Missionary_(LDS_Church)

Missionary (LDS Church)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is one of the most active modern practitioners of missionary work, with over 50,000 full-time missionaries worldwide. Commonly referred to as Mormon missionaries, most LDS Church missionaries are single young men and women in their early twenties and are assigned to a mission of the church that is usually far from the missionary's home. Mormon missionaries do not receive a salary for any of the work they undertake. In the 138 years of the existence of the Church, one million missionaries have been called and sent.

Preparation to serve

Basic qualifications

LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball said "Every young man should fill a mission". Young men between the ages of 19 and 25 who meet standards of worthiness are strongly encouraged to consider a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. This expectation is based in part on the New Testament passage "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..." (Bible, King James, Matthew#Chapter 28). In 2007, approximately 30% of all 19-year-old LDS men became Mormon missionaries; from LDS families that are active in the church, approximately 80-90% of 19-year-old men serve a mission.

Women who would like to serve a mission must meet the same standards of worthiness and be at least 21 years old; women generally serve shorter 18-month missions. Married retired couples are encouraged to serve missions as well, but their length of service may vary from 3 to 36 months depending on their circumstances and means.

Standards of worthiness

All missionaries must meet certain minimum standards of worthiness. Among the standards that a prospective missionary must demonstrate adherence to include regular attendance at church meetings, regular personal prayer, regular study of the Standard Works, adherence to the law of chastity, adherence to the Word of Wisdom, and payment of tithing.

Other exclusionary factors

In addition to spiritual preparedness, church bishops are instructed to ensure that prospective missionaries are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of full-time missionary work. In the same speech where he called for "every young man" to fill a mission, Kimball added, "we realize that while all men definitely should, all men are not prepared to teach the gospel abroad. Apart from general issues of worthiness and ability, there are a number of specific situations that will disqualify a person from becoming a full-time missionary for the LDS Church. Among those excluded include those who would have to leave dependent children in the care of someone else; young couples who are still in child-bearing age; those who are in debt and have not made arrangements to meet these obligations; those who are on legal probation or parole; couples with serious unresolved marital problems; those who are HIV positive; and those who have been convicted of sexual abuse. Additionally, members who have submitted to, performed, encouraged, paid for, or arranged for an abortion and members who have fathered or mothered a child out of wedlock are usually excluded from missionary service, as are men under 26 and women under 40 who have been divorced and anyone who has participated in "homosexual activity" after age 15.

Until 1978 the LDS Church did not call men of African descent to go on missions, due to the ban on blacks holding the priesthood. This ban was lifted during Kimball's presidency.

Mission call

After application to the church and the requisite approval, prospective missionaries receive a "call to serve"—an official notification of their location assignment—through the mail from the President of the Church. The mission call will also inform the prospective missionary what language he will be expected to use during his mission. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are responsible for assigning missionaries to a particular mission.

Temple attendance

Before beginning their mission, prospective male missionaries are usually ordained to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood (if they do not hold this office already). All missionaries are "set apart" by the laying on of hands to preach the gospel; this is usually performed by the missionary's stake president. Prospective missionaries also usually attend the temple for the first time to receive their Endowment if they have not already done so.

Training

Newly-called missionaries attend a short training period at one of 17 church Missionary Training Centers (MTCs) worldwide. The largest MTC is located in Provo, Utah adjacent to Brigham Young University. Missionaries who will not be learning a language in order to serve their missions spend three weeks at an MTC and are trained in the use of proselytizing materials, taught expected conduct, and study the scriptures. Missionaries bound for foreign-language missions spend eight to thirteen weeks at an MTC, depending on the language to be learned. During this period, they are encouraged not to speak in their native tongue but rather to immerse themselves in the new language.

