How do I tell my parents I don't want to go on an LDS mission.? —Red Shift
This is very hard for me. Both my parents are Mormon and expect me to go on a mission. For years I've been seen as the golden boy of my church and of my family and everyone expects me to go and set an example to those younger than me. My grandparents on both sides are absolutely staunch LDS members and also have these same expectations for me. However, I simply do not believe in my church enough that I could go about for two years trying to convince other people to join it. How do I tell my parents that I do not want to go? I think my mother will be more understanding than my father. If anyone who answers here went on a mission, LDS or otherwise, please tell me if I am missing anything.
A couple of thoughts here, and for background I was raised Mormon and served a mission in Korea, but am no longer LDS. The fact is, there's very little I like or admire about Mormonism now. I think it sucks for families like yours (and mine) where not everyone wants to participate, but the church causes believers to feel hurt when loved ones don't conform.
But, having said that, I have never regretted the time I spent as a missionary. Now granted, I was a total believer at that point, so it didn't cause me any grief to share what I "knew," and the Koreans never really took to Mormonism anyway. And while I was there I did a lot of growing up, made some lifelong friends, learned a language and culture and learned to survive on my own in a relatively safe and controlled environment. Kids can do a lot worse in their first years out of high school.
So I guess my point is you can still choose to go and make the best of it if you see no way out or don't want to make waves. You'll have some good experiences, and you'll be a lot better off mentally than most of the other "elders" who buy into the guilt and power trips that mission leaders lay on. Maybe submit your papers and see where you get called. If it's Bolivia or Cuba or some other dangerous third world country, say no! You can always back out and reapply later.
If, however, you feel you're ready to assert yourself and step off the Mormon assembly line, I think you can best do this by simply delaying. Tell the bishop you're not ready spiritually or whatever. Tell your parents the same thing. And your aunts. And anyone else who asks. Decline to speak about it further. Mormon culture does not teach people to respect personal boundaries, so you might have to get used to just saying no or walking away. You don't owe anyone an explanation. Best of luck to you.