Returned Missionaries

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LDS Singles

A little while ago I went on a date with a new guy. He was very nice and polite, active in Church, good-looking, and seemed to have a stable job.

“So why don’t you want to marry him?!” my Mom asks later, clearly frustrated by my lackluster report on the night. (Okay, so maybe she didn’t use these exact words but I know what she meant.)

I tried to calmly explain what was missing, which was that I didn’t feel any sort of connection with the guy. She sighed with disappointment and issued the following pronouncement: “You’re too picky.”

It was not the first time I have heard those words, and it will not be the last. In fact, the older I get, the more I hear it—as if each year that I remain single should be accompanied by a corresponding decline of expectations.


Check out this new mission prep promo “What If” featuring JamesTheMormon. If you served a mission, you’ll totally be able to relate.

Derrick Trotman, a BYU student and former intern of Prepare to Serve produced this video in the style of Nike’s well-known Michael Jordan commercial “Maybe It’s My Fault“.

*Subscribe to JamesTheMormon’s YouTube channel.

Dallas Lloyd Stanford football Returned Missionary
image via

Upon returning from two years of missionary service in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Stanford football player Dallas Lloyd began to wonder if his mission was a setback for his football career. A quarterback, Lloyd watched from the sidelines during the 2012 season and struggled in limited playing time during his sophomore season.

“It was really frustrating,” Lloyd, a Pleasant Grove native, said in an article published by The Stanford Daily. “I was upset at myself and I let these thoughts of doubt come into my mind, like, ‘If I (hadn’t) gone on a mission, then I would have been able to come straight to Stanford.’ … I realized they were all just excuses. They were justifying the fact that I wasn’t getting it done.

“It’s really sad that those two years, the best two years of my life, became an excuse for why I was so frustrated. Looking back, it had nothing to do with those two years. I was a better person and football player because of those two years.”


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Going on a mission is one of the best learning and growing experiences a young man or woman can have. Tt tests and tries us in ways we have never experienced before. However, the hardest part of a mission is often coming home and adjusting to life as a ‘returned missionary’ (RM). Finding the right balance after returning from a mission is extremely hard. This is evident by the ever increasing number of returned missionaries who struggle with adjusting. Here are 7 mistakes returned missionaries make and how to avoid them.


1st. Struggling to keep up with healthy habits. 


When my mom asked me what I wanted to do when I got home from my mission I told her, “I just want to go home and sleep for a week.” As I’ve talked with missionaries all over the world this is a common theme. Missionaries work so hard that when we get home we just want to sleep.

But the problem is that many fail to get back into the habit of early to bed early to rise. As you stay up into the early hours of the morning temptations are harder to resist because you are physically exhausted. My mission president once said, “The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight.” Whereas he was joking when he said this, it is true that the more exhausted you are the less mental willpower you have to resist temptation.

The morning hours also set the tone for your day. Getting up early will provide you with undisturbed time for your healthy habits, like exercising or eating a real breakfast. And let’s be honest, you will look far better for the ladies (or the guys if you’re a sister) if you don’t look like a zombie who has had no sleep.

Another healthy habit is budgeting your money. Just like if you were a missionary and you ran out of money you had the unhealthy ramen diet, the same applies if you budget poorly as a returned missionary. You can’t eat healthy if you’re broke. So budget!


2nd. Failing to establish holy habits.


Holy habits go hand and hand with healthy habits. Just like your body will die without air and water, so will your spiritual life without prayer and scripture study. As a missionary, 8AM-10AM was a time set apart every day to study your scriptures, personally, and with your companion. When you get home that structured time is no longer there, it will be up to you to set time aside for these holy habits. If you wake up early enough you will have time to study the scriptures, not just “read” them. You will also have time to commune with God, not just “say” your prayers. Don’t let your journal habit get cast aside either.

It is also vital to establish the habit of attending the temple. We are counseled to set personal goals for temple attendance. (I try to go at least once a week.)  An easy way to do this I’ve found is to work at the temple. For information on how to work at the temple just ask your bishop.

“Consider the reasons we pray and study the scriptures … these holy habits primarily are ways whereby we always remember Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son and are prerequisites to the ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder David A. Bednar


A man had an incredible vision of the world while hiking in Russia. In his vision he saw white men with nametags and blue books. After the vision he searched online to try to discover who were the white men with nametags.  After a while of searching the man came across and referred himself to the missionaries.

Such a cool story!  God is a God of miracles and can be in our lives, if we let Him. Enjoy the video!

*Watch the rest of Ryen’s Mission Interview.

*Watch a video about two missionaries in Africa whose prayer ended a drought.

*More resources about LDS Missions in Russia.

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Editor’s Note: This article is republished from LDS Living and is a summary of the book Return and Succeed: 12 Powerful Habits for Success After the Mission, by Robert R. Shallenberger. We thought this was very applicable for our audience and wanted to share it because it is powerful.

