Missionary Use of Public Library Computers

Posted on July 24, 2012 by


Democrats_win recently wrote a post in DemocraticUnderground.com stating that Mormon missionaries are using public library computers to do church business as well as some other untrue allegations regarding many different issues.  Let’s see if we can work through each false statement.  There are many.

So if Mormon “missionaries” must use computers to recruit people to tithe 10% of their income to the church, why don’t they realize that they should purchase their own computers as a part of doing BUSINESS. They WILL be making profits off of this recruitment effort. Mormons are the only organization that widely uses library internet computers in their profit-making business. It’s not as if Mormons are poor. What do you do with your money, Mormons? Shouldn’t you use it to support your missionary work? Buy your missionaries computers (or smart phones) if they are needed for church business. DO IT! 
To begin with, missionaries do not “recruit” people to tithe 10% of their income to the church. The main duty of a missionary is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As stated on the Newsroom page of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the subject of tithing:

Tithing donations are most usually remitted through the local congregational leader, or bishop, and from there to Church headquarters, where they are allocated and disbursed directly to the Church’s many worldwide programs, including its educational, missionary, building, humanitarian and welfare efforts.

Additionally, tithing funds the construction and maintenance of Church facilities. These buildings provide the infrastructure for delivering both physical and spiritual relief to community members. In addition to helping the Church care for the well-being of the less fortunate, Latter-day Saints make charitable donations because they believe in fulfilling God’s commandment to tithe and give to the poor.

All funds given to the Church by its members are considered sacred. They are voluntary offerings that represent the faith and dedication of members and are used with careful oversight and discretion. They are audited regularly by independent, certified auditors.

Secondly, Mormon missionaries are not “working” on the computers in public libraries.  As part of mission rules, missionaries are not allowed to have personal computers, hand-held devices such as I-Pods or I-Pads, television, or other electronic media devices so as not to distract them from their work.  That work is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, not to be distracted by worries at home or distractions and/or temptations that come with these devices.  The Church does buy computers for church use in meetinghouse offices as well as in family history centers.

 Missionaries are allowed one day per week to attend to their personal needs – laundry, grocery shopping, writing letters or emails to friends and family, doctor/dentist visits, etc.  If a missionary is using a computer in a public library, it is so they can send an email to their friends and family.  Missionaries are welcome to use the computers in the family history centers to write their emails if they would like, but these centers are not always open on their given preparation day each week. Also, public library computers are there for public use, regardless of religious affiliation.

Additionally, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a NON-profit religious organization. Missionaries pay for their missions themselves, out of their own pockets. The Church consists of a non-paid ministry. Bishops, Stake Presidents, and even the President of the Church are NOT paid for their time or service.

Democrats_win then goes on to say:

In fact, Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out that they used their missionary “work” as a way to get out of military service to America (in Vietnam). 

 Yes, the church did issue deferments for young men and women to go on missions, but there was a cap as to how many were issued.  The deferment would have only been for the 18 months to two years length of a normal mission.  Then the returning missionary would have then been eligible to be drafted once again.  Many of these men and women did go on to serve their country after their church missions were completed.

Democrats_win concludes by delving into other topics such as the Church’s tax status (A Tax-Exempt Religious Organization registered as a 501(c)(3).) and gay marriage.  The Church stands upon the premise that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.  The Church does not instruct it’s member on how they should vote, but in the case of moral issues such as this the Church will advise members to vote along the lines of church doctrine.  Also, Mormons do not get special rights or privileges as alleged by Democrats_win.  They go to work, pay their taxes, and are instructed to obey the laws of the land.  They donate a tenth of their income in tithes to the church to be used in a variety of charitable ways, but also donate to other charitable organizations such as The Red Cross,  Susan G. Komen, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society, many local fundraisers and charities, or any other charitable organization that is important to them.  Should people not be allowed to take those donations as charitable deductions on their tax returns (as legally outlined in the IRS tax code) either?