More on the Mormon Missionary Numbers Game

A friend of mine recently read my book and wrote to me wondering why I hadn’t spent much time writing about the message we missionaries brought and why that message resonated with the people we baptized. I didn’t have a good answer, but after I thought about it, I realized that the message was not really an important part of being a Mormon missionary. Missions were about obedience to our leaders and increasing the number of church members. I wrote a while back about the pressure among Mormon missionaries to produce numbers of baptisms, which in our mission led to some shocking abuses.

I know enough about other missions to understand that the emphasis on numbers has disastrous effects on church members, wards, and stakes. For example, the LDS church grew at a phenomenal rate in Chile until 2002–at least on paper. That year, in an unusual move, the church sent apostle Jeffrey Holland to Chile to train leaders, but mostly to reorganize the church there. Before Holland arrived, there were 951 congregations (wards and branches) and 116 stakes in Chile; by 2005, there were 607 congregations and 74 stakes, meaning that 344 congregations and 42 stakes had been closed. Years of focusing on baptisms at all costs led to abysmal retention and activity rates, though the church kept creating these phantom congregations and stakes based on the number of people in the church’s records. The discrepancy between the membership numbers the church reports and those who self-identified as Latter-day Saints in the 2002 Chilean census is telling: That year, the LDS church reported 527,972 members in Chile. In the census, only 103,735 people self-identified as LDS. (For details, see cumorah.com) I should also note that apostle Dallin Oaks was sent on a similar mission to the Philippines at the same time, resulting in the closing of six stakes.

Most of us are familiar with missionary techniques for increasing numbers: quick teaching and baptism of children and teens and going after those “in transition,” such as people who have experienced a death in the family, loss of job, or other instability. In his excellent article, “I-Thou vs. I-It Conversions: The Mormon “Baseball Baptism” Era,” Michael Quinn explains how pressure for numbers drove these tactics, reaching their nadir in the era of the “Baseball Baptisms” in Britain in the 1960s.

At least I thought that was the nadir until I read about “The Groberg Era” in the Tokyo South Mission in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which is described in appalling detail here. In 1978 the new mission president, Delbert H. Groberg (brother of general authority and author John Groberg) arrived in Japan and met with Yoshihiko Kikuchi, who had recently been called as the first Japanese general authority. Groberg wrote in his journal:

Elder Kikuchi came out to our home and we talked from 3:30pm until 7:00pm. He really has high expectations of me. I had thought that 10 times as many baptisms as they are getting now would be a good goal to shoot for (about 10,000). Before telling him, I asked him what he felt I should do. He mapped out the progress as he expected and it turned out to be 25 times as much as what is currently happening minimum! (And he stressed minimum!) That seems like a lot, but I believe we can make it.

To achieve these goals, Kikuchi and Groberg implemented what they called the “Investigator Extraction” method. A former missionary who served at that time explains how it worked (note that his choice of words reflects his cynicism and disdain for the “method”):

  • Missionary apartments were relocated to areas near major pedestrian shopping and transportation traffic centers.
  • In Tokyo, existing chapels were used as teaching centers, and when distance from a chapel rendered that option unfeasible, offices were rented with the intent to use them for the same purpose and as branch meetinghouses. In outlying areas, missionary apartments were to be used as teaching centers as well as branch meeting-houses.
  • Missionaries were no longer to waste their time tracting [going door to door]. They were instead instructed to use the major traffic centers as a resource pool, and make street contacts through a variety of cheap tricks, the most popular being to offer English lessons and tutoring (imagine a 19-year-old farm boy tutoring someone in English…).
  • Missionaries were to target teens, young adults, and needy types in their street contacting. These were “easy marks.” They were to take advantage of a certain Japanese reluctance to directly disagree or contradict in face-to-face interaction, and were given techniques on how to establish an easy rapport and how to get the “mark” to constantly agree with the missionary. A pattern was developed so that the missionary could steer the conversation and control it. Then the missionary would get the “mark” to agree (easy by that time) to go with him/her and talk briefly about Something Very Important.
  • The missionaries were to MAKE CONTACT AND NOT LOSE IT. They were to bring the “mark” to whatever teaching center had been designated and begin indoctrination immediately.
  • The six missionary discussions were rewritten and condensed into six five- to ten-minute presentations. It was dramatized and made very charismatic. Missionaries were advised that they could “teach” all six discussions at once “if so directed by the spirit.”
  • Following the mini-discussion presentation, missionaries were instructed to challenge the “mark” to baptism, immediately.
  • If the “mark” accepted, missionaries were to contact their zone leaders and schedule a baptismal interview. Zone leaders were never more than ten or fifteen minutes away by train.
  • Apartments/teaching centers/meeting-houses were all equipped with makeshift “baptismal fonts.” If the “mark” accepted and passed the “interview” (who would not? almost nobody failed it!), the “mark’ was loaned a white jumsuit or shift, and baptism immediately followed the six lessons and interview, witnessed by the Zone Leaders. Confirmation followed, again witnessed by the Zone Leaders.
  • The entire process (contact to confirmation) was timed and refined until it was streamlined down to approximately 1.5 HOURS. It could be–and most frequently was–all done at the same time.
  • The missionary was to exchange contact information (address and phone #) with the “new member,” give them a Book of Mormon, and give them a small map showing them where church services were held, times, etc.
  • The contact was “allowed” to depart.
  • New baptism statistics were posted weekly in the mission newsletter, to increase the level of competition among the missionaries.
  • Missionaries were required to meet regularly for “mutual encouragement” meetings (rah-rah sessions). Zone or All-Mission Conferences were scheduled to raise the excitement level even further and sustain it at fever pitch.
  • Never let up on the pressure to perform.

