Today’s guest post is from Happy Hubby.
When Angela C / Hawkgrrrl did her post a few weeks ago on “Time Travel: Christian Identity Loss” where she talked about her trip back to where she served her mission and the emotions it brought up. I noticed that almost a third of the comments included mentioned about having nightmares about being asked to go again on a mission.
This reminded me of when I read the book “Way below The Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled But Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary” by Craig Harline. His book is really enjoyable and quite funny. Even in his day job he seems to keep it quite funny (see about 10-15 minutes of this example.)
He talks about how the missionaries in his mission wore “stainless Steel” suits and he often refers to missionaries as “businessmen.” He also gets quite philosophical when discussing the great moral issue of “are you allowed to kiss your girlfriend at the SLC airport when on your way from the MTC to your mission.
The book brought back many mission memories. As far as my mission I didn’t have any big popping of my overly-optimistic bubble. I had enough doubts about myself and why others would want to join my hard religion that I didn’t have any expectation of having a specific number like 87 that Craig had. So no disillusion since my expectations were so low. I generally enjoyed my mission and only really had one companion that I really had a hard time with. But the baptisms were few and far between and I remember it mainly being knocking on doors for weeks on end. I guess this was one area that my bubble eventually was popped – that of assuming the sacrifice of knocking all day long was going to equal blessed baptisms at some point. I certainly had a few companions that seemed to cling on to the “every rejection means my wife will be that much better looking.” I had never heard of this before and those that hung on to this belief to me seemed to be those that probably “needed a bit more help.” I didn’t think about it until now, but I certainly married up in the looks department. I am not sure if thinking that now is confirmation bias or not thinking about it now is ignoring how many doorstep rejections I encountered. Water under the bridge for me now. I do see now that I equated everything to either “bad = must be the devil out to get us missionaries” or “good = blessings – sometimes predicated on keeping the rules” (I was an obedient Elder).
What made me remember the book is that he mentions in the prologue in his book about having a dream about being asked to go on a mission again.
Instead it’s the dread that doesn’t show up until a few years after you’re back from your mission, but then has the nerve to hang on for about 30 years more.
It’s the tread so skin-touchingly read that even while you’re in the middle of it you actually tell yourself this is not a dream but the real genuine-article things, so don’t think you’re going to get out of it by waking up or something.
It’s the dream so Madame-Tussaud’s lifelike that when you wake up anyway in the usual hear-tracing panic you have to pinch yourself to make sure it didn’t really happen.
It’s the dream so epidemic among former Mormon missionaries that it make you a big believer in Jung’s collective unconscious.
It’s the dream that says you have to go on another mission.
So how many of you have had at least disturbing thoughts, if not nightmares, about being asked to go on your mission again? Going with your spouse later in life doesn’t count.