LDS Missionaries Teaching English in Korea

GlobalPost recently reported (1 June 2010) on LDS missionary efforts in South Korea. It seems LDS missionaries display placards and pass out fliers offering free English lessons to anyone who wants them. But if there was any fine print on the fliers (which there isn’t), those interested would learn that only those willing to also investigate Mormonism (as potential converts) are welcome.

“Some students have complained that the [English lesson] teaching sessions take on the tone of a pushy time-share pitch.

“’They say “Oh, we can teach English” but the truth is that only if we go to church can we learn English, and we have to believe in their God,’ said Shin Ayeong, 22, who went to a few classes before dropping out.

“Still, the missionaries sent her telephone texts for months, imploring her to return, she said.”

Shin Ayeong dropped the Mormon English lessons on her own, but this is not always the case. GlobalPost reports,

“Every one of the 15 or so private English lessons [the LDS missionaries] teach each week has a religious requirement. Students must show interest in the faith or they’re shown the door.”

Of course, LDS missionaries are free to attach any strings they please in order to qualify students as worthwhile recipients of their service. What bothers the Korean people is the lack of full disclosure regarding the religious requirement for these “free” English lessons. As it is, they feel a bit like victims of a bait-and-switch scheme.

When asked about the Koreans’ perception that the missionaries are engaging in false advertising the Korea Seoul West Mission President replied simply, “You can’t put everything on a billboard.”

And you can’t put everything in a book, or tell it all on a tour. Or so Mormons have told me time and again.

  • At the Carthage Jail Visitors Center: Why doesn’t the tour mention the gun Joseph had and the people he killed? “You can’t tell everything on a 20 minute tour.”
  • About the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church series of “gospel reference books” published by the LDS Church: Why don’t the biographies included in these books mention the plural wives of early LDS prophets: “You can’t fit everything in a 350 page book.”
  • At an LDS Temple open house: Why don’t we tour the washing and anointing areas? “Traffic flow. Please keep moving.”
  • At a Church-produced theatrical portrayal of Joseph Smith delivering the King Follett Discourse: Why were the controversial but central teachings of the King Follett Discourse on the nature of God omitted from this performance? “The full sermon is too long for this setting. We had to be mindful of the time.”

Friends, you can’t put everything on a billboard and the LDS Church unabashedly uses this fact to its advantage. If you are investigating Mormonism, wisdom dictates that you proceed with caution.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

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16 Responses to LDS Missionaries Teaching English in Korea

  1. falcon says:

    Hay Sharon,
    This is Mormonism. Anything to get the folks into the tank. At the root of Mormonism is a spirit of deception. Smith was the prime example of this as to how he got the Mormon gals into the sack with him. Remember, this was the guy who told people he could see into the ground with his magic rock and find buried treasure. He was the guy that told one of his babes that an angel with a sword threatened to kill him if he didn’t start a harem.
    I think it was the Children of God cult that used a technique called “flirty fishing” where by the women used their sexual aplomb to hook young men into the cult. I think they also had the technique of “heavenly deception” or perhaps that was the Moonies.
    None-the-less, Mormonism has a well deserved reputation for being dishonest. That’s why recruits are given only “milk before meat”. It’s all “ends justify the means” routine. My guess it’s the rare individual who gets the whole Mormon story up-front. Who’d even consider this ruse if the truth was made known at the get-go?

  2. mobaby says:

    I have noticed that Mormons do tend to soft pedal quite a bit of their doctrine. I met a salesman the other day who was Mormon – he was sitting in my living room when he disclosed this unprovoked by me. I went on to share the centrality of Christ crucified for our sins as the central message of the scriptures from Old Testament through New Testament – with the OT sacrifices pointing forward to Jesus crucifixion where He took all my sins upon Himself so that I could go to be with God the Father. He nodded and agreed – I just kept hitting that Jesus died for our sins and that this is what brings salvation. He agreed, however, I could sense unease in his agreement – he knew that honestly his beliefs don’t square with the Scriptures, that his understanding of the atonement in no way is focused solely on Christ crucified for our sins. That when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are saying that Christ’s body and blood were given for me, personally. And yet, he still wanted to be seen as no different, as a Christian just like me.
    Some Christians do soft pedal parts of their faith at times (thus the “seeker sensitive” Church model) – but for the most part I have noticed that Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists, etc. put their beliefs out there for all to see. They don’t hide their doctrine.

