10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know

Editor’s Note: Great write up on how we should withhold our judgments of those sister missionaries who have chosen not to serve.
sister missionaries


1. We still love the Gospel. Yes, that’s right! Just because we aren’t dedicating a year and a half of our lives to solely preach the Gospel, doesn’t mean we aren’t dedicating every day of our lives to the Lord. We are looking for ways to help, serve, teach, and minister every single day. Even though we don’t wear a badge on our chest, we all have “badges painted on our heart” as Elder Nelson would say.

2. When you go on about how attractive sister missionaries are, how you’ll only marry an RM, and how much of a better mom a girl is who has served a mission, it can hurt our feelings. You probably don’t mean it to be offensive, but it is. We look at the path we’ve chosen as inferior in your eyes. We see our future children and wonder if you’re right about their mother and how less spiritual she’ll be. We wonder if we should go and serve solely because it will make us more attractive to you. We think our personal scripture study, the fulfilling of our callings, our desire to serve others, our teaching and helping those around us, isn’t enough. We’ll still be great wives and mothers, promise!

3. We appreciate it when you recognize those of us who haven’t served missions in your lessons/talks. We love missionary work. Honestly we do. What we don’t love, is feeling that we missed out on something by choosing not to serve. The Church’s focus IS missionary work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a full-time mission. We love hearing about how to serve as a member and how to be an example to those around you no matter where you live. We’re not crazy about lessons detailing how every, single person should serve a mission, it’s always the best option, you’ll never be close to the spirit like you will be on a mission, asking people if they have a mission story they’d like to share, or saying “If you’ve served a mission, you understand this…” This can also offend guys who were worthy to serve, and weren’t able to.

4. We’ve prayed about our decision. I was a little taken back when a member of my ward asked me if I’d prayed about my decision to not serve. That’s a very personal, and very frustrating thing to be asked. So let me just put all your minds at ease, we’ve prayed about it. Or we’re praying about it. We’re going to be obedient to the answer we’ve been given, and hopefully that’s acceptable in your eyes.

5. We aren’t all looking to get married. Sometimes it seems there are two options; go on a mission or find a husband. Some of us aren’t doing either. Sure, we’re open to the idea of marriage, but we didn’t stay home from missions to get married and have a million kids. Some of us are focusing on school, careers, church service, and some of us were just plain told not to serve a mission and we’re making it our goal to be a tool in Heavenly Father’s hands, wherever he needs us. I’ll go where you want me to go, oh Lord…even if that means staying right here.

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39 Replies to “10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know”

  1. Uhhh. I don’t judge the girls that go on missions. If anything the girls that go on missions usually end up being the weird, extremist, bitter women that have unrealistic expectations disguised as standards and have higher odds of staying single.

    1. Uh, that’s rude. You’re doing to girls who go on missions what this article is saying happens to girls who don’t go on missions. The fact that you claim to be “non-judemental” is totally hypocritical by how you judge girls that do go on missions. So I guess we’re darned if we do, darned if we don’t.

    2. You don’t have to judge people who do go on missions just so you can say you don’t judge people who don’t serve missions

    3. Wow, I served a mission and feel pretty happy. I am grateful for all of my companions and for the great things they taught me. Why all the stereotyping and strange criticism of being single? I am married, but being single was downright awesome for its own reasons. Everyone path is different, stop judging.

    1. Well depends on why a young man didn’t serve. Because if he has the priesthood, it is a responsibility, an like the author said “fulfilling our callings”. So if a young man doesn’t serve he really isn’t fulfilling his callings.

      1. I also didn’t serve as a guy because I’m a convert to the church. I was living at home at the time and under a lot of pressure by my family to stay home and go to school. I still love the Gospel and am still active in the church to this day. I have been a ward missionary three times now, and feel that’s how I fulfilled my priesthood responsibility. So to say to young women, concerning guys who have never worn the name tag, don’t let that be an automatic deal-breaker.

      2. I really disagree with you. The reasons that someone does not serve a mission are personal and have very little to do with your or anyone else. That is between that person and God. Period. Your statement is judgmental and doesn’t need to be said regardless of whether or not that person is not “fulfilling their callings”. In the end, it just isn’t your business. No one needs to explain their path in life to you or anyone.

