I caught this story today about Mormon missionaries being called to serve their missions fielding questions via online chats at the MTC. My first thought was, “Wow! That makes Oklahoma seem pretty exotic.” Then I wondered just how easy it is to chat with a missionary. Turns out, the website is fairly accessible, but the service sucks…(see below). Has anyone else taken advantage of this new feature on www.mormon.org? And if you could corner a Mormon missionary, what is the one question you would want to ask them?
I tried out the service this morning. Apparently they are only online after about 8:00 am Mountain time, as I couldn’t get a representative of the Lord before then (I’m on Eastern time). At the top of the chat screen it says, “You are speaking live with Nathan, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Information provided in this session is to provide assistance only and is not an official statement of the Church.”
Prof: Hi Nathan.
Nathan: Hi Prof, how are you doing?
Prof: Pretty good.
Prof: How about you?
Nathan: I’m great thanks!
Prof: I have a question for you.
Nathan: What do you hope to gain from your chat here today?
Prof: I’m wondering about the LDS Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Prof: Why does the LDS Church oppose same-sex marriage?
(No response for about 5 minutes.)
Prof: Um, am I allowed to ask that?
(Several minutes later…)
Nathan: Yes, you are.
Nathan: This article has the answer.
Nathan: If you click on the link it will open the webpage so you can read it.
(about five minutes pass…)
Prof: Did you send the link?
Prof: I don’t see it…
(1 1/2 hours pass while I wait for an answer and do other things, like feed and change my 2 week old son)
(I finally close the window figuring Nathan is chasing “Golden Contact” tail elsewhere on the inter-tubes…)
If I were anyone else, I’d be turned off by the lack of attention. God’s representative Nathan gets an F for customer service. Also, just so you’re aware, you can’t copy and paste the text from the conversation. I’m guessing this is to prevent people from getting a missionary to say something stupid and then spreading it around the internet. Finally, they use BYU’s servers for this: rc1.mtc.byu.edu. I thought that was kind of interesting…