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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:11 pm 
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I was reading The Mormon Hierarchy:Extensions of Power and came across this little nugget. Quinn references an article in the 2 June edition of Church News titled "Computers Aid Church" and refers to use of computers by the Missionary Department. According to Quinn (pg 872):

Quote:
Due to massive increase of missionaries, computers have assigned Mormons to their full-time missions since church-wide computerization in 1970. First Presidency has neither oversight nor review of mission calls. Special Committee (LDS bureaucrats and one or two general authorities) reviews computer print-outs of proposed missionary calls and occasionally changes some mission assignments. Signature machine signs church president's name to letter informing LDS missionaries of their assignments.


Anyone have additional confirmation on this? This is certainly a different process than most missionaries believe contributes to their mission calls!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:45 pm 
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God works in mysterious ways. Ever read about Quantum Tunneling? It is the process where electrons are transported through the photovoltaics of chloroplasts.

I'm guessing God changes some electrons here and there to make sure the call is inspired :wink: . Or maybe the church is much more practical than it lets on.

Sweet!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:14 pm 
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It makes 100% sense to me.

In 2007 I believe there were 52,000 missionaries out. Based on a 2 year mission that means over 70 mission calls every day.

When I was called, I had images of the prophet kneeling with his counselors, and praying for me specifically, and where I was to go, then patiently waiting for an answer. I figured it took at least 5 minutes?

So 70 times 5 minutes is almost 6 hours. That is an awful lot of praying and waiting for answers, day in and day out. Basically it would mean that they would do little else than pray for missionary calls. Obviously they aren't doing that. I can't imagine that it is anything BUT assigned by computer, so that the church knows exactly where there are openings, and where there are needs.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:18 pm 
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MormonQuestioner wrote:
Obviously they aren't doing that. I can't imagine that it is anything BUT assigned by computer, so that the church knows exactly where there are openings, and where there are needs.


I would like to see those algorithms. That would actually be a really cool project. Call it "conversion optimization algorithms." I could really get into that, if only I'd stuck it out in my computer science classes.

I'm wondering what the optimal distribution would be and how it would change over time?

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Agitatrs r a set o intefering, medling people, who come down t som perfctly contnted clas o the comunty n sow th seeds o discntent amngst them. Tht is th reason y agitators r so abslutly necsry. Witout thm thre wud b no advnce toward civlisation O. Wilde


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:22 pm 
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If this is true, I'm offended. Slightly. I served my mission in 2003-2005, and we were told over and over that "apostles of the Lord assigned you to your specific mission."

I was so sure that, being half hispanic and not knowing spanish, I'd get sent to a place where I'd get to learn and speak spanish. I wasn't. English only. At the time I thought "well maybe the lord has other plans for me :( " but if a damned computer chose where I was going to spend two years of my life??

:evil: :evil: :evil:

My NOM-leaning brother is being pushed by my parents to serve a mission. I'll make sure he knows about this...

Actually, maybe mission calls are given by apostles after all.....
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Last edited by desertfox on Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:40 pm 
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I always thought the whole thing was a crock. It made no sense that they'd waste time like that. I've always assumed it was random assignment or computerized.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:48 pm 
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OMG, they are the same model but with different colored ties? How did I never notice!

:lol:

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Agitatrs r a set o intefering, medling people, who come down t som perfctly contnted clas o the comunty n sow th seeds o discntent amngst them. Tht is th reason y agitators r so abslutly necsry. Witout thm thre wud b no advnce toward civlisation O. Wilde


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 pm 
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desertfox wrote:
If this is true, I'm offended. I served my mission in 2003-2005, and we were told over and over that "apostles of the Lord assigned you to your specific mission."

I was so sure that, being half hispanic and not knowing spanish, I'd get sent to a place where I'd get to learn and speak spanish. I wasn't. English only. At the time I thought "well maybe the lord has other plans for me :( " but if a damned computer chose where I was going to spend two years of my life??


In thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense to use a computer. With so many mission calls to make and over 300 missions to make sure are continuously staffed with missionaries who are also constantly leaving every 4-6 weeks, etc., it would probably be a nearly impossible job without a computer. It is also consistent with the church's change in rhetoric, stating that a person is "called to be a missionary of Jesus Christ, and assigned to a mission." I think people would think about mission calls differently, however, if they knew they were assigned to their missions by a computer. Finding out their mission was assigned by a computer is like finding out that your new name in the temple is simply the assigned name of the day, rather than some inspired name pronounced with great personal meaning (such as your name in the pre-existence), and that all your friends and family that came with you that day, to whom you are commanded to never reveal your new name, already know it.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:39 pm 
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I'd rather have a computer choose where someone should go than have it based on someone's whim.

