First of all, I should say that I'm not an active member of the LDS church, although I was baptized..
Anyway, Hubby's family is LDS -- and quite active.
The good thing about the church is the experience of going on a mission. My nephew is currently in South Africa. He's a white boy from suburban BNstate -- went to college at BYU, in a state that manages to be even whiter than BNstate. He's a typical 19 year old kid -- who is now seeing some of the worst poverty and living in an area where they have real concerns about their apartment being broken into while they're gone.
Being a misionary is very different from doing a study abroad. He's paired up with South African missionaries and working with families who aren't like him. He'll do it for 18 months. One of his recent converts confessed to him that he used to be a leader of the anti-Mormon group in his hometown... other converts have litte more than the spirit of God in their hearts....but, they share meals with the missionaries.
I really think he'll come home a changed person.... and, while I liked the person who left, I think I'll really like the person who comes home. I think this experience will make his spirit grow -- it will challenge him and reward him like no other year of college experience could. Sure, he'll have the missionary glow about him, but he'll also have seen a very different culture from the inside. Say what you will about the church, or religion in general, I think this is an amazing result -- and I'm all for it.