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Out of Africa — a New York Times story about Mormon missionaries

Published April 13, 2012 5:06 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Many Mormons will be delighted by the story about Mormon missionaries in Uganda in Friday's New York Times. It is a fair representation of the LDS system that sends more than 50,000 young people into the world to win converts for the Utah-based church. It profiles a handful of these proselytizers, their responses to the strict rules and their interactions with would-be members. It mentions these young Mormons' idealism, sacrifice and religious motivations – and even mentions the dreaded "Dear John" letter.The piece, written by Josh Kron, calls these two-year stints, "Study Abroad, Mormon Style."But some might wonder about a couple of the descriptions.For example, Kron says that a missionary's first companion (or assigned preaching partner) is "called 'father,' and the second is called 'mother.' " He also says that those who can't complete their missions are "trunking," or "antsy to go home."Kron isn't the only writer to describe the real-life experience of Mormons in Uganda, the setting for the satirical "Book of Mormon" musical.In 2010, The Salt Lake Tribune took a look at what the the LDS Church was doing in that country, including its missionary success and humanitarian work.That story never mentions "trunking," or, as Mormons typically say, "being trunky."Peggy Fletcher Stack