Letter: Young missionaries happy to share, happy to move along
To the editor:
How lucky of you to have crossed paths with six missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in one month. With that kind of luck, go out and buy a lottery ticket! (Just kidding, Mormons don’t encourage gambling.)
But seriously, in your interactions with these young missionaries, you will likely have noticed that they weren’t breaking your windows, nor were they stealing your car, neither were they spray painting your neighbour’s dog. They were sharing a message of love and respect that they believe in strongly enough to leave their homes and families for two years, at their own expense, and share with complete strangers.
And, like you said yourself, they are here to “invite” people who will listen. They are not here to force anyone. If they happen to have paid you a visit during your lunch, tell them to come back later, or not at all if you aren’t interested. They won’t be offended. Trust me, they’ve all heard much worse than that.
And yes, many missionaries are from the U.S. Others are from elsewhere in Canada, England and many other countries.
As well, at any given time there are around five to 10 or more young missionaries and mature couples from Kelowna serving elsewhere in Canada, the U.S., and throughout the world in both proselytizing and humanitarian service missions (again, at their own expense).
As to the “export of American religious fundamentalism” you speak of with concern, the LDS church has been a part of Canada since the 1800s, and Canada is home to nearly 200,000 members. Three different congregations meet weekly in Kelowna, as well as another in each of West Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyoos, Meritt, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, and two each in Vernon and Kamloops.
So, hopefully, you will see that there is nothing to fear from crossing paths with these fine young people. They are just here to speak with those who will listen, and if that’s not you, that’s fine too. If any of this is new information to you, feel free to check out lds.org or mormon.org for more. Or better yet, ask the missionaries. They love that sort of thing.