I wrote in my journal while on my mission every single day. I’ve not looked at it in years, but with two recent mission autobiographies published by BCC Press, I pulled out my old journal and started looking through it. It was fun to relive some of the good times I had in Chile all those years ago. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be posting about some of what is in my journal. I’m doing this mostly for me, and I hope to be able to compile these posts into something my kids and grand kids can read one day. So while I do this, you can look over my shoulder and watch.
I’ve changed most of the names to protect the innocent, although there were few innocent missionaries on my mission. Things I added to my journal are in [brackets]
Back in the day, what is now called the Missionary Training Center was the LTM. Only missionaries learning a foreign language went there. The LTM was where the current MTC is. It was competed in 1976, just a few weeks before I entered. I got my call to go to southern Chile in June of 1976. I was home alone that day when the mail came, and I opened my calling all by myself. I then called my dad at work and told him. There was no party, no big fanfare.
I flew up to Utah by myself in late Aug, and stayed the night with my uncle who was attending BYU at the time. The next day, he drove me to the LTM, and dropped my off at the curb. While everybody else had their parents with them, I walked by myself into the LTM and into the welcoming room.
I Made It! Ron dropped me off at 1 pm today at the LTM. First off they put our luggage in a room then we went to orientation. The Mission Pres talked to us and told a bunch of dumb jokes. We got our room keys, and I was first to the room and got to pick my bed. My comp is Elder Colson from Midvale UT.
The LTM at the time was much different than how the MTC is run. For P-Day we could leave the LTM and do pretty much anything we wanted as long as we were back for dinner. I remember taking the bus to University Mall just to hang out. We’d also go bowling at the BYU, go get pizza, and wander the BYU campus. There was no guard at the front door. We could come and go 24/7 as we wanted. For Gym class, we would run around the park in front of the LTM, by the Temple.
The best part of the day is running back from gym so you can be first in the shower. 50 missionaries trying to get one of 6 showers. [a side note, we ran completely naked from our room to the showers] I was the first one today. Tonight one of our roommates got some cowboy boots in a package from his parents. He is going to Spain and can wear them. All he had on was his garments [the long one piece type] and his boots as he paraded around. Then an Elder from his district took a picture of him. We all had a good laugh.
We also went to the BYU devotional every Wednesday morning in the Marriott Center. They had a section reserved for the missionaries so we didn’t sit with the student body, but lots of missionaries met their girlfriends for a brief conversation. We heard President Kimball talk to the BYU students about marriage, so maybe all the subjects weren’t the best for missionaries.
The LTM was dedicated while I was there
Today was the day for the dedication! We got up at 5:30, and were in our seats in the gym at 6:00 am! We got good seats about 75 ft from the stage. The meeting didn’t start until 9, but we wanted good seats! The program was
Conducting: Elder Thomas S. Monson
Invocation: Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Remarks: Elder S. Dilworth Young
Remarks: Pres Ezra Taft Benson
Remarks: Pres Marion G. Romney
Remarks: Pres N. Eldon Tanner (he wasn’t able to make it, sick)
Message and dedication prayer: Pres Spencer W. Kimball
Benediction: Elder David B. Haight
Also in attendance was Paul H. Dunn, L. Tom Perry, Marvin J. Ashton, Boyd K. Packer, and La Grand Richards.
We had four missionaries to each room with 2 sets of bunk beads. We had a great time with almost everybody on our floor. In the evenings just before lights out we would set up a trash can at one end of the long hall, and then with a ball one of the Elders had, we would have contests on who could make a basket. This was all done with us just in our garments. Nobody wore pajamas or robes. Also, they only had four dorm buildings, and this being the 1970’s, there was not enough sister missionaries to fill a whole building, so they were on the top two floors of our building. We were told never to go above the second floor of our building.
Today was good and bad. I got 30 lines on my own. Elder Le Garand Richards talked to us this morning at the BYU devotional. But Elder Ashton [Elder in our district] is leaving because of his health. He is being transferred to the Utah Mission. I guess it is all right, if that is what the Lord wants, but why didn’t he send him there at first?
I found out just a few years ago that Elder Ashton did not get transferred to the Utah mission because of his health, but was send home due to a “transgression” . His companion, Elder Atkins, became our companion (a threesome, and stop the snickering). I’ve remained friends with Atkins, and he told me he was told to lie about what happened to Elder Ashton.
So, are any of you old enough to remember the good old days at the LTM? What was your experience like?