Handbooks and Callings
24. Missionary Recommendations and Service

“24. Missionary Recommendations and Service,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).

“24. Missionary Recommendations and Service,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

24.

Missionary Recommendations and Service

24.0

Introduction

In ancient times, the Lord gave the commission to gather Israel among “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19; see also verse 20). The Lord has renewed that commission in these latter days (see Doctrine and Covenants 39:11; 68:6–8; 112:28–30). All members of the Church covenant at the time of baptism to be witnesses of God and to minister to others (see Mosiah 18:8–10).

To serve the Lord as a missionary is a sacred privilege. It brings eternal blessings to the person and those he or she serves (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:14–16).

Mission calls include an assignment to teach the gospel, support the work of Church departments or units, or serve in the local community. The Lord expects each able young man to prepare to serve (see Doctrine and Covenants 36:1, 4–7). Young women and senior members who desire to serve should also prepare. An essential part of preparation is striving to become converted to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Those who desire to serve also prepare physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

24.1

The Call to Serve

Each missionary is called to assist Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work. Missionaries represent Jesus Christ and His restored Church. They selflessly serve the Lord in a labor of love among His children. (See Matthew 16:25; 22:36–40.)

Mission calls are given to members who desire to serve, are worthy, and are able. These members strive to serve the Lord with all their “heart, might, mind and strength.” They develop “faith, hope, charity and love.” They keep their “eye single to the glory of God.” As they do these things, the Lord will qualify them for the work. (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2, 5; see verses 1–7.)

Missionaries represent the Lord and must be called by proper authority (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:11; Articles of Faith 1:5). The call to serve a mission is generally extended by the President of the Church. For senior service missionaries, the call is extended by the stake president.

24.2

Missionary Assignments

The call to serve as a missionary includes a specific assignment. These assignments vary widely. They usually include:

  • A form of service.

  • A location.

  • A length of service.

Each assignment is guided by revelation so it is suited to the missionary and the needs of God’s children.

An assignment may change by continuing revelation as circumstances change. A specific assignment is important. However, it is secondary to the call to serve as a missionary. (See Doctrine and Covenants 80:3.)

24.2.1

Young Teaching Missionaries

Most young missionaries are assigned to teach the gospel away from home. These assignments are given by revelation to Apostles. These missionaries serve under the direction of a mission president.

Single men ages 18–25 may serve as teaching missionaries. They usually serve for 24 months.

Single women ages 19–29 may serve as teaching missionaries. They usually serve for 18 months.

24.2.2

Young Service Missionaries

Some young missionaries are assigned to serve in the Church and the community while living at home. These assignments are given by revelation to Apostles and are given to candidates whose circumstances are best suited for a service mission (see 24.3.3).

These individuals have the same standards for preparation and worthiness as those who are assigned to a teaching mission. All young missionary candidates are recommended through the same process.

Service missionaries serve locally under the direction of the stake president. Each of them receives assignments that are tailored to their circumstances and based on service opportunities (see 24.7.1). They serve to the full extent of their capacity.

Single men ages 18–25 may serve as service missionaries. They usually serve for 6–24 months.

Single women ages 19–29 may serve as service missionaries. They usually serve for 6–18 months.

Service missions for young missionaries are not yet available in all areas of the world. For a list of areas where service missions are available, see ChurchofJesusChrist.org/service-missionary. That website also provides more information on service missions. Where service missions are not available, young members may serve in the senior service missionary program (see 24.2.4).

24.2.3

Senior Missionaries

Married members ages 40 and older may be called as senior missionaries as a couple if they do not have dependent children.

Single women ages 40 and older may also be called as senior missionaries if they do not have children living at home.

Single men ages 40 and older may not serve as senior missionaries. However, they may serve as senior service missionaries. (See 24.2.4.)

All senior missionaries are encouraged to find people to teach and help them prepare for baptism. Senior missionaries may also be assigned to support:

  • Members and area and local leaders.

  • Church departments and facilities.

  • Charitable organizations.

Senior missionaries usually serve away from home for 6–23 months. Those who serve outside their resident country usually serve for at least 18 months.

