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For week ended January 10, 1999 Posted 21 Jan 1999
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Mormons Cut E-Mail From Missions

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Mormons Cut E-Mail From Missions
Associated Press 10Jan99


LDS Church Cuts E-Mail From Missions
Salt Lake Tribune 9Jan99
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune


E-mail, faxes out for LDS missionaries
Deseret News 10Jan99

Missionaries for the LDS Church may no longer use faxes and e-mail to write home to families and friends. The new policy, announced in early December in a letter to Mission Presidents, attempts to keep missionaries from communicating with family more than once a week. According to Church spokesman Don LeFevre, "some missionaries may be communicating more than once a week" using faxes and e-mail.

The policy apparently does have exceptions. In areas where normal postal service is poor, Mission Presidents may allow their missionaries to use e-mail or fax, after consulting with the appropriate Area Authority.

Some parents are disturbed by the policy, however. Bonnie Carter of Orem, whose son Andrew is serving a mission in Sweden, calls the change "a cruel move" in the light of recent missionary injuries and deaths. Andrew Carter has been sending e-mail messages home once a week from a nearby library. By regular postal service, getting a response from Elder Carter would take 20 days, when by e-mail it can take just hours, if it is sent on the day that the missionary can write.

Several problems have occurred because of missionaries using e-mail and faxes. Ex-missionaries report that e-mail and faxes sometimes made them loose their focus. Other times it is time consuming to get to a place where e-mail or faxes can be sent, or members are burdened by missionaries who use thier computers to send e-mail.

Older couple missionaries are also included in this ban, according to Church spokesman Dale Bills. "It really strikes me as odd that they would do that," says Matt Bullock of Logan, Utah. Bullock uses e-mail to correspond with his parents, who are serving a mission in Izmir, Turkey.

"I wouldn't say (the ban) is an overreaction," says Susan Johnson, who corresponded with her daughter when she was serving in Romania. "It's a temptation that can be easily abused, and some missionaries are better than others at being obedient. They're 19 years old , the computer is fun, e-mail is fun, the Internet is fun. It's hard to stay off it."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information