Mike Kueber's Blog

March 14, 2012

Missionary work

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Law/justice,Military,Politics,Religion — Mike Kueber @ 9:18 pm
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While riding my bike yesterday, I passed a couple of young, thin men who were dressed almost identically, and I surmised they were Mormon missionaries.  They brought to mind Mitt Romney and his missionary work in France before he enrolled in college.  I once heard Romney say that that work taught him to persevere because he rarely was able to convert people.  He might have even said he had zero converts.

Romney’s statement didn’t make sense – why would the Mormon Church conduct never-ending missions if they were essentially ineffective – so I decided to do some research.  First step – Wikipedia. 

According to Wikipedia:

  • Young men between the ages of 19 and 25 who meet standards of worthiness are strongly encouraged to consider a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. This expectation is based in part on the New Testament passage “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matt. 28: 19-20). In 2007, approximately 30% of all 19-year-old LDS men became Mormon missionaries; from LDS families that are active in the church, approximately 80-90% of 19-year-old men serve a mission.  As of 2007, 80% of all Mormon missionaries were young, unmarried men, 13% were young single women and 7% retired couples.
  • As of December 31, 2010, there were 52,225 LDS missionaries serving in 340 church missions throughout the world. Their work, often in cooperation with local members, resulted in 272,814 convert baptisms in 2010….  the number of convert baptisms per missionary per year has fallen from a high of 8.03 in 1989 to just 4.67 in 2005.

So, either Mitt Romney exaggerated his lack of proselytizing success in France or he was singularly unsuccessful.

Incidentally, Romney’s missionary service seems to have shielded him from criticism for his failure to serve in the U.S. military.  Of course, that is not much of a weakness anymore, since Ron Paul is the only candidate who has served.  Still, Romney seems to place military service in especially high regard, based on his willingness to endorse DREAM Act citizenship following military service, but not following a college education. 



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