Daniel Enters The Missionary Training Center

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

We took Daniel to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) today. All the family came along so we needed two vehicles. Daniel had his parents, siblings, in-laws, and nephew to say good-bye to him at the MTC. Well, Bryson didn’t say anything, he was asleep. In the photograph above, taken by a passing missionary at the entrance to the MTC, are (left to right): Derek holding Bryson, Sarah, Jake, Daniel, Rick, Jill, Adelaide, Steven, and Paul.

But first we took some photographs at home and then headed for the California Pizza Kitchen in Provo. This was our last meal with Daniel so of course I took some more photographs. We entered the MTC on time and Daniel received his missionary badge. We took our last photographs before entering the chapel where taking pictures is off-limits.

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

We began by singing Called To Serve and having a prayer by one of the new missionaries. A counselor conducted, telling us that couple missionaries arrive at the MTC on Mondays and elders and sisters on Wednesdays. He told the parents of a few rules, specifically to not to try and visit your missionary. No chalk messages on the sidewalk, and don’t try to “accidentally” run into your missionary in the Provo temple. He advised that we keep our letters to our missionary upbeat, don’t tell him you’ve given his car and his room away. At least not all in one letter.

Sister Boone, wife of the mission president, spoke next. She told the new missionaries that your role is to invite others to Come Unto Christ. There will be a lot of changes for the missionaries. Changes in walking, talking, thinking, and dressing. We have 800 instructors, all of them returned missionaries that have been carefully selected so that you get the best teaching. We have a lot of volunteers that you get to practice teaching to. They pose as Christian and non-Christian investigators. Our 56 Branch Presidencies will look after you as you are:

…faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:20)

President Joseph Boone began by saying that missions should start at 16 because:

  • They know everything.
  • Their mothers would not cry when they left.

Daniel's missionary badge

Daniel's missionary badge

He cautioned missionaries not to be offended by our repetition. Imagine if the Prophet Joseph had said, “Now Moroni, you’ve already told me that twice.” Elders and Sisters you need to be careful.

President Monson has said that whatever you write home your mothers will read it all in Relief Society. President Boone wanted to put a plug in for missionary work so he warned about the three sins of senior couples: Sins of Omission, Commission, and No Mission.

He mentioned that the most significant publication of the Church in the last 50 years was Preach My Gospel. He said he liked the giant mural that is on a wall at Church Headquarters that depicts Christ before his apostles saying:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

We continue that commission. Now, after the movie “Called To Serve” I recommend that you say your goodbyes like removing a band-aid — do it quickly.

And so we did. After a few hugs Daniel was gone and we left to go home. In the parking lot we discovered that one of my sons had left the keys in the van ignition. Jill went to get some help in opening the van. Oliver Nielsen of the BYU Police came to our rescue. It took him about fifteen minutes to trip the door latch and we were on our way. A big thank you to Brother Nielsen from all of us! And wherever you are resting tonight Elder Willoughby, sleep well, for tomorrow they are going to work you to death.

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer

Rickety signature


  1. Donna, too much church I guess. I think this rating program needs to be fixed, it’s acting just like the one that is used for movies, ie. completely useless.

  2. Donna Gotlib says

    I can’t believe that YOU got an “R” rating too! WOW!

  3. That name tag looks like it should be chiseled in a stone.

  4. It’ll probably take Daniel a week to figure out what his badge says.

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