Cost

Missionaries are expected to pay their own expenses while on the mission, often with assistance from family and friends. In the past, each missionary paid his or her actual living expenses, but this approach created a disproportionate burden on missionaries who were assigned to more expensive areas of the world. In 1990, a new program was introduced to equalize the financial responsibility for each missionary and his or her family. Now, all young missionaries pay a flat monthly rate which is then redistributed according to regional costs of living. The cost of a mission as of January 2006 is USD$400 per month, which covers food, lodging, transportation, and personal items. As families now contribute to a general fund for missionary expenses, the sum is deductible under many nations' tax policies regarding charitable gifts.

Young people in the church are encouraged to save money throughout their childhood and teenage years to pay for as much of their mission as they can, although many receive assistance from parents, family, or friends. Missionaries who cannot save the required funds may obtain assistance from their home congregation or from a general missionary fund operated by the church and contributed to by Latter-day Saints around the world. Married couple missionaries are expected to pay their own costs. In many areas, church members often invite locally-assigned missionaries over for meals to help reduce the overall expenditures of the missionary program.

Dress and grooming

Full-time Mormon missionaries are required to adhere to a dress code: for men, conservative, dark trousers and suit coats, white dress shirts, and ties are generally required. For women, modest and professional dresses or blouses and skirts must be worn. In some areas these standards are altered slightly. For example, in hot, humid climates, suit coats are not required and dress shirts may be short-sleeved. Casual clothes may be worn when appropriate, when missionaries are providing manual labor or during preparation day, when the missionaries are involved in recreation, cleaning, shopping (at the discretion of the mission president), and laundry.

All full-time missionaries wear a name tag that gives their surname with the appropriate title ("Elder" or "Sister" in English-speaking areas). The name tag also bears the church's name, unless the mission president considers this inadvisable due to circumstances in the area (e.g., adverse political conditions).

Schedule

A missionary's day

Missionaries follow a very structured program. Missionaries are assigned a time scheduled to go to bed and to wake up that varies depending on the local culture. This is a typical missionary's daily schedule:

  • 6:30 am – 10:00 am: morning routine. This period of time consists of 30 minutes of exercise, 30 minutes of studying The Book of Mormon, The Bible, and other LDS scripture, 30 minutes studying Preach My Gospel, one hour of planning and studying as a companionship, and one hour to otherwise get ready for the day (shower, eat, pray, etc.). Missionaries who are learning a foreign language also use part of the morning routine for language study and training.
  • 10:00 am – 9:00 pm: missionary work. The missionary companionship goes out and performs their missionary work, which may include proselytizing and community service activities. They schedule one hour for lunch and one hour for dinner during this time.
  • 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm: evening routine. The missionary writes in his journal, prays, plans and sets goal for the next day and makes necessary phone calls, and prepares for bed.

A missionary's week

Missionaries perform their work as normal every day of the week except for one (which varies according to mission) which is called "preparation day". This day (often nicknamed P-day) is for preparing for the week. The missionaries also use this day as a day to rest from their rigorous daily schedule. Common preparation day activities include buying groceries, doing laundry, cleaning their living quarters, playing sports, writing letters, and visiting tourist attractions. Missionaries living close to an LDS temple may be permitted to attend temple services on preparation day. Preparation day usually ends at 6:00 pm, after which missionaries carry out their missionary activities as normal. Missionaries are also instructed to maintain the same morning routine on preparation days, including individual and companionship study.

Missionaries hold a weekly planning session as well. Sunday also differs for missionaries in that they interrupt their normal activities to attend at least one three-hour block of worship services of the church. Along with these services, missionaries may meet with the local Ward or Branch Mission Leader. District leaders meet with Zone leaders in a District Leader Council once a week, and all missionaries in the district gather for District Meeting weekly.

Monthly events

About once every month-and-a-half, zone conferences are held in which all missionaries in a broad area are in attendance. The Mission President interviews each missionary, and he and his Assistants instruct the missionaries in Church doctrine and in proselyting techniques. Occasionally, a General Authority of the Church may be present at these meetings. Also every month-and-a-half, missionary transfers occur, in which missionaries learn whether they are going to move to a new area of the mission or receive a new companion. Also, once a transfer, Zone leaders gather for a Zone Leader's Council with the President and his Assistants.