  3. Mikey_Petey says:

    I served a mission in Japan from 1998 to 2000. We taught free English classes two times a week as a community service.

    The classes were held in church buildings and we would usually put out church flyers at the entrance. Some people took them and some didn’t. Some people asked for more information about our church but most didn’t.

    But we NEVER made it a requirement for people to take the missionary discussions in order to participate in the English classes. We were actually specifically instructed NOT to do that. The purpose of the classes was to provide a community service and any missionary success that came from it was an added bonus. We hoped it would happen, and it sometimes did, but the classes went on either way.

    It seems like in this instance some missionaries are getting carried away. And if the mission president is encouraging this then he should be counseled regarding the importance of service. I am an active Mormon and I don’t agree with them offering free english classes and the making people leave if they don’t take the missionary discussions.

  4. setfree says:

    The Mormon Miracle Pageant ALSO does not show any polygamist wives for Joseph Smith, nor the gun at the jail.

    If you consider what each of these things DO HAVE TIME or space to say, what you realize is that it is always the stuff that is “faith-promoting” that gets to stay “in”, and all the stuff that’s not, that gets the boot.

    Whether or not you agree that Mormon faith-promoting events ought to have only look-good stuff in them, you still ought to wonder, at least, how things in Mormondom would be different, if the non-faith-promoting stuff were, at last, included.

  5. falcon says:

    I know I often reference different sects of the Mormon experience but I think it’s a good way to compare and contrast those who have the Mormon lineage. The Community of Christ has a section on their website dealing with the early history of the Mormon church. They are straight forward in their section regarding guidelines for studying the history of Mormonism. Of course they don’t claim the goofy stuff when Smith really went off the tracks. The same can be said for the Temple Lot. The problem is that SLC Mormonism has a lot to hide that these other groups don’t. They don’t have to defend polygamy, or baptism for the dead, or the man to god doctrine.
    SLC Mormonism must dress their religion up in a way as to not tip-off the prospects. That’s why people get so angry when they discover these things after they’ve signed-up. This same thing can be said of life long members who’ve had the unsavory aspects of Mormonism hidden from them.

  6. setfree says:

    According to Spencer W. Kimball, wouldn’t these be “lies of omission”, and just as bad as real lies?

  7. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Hey falcon…I also am fascinated by the different sects of Josephism. The CoC headquarters is about 10 minutes from where I live. I would say for the mainstream CoCer they really see themselves as another “mainline” Christian denomination (I believe they petitioned for membership in the National Council of Churches). They have very liberal views and most would see the BoM as a work of 19th century fiction! There are several “restorationist” groups that have pulled out and prefer to use the old RLDS nametag and they would groove more to the Joseph Smith story. The mainline group tends to de-emphasize him as much as possible! I have attended ecumenical gatherings at the CoC “Temple” and they could pass for a Presbyterian or Methodist service.

    Actually they let our church (Episcopal) use the CoC Auditorium when our Presiding Bishop came to town for a big celebration. They let us hang a cross from the ceiling and bring in an altar table and celebrate the Eucharist! I have to say on a selfish note it was awesome to sing “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation” to the 113 rank humongous Auditorium pipe organ!

    But in general I see the CoC abandoning alot of the Joseph story…they just might be getting somewhere…Blessings to all!!

  8. Olsen Jim says:

    It is funny that on this and other threads, EVs point out how many of the off-shoots of the church established by Joseph Smith have abandoned the original doctrines and practices of the church.

    Then on another thread, you will claim that there is no way to know which of the LDS-based churches is “the” restored church and which are apostate. I think you answered your own question on this thread.

    There is clearly only one church that fits the BOM description of the church that Christ would restore in the last days- and that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in SLC. (But knowing that description requries one to actually read the BOM).

  9. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Hey Jim…I wouldn’t entirely disagree with you but there are still quite a few here in Independence that would challenge the LDS. The CoC-Temple Lot, the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, the CoC-Elijah Message, and the Restorationist movement that broke from the CoC would all lay claim to being the only true Church with the restored Gospel!!

  10. setfree says:

    and Joe said he could keep a church together 😉

  11. Jay K says:

    Actually, Jim, I’ve prayed about this issue and received a No through prayer that the LDS church is the true church of Christ. From what I was told, I followed the right method.

    And that was before I researched it beyond what the missionaries told me.

    Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that the other LDS sects received prayer-derived revelations that their version of the LDS faith is the true one.

    Now what do we do once we find out that prayerfully discovered answers contradict one another? Hmm…

    Who’s right and why?

  12. Prayer “Is the BoM true, and the CoJCoLDS the true church?”

    Answer “No”

    Bzzzt. Wrong answer, try again.

    Prayer “Is the BoM true, and the CoJCoLDS the true church?”

    Answer “No”

    Bzzzt. Wrong answer, try again.

    Prayer “Is the BoM true, and the CoJCoLDS the true church?”

    Answer “No”

    Bzzzt. Wrong answer, try again.

    Prayer “Is the BoM true, and the CoJCoLDS the true church?”

    Answer “…oh, I give up. Yes”

    Ding! Right answer. Don’t try again.

    …that’s such a stupid diagnostic, I’m amazed that anyone takes it seriously.

  13. falcon says:

    Martin,
    I don’t know what business you’re in but I love the line “….that’s such a stupid diagnostic”. You must either be in the field of medicine or automobile repair.

    OJ,
    Here’s the problem with reading the BoM; you won’t find SLC LDS Mormonism in it. Why don’t you have recruits read D & C and pray if it’s true because that’s where SLC LDS is contained. The BoM “feeling” comes from the communication of Christian evangelical revivalism of which Smith was very familiar. If you want to get a real burning in the bosom go read about the “enlightenment” periods in this country. That’s where there was an out pouring of the Holy Ghost and folks either came to Christ for the first time or repented of their back slidden condition and rededicated their lives to Christ. It was all accompanied by intense emotionalism which, believe it or not, I’m OK with…..as long as it’s legitimate and not manufactured or based on the power of suggestion.
    I’ll tell you what, the falcon will read the BoM and provide, somewhere on this blog site, my running commentary (on it). I’ll tell you what will happen. You’ll read my comments for maybe two days and stop (reading them). Because what I’ll do is take it a part line by line and word by word and research the history, geography, events and theology contained in it.
    Here’s the deal. Mormonism should have a motto, “It’s never enough”. Because that’s the Mormon game in all aspects of their religion. If someone reads the BoM and says they have received no testimony as to its truthfulness, the Mormon response is you weren’t humble enough, you weren’t sincere enough, you didn’t pray, you didn’t pray correctly and finally, read it again, then read it again then read it again………The point is that what Mormons are looking for is someone to get an emotional reaction to the story as a “diagnostic” of it’s truthfulness.

  14. falcon says:

    The recruiting methods of the SLC LDS are being called into question on this thread particularly the use of English lessons to hook Koreans into coming and hearing about the “restored” gospel. I don’t know what methods the other sects of Mormonism use to recruit but my guess is that at some point they point out where Smith went wrong and became a fallen prophet.
    The Mormon “vision” gets really tangled up because of the emphasis on continuous revelation. That’s an approach that lends itself to inconsistency, doctrine reversals, and a whole lot ambiguity.
    How do folks get recruited to join any of the other sects of Mormonism particularly the FLDS which more clearly represents Smith’s latter vision? My guess is they get recruited from the SLC LDS since regular folks wouldn’t go near this bunch, free lessons in English or not.
    Here’s what we know, if someone is given the total Mormon story, they aren’t going to join the Mormon church. The SLC LDS church knows this.
    Evangelical Christianity has a message which is Christ centered and focused on turning from your sins and receiving God’s gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. It’s all about a personal relationship with Christ.
    Mormons have to think of ways to hook people in without revealing what’s behind the door. So how would a presentation of the Mormon “gospel” go if they focused on the Mormon god and who he is and the Mormon Jesus and who he is? That would be a real nonstarter. As-it-is, think of the drop out rate in Mormonism. It’s huge! And most often, the drop outs feel like they’ve been hood-winked, lied to, misled and exploited for the sake of a religion that is run more like a financial profit center than a church.
    The hope in recruiting someone to Mormonism is that they can be seduced bit-by-bit over time to accept the unacceptable.

  15. ROBDizzle says:

    We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. LDS articles of faith http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,F

    I'm mormon and i just wanted to help you get your facts straight since it seems you know little about the mormon faith and that the atonement of Christ is central to our beliefs.

    your welcome 🙂

  16. Reader says:

    A person cannot be saved by obeying God's law. No one is good enough to enter heaven. One's best effort to obey God will never be good enough.

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