Who are Mormon Missionaries
Who are the Mormon Missionaries
and what are they doing?
You may have seen them walking two by two down the street or biking in dark suits and ties. They are the Mormon Missionaries, young men and women who devote eighteen months to two years of their life to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through living prophets. These young people put schooling, dating, and careers on hold because they know that the message they share is important for the whole world to hear. Some facts about Mormon Missionaries:
- They pay their own way, or get help from family and friends
- Men are called Elders and women Sisters. These are titles not names.
- They work six days a week from 9:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. spreading their message
- They can only call home twice a year: on Mother’s Day and Christmas
- There are over 55,000 missionaries in 165 countries
- Many must learn a foreign language
A Day in the Life:
Mormon missionaries are expected to wake up every morning at 6:30 A.M. After they get ready they study the Gospel together and privately while praying for guidance to help share their message with the people they live among. After breakfast they leave their apartment at 9:30 A.M. and they work until 9:30 P.M, breaking only for lunch and dinner. During the day they may go door to door looking for people to teach the Gospel to, or they may preach in a public place if they can. They visit people they have made appointments with and teach them lessons about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the evenings they try to have lots of appointments with individuals and especially with families, because the Mormon Church believes that families should embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ together.
After a long day of working, biking or walking around town (or driving if they are lucky), the tired Missionaries return home and plan for the following day. They do this six days a week, even Sundays. They only get one day off a week, called a Preparation Day, to do laundry, shopping, and have fun by playing appropriate games with other missionaries. Missionaries also spend several hours a week doing community service wherever they live.
How did they become a Mormon Missionary?
While some people think that Mormon Missionaries must be highly trained, they are not. Unlike many Churches, the Mormon Church does not have paid ministers or clergy. Missionaries often save up for years or get help from others to pay the money to go. Before they come to your area, they have undergone only a few weeks of training at one of 17 Missionary Training Centers around the world where they most likely practiced speaking to strangers about the Gospel or studied the language of the people they were going to serve. Beyond that, most of them have been going to Church for years and learned about the Gospel in Sunday School or other Church meetings. They may not know everything there is to know about the scriptures, but they have powerful testimonies of the truthfulness of their message.
To go on a mission, a young man at least 19 or a young woman at least 21 submits their name to their Bishop, the local leader, indicating they want to serve. They are interviewed to make sure they are keeping the commandments and have a true testimony of Jesus Christ and His living prophets, and then the name is submitted to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. There Mormon Church leaders pray over the names and the needs of the Church in various areas. The missionaries are then assigned to “Missions” where they will serve. Women typically serve for eighteen months and men serve for twenty-four months.
After they receive their “call” to one of these missions, the new missionary goes to a Missionary Training Center where they study the Gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching methods, and the language of the people they are going to live among. They usually only stay in this training center for a few weeks. After leaving for their area of service, they are assigned a companion. All Mormon Missionaries travel two by two just as the Lord directed his Apostles:
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7).
Learn more Missionary Training Centers
Learn more about Senior Missionaries
Learn more about Elder/Sister
Learn more about Mormon Humanitarian Missionaries
Learn more about Missions and Missionary Structure