Mormonism, formally called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church, is a Christian religion that dates to the 19th century. Mormons have a worldwide missions network of more than 55,000 fueled by the expectation that young Mormon men -- and some women -- will fulfill a two-year mission project in a church-assigned location. Because there are so many missionaries on the ground, it can be difficult to deter them from showing up at your door.
Ask who is at your doorstep when you hear a knock. Mormon missionaries will identify themselves as LDS missionaries. When they do, look out your peephole to verify that you see two neatly groomed young people wearing dark business clothing, white shirts and black name tags. Each missionary should also have a bicycle and Book of Mormon in tow. If you do not wish to open the door for any reason, ask them to leave. They should leave.
Step outside of your home to address the missionaries rather than welcoming them into your home. Invitations inside tend to result in intensified proselytizing.
Firmly state that you have no interest in joining the faith, and take down their names. Tell them that you do not authorize any Mormon missionaries to visit your home or otherwise contact. Generally LDS missionaries are friendly and amiable -- and will leave at your request as they are required to do. Do not feel obligated to explain, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, use the excuse of belonging to another faith group.
Thank the missionaries for stopping by, but reassert that you do not give permission for any Mormon missionaries to contact you or visit your home. Send them on their way.
Find the number for your local Mormon ward in the "churches" section of your yellow pages. Provide your name and address to the receptionist, as well as the names of the missionaries that visited you.
Explain to the receptionist that you do not authorize any Mormon missionaries to visit your home or contact you in any way. Ask that your information and request be forwarded to the missionaries' supervisor, or mission president, right away.
Request the name and email address of the receptionist. When you hang up, send an email that summarizes the conversation you just had. Include all of the information you just gave, and state that you have requested that missionaries "cease and desist" further contact. This establishes a record of what has happened so far. Thank her for her help, but clearly explain that any further contact from a Mormon missionary will be taken as harassment and that you will not hesitate to contact authorities. She will forward the request along and ensure that this does not happen again.
Resist accepting LDS publications or a copy of the Book of Mormon from the missionaries. If you do, they will likely come back to discuss the materials with you.
Do not claim to be a religious seeker of any kind. This will almost certainly result in return visits.
Mormon missionaries know you are not an LDS member because your name is not listed in a local church, or ward, registry. It is unhelpful to falsely claim membership in an effort to throw them off your track.
Avoid hurling insults based on Mormon stereotypes at the missionaries, as it is more effective to remain cordial.
Be wary of home invasions, and feel free not to open your door to strangers. The standard Mormon missionary outfit is not difficult to replicate. If you like, tell them you never open your door to strangers. If the people at your door are being transparent about who they are, this an easy deterrent from repeat visits.
- Encyclopedia of Religion and Society: Mormonism
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Missionary Work
- Deseret News: Number of New LDS Missionaries "Unprecedented," Church Says
- Houston Chronicle: Mormon Missionaries - A Day in the Life
- The Salt Lake Tribune: Mormon Missionary Numbers Keep Rising as Women Close Gap
- Deseret News: LDS Missionary Applications Jump 471 Percent
- PBS.org: The Mormons - The Mission
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Missionary Preparation - Student Manual
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Preach My Gospel - A Guide to Missionary Service
- Bloomberg Businessweek: God's MBAs - Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders
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