I'm sure the computer takes into account all the important data like language knowledge, need in areas, past experience, leadership, etc., and can make a better decision than a group of men likely to forget important factors in a subjective decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:42 pm 
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I know how hard this is for you, especially with your own mission assignment and how inspired you felt it was. I have to have faith that God can work through computers; otherwise, I am not sure how I will make it through the residency match in a few years!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:09 pm 
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While my older brother was in the LTM (he went to Japan in the 70s) he and some other missionaries put two calls up together and held them to the light.
The prophet's so-called signature was a spot-on match.
Back in the 70s the call's signatures were merely print-outs and not actual signatures.
I know they still imply that the calls are signed by the actual prophet even though that hasn't been the case for 30+ years.

Kimball, Benson and others were in frail health the last year or two of their lives and were by no means actually signing anything.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:38 pm 
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I knew that the signatures were made with an autopen. I didn't know that computers assign locations which are then glanced at by an authority. The apostles still tell the story that the mission assigning experience is the most spiritual part of their work.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:43 am 
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It was Steve Benson, grandson of ETB, who first blew the lid on the auto pen stuff. This makes me even MORE peeved at the MorCorp! :evil: :twisted:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:21 am 
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I know for the fact that the Church uses geographic information systems to rearrange ward, stake, and mission boundaries. The selection of Bishops and Stake Presidents is pretty much computerized as well (if it wasn't, they wouldn't let the lowly Area 70s call new SPs). I'm pretty sure mission callings are done the same way, and the algorithm would be pretty easy to write. That would explain why 5 YM in our ward over the course of 3 years all received call's to the same mission in Utah. It appears to me that one of the parts of the algorithm then is capacity planning.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:40 am 
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When I was in the LTM during the late 1970's we were told that even our LTM companion assignments were based on prayerful consideration by the LTM presidency and were inspired. I noted that in every group I checked in our dormitory that companions seem to have been matched alphabetically by surname, which made me skeptical of much of what I was told about the roots of policy in the LTM and the church. I actually had to contact an attorney to get the people in the LTM mail room to give me my mail since there was a discrepancy between my legal name and my blessing name / church records. SIGH.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:42 am 
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Spicy McHaggis wrote:
While my older brother was in the LTM (he went to Japan in the 70s) he and some other missionaries put two calls up together and held them to the light.
The prophet's so-called signature was a spot-on match.
Back in the 70s the call's signatures were merely print-outs and not actual signatures.
I know they still imply that the calls are signed by the actual prophet even though that hasn't been the case for 30+ years.

Kimball, Benson and others were in frail health the last year or two of their lives and were by no means actually signing anything.


They started using a signature machine, I believe in about 1970. It may have actually been before that the DOM was afflicted with dementia.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:57 am 
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I remember coming accross some where that John Dehlin worked on a computer program for the LDS church that helped select GA's. Can some one confirm this?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:21 am 
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MisterCurie, do you have a year for the DesNews quote?

Quote:
Quinn references an article in the 2 June edition of Church News titled "Computers Aid Church"


Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:23 am 
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This makes perfect sense to me. My guess is they have some data they input.

where you live
your father's mission (I've seen too many called to their father's mission that it can't be a coincidence)
languages you speak
national heritage
intelligence level (some sort of arbitrary ranking based on college attendance or the bishop's input)
worthiness level (again some sort of arbitrary ranking based on bishop's recommendation)
physical endurance

Throw that in an optimizer that makes sure no one mission gets all the idiots but that the smartest ones generally go to the toughest languages, etc.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:45 am 
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sumarutsuasu wrote:
This makes perfect sense to me. My guess is they have some data they input.

where you live
your father's mission (I've seen too many called to their father's mission that it can't be a coincidence)
languages you speak
national heritage
intelligence level (some sort of arbitrary ranking based on college attendance or the bishop's input)
worthiness level (again some sort of arbitrary ranking based on bishop's recommendation)
physical endurance

Throw that in an optimizer that makes sure no one mission gets all the idiots but that the smartest ones generally go to the toughest languages, etc.


Ge whats that say about me? I was sent to surfer country Southern California Dude!

your father's mission He didnt go on a mission
languages you speak None =)
national heritage USA
intelligence level No college at the time
worthiness level fail my SP didnt like my answeres during the SP interview and told me to go home to think over my answeres. I came back the next day and told him again that i was a vergin. Aparently my bishop was going threw apostisy at the time and the SP didnt think the bishop was doing a good enough job at screening missionarys. Sucks to get caught in the middle of something like that.
physical endurance can run 3 miles under 17 min


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