Senior missionaries are not asked to work the same hours, perform all the same activities, or meet the same expectations as young missionaries. Still, their service is demanding. For this reason, they should be healthy enough to serve. They should also meet financial qualifications (see 24.3.4.2).

Bishops, stake presidents, and other leaders prayerfully consider who could serve. Bishops or stake presidents may interview these members to determine their availability and invite them to prepare to serve.

Assignments for senior missionaries are given by revelation to Apostles. Leaders may recommend specific types of assignments for senior missionaries. However, leaders should not make commitments about the assignment they will receive. Candidates may express a preference for an assignment but should be willing to accept any assignment.

For more information, see SeniorMissionary.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

24.2.4

Senior Service Missionaries

In addition to callings in their home ward or stake, members may serve the Lord as senior service missionaries. These missionaries give valuable service in Church departments, facilities, and missions (see 24.7.1). They live at home.

Men and women ages 26 and older may be called as senior service missionaries.

In addition, young men ages 18–25 and young women ages 19–25 may serve in the senior service missionary program if they live where service missions for young missionaries are not available. They may also serve if they are married or have already served as a young teaching or service missionary.

Senior service missionaries are called by the stake president. They serve under his direction. The amount of time they serve each week depends on their capacity, service opportunities in their area, and direction from the Area Presidency.

Senior service missionaries are given assignments by their stake president. He counsels with the missionary and others and prayerfully seeks revelation about each assignment. He may review SeniorMissionary.ChurchofJesusChrist.org when determining assignments.

For more information about senior service missionaries, see 24.7.

24.2.5

Summary of Missionary Assignments

The following table summarizes the types of missionary assignments.

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Is called by

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

President of the Church

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

President of the Church

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

President of the Church

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Stake president

Is assigned by

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

An Apostle

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

An Apostle

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

An Apostle

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Stake president

Is set apart by

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

Stake president

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

Stake president

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

Stake president

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Stake president or counselor

Lives

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

Away from home

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

At home

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

Away from home or at home

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

At home

Ecclesiastical leader

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

Mission president or historic site president

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

Stake president

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

Mission, temple, or historic site president; or Area President

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Stake president

Reports to

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

Mission president or historic site president

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

Service mission leader

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

Mission, temple, or historic site president; Area President; visitors’ center director; or a Church department or facilities manager

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

Manager of the service assignment

Age requirements

Young Teaching Missionary
(see 24.2.1)

18–25 (men)
19–29 (women)

Young Service Missionary
(see 24.2.2)

18–25 (men)
19–29 (women)

Senior Missionary
(see 24.2.3)

40 or older if married or if a single sister

Senior Service Missionary
(see 24.2.4)

26 or older

24.3

Preparing and Qualifying to Serve a Mission

Prospective missionaries are encouraged to serve a mission because of their love for the Lord and His children. They should be familiar with the missionary recommendation interview questions.

24.3.1

Conversion to Jesus Christ

Prospective missionaries strive to strengthen their conversion to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. They:

  • Work to strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

  • Strengthen their testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ (see Alma 5:45–47).

  • Live the doctrine of Christ by “choosing to repent and work righteousness” (Alma 13:10; see also 2 Nephi 31:9–21).

  • Pray, study the scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon) and teachings of the living prophets, and keep the commandments (see Alma 17:2–3).

  • Participate in temple and family history work (see Doctrine and Covenants 109:22).

  • Participate in seminary or institute (for youth and young adults).

24.3.2

Meeting the Standards of Worthiness

Prospective missionaries strive to be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. This is needed for effective missionary service (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:13–14). Qualifying for the companionship of the Spirit includes being clean from sin (see Helaman 4:24; Doctrine and Covenants 38:42).

24.3.2.1

Repentance

Repentance and forgiveness of sin are gifts available to all of God’s children. These gifts are made possible through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Repentance requires exercising faith in Christ, having real intent, and keeping the commandments. It includes confessing and forsaking sin. For serious sins, repentance requires confession to the bishop or stake president.

