What to Expect at an LDS (Mormon) Missionary Training Centers

Everything You Need to Know About Your Stay at the MTC

The Missionary Training Center (MTC) is where new LDS missionaries are sent for training. What goes on at the MTC's? What do missionaries learn there before they leave for their mission? Learn about MTC rules, food, classes, mail and more in this detailed article about the Center.

Entering the Missionary Training Center

Missionary saying goodbye at Mexico MTC.
A missionary hugs her mother before entering the Mexico MTC to begin her 18-month mission. Photo courtesy of Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

When you check in at an MTC you will be given a power dot. This is a bright red/orange sticker to identify you as a new MTC missionary. Some missionaries refer to it as a dork dot.

Wearing this sticker allows MTC volunteers, employees, and the other missionaries to identify and help you. This can include helping you carry your heavy luggage to your dorm room. After all, who does not want help with that?

All MTC's are large. The MTC in Provo, Utah, USA, has thousands of missionaries and many buildings. Do not feel ashamed to ask for help if you get a bit confused.

After an orientation with the MTC president, you will process some paperwork and receive any additional immunizations you may need.

You will also receive a packet of information that will include your assigned companion, dorm room, district, branch, teachers, classes, preparation day, mailbox and debit card among other things.

Obeying MTC Rules

Missionary checked for health at the MTC
The Provo MTC health clinic helps missionaries maintain their well-being to meet the demands of a busy schedule. Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

When you enter the MTC you will be given a card that details, Missionary Conduct at the Missionary Training Center, with a list of specific rules that are in addition to the Missionary Handbook.

Some of these rules include the following:

  • to not arrange or accept visits from your family or friends while at the MTC
  • to not arrange for food to be delivered to you
  • resident halls are off limit to the opposite gender.
  • the proper dress code including what is/is not allowed on preparation-day.

Of special note is the MTC rule to arise from bed at 6 a.m. This is a half hour earlier than the regular missionary daily schedule. It is also an excellent reason to apply number seven from 10 Practical Ways to Prepare for an LDS Mission.

Companions, Districts, and Branches

Missionaries in the MTC in Mexico
Missionaries at the Mexico MTC sit in their dorm room. Each missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a companion. © All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

One of the basic rules of all missions, including your time at the Missionary Training Center, is to always remain with your assigned companion.

The missionary conduct rules also stipulate that MTC missionaries should accompany their companions to all meetings and meals. This will cultivate companionship.

You will share a dorm room with your companion and probably two or more other missionaries who may, or may not, be in your district. Districts typically consist of 12 missionaries.

The district works under a branch. Each branch attends regular sacrament meeting services together on Sundays.

Lessons, Learning and Languages

Missionaries learn at the MTC
Mormon missionaries at the South Africa MTC study the teachings of Jesus Christ on the campus grounds. Photo courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

The majority of your time at the MTC will be spent in classes with your district. During class time you will learn how to study the scriptures, preach the gospel and proselytize.

For those learning another language, you will spend more time at the MTC where you will learn your new language, as well as how to preach the gospel in that language.

The missionary manual you will study the most is Preach My Gospel, it is available online and for purchase through the Church.

At times it can be hard to focus during class time.  This is why the MTC rules also counsel missionaries to stay alert and physically fit by participating in physical education classes.

MTC Food

Missionary cafeteria at the Mexico MTC
New missionaries eat lunch in the cafeteria after arriving at the Mexico Missionary Training Center. Photo courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

Food at the Missionary Training Center is excellent! The cafeteria has an assortment of tasty dishes to choose from for each meal.

Since there are thousands of missionaries at the MTC, you will often have to wait in a long line before you get your food. Lines are longer in summer than in the winter months, because there are fewer missionaries at the MTC.

While waiting in line, one common practice among MTC missionaries is to practice being a missionary.

You can practice inviting people to hear your message or practice your new language, if you are learning one.

Missionaries can spend otherwise idle time by memorizing new words and concepts in their new language.

Money, Mail and Missionary Materials

Missionary retrieving mail from his mailbox
Missionaries look forward to receiving letters from family and friends while serving at the MTC. In the photo above, a missionary at the Provo MTC checks his mail. Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

You need not worry about money in the MTC. You will receive a missionary access card, which is basically the MTC's debit card. Each week a specific amount of funds will be deposited into your account, which you will use for laundry, meals, and at the MTC bookstore.

The MTC bookstore stocks the basic missionary supplies. These include the following:

  • books
  • pamphlets
  • scriptures
  • scriptures cases
  • backpacks
  • laundry detergent
  • other missionary related materials

There is a post office box at the MTC for each missionary. Sometimes it is shared with other missionaries in your district. If that is the case, your district leaders will retrieve mail and distribute it.

Preparation Day at the MTC

Missionaries on P Day
Mormon missionaries at the Provo MTC stay in touch with family and friends via weekly emails. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Preparation day, called p-day, is one day set aside during your mission to take care of personal needs. This is true for missionaries currently in the MTC, as well as the mission field. These personal needs include:

  • laundry
  • cleaning
  • haircuts
  • writing home
  • service
  • exercise.

Missionaries at the MTC are also supposed to attend the Provo Temple on their p-day.

Missionaries are assigned specific duties as part of their p-day service, which might include things like cleaning bathrooms, dorm buildings, the grounds and other buildings.

You will have time to get some fun exercise with activities such as volleyball, basketball, and jogging. P-day ends at the beginning of the dinner hour, so make good use of your time. It will go fast.

MTC Culture Night

A class at the South Africa MTC. While MTC locations and languages differ, the curriculum taught at each facility is the gospel of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Bible and other scriptures. Photo courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

Missionaries who will be working with people of another culture will have a culture night at some point during their time at the MTC.

Culture night is a fun evening when you meet with other missionaries or, when possible, those of that culture.

You will learn about the customs and culture of those you will be teaching. There will be pictures and other items native to that culture and sometimes even food to sample.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about your specific mission. It is also a good opportunity to more fully prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically for your mission.

In addition, you can get answers to any questions you might have.

Humanitarian Training and the Call Center

Missionaries at the Ghana MTC
Missionary training center in Ghana. Photo courtesy of © 2015 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Many missionaries will be working with people in an underprivileged society. If so, they will receive humanitarian training during their last few weeks at the MTC.

These missionaries learn the basic principles of welfare; which helps them be prepared to better serve those in their mission. 

While at the MTC, some missionaries will be assigned to serve in the call center. This is where phone calls are received from those interested in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These calls come from media referrals, such as commercials or advertisement. They also come from people who have received a pass-along card.

Keeping a Missionary Journal

Writing in Summer Diary Journal
Katrin Thomas / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Writing in a journal should be a part of your MTC experience, your actual mission, and life thereafter. It is the best way to preserve your memories.

See these journal keeping techniques, as well as these journal keeping tips, to help you develop a habit of regularly writing in your mission journal.

One of the best rewards is being able to go back and read past entries after your mission.

You may think that you will never forget the names of companions, investigators, friends and the places you have served. However, unless you have a photographic memory, you will.

Leaving the Missionary Training Center

Aerial view of the Provo, Utah USA MTC
An aerial view of the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, USA. Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Those traveling to another country may have to await a visa. If there are any problems, missionaries may have to stay longer at the MTC or serve temporarily in a place while waiting.

For the most part, visas and other requirements for foreign travel, are quickly and efficiently taken care.

When it is time to leave for your mission, you will receive a travel itinerary, instructions and any other necessary documents for your journey.

One favorite tradition at the Missionary Training Center is to have your picture taken while pointing to your mission on the map of the world.

Updated by Krista Cook with assistance from Brandon Wegrowski.