“New Guides for General and Stake Missionaries,” Ensign, July 1982, 74–75
Replacing the General Missionary Handbook are two new instructional documents for general and stake missionaries throughout the Church—General Missionary Guidelines and Stake Mission Handbook.
The guidelines and handbook are designed “to strengthen missionary work in the stakes” so “that each of us might become more effective in sharing the gospel with our Father’s children,” the First Presidency said in a letter of 18 May to Church leaders.
General Missionary Guidelines (PXMI081A) is written for all priesthood leaders, including stake presidencies, high councils, bishoprics, and quorum leaders. The Stake Mission Handbook (PBMI4438) is intended specifically for all who are responsible for the stake mission. Both documents are available at no cost from Church distribution centers.
Guidelines includes basic goals and principles of missionary work. In addition, a description of organizational responsibilities provides help for priesthood leaders, the stake Melchizedek Priesthood Committee, the seventies quorum and stake mission, and the ward mission leader. A definition of the missionary program follows, with its four phases—finding, teaching, baptising, and fellowshipping—along with guidance on who is directly responsible for the processes involved in each phase.
Directives are also provided on full-time missionary work, with emphasis on the proper preparation of missionaries, older couples as well as single young men and women. Brief guidance is given to missionaries with additional assignments and on proselyting among minorities.
The Handbook “explains the organization and work of seventies quorums and stake missions” (p. ii). In their letter, the First Presidency calls attention in particular to one change in procedure: “Seventies can now be ordained ‘by or under the direction of the stake president’ (p. 16).”
Included in this handbook is an overview of the missionary program focusing on its purpose, basic principles, and goals, which are the same as those defined in General Missionary Guidelines.
The section on organization includes guidance on the role of the seventy, other stake missionaries, the seventies quorum, the senior president of the seventies quorum, and the ward mission leader. Complete cooperation between stake and full-time missions is called for in the section titled “Working with the Full-time Missionaries,” which provides specific information on the role of the missionary team and the missionary correlation meeting.
In the section on finding people to teach, guidance is given on friendshipping; referrals from members; leaders as examples; new move-in activities; part-time families; “lost and unknown” members; finding through nonmembers; baptismal services as finding opportunities; open houses, seminars, and workshops; using the Book of Mormon; using other Church publications; and visitors’ centers.
Also included in the Handbook are two appendices. Appendix A is a chart listing procedures for appointing members to specific offices. Appendix B is a convert baptism checklist for ward mission leaders and elders quorum presidents.