A person who repents is forgiven and made clean through the Atonement and grace of Jesus Christ. The Lord remembers the sin no more. (See Isaiah 43:25; Jacob 6:5; Alma 34:15–17; Helaman 5:10–11; Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43. See also 32.1 in this handbook.)

Members who desire to serve a mission should turn to the Savior as they repent and prepare to serve. They may also seek the loving help of family members and local Church leaders.

A missionary candidate must have repented of serious sin before the stake president may submit his or her recommendation (see 32.6–32.8; see also 24.4.4). The repentance process includes enough time for the person to show through righteous living that he or she has received the spirit of Christ unto the remission of sins.

24.3.2.2

Belated Confessions

A person who receives a mission call or begins missionary service without repenting of serious sin may need to remain home or return home. Depending on the circumstances, he or she may serve after repenting (see 24.6.3.2).

24.3.3

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health

Missionary work is challenging. Physical, mental, and emotional demands can be stressful. Missionaries often work in unfamiliar conditions. Health may be affected by a change in diet, climate, or living conditions. The missionary schedule is also demanding. (See Alma 17:5; 26:27–28, 30.) Young teaching missionaries must be committed and physically, mentally, and emotionally able to work the full missionary schedule. (See Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ [2019], 2.4.)

Prospective missionaries prepare to serve by strengthening their physical, mental, and emotional health. They also work to develop resiliency and self-reliance.

Leaders may need to counsel sensitively with a candidate about his or her health challenges before submitting a recommendation. Some candidates may need to receive professional care for their health challenges (see 31.2.6). A candidate who has been prescribed medication must commit to take it throughout his or her service as directed by a health care professional.

24.3.4

Finances

Financial sacrifice is part of missionary service (see Mark 1:17–18; Alma 15:16). Missionaries and their families have primary responsibility for contributing financially to missionary service. They should make appropriate preparation and sacrifice. They should be financially self-reliant to the extent possible in meeting contribution commitments.

24.3.4.1

Financing Young Missionaries Serving Away from Home

Young candidates who have prepared according to their ability should not be delayed from serving for financial reasons. Those who need financial help to meet expected contribution commitments can receive it from extended family and friends.

If need remains, the bishop or stake president may ask members in the ward or stake to contribute to the ward missionary fund.

Local unit budgets and fast-offering funds may not be used.

Monthly contribution commitment. Young teaching missionaries and their families contribute a specific amount each month to help cover missionary program costs. The amount is set in one of two ways:

  • Missionaries from some countries participate in the equalized contribution program. This means the same amount is contributed for each missionary regardless of where he or she serves. The amount is identified at Church headquarters. Leaders may contact the Missionary Department (see 24.9.3) or the area office for a list of countries in this program and the equalized amount.

  • In other countries, the bishop, stake president, missionary, and family counsel together about the monthly contribution amount. The bishop and stake president consider guidance from the Area Presidency. They encourage financial sacrifice and self-reliance based on the circumstances of the missionary and his or her family. They agree on a contribution amount and record it in the missionary recommendation. The missionary and his or her family commit to follow through. Others may also contribute to this amount only if they live in the missionary’s home country (see “Ward Missionary Fund” later in this section).

Contributions are made to the ward missionary fund. Bishops verify that the funds are contributed each month. Funds beyond the monthly amount should not be contributed in advance. Funds contributed in advance cannot be refunded if a missionary returns home early.

Expenses in the field. Each month, young missionaries receive funds from the mission to provide for food, transportation, and other living expenses. These funds are sacred. Missionaries use them only for mission-related purposes. They should not be used for personal expenses, saved, or sent to family members or others. Missionaries return to the mission any funds they do not need.

Missionaries use personal funds to cover other expenses. These personal expenses should be minimal. (See Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ, 4.8.)

24.3.4.2

Financing Senior Missionaries Serving Away from Home

Monthly contribution commitment. Senior missionaries serving away from home contribute to their home ward missionary fund each month. These contributions help cover housing and vehicle costs (see also “Additional expenses” later in this section). The contributions may be more than the value of Church-provided housing or vehicles.

  • Senior missionaries from countries that participate in the equalized contribution program contribute an assigned amount listed in the call packet.

