Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Missionaries of Mormonism

I am certain that many of the readers of this blog are not only people unfamiliar with or outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but many of the readers may be members of the church.  Maybe some of you have an understanding of what the church explains, of what 'Mormonism' is, and some of you may not.  With that knowledge I do my best to write about these topics in a way that everyone understands.  Coming to mind right now are the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

"With marvelous new methods of communication, ever larger proportions of the audience for our conferences are not members of the Church - yet.  So we must speak to those who know us very well and those who know us not at all.  Within the Church alone we must speak to the children, the youth and young adults, the middle-aged, and the elderly.  We must speak to families and parents and children at home even as we speak to those who are not married, without children, and perhaps very far from home."
- Holland, An Ensign to the Nations, April 2011 -

That message of Elder Holland's was given in explanation to the talks given by General Authorities of the Church, but I feel it also applies to missionaries and even members of the church as a whole.  But in this post I wish to speak specifically on missionary work.

Nearly every Christian religion has missionaries.  Simply put, a missionary is a person sent to an area to teach those people about what they have (religion, education, medical help, etc).  Missionaries are not foreign in this world.  Religious missionaries are not foreign either.  Just like other religions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has missionaries as well.

There are different types of missions that people can serve in the Church.  The most well-known is called a "full-time" mission.  A full-time mission is a proselyting mission.  The missionaries that serve this type of mission do so for 18 months (for girls) and 2 years (for boys), beginning at age 18 (for boys) and 19 (for girls).  They are often known for the way they dress.  Here is an example:

These missionaries are sent to an area of the world, as an apostle directs them, to live with other missionaries.  In their assigned area they teach people interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about what it is that members of the Church believe.

A second type of missionary are the "couple" missionaries.  These missionaries are married couples, that serve in an assigned area like the full-time missionaries, but they serve with their spouse rather than an assigned companion.  Some of these couples teach about the Church in interested people's homes, but some couples do other work for the Church.

And the third type of mission is called a "service" missionary.  In most cases those that service this kind of mission are those that are honorably excused from a full-time mission due to health or other reasons, but still want to serve for the Church.

And finally I will finish with one last question and answer:  Why do members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spend so much time and money to serve missions?  I know I cannot answer for all people that do this, but I can give my own answer.  Simply, it is joy.  Lehi taught his kids that "men are that they might have joy," (2 Nephi 2:25) and that is the great push behind missionary work.  The gospel taught by the Church brings us happiness and we simply want to share that happiness with whoever wants it.

If, after this post, you have additional questions concerning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism or missionaries, you can do a couple things:
1. Leave a comment with your question(s).
2. Ask a missionary yourself here.

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