Today’s Mormon missionaries: Clingy, soft, and immature?

Religion News Service | 2/18/2019 | Staff
tiana_101 (Posted by) Level 3
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Two sister missionaries talk with a man on a train. Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The reaction to last week’s announcement that Mormon missionaries will now be able to call home once a week—instead of twice a year, as was the former policy—has been mostly positive.

Saint - Families - Change - Church - Leaders

Most Latter-day Saint families seem to be welcoming the change, which Church leaders say will be a “motivating force, not a distraction” in the lives of more than 65,000 missionaries serving around the world.

The applause is not universal, however. Some of the negative comments can be summed up in three words, delivered in your crankiest and most stereotyped elderly male voice: “In MY day. . . .”

Kids - Today - Words

These kids today, in other words.

Reading through the comments on some of the news stories about the change, certain critical words emerge as themes: today’s missionaries are soft. Immature. Clinging to their helicopter parents. Not ready to give everything to the cause. As one commenter put it:

Bit - Problems - Missionaries - Home - Up

“I do not like this one bit . . . It will lead to more problems and missionaries wanting to come home early. We are too soft on our up and coming generation.”

Is there any truth to these generational stereotypes?

Benchmarks - Adulthood - Today - Adults - Generations

Maybe some. There are certain benchmarks of adulthood that today’s young adults, in general, have been slower to meet than previous generations.

For example, Millennials as a whole are the first generation since the nineteenth century to be more likely to still be living at home with their parents than in their own households or with peers, giving rise to the nickname the “Boomerang” generation. According to Pew, 32% of Americans ages 18 to 34 were living in their parents’ homes in 2016; in 1960, it just 20% among that age group still lived with Mom and/or Dad.

Millennials

Millennials will rightly point out that it’s a...
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