Another man who served in the same mission writes:

These are deep wounds, and I am touched and saddened to see how vivid the memories are for some of us.

A few additional details. Regarding the Groberg/Kikuchi model, the basic premise was a relentless focus on sheer numbers. If one in 100 (?) who hear the lessons are baptised and one in three (?) converts remain active, then teaching 300 lessons produces one active members. It follows that teaching 30,000 lessons must result in 100 active members. This quantitative logic is all that matters, since no individual human is valuable enough as a mere child of God to warrant personal attention. The rule, effectively, was to dump Japanese in the waters of baptism and then let the Lord sort them out.

Manipulative techniques. I should add … that not all of these practices came directly from Groberg and Kikuchi; a lot were innovations by missionaries who functioned under intense pressure. The leaders retrospectively claim that they did not know some of these things were happening–and that may be true, though I think there was, and still is, a lot of intentional ignorance.

With that caveat, we were taught to teach only young people, ideally men between 18 and 22, because they baptized the fastest. We were explicitly ordered not to teach families because they took too much time; and I know of one instance in which a companionship was punished for insisting on teaching a family. The entire lesson plan was condensed into one hour, and during that hour each missionary was to shake hands with the investigator at least ten times. This worked because Japanese don’t normally shake hands and the sudden, repetitive physical contact tended to facilitate persuasion. During that hour we were also to speak frequently in broken English, saying things like “berry, berry goodo” because that made the investigator feel like he was engaged in an English language conversation. Finally, once the baptism was done we were ordered to see each convert a maximum of one time, since it was now the members’ responsibility to develop and maintain a human connection. Friendships between missionaries and Japanese converts were virtually proscribed.

Of course, the missionaries were manipulated with equal cynicism and zeal. Status and approval were based on the number of baptisms a person could perform. This gave an advantage to the charismatic, strong personalities at the expense of quieter, often more sensitive and spiritual missionaries. The former rose fast through the hierarchy, becoming zone leaders and APs while the less forceful characters were continually condemned as inadequate, a disappointment to God, because they did not produce enough. Nor did personal “worthiness” matter. Missionaries turned to their old vices to let off steam; and if the leadership found out about their chemical or other indiscretions, the consequence was a demotion followed–assuming that the requisite number of baptisms was achieved–by immediate promotion back into the ranks of the godly. There was thus very little connection between the moral and ethical codes of our childhood congregations and the definition of success in the mission field.

So what happened as a result of all of this? Baptisms skyrocketed for a couple of years, until Groberg was replaced and some of his senior missionaries excommunicated for things that he had not wanted to see. The Church then tried to turn back the clock, but the prominent comedian Takeshi Beat made “accept baptism!” routines a staple of late night television and Japanese people, for various reasons, lost much of their interest in American culture and religion. As the rate of new baptisms fell through the 1980s and 1990s, one or two mission presidents tried to resurrect parts of the Groberg system but, frankly, the moment had passed and there was no Kikuchi to provide support.

