Silvertea, Your post stuck out most to me. I also struggle with feelings of anxiety and deoression. It can be really hard at times. These are real and often need professional help in addition to spiritual healing. Depression can sap us of desire to do anything. Please don't give up and don't be ashamed of yourself. I'm sure not perfect at all and I guess that is why we have the Atonement. Jeffrey R Holland has a recent talk about depression and an older talk entitled " broken things to mend" Sometimes I feel broken but God can help me with this. Consider contacting your bishop who likely can link you to lds family services if necessary. If suicide becomes enticing tell people and go to the er or call a suicide hotline.anyway love you and want the best for you. Done give up. You are more and better than you think you are. Thank you for your fearless post.
Our family is grateful that our oldest daughter served a mission, even though it was shortened due to health reasons. My wife and I were very concerned and cried for hours when we got word from our Stake President that our daughter wished to come home. We talked with her mission president, who gave us permission to talk with her. Tears were shed and promises were made to stick it out, but when she decided to come home, we went through the five stages of grief. It took all the courage we could muster to pick her up from the airport, but once we saw her, all doubt and fear left us. We knew that she was meant to be home, and any anxiety about her testimony and eternal progression disappeared as we talked with her. We were amazed at how much she grew in just a short time! Her prayers are more sincere, she studies the scriptures for 30 minutes every day, and she goes to the temple once a week. She made these commitments to her mission president and has stuck with every single one of them. And what wonderful, inspired leaders she came in contact with! She loves her mission president and she knows that he loves her. But most of all, her relationship with the Savior has deepened tremendously. Her future looks bright, and any negativity that Satan tries to bring up gets squashed immediately. The biggest lesson that I learned? Not to judge others so quickly and harshly. There are circumstances beyond our control and understanding. We simply need to love and extend the hand of fellowship to all, member and non-member alike.
A very good article. I struggled with severe stomach problems on my mission which took me partly out of commission but I stayed. I still struggle with some of those health issues today. I found on my mission many with what I considered to be serious health problems back then. But that is probably not as common today. That was thirty years ago. I encourage prospective missionaries...no I plead with you, be as healthy as you can be so the Lord's work isn't slowed. You and your bishop and stake president can decide that together though along with your physician. But missionary work is work! It can be challenging and gruelling.
Secondly, I please with you, don't put yourself in a position of getting out on your mission with serious unrepentant sins. I promise you, the spirit will rest upon you and work on you in such a way, guilt takes over and it can be unbearable. I've seen it happen. Save yourself a lot of pain and your possible embarrassment of being sent back home. It's so much better to confess and repent and be called when you are clean. If it's of such a sin that you may not be able to serve, I testify it's better working on finding total and complete forgiveness through the saviors atonement than trying to keep your "head in the game" because you haven't. Your bishop and stake president may be fooled. God is not. And I testify he is very close with his missionaries if you are worthy.
Nevertheless, missionaries coming home early need our loving, open arms, not our dropped jaws and gossipy tongues.
My son returned home after 3 months of serving a faithful and honorable mission. He had health issues and tried valiantly for 10 months to get a diagnosis so he could return to his mission. It's so hard when the expectation and plan has been to serve a 2 year mission - a plan you've had all your life. I remember crying with him and watching him go through the torture of not knowing how to move forward. Like One Mother's post our Stake President did not contact him or help him through his grieving or offer support or encouragement or meet with him at all except to release him suddenly and without any comforting words. It was awful! I was so frustrated by the way it was handled. My son finally got a diagnosis about a year after he returned but by then had married his high school sweetheart. I regret the way we handled his homecoming - we were all in shock as it happened so quickly. But I'll never forget the counsel a very wise Zone Leader gave my son. He said, "Some people learn what they need to learn in a few short months.Your mission was a full and honorable mission. It was all the Lord required of you."
This article is such a beautiful Christlike example of how we should strive to be within the Church. I felt very refreshed and uplifted by its message, and I'm so grateful for President Perry's willingness to share. Lately I have felt that such a strong focus on others' deeds coupled with harsh judgment seems to exist among the attitudes of the Church members I interact with most, and it has troubled me since I don't believe that is how Christ would respond. I feel buoyed up to know there are mission presidents and leaders like this still around, not too far from me.
