When do missionaries receive the keys for their ministry?

“When do missionaries receive the keys for their ministry?” Tambuli, Apr. 1978, 7

“When do missionaries receive the keys for their ministry—when ordained an elder, when set apart for their mission, or when they receive their endowment?”

President J. Murray Rawson
Missionary Home, Salt Lake City, Utah

The receipt of a missionary call from the president of the Church allows a person to receive the keys of that assignment. When a missionary is set apart, he actually receives the keys to act in his assignment.

The keys are the right to “enjoy the blessings of communication with the heavens, and the privilege and authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine Deseret Book Co.: 1939, p. 142.)

The Lord tells us in the Doctrine and Covenants 42:11, “Again, I say unto you, that it shall not be given to anyone to go forth and preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority …”

The priesthood is the authority given to man to act for God. “Every man ordained to any degree of the priesthood has this authority delegated to him. It is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order.

“The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the priesthood. In their fullness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the Prophet and President of the Church.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 136.)

President Spencer W. Kimball holds all the keys of the kingdom, which gives to him the power, right, and authority to preside over the kingdom of God on earth which is the Church and to direct all of its affairs. (See Gospel Doctrine, p. 136.) He has delegated some of his keys to the stake president and the mission president, who in turn, as they set a missionary apart in behalf of President Kimball, bestow upon him the keys to act in his missionary assignment.