    2. Boys are commanded to serve. Sure there are exceptions. Girls are not, so sure it’s more attractive when a guy serves a mission. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you didn’t serve though.

      1. Boys are not “commanded” to serve. It’s a choice. President Monson didn’t serve a mission. Somehow I don’t think he’s going to outer darkness.

        1. Serving a mission is a priesthood responsibility for men if they are worthy to serve. This can either mean going on a mission when they’re young and single, or as a married couple with their wives when they are older. There are also other mission opportunities that are not the full two year missions. It IS commanded and a responsibility for men to serve missions. This may not have been such a demanding request when Pres. Monson was old enough to serve, but things were different back then. Prophets after him have strongly encouraged men to serve missions because we have a demanding need for missionaries now more than ever.

          1. And don’t forget that some of our church leaders grew up during war times, so they were not able to serve as they were drafted in the army. Overall, I really think that the decision to serve or not serve should be between the member and Heavenly Father –

          2. I’m a man who wanted to serve a mission but wasn’t able to because of disease and disability. There were people who looked down on me for that, people who would tell me that I was capable of going despite my physical limitations — that I just didn’t have enough faith. I even knew a girl who told me she would only marry a return missionary and a righteous priesthood holder. I simply told her that I was one of the two, then walked out of her life. There are many reasons why a man might not serve a full-time mission.

            I will not stand for hearing any of my brothers in the gospel ostracized for failing to serve a mission, whatever the reason. Do you understand me?

        2. I didn’t get to go on a mission, due to health reasons. President Monson:”We affirm that missionary work
          is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and
          who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to
          serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same
          mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of
          the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as
          missionaries, and we welcome their service.”- From his opening message in the October 2012 general conference. Even though I didn’t get that opportunity, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a priesthood duty, just like home teaching and passing/preparing/blessing the sacrament. When we enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood, we take those duties upon ourselves. I realize that a 2-year mission is not what the Lord has in mind for every man (i.e. people like me), but it doesn’t negate anything that the Prophet says.

          1. So men are forced to serve or be ostracized if they didn’t? That sounds like you are judging right there. How do you know what is going on in their life? Maybe they are falling out and your stiffneckedness is only pushing them farther away. Perhaps you should stop sticking your nose in your neighbors business and focus on your own backyard.

          2. Two things: first if they are falling out, that is there choice. We are judged by what we do, not by what others do. There are those who come under extreme conditions of harsh and, as you call it, pitted against the “stiffneckedness” of others… yet, those people thrive in the gospel because it is there personal choice to endure to the end. To blame their abandonment to the gospel on others is not going to hold a candle when they are asked why they did not remain faithful.
            Second, we all have choice to follow commandments and duties and the choice not too. No one is ever “forced” to do anything. We can give in to pressure to serve or not serve, but no one forces us to fill out mission paperwork, nor are we pushed and prodded physically onto the airplane to go to another country. They may think that they are being forced by what society deems they “should” do, but being forced was never a part of Heavenly Father’s plan and He is not suddenly going to make an enforcement clause in it to make sure every person goes on a mission.

          3. Where the heck did I say anything about ostracizing people?!?!?! Do you really think that I haven’t experienced those same feelings of not being a man because I didn’t serve a mission, or having people (with good intentions) try to push me to go on a mission when they didn’t know my situation?? Since I’m very private about my health problems, almost no-one knows what I deal with. They don’t see “Oh Mike didn’t serve due to health reasons”, they just see “Mike didn’t serve” unless I let them know. Do you really think I haven’t felt the pressure or societal discomfort? When we receive the Melchezidek Priesthood, we enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood and we PROMISE to do our duties to God. I realize that the Lord has other plans in mind for some others. How can I not recognize that?! That is what happened to me. You say “forced to serve”. When we enter into covenants with God, we promise to do or not do certain things. It’s not about forcing people. It’s about keeping our promises to our Creator. I’m not judging anyone here, neither in this comment or my previous one. We are agents who act, not objects to be acted upon. We don’t choose to have certain things happen to us in life, but we do choose how to react to them. How in the world is quoting President Monson a crime?!?!