After serving a mission for one year 2001-2002, our son came home due to health problems. He was not treated like a returned missionary. He didn't report to the Stake Presidency for a year, he was never asked to give a report of his mission. No authority talked with him or guided him and asked how his health was progressing. I propose that some changes and corrections could make differences in young men who have worked hard on their missions and return earlier than they planned.
I'm commenting as an outside observer to a few young men that have recently come home early due to depression/anxiety. Both of whom now attend church, but I can tell struggle with a few things within the gospel. One of these young men has a brother that is about to return from his mission and the other young man has a brother who just left. I've heard them say, "What advice can I give?" This is said, as this article mentioned, with a feeling of guilt or regret. Now, my son just received his mission call. As I read the call I can't help notice the words, "It is anticipated, that you will serve for 24 months." Anticipated... I don't think this wording is accidental or happenstance. It is specific to the call of a missionary. If you served for two years or two days, if you did so faithfully, your mission was fulfilled. The courage it takes to make the sacrifice of putting life on hold, to do nothing but serve is an incredible thing in and of itself. That is something most men, with years of experience behind them cannot commit to and yet these young men do it in the prime of their lives. 2 years or 2 days served doesn't matter. What matters is the same thing that matters for everyone. That is move forward in faith, serve others, and constantly strengthen your testimony.
After reading this wonderful article and the comments from those who served to the best of their ability and for the time they could, I wonder what is the matter with us? Do we need to somehow change our minds about putting missionaries on a pedestal when they are human like the rest of us? I didn't serve a full-time mission but did serve a 2 1/2 year stake mission, which was one of the best blessings of my life. A mission is a calling, and yes a responsibility of the priesthood IF a young man or woman can accept the call and then go forward and serve to the best of their ability. I have two sons -- one choose not to serve and the other did. I learned early on how very difficult this calling is for our young people. My son almost came home four months into his mission because how tough it was. But, he made it through. I feel like "There by the grace of God go I" as a former missionary mom. I am grateful for this sound counsel and encouragement.
This article seems to written by someone who hasn't experienced any of the things described. My mission was the worst experience of my life. I was ill and came home early and was judged and mistreated by my mission president, church members, and even family. So much emphasis is placed on return missionaries that if you don't serve or come home early, for whatever reason, it's impossible to shake the reputation without moving and starting over somewhere else. I suffer health issues to this day from my short time out and I wish I had never gone. All my mission did was cause me grief and continual pain. I obeyed the call and paid the price. There was no "lesson" to be learned, at least by me, that couldn't be shown to me another way. I used to be willing and able to carry out the Lord's work, but that was taken from me when I decided to do what I was supposed to do. Please stop writing these kinds of articles, unless you address those who actually cause the problems for early returned missionaries. Most would be fine if their fellow members actually followed the gospel. Alas, it seems like it is easier to pat us on the head and tell us it will be okay while the people around us make us feel like trash. Someone let me know when that article or talk is written.
Because of a belated confession, my mission lasted just eight days in 1987. While I could have returned after a few months, I decided to stay home instead. My ward members were supportive and kind, but there were a few who made the transition home very difficult. Nothing anyone did that was unkind or judgmental compared to the self judgment I unleashed on myself. For many years I was convinced that I was a second-class church member for not having served a mission. I felt I'd robbed my wife and kids of a better-prepared husband and father by not having the experiences a mission provided. I believed my coming home early made my patriarchal blessing null and void. Basically, I believed all that Satan whispered to me about my not serving a mission. I look at those eight days at the MTC as "the best eight days" of my life. I had never before felt the Spirit as strongly as I did during those eight days. I came to know the Lord better during those eight days--and have since. I'm finally over the guilt and self loathing for not serving a mission. Three of our four children have served faithful two-year missions and each love to hear my stories and recollections from the eight days at the MTC that changed my life. For those who come home early from their missions, I offer this advice: Cling to the fact that the Lord loves you dearly, whether you serve a mission or not. Continue to hold to the rod. Get involved in Institute. Go on splits with the missionaries. Go to the temple--often! Serve faithfully in whatever calling the Lord entrusts you with. Search the scriptures daily. Basically, do what all other church members are (or should be) doing. As He does with all of our mistakes and imperfections, the Lord will heal you of this, if you'll let Him.
