Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces new program for young missionaries

Salt Lake Temple. Photo courtesy: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 16, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the expansion of local service missions for young missionary candidates living in the United States and Canada.

The changes will allow those unable to serve proselytizing or teaching mission to serve other types of missions at the discretion of the Church.

A video included with the statement shows one example of a young woman with a hypertensive disorder, who was serving an 18-month service mission at the LDS Humanitarian Center, preparing toothbrushes and grooming supplies for worldwide distribution to people in need.

Other examples provided service missionaries helping the LDS Church with publishing and app support, or serving in leadership positions involving incoming young missionaries.

“Beginning January 2, 2019, all young men and women in the United States and Canada — including those who may not be able to serve a proselytizing mission due to health reasons — will use the same online recommendation process,” the Church statement says.

“They will complete recommendation forms, participate in interviews with their local Church leaders and undergo evaluations by medical professionals. Candidates will then receive a call from the president of the Church to serve either a proselytizing or service mission.

“These expanded opportunities will allow more young people to serve as missionaries in various capacities that meet their personal needs or circumstances.”

The Service Mission program began in 2014 as a pilot program, and will be expanded starting in January.

“They live at home, serve locally, they serve in Church operations or in community functions, says Dale G. Renlund, member of the LDS Church Quorum of the Twelve, in the same video. “Their call will be from the prophet. They will apply, just like every other missionary, to full-time missionary service.”

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All applicants will first be considered for teaching missions, the statement says, but will be assigned service missions in circumstances warrant.

The LDS Church has announced an expanded program of service missions for those the Church finds unable to serve teaching missions. Image: LDS Church video

“Those unable to be called as proselytizing missionaries for physical, mental or emotional reasons may be called as service missionaries,” the statement says. “In some cases, candidates will be honorably excused from any formal missionary service.”

In addition, proselytizing missionaries who must halt their teaching missions may be asked to complete their time as service missionaries. A letter was sent to Church leaders to share these changes.

“Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ will always be the primary purpose of missionary service,” Renlund said, “so the Lord, through His leaders, will call most young people to find, teach and baptize converts. They will be assigned to one of the 407 missions all over the world.”

Those called as service missionaries live at home and serve at Church operations, with nonprofit and charitable community organizations or in other assignments approved by their local Church leaders.

“They make a huge difference,” Renlund said of service missionaries. “They’re dependable, they show up, they do the work. They’re cheerful, they’re positive, they’re enthusiastic. They bring life and energy.”

Additional information is available through the Church website link www.lds.org/service-missionary.

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