William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On The Propriety Of An Ecclesiastical Leader Encouraging A Breakup In Preparation For A Mission

The question was put:

"My daughter (a senior in high school) has been dating a senior boy for a few months. They will both graduate next week, and he will spend the summer getting ready to serve an LDS mission. He turns 19 in September and is meeting regularly with his bishop. In a recent interview, his bishop asked him when he was going to break up with my daughter so he could fully focus on his mission preparation. My daughter has shed many tears over this and I would like to know if it's normal for bishops to encourage young men to break up with their girlfriends before serving a mission or if this one bishop is an exception."

To which I responded:

I personally completely disagree with the notion that a mission should require missionaries to disregard romances. While there may be some benefit to casting aside romance, there is also a detriment of loneliness and lack of companionship. After all, couples can also serve missions, and to the best of my understanding of LDS history, many missionaries historically had romances and/or met spouses on their missions. There is no need for a blanket rule requiring young, hormone-raging missionaries to "lock their hearts".

All that being said, our church has a culture which very much disagrees with me, and I think it is to be expected that our puritannical notions of sexual morality will pour into happenings like this. I see no good reason why young couples (including newlyweds) should be barred from going on full-time missions if they practice birth control.

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