  • In other countries, the bishop, stake president, and missionary counsel together about the monthly contribution amount. Leaders encourage financial sacrifice based on the missionary’s circumstances. They agree on an amount and record it in the missionary recommendation. This amount must be at least the amount established for senior missionaries by the Area Presidency (in consultation with the Missionary Department). Others who live in the missionary’s home country may also contribute to this amount.

Bishops verify that the funds are contributed each month. Funds beyond the monthly amount should not be contributed in advance.

Additional expenses. In addition to the monthly contribution commitment, which helps cover housing and vehicle costs, senior missionaries must fully cover all other expenses, including food.

24.3.4.3

Financing Missionaries Serving at Home

Missionaries serving at home are responsible for all their financial needs. Those who need financial help can receive it from family members and friends. Ward or stake funds may not be used for mission-related needs.

24.3.4.4

Medical Insurance and Expenses

All missionaries are strongly encouraged to keep their existing medical insurance if possible, including young teaching missionaries.

Missionaries serving at home must provide their own medical and other insurance coverage. Senior missionaries serving away from home must also provide this coverage. Senior missionaries who will serve outside their home country may be able to obtain insurance through the Senior Service Medical Plan.

24.3.5

Role of Family Members and Leaders in Preparing Missionaries

Family members and leaders help young men prepare to serve a mission. They also help young women who desire to serve to prepare. This may include the following:

  • Help them become effective member missionaries in sharing the gospel before they receive a call to serve.

  • Provide opportunities for them to serve and teach.

  • Arrange opportunities for them to accompany full-time missionaries.

  • Invite currently serving missionaries or others who have served missions to share their experiences teaching and serving.

  • Love and inspire each person to be prepared to serve a mission.

  • Encourage them to devote additional time to prayer and study of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.

  • Organize a missionary preparation course.

Family members and leaders encourage senior members to consider senior missionary service. This may include helping them:

  • Review their physical and financial ability to serve a mission, either away from home or while living at home.

  • Identify missionary opportunities they could fulfill.

  • Become effective member missionaries in sharing the gospel before they receive a call to serve.

  • Understand the blessing that missionary service will be to their family (see Doctrine and Covenants 31:5–6).

Family members and leaders encourage all missionary candidates to study:

Family members and leaders help all candidates commit to follow missionary standards. They encourage candidates to study the missionary standards handbook that pertains to their probable assignment:

24.4

Recommending Missionaries

Some candidates have not lived in the ward continuously for at least one year. In these situations, the bishop confers early in the recommendation process with the bishop of the person’s previous ward.

24.4.1

Health Assessments

Missionary work is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. All candidates are required to have medical professionals assess their health readiness.

Health assessments are reviewed by the area office and the Missionary Department. Sometimes, health concerns could affect a person’s ability to serve away from home. In some situations, the recommendation may be returned with instructions on how the person can improve his or her health readiness.

24.4.2

Interviews and Recommendation Forms

The bishop and stake president conduct thorough, spiritually searching, and uplifting interviews with each candidate. They use the missionary recommendation interview questions. They discuss the candidate’s:

  • Testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel (see 24.3.1).

  • Meeting the standards of worthiness (see 24.3.2).

  • Physical, mental, and emotional health readiness (see 24.3.3).

  • Financial readiness (see 24.3.4).

The bishop and stake president also review information about standards of worthiness and health readiness in the Missionary Online Recommendation System. If a stake president in the United States or Canada has questions, he contacts the Missionary Department (see 24.9.3). Elsewhere, he contacts the area office. The bishop and stake president do not add any eligibility standards. Nor do they change the interview questions.

The information in the recommendation form contributes to the revelatory process of mission calls. Leaders ensure that all information requested is fully disclosed.

If the bishop and stake president have concerns about a candidate meeting the standards of worthiness or about his or her health readiness, they counsel together and with the person. With a young candidate’s permission, they may also counsel with his or her parents. The bishop and stake president do not submit a recommendation until the person has repented of serious sin (see 24.3.2.1). Depending on the person’s physical, mental, or emotional health, they may discuss the possibility of being assigned as a service missionary.