Meanwhile, the missionaries returned to their home communities having been through hell. These were the years of Spencer Kimball, when “every young man must go on a mission and he will like it,” so our families and friends could not comprehend the stories we had to tell. We were shunned, avoided by members who were uncomfortable with us and in many instances condemned by local leaders who thought that we must surely be to blame for our pain. After all, the Lord’s Church could not possibly have done what we described. Some missionaries and their families complained to apostles–I am aware of two such conversations by friends’ parents–so it is pretty clear that SLC knew the depth and breadth of the problem. But rather than reaching out to help the missionaries or, at the very least, warning bishops and other leaders of the difficulties the RMs were bringing home, the brothren in SLC swept the whole thing under the rug, leaving the isolated and traumatized missionaries to work through the social ostracization, self-condemnation, and disillusionment in solitude.

Even today we cannot share these stories with Mormon friends. The truth is that the one thing the religion can never forgive–other than diety’s intransident decision, contrary to the urging of his prophets, to create a certain percentage of his children gay–is the arrogance of those who dare to have been harmed by the Church. It would be inconvenient and embarrassing, after all, to ask leaders to admit mistakes…

Let the Lord sort it out.

Another missionary describes how President Groberg “bullied, forced, coerced, threatened and at times, even blackmailed missionaries to perform ‘miracles.'” I used to say that it’s impossible to be too cynical about the LDS church, but this shocked even a hardened cynic like me. The words of another survivor of that mission sum things up for me: “I came home feeling robbed of spiritual nature of the experience, having been reduced to nothing more than a salesman with daily and weekly quotas that I couldn’t possibly live up to.” (For more recollections of missionaries from that era, see this discussion.)

I’d like to think that such practices are behind the church, but I suspect they aren’t. Similar methods were used in the England Manchester Mission in the 1990s. It’s a fair bet that it’s still going on, most likely in areas where the church has recently begun missionary work, such as Eastern Europe and Africa.

Advertisements

16 Responses to More on the Mormon Missionary Numbers Game

  1. I served a mission in the early 80’s in Brazil and this post resonated with me too. As soon as we arrived in Brazil almost everything we’d learned in the MTC was thrown out… and we were instructed in the “more effective” local methods.

    Since “the field was white,” meaning there was a greater interest in our message at the time we didn’t have to undertake the same deceptive means to get investigators that you did. There were a lot of people who would talk to us. We just had to become more aggressive at baptizing those with whom we met. We were told to challenge to baptism in the first discussion and drop them if they wouldn’t. We were made to feel guilty and unproductive if we met with someone for a 2nd discussion who hadn’t already committed to baptism.

    From there we sped through a week or two of the six discussions during which they were supposed to attend church at least once, but that was more often than not just going to church on the day of their baptism.

    And then we as missionaries were supposed to move on to baptize the next group… the relationships we’d built in such a short period of time became irrelevant as we were just baptizing machines. Monthly baptismal numbers were posted in the monthly mission newsletter. It was like what you’d see on a sales board. The majority of the monthly numbers were in the low teens with a handful in single digits and another handful with 20+ baptisms for the month.

    It was all a very “the ends justify the means” sort of environment. People who thrive is such a culture tend to be real $^&holes.

    • runtu says:

      That’s exactly what it was like in my mission in Bolivia (also in the early-to-mid 80s). I look back on it and wonder how I could have thrown my integrity to the side like that.

  2. Anon E Mouse says:

    Runtu,
    The same high speed baptismal practice was the norm under Pres. Bruno Scmeil in the Brazil Campinas Mission for most of his tenure. Campinas was the highest baptizing mission in the world at the time.

    It didn’t matter what you did as a missionary as long as you baptized. The “good” missionaries and those destined for leadership were those who baptized. An average day consisted of playing video games at the mall until the evening when the traffic in front of the chapel was highest. Then baptizing 8-10 a night. People whose only contact with the church was that self same 45 minute discussion mish mash.

    Made for some serious cog-dis when combined with the letter we received in the MTC telling us that the 1st presidency requires all members to have received the 6 discussions, have attended church at least once, and to be introduced to the bishop.

    But we were told that we had a special dispensation to do it differently.

  3. Scott says:

    I deeply, deeply regret my missionary “service.” It was all a big push for numbers, using questionable coercion tactics to emotionally manipulate fragile people. Hamburg, Germany ’87-’89

  4. pollypinks says:

    Does anyone see a correlation with inactive converts within say, a six month or so period of time, when they really comprehend what is to be expected of them by the church? Because I’ve heard my whole heartedly active father talk about this problem repeatedly. About not telling converts the whole nine yards, and then facing inactivity within a few months.

