Tip for Helping Missionaries: Donate Good Mattresses

The mattresses in many missionary apartments aren’t exactly chiropractor-approved. In fact, some are pretty old and worn. Missionaries might not know better and may not realize that they should be asking for upgrades, or perhaps upgrades aren’t possible with budget limitations. But the quality of a mattress can have significant implications on the quality of one’s sleep and one’s health, in my opinion. Local members (or anybody else) could be good Samaritans by making sure that local missionaries have high-quality mattresses. A donation of a new or excellent used mattress could be a great blessing for a young man engaged in the tiring and challenging work of missionary service.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

20 thoughts on “Tip for Helping Missionaries: Donate Good Mattresses

  1. Sheesh, we’re making our Elders soft! Why, in my day we went out without purse or script, armed only with our faith. I slept outside and was lucky to do it on a pile of rocks. I was grateful when it didn’t rain. How are these boys gonna grow up when we coddle ’em with these fancy mattresses?

    Actually, I served not that long ago and could’ve used much better mattresses. I have some horror stories, and I can personally testify that a bad mattress really sucks for a hard-working missionary. I knew one and he told me so.

  2. I think it’s great when the members are looking out for the missionaries. When they eat at our home I try to make a point of providing the best of everything we have since they’re the Lord’s servants.
    However… I can’t get over this sense of entitlement that seems to have snuck in among the members. It seems like the picky-consumer attitude that we’re able to have toward competing companies is carrying over toward the how we view the church. I can’t believe the amount of people that complain about garments. And now that the price has dropped, everyone seems to be saying finally! as if it was a chore having to pay for them.
    I would love for missionaries to be treated like royalty, but for them as individuals, I think the bigger the sacrifice the better. I would worry that making an issue about their mattresses could lead to innocent missionaries expecting a whole list off amenities that they currently go without.

    Another example that came to mind, we had missionaries in our ward that decided that in lieu of dinner, they’d specify that they wanted money instead. So our ward supplied them with cash for restaurants and whatever else they spent the money on and these missionaries felt like they were completely entitled to that “dinner money”.

    I don’t think that means they’re selfish or manipulative. I think it’s human nature to take what you believe you’re entitled to, which is my whole point.

  3. “Another example that came to mind, we had missionaries in our ward that decided that in lieu of dinner, they’d specify that they wanted money instead. So our ward supplied them with cash for restaurants and whatever else they spent the money on and these missionaries felt like they were completely entitled to that “dinner money.”

    Outrageous. That essentially kills the purpose of dinner appointments. While the central purpose is food, another extremely important element is building relationships with the members so that members can trust the missionaries with one of their referrals.

    If I were in that ward, either those missionaries would get my home-fixed dinner or I would send them to their apartment to eat one of their one-dollar frozen pizzas.

  4. Missionaries go without so many things that the least we can do for them is to insure that they can get a good nights rest. How is providing them with a decent mattress spoiling them with too much? I really don’t think that will make them go whining on about designer apts. etc. They work hard and should at least have a decent place to lay their head. On that note we rented an apartment to missionaries, we had our ward and the zone leader guys. They never complained, were mostly upbeat and were a true blessing.


  5. John: “Sheesh, we’re making our Elders soft! Why, in my day we went out without purse or script….”

    If I make pick a nit: The correct word is “scrip” (a small satchel or bag), not “script” (the text of a play, broadcast, or movie).

    One of my top five pet peeves.

  6. Yes, Mike, thank you. More of a “typing fast and not thinking” thing than being outright stupid, but good catch.

  7. Believe it or not, I went on a mission. I remember in my first area, there was only 1 bed, and the senior elder (seems repetitive) got the bed, and the junior elder got the couch. The couch was incredibly uncomfortable. One day when we were out tracting (Bob, keep me honest with my spelling) we say an old box spring out on the side of the road in the trash. We carried that thing back to our apt. and that was what I slept on for the rest of my time in that area. One night one of the springs popped through the cover and put a deep cut in my arm, but I was too tired to do anything about. The next morning there was blood all over the box spring, and I still have the scar from that cut to this day.

    I think it should be the responsibility of the mission president to make sure the elders have the basic needs covered. This should not be placed on the members, and the elders often don’t know they are lacking, or don’t have the time/energy to remedy the situation.

  8. Farrah,

    we see similar things in our ward regarding missionary dinners. Some of the requirements of having elders for dinner seem a bit presumptuous. I thought this was an isolated thing, but apparently it happens in other places as well.

  9. Missionaries asking for money instead of food is outrageous – and a youthful mistake that can be corrected with some kind counsel. I’ve never heard of that until today.

    Out here in our Midwest Zion, the missionaries are not at risk of becoming too soft. Some may get lazy, but most are diligent and valiant young men and women that I’m honored to work with. The do without a lot of things and rarely complain. I’ve had to ask and probe sometimes to find out that they were in need of medical care or food or mattresses.

    In the present case, I only learned about the mattress issue when a missionary was asking me about local chiropractors. My probing found that sleeping on poor mattresses was taking a tool in back pain. That detracts from the work. But we still need to find a better mattress. . . .

  10. Hmmm… down in Houston, we have a guy who we call “Mattress Mac.” He runs the biggest furniture around, well, if not the biggest, then the most well-known. He has commercials of his fast talking, “GalleryFurniture savesyoumoneytoday!” I wonder if some mission president could get him to sponsor mattresses for the local missionaries. He’s not LDS, but he’s just a great guy, does tons of charity work.

  11. If missionaries going to a restaurant is for proselyting purposes, I’m all for it. It’s a good way to make contacts. But rather than give the missionaries money, I think a member should actually take the missionaries to a restaurant and eat with them.

    The old rule for dinner appointments with members (it varied by mission) used to be that there was supposed to be a non-member friend of the host present. If not an investigator, then at least a potential investigator.

    In my first area, my bed was a 2″ thick piece of worn out foam rubber over wooden slats that were about 12″ apart.

    Bad bed leads to bad sleep.
    Bad sleep leads to a tired missionary.
    Tired missionaries can’t do as much work as fully rested ones.

    I think acceptable mattresses should be high on the list of what an apartment needs. A Cuisine-art blender and hot-air popcorn popper would be low on the list.

  12. In my mission, it was a rule that we were to buy a good quality mattress if the apartment didn’t have one. It didn’t have to be expensive, but it had to thicker than a piece of plywood, which is basically what a lot of missionaries slept on. When my mission president instituted that rule, we saw a huge improvement in morale as missionaries were getting a good nights sleep and feeling more energized in the morning.

    I am thankful that we were required to sleep on good mattresses. It made a huge difference in how I felt waking up every morning.

  13. Perhaps you could have them serve in the Military for a few months and the mattress issue would be non-event. Those men sleep on the hard ground and go days without showers…and little to eat… Just a thought!

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