Much of this post is a repeat of my "Taming of the Shrewd" 2012 post. It's very relevant because I have been discussing the grooming of young, unpaid volunteer salespersons to go out and market Mormonism's fraudulent pitch and collect money from new marks.
At the 2012 semiannual general conference on Oct 6, LDS corporate CEO Thomas Monson announced that effective immediately, young men may begin their full-time Mormon missionary service following their graduation from high school, even if they are only 18 at the time. And young women, who have not been eligible for full-time missionary service until age 21, may now begin their service at age 19.
Understand, these are unpaid volunteers whose families pay for them to work (about $500 a month or $6000 a year "donated" to LDSinc) on the behalf of Monson's corporation for two-years, marketing the history and doctrine of his theocorpocracy.
The result since then, more than a year later, is the self-paying missionary sales force has grown more than a third larger in size. President Newsroom claims they're at around 80,000 strong. That's more employees than Apple has to sell its billions-dollar phone and computer industry. And they're free! Some critics believe this surge is due to both older and then younger missionaries increasing the numbers for about year or two, but will probably taper off sometime in 2014.
Let me explain what I mean by "grooming" the salespersons. To understand what kind of special indoctrination missionaries receive, let's peek inside the LDS Missionary manual, which is found at this LDS.ORG link (pdf) (or this html version).
The manual is definitely chock-a-block filled with typical Ra Ra sales force psychology. Do as your told, follow the recipe we give you, always be committing, don’t lose the spirit by not working hard, pray-obey-don’t-be-gay. The manual is about taming young (at times wild) men. But beyond the psychological conditioning of the missionaries themselves, the manual is also about training them into shrewd salesmen. Okay, maybe not shrewd, but skilled in certain techniques.
There are instructions on how to manipulate others into joining and, of course, paying tithing. Not just encouragement to teach or help persuade, but technique on emotional manipulation.
In the section titled, "Helping Others Make Commitments: The Door to Faith and Repentance" is this quote:
"Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “The first thing you will do when an investigator tells you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated! . . . Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. . . . It is the most important path this investigator will ever walk. But if he or she doesn't know that, at least you do! . . . So take control of this situation. Teach with power and authority, and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun” (“Making and Keeping Covenants,” missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1997). "
I want to emphasize: "...and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun."
Then in the "Follow Up" section is this quote:
"Make frequent contact, daily if possible, to find out how people are progressing with their commitments... strengthen the spiritual feelings they felt as you taught them...This sustaining influence of the Spirit is vital...remind and encourage them to keep a commitment. Help investigators identify the blessings they have received as they have kept their commitments. Especially help them describe their feelings as the Spirit has testified of the truthfulness of the message. Compliment and encourage people who are succeeding in keeping commitments...Express concern and disappointment when people fail to keep their commitments and thus fail to experience the blessings. "
I emphasize: “Especially help them describe their feelings as the Spirit has testified of the truthfulness of the message.”
They're telling these salespeople to manipulate the feelings by describing what one feels as evidence their product has value.
Help them describe their feelings as what you were asking them to test for themselves. Part of the message is that their feelings (through the spirit) will tell them truth according to Moroni 10:4-5. But to test if Moroni 10 is correct, they either trust their feelings (through the spirit), or the missionaries telling them that their feelings will tell them the truth. This becomes the feelings telling you that feelings are true. This is circular.
Then they are told: “Express concern and disappointment when people fail to keep their commitments. . .”
Do you see the pattern?
- "Good feelings always mean we're right."
- "Bad feelings always mean you're wrong."
There's no allowance for alternative explanations about the Mormon product.
This is grooming of teaching salespersons to explain to the marks that whatever positive feeling they have is a witness of what you’re selling. If they have a negative feeling about what you’re selling, express concern and disappointment and be devastated, and show them that devastation by taking control of the situation in power and authority.
Do you really believe this organization didn't think about this thoroughly? This is intentionally teaching kids how to manipulate. Why would they do that?
Now, according to the manual, once you get them hooked, committed and baptized, some of the new-members will fall away back into old habits. Some go back to drinking coffee, alcohol or even taking drugs. Is that a good time to express disappointment? Nope, they tell the missionary.
In the "A Plan for Overcoming Addictive Behavior" Section the church actually discourages manipulation. Missionaries are told they “should not be shocked or discouraged” by the bad behavior. In fact, missionaries are instructed:
“They should show confidence in the individual and not be judgmental if the person yields to an old craving. They should treat it as a temporary and understandable setback.” Because “condemning. . .a new convert is never helpful and will likely lead to discouragement, failure, and inactivity.”
See the pattern? Act devastated if the investigator doesn't do what you say before being baptized. After baptism, don't act devastated, be all understanding!
Additionally, missionaries are continually told to seek the spirit, but not to discuss too many specifics. Just seek it generally, point it out whenever the investigator has a positive experience or feeling. But don’t share specific spiritual experiences. In the section "A Word of Caution" missionaries are told:
“Revelation and spiritual experiences are sacred. They should be kept private and discussed only in appropriate situations. As a missionary, you may be more aware of spiritual experiences than you have been earlier in your life. Resist the temptation to talk freely about these experiences.”
Why would they want missionaries not to talk freely about these experiences when they all but start out discussion One with Joseph Smith’s first vision of God? What they’re saying is, if you talk about all the religious craziness that happens in your head, people will be less likely to keep their commitments--we only accept a certain level of crazy; follow the prescribed plan.
Would an honest organization with a truthful message need to resort to this level of emotional manipulation of the salespersons and teaching manipulation techniques to the salespersons?
This is grooming of the shrewd by an organization who has honed the skill over a century of "missionary" work.
Just across from the Polynesian Cultural Center
where the LDS church maintains a theme park,
helping young people attend LDS schools and training.
The masthead graphic states: "Hawaii's #1 Paid Attraction"
You won't easily find out that it's owned and operated by LDSinc, but you will find it amusing that they send unpaid volunteers to work at Mormon Disney.
"Openings for voluntary (non-paid) service missionaries at the Polynesian Cultural Center...Living expenses per couple are estimated between $2,000-$2,500 per month."
( http://www.polynesia.com/service.html )
Yep, the church gets free labor from couple missionaries to staff its theme park, the #1 paid attraction in Hawaii (according to them).
One of the many "attractions" at the LDS PCC theme park.
So what about all this money missionaries pay for the benefit of working pro-bono for their theocorpocracy?
At $6000.00 (cheapest) per year per missionary, families donating for 80,000 young missionaries, that's about $500 million per year that could make a real difference. Half a billion a year of free sales-labor could do so much more! Just $400,000.00 could buy 61 wells. http://thewaterproject.org/clean-water-wells-in-africa.asp
Or 4,500 goats and chickens for a family. http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10389
And so many more things could be done.
Post your favorite wish that could be done with half-billion dollars per year....