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
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."