One aspect of Mormonism that is widely known and highly visible is its missionary work. From the beginning, missionary work has been an important aspect of the church. Early church members were sent around the world, teaching about the Book of Mormon. The missionary effort continues today.
There are currently over 50, 000 full-time missionaries in the world. Most are single men and women under 25 years of age. Mormon youth are highly encouraged to serve as missionaries. Young men serve a two-year mission when they turn 19, women serve 18-month missions when they turn 21. All candidates must pass an interview to ensure they are worthy to serve. Older couples may also serve as missionaries.
Church leaders assign full-time missionaries to an area that they will serve in for their entire mission. Although missionary candidates do not get to choose where they will serve their missions, church leaders take into account any foreign languages the young man or women might speak. Once the person receives his or her mission calling, they will spend some time in one of the church’s missionary training centers. In the training centers, the missionaries learn the basics of missionary work. If they are serving in a foreign country, they will also begin learning the language.
After a few weeks in training, the missionaries travel to their assigned area. The size of the area, or mission, varies depending on the population of the area, and other factors. Sometimes the mission area covers several countries, while other countries are divided into many missions. Missionaries and their families pay for their expenses while on a mission. Mormon children are encouraged to start saving for their missions early.
Missionaries always serve in pairs, working with a “companion”. Missionary rules prohibit them from being alone, except for when in the bathroom. They will serve with one companion for up to several months, and then change companions. They usually work in many different cities or towns within their area during their mission.
Full-time missionaries cannot date or even be alone with a person of the opposite sex. They are not permitted to see movies, and many are prohibited from listening to music (There is a church leader over every mission area, called a Mission President, who has a little flexibility in making rules for his mission). Rules also restrict which books missionaries can read while on a mission. A mission is not a vacation. It is a lot of work, but young people know what they are getting into when they decide to go on a mission.
‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership