did not receive adequate answers and direction. My son received his temple recommend 3 weeks after coming home. I asked the SP why he couldn’t return to complete his mission if he qualified to attend the temple…no answer. After 3 months home my son worked in the temple once a week and finally after 6 months from his ER he was called to the Fort Lauderdale , Florida mission and has been serving since January 2016. He is the DL and working hard. His happiness as a missionary has a lot to do with the MP and how supportive they can be. I have 2 more sons to serve missions but I am so skeptical about sending them because of what our family had to go through. The process needs refinement with set standards for MPs. There just too much subjective judgement that is involved. I totally felt judged from ward members and gossip abounded starting with that former bishop who told his sister who was in the Relief Society Presidency in my ward. The church should at the very least offer counseling services to families and the ERM. I had no idea how to cope and was in a great depression for more than a year. I tried to remain positive for my sons sake but it was a dark time in my life for my faith in the leaders. I just assumed this situation would be handled more professionally and with compassion. The church is true but some of the leaders lack the skills, knowledge and emotional awareness to advise. All I wanted was information about my sons future to return. I got nothing then 6 months later he was told he could return to state side. God is flawless, man certainly has many, regardless of the priesthood authority they may possess. I am now much more aware of the shortcomings of those in authority and sadly have lost respect but will continue to sustain them for the sake of my family. I hope this monologue has helped you in some way. There are positives that resulted in this tragedy.

  28. C G says:

    I received my mission call last August. After going through the MTC (I was only there two weeks), I was in the field only a few days when I felt prompted to talk to my mission president about some of the things I had done in my past that I hadn’t sorted out before I left. I had known I should have dealt with those things previously but I thought that maybe if I served an honorable mission I could make up for the things I had done. He said I was probably going to go home. From that moment on I worked as hard as I possibly could while I was serving. I ended up getting sent home a week and half later but in that week and a half my companion and I had gone from two baptismal dates to six. I felt like I had accomplished a lot in that little time and I also knew that I was doing the right thing in going home. Now almost ten months later, I’m struggling with the thought of going back out. I’m scared of disappointing everyone again. I’m scared of mission life because I know how hard it is. I also am doing really well in life right now. I ended up going back to school and I’ve met some amazing people who I know I needed to meet and I wouldn’t have met them if I had been on my mission. I also struggle because things at home haven’t been very good recently and I’m scared that if I leave things will fall apart. I’ve prayed about it but I’m not really at a place spiritually right now where I can feel confident about promptings I get. What should I do?

    • rex says:

      DON’T go back out! My son came home after 9 months. He tried for a few months to stay active but was neglected by the stake president and ward leaders, and won’t go to church any more.
      Remember serving a mission is NOT part of our eternal progression. Staying active, attending the temple and being sealed is the eternal progression. As long as you stay on that path you will find true happiness and eternal joy.
      I find it disappointing to hear married men talk about their missions like it was better than being married.
      You will find it difficult at times in the future because an elders quorum meeting will do something stupid and ask how many went on a mission, but just remember when those days come that you are on the path to eternal salvation and going on a mission isn’t one of those steps!
      I wish you the best

    • Sam says:

      C G, I have an extremely similar situation to you. June of 2014 I received a mission call. After going through the MTC and serving for short time I also felt prompted to speak to my mission president about things I had not fixed in my past. I was sent home just before Christmas. The emotional trauma of being sent home and facing family, friends, and other peers felt like my spirit had been torn to shreds. My family hasn’t treated me the same and I only have a few friends left. But my relationship with our Savior has never been so strong. Its His love for me that is keeping me going to return to my mission. I’m sorry you do not feel confident in the promptings you are receiving right now. The only advice I have for that is to meet with your Bishop on a regular basis about returning on a mission. My Bishop has shown nothing but love and support for my decision to return. I’ll admit as well, I’m terrified of going back. Mission life is incredibly difficult as we both know. I was lucky enough to have a companion that showed me exactly how awesome being a missionary can be and sometimes those memories of serving and helping others are what keep me wanting to go back. Life has gotten better being home. I’ve met the girl of my dreams (who just turned her papers in), I have a great job, and I’ve moved to a great ward. But I know that going back is what I need to do. I cannot say that going back is the path for you but I can say that if you go back you will not regret it. My mission president told me, “No one said that this was easy, only that it will be worth it.”
      However, I also want you to know that if you decide that going back is not for you, its all right. Its okay. Going on a mission is not a saving ordinance. You can progress just as far, if not farther, than missionaries. Use this opportunity to grow closer to Christ. Learn to be a better member missionary than most ward members. Truly become converted to Christ and live as He did. Love everyone and seek to serve. The mission doesnt stop. Only wearing a suit with a tag every day stops. No matter what you choose, the Lord always loves you.

  29. carmennegron nieves says:

    Gracias por su reportaje me ha servido de ayuda y Consuelo.

  30. Allison Erickson says:

    Hello! My name is Allison Erickson! About a month ago, the Spirit impressed strongly upon me to write a book specifically targeted for ERM. I’m putting together the trial to triumph stories of young, faithful early returned missionaries as a supportive and uplifting and encouraging read! The whole message needs to be, “Your service was enough in the Lord’s eyes!” Would you be willing to collaborate with me in this effort to allow this invitation to share be a part of your blog?

