The following resources were prepared by Richard and Cathy Anderson, of the Kaysville Utah Stake, in hopes that these documents could possibly help priesthood leaders, parents, and Early Returned Missionaries. Brother Anderson served as Mission President of the New Mexico, Albequerque Mission from 2007-2010, and for the last 40+ years has worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker by profession.
Concerns ERMs May Struggle With
This list of questions may help priesthood leaders and parents in understanding what may be going through the thoughts and feelings of the missionary that returned early and is struggling with the return. This document can be read and downloaded HERE.
1. Did I just fail in the most important work/calling of my life?
2. What is my standing in the Church at this point? Am I worthy to hold a calling?
3. Did I not have enough faith to be healed or to solve the issues that brought the early return?
4. How can I face others, knowing that they are aware that I “failed”?
5. How will this hinder another member of the Church in considering to date me or marry me?
6. How will I explain this to my children and will this be a detriment to my being a good parent?
7. Are the blessings in my Patriarchal Blessing still available to me? If my blessing had a lot hinging on, or seemingly hinging on, my serving a full-time mission do I need to obtain another Patriarchal Blessing?
8. What can I do about letting down my mission companions, my mission leaders, my investigators, my stake president, my bishop, the ward and my siblings (especially the younger ones that look up to me).
9. Are there people that were left back in the mission that only I could have reached and brought into the gospel?
10. Does my coming home early make me unworthy to partake of the sacrament?
11. Do I have to, and is there any way to, make restitution for returning early?
12. For the young Elder: May I give priesthood blessings?
For Parents of Early Returning Missionaries
This document can be downloaded HERE
1. Recognize that you and your missionary may have feelings of grief and loss more than you imagined would happen.
2. Make true expressions of love – the ones that may be very unique to your missionary.
3. Do all you can to have them attend church the first Sunday back home.*
4. Find out what they would like you to say to others.
5. You can refer to them as a “returned missionary”. Elder Holland says so. (See his YouTube video https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2016-05-012-elder-hollands-counsel-for-early-returned-missionaries?lang=eng)
6. Inform those you feel need to know that your missionary is coming home and that, no matter what, you are excited to be with her/him again.
7. Set aside uninterrupted time to hear about mission experiences.
8. Encourage prayer about what to do next. This process is most of all between the early returned missionary our Father and our Savior.
9. Remember, a decision to return (if this is an option) is between the missionary and the Lord. Many others are going to ask and, even, push for them to go back. Be their supporter of what they feel is right for them. Often mental, emotional and physical health problems may not remit.
10. Options for other mission experiences (service missions, stay at home missions, etc.) should be explained. Again, this is a decision to be left to the returned missionary.
Principles and Techniques to Assist a Missionary in Recovery
This document can be downloaded HERE, and includes an explanation for the following principles/suggestions:
- Immortality and Eternal Life
- Gift of Time
- Attend Church That First Sunday
- Responses From Others
- Tell Others That You Served
- Remember Your Sacrifice
- Read The Book of Mormon Every Day
- Significant Prayers
- Church Attendance
- Family History Work Is Missionary Work
- Share your Mission Inspiration