The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is changing the recommendation process for young missionary applicants, the Church announced Friday morning.
Beginning Jan. 2, 2019, all young men and women in the United States and Canada will use the same online application form to apply for missionary service, whether it be a proselyting mission or a service mission. Currently, the Church uses two separate application processes. Each candidate will complete recommendation forms, participate in interviews with their local Church leaders and undergo evaluations by medical professionals. Candidates will then receive a call from the president of the Church to serve either a proselyting or service mission.
These expanded opportunities will provide more opportunities for young missionaries to serve as missionaries — including individuals previously restricted for health reasons — in a variety of capacities.
“For many years, young men and women with a desire to serve God through missionary service but who are unable to do so for health reasons have served the Lord valiantly in various community and Church organizations,” the First Presidency wrote in a letter to Church leaders on Nov. 16. “We are grateful for their service and are pleased to announce increased opportunities for young missionaries who have health challenges.”
All candidates with first be considered for full-time proselyting missions. Those unable to be called as proselyting missionaries for physical, mental or emotional reasons may be called as service missionaries. In some cases, candidates will be “honorably excused” from serving a mission in any official capacity. The expanded missionary opportunities are also offered to missionaries who return home early due to accident, illness or other health conditions.
“Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ will always be the primary purpose of missionary service,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “so the Lord, through His leaders, will call most young people to find, teach and baptize converts. They will be assigned to one of the 407 missions all over the world.”
Service missionaries are held to “very similar standards of conduct” as proselyting missionaries, according to the press release. They live at home and serve at Church operations or with community nonprofit and charitable organizations. The Church has been testing the service missionary program in various locations since 2014.
“They make a huge difference,” said Elder Renlund of service missionaries. “They’re dependable, they show up, they do the work. They’re cheerful, they’re positive, they’re enthusiastic. They bring life and energy.”
Learn more about missionary opportunities at lds.org/service-missionary.