How many returned missionaries do you know who come home from their missions and find the transition rough? Maybe you even experienced it firsthand as a returned missionary. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A missionary comes from a structured environment, surrounded by constant accountability and a single focus. But after they fly home and take off their tag, they’re pretty much on their own to figure things out. There’s little accountability and nobody is watching them. Some return to a strong support structure at home or in school while others have almost nobody. Either way, any recently returned missionary needs to quickly make some critical life decisions, all while trying to figure out how to assimilate back into life without familiar mission rules.

So what’s the solution? There are habits and actions that all returned missionaries—be they elders or sisters returning early or from full-time service—should develop, not only to safeguard their testimony but to build on positive experiences from their mission and put themselves on a pathway to success. These habits aren’t cosmic, but surprisingly less than 1 percent of returned missionaries actually incorporate them into their lives. Here are just three of these habits:

1. Don’t just learn about the Lord, strive to know the Lord.

I’ve heard that as many as 40 percent of returned missionaries will go inactive at some point after their mission. Regardless of the exact number, it is way too high! One of the reasons for this concerning statistic is that we as a people know a lot about the Lord, but how many of us know the Lord?

Most of us know the how-to parts of the gospel such as scripture study, temple attendance, prayer, etc. And while those things are critical, maybe more important than the specific how-tos is the why we do those things. If all of us truly understood the answer to why we do the everyday things, the number of inactive members would significantly decrease.

The reason why we do all of those things is to develop a very personal relationship with the Lord. It’s not about knowing about Him, it’s about knowing Him!

Here’s a brief story to illustrate the idea. Let’s say there is a room that people walk through after they passed away. The room has multiple doors, and there is a single man sitting at a table in the center of the room. One person walks in and the man at the table asks how this gentleman lived his life.

The man responds, “I was kind, I served others, served in my callings, always attended church on Sunday, and overall I kept the commandments.” The man at the table points to a door and says, “Very good; go through that door there.” After this man leaves the room, another man comes into the same room. As soon as this gentleman enters and sees the man at the table, he falls to his knees and cries, “Master!”

Which of these two people will we be?

We have been commanded by the Savior, in His words, to seek Him out. His ministry to the people of the earth continues regardless of church calling, race, or gender. He can minister to you. The word know should be taken literally.

There is no greater joy than the Lord’s presence. He is the Great Counselor. He and His angels continue to minister to people across the earth, and wonderful personal experiences await the faithful.

D&C 93:1 clearly states, “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” Your mission isn’t an end. It’s the beginning of an incredible journey in which you continue to strive to know the Lord personally, to the point where He becomes your Shepherd.

This is why I plead with members and returned missionaries to make Christ the focus of your life after the mission, not just to know about Him, but to get to know Him! No other “success” in the world will compensate if we don’t get this one right!

2. Develop a personal vision and a specific plan.

See more at LDS Living or buy the book here to read all 12.

3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and will help you succeed.

See more at LDS Living or buy the book here to read all 12.

Kourtney Kardashian Ariel Costume LDS
RM Teresa Jack featured on Kourtney Kardashian's Instagram in a modest Ariel costume

Like most young girls, Teresa Jack, dreamed of being a Disney princess and specifically, Ariel. But not all girls grow up to take the Disney princess with them on their full-time LDS mission. When Teresa was a full time missionary, she brought Ariel with her. Not only that, but in our interaction with her, she said that Ariel helped her bring one family into the gospel.

“She got baptized because I knew Ariel. We connected talking about Ariel and she asked if she could come to church with the ‘princess missionary’. Her entire family followed her and were baptized.”

Teresa Jack Ariel featured Kardashian
Image used by permission from Teresa Jack

Ultimately, people choose to get baptized because of their faith in Christ, but we can use our common unique interests (like Disney princesses) to open doors and break down the social barriers.

Now that Teresa is back from her mission, she is using her love for Ariel to spread the gospel once again. A little more than twenty-four hours ago, reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian took a picture of Teresa dressed up in a modest Ariel costume at the Hollywood Bowl’s showing of The Little Mermaid. Teresa was sitting just a few rows in front of the Kourtney and Kourtney wanted to show her kids Teresa’s adorable costume. The picture taken was then shared with Kourtney’s 41 million Instagram followers in this post:

How cute is this girl in her Ariel costume?! #TheLittleMermaid

A photo posted by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on

 This photo has now been liked by over 300,000 of her fans. Teresa reacted to this post on her personal Facebook saying:

