“International Mission Offers Church Tie for Isolated Members,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 76
Latter-day Saints living in remote areas of the world need not feel out of touch with the Church. The International Mission offers support in a variety of ways to help them participate as fully as possible in Church programs. These services range from helping set up temple recommend interviews to authorizing organization of local LDS groups.
The mission is headed by President M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Elders John K. Carmack and Charles Didier, members of that quorum who serve as his counselors.
The International Mission is headquartered in Salt Lake City, but it is accountable for Church members residing in all areas of the world not assigned to organized stakes and missions. In carrying out its functions, the mission carefully coordinates its efforts with Area Presidencies around the world.
“We urge members who are moving into International Mission areas to see that their membership records are transferred to the International Mission,” Elder Ballard said. Priesthood leaders can also initiate the transfer.
Members who contact the International Mission before moving into such an area may find there are already other Church members or organized groups there.
Here are some of the services the International Mission can offer to members:
1. It can help them get Church publications. If a member subscribes to a Church publication at the usual subscription price, the International Mission will see that it is mailed by air, in a plain, unmarked envelope, to any part of the world at no increase in cost.
2. The mission presidency cannot visit individual homes, but is interested in maintaining correspondence with members, giving help and encouragement as needed.
3. The presidency can authorize the holding of local meetings and the organization of branches. If only one family is located in a particular area, that family is encouraged to have regular meetings. If a member of that family is a priest or holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, he may be authorized to administer the sacrament in these meetings. If two or more LDS families live in an area and it is convenient and desirable for them to meet together, a branch may be organized and a president called to preside over it. The mission may also help in obtaining a place of worship if circumstances and the number of active members justify it.
4. The International Mission is authorized to receive and account for tithing and other contributions.
5. Members of the presidency conduct interviews and issue temple recommends wherever possible. Because of the great distances involved, it may be impossible for them to conduct some interviews. In that case, arrangements will be made with the president of the temple the member desires to visit; he will conduct the interview and issue a temple recommend according to approved procedure.
6. The presidency authorizes baptisms and priesthood ordinations, handles Church judicial procedures, and tries to provide all the services available to other Church members. Their efforts are limited only by distance and practical restrictions on communication.
Information may be obtained from mission headquarters by writing the International Mission, Twelfth Floor, Church Office Building, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150, or calling (801) 531–3861.