Somebody said on a discussion board:
When you are in the Missionary Training Center, they teach you absolutely
nothing about how to address the issues of polygamy and blacks and the
priesthood, even though they know that people will ask you questions about
these issues........you are left totally unprepared on how to answer these
difficult and critical questions of: why did your church for many years
ban blacks from receiving the priesthood and why did your church teach
that allowing men to have more than one wife is doctrine from
I was asked these questions several times while serving a mission in
Pennsylvania and heck if I knew how to answer it and even when I did give
my feeble answers, I felt very uncomfortable and even surprised when those
people we were teaching the discussions to would accept the weak answers I
I agree, the MTC doesn't prepare you for the real world of teaching
because the real issues are never discussed in the MTC. I think they do
this intentionally, so you'll have to learn "lying for the lord", which is
the one concept that will make you a true believer for life.
For example, a lot of people asked about polygamy, which I hardly knew
anything about at the time. I started making things up - just anything
that seemed to work - to succeed in the discussion.
We missionaries would share "techniques" among ourselves to address the
hard questions like polygamy, the blacks, etc.. We were swapping excuses,
not doctrinal points, although I didn't see it that way at the time.
There were times we would totally lie to our investigators about the
Church. They would respond so well to our fabrications that we would chalk
it up to the spirit wanting them in the water. For good missionaries,
making things up about the Church is the easiest and most effective way
for investigators to "feel the spirit" and get baptized. It's easy to
justify when you think baptism is salvation and you're being bumped for
numbers every week.
I caught my Mission President doing the same things to us on many
occasions. I think the same thing happens all the way up the Church
leadership. I certainly see Hinckley doing it to the news media.
If you really look at the doctrine, (on gospel principles like Section 132
of the D&C), you'll discover that the Church is a hoax. It's so much
better and easier for the Church to get you to believe in the Church before
you really investigate the doctrine.
It's much better for the Church if members just make excuses for doctrine,
because they can tailor the explanation to whatever excuse that works in a
Now that's the art of missionary work.
I have to agree with these observations. And it makes sense.
The missionaries main objective is to baptize. He receives no
training on how to respond to difficult issues. He isn't even
allowed to read books that might contain answers to these difficult
questions. Thus, he has to figure out his own answers. The
criterion for judging the quality of the answers is how the
investigator responds rather than how well it explains the
evidence. In my opinion, really good answers to these questions
don't exist, so a process of natural selection leads the missionary to
discovering and promulgating really good lies.
Am I being too harsh? Please help me with an experiment.
Track down some missionaries and ask them some open-ended questions about
polygamy. Something along the lines of:
- How many wives did Joseph Smith have?
- I heard that Joseph Smith married a couple of dozen women but lied
about it to most of the members of the church and to all non-members and
- Is it true that the D&C in the 1830's and 1840's contained a passage
that denied the rumors that Saints believed in or practiced polygamy?