Missionaries living with Members?

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I’ve read, in several locations now, about a possible move by the church to have missionaries live with members. Volunteers would be asked to house a pair of mishies who would still cook and provide for themselves, but who would be living under the volunteer’s roof.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?

It seems to me, it would be a serious hassle for the hosts and would be a real downer for the missionaries.

42 thoughts on “Missionaries living with Members?

  1. There was a pilot program in Wisconson (via Jeff Lindsay) and a few other places that evidently was successful. But… it would be a horrible downer. Especially with the illness that missionaries get, the mental ones especially. The one thing you can count on is being just two (or 4) of you when you get home. You have to have some time to relax… and this will not allow it. Expect to see a uptick in mental illnesses. Expect to see some members leave the church over missionary hi-jinks. Expect an increase in white collar crimes committed by missionaries.

  2. We were told about it in stake high council last week. The missionary accommodations are still supposed to be closed off from the rest of the members home, including separate kitchen and laundry. The members are asked to do this for free, but may receive a small stipend for utilities and incidentals.

    In our stake, the missionaries are being housed in a members home who needs the extra income. This can be touchy. The stake president is going to speak to the member and give him the choice of either housing the missionaries for free or give him sufficient time to find new renters.

    I don’t know if this program is being set up worldwide or not.

  3. They are doing it in Texas. The Elders are living with a lovely couple and all seem to be having a wonderful experience.

  4. I’ve heard of this going on for several years. It’s a way to save money. I’m not sure I see why it’s a “downer.”

  5. I should mention, the missionaries in my ward live in an apartment owned by a ward member, which, to the best of my knowledge, he provides gratis. It’s one of the nicest missionary apartments I’ve ever seen, and the elders seem to be quite happy with it.

    What differs, I suppose, is that the apartment isn’t actually colocated with the member’s home. However, if they were living in, for example, a basement apartment in the member’s home, I can’t see what would be bad about it.

  6. It would be okay if it was a basement suite that the missionaries were living in but I could see a lot of problems occuring with missionaries actually living among the members.

  7. This came-up in bishopric meeting two weeks ago, and our stake presidency confirmed that it’s a pilot program, and seemed to imply that they were considering how they might deploy such a program.

    I think it’s a little early to even discuss, as we have no parameters to judge by.

  8. Melissa, as far as I know, this always involves a separate living facility for the missionaries, as described in comment 2.

  9. I served in the Californa Anaheim mission and always lived in member’s homes on my mission. There were some Elders that lived in apartments, but very few. The reason was that rent was so expensive there. In order for missionaries to be in apartments they’d have to have at least 3 companionships together – and that was often problematic. I never lived anywhere where we had our own kitchen, entrance, etc. We had a bedroom and we used their kitchen. I lived in a condo, what I would consider a normal sized home, and once in a mansion of a very wealthy family. Mostly missionaries are hardly home, so we didn’t interact too much with members that we lived with. It worked fine in my mission.

  10. Dawn,

    I served in Riverside California and my experience was very similar to yours. I also have an aunt who lived up in the Lake Arrowhead area and they had missionaries live with them for years.

  11. Living with members is great…if you are a perfect missionary.

    If you’re not, you going to think that living with members is a downer. It’s hard to slide when people are watching what time you leave and what time you get back every day.

    Not to mention the temptations present if there are teenage girls or young mothers sharing the same living space.

    Not to mention the problem of having the missionaries stellar reputation tarnished by being able to view how they actually are in the field by the members who are hosting them.

    …better not put them with converts – we wouldn’t want to burst any bubbles.

  12. In my mission they didn’t let missionaries live with families that had teenage girls. Honestly, mostly I lived with families that didn’t have any children at home, with the exception of my very first area.

    There were some that were not the perfect examples – but I think living with members kept them on their toes a little more. That being said, missionaries were still missionaries and things happen.

    For me it wasn’t a big deal. I was there to work…and I worked.

