Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When a Missionary Returns Home Early: So This Is What Zion Is Like

A friend of mine shared the following experience with me.  I wish it was true in every case, but it is a standard for which we ought to strive:

I have always felt fortunate to be in a good ward filled with imperfect but basically good people. To illustrate:

A few months ago, a young man in my ward returned early from his mission after only a few months. I don't know the details surrounding his early departure except that it wasn't a worthiness issue. It probably had more to do with the stress associated with the mission experience. He was so ashamed that he didn't come to church for the first two weeks he was home and after that only to sacrament meeting for several weeks. Finally, he started attending the other meetings as well, sitting in the back as unobtrusively as he could. So many young men who come home early struggle with remaining active, I wondered what would happen to him. I found out last Sunday.

At the end of fast and testimony meeting, this same young man walked up to the podium. You could have heard a pin drop. Haltingly, he explained that he'd come home early from his mission. He briefly described the shame he had felt and how he had not wanted to come to church for a long time. With tears in his eyes, he thanked the ward for being so kind to him when he did return. He thanked the bishopric and his parents as well for their support during this difficult time. It was not the most eloquent testimony I ever heard but definitely one of the most sincere. I listened with tears in my own eyes and thought to myself:
"No recriminations or speculations. No awkwardness or judgment. Just good people concerned for the welfare of one of their own. So this is what Zion is like."


Anonymous said...

My daughter came home from her mission early due to health concerns. What really bothered me was her mission president told her that her father (me) would be disappointed with her. I assured my daughter that I was not disappointed in her and that it took real courage to stand up to a coercive MP. A friend who had been a mission president and speaks Spanish was able to intervene.

After her health concerns were addressed, she was able to return to the mission field and complete her mission.

Richard Alger said...