LDS church expands service opportunities through change to mission application process

Elder Joseph Horne, of Holladay, Utah, returned home early from a mission to California due to health issues. He is continuing his mission as a service missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its publishing services department, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2018 | Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reserve Inc./The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  Young people wishing to become missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have expanded opportunities to serve starting next year, according to an announcement Friday from the church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced expended missionary opportunities for young people via service missions through changes in its missionary application process, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2018 | Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reserve Inc./The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

“Beginning January 2, 2019, all young men and women in the United States and Canada — including those who may not be able to serve a proselyting mission due to health reasons — will use the same online recommendation process,” a press release from the LDS church states.

“They 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.”

More specifically, missionary candidates – ages 18-25 for men and 19-25 for women – who may not be able to serve a traditional proselyting mission due to physical, mental or emotional reasons will be able to take part in service missions that include church operations of working with nonprofit charities and other organizations approved by local church leaders.

“They make a huge difference,” Elder Dale G. Renlund of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in reference to 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.”

The LDS church has piloted this program in other locations since 2014.

Proselyting missionaries who return home early due to accident, illness or health conditions can be reassigned to finish their term of service through a service mission.

Joseph Horne, 21, from Holladay, Utah, returned from the California San Fernando Mission earlier this year because of a health issue, according to the church’s press release. He now serves as a missionary in the church’s publishing services department, providing technical and user support for the Gospel Library app.

The only difference between a service mission and a teaching mission is your perspective on them,” Horne said. “It’s the service to the Lord that matters.”

While filling out the same paperwork online, perspective missionaries will also be interviewed by local church leaders. Prior to the announced change, service mission applicants underwent a different process. All missionary candidates will initially be considered for proselyting missions and assigned accordingly as individuals’ capabilities to serve are reviewed.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced expended missionary opportunities for young people via service missions through changes in its missionary application process, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2018 | Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reserve Inc./The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

According to a letter sent to church leaders Friday, missionary candidates who leaders are not entirely certain may be able to handle a full-time proselyting mission may consider what is referred to as a “two-transfer mission.” That will allow the missionary to be sent on a proselyting mission for a trial period.

If all goes well, the trial period would be extended to the full length of the mission term. If a proselyting mission doesn’t appear to be the best course for the missionary, they are able to transfer to a service mission instead.

Service missionaries are to adhere to similar standards as their proselyting counterparts, according to the letter. They are also required to wear name tags while in engaged in their assignment and during church meetings but not outside of that.

The letter also states that service missionaries and their families will be responsible for the expenses related to missionary service and will not receive financial support from the church’s general missionary fund.

“This is serving the Lord as a missionary and bringing to pass God’s work,” Renlund said. “Service missionaries bring great blessings to themselves, but more importantly, as they are doing this work, they’re blessing Heavenly Father’s children in unique ways.”

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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12 Comments

  • Comment November 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    It’s getting harder and harder to sell the product. When all your new customers consist of uneducated and impoverished people from the 3rd world, well, it might be getting close to game up. I guess we’ll see! 😉

    • KR567 November 18, 2018 at 6:30 am

      Well that’s just according to you Bob…but opinions are just opinions Bob and thats all your comment is so have a nice day Bob

  • Mike P November 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

    ” expanded opportunities to serve” kinda says it all. This is church news. Why is it here?

    • Paul Dail Paul Dail November 18, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Mike, thanks for your comment. I feel like I’ve seen similar ones from you in this vein before, and meant to respond sooner with my two cents, as I would say the reality is that the same could almost be said for any specialty group of news-related events. I’m not LGBTQ, so why would we publish news related to them? I’m not a victim of domestic violence, so why would we publish stories about those organizations?

      I’m also not a member of the LDS church, but just like I know people in those other groups I’ve mentioned, I also have family, friends, neighbors and coworkers who are in the church. We are all members of a community, and news that affects members of that community affects me as well. In this case, heaven forbid, it’s positive news. And so I’m happy for members of my community.

      Thanks again for your comment and for being an active part of St. George News.

      Paul Dail
      Editor in chief

      • Kilroywashere November 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        I agree here with Comments reply to Mr. Dahl, however I have yet to read anything regarding local Buddhists. Just putting my 2 cents in… No articles regarding local Taoists is understandable. Catholic and Jewish community do seem to get some coverage now and then. But Eastern religion seems non existent here when in fact there is a thriving community in Utah. Funny thing, you wouldn’t know it, but certain Buddhist branches and LDS faith have many similarities.

        • Redbud November 18, 2018 at 9:12 pm

          I am sure if there was something newsworthy within the Buddhist church or community, they would not hesitate to include it. It’s not like they have a rolling list of religions to report about on a certain time schedule. “Ok, let’s see… Buddhists get an article in February and September, Catholics get one in April, Baptists in June, etc…” Your comment makes it sound as if the newspaper excludes certain religions or religious views, and I have yet to experience that. Obviously LDS is going to be a frequent, if not the most talked about one, but that goes without saying, it’s Utah. If Buddhism was the predominant religion, then that would be more frequent than LDS.

          • Kilroywashere November 18, 2018 at 10:05 pm

            Hey Redbud, just putting my 2 cents in… not too serious but in general 0 coverage of certain religions is apparent. Just creating awareness. Only fair, and sticking up, because as a non Buddhist myself, it is not in the nature of Buddhism to proselytize etc. so someone’s got to do it. Did catch the Dalai Lama in SLC at Univ. of Utah a couple of years ago. But it does seem FLDS & LDS gets 80% of coverage in the local news when it comes to religion. Just saying.

          • AnnieMated November 19, 2018 at 1:38 pm

            Kilroy 80% is an understatement. I would say the church gets 98-99%.

      • Mike P November 19, 2018 at 10:02 am

        Paul, I get it, I really do. But you said yourself ” you have family, friends, neighbors and coworkers who are in the church” So….. o.k. I just don’t think every time the LDS church does something, literally anything, it’s newsworthy. I mean no disrespect at all, it’s just me.

    • Comment November 18, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Paul is exactly right, michael. The church is a huge part of this community whether we like it or not.

      • Mike P November 19, 2018 at 10:12 am

        Comment, again, I get it, I really do. But as I stated before, I just don’t think or understand why, every time the “church” does something it’s newsworthy. At least not to the general masses, it’s specific and it’s only news to the church and they have their own media outlet (s). I knew I’d get some flack on this but that’s not what I intended. I seriously mean no disrespect . And I apologize if I offended anyone here.

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