“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19
Many people have seen Mormon missionaries in their cities or towns going door to door or talking to people on the street and may have wondered who they are. Their appearance which includes a white shirt, tie, and a black nametag for the young men (referred to as Elders) and modest dresses for the young ladies (called Sisters) makes it easy to identify them as representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
That answers the question of who they are, but the question that still begs an answer is, “What is their purpose or mission?”
Mormon Missionaries Are Called to Serve
The history of Mormon missionary work dates back to the early history of the Church. From the early days of Mormonism, Mormon missionaries have been sent out two-by-two to their neighborhoods, surrounding communities, and distant lands to fulfill the Great Commission by preaching the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Even in the darkest days of persecution – when their leaders were imprisoned, and their families were scattered by armies and mobs – Mormon missionaries continued to go and do as the Lord commanded them.
Today, Mormon missionaries are young men and women who voluntarily dedicate and devote eighteen months (young women) to two years (young men) of their lives spreading the message that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in the latter days. They realize that the message that they share is important for the world to hear, and so, they put their schooling, dating, and careers on hold to answer the call to serve. There are also senior couples who have retired from their vocations who also respond to the call to serve.
What Do Mormon Missionaries Teach?
The primary purpose of Mormon missionary work is to teach the gospel to those who hunger and thirst for the truths that are found within. They share a message about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. They also teach about the Father’s great plan of salvation (or the plan of happiness) which allows families to be together forever.
Missionary Work and Community Service
King Benjamin, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, taught, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Therefore, Mormon missionaries understand that service is also an important part of teaching the gospel.
Missionaries perform community service in a variety of ways. Some of the ways in which they serve include serving in rest homes, hospitals, orphanages, YMCA’s, and teaching English. They also render aid and assistance when natural disasters strike. Elderly missionary couples are often called to serve by assisting with health and welfare needs such as building wells in Africa or instructing doctors in South America. Some missionary couples are also called to oversee family history work, work with the addiction recovery programs, help members find employment, and in some areas such as Annapolis, Maryland, they serve as military liaisons.
Interesting Facts About Missionaries
- Those serving a mission pay their way or receive help from family and friends.
- Male missionaries are called Elders and female missionaries are called Sisters. These are titles, not their names.
- While serving their mission, missionaries are allowed to call home twice a year – on Mother’s Day and Christmas.
- There are 84,000 missionaries currently serving in 405 missions around the world.
- Some missionaries are called to serve in English speaking missions, but there are some who must learn a foreign language.
- The initial training for a Mormon missionary takes place at a Missionary Training Center (MTC). The amount of time that a person spends at the MTC depends on whether or not they are required to learn a foreign language for their mission.
- A typical morning for a missionary might consist of waking up at 6:30 a.m., studying the scriptures and meeting new people to share the gospel with. The afternoon might include discussing gospel lessons with people they meet and volunteering for service in the community. A good night has them teaching the gospel to interested individuals and helping them learn and keep God’s commandments or attending a baptismal service for someone who’s decided to join the Church. They return home around 9:30 p.m.
If you are interested in learning more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon, or having Mormon missionaries contact you, please visit Mormon.org.