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The Mormon Missionary: Who IS That Knocking at My Door?

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849 pages16 hours

Summary

"Dr. Lively hasn't left a stone unturned. His book is an encyclopedic investigation of the missionary program of the LDS church. Very interesting reading."
Newel Kay Brown, Composer of I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.

Many have answered a knock at the door to find two young men standing there. Polite, well-dressed, and wearing black nametags, they introduce themselves as “Elder Smith” and “Elder Jones” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are Mormon missionaries, and they want to share their faith with you. It is an awkward moment. American culture does not welcome strangers at the door, and the appearance of Mormon missionaries raises a fundamental question: should they be so aggressive in trying to convert us to their faith? Don’t they understand that if we want to know about their church, we will ask them? As a result, most missionaries are turned away—and not always in a friendly manner.

But while they may decline the offer of a visit, an increasing number of non-Mormons are asking questions such as: “Who are these people?” Why are they doing what they are doing?” “Who pays for it?” and, “What do they and the Latter-day Saint Church gain from it?”

Rob Lively attempts to answer these questions. While not a member of the LDS Church, he has interviewed over 275 past, present, and future missionaries. He shares their missionary stories and their highs and lows, and he discusses the importance of the missionary experience for the individual and for the Church. No other book exists that gives such a comprehensive overview of the Mormon missionary program. It is something we take for granted, but which is really quite unique. The Church could not exist without it.

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