Organization

Missions and mission leadership

Every part of the world is assigned to be within a mission of the church, whether or not Mormon missionaries are active in the area. An adult male mission president presides over the missionaries in the mission.

Most missions are divided into several zones, a zone being a geographic area specified by the mission president. A zone encompasses several more organizational units called districts. Each zone and district is presided over by leaders drawn from male missionaries serving in that area. Zone and district leaders are responsible for gathering weekly statistics and assisting missionaries in their areas of responsibility. A district typically encompasses four to eight missionaries, and may or may not comprise more than one proselytizing area.

In addition to the leaders mentioned above, the mission president has two or more assistants. Assistants to the President (APs) are typically missionaries who have previously served as district and/or zone leaders. They assist the president in administering policies and helping missionaries throughout the mission.

Companionships

A missionary companionship, consisting of two or, occasionally, three missionaries, is the smallest organizational unit of a mission. Every missionary is assigned by the mission president to be another missionary's companion. Missionary companionships are generally maintained for months at a time and most missionaries will have served with multiple companions by the end of their mission. Only in rare instances will missionary companions have met prior to the start of their missions. A missionary's companion is always a missionary of the same gender, with the exception of married couples, who serve as each others' missionary companion for the entirety of their mission.

Missionary companions are instructed to never be apart during the day or night (with the exception of time allowed for bathing and use of the toilet). Companions share the same living quarters and the same bedroom (but not the same bed, except in the case of married missionary couples). When companions have conflicting personalities or interests, they are encouraged to try to resolve them themselves. If they are unable to do so, mission leaders may be used to help resolve the differences. Sometimes the only resolution is reassigning the missionaries to new companions, however this is often seen as a 'failure' on the part of the missionaries.

Personal relationships

Contact with family and friends

Missionaries are encouraged to write a letter to their parents weekly. Because almost all of their time is otherwise occupied, other communication is limited. However, a missionary may use preparation day to correspond with any person that is resident outside of the boundaries of the mission. Missionaries do not go on vacation and are generally only permitted to telephone their parents on Christmas Day and on Mother's Day (some mission presidents also allow missionaries to telephone their parents on Father's Day). Missionaries are provided with a free church e-mail account to correspond with their parents and other relatives, but a missionary may only access their account on preparation day using a computer in a public location, such as at a public library or an internet café.

Romantic relationships

Single missionaries are prohibited from dating or courting while serving missions. The requirement of companionships staying together at all times is intended, among other reasons, to discourage these activities. While missionaries may interact with members of the opposite sex, they may never be alone with them or engage in any kind of intimate physical or emotional activity (e.g., kissing, hugging, holding hands, flirting). Missionary companionships are also asked to not visit with single members of the opposite sex apart from an initial first visit. If further visits are required, those contacts are usually handed over to a companionship of the same gender as the contact or to married couple missionaries.

Many missionaries leave behind a girlfriend/boyfriend when they embark on their missions, but they are prohibited from meeting with them or telephoning them while serving their missions. They may, however, write to these persons once a week by postal mail. However, missionaries often end their romantic relationships before serving their missions, as many see it as the best option for both parties involved. Some missionaries, on the other hand, choose to continue their romantic relationships while on their missions. This can, of course, lead to a "Dear John" letter. Some relationships are able to last during this time of separation.

Marital status

In the early days of the LDS Church, men were called to serve missions regardless of marital status. Today, however, married young men are not expected to serve missions, unless called to oversee a mission as a mission president. A call to be a mission president is typically extended to the married couple, and in turn, the entire family of the chosen mission president. Older retired couples also may serve as missionaries.

