Just Pack Up and Leave Already
All the back in 2002, President Hinckley stood up in General Conference and asked us to stop doing two things:
1) No more missionary farewells.
2) No more open houses for departing missionaries.
Apparently, someone forgot to turn the microphone on, because nobody actually heard him say it. But, thanks to the amazing internet, I was able to retrieve the following:
"The departing missionary will be given opportunity to speak in a sacrament meeting for 15 or 20 minutes. But parents and siblings will not be invited to do so. There might be two or more departing missionaries who speak in the same service. The meeting will be entirely in the hands of the bishop and will not be arranged by the family. There will not be special music or anything of that kind."
"We hope also that holding elaborate open houses after the sacrament meeting at which the missionary speaks will not prevail. Members of the family may wish to get together. We have no objection to this. However, we ask that there be no public reception to which large numbers are invited."
Just last weekend I attended a lovely "non-sanctioned" Open House for a great young man that left this week. It had everything you would expect from an Open House - Kirkland Signature Brand Creme Puffs, Kirkland meatballs, and even a nasty Costco carrot sheet cake. Oh, can't forget the slushy punch and the mixed nuts.
In addition, this young man hauled in the cash. Everytime you looked at him, he was sliding an envelope into his jacket pocket. He looked like a congressman. Or a mob boss.
Good food, good friends, good cash-flow. I can't imagine something as puerile as "obedience" getting in the way.
Here's the link the the talk about these things. Gotta love how he makes a special effort to get the moms on board.