    Actually, I remember when I was first out having someone comment about how they were surprised at how early we left in the morning. (We left at 9:00….just like we were supposed to) Apparently the sisters before us hardly got up before 9:00 am. I seem to recall that those members didn’t seem too bright though. Funny how some people really don’t have a clue about missionary life. It’s pretty simple really – get up, study, study some more, leave for the day…maybe come home for lunch…go out again, have a dinner appointment, and go on appointments in the evening. We stayed out until 9:00….and were in bed by 10:00

    ….gee, I’d like having a boarder like that I think!! LOL


  13. It was announced in our ward today (By way of an interview – a Bishopric member asking if I was interested in housing them)He mentioned that last Thursday June 7th is was constituted ‘worldwide’ however I heard later in the morning that it might hav ebeen just state wide, confusing. All the same, I think it is a fine idea when the homes are chosen wisely by our PL’s. Sure what young man or young woman would want to come out thinking they had all of this freedom and then find out they are with surrogate parents once again? As Dawn mentions, Missionaries are missionaries, they work. No getting around that one. If they were with me, we probably would not see much of one another – they can still flop and study and study and flop. Everyone needs flop time.

  14. Let’s see if missionaries (or their parents) have to save up to pay rent on their apartment (say about $350/month) for 24 months. They could save $8,400 off the cost of going on mission.

    This is really huge dollars for a young 19 year old to come up with. The finances might have been a big hindrance in the past in getting kids out into the mission field.

  15. You really think the church will take the savings off the contributions put forward by the missionaries and their families?

    I seriously doubt any reduction in the monthly cost of serving a mission is forthcoming.

  16. Has anyone seen guidelines for the housing? The Bishop asked us but we said no for a variety of reasons but still wondered. We have no separate living area or entrance. My husband travels a lot and there are no children at home. So, if my husband is gone, the missionaries are living with just a sister. I am not allowed to have them for dinner if my husband is not home, yet they could live in my house with my husband gone? Seems a little strange.

  17. I don’t think this is anything new. We did this in Nevada back in ’91. I lived in a number of locations where we shared the same roof.

    My favorite was the last area we were in. The member family had 12 kids and about 8 of them were daughters. When I first transfered there, I would wake up to find my companion missing. He was upstairs giving “Piano Lessons” to the Laurel aged daughters without the parents around and me down in the apartment.

    I think it was about 3 days until we had one of those “Mini Transfers” and I got a new comp.

    As long as they try to have a housing policy like this, they are asking for trouble.

  18. I seriously doubt any reduction in the monthly cost of serving a mission is forthcoming.

    How about the avoidance of an increase?

    On what are you basing your doubts?

  19. Q:How about the avoidance of an increase?
    A:Do you have knowledge of an increase that is being avoided?

    Q:On what are you basing your doubts?
    A:Track record of the leaders.

  20. Do you have knowledge of an increase that is being avoided?

    No, just like you have no knowledge of an increase that is being planned.

    Track record of the leaders.

    They have a track record of claiming to try to hold down expenses when they’re really intending not to? Where is that track record?

  21. I have never claimed to have knowledge of an increase that is being planned.

    And to my knowledge the church has never reduced the payments of people choosing to serve missions since they started the standardized payment system.

  22. I have never claimed to have knowledge of an increase that is being planned.

    Gee, what a coincidence. I never claimed to have knowledge of an increase that is being avoided. So why did you ask me?

    And to my knowledge the church has never reduced the payments of people choosing to serve missions since they started the standardized payment system.

    Which does nothing at all to show that the Church’s leaders have a history of skimming the savings and placing them outside the missionary program, as you imply they are doing in comment 17.

  23. rick,

    actually, for us Canadians, there was a recent lowering of the monthly amount to reflect the recent strength of the Canadian Dollar. However, I don’t think the american dollar amount has changed.

  24. ltbugaf, I implied no such thing.
    The church already subsidizes these missionaries so much, I seriously doubt any savings will be left over to pass on to reduce the cost paid by missionaries.
    I have never said anyone was skimming anything.