  5. Anon E Mouse says:

    Most of those folks we baptized in Brazil probably what church they had just joined the next day…… forget about 6 months later.

  6. […] coining the epithet “Limbaugh-like”, but personally, I’d thought that the whole “fastest growing church” claim had already entered the realm of “I don’t remember that we teach that, hey […]

  7. Carlo Caroli says:

    I was the very first Italian born missionary to be sent to both the US and Canada back in the period of 1978-80. I was first called to the Nashville Tennessee Mission and then , thanks to the arrogance of Russell Ballard, transferred to the Toronto Canada Mission, in the dead of Winter and sick with bronchitis. We had a mission president in the Nashville Tennessee Mission, that was also very arrogant and everything depended on numbers of baptisms. I also felt like a salesman. To make a long story short. I returned to Italy for about 10 yrs, to regain my senses. The last months of my mission, I was truly depressed and felt very sick emotionally. The church authorities I contacted after my mission to let them know all the suffering they had caused me, told me that it was not of their business and left to deal with all the pain by myself. The happiest day of my life, was when I finally left this so called “Only true church”. I know your pain all you former LDS Missionaries. I feel, I am linked to all of you, spiritually and emotionally.

  8. Alan Holyoak says:

    Hi —

    I was a missionary in the Japan Tokyo South Mission during the heart of “The Groberg Era” (Dec 1978-Nov 1980). Let me toss in a couple of personal experiences and observations.

    1) I am neither a JTSM or Pres Groberg apologist, but some of the information stated above does not mesh with my personal experience.

    2) As far as the lessons went…I was deeply grateful to see the mission move away from the memorized “rainbow discussions” in use throughout most of the Church at the time. The modified lessons, which covered the same principles as the old lessons, allowed us do teach gospel principles in our own words and with our own experiences the same way that “Preach My Gospel” does today. I thought this was a huge leap forward.

    3) I never heard anything about the whole shaking hands multiple times thing. I have no idea where you got that.

    4) We were instructed to introduce ourselves to new contacts (we never referred to them and I never thought of them as “marks”). Introducing ourselves only makes sense, because anyone would wonder who we were and why we were there.

    5) There was pressure to baptize, yes. We called our daily numbers in to our zone leaders each night and received any new updates and instruction at that time. I have to admit that I had what I’d consider overzealous ZLs from time to time, but I dismissed them mainly as such.

    6) While we were encouraged to extend invitations for baptism whenever we felt prompted, I never had a one-day baptism, and having re-read my mission journals recently never recall even hearing of one. My memory is that investigators were required to attend Church prior to being baptized, though I know that in some cases a first attendance and baptism occasionally happened on the same day.

    7) As for teaching mainly 18-22 yr olds. That’s true, but we were never forbidden from teaching families or anyone else…it’s just so hard to find families to teach in Japan. College and even HS-aged individuals were much more willing to take time to talk and often to take the discussions. After all, we needed to find people to teach. That’s the same challenge for missionaries world-wide.

    8) As for missionaries and former “chemical habits” I was never aware of any missionaries engaging in anything like that (remember, I was there). Could it have happened? Sure. Did it happen? I can’t say, but like I said I never heard anything. After all, if you take any group of 200 19-21 year olds there will always be a few idiots in the mix. And I know some were there, but I never heard or saw anything like you suggested happened.

    9) I reviewed my mission records recently and saw that there were several baptisms that happened in less than a week, most happened in a couple of weeks, some that happened in a few months, and even a few where people had been investigating for a few years. The one-day baptism never happened for me, though some did in as short as 3 days (including a Sunday, as mentioned above).

    I believe, at least according to my own experience, that much of the information stated in the article above paints the mission during the “Groberg Era” in the blackest way possible. Frankly I never heard much derision about the mission nor was I made to feel anything other than positive about my experience there until, get this, I joined the JTSM Facebook page. I still know that I did my best to “Do it right.” No apologies, no regrets.

    Thanks for listening.

    • runtu says:

      Obviously, I was not there and am going only by what I’ve read and what was confirmed to me by another missionary from that era. As I said, I would normally be quite skeptical of the claims in the original article, but that someone who was there confirmed them made me comfortable in posting what I did. I would agree that the article I cited was probably not meant to support Groberg, though I have no idea if it was intended to paint him in the blackest way possible. I take you at your word that you didn’t see any of that, but I also must accept that the other missionary who commented did see that.

