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So You're Going on a Mission? (1968)

by Barbara Tietjen Jacobs
From the back cover:
"So what do I do now?" asks the missionary who has just received his call. This book, for all LDS youth over sixteen, helps prepare them for a mission long before it happens. It deals exclusively with the non-theological aspects of missionary life. . . . Praised by mission presidents, leaders of youth, parents, and many grateful missionaries.
You prospective two-year bicyclists will want to check in on some of this fine advice:
So You Have Really Bad Matching Hats!
  • Word of Wisdom Problems: If perchance you are offered a choice of drinks which might include soda pop or hot chocolate as well as tea or coffee, without making any explanation you can easily say, "I'd prefer the orange crush, please." (Page 79)
  • Food Which Is Repulsive: It would be most impolite for you to appear anything but appreciative. This, in turn, may call for some sacrifice on your part, for not only will you be expected to eat the food put before you, but you will be expected to consume large quantities of it as well. Naturally this will not be easy to do if the food which has been prepared is repulsive to you. What can you do in such a situation or to prepare for such situations? First of all, admit to yourself that many of your food dislikes originate in your mind rather than in your taste buds. For instance, it may be that you've never eaten raw jelly fish, not because you don't like the TASTE but because just the THOUGHT of eating raw jelly fish makes you sick. (Page 80)
  • There is one other method of dealing with unappetizing food which you can't make yourself eat, and that is to do as some elders have done and carry a small plastic bag in your pocket into which to drop such food. Don't ever try this unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain you can do so without detection. (Page 82)
  • While you are waiting for your dinner to arrive, it is permissible to nibble on the relishes, rolls, bread sticks or crackers which are usually already on the table. It is not permissible to play with the silver or do trickes with the water glasses. (Page 88)
  • Grooming Care: Once upon a time a lady opened her door, looked a Mormon missionary up and down and then commented: "My but your shoes are shiny. Why don't you come in?" (Page 90)
  • To Darn Or Not To Darn: Whether or not you wear darned socks will depend completely on YOU. . . . If, after careful soul-searching you decide you are sufficiently ambitious to become a sock-darning missionary, be sure you get your mother, a favorite aunt, your grandmother, or a home economics teacher to show you how. (Page 95)
  • Sometimes missionaries are tempted to play a tape instead of giving the lesson; sometimes missionaries look at a tape recorder as a toy to be used for amusement purposes; sometimes missionaries spend too much money as well as proselyting time preparing tapes; the biggest temptation is wanting to record jazz music for one's own enjoyment. One elder even had his mother send him a tape of the Smothers Brothers and he listened to it every time he stepped inside his apartment. (Page 129)
  • DON'TS: In one of the foreign missions a group of elders found some old American Remington and Winchester rifles. . . . they climbed on top of the church and began shooting at stray cats. People throughout the neighborhood began saying, "What's the matter with those Mormons?" Then they began referring to the elders as "Latter-day Cat Haters." (Page 138)
  • An elder or sister who is living up to the ideals of missionary work will never do any of the following: (1) Chew gum outside his own apartment; (2) Indulge in noisy, flamboyant, or spectacular behavior while on the street, in a public building, or in someone's home; (3) Push or shove in any line or squeeze in ahead of others who have been patiently waiting; (4) Carve initials on trees or statues, or pick flowers in a park. (Page 139)
  • While most members are eager to open their homes to the missionaries, they dislike intensely a missionary who steps over his bounds by walking into the house without knocking and saying, "What's to eat?" or who sits down to the table, looks around, and queries, "Hey, where's the peanut butter?" One elder made himself so much at home that he invited guests to come with him to a member's home and, without so much as asking permission, went into the kitchen and fixed them something to eat. To add insult to injury, he left the dirty dishes in the sink. (Page 143)
  • Love Letters: If your relationship is really serious, it will be extremely difficult to turn love letters into friendly ones, for no one can say, "I love you" for two years in casual, friendly letters. One elder and his fiance solved this problem by agreeing that they'd keep their weekly letters newsy and friendly, using the word "love" only as a complimentary close but permitting themselves a little more freedom on holidays. In this way, these occasions became even more special. For instance, on Thanksgiving he sent her a card with a picture of a turkey on the front cover which said, "Whenever I think of a turkey I want a drumstick." Inside the card it read, "And whenever I think of you I wanta neck!" (Page 154)
  • Dear John Letters: It has been said that an elder is not a full-fledged missionary until he has had fleas, the missionary itch (a skin allergy which comes with a change in food and climate), and a Dear John. (Page 155)
  • HINT: If you want to play it absolutely safe, ask your mother or sister to make your scrapbook for you. While it gives a girl friend or a fiance something to do and helps her to feel useful and participating, you do run the risk of not gaining possession of the scrapbook should you break up during your mission or afterwards. (Page 172)
  • To mail a cake: Buy a child's rectangular-size metal lunch box. Remove the handle. Line the box with foil, leaving enough to fold over the top of the cake. Cut the cake to fit the box exactly, pack, fasten the lock, and wrap. Your missionary could send some of his accumulations back in this same box and then you would have it to use for another cake. (Page 190)
  • Recreation: Occasionally a mission president has found it advisable to discontinue preparation day because his missionaries were abusing it by sleeping in the day prior to preparation day in anticipating it and then using the day after to recuperate, which meant a loss of three days from proselyting. (Page 193)
  • Consider these two excellent suggestions for limiting your movie watching: time spent in a show can't be used to advantage as far as making contacts -- it's quiet and dark. On the other hand, if you spend the same two hours in a museum, you'll be mingling with people and you could end up with several good contacts. Secondly, if the film turns out to be a sexy one, you're bound to have trouble getting back into the spirit of missionary work. (Page 194)
  • CIRCLE GAMES / Ha, Ha, Ha (Equipment: none): The players are seated in a circle. The first player says "Ha," the second in turn says "Ha, Ha," the third "Ha, Ha, Ha" and so on around the circle, each player adding one more "Ha." The "Ha's" must be said without laughing. This proves to be difficult and the entire circle is soon laughing. Those laughing while uttering their "Ha, Ha's" are eliminated. (Page 195)
  • I'm Going to Salt Lake (Equipment: none): Seat players in a circle. You begin by saying, "I'm going to Salt Lake and I'm going to take a comb" (or whatever you choose) and then through pantomime demonstrate its use. The player on your left says, "I'm going to Salt Lake and I'm going to take a comb (demonstrate) and a toothbrush" (demonstrate). The person on his left says, "I'm going to Salt Lake and I'm going to take a comb (demonstrate) and a toothbrush" (demonstrate), and a piano" (demonstrate). Continue on around the circle with each person adding and demonstrating one extra article. (Page 199)
  • Fun With Beans (Equipment: beans): Upon arrival give everyone ten beans. Until all guests have come and it is time for the party to begin, a bean may be collected from anyone who says the word "Church" or some other designated word. When it is time to begin the party, count up and see who has the largest number of beans and announce him as the winner. (Page 200)
  • Smiling Game (Equipment: chocolate papers): Put the little papers cups that boxed chocolates come in over your top teeth and then sing, "You can smile." If you can find enough of these papers, it is hilarious to see everyone doing it. (Page 204)
  • The After-Mission Adjustment: While on your mission you may have adopted some of the mannerisms of the local people so that they felt you were one of them, but once you are home, you must readjust to your own culture. If you returned from the Japanese Mission, it may take a while before you feel comfortable going into a home with your shoes on. If you returned from one of the Mexican missions, you may forget and belch at your family's welcome-home dinner. (Page 210)