Naive Utah Missionaries
“Excuse me, sir, but you should really not be saying that. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem.”
One of the themes of this musical is that missionaries are naive and inexperienced, and they immaturely try to solve tangible problems with ethereal spirituality.
I think that on the one hand, this can be a fair criticism. Coming largely from the United States, many young men and women who serve as missionaries have yet to encounter the incredible hardship found throughout the world. Difficulty, for them, has been getting a date for prom, not wondering when or where from they’ll get your next meal. For those focused almost exclusively on basic human needs like safety, shelter, and sustenance, young people preaching religion can seem empty and weak.
To the first point, that missionaries are immature and inexperienced, I contend that it is neither maturity nor experience that make one an effective minister. Rather, our ability to “bear fruit” depends on our willingness to stay connected to the True Vine (see John 15). The Lord has said that he will use “the weak and the simple” to proclaim his gospel unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers (Doctrine and Covenants 1:23). I, for one, am grateful that it is not experience, maturity, or intellect that qualifies us to serve.
In Preach My Gospel, missionaries are told this:
“As the Lord’s representative, you are to be “an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12). Strive to live according to God’s commandments and keep the covenants you made in the temple; know the scriptures; be courteous, on time, and dependable; follow missionary standards of conduct, dress, and grooming; love the people with whom you serve and work. Honor Christ’s name by your actions.”
To see the second point, see this post.