Returning to Service

“Returning to Service,” Counseling Resources (2020).

“Returning to Service,” Counseling Resources.

Returning to Service

Missionaries who come home early may desire to return to missionary service or find other opportunities to serve. In these cases, consider the following options:

1. Reinstatement to a full-time proselyting mission.

It is critical that the missionary carefully consider the reason for his or her early release and the likelihood of recurrence of the problems, if reinstated. Often, when missionaries come home early, the stress of the mission has been reduced and their medical or mental health conditions improve. Remember that the demands and stressors of a mission often exacerbate these conditions.

As President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “Good physical and mental health is vital. … Whatever ailment or physical or mental shortcoming a missionary has when he comes into the field only becomes aggravated under the stress of the work. … We need missionaries, but they must be capable of doing the work. … There must be health and strength, both physical and mental, for the work is demanding, the hours are long, and the stress can be heavy” (“Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 11, 2003, 17–18). The person needs to be sure that she or he is capable of managing the condition upon return to the mission field. Reinstatement to a proselyting mission requires the stake president to send the following to the Missionary Department:

  • A letter from the stake president requesting reinstatement and indicating that the missionary is worthy to serve, that all issues related to the release have been fully resolved, and that he has interviewed the missionary and both he and the missionary feel that he or she is able to function effectively in the field.

  • A letter from the missionary expressing her or his feelings about returning to missionary service.

  • A letter from the treating professional, for those who returned home for medical or mental health reasons, describing the condition, treatment provided, response to the treatment, medications or other treatment that may be required in the mission field, and an evaluation of the missionary’s ability to function under the rigors of missionary service and in a companionship.

  • Updated medical and dental forms will be required if the missionary has been released longer than one year.

2. Service mission (SM).

Opportunities to serve in various capacities and for varying lengths of time can be a consideration. Please refer to the website ChurchofJesusChrist.org/service-missionary for more information.

3. Other callings.

In areas where service missionary opportunities are not available, or when this would not be a suitable assignment for the missionary, consider extending a calling as a ward missionary or temple worker or identifying an appropriate local volunteer opportunity.