An op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Friday highlighted American Idol pop star David Archuleta’s announcement that he plans to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Allison Pond, an associate editor for the Deseret News, gives insight into the merits of serving as a Mormon missionary — having served as a missionary herself in Russia. She points out that, as with most of the young men and women who choose to serve, Mr. Archuleta will likely experience a change in his daily routine:
He'll trade a life of stardom for the rigor of waking up at 6:30 every morning, studying scripture for a couple of hours, then working 10-hour days teaching interested people in their homes and taking on other community-service projects before falling into bed exhausted.
Pond also writes that beyond a robust and fulfilling daily schedule, missionaries experience positive personal transformations while serving others:
The most important converts to Mormonism might be the missionaries themselves. Studies indicate that returned missionaries maintain strong levels of religious activity, with more than 80% attending services each week and paying tithes to the church. Returned missionaries also tend to have high educational levels and marriage rates.
Because of his time in the spotlight, David Archuleta may already be more grown up than the average 21-year-old, but a mission will challenge even him. It will put him in the company of hundreds of thousands who, by the end of their missions, have firsthand experience with the biblical injunction to lose their lives and thereby find them.
There are currently more than 52,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world.
Read the fullWall Street Journal article here.