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This podcast is dedicated to helping missionaries who return home early and to helping those who care about them. Click on an episode below to listen and learn more. You can also find this podcast on any major podcasting platform.

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Episode 35: Josie shares her story of coming home early after 15 months due to stress, anxiety, and panic attacks, and going through a faith crisis

In this episode, Josie shares her story of coming home early after 15 months due to stress, anxiety, and panic attacks that increased in severity. Gospel activities triggered large amounts of anxiety for her, leaving her scared and confused, and she began to abandon the truths she had always held dear. The gospel began to fuel her anxiety rather than soothe it. Through this trial, Josie is better able to help others who question their faith or leave the Church. Her testimony is stronger for having gone through her faith crisis, but she understands what it’s like to be on the margins of Church culture.

Episode 34: Tyler talks about his journey of intense anxiety, leaving the church, and returning to full activity

Tyler came home early due to intense anxiety and panic attacks after serving in the Spokane Washington Mission for 3 months. He actually loved being out on his mission, but his mind would not let him be stable. The experience of returning home early challenged his relationship with God and he left the church for a short time. He tells me that it was easier to think that God wasn’t real at all. He has since returned to full activity and he talks to me about what happened to get him to where he is now–happy and even more deeply committed to the Lord.

Episode 33: Ruby shares her journey of returning home early due to extreme depression, self-harm, and suicidal thinking

Ruby began struggling right from the get-go on her mission during at-at home MTC (due to COVID-19 restrictions). Her struggle soon turned into extreme depression and shortly after arriving in the field, she began to self-harm . She recalls feeling temporary relief upon cutting herself, but then felt guilt and like she wasn’t worthy and had failed God and her assignment as a missionary by self-harming. The depression continued though and soon she found herself making a suicide plan. She was sent home and felt like there was something irreparably broken inside of her upon returning home early. She felt abandoned by God and seriously considered leaving the Church. Her suicidal thinking and planning continued too upon returning home. In this raw interview, Ruby shares her pain and struggles openly, but also discusses how she has continuously overcome the worst of her depression and why she wants to live even though the pain is still there. She also shares poignant testimony of why she has chosen to stay in the Church and how she has deepened her relationship with her Heavenly Parents through this trial.

Episode 32: Jacob shares his story of returning home early due to belated confession

Jacob had always wanted to serve a mission, but due to some mistakes made before he left, he was unworthy to go. He lied to himself constantly to convince himself that he was okay, which led to him serving for 9 months before the guilt became too much and he had a powerful experience that helped him to seek repentance. Upon returning home, he intended to repent and return to his mission, but life began happening again and he soon found himself committing the same sins. It wasn’t until after a few more turning points that Jacob was finally able to forsake his sins, fully repent, and eventually return to his mission.

Episode 31: Elizabeth discusses returning home early due to OCD Scrupulosity and creating

In this episode, Elizabeth shares her struggle with OCD scrupulosity, which she describes best as “perfectionism.” On her mission, Elizabeth was very focused on always doing things right (which caused her to constantly feel that she was doing things wrong.) This confusion led to her being very rigid and upset with her companions. She also felt unworthy to be a missionary because she wasn’t perfect. After five months, she went home and began unpacking what had happened. As her healing began, she came to accept the Atonement and let it into her heart rather than feeling like its healing powers were something she had to earn. She tells me about why she created and what it has to offer early-returned missionaries as a resource website. Elizabeth is inspiring and if anyone is seeking to heal from OCD or perfectionism, listen to this episode and let the healing begin.

Episode 30: Drew Young, author of the new book “The Meaning of Your Mission: Lessons and Principles to Know You Are Enough,” shares with me his experience of returning home early from the MTC due to mental health struggles.

Drew Young, author of the new book “The Meaning of Your Mission: Lessons and Principles to Know You Are Enough,” shares with me his experience of returning home early from the MTC due to mental health struggles. He walks me through his journey of navigating years of lonely nights and suicidal thoughts to ultimately writing his book and sharing his story, and what he learned from it, with the world. Join me in listening to Drew as he discusses principles such as progress vs. perfection, exact obedience vs. obedience, the reasons we need to be careful about prying into people’s trials, and the anatomy of a mission call. Drew is an uplifting and engaging speaker who seeks to help others understand their greater missions in life and how our trials help us become who we are meant to be.

Episode 29: Lizzy tells her story of returning home early due to a dizziness that never stopped

In this episode, Lizzy shares her story of returning home early due to a dizziness that never stopped. Many people around her thought that anxiety was the cause of the dizziness and she struggled to find someone who would listen to her and give her the help she needed. After two and a half years, she finally received a diagnosis and was able to get the surgery she needed and begin the path to physical healing. She shares with me the anger and frustration she felt at others, herself, and God during this time, but also the peace and comfort she received along the way and how she is now able to move forward with forgiveness.

Episode 28: Rian shares her story of returning home early due to toxic perfectionism

In this episode, Rian shares with me her story of returning home early due to toxic perfectionism, something that she didn’t realize she struggled with until she was on her mission and her usual coping mechanisms were gone. She suffered from physical and mental symptoms of the perfectionism such as stomach aches, anxiety, and panic attacks. She often felt like a failure while on her mission and eventually realized she needed to return home to get the help she needed. Although she felt broken upon returning home early, Rian has learned a lot about managing her perfectionism and shares openly the tools she has learned and gained, mainly through therapy. She also shares how her faith has increased through this trial, how she has gained empathy and understanding for others. and how she now looks back on this trial of returning home early as a sacred personal experience.

Episode 27: McKenzie discusses returning home early due to anxiety and homesickness

McKenzie has struggled with anxiety for most of her life, but when the prompting came to serve a mission, she faithfully accepted the call to serve. While she loved several parts of missionary work, she continued to struggle with anxiety and often felt overwhelmed and tired. She struggled to sleep for five months and her mental and physical health took a toll before she decided to return home early. She came home to supportive parents and leaders and a little more than a year later is doing very well and is able to look at her mission experience healthily. She particularly talks about overcoming discouragement from the adversary and what she leans on when days are hard. Her thoughts will benefit any returned missionary (early or otherwise) who is struggling with anxiety or discouragement about his or her mission experience.

Episode 26: Bob and Elaine discuss, as parents, the effects of our culture on missionaries who return home early

In this episode, Bob and Elaine share their journey of navigating the culture of our Church that still surrounds missionaries who come home early as they experienced it with their son, who needed to return home early from the MTC. Their son was told terrible things about what would happen to him if he returned home early and Bob and Elaine had their work cut out for him in trying to undo the damage of the effects of cultural opinions about their son’s struggles and need to return home early. They dove into research provided by Dr. Kris Doty-Yells and have since prepared a presentation based on their experiences with our culture that they have presented at local levels and at church headquarters. Bob and Elaine are full of compassion towards missionaries who need to return home early and hope to some day see the culture and stigma change and want to do whatever they can to help change it.

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