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Feb 6th 2007

Preparing for a Mission

This article was recently submitted to all-encompassingly for publication. It is one of a series of informational posts intended to address common misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. –Admin

Missionary work is an integral part of the Mormon Church. Mormon doctrine teaches that missionary work has always been a part of Christ’s gospel. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his apostles, “go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Revelations recorded by the Prophet Joseph Smith show that missionary work is a necessary part of the Mormon Church. “And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.”[FN1]

Young men of the Mormon Church are asked to prepare themselves to go on missions. Recently Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of the Mormon Church, has said, “The time has come when we must raise the standards of those who are called to serve as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world. We simply cannot permit those who have not qualified themselves as to worthiness to go into the world to speak the glad tidings of the gospel.”[FN2] Prospective missionaries are asked to prepare themselves physically, socially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to serve a mission.

    Physical Preparation

Serving a full-time mission for the Mormon Church is rigorous and requires great physical discipline. The day of a Mormon missionary starts at 6:00 and does not end until 10:30. Missionaries are also often required to walk and bike for long periods of time. The leaders of the Mormon Church have given these suggestions to become physically prepared to serve a mission:

  • Be financially prepared. Start a savings account for your mission. Get a part-time job and save the extra money. Set up a budget and stay with it. Learn self-discipline when it comes to money.
  • Be physically healthy. Exercise regularly. Eat well-balanced meals. Get enough sleep at night. Live the word of wisdom and stay morally clean.
  • Learn household skills that you will need to know when living on your own, such as how to cook, plan menus, and how to wash and iron your clothes.
  • Have good grooming and cleanliness habits. Begin observing missionary grooming standards such as hair length and proper dress.
    • Social Preparation

    A Mormon missionary is required to be with a companion at all times. Missionaries also speak to many people they do not know, and teach lessons in front of people on a regular basis, so it is important the missionaries be prepared socially. Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare:

  • Learn common rules of etiquette.
  • Be on time for meetings and activities.
  • Practice remembering the names of those you meet.
  • Learn to like many different foods.
    • Mental Preparation

    Mormon missionaries are asked to memorize scriptures, and other information. Many missionaries are also required to learn a new language, so it is important to be prepared for the mental rigors of serving a mission. Some ways to do this are:

  • Read daily from the scriptures at least fifteen minutes each day and be especially familiar with the Book of Mormon.
  • Do something everyday that you don’t want to do, so that you can learn self-discipline.
  • Don’t procrastinate your schoolwork.
  • Fulfill Church callings and responsibilities.
  • Pay attention in seminary and do more than the required reading.
  • Memorize scriptures and study the Preach My Gospel handbook.
  • Spend time setting goals and planning how to meet them.
  • Learn another language, and learn about the culture of the people whose language you are studying.
    • Spiritual Preparation

    Missionaries are asked to strictly follow the commandments and be prepared to guide others spiritually, so it is important that they be prepared in this area.

  • Pray morning and night.
  • Have the Spirit with you and learn how to recognize it.
  • Be worthy of the priesthood and learn how to use it correctly.
  • Build a strong testimony and bear it often.
  • By following these steps set out by the leaders of the Church a prospective missionary should be better prepared to serve an honorable mission. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Certainly by the time a young man reaches his nineteenth birthday, he should be prepared to step from his conventional role at home into the important role of the missionary without a total reorganization of his life, his standards, or his training.”[FN3]

      Other Links:

    Mormon Missionaries
    Mormon Beliefs
    The Missionary Program

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    1 Section 133:37 Doctrine and Covenants
    2 “Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 17
    3 “Advice to Young Men: Now Is the Time to Prepare,” New Era, June 1973, p. 9.

    3 Responses to “Preparing for a Mission”

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