    We’ve got enough to disagree about without you fabricating things.

  25. We currently are housing missionaries and it has become a huge challenge. My husband and I had committed to doing this for 4 months — we are now going on 8 months with no relief in sight. No one else in the ward will make the commitment. I no longer feel as if my home truly is my home. I yearn for the days of walking downstairs in my pajamas again and feeling that this is my refuge from the world.

  26. So Martha, you feel obligated to continue even though you’ve fulfilled your mandated term?
    I think you need to talk to someone about getting them moved out.

    It is onerous on the part of the church to think that you must keep the mishies in your home simply because they have no other member home to move to.

    The church is not hurting for money and they will find volunteers faster if the local membership knows that they are paying for an apartment.

    There’s no sense of suffering unduly simply out a a sense of obligation.

  27. Well Rick, I have never heard anything about receiving money for housing the missionaries. We receive a very small stipend to off-set the cost of utilities and that’s it. In this case, money will not be an incentive for anyone to do this.

    By the way, we told our Bishop about 3 weeks ago that we would no longer do this. Someone on the stake high council has been assigned to find alternative housing. Hopefully, things will be resolved soon. In the long run though, I personally do not see how this particular program of the members housing the missionaries is going to work. It will be a constant battle of trying to find “ideal” places for them to live, and for the most part, these “ideal” places don’t exist.

  28. Oh, my mistake. I was unclear. I didn’t mean that more people would volunteer if they were being paid. I meant that if people knew that mishies were paying for an apartment rather than staying in a member’s home more people would volunteer.

  29. This has been normal practice here in SoCal for at least 5 or 6 years– except that there’s not a requirement for a separate kitchen, and certainly not a separate laundry. One family in the next ward over has had the missionaries living there for a couple of years, so I guess it’s going well. I always thought that the family received some money for it but could be wrong. The requirements here are that there can’t be teenage girls in the house, and the missionaries have to have their own bathroom.

  30. Well all I can say is, missionaries can’t live in our house unless they want to kip in the garage. Just no space.

  31. This program is going to roll out in the mission that I currenly live in. As a returned sister myself, I lived in member accomodated housing situations in Nevada from 87-89. Some were great and some were not. Luckily, we always had a separate entrance and our own kitchen but we sometimes heard the member families fighting, sometimes abusively. You learn a lot from the living conditions you find yourself in. I also once lived in a regular apartment situation where drug deals and a dead body was found. Is that a good place for missionaries to be living? We have offered our basement living space to the sisters and hope that we are selected to house them for a time. We hope that knowing they are around will make us clean up our act a bit, not just the clutter but the bickering that goes on our family. I know that sharing some common areas like laundry and kitchen cupboards will be a bit awkward but missions are not honeymoons, they are meant to be a challenge and let’s hope that raising the bar means that the missionaries are keeping better ethics as well.

  32. “Is that a good place for missionaries to be living?”

    Considering that most missions in South America fit this description, I guess you’d shut down the missionary program there? I recall JC hung out with plenty of low-lifes, do you expect less of the mishies?

  33. Announced in our branch yesterday. We were told we WILL house the missionaries in our homes.

  34. Our mission (Tex. San Antonio) announced this as a new pilot program in San Antonio in late 2007. I saw threw it though…we did this on my mission in SO-Cal 98-2000 hardly a pilot program. The pilot program is a line they throw at members and missionaries so they think its something special. By the way: No rent, only $75 to partially offset utilities. Its not a new program, mission presidents must be talking and collaborating on how to save money. Personally, I have a STRONG testimony that this program is HORRIBLE. I saw too many elders ex-communicated or sent home, members disciplined, elders coming back and marrying 18 year old daughters, and laziness occuring on my mission because of this program or something VERY similar. I am just judging the tree by its fruits. Nothing against all the positive experiences–I am sure there many, but its not worth the risk.

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