Mormon missionaries dedicate a portion of their lives when they turn 18 to full-time mission work. At this time they are not allowed to date because their focus is supposed to stay on mission work, which involves bringing people to God and to the Mormon church.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Mormon missionary life to help us understand what the church has to say about Mormon missions and Mormon missionaries falling in love on a mission.
What Are the Mission Rules?
Missionaries have a strict code to follow when they’re carrying out their mission. In many cases this service is voluntary so keep in mind they are also voluntarily following these rules. Even though they’re called “rules” they are not restrictions that missionaries are necessarily held to. They are simply agreed too and followed by young men who decide to enter mission work.
These missionaries are given a handbook when they begin their mission work and it contains one of the following sections that pertains to the topic of romantic relaionships:
“Never be alone with, flirt with, or associate in any other inappropriate way with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not telephone, write, e-mail, or accept calls or letters from anyone of the opposite sex living within or near mission boundaries.
The only exceptions are for communications between sister missionaries and their mission leaders, mission-related telephone calls (such as calls to confirm appointments), and letters of support and encouragement to converts. Report immediately to your mission president any situation that might cause you or your companion to violate this standard.
You and your companion should not visit or accept rides from individuals of the opposite sex unless another responsible adult of your own sex is also present … Do not counsel members or non-members on personal problems. Refer members who need counseling or professional assistance to their bishop.
If you feel a nonmember needs such assistance, talk with your mission president. Do not counsel missionaries of the opposite sex, even if you are serving in a leadership position. Such talk can lead to inappropriate feelings and relationships. Always refer such cases to your mission president.”
So, let’s take a closer look at what this all means for young men who are serving as a missionary.
The companion is the other young man that accompanies the missionary. Mormon missionaries travel in twos, two men or two women. They’re not to be alone, flirt, or associate with anyone of the opposite sex in an inappropriate way. That makes sense when we think about the importance of presenting moral character at all times during a mission.
They’re also not allowed to communicate with anyone of the opposite sex living near the mission boundaries. So, let’s say for example that the missionary went to a house nearby and a person of the opposite sex was interested in what he was saying and was considering convertion.
Even if that’s the case, he is not allowed to conduct any conversation with the girl because it could lead to feelings. The missionary is taught that in this situation he needs to pass it over to the mission president for it to be handled.
It is also against the rules for missionaries or their companions to accept rides from anyone of the opposite sex unless an adult of the same sex is present in the car.
As you can see, there are many different rules that make it difficult for a romantic relationship to take place during a mission. Some of the rules may always apply while others may only sometimes apply.
Remember the Mormon missionaries are on a voluntary mission. They have to pay their own expenses for the mission, so it’s a commitment of not only time but also money. They’re not knocking on doors with the intention of finding a girlfriend, they’re out there focusing on the mission of bringing as many people to Jesus as possible.
Why Don’t Missionaries Date While on Missions?
The bigger question is, why Mormon missionaries falling in love on a mission is frowned upon? Unlike the Catholic church, there are no celibacy requirements for preachers and most Mormon leaders are married.
Missionaries are required to devote a two-year period to doing nothing more than spreading the gospel and teaching others about the good news of Jesus Christ. During this time, they should not date, develop feelings, or have a romantic relationship with anyone.
The reason for this is because the focus is supposed to stay on God and service during this time. There are to be no distractions during full-time mission work and the church wants to support these individuals as long as they’re willing to abide by the guidelines set forth.
Mission work can have a lasting impact and change lives forever but men who succumb to lust and love can quickly forget their mission. As a result, mission workers might not touch as many lives as they could have had they not gotten distracted.
There is plenty of time for men to return home following their mission and find love if that’s what they choose to do. The goal of a mission though is to stay focused on the mission and reach as many people as possible..
What to Do If You Find Yourself Falling in Love with a Missionary?
The best thing you can do here is back off and show respect. You now understand that the missionary cannot engage in this type of behavior so it’s best that you leave him alone and let him do what he has to do. His mission is to serve God and knowingly distracting him from that effort would not look good on your part.
Sometimes falling in love just happens and it’s not something you can control. If that’s the case, you need to do everything you can not to distract him during his mission. In the event that you absolutely feel something for the person, try to hold back the interest until after the mission is over. There would be no harm in reaching out then.
It’s important to remember that we’re all Christians and even if we follow slightly different doctrine, our God is the God of all. We need to show the utmost respect to those men and women who go out there to do His work.
Do whatever you can to ensure that the missionary stays focused, on task, and clear-minded at all times. One sure-fire way to create issues is by attempting to enter a romantic relationship with a missionary when he’s out doing God’s work.
Do Missionaries Marry People They Met on Their Mission?
It happens sometimes and there are even occassions where you have two missionaries of the opposite sex that served together.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone involved does their best to make the mission successful. These young men and women are away from their families doing God’s work so it’s best that we just put our wants and desires aside for their sake.
In most cases, any feeling that develop won’t even start to come about until after the mission is over because most missionaries are very focused on their goals.
Mormon missionaries falling in love on a mission is an interesting topic because it’s not something that is regularly discussed, though clearly there are expectations regarding forming relationships for those who choose to do mission work.
Whether you’re the missionary or the person receiving the message, remember the important role you serve. Your job is either to get out there and bring people back to Christ or it’s to restrain your feelings in support of the church. Regardless of what emotions either person might feel, it’s important to recognize falling in love is not on the missionaries to-do list.