Number of missionaries and number of converts

As of December 31, 2006, there were 53,164 Mormon missionaries serving in 344 church missions throughout the world. Their work, often in cooperation with local members, resulted in 272,845 convert baptisms in 2006. Author David Stewart points out that the number of convert baptisms per missionary per year has fallen from a high of 8.03 in 1989 to just 4.67 in 2005. He argues that the number of converts would increase if Mormon missionaries made greater efforts in meeting new people; he points out that the average companionship spends only four or five hours per week attempting to meet new people.

Types of missionaries

The most visible and most common type of missionaries are typically those who proselytize door-to-door and ride bicycles for transportation, but not all missionaries engage in these activities. There are "service missionaries" who solely perform volunteer work in impoverished areas, do genealogical research, or are tour guides or hosts at Temple Square and other historical church sites. In many areas, even proselytizing missionaries spend most of their day responding to incoming phone calls and queries, delivering requested media from the church's television and radio commercials. Many missionaries also use public transportation, walk, or in some areas drive automobiles owned by the church.

The LDS Church also has a strong welfare and humanitarian missionary program. These humanitarian missionaries typically serve in impoverished areas of the world and do not actively proselytize; humanitarian missionaries will not wear any identifying tags if local law forbids it. This allows them to operate in countries where religious organizations are typically forbidden, such as in predominantly Muslim countries or in Southeast Asia. Regular proselytizing missionaries are asked to engage in welfare activities and community service for a minimum of four hours per week.

In 2007, 80% of all Mormon missionaries were young, unmarried men, 13% young single women, and 7% retired couples.

Senior missionaries

All retired couples and elderly single women of the Mormon Church who are able both physically and financially are encouraged to go on missions. For those with health or financial limitations, many other opportunities of service in their home congregations are available.

Senior missionaries, also called Elders and Sisters like their younger counterparts, pay their own expenses, though they may receive some assistance from family. They have more choice in the placement and purpose of their mission, particularly if they have unique skills such as medical expertise or knowledge of foreign languages. Many serve humanitarian missions in which they are sent to specific regions and help with agriculture, food procurement, medical missions, or clean water initiatives. These are run through the Humanitarian Services arm of the LDS Philanthropies first begun in 1955. The LDS Church has recently begun immunization projects and a wheelchair initiative with much of the volunteer work being performed by senior missionaries. Some senior missionary couples serve as leaders in areas of the world where there are few experienced church leaders. Part of their responsibility includes training local members to be effective leaders.

Senior missionaries represent a small percentage of the total full-time missionary force of the Mormon Church. As of 2004, there were approximately 5,000 senior couple missionaries in the Church out of more than 56,000 total missionaries. However, senior missionaries form a large part of the Church’s part-time missionary force.

In the last couple of decades, the LDS Church has stepped up its call for senior couple missionaries. Leaders have encouraged this both as a responsibility all of us have to help our fellow men and as a cure to loneliness and depression which often affects the elderly. In 2002, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

"Caring for the elderly has become one of the great social problems of our time. Of course they reach an age when they cannot do very much. I can testify of that. But there are years between retirement and that age when they can play around doing things that really lead nowhere or they can give their great talents, the fruits of many years of marvelous experience, to lift and help people. They become concerned with others less fortunate and work to meet their needs. And they say, 'What a great time we are having!' I know of one couple now on their eighth such mission.

Building missionaries

Building missionaries were originally called by the president of the Tongan Mission in the early 1950s. Among their major successes was building Liahona High School.

From 1955 on, Wendell B. Mendenhall institutionalized building missionaries on a larger scale with skilled tradesmen called as supervisors of the missionaries. Most of the supervisors were Americans, while most of the workers were young men indigenous to the areas of the South Pacific and Latin America where the work was carried out. However, at times the situation was more complex. One example is Jose Alvarez, who was a native of Argentina, but had lived in the United States for three years when he was called to go with his family to Chile, where he served as a building missionary supervisor.

The building missionary program was phased out in the 1970s.

