We found an amazing article on Real Clear Religion that talks about the myths that many people believe about Mormon missionaries and Mormons in general. Please read the whole article, but here are the three myths that Betsy VanDenBerghe does a masterful job of busting:

  1. It’s all about converting
  2. The mission is an insular bubble protected from the world
  3. Missions foster intolerance

“I can still see her out there, the second mission companion in a row I had driven crazy, furiously scrubbing her clothes in the concrete basin serving as washing machine in Brazil of the 1980s. I sat inside, fuming as well after another argument, but gradually embarked on a crucial mental trajectory.

“Maybe the problem was me. Maybe it wasn’t these Brazilian companions who couldn’t seem to work within a schedule to save their lives. Maybe there was something to be said for their spontaneity — and something wrong with my rigid reliance on agendas and veiled criticism of their modus operandi.

“It was one of many instances of introspection that a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supplied, one of multiple painful interior shifts that strangely form the crucible of Mormon missions but prove the most underrated aspect of public perceptions of them. The Book of Mormon Musical, now adding international tours to its smash-hit status on Broadway, as well as NPR interviews with disaffected Mormons and superficial encounters with LDS missionaries inspire an amalgam of images: proud, hapless, white-shirted Caucasian boys simplistically tap dancing their way through Africa, South America, and Cleveland with ne’er a backward glance. According to the stereotypes, they somehow remain deluded for two pivotal years of young adulthood in an insular universe guarding them from reality and fueling an over-zealousness reminiscent of Oliver Cromwell.

PLEASE read the full article at Real Clear Religion.