Missionary Practical Jokes

So Eric, were you ever convicted of a federal offense on your mission?

Convicted? No. Never convicted.

I was in the midst of training a new missionary, and one morning was taking a shower, minding my own business. All of a sudden my greeny came into the bathroom and dumped a large bowl of ice cubes into the tub. I was faced with a quick decision. Either jump out of the tub wet and naked to my companion’s laughter, or stay in the tub like a martyr and finish my shower ankle deep in ice cubes. I took the martyr route.
As I finished my preparations for the morning I began wondering how I might get back at this whipper-snapper. I looked around, and saw his bottle of scope mouthwash sitting on a shelf right next to my bottle of Mennen after-shave. I observed that they were exactly the same color. Hmmmm. I dumped out a significant portion of his mouthwash and replaced it with the after shave. And waited.

Sure enough when he was about done getting ready the sure sign of gagging, yelling and spitting could be heard. Next to a golf ball hitting the bottom of the cup after a putt, or the net snapping after a jump shot, this was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

The game was on.

Over the next couple of weeks a practical joke war waged in our apartment. Most of them have since been forgotten. I am a little competitive, and I was determined not to lose. News of transfers came and I was going to be headed out. Then I got an idea. A wonderful idea. T terribly, horribly, wonderful idea. I would temporarily transfer his mail.

It was perfect. There was a stake missionary who lived not far away, I could forward it to him. I would just pick up two mail transfer forms. One for me and one for him. A forged signature, and victory would be mine. I admit to having a spiritually guilty feeling as I was doing this. Something like ‘DON’T’, or something. I don’t know, it was to good not to go through with. So I did it.

Time went on, and I had mostly forgotten about the whole thing. A few months later I bumped into my trainee at a zone conference. I came up to him all smiles, ‘hi, how ya doin?’ He did not seem at all pleased to see me.

‘You don’t know how lucky you are Nielson’, he said something in his expression – resentment or anger. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked, really not knowing what he was talking about.

He told me that I had forwarded his mail without telling anybody, and that it was a federal offense. When he went to the post office to get things straightened out they asked him if he wanted to press charges. Wouldn’t that have been something? He could have ‘won’ big time. But he didn’t.

I don’t know what would have happened if he had pressed charges. Post office people tend to take this stuff seriously sometimes don’t they? Could I have been sent home? Or to jail? A large fine? All three? Yikes. I consider this the dumbest thing I did on my mission. Elder Howell, if you are out there somewhere, I’m sorry for the whole mail thing. And thanks for not turning me in.

So if anyone asks me if I was ever convicted of a federal offense on my mission I can say:

Convicted? No. Never convicted.

There is another dumb missionary story about somebody else that I tell here.

9 Responses to “Missionary Practical Jokes”

  1. 1 Naiah Earhart April 18, 2006 at 1:36 am

    Oh man! Yikes! Yeah, that was pretty dumb. Kudos to the greenie for not turning you in. I sure hope that publishing this publicly doesn’t leave you open for prosecution! You better check on the statute of limitations on such an offense. We’ve got about a ton of lawyers in the ‘nacle–somebody chime in! We can’t let them cart Eric away! 😛

  2. 2 Eric Nielson April 18, 2006 at 8:33 am

    Yeah, pretty dumb indeed. This happened almost 20 years ago now. Hopefully I’m safe.

  3. 3 Bradley April 18, 2006 at 9:30 am

    Thanks for the chuckle. Normally I wouldn’t advocate illegal pranks, but this one seems pretty harmless. I interviewed someone for a job once who had to answer “yes” to the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Since this was a student position at BYU, I assumed he was joking when he said yes. I found out months later that he was serious. He and a friend had blown up a mailbox. Hard to believe that is a felony, but that is what he told me.

  4. 4 annegb April 18, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    I know this is morbid, but my first thought was about the missionary who murdered his companion.

  5. 5 Eric Nielson April 18, 2006 at 2:33 pm


    Yeah, like I said, I guess the post office takes things like this pretty seriously. No sense of humor!


    Wow. That is morbid. Annegb, I am not that missionary.

  6. 6 Brett April 19, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    The worst practicle joke that occurred regularly in my mission was in my third area. It’s a rough part of Tijuana. Lots of cholos. One of our neighbors was an ex-cholo and a member of the church. The missionaries took advantage of our cholo/member neigbor on unsuspecting transfers into the area. They would tell the cholo/member when they were bringing in the new missionary home. While the Elder was unpacking the cholo/member would bust in the house with an unloaded gun and hold up the missionaries. He would start asking for money,watches, clothes, and such. It scared the hell out of every single Elder. But at the end most everyone had a good laugh about it and took their picture with the cholo/member, gun and all. Notice how I said most had a good laugh. One elder was so scared so much that he wanted to go home. I was companions with this guy later on and he told me how it was the worst experience in his life. All he thought the entire time “I’m going to die in Tijuana without seeing my family ever again.” The MP caught word of the joke, and the Elders the perpetrated it were sent home immediately. You might be asking “What happened to the cholo/member neighbor?” About a year later he was runnig from the police after stabing his pregnant girlfriend. And to think that elders were letting this guy hold them up with a real gun! Missionaries can be dumb. Real dumb.

  7. 7 annegb April 20, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    But it is kind of funny. I’m laughing,but I feel conflicted about it. The laughing, I mean.

  8. 8 Eric Nielson April 20, 2006 at 2:35 pm


    Holy cow! Sometimes this stuff can seem so harmless at first.

  9. 9 Chadwick December 23, 2012 at 12:23 am

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