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    Ryan McIlvain tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the experience of having to go door-to-door as a Mormon missionary

    "It’s nerve-wracking. It can be emotionally very taxing, especially when those doors close again and again and again. It starts to mount. I personally tried not to be too apologetic, but at the same time, I never wanted to be that missionary who was too in your face, and my experience as a missionary and knowing a number of missionaries is that they tend not to be too pushy — I hope. But yeah, you tell yourself that the message you have to bring is an altruistic one. There’s no kickback, there’s no financial incentive for a missionary to be doing this, and so I told myself that I was going to be kind of annoying people for a good cause in the same way I told myself that I was going to be annoying people for a good cause when I went canvassing for Obama — and I think that’s what helped you withstand all those doors in your faces."

    Photo credit: Brinn Willis

  2. Ryan McIlvain

    Elders

    Fresh Air

    Missionary

    Mormonism

  1. I was a doubter almost as soon as I became aware of what I believed. I became aware at maybe 13, 14 that I’d been drafted onto this team called Mormonism that was distinct from the Catholicism that was the norm where I grew up in Massachusetts. And I started to become aware of those differences, and instantly I was doubting them, at first privately and then, by the time I was in my late teens, quite vocally. But some of the people who were very close to me — my parents, certain friends in my congregation, or ward, as it’s called — their example meant a lot to me, and I thought, ‘What do they know that I don’t know?’ So the mission for me became a chance for me to make a large commitment, commensurate to the large amount of grace I felt I needed in order to believe what seemed, on the face of it, unbelievable things.

    — Ryan McIlvain tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross how his mission to Brazil became a way of convincing himself of his own faith

  2. Ryan McIlvain

    Elders

    Mormonism

    Faith

    Fresh Air

    Interviews

  1. They’ve come to the conclusion that [his campaign] needs to find a way to talk about what his faith means to him without talking about the individual tenets. And what’d they like to do — and I know what they’re talking about doing — is talk about how as a church leader, he helped people who were disadvantaged, that this was the way this very, very wealthy man heading a private equity company in Boston was able to meet with people who might have been poor or disadvantage in various ways as a church leader.

    — Michael Kranish on the role of Rommey’s faith in the campaign

  2. Mitt Romney

    Mormonism

    2012 election