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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I just received an email from a former missionary with whom I served in the New York Rochester Mission. They’re planning a mission reunion for the summer of 2009 in Huntsville, Utah. We haven’t had a reunion in years, but this presents me with a quandary: should I attend a mission reunion?

On the one hand, it would be interesting to catch up with old friends, and I could also use it as an excuse to visit family in the area. On the other hand, I can only imagine the potential for uncomfortable situations.

Elder Blake, would you offer a prayer on our refreshments?

me: Well, you see, it’s like this.…

Should I go and hope it never comes up? :roll: Would it even be worth the risk of spoiling the event for everyone? I guess I have a long time to think about it.

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  1. Stephen Merino said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    You have to decide whether the inevitable awkwardness would be worth getting to see old friends and reliving old memories. What exactly would you tell them, anyway? That you go to church but don’t believe in it? Anyway, you decide how much you tell them. You could probably get by without saying anything. On the other hand, you may feel compelled to disclose the truth about your relationship with the church.

    I can certainly sympathize. It would be tough for me to decide whether to go to something like that. It’s not like I’m great friends with any of them, or it would be easier. Our entire relationship was built around a common commitment to missionary work. It may be tough to interact with them now, depending on where they are with their church activity and so on.

  2. chandelle said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

    i guess it depends on your intentions and how much you’re willing to reveal/discuss when you become the inevitable topic of conversation.

    on the other hand, it could be awesome. my husband’s reunion was last year. we’d left the church just a few weeks before and he decided not to go. but there were a bunch of mass emails circulating amongst the RMs in the group, people reconnecting. the day after conference there were a lot of emails about how wonderful it was, blah blah blah. one email, however, was a little bit strange. it was from a companion that jeremy barely remembered, and it was a list of ways that conference could be made more interesting: passing around a gigantic blow-up beach ball, doing the wave, lining up the GA’s for limbo, and so forth. we looked at each other with an expression of, huh? seemed a little…irreverent. so we wondered, and jeremy sent the guy an email, and sure enough, he had written the email from starbucks, where he was sipping his grande latte and feeling generally lackadaisical about the whole church thing. since then he and my husband have had many chats and emails passed back and forth about the church and jeremy has had an opportunity to provide support while this guy goes through his transition. pretty awesome.

  3. BEEHIVE said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

    I say go! Be proud of who you’ve become. I’m sure you were happy in your mission, so why not share your current joy. Besides, you don’t have to give them intimate details. You can always get there late and leave early as to avoid any “blessings”

  4. Jonathan Blake said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 2:02 pm


    I’m not obligated to tell them anything, but if anyone asked an honest question or a gospel discussion started up, I would have a hard time ducking the question. I suck at being evasive.


    That’s an awesome story. Maybe leaving the church grants me the equivalent of gaydar for ex-Mormons. Perhaps I’ll have a good laugh with any other brave soul willing to show up. :)


    It’s true that I’m proud of who I’ve become, but I try to keep it on the DL (does anyone say that anymore?) when I’m in Mormon settings out of respect. I really wouldn’t want to become a spectacle to distract from everyone’s enjoyment.

  5. Matt said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    DL means “discussion list” for me but down-low is so much cooler.

    Personally, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable hanging with the RM crowd. It was fun while it lasted but now that it’s over reunions are strictly for reliving the past, which I would not want to do. There would be nothing but akwardness there and I’d have an insanely difficult time not letting it show.

  6. Lacey said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    I say we go to Disneyland instead.

  7. Jana said,

    May 13, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

    If you want to go, go. If you get asked to pray, I’ve found a simple, “I prefer not to” to be a great reply (the Bartleby approach).

  8. Seth R. said,

    May 14, 2008 @ 6:58 am

    It’s your personal history too – just as much as theirs. You have as much right to be there as the believers do.

    I don’t go to mission reunions – or high school reunions – or any reunions at all actually. Not really my thing.

  9. Jonathan Blake said,

    May 14, 2008 @ 10:45 am


    I’d rather go to an awkward mission reunion than Disneyland. I must be getting old ’cause just the thought of it makes me tired.


    See that’s why I suck at evasiveness. This isn’t a roundabout compliment to me. I wish I could answer that simply, but I lose all personal borders when people ask questions. I think I have a compulsion for answering questions (except about other people’s secrets). I’ll have to make “I prefer not to” a personal mantra.


    I’m not big on reunions either, but this one intrigues me. I think my mission involved more bonding over just being young guys who spend a lot of time together. It would be interesting to see how they’re doing, though if they all had blogs I’d be even happier.

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