In urgent cases when the bishop or stake president is unavailable, he may authorize one of his counselors to conduct these interviews.

In districts, the mission president or an assigned counselor interviews and recommends missionary candidates. District presidents do not conduct these interviews.

24.4.3

Submitting Recommendations

The stake president may submit a recommendation for a young missionary candidate up to 120 days before his or her availability date. The stake president may submit a recommendation for a senior missionary candidate up to nine months before his or her availability date. The availability date must be when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The person has reached the qualifying age for service.

  • The person has been a confirmed Church member for at least one year.

  • The person has completed or is no longer attending high school, secondary school, or the equivalent. (This applies to young missionary candidates who are 18 years old.)

Young missionary candidates and their stake president plan for when the stake president should submit the recommendation. They may use the Submission Planning Tool and the Mission Release Date Planning Tool for help.

Missionary recommendations are usually submitted through the home ward and stake. Bishops of away-from-home wards, such as a young single adult ward, may process a missionary recommendation. They must first confer with the bishop from the home ward. The home ward should be listed as the funding ward.

24.4.4

Being Excused from Full-Time Missionary Service

Sometimes a member who desires to serve may not be called as a full-time missionary. This may be due to health challenges, not meeting the standards of worthiness, legal issues, or other circumstances. The bishop and stake president express love and gratitude for the member’s willingness to serve. The stake president may excuse him or her from full-time missionary service.

The stake president and bishop encourage the member to press forward on the covenant path as a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ. They also encourage pursuing other important endeavors, such as education or employment for young members.

24.5

After Receiving a Mission Call

Newly called missionaries are encouraged to read or reread the Book of Mormon before beginning their mission. They follow King Benjamin’s counsel to “watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds” (Mosiah 4:30).

They respond promptly to instructions given with the call. They should also review the booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life or Adjusting to Service Missionary Life: Resource Booklet. They and their family members should also study the conditions they will serve in.

Family members and leaders support missionaries in these efforts. They also emphasize the importance of doing good and remaining worthy of the Spirit.

24.5.1

Temple Endowment and Temple Service

If newly called missionaries have not received the temple endowment ordinance, they should do so before beginning missionary service where possible (see Doctrine and Covenants 43:15–16; 105:33). This includes service missionaries if appropriate for their circumstances. For information on receiving the endowment, see 27.2.

Newly called missionaries who are endowed may serve as temple ordinance workers before they begin missionary service as appropriate (see 25.5).

24.5.2

Sacrament Meetings

The bishopric invites newly called missionaries to speak in sacrament meeting before beginning their mission. This is a regular sacrament meeting. The focus should be on the sacrament and the Savior. The missionary should be invited to speak about Jesus Christ, His restored gospel, and the joy of sharing the gospel and serving others.

The missionary’s family members and friends are not normally invited to speak. The regular time of the meeting is not extended.

Members and leaders should avoid anything that may distract from the sacred nature of a mission call or create unnecessary expense. For example, they should not:

  • Print special sacrament meeting programs.

  • Form reception lines after sacrament meeting.

  • Hold open houses, except for family gatherings. If a family gathering is held, it is recommended that it not conflict with Sunday meetings.

24.5.3

Setting Apart Missionaries

The home stake president sets apart each missionary as close as possible to his or her mission start date. In urgent cases when the stake president is unavailable, he may authorize one of his counselors to set apart missionaries. He may also delegate responsibility for setting apart senior service missionaries to a counselor.

The mission president or one of his counselors sets apart missionaries who are called from districts in his mission. The district president does not set apart missionaries.

A brother who will serve away from home must have received the Melchizedek Priesthood before being set apart as a missionary. A brother who will serve as a service missionary should hold the Melchizedek Priesthood if appropriate for his circumstances. For instructions on ordination to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood, see 38.2.5.1.

Shortly before a missionary is set apart, the stake president or an assigned counselor interviews him or her. If the missionary no longer meets the standards of worthiness or if there are questions about health, he or she is not set apart. The stake president contacts the Missionary Department (see 24.9.3) or the area office for guidance.

