Emily Turner has returned to Quadra Island after serving an 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Turner, who was born and raised on Quadra, spent most of her time away at the Salt Lake City Temple Square mission.
Turner was raised in the church, and decided to go on a mission because her family was brought into the church through the work of missionaries.
“Once I fully understood the teachings of the Church in regards to how to gain happiness in this life,” she said “and that what really made me happy was the Church, then I felt I had to go share with others as that is how my family was brought in.”
She explained that her experience was different from the usual mission in several ways. Salt Lake City is the headquarters for the Church, and in the heart of the city is Temple Square. The main attraction in the Square is the Salt Lake Temple, a granite structure constructed between 1853 and 1893, and sacred to Church members. Nearby are other historical buildings and sites, as well as the Tabernacle, home to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Turner served as a missionary and had many duties, including conducting guided tours and talking to people over the phone and on-line.
There are approximately 180 young women serving on Temple Square, representing 40 languages. They are divided into pairs, called companions. During her time away, Turner worked with 10 different companions, from South Korea, the United States, Switzerland and Somoa.
A typical day started with exercise, followed by two hours of study – one personal, and one hour with her companion. Turner and her companion would then go to Temple Square for three hours and be available for anyone who had questions or wanted a tour. After lunch, they would work in the teaching centre for two hours (calling people, teaching over the phone, receiving calls, or chats from mormon.org) This was followed by another session on Temple Square, dinner, and then a second session in the teaching centre. She also was able to have an outbound experience, where she served in the California Arcadia mission for three months. This time was spent in the more usual way of teaching lessons face to face as well as participating in service projects.
Turner said that her favourite part about doing missionary work was seeing how happy people were when they were being taught, whether that was in a 40-minute tour, or in an ongoing teaching relationship.
While away, Turner felt that she learned “the importance of living the commandments and the gospel – all the little things like praying and going to church – doing it and meaning it.”
She said she gained an understanding that God is a loving Heavenly Father, and that we are all brothers and sisters. She felt it would affect how she reacts to people.
Turner is presently taking some distance education courses, and hopes to go to school full time in January. She plans to study psychology.