    All contributor’s srories should be sent to courageousmissionaries@gmail.com


    Allison Erickson

  31. Bev says:

    The way missions are organized is unnecessarily difficult in my opinion. Restricting communication with family and friends in the age of cell phones and free long distance is a burden that families and missionaries alike should not be put through. Something as simple as allowing missionaries to call or skype home once a week would be huge in terms of maintaining closeness within the missionary’s family, reducing anxiety on both sides of the call and increasing confidence of parents to send their kids out. When I read about MPs instructing missionaries to keep important information from their families, such as not telling about a serious illness, robbery or traumatic event I get the message that they care more about keeping manpower in the field than about the well being of the faithful members who sacrifice to send their sons and daughters and the missionaries themselves. Monitoring missionaries email also has a chilling effect. Are we really so concerned with chastity that every other good thing should be sacrificed in an effort to keep our missionaries “worthy”? One mother mentioned her daughter, serving in South Korea has never been told about the new policy about homosexuals. How are our kids to deal with the questions and challenges of investigators when the missionaries themselves are kept in the dark. Also, where is the accountability of the MP in all of this. It is common knowledge that serving a mission is in large part a game of chance in which a tough MP can make life hell where another MP can make missionary life bearable. I know we like to honor the hardship and sacrifice of the pioneers and the early members, but creating artificial hardship just to “prove” or “test” our young people? Well, no one should be surprised that parents and YM/YW are reluctant to serve under current policy. As a side note, does anyone really think sending people around to knock on doors is an effective method of spreading the gospel anymore? Maybe if we as member missionaries would actually get out an make friends with people in our communities and model Christian behavior and happiness people would seek out our faith on their own and our kids could go to college instead of wearing out bikes and shoes and their often fragile testimonies beating down doors.

    • Ian says:

      Dear Bev and others,

      I served a full 2 years, granted it wasnt something easy to do for me at the time. I have epilepsy and was told I wouldnt be allowed to go. It had been my dream to serve the Lord and walk proudly with companions who would hold his banner high as the strength of his gospel spread forth.

      Turns out life is tougher than dreams and fairytales. The mission was tough, brutal in some cases. Those heroes I looked up to turned out to be monsters in a clever disguise. There were times I did fear for my life and even an exceptional instance where I thought I may have to take one. Fortunately, neither occured. The disobedience became so bad, that eventually I was becomming labeled as a disobedient missionary, due to the companions I had, who were notorious for such endeavors. Tracting and fake numbers seemed to be all they cared about. (not that tracting doesnt work, it IS productive if one is attuned to the spirit, not if youre doing it for stories or to slack off. You reap what you sow) Eventually I had enough and I tried to leave the mission and pay for my own ticket home. Luckily my MP found me and sat me down.

      It was then in that meeting that I learned how he saw all those peers of mine. I made a promise to stay my last year, and “tough it out” even though I didn’t think it would happen. And I gained sooooo much from doing it! So much that I can scarcely believe or describe to you all that I have learned. I found out that those “monsters” were just kids, trying to find out how to serve. Some were lost, and some were still trying to find their way. I learned that forgiveness is more for yourself than for others and can be justice of itself. I found out that no matter how hard I tried to be good, Id forever be seen as disobedient, until that particular person softened their heart. If I had left the mission when I did, I never would have seen the fruits of my labor. They didnt turn into baptisms or miracles, but instead life lessons. And I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to serve. Even if I do have painful memories or scars from it.

      Its true, the church does speak loudly interms of being prepared and “worthy” to go on a mission, but the reason they say it is to shield those missionaries who have a genuine desire to serve the Lord. Testimonies are soooooooo important when it comes to living the gospel (emphasis on LIVING), if you dont constantly put gospel related things around you, you will lose it. Take it from an Elder who WASNT prepared and found it later. There was a comment earlier about skipping church so the RM wouldnt feel pressured by their peers. I strongly urge against that, you need the spirit and hear the other experiences people are going through to give you strength, that’s part of why we are here, to help each other. If you dont put yourself in a position of help, chances are, you wont get much help. However, if there is no way to avoid that missionary from feeling bad at their ward. GO TO ANOTHER ONE! The sacrament is extremely important! If that doesnt work, have someone bring it to you, thats what the Priesthood is for! Or at least find an exceptional substitute, such as institute or temple prep classes. “Not going” isnt trying, its “giving up” AKA slothfulness! There are solutions if you ask or search for them. Question is, “how important is the gospel to you?” Are you willing to bypass the worldy garbage for something greater? Or are you giving up?

      Ive given a lot of thought about this since Ive been home. Tried a lot of options, but this is what stands…. Life is a puzzle, puzzles exist to be figured out. And if you cant figure it out, by darn, learn something along the way. Does you no good to experience something and complain about it. You can however, take what has been given to you and change it for the better. Unfortunately I think we are still too lax about our duties as saints. Ive been to other churches, who willingly go out and allow homeless people into thier vans in winter just so they can stay warm. If we actually did what we vowed to God we would do. We wouldnt have second thoughts. Abinadi taught the gospel and was burned for it. And Christ gave his earthly life to help others and be an example for them. For Us! As a whole, I do think we need to be better saints. We have been taught better. Many of us are too afraid to be labeled to speak up. But doing nothing just lets the problem fester. Food for thought this holiday season….. (enough of my ranting) The church is true, the book is blue, and Moroni is always on the ball. Have a good one. (Life is too short to be concerned with all technicalities. Just focus on the important things, God will take care of the rest!)

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