What is an LDS Mission?

Young Men, Young Women, Senior Sisters and Mormon Couples Can All Serve

Missionaries at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. After completing their missionary service, they are known as Returned Missionaries or RM's. Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Serving a mission in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints usually means dedicating a specific amount of time preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most LDS missions are proselyting missions. This means missionaries try and share the gospel.

There are many other ways one can serve as a missionary including at a temple, visitor centers, historic sites, humanitarian, education and training, employment, and health care mission.

Missionaries always work together in pairs (called a companionship) and follow specific mission rules and guidelines. Men that serve an LDS mission are called by the title, Elder and women are called, Sisters.

Why Serve an LDS Mission?

Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is the responsibility of all followers of Christ and is a specific duty for men who hold the priesthood. Just as Christ sent his disciples to share His message while He was on the earth. The Savior continues to send messengers to teach His truth as missionaries. Missionaries are special witnesses of Jesus Christ and have an important message to share with those who will open their hearts and listen. In D&C 88:81 we are told:

Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

Who Goes on an LDS Mission?

It is a duty for young men, who are able, to serve as full-time missionaries. Single women and older married couples also have the opportunity to serve a part or full-time LDS mission.

Missionaries must be physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally able to serve a mission. When applying for a mission the person first meets with his or her bishop and then the stake president before submitting their paperwork. For those preparing to serve here are 10 practical ways to prepare for a mission.

How Long is an LDS Mission?

A full-time mission is served by young men for 24 months and by young women for 18 months. Older single women and couples can serve a full-time mission for various lengths of time. Couple missionaries who serve as the President and Matron of a mission serve for 36 months. Part-time LDS missions are served locally.

A full-time mission is served 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Missionaries have one day of preparation, called P-day, reserved for non-missionary duties such as laundry, cleaning, and writing letters/emails home. Missionaries usually only call home for Mother's Day, Christmas, and rare/unusual circumstances.

Who Pays for the Mission?

Missionaries themselves pay for their missions. The Church of Jesus Christ has specified a specific amount of money that all missionaries, from a specific country, must pay per month for their mission. Money is submitted to the general mission fund and is then dispersed to each individual mission, including the Missionary Training Center (MTC). Each mission then disperses a specific monthly allowance to each of its missionaries.

Although missionaries pay for their own mission, family members, friends, and on occasion local ward members, also help contribute funds to a missionary's mission.

Where in the World are They?

Missionaries are sent throughout the entire world. Before being sent on a full-time mission, a new missionary attends the Missionary Training Center (MTC) assigned to their region.

Serving an LDS mission is an amazing experience! If you meet a Mormon missionary or know someone who has served an LDS mission (called a returned missionary or RM) feel free to ask them about their mission. RM's usually love to talk about their experiences as a missionary and are willing to answer any questions you may have.

Updated by Krista Cook with assistance from Brandon Wegrowski.