Friday, December 30, 2011

The Wall Street Journal: "From American Idol to Mormon Missionary"

Our blog has recounted the stories of Sid Going and Will Hopoate, two young athletes who interrupted promising rugby careers to serve missions. Now, American Idol runner-up David Archuleta recently announced that he will leave his music career behind for two years while he serves a mission for the Church. The video of his announcement is posted below. He has not announced whether he has already received his call or where he is going. Who knows, maybe he'll end up in Oklahoma City with Elliot.

Today's Wall Street Journal has a good op-ed piece on David's decision to serve a mission. Written by Allison Pond, herself a former missionary who served in Rostov-na-donu, Russia, the op-ed describes the experience of being a missionary:
For Mr. Archuleta, age 21, life is about to change considerably. 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. He'll also join the ranks of other prominent Mormons who have served missions, including Mitt Romney (France) and Jon Huntsman (Taiwan), Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (Spain), and actors Aaron Eckhart (Switzerland) and Jon Heder (Japan). 
Missionaries serve on their own dime, swearing off dating, entertainment and even most Internet activity. There is relatively little direct supervision; they have at once rigid structure and significant autonomy. They work in pairs, reporting weekly in writing to a mission president, an older man called to serve a three-year stint.
Sister Pond concludes her piece with a perspective on David's preparation for his mission and the experience that's in store for him:
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. 
The full op-ed can be found here, and a related story from the Church website can be found here.

David will undoubtedly be a great missionary wherever he serves. We'll keep track of this story and see where he is assigned.

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