The Mormon Missionary : Who Is That Knocking at My Door?
BYU Studies Quarterly
Brigham Young University
Robert L. Lively Jr., dean emeritus at the University of Maine at Farmington, is the author of the 2015 book The Mormon Missionary: Who Is That Knocking at My Door? Lively conceived this book after inviting missionaries to visit his religion classes and realizing that a non-Mormon had never written a book that tells the story of Latter-day Saint missionaries. His research involved over 275 interviews with past, present, and future missionaries, including individuals who served in every decade since the 1930s, in the United States and forty-seven countries around the world. The LDS Church was very supportive of his project, which enabled him to interview Church officials in Salt Lake City, including President Gordon B. Hinckley, as well as mission presidents, stake presidents, and local congregational leaders. He also had the rare opportunity of visiting Missionary Training Centers in Utah and England, where he conducted interviews with missionaries in training and with MTC presidents and their staff. This article is a series of excerpts from his book.