The setting apart should be a special experience. Family members and close friends may attend. The stake president helps them understand and feel the sacredness and importance of the call to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ and His restored Church.

The setting apart and accompanying blessing should not be recorded. However, the missionary is encouraged to write in his or her journal about the experience and to note parts of the blessing that were especially meaningful.

The stake president explains that the person should follow missionary standards after being set apart.

A missionary’s setting apart is for the call to serve, not for a specific missionary assignment. If a missionary’s assignment is changed, he or she is not set apart again. If a missionary is released and is later approved to return to service (see 24.6.3.2), he or she is set apart again as a missionary.

24.6

Service Away from Home

24.6.1

Leaving to the Mission Field

The Church pays for young teaching missionaries to travel to and from the missionary training center (MTC) and the mission assignment. The Church also pays these costs for senior missionaries who serve away from home for more than one year.

Immediate family members may bring a missionary to an MTC. However, they are not expected to do so. The MTC does not have a meeting for families to say farewell to their missionaries.

For airport security and other reasons, families and others are discouraged from meeting missionaries at airports when missionaries leave the MTC to their mission assignment.

24.6.2

In the Field

24.6.2.1

Placement of Missionaries

Stake and mission presidents counsel about the need for missionaries in specific wards and branches. It is not required that missionaries be assigned to every unit. Some units may have more than one companionship. The mission president determines the placement of missionaries.

24.6.2.2

Member and Community Service

Stake and mission presidents counsel about how missionaries may provide service to members and the community. They may use JustServe where it is available.

24.6.2.3

Housing, Meals, and Transportation

Stake and mission presidents determine if or to what extent local members provide housing and meals for missionaries. Providing housing or meals should not burden local members.

Members are not expected to regularly provide transportation for missionaries, those they are teaching, or those who have recently been baptized.

The Area Presidency may offer guidance for providing housing, meals, and transportation for missionaries in the area.

24.6.2.4

Adaptation Icon
Missionaries in Branch Positions

In rare situations, missionaries serving away from home may be assigned to serve in branch positions. If a branch is in a stake, the missionary is set apart under the direction of the stake presidency, with the approval of the mission president.

If a branch is in a district, the missionary is not set apart. The authority to serve in a unit assigned to the mission is included in the setting apart as a missionary. If elders perform a function that requires priesthood keys, they do so with delegated authority from the mission president.

24.6.2.5

Requests to Support Others Financially or with Schooling or Emigration

Missionaries and their families should not provide financial support for those who live where the missionaries are serving, including financial support for schooling. Nor should missionaries and their families sponsor persons who want to emigrate to other countries (see 38.8.17).

24.6.2.6

Medication

Missionaries are responsible for any medication they may need. Family members or others must not send or deliver medication to missionaries. If medication is unavailable in the mission, the missionary counsels with the mission president.

24.6.2.7

Death of an Immediate Family Member

If a member of a missionary’s immediate family dies, the missionary may choose to return home temporarily for the funeral. However, the missionary is generally counseled to remain in the field. When possible, he or she may view the funeral services via internet streaming.

If a missionary chooses to return home for the funeral, the mission president contacts the Missionary Department.

24.6.2.8

Membership Records and Tithing

A missionary’s home ward retains the membership record. The home ward also records his or her tithing status. Missionaries do not pay tithing on support funds they receive from the mission. However, they do pay tithing if they have any personal income.

24.6.3

Returning Home from a Mission

24.6.3.1

Returning Home as Originally Scheduled

Missionaries and their family members should not request early releases or extensions of service for personal convenience.

Young missionaries should travel directly home from their missions. Any other travel may be approved only if the missionary is accompanied by at least one parent or guardian.

Missionaries are not released until they report to their stake president. They follow missionary standards until that time.

24.6.3.2

Returning Home Early

Some missionaries are released early for health, worthiness, or other reasons. Bishops and stake presidents give special support to these returned missionaries. Leaders help them work to regain health or return to service if possible.

For missionaries who are ready to return to service, the stake president contacts the Missionary Department to recommend this (see 24.9.3). Some missionaries who return to service may be reassigned to a different teaching mission or to a service mission.

