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.