Cam's Blog

February 5, 2010

Mormons in the metro

Filed under: Random, Religion — cfranc @ 3:33 pm

A Mormon tried to ambush me in the metro this afternoon. Luckily I turned around in time to spot the “Elder” and, before he could begin his spiel, I told him to “peddle [his] lies elsewhere”. Maybe it’s better to just ignore these folks but, damn, did it feel good. The crestfallen look on his face was priceless.



  1. I hated street-contacting on my Mormon mission in Japan.

    The first time I tried to do it was some young guy about my age with a soccer ball on a crowded sidewalk. The more senior missionary I was with tapped me on the shoulder, smiled, and said “go get him.”

    It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I literally almost threw up right then and there. I tried to say something in my stupid kindergarten Japanese and he glanced at me and then tried to pretend I wasn’t there. In the end, the senior missionary stepped in and I was off the hook.

    It never got any better the entire two years I was there. I hated street contacting. The idea of running down and accosting people who were obviously in a hurry, perhaps late for work, and usually quite busy was not one I liked at all. It had very poor turnaround results. I never did get the knack of it and spent my entire mission convinced that it was counterproductive.

    We had much better results by making acquaintances through community service and that’s what I ended up focusing on for most of my mission. I also focused on helping out the people who were already members of our church – many of whom led very stressful and overburdened lives. I absolutely refused to street contact (though I was occasionally pressured to do it by missionaries who got more of a buzz off of it). That first attempt turned out to be my last. And I don’t regret that stance I took in the least. I thought it was a very counterproductive proselyting strategy and probably earned us more ill will than good.

    Fortunately, this kind of missionary approach is being phased out. Mormon missionaries spend time accosting people on the street less and less these days. The focus is more on community service and referrals from local LDS membership as a way to gain converts. Knocking on doors and running people down at train stations is seen as a “less effective” missionary approach and is generally portrayed as a last resort – something a missionary does only when he absolutely has no better use for his time.

    So, sorry about your encounter. Just keep in mind these are young kids trying to do something incredibly difficult. Try not to shoot them down too bad.

    Comment by Seth R. — February 6, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  2. If someone randomly walks up to a stranger and tries to solicit their conversion to Mormonism, or any religion, they should be prepared for any response.

    Community service should be your priority because you desire to do good in the world — it should not be viewed solely as a proselytizing strategy. Of course, the beneficial result could be that people have a more favorable view of your Church or organization. But that should come secondary. Hats off to you if this is your approach.

    Comment by cfranc — February 8, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

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