      • Alan Holyoak says:

        Hi — Nameless, faceless sources don’t carry much weight with me, but as a web journalist I understand why you may not want to divulge names. But now, nearly 35 years after the fact I’d still be interested to know what/who your source is.

        Best,

        Alan Holyoak

    • Douglas Schiffman says:

      Alan,

      I was also in the Japan Tokyo South Mission. I served in Japan from April 1979 to February 1981 and although we never served in the same zones, I do remember your name and I do remember meeting you on one or two occasions through casual introductions during breaks in, perhaps, mission conferences. As I read your response, I found myself reading statements that I have repeated many times to those who have believed strange rumors regarding what occurred during our few brief years in Japan. I agree with and support every statement you wrote. As evidence to your account, I am copying to my reply a statement that I made on May 17, 2011, on another blog that seemed to ask serious questions about what occurred during our mission. The statement I made on May 17, 2011, was the first, and to date, only public remark I have made on my mission experiences. This reply is now my second. I am comfortable with what I wrote then and I stand by my comments today. My statement is as follows:

      “I know this comment is not in direct reply to the immediate thread; however, it refers to comments made earlier regarding the Groberg era of missionary service in the Japan Tokyo South Mission. For years I have refrained from commenting with respect to this topic. I have refrained from commenting because I have felt that it would be a waste of my time to articulate the truth. I find many generalizations are made of the Groberg era and usually they are made from hearsay or from outright ignorance and lies. There are a few Mormon bashing websites where this topic is thoroughly discussed and most of what is said is comical. Frankly, if you did not serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission during that time period you have no idea what happened. Because I was one of those missionaries who served under President Groberg from early 1979 to early 1981, I saw from start to finish the spike in baptisms that were performed. Yes, it is true there was great pressure to baptize and it is true that many elders saw the statistic as more meaningful than the convert, yet, to generalize and say that all missionaries fell among that category and that what occurred during that time period was, in effect, a black mark on the church is a falsehood, a misconception, and is wrong. Among those elders can be found tremendous stories of faith, diligence and hard work. I still have dear friendships with members I baptized during that time that have remained active and hold leadership positions in the church in their respective wards and stakes. As for how President Groberg handled his stewardship, that is between him and the Lord. The purpose of my writing this comment is not to make any attempt to defend his methods or disqualify them, it is only to state that much of what occurred in the Japan Tokyo South Mission occurred because of hard work, diligence and faith. Personally, I know of no instance of where an investigator was baptized before being taught all of the lessons and were properly interviewed. Did abuse of the system occur? I’m sure some did. Was it the norm? No! Were there elders who lost track of the concept that we were there to plant a testimony and convert the investigator? Sure. But there were many who just plain worked their butt off and never forgot what it meant to be a missionary!

      Now, as to a comment I made earlier, it goes without saying that the pressure to baptize was extreme and President Groberg implemented various rules to keep the elders focused on this goal. There were some elders that were crushed under this pressure. There were some elders who lost focus of the individual versus the number. But there were just as many who didn’t and they also experienced great success. I believe some of those elders who were crushed under the pressure left the mission, fell away from the church, and have circulated many lies about what occurred. That is unfortunate. I also believe there are some elders that look back on that time and have regrets over how they handled certain situations. But, I believe that the majority of the elders that served under President Groberg look back at that time and have fond memories of the work they performed and the success that they had and are not ashamed of anything that they did because they know the truth of what happened and they know that they were part of something extraordinary.

      In conclusion, I have written in generalities, not specifics; and lest you paint me into the corner of one of President Groberg’s mindless robots that “threw candy into the font and watched the kiddies jump in after it and called it a baptism” elder — which, by the way, never happened! — you have already misjudged me. During the time I served under President Groberg, I often struggled with some of the pressure to baptize that was applied on me as a missionary; and as I have held leadership positions in the church I have always remembered my experience as a missionary for a guiding principle of what can happen when too much pressure is applied to achieve a seemingly worthwhile goal. On the other hand, as I was a missionary serving under President Groberg I also learned that I was capable of doing some extraordinary things if I worked hard and never gave up. That is a lesson that has proved useful to me everyday since I have returned home and I am eternally grateful that I learned it in the Japan Tokyo South Mission.”

