By Lindsey Williams and Matt Bennett
Black name tags dot the globe as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share the message of the restored gospel. The statistical report at April 2016 General Conference reported there were more than 74,000 missionaries in this vast Army of Helaman.
But every army needs a leader. Each of the 422 missions of the LDS Church is presided over by a mission president and his wife. According to Mormon Newsroom, each president presides over approximately 175 missionaries at a time, with 600 missionaries passing through their mission during their three-year calling.
These mission presidents give of their time and talents to help spread the work. Get to know these leaders through some numbers gathered from mission presidents serving in January 2017.
1. Returning to the field
Only 11 percent of mission presidents did not serve as full-time missionaries in their youth. Of the mission presidents who served missions, 32 percent are serving in the same country they served their mission.
2. Every year or two
The First Presidency calls mission presidents every year, meaning about one-third of the mission presidents serving are in their first year and another one-third will soon return home.
3. Leaving the world behind
Mission presidents, like missionaries, devote all of their time to the work and leave their jobs behind. The majority of mission presidents serving come from a business background ranging from restaurant owners to CEOs. A large chunk of mission presidents are employed by the LDS Church prior to their call such as working in the Church Education System.
4. Sweeping the globe
Mission presidents come from 35 countries around the world. The top countries are:
- United States — 70 percent
- Brazil — 6 percent
- Mexico — 3 percent
The majority of mission presidents come from the United States and the leading state is, you guessed it, Utah. Of the mission presidents from the United States, the leading home states are:
- Utah — 144 mission presidents
- California — 36 mission presidents
- Idaho — 27 mission presidents
- Arizona — 18 mission presidents
- Texas — 11 mission presidents
6. The Beehive Buzz
It’s no surprise that Utah, which is 55 percent Mormon, supplies the most mission presidents. Within the state of Utah, the leading home cities of mission presidents include:
- Salt Lake City — 17 mission presidents
- Orem — 14 mission presidents
- Bountiful — 10 mission presidents
- Sandy — 10 mission presidents
- Provo — 9 mission presidents