This past week we've met with a few different 60-ish-year-old men. One of them is trying to get us into the Chinese medicine business (he says that it'll help us raise money for our missionary work), and another is a retired English professor who's trying to get us to study Jewish history and academic theology (he thinks that'll make us more qualified for our missionary work). They're really quite passionate about their respective fields, and they have good intentions, but they talk so much and listen so little that we haven't been able to explain to them that our missionary program doesn't work that way!
It's got me thinking about how the missionary program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does work, though. Young men get sent out on full-time missions for only two years, and they have to be younger than 25 years old or they're not allowed to go. This by itself means that from an academic perspective, the elders will never be as educated as our professor friend. We're not required to have the same kind of training that some other churches require of their ministers, either. The Book of Mormon says "they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance" (2 Nephi 28:4). We have to rely on the Holy Ghost to make it work, and it does work! And then, once the two years are up, we go home, go back to school, and usually pursue majors and careers that aren't religious! We become engineers, doctors, lawyers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and so on.
From a worldly perspective, it's a really weird way to run a missionary program, eh?