Home Opinion New missionary communication policy is not too lax, but a good change

New missionary communication policy is not too lax, but a good change

Missionaries seem to have it easy these days. The dress code slackened, schedules changed for flexibility, most missions use smartphones and/or tablets, and now missionaries can call home weekly.

Compare it to when our grandparents served missions. They hauled their books and flip charts wherever they walked and waited weeks to hear from family through the postal service.

When the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first announced the change in weekly communication, there was quite the response from its members. There were thousands of reactions to The Church’s announcement on Facebook.

“As a former mission nurse, I can see the wisdom in this,” said a woman. “We have much more anxiety, depression, etc. with this generation than in past ones. Having an anchor to home, when needed, can be a great help.”

“Honestly, this would have changed my whole mission,” another woman said.

“Next thing you know … The Church will allow missionaries to take their favorite pet (as long as they buy a ‘support animal vest’) as a comfort animal,” a man commented.

“Now they will mature less, they will come back as kids and not adults …… just IMO (in my opinion),” said another commenter.

We’ve all heard these comments, whether in our conversations or our social media feeds. Most responses were positive, but there were some that questioned the decision.

Some seemed to claim that when they were missionaries, they walked 10 miles uphill both ways in a blizzard just to get to a district meeting, although that doesn’t seem possible.

We at Scroll fully support President Russell M. Nelson and the policies he has implemented. We may not fully understand every revelation, but we know that he is led by our all-knowing Heavenly Father, who knows what is best for us.

In the past few years, The Church saw multiple policy changes on many different fronts: the missionary age change, the combining of priesthood quorums, the revamping of home and visiting teaching into ministering, and maybe the biggest change, the two-hour church block.

There wasn’t much griping about those changes, especially the last one, likely because it requires one less hour of missing football games.

These changes are not to make members’ lives easier; they are intended to give us more responsibility and ask us to step up to a higher bar.

The two-hour church requires study and teaching in the home; ministering requires us to look for how we can help those we minister to, not just give a lesson from the Ensign once a month. Missionaries should now be prepared earlier in their lives to serve, and priesthood quorums should do more after doubling in size.

These changes are intended to separate the wheat from the tares, to see who will step up to the new bar. Sure, some will use these changes in a selfish way, but others will use these changes to improve and prepare for Christ’s second coming.

The weekly communication change also goes beyond just the missionaries. The benefits offered to the family of the missionary are also great.

There were multiple comments expressing how family members were sick and died while missionaries were in the field. They said how great it would have been to have the opportunity to call them weekly and have that communication.

Sometimes the family of the missionary struggles more than the missionary. It means so much to those families to hear from the missionary other than letters and emails.

A study completed by the mental health academy also stresses the importance of communication between young adults and their parents. The study found that 88 percent of adult children aged 23 to 24 surveyed said they relied on the parents for emotional support.

The support missionaries receive from their parents can be critical to not only their mission but also their development.

Ultimately, these changes are coming from God through His prophet. Those who sustain him, sustain these changes. Those who do not like the changes need to remember who knows best.

We support these changes and sustain the prophet as God’s mouthpiece.

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