“Modest Mermaids ?
I went to sleep last night a happy little mermaid and I woke up famous. You have all seen now that I got the blessing of meeting the lovely Kourtney Kardashian last night and she honored me in allowing me to portray Ariel to her children and posting me on her Instagram.
Thousands of people now know me as Ariel and I have wanted that title forever, but anyone who truly knows me knows that the title I wore the proudest was “Sister Jack” When I served as a full time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I was a young girl, Modesty wasn’t very important to me. It was when I served a mission that I decided to honor my body that Heavenly Father granted me by revealing it less. I found my comfort zone and I believe everyone has a different one. That’s ok! I don’t know where everyone else’s comfort zone is, but I know where mine is. And getting to be a mermaid in a bikini top is a far cry from my comfort zone…

The Kardashians have a different comfort zone when it comes to modesty than I do, and Kourtney agreed that my costume was still beautiful enough to share on her Instagram. I’m not here to shame anyone with a different modesty standard, but I do want to inspire and uplift girls who are seeking to be modest. Modest isn’t always the hottest, but I don’t care about being “hot.” I think modest is beautiful and I do hope that I can be seen as being beautiful. Beauty starts within! We live in a society that encourages immodesty, and while that may be fine for some it makes life difficult for others who choose not to dress that way.

I want to argue that class is always in fashion. There were literally hundreds of girls dressed as Ariel at this concert, but mine was of the few which covered the midriff and shoulders. Kourtney liked mine and agreed that it was beautiful. When she honored me on her Instagram she honored a modest choice. I want younger girls to know that you don’t need to let society dictate your fashion choices! You don’t need to be your moms age to appreciate the quiet dignity that comes from serving yourself and the Lord in how you dress.”

Teresa told us that she just wants to use this platform while it’s relevant to discuss standards and uplift others who are striving to protect modesty. She also wants to keep this conversation about modesty going. Reach out to her on her TravelTeresa Instagram.

James the Mormon
image via JamesTheMormon facebook

On May 23rd, James The Mormon posted a video that he and collaborated on called “6 things you’ve always wondered about Mormon Missionaries” With just shy of one million views, it could be the most viewed informational video about Mormon missionaries. We thought that it was noteworthy and wanted to post about it here.

What are the 6 things?

Well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out, but we can tell you that this is a very non-Mormon friendly video that you could share with any of your friends who may have had questions about Mormon missionaries. You might just share it to your social media accounts because you never know who might have had these questions of your friends.

Here is the video:



You can passionately and powerfully believe something that is completely false. False ideas do not always announce themselves as being counterfeit. If they did, we would be wiser.

Perhaps if each of our false assumptions was dressed as a wolf, baring its teeth, we’d identify it faster. Then, we’d run from assumptions that really hurt us. But they don’t and we don’t.

We embrace them, because we don’t know better.

This means you can cling to an assumption that really hurts you. What makes it worse is not only that you believe it, but that you begin to shore it up with evidence—sometimes a whole array of evidence—from your life. You unwittingly pile up examples to prove your false assumptions, until they seem to be a part of your outlook. They become burrowed into your soul as if they are reality.

Some false assumptions may have a minor affect on you, barely disturbing your wholeness. But some false assumptions are much more dangerous. It really matters if you assume a bridge across a ravine is secure, and you have misunderstood, not seeing that wooden slats have rotted through.

Here are five false assumptions that can severely mar your spirituality and relationship with God. Even if you don’t believe them overtly, you may believe them as silent assumptions that still influence your outlook.

1. If God loved me, my life would turn out better.

Two false ideas are at work in this assumption. The first is the most dangerous, which questions the very nature of God. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength…but the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind and strength.”

To assume that God’s love for us is on the line or that he must prove His love to us by blessing us according to our script is to misunderstand the very nature of our Father. He loves and blesses us because it is impossible for him to do otherwise. It is his nature and he has made it his mission to invest in us and create the perfect, customized circumstances for us to return into his presence.

God is perfect in every particular and does not change with time or circumstance. That means his love is perfect for you in every particular, and combined with his omniscience, justice, mercy, holiness, and every other divine attribute knows how to make all things work together for your good, if you love him.

If we will let him, he will save us.

C.S. Lewis wondered if, “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’”

We can be grateful that the Lord is not a senile, old benevolence, but the king of creation. If the only gift in all of eternity we ever received was the atonement, we could never give enough of our heart and praise to him.

We are forever the indebted—the blessed indebted.

So back to the pretty picture we have worked out for our lives. It is true that picture will be completely revised by reality. But that picture was based on a false assumption in the first place—that you knew what beauty really looked like and that a seamless road, a smooth path where everything worked just so, could create in you the wholeness God requires to return to the full joy of His presence.

We can’t make of ourselves or of our eternity the joyful, shining reality that God has in store for us. This means here and now, it hurts sometimes. It doesn’t mean that God has forgotten us.

2. I am only worthy of his love, if I turn in a perfect performance. God cannot accept me where I am.