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“The practice of individual missionizing by members has become one of the hallmarks of the LDS enterprise. The cost of this mission work, conducted worldwide in two-year stints by volunteers, are still born by the families of the young missionaries. As of 1982 the costs averaged $300 per month for each of the 32,000 Mormons in the field, or more than $100 million total (see Kenneth L. Woodward, “Onward, Mormon Soldiers,” Newsweek, April 27, 1981, pp. 87-88). However, the strategy is surprisingly ineffective. One estimate of missionary success from canvassing residential areas was as low as ‘only nine doors out of a thousand [opening] to missionaries (Ibid.).' The remaining 991 doors are not answered, are not opened beyond the length of the chain lock, or are slammed in Mormon faces. In reality, the two-year missionary experience is a sort of rite of passage for pre-college Mormon men (increasingly women are going on missions as well), a tour of duty in the unsympathetic world of the unbelievers that reinforces Mormons' differences from Gentiles...
“Moreover, almost half of the young missionaries reportedly become ‘Jack-Mormons'(inactive or backsliding members) after they return (see Michael Parrish, “The Saints Among Us,” Rocky Mountain Magazine, January/February 1980, p. 27). The Church does not encourage speculation about yet another controversial aspect of mission work: throwing pairs of young men aged nine-teen to twenty-one into virtually monastic, celibate living conditions for long periods of time at the height of naturally strong sexual drives has fostered rumors of homosexual incidents (Ibid.).”

- John Heinerman and Anson Shule, The Mormon Corporate Empire, p. 30

“[Door-to-door] missionaries do not serve as the primary instruments of recruitment to the Mormon faith. Instead, recruitment is accomplished primarily by the rank and file of the church as they construct intimate interpersonal ties with non-Mormons and thus link them into a Mormon social network.”

- Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, “Networks of Faith: Interpersonal Bonds and Recruitment to Cults and Sects,” American Journal of Sociology, v. 85, May 1980, pp. 1386-1387

“Missionaries are expected to keep regular personal journals and to write home once a week. They are not permitted to communicate with family and friends by fax or e-mail and are allowed only two telephone calls home each year, on Christmas and Mother's Day. Collect. The telephone restriction is observed even in emergencies. When Van Noy's younger sister was critically injured in a traffic accident a few months earlier, all communication was through an intermediary at the New York mission office. The sister recovered, but had she died, Van Noy would have been expected to remain focused on his assignment in New York and not fly home for the funeral. Missionaries are not allowed visits from family or friends during their tours either, though such draconian restrictions are not applied to the older missionaries, who are usually couples. (Individual widows can serve, but widowers are not accepted.)
“Missionaries may not date, and all contact with the opposite sex is strictly regulated. The missionary handbook warns them, ‘Never be alone with or associate inappropriately with anyone of the opposite sex. Flirting or dating is not tolerated. You are not to telephone, write to, or accept calls or letters from anyone of the opposite sex living in or near mission headquarters.' They are advised to visit single members or ‘investigators'(potential converts) of the opposite sex only with additional adults present, a precaution always to be carefully observed ‘even if the situation seems harmless.'”

- Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling, p. 207-208

“Women should not feel obligated or be urged unduly to serve full-time missions... [especially] if it will interfere with imminent marriage plans.”

- The General Handbook of Instructions, 1999

“When a man is appointed to take a mission, unless he has a just and honorable reason for not going, if he does not go he will be severed from the Church.”

- Heber C. Kimball, Journal History, February 24, 1856