      Alan, as I conclude this reply, I, like you, sign my name to this statement; and I, like you, have no regrets over what I did as a missionary in Japan; and finally, I, like you, I give no apologies. It is unfortunate that so many are willing to provide half-truths while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.

      Thank you for entertaining my reply.

      Douglas Schiffman
      Japan Tokyo South Mission
      February 1979 – February 1981
      Areas served (in chronological order):
      Meguro, Ofuna, Oizumigakuen, Ochanomizu, Meguro, Gotanda

      • Carlo Caroli says:

        Hello Doug. How I envy you for serving in super beautiful Japan. I was born and raised in Italy and while living in Canada, was sent to the Nashville, Tennessee Mission…June ’78-80 with a detour of 8 months up to the Toronto, Canada Mission…Now you tell me what a true blue and red Italian had any business in Tennessee……LOL…..CRAZY…if you ask me. I wish I knew then what I know now about this “game” we call life…..It would have been a much better experience for me. I met so many people before, during and after my mission. Most were decent human beings, although some were devils in disguise….if you know what I mean…After I left the LDS Church, at age 30…..I discovered that really there is good and bad to be found in all kinds of places.

        I have found so many wonderful people while within the LDS Church, but also many sobs……that had no heart or feelings whatsoever, especially from the Leadership……Was shocking to me at the time, but not anymore.

        I still believe in God and try to make the Lord the center of my life, however, I have also discovered that you do not need to belong to any given church to be a good, decent and honest human being.

        Best of luck to you. A hug…..Carlo

      • Mike Archer says:

        So I have read many interesting comments from so called missionaries who primarily are no longer affiliated with the LDS and are unable to state facts backed up by their names. It was my privilege to serve under Pres. Groberg from Jan.79 to Jan.81 and my name is Roger Michael Archer. Elder Schiffman I opened Oizumigakuen with Elder Harl in Nov.79. I wish I could say I remember you but I think Elder Holyoak and I served in Hibarigaoka together but I could be wrong. I support both of your statements of your experiences there. As for statements of pressure or abuse, I experienced neither. We’re there high expectations, yes. We’re we expected to obey, yes. We were there to find, teach and baptize using the spirit as our guide. Teaching the restoration, the plan of salvation, the commandments and accepting Christ as our Savior and Redeemer through following His example and being baptized and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I came into my mission having never read the BofM and in need of a stronger testimony and to learn humility. I had a mission full of spiritual experiences where I saw lives changed,both missionaries and the people of Japan. I worked and labored to the best of my ability, I strived to be a worthy vessel of the Lord whom I represented. We’re we perfect, no! Did I ever hear of any improper activities among my peers, no! I do not believe the Lord would have touched as many souls as He did if we had not been worthy of such blessings, nor were my encounters which Pres. Groberg anything but uplifting and faith promoting. I was there almost his entire time or I should say the bulk of his service, I helped translate the all missionary conference in Oct. of 1980, where all the missionaries in Japan were, I also helped with the open house and translation of the Tokyo Temple and Area Conference. It was a great conclusion to a great mission. I was in Pres. Grobergs home on Jan.2nd 1980 with my whole group celebrating a great month of success and looking back on a mission full of testimony building experiences as I went home 2 days later. I cannot judge Pres. Groberg or any one else for that matter, that is up to the Lord. But it was and has been my experience that a unhappy missionary is one that was neither obedient or humble or willing to work hard. Finally, as for the the unnamed stated experiences, I saw,heard nor experienced none of them. I am so grateful to have served in the Tokyo South Mission with the other 200 missionaries under the stewardship of D H Groberg and for all that was accomplished there. The rest I leave to the Lord.

  9. scottlambson says:

    I was a groberg missionary. I really don’t like seeing all the negative posts about him. He did the best he could. He had a brother who had been very successful mission president and he had a lot of pressure to live up to his brothers and his fathers legacy.
    I do remember the heavy emphasis on numbers and on setting very high baptismal goals. But a lot of the stuff I read about his mission either isn’t true or didn’t happen on my watch. I was a missionary under him for about a year.
    I think we were more successful in street contacting because it was very hard to get into homes knocking door to door.
    And yes, the easiest people to baptise were young adults. And more sisters than brothers.
    I didn’t leave my mission with any hard feelings against groberg. I have very fond memories of my time in Japan and I’ve never lost my love for the Japanese people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: