A member of the stake presidency oversees the pre-military service Church orientation in the stake. He ensures that the orientation is offered to all Church members entering military service. The stake executive secretary may coordinate this orientation, with the help of the ward executive secretaries. The orientation may be held on a stake or ward level. A member of the stake presidency or bishopric calls an instructor, preferably someone with recent military experience, to provide the orientation.
At the orientation, Church members entering military service learn what to expect regarding Church services and activities in the military. The orientation may include watching the videos Serving Your Country, which emphasizes the importance of remaining strong in the gospel while serving your country, and Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, which is especially helpful to those who have served or will serve during periods of war and armed conflict. These videos help military members and their families find comfort and peace through the testimonies of those who have been through similar experiences. The member should also receive a military scripture set, a Latter-day Saint identification tag, and the Serving Your Country brochure. This brochure is available in English and Spanish. While supplies last, you may also order the brochure at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
If some of the individuals receiving the orientation are married, the instructor’s spouse should participate in the discussion to provide his or her perspective on the opportunities and blessings of military service.
During the orientation, the instructor should cover the following topics:
Military training. Discuss the physical and mental challenges of basic and advanced training. This information must be current. The military environment has changed significantly over the years, and it would be counterproductive to discuss basic training during an earlier period, such as the Vietnam War era.
Peer pressure. Discuss living the gospel amid peer pressure to do otherwise.
Church attendance. Discuss how members can find a Church unit, no matter where they are stationed. Stress the importance of attending Church, praying, studying the scriptures, avoiding temptations, and establishing wholesome friendships with other Church members.
Wearing the temple garment. Discuss the information provided in the section of this website titled “Ordering and Wearing Military Garments.”
Missionary opportunities. Review the importance of setting a good example and looking for missionary opportunities.
Correspondence. Emphasize the importance of writing uplifting letters to parents and loved ones.
Patriarchal blessings. If members have not yet received their patriarchal blessing, encourage them to speak with their bishop or branch president to learn what they need to do to qualify for it.
The membership records for Church members in the military are retained in their home ward or branch until the members have completed their basic and advanced training. Once they have completed their training and are assigned to their first permanent duty station, their membership records should be forwarded to their new ward.
For further information and additional resources, priesthood leaders should contact the Military Relations and Chaplain Services Division at 801-240-2286 or PST-Military@ChurchofJesusChrist.org.