Sivertea - Although I have had (and still have) my own health issues to deal with, this I know: we cannot completely know what another goes through. I believe you when you say how difficult things are. In my own experience I have learned that although many times I cannot see or feel God, He knows me. He knows where I am. He can find me. The deepest pit is not deep enough. He has been there before me and is there still. I pray that you will from time to time be able to see the love of others for you. I know they are there. The late teen to adult years are often when such problems manifest, regardless of other happenings. May you be surrounded by loved ones while you battle to find your way through. You are not alone.
Thanks so much for sharing. Your words will mean the world to a lot of good kids... and the parents who love them.
This is so wonderful to read. I've recently returned home early and it's amazing how this article hits it on the nail. I felt like blessings I was promised would be void as well, but I've come to realize Heavenly Father just has different plans for me. I did what He asked, I gave my heart willingly, and He knows it. That's all that matters! Thank you for the reminder.
Membership records show the Country of Mission and Language (e.g., "United States, English"). No dates are shown. There are no special recordings or marks on the record unless the member is currently disfellowshipped or awaiting the restoration of priesthood blessings.
I returned home from my mission after just two and a half weeks due to depression and anxiety. I never even made it out of the MTC. While there, I was able to confess and repent of past transgressions, but instead of the relief I believed I was supposed to feel, I felt empty. All my memories of my mission bring me sorrow and regret. It has been nearly six years since I was called to serve. I had the desire to serve before, but after I came home and still to this day, any thought of trying to serve brings about great anxiety. I used to be able to socialize, but now I prefer avoiding contact with other people. I have had numerous thoughts about and even on one occasion, tried to end my life. I can't even begin to describe all that is wrong with me, even though I still have a testimony of the gospel. I'm trying all sorts of things to be in a healthy state of mind and body, but I feel so unstable. I want to change, but I can't even do little things like pray, read scriptures, or go to church without some negative reaction. I know I need help, but nothing ever feels like it helps. It is hard to have faith and hope. At times, I wish that my intelligence had never been organized into my spirit by Heavenly Father.
Dear Sad Father - My heart aches for you. As one who has children of all "stripes" when it comes to the church, I understand somewhat what it means to feel that one has done all that they can and that the anticipated blessings somehow don't match up. Living as I do now, the one active member in my household, can be daunting. I read this article for myself. I have sometimes felt the same disappointment and separateness the writer speaks of the "early" returned missionaries having. These missionaries have done their best, and yet their missions did not turn out the way they might have hoped. I have learned that it is my continued faithfulness that brings me peace, whatever others may do. God is good. My children are in His hands. He will not forget them, their earlier sacrifices, nor my faith in Him. Peace be in your heart, and the joy of Christ.
I am a service missionary at the Riverton FamilySearch Library and there are several early returned missionaries who have worked or are working there to complete their missionary calling. They are there for various reasons which we other missionaries do not know. They generally start working there rather timidly, not knowing how they will be accepted. That soon ends and they do a wonderful service not only to the library patrons but to us service missionaries. They are wonderful and we all love them and show it. They are choice children of our Heavenly Father. We service missionaries are better because they are there. I would hope that all early returnees have opportunities to finish their missions in similar service.
Enjoyed reading this article but left me feeling so sad. We have 7 children who served missions faithfully. But our last two sons who served left the church after returning home. The older one was responsible for four school friends joining the church before his mission, two of whom served missions and are now married in the temple. The grandmother of one of the boys also joined and served a family history mission and the mother of the other also joined the church and is a wonderful faithful member. This son felt abused by his mission president and has never recovered from the effects of his mission. The younger son told me before he went in his mission "dad, I've always known the church is true" Although he was able to give a very moving report of his mission on his return, the stake president commenting it was the most spiritual moving report he ever heard from a returned missionary, this son too came home with his testimony impaired and not able to get satisfying answers to his deep searching. He had a wonderful girl wait for him for a year before his mission, during his mission and almost a year after but he had changed too much. We always believed helping our children to be prepared for the temple and to serve faithful missions would mean
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