25 June 2013


This past Sunday, many of my fellow Mormons and I gathered to watch a broadcast from Church leaders. The purpose of the broadcast was missionary work. The Church, of late, has been on a bit of a tear in terms of its missionary focus, and depending on your perspective, the tear continued. See the headlines below:

Mormons to Do Less Door-to-Door - hails ABC News
Mormon Missions:Door-to-Door approach is out; internet is in - cried the Salt Lake Tribune

In short, there is going to be a change in how missionary work is done, as it appears there will be far less focus on knocking doors, or tracting, as we called it when I served. The focus will be on working with members and using more of the interwebs. There's certainly far more too it but it's the doing less door-to-door that's gaining a bit of attention.

Nobody's home
So it sounds like what's pictured at the left will become a thing of the past. Now I don't think it will go away entirely. I mean how many people in the Amazon are surfing Facebook? As we watched the broadcast and took in this announcement, I couldn't help but think of my own experience, knocking doors for hours upon hours for two years in the wilderness known as Miami in the mid-1980's. If there was no tracting then, then there would be no game of "Gambling for Doors." Since it was an interesting time to be living in Miami, we'd bet on what might be behind the next door. Was it a gun? Yep, I had a couple of dark run-ins with people toting guns. A naked guy? Check. Check. A Trekkie? You'd be surprised how many Trekkies seemed to be taking refuge in South Florida nearly 30 years ago. Would it be yet another woman telling us she couldn't unlock the door because her husband had locked her in? Yeah, we got a lot of that. Or would it be someone that really seemed interested in what we had to share?

Most of the time it was all the other things than someone interested. We were far more successful in working with members. But I learned a lot, A LOT, tracting. I grew up as we knocked on those doors. I heard so many stories from those people that would open their doors and talk to us. Stories of bravery, heartbreak, adventure, kindness and tragedy to name but a few. I learned that for the most part, the world is full of good people who are trying to get by and do the right thing. I saw people who barely had a place to call their own be willing to give someone with even less the shirt off their back. In many ways, I grew up. I am grateful for those lessons to this day.

With The Boy eligible to serve in less than a year, I know his experiences will be far different than mine were. Is a part of me sad that may not be knocking as many doors as I did? Maybe, but not really. He'll do far greater things than I ever did. Isn't that how it should be, anyway?

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