When returning to service is not possible, leaders encourage the member to press forward on the covenant path as a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ. Leaders also encourage pursuing other important endeavors, such as education or employment for young missionaries.

24.7

Service Missions

24.7.1

Identifying Opportunities for Service Missionaries

The bishop, stake president, and service missionary counsel together to identify local opportunities to serve. For young service missionaries, a service mission leader and the missionary’s parents or guardians participate in the discussion.

Opportunities for young service missionaries are identified after they are called to serve. Opportunities for senior service missionaries may be identified before or after they are called.

Service may be provided in person or remotely using technology. Leaders may use the following resources to find information about service opportunities:

24.7.2

Housing and Transportation

Service missionaries live in their own home or with another family member approved by the Service Mission Office. They provide or arrange for their own transportation to their place of service if needed.

24.7.3

Training and Supervision

Service missionaries are trained and supervised at the place where they serve. They may also be trained and supervised by the service mission leader. They receive day-to-day direction about their duties from the service mission leader (for young service missionaries) or the manager of their service assignment (for senior service missionaries).

The stake president is the missionary’s ecclesiastical leader. He also helps the missionary understand and follow service missionary standards (see Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ—Service Missions).

24.7.4

Service Missionaries in Ward or Stake Callings

The bishop or stake president may give ward or stake callings to service missionaries if the callings do not interfere with the mission assignments or schedule. For young service missionaries, these leaders coordinate with the service mission leader.

24.7.5

Concluding a Service Mission

The stake president, service mission leader (for young missionaries), and service missionary counsel together to determine when the missionary will complete his or her service.

Service missions for young missionaries do not exceed 24 months for men. These missions do not exceed 18 months for women.

Senior service missionaries may extend their service to a date agreed on by the stake president and missionary.

24.8

After Missionary Service

24.8.1

Temple Recommends

24.8.1.1

Young Missionaries Serving Away from Home

For instructions on temple recommends for young missionaries returning home, see 26.5.3.

24.8.1.2

Senior Missionaries Serving Away from Home

The mission president may conduct a temple recommend interview when needed. If the missionary is worthy, the mission president issues a new recommend that expires in two years.

24.8.1.3

Service Missionaries

Service missionaries should arrange through local leaders for interviews to renew temple recommends (see 26.3).

24.8.2

Missionary Release Interview

The stake president releases missionaries and conducts a release interview. One of his counselors may release senior service missionaries. In districts, generally the mission president or an assigned counselor releases missionaries. For exceptions, see 5.3.

The following guidelines for this interview may be helpful.

  • Commend them for serving a mission.

  • Invite them to share mission experiences.

  • Encourage them to continue as a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ.

  • Counsel them to build on good habits they developed as a missionary.

  • Encourage them to follow the Spirit daily and live honorably.

  • Encourage them to consider and prepare for the future, including education and employment for young missionaries. Help them set goals and make plans as needed. Review progress on My Plan with young missionaries.

  • Avoid promising specific blessings as a reward for missionary service.

  • Encourage them to always live worthy of a temple recommend.

24.8.3

Missionary Reports and Speaking in Sacrament Meeting

Stake and district presidents invite recently released missionaries to report on their service in a high council or district council meeting. This includes service missionaries. Bishops may also invite recently released missionaries to report in a ward council meeting.

Where appropriate for distance or other circumstances, recently released missionaries may provide their reports using technology or only in a ward council meeting.

The bishopric schedules time for recently released missionaries to speak in a sacrament meeting. This includes service missionaries. The meeting is a normal sacrament meeting. The bishopric ensures that the principles outlined in 24.5.2 are followed.

Recently released missionaries may speak in sacrament meetings in other wards as invited by a member of the stake or district presidency. They may also be invited by a member of the high council or district council.

24.8.4

Callings

Leaders promptly give ministering assignments and callings to recently released missionaries. This includes being considered as temple ordinance workers as appropriate (see 25.5).

24.9

Resources for Missionary Recommendations and Service

24.9.1

Manuals and Forms

24.9.2

Websites

24.9.3

Contact Information for the Missionary Department

  • Phone: 1-801-240-2222 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-2222