Since the Salt Lake Tribune just had an article about this I figure I should weigh in my 2 cents on the subject. When I was a missionary, I didn’t get one of these because my girlfriend had the decency to dump me before I left. When a culture turns something like a Dear John letter into a commonly used verb, you know that it occurs way too often. Also who are these brainless missionaries that actually think that their girlfriends will be there when they get back. You left and your girlfriend went to college. College! So I really only see 1 of 2 things happening. Either she’s gonna bang someone, in which case she’s not a good Mormon. Or, she’s going to plan to bang someone (in other words get engaged). Either way, she’s gone. Heaven help the missionary whose GF is going to BYU. That place is designed, not for higher education, but to sexually frustrate Mormon twenty-somethings to the point that they will get married just so they can have sex. Plus at BYU you’ve got nothing but returned missionaries who were probably Dear Johned themselves. Talk about someone who really doesn’t give a shit when a girl says she’s dating a missionary. All of a sudden he becomes like Reese from Terminator. He realizes the past is the future and he must pursue this girl because if he hadn’t been Dear Johned he would have never met her, and the Dear John she writes will continue the time loop. My point is the whole Dear John thing is a little silly. It’s not like this is WWI and all these kids have is a picture of their sweetie to get them through their long nights of fear in the trenches.
I say all Mormon missionaries should be required to break up with anyone they’re dating before they leave. If she feels like waiting around for you she will. Otherwise it’s just a waste of ink.