The Mormon Newsroom has released a brief statement admitting that in some parts of the world requiring Mormon missionaries to wear their trademark suits is impractical, and in response, the Church is removing a suit requirement in 108 missions around the world – 27 percent of the total number of missions. None of them are in Russia.
Interestingly, the rationale behind the decision is officially couched in economics:
To reduce the financial burden on missionaries and their families, elders who are called to serve in missions identified by the Church as having hot climates will no longer be required to purchase or wear suit coats. Missionaries called to serve in these missions will be notified in their call packets.
This is actually compelling. Nowhere is there a statement of, “It’s absurdly hot and humid and suits aren’t even for sale in the countries in question, so we thought it best to let the missionaries blend in with the locals and also be more comfortable, even if that might be a slight ding to the classic ‘missionary’ visual brand.”
So now, these missionaries will live the weaker faith. They probably even drink water on fast Sunday to “stay healthy” in “adverse weather conditions” or some sort of nonsense like that.
The missions in question are, unsurprisingly, located primarily in steamier climes. Presumably, a number of homegrown missionaries serve in these regions, as well, hence the desire to decrease the financial burden on the missionaries in question. (I’m sure serving in McAllen Texas is no picnic either when it comes to weather – heck, or Houston – but we don’t see it on the list.)
If I can throw in a personal plug, it was pretty hot throughout much of my mission in Spain and we had suits, though I suppose unlike these largely tropical missions in question, we actually needed to bundle up during the winter. However, in the summer, we were only required to wear suits to church and any mission meetings. What was your mission suit policy?
To recap, in a matter of a week we have bowed to the US government on same-sex marriage and mother nature/GINI coefficient with respect to missionary attire. What’s next, only grass-fed cows supplying the BYU Creamery?
The change has zero effect on sister missionaries, except Diane Keaton impersonators.