Missionaries and Girlfriends:
Taken from a fireside by Vaughn Featherstone

Question: Is it good for a fellow to leave a girl behind?
Answer: Is it good for the sun to shine?

Have you ever heard of mission calls telling all missionaries to get rid of all girlfriends? Do you think that you could be a better missionary if she were there to help you? I think you could. Most of my best missionaries during the three years that I served left a girl behind. You notice that I said "girl" and not "girls." There isn't time for more than one.

Of course the first duty is to the Lord's work, which you have been called to do; second is to your family, and third is to the girlfriend. This you should always remember.

I always interviewed all missionaries as they entered the field and one of the questions I asked was, "Do you have a girlfriend at home?" If the answer was yes, I would say, "Can I have her name and address, and would it be all right if I wrote her a letter?" Of course this would scare the poor fellow to death--then I would bring the color back to his face by telling him I only wanted to write her a letter and tell her how lucky she was to have the opportunity to share this mission for the next 24 months with one of the Lord's chosen servants. If she is faithful, her testimony would become stronger in the gospel because of it... along with a little more advice that I will touch on later.

Young men, do not ask a returned missionary for advice on this subject. For if he has been "jilted," should we say, he's giving out poor advice. Pray about this together, and if you feel that you can do a better job, then go ahead. There's nothing wrong with it. It is better to have support than to go out there wishing that you had it. This is more frustrating than worrying about a "Dear John," and believe me, there won't be one of those right in the beginning. The Lord always answers prayers to those who honor Him.

Have an understanding with your parents so they can encourage her and make your girl happy by showing they have faith in her and love her. Let her parents know your plans, and in most cases they will stand by her when she gets lonely. If you show them respect, as well as the girl, they will be behind you all the way.


Write her once a week or more. You can almost always write two letters a week on P-Days. There is plenty of time if they're not books. Tell her about your mission and experiences, let her live your mission with you through your letters, and send her a snapshot once in a while. Yes, you could let her make a scrapbook for you. Mom is not going to have time and both of them would love that.

Remember that behind every successful man, there is a good woman. So why shouldn't it be good to leave a girlfriend behind if you feel that she is special? Forget that old story of "24 months is a long time." I have known girls to wait two or three years. Also forget the story that you will change a lot. You will only if you make yourself scarce in letters, etc. You will only change in the fact that you will be more mature and have a greater testimony and mind.

Now girls, make sure that you do things that will help you grow along with the missionary. Study the gospel; stay active in the church, pray often--morning,
noon, and night. Watch out for those lonely returned jilted missionaries. You're not in a hurry to get married.

Write happy letters every week. Let him know that you still care. He will be looking for those letters if he is really busy during the week and on P-Days. Yes, you could send him a snapshot of yourself. He would love that. So what if you don't take good pictures--anything will look good to him. You will be busy getting the education you need, perhaps working in and out of the church, maybe learning to sew and all those lovely things, or learning to cook fancy things, but most of all, just learning the basics of life.

If the occasion arises, and you feel as if you want to accept a date now and then, it's okay, but again... Beware of those jilted returned missionaries. They are dynamite. Stay close to your parents.

Oh yes, there isn't any harm in leaving a girlfriend at home, if you're both determined to fulfill the mission together. It will not be the big job you think, but a happy 24 months in both of your lives. When you are both back together again, it won't be long before you are sure of each other because of your pure maturity. I can say these things because it happened to me, and I know of many others who have experienced the same great thing.