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Life as an LDS Missionary

What LDS Missionaries Do

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LDS Missionaries, Called Elders; Public Domain

LDS Missionaries, Called Elders

Public Domain
The life of a full-time LDS missionary can be rigorous because serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means being and working as a representative of Jesus Christ at all times- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But what do missionaries do? Find out about the life of a missionary including what they teach, who they work under, and what they invite others to do.

LDS Missionaries Teach the Truth
One of the most important things Mormon missionaries do is to teach others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They work to spread the "good news" to all those who will hear. The "good news" is that Christ's gospel has been restored to the Earth. This restoration includes the return of the priesthood-God's authority to act in His name- and modern revelation including The Book of Mormon, which comes through living prophets.

Missionaries teach the importance of the family and how it is possible for us to live together with our families for all eternity. They also teach our basic beliefs, including God's plan of salvation, and the principles of the gospel which are part of our Articles of Faith.

Those being taught by the missionaries, who are not already members of the Church of Jesus Christ, are called investigators and when missionaries teach investigators it is called a discussion.

LDS Missionaries Obey Rules
For their safety and to prevent possible problems missionaries have a strict set of rules they must obey. One of the biggest rules is that they always work in pairs, called a companionship. Men, called Elders, work two-by-two, as do women, called sisters- meaning two elders or two sisters per companionship. Older married couples work together but are not under all the same rules as the younger missionaries.

Additional rules include dress code, travel, viewing media, and other forms of conduct. Each mission's rules may be slightly different as the mission president may adjust rules to fit the mission.

LDS Missionaries Proselytize
With tens of thousands of missionaries throughout the world you have most likely seen a pair of them at some point in your life, they may even have knocked on your door. That's because part of the life of an LDS missionary is to seek out those who are ready and willing to hear their important message. Missionaries proselytize by knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, flyers or pass-along cards, and speaking to just about everyone they meet.

Missionaries find people to teach by working with local members who have friends or family members that want to know more. They sometimes receive referrals from the media (commercials, Internet, radio, etc.), visitor centers, historic sites, and pageants, when people hear or see something about the Church of Jesus Christ and are interested in knowing more.

LDS Missionaries Study
A large part of a missionary's life is to study the gospel, including The Book of Mormon, other scriptures, missionary guide books, and their language (if they are learning a second language). LDS Missionaries study on their own, with their companion, and at meetings with other missionaries.

Learning to more effectively study the scriptures helps missionaries in their efforts to teach the truth to investigators and those they meet.

LDS Missionaries Invite Others to Act
A missionary's purpose is to share the gospel with others and invite them to follow Jesus Christ. Missionaries will invite investigators to do any of the following:
  • Listen to their message
  • Read sections of The Book of Mormon
  • Pray
  • Attend church
  • Obey specific commandments
  • Repent
  • Invite others to be taught
  • Be baptized
Missionaries also invite current members of The Church of Jesus Christ to help them with their work including sharing their testimony with others, accompanying them to a discussion, praying, and inviting others to hear their message.

LDS Missionaries Baptize Converts
Investigators who gain a testimony of the truth for themselves and desire to be baptized are prepared for baptism by meeting with the proper priesthood authority. When they are ready a person is baptized by one of the missionaries who taught them or any other worthy member who holds the priesthood. Investigators make the choice of who they would like to baptize them.

LDS Missionaries Work Under a Mission President
Each mission has a mission president who presides over the mission and its missionaries. A mission president and his wife usually serve in this capacity for three years. Missionaries work under the mission president in a specific line of authority as follows:
  • Assistant to the President
  • Zone Leader
  • District Leader
  • Senior Companion
  • Junior Companion
A new missionary, strait from the Missionary Training Center (MTC), is nicknamed a "greenie" and works with his/her trainer.

LDS Missionaries Receive Transfers
Very few missionaries are assigned to the same area for the entire duration of their mission. Most missionaries will work in one area for a few (or sometimes several) months until the mission president has them transfered to a new area. Each mission covers a very large geographic area and the mission president is responsible for placing missionaries where they work.

Local Members Provide Meals for LDS Missionaries
Local church members help the missionaries by having them in their home and feeding them dinner (or lunch, depending on the mission). But anyone can offer to feed the missionaries- you don't have to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ to serve the elders or sisters in this way.

Each ward has special callings given to local members to help their missionaries, including a ward mission leader and ward missionaries. The ward mission leader coordinates the work between missionaries and local members including meal assignments.

LDS Missionary Daily Schedule
The following is a break down of an LDS missionary's daily schedule from Preach My Gospel pg viii.
*In consultation with the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency, your mission president may modify this schedule to meet local circumstances.

Missionary Daily Schedule*
6:30 a.m. Arise, pray, exercise (30 minutes), and prepare for the day.
7:30 a.m. Breakfast.
8:00 a.m. Personal study: the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, doctrines of the missionary lessons, other chapters from Preach My Gospel, the Missionary Handbook, and the Missionary Health Guide.
9:00 a.m. Companion study: share what you have learned during personal study, prepare to teach, practice teaching, study chapters from Preach My Gospel, confirm plans for the day.
10:00 a.m. Begin proselyting. Missionaries learning a language study that language for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, including planning language learning activities to use during the day.

Missionaries may take an hour for lunch and additional study, and an hour for dinner at times during the day that fit best with their proselyting. Normally dinner should be finished no later than 6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. Return to living quarters (unless teaching a lesson; then return by 9:30) and plan the next day's activities (30 minutes). Write in journal, prepare for bed, pray.
10:30 p.m. Retire to bed.
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