        3. Serving a mission is a priesthood responsibility. Yes, serving is voluntary, but so is everything we do in this life. We all have agency. “Worthy and able” young men are required (commanded) to serve missions. President Monson did not have a chance (or, in other words, was not “able”) to serve a full-time mission as a young man since he enlisted during World War II in the Navy.

      2. I respect that you find an RM more attractive. I am sure you have your reasons. I found that “return missionary” isn’t actually a good way to gauge someone’s character. That is based on my experiences with Elders in the mission field after I returned home from my mission. I let Heavenly Father and the spirit be my guide in choosing a spouse. One of the greatest men I know did not serve a mission. Everyone’s path is different and we should respect that.

    3. AMEN! As someone who’s been treated like garbage for years b/c I wasn’t healthy enough to serve…. Turnabout might be fair play 😉

    4. It’s different. It’s a commandment for young men, not young women. There are exception when worthy men have to stay home because of medical reasons and things of that matter, but it’s very different.

  2. the same should go for young men! my husband and my father both did not serve missions, and they are the best men i know. it is important to remember that every person has their own journey- we can support them in their choices and that is where our opinion of what they are doing should end. no judgement, just support!

  3. Wow times have really changed! And only in five-ten years too. When I went on my mission most young women didn’t. We were supposedly less attractive for going, Molly Mormons, couldn’t find husbands so it was our ‘only option’. We were assumed to have problems, have no life, etc. I heard a ton of LDS young men say they’d never marry a return sister missionary because of the negative ideas about us. I didn’t mind. I was specifically prompted to go… So I went. My sister wanted to serve but she was specifically prompted not to go so she didn’t. It always has been (at least for the sisters) a personal decision and it’s between them and The Lord and His plan for them. I’m happy that times have changed but it now seems like it’s opposite and non sisters are getting the bad wrap that we sisters once endured. Which is too bad. It really comes down to personal revelation for young women and people need to mind their own business. And if a young man has these prejudices he obviously doesn’t understand and is better left alone. Young men of character don’t generalize women into these types of categories. Just my two cents.

  4. Great post. This is a classic Mormon culture reaction. We, as a membership, have this deep need for everyone to be the same and if they don’t fit into those neat boundaries that we have concocted as the “straight and narrow path”, we get all bent out of shape. Good for you for calling them out on it. No one within our church should be treated this way for not serving a mission; women or men.

    1. I felt the opposite. I felt like she was looking to be offended. Nobody cares. Life your life and allow others to be stupid with comments if they are. This need to “school” others is a victim mentality.

      1. I agree that we have a responsibility for our own reactions to others, but at the same time we have just as deep of a responsibility to not offend. That means becoming educated and empathetic with the feelings of others that we may not be able to personally identify with. This post does just that. The church is saturated with a culture that is not based on doctrine and that actually detracts from the uplifting, supportive and loving experience that congregating is supposed to provide. The belief that it is better to marry an RM of either sex is a good example of that damaging culture because it teaches a false idea based on false assumptions.

  5. Members of the LDS religion are brainwashed to be ignorant and sexist. It doesn’t surprise me that she feels she has to make a statement about this. She has been made to feel lesser of a person because she isn’t popping out a ton of kids and is actually getting educated like an intelligent person should.

  6. Take a chill pill, next we are going to get an article by someone offended for not going to institute, I think the more things like this are talk about the more stereo types are created. Lets have an article Entitled 10 things people who drink coke want you to know. Get over yourself!!!

  7. We all have our own personal part in the plan of Salvation. We must pray to know what God wants us to do. It is not our place to judge others for their choices to serve missions or to not serve. It is between them and God.

  8. When my time to serve came up, I was excited and prepared… but my bishop said he wasn’t sure. Then I had 2-5 random church leaders randomly talk about waiting to take out endowments, going back to school, not needing to serve a mission, and it wasn’t even directed to me it was just up in the conversation (I mean, like I was a checker and one mentioned how he felt I needed to go back to school, I mentioned I was saving for a mission, and he said he still felt like I needed to be at the University… no where else.) I kept praying and kept being told no. Then, to top it off, that year the prophet got up and said STOP PUTTING PRESSURE ON WOMEN TO GO ON MISSIONS! It’s not the same as a man who has it called on him as part of his priesthood, with women it’s an option but a choice and many should NOT go.

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