Coming of age

For young Latter-day Saints, completing a mission is often seen as a rite of passage and most tend to regard it as a positive event; the phrase "the best two years of my life" is a common cliché among returned missionaries when describing their experience. President Gordon B Hinckley stated that "[the mission] is not to be a rite of passage," but this cultural aspect remains. With the usual starting age of 18-21, the mission provides a clear event or marker for the traditional age of adulthood.

Returned missionaries

A returned missionary (often abbreviated "RM") is a term used by members of the LDS Church to refer to men and women who have previously served as Mormon missionaries. Once they return home, RMs are generally encouraged to begin dating seriously and to seek to get married, since marriage is highly esteemed in LDS culture.

While technically a neutral term referring to any person who has returned from a mission, RM is most often used when referring to men who have returned.

In Mormon culture, stereotypes and jokes abound regarding newly returned missionaries, most dealing with their difficulties in handling the reverse culture shock or learning to speak their native language again if they served a foreign-speaking mission. Other stereotypes revolve around the fact that as missionaries, they lived highly structured, disciplined lives and avoided contact with members of the opposite sex, so many RMs have difficulty readjusting to social life and dating. Other stereotypes include the supposed rush of many RMs to get married as soon as possible. Many families whose daughters are old enough to marry encourage them to date RMs since they are judged to be the most eligible.

Returned missionaries are frequently called to assist in the local missionary effort and are encouraged to stay active within the LDS Church through callings and service. RMs who served in the same mission frequently stay in touch and gather for mission reunions held in Salt Lake City to coincide with the semiannual LDS General Conference.

Some celebrities served LDS missions, such as the following.

Person Area served
Corbin Allred Australia
Larry Bagby Argentina
Shawn Bradley Australia
Orson Scott Card Brazil
Krešimir Ćosić Croatia
Stephen Covey England
Kevin Curtis England
Aaron Eckhart France; Switzerland
Jon Heder Japan
Kevin Rahm France
Mitt Romney France

Mormon missionaries in popular culture

Films

  • Return With Honor: A drama about a young man's struggle to "save" his mom after his 2 year mission.
  • The Best Two Years: A comedy film about a group of missionaries in Holland who are struggling with their missionary work.
  • The R.M.: A comedy about a returned missionary's adjustment to life post-mission.
  • God's Army: A film about a young missionary's adjustment to mission life in Los Angeles.
  • States of Grace: Portrays themes of repentance and change in a mission story set in a gang-ridden section of Los Angeles.
  • The Other Side of Heaven: A Disney film about the mission experiences of John H. Groberg in Tonga.
  • Saturday's Warrior: A film in which two missionaries convert an artist searching for truth.
  • Star Child: A sequel to Saturday's Warrior in which a missionary dies of cancer.
  • Latter Days: A movie in which a secretly homosexual Mormon missionary falls in love with a man in Los Angeles.
  • Trapped by the Mormons: a silent, anti-mormon propaganda film, portraying Mormon missionaries as evil kidnappers. Originally released in 1922, with a remake in 2005.
  • Orgazmo: an NC-17 comedy film in which the main character, a Mormon missionary, is coerced into making porn videos.
  • Get the Fire: A PBS documentary (controversial to many Mormons) of the struggles missionaries go through when serving in foreign countries.
  • Millions: A movie about a British boy who stumbles across millions of stolen pounds (£) and is inspired by several Mormon missionaries to do good with it. One of his good deeds includes secretly giving the missionaries money.

Literature

Other

In 2007, two former Mormon missionaries from Las Vegas, Nevada released a 2008 wall calendar entitled "Men on a Mission". The calendar features pictures of twelve returned missionaries "in standard missionary attire—white button-down shirts and ties" and "also reveals them shirtless, with chests waxed, in various moments of repose.

History

The following table indicates when missionaries from the LDS Church first preached in the territory of present-day countries.

Date Country (current name and territory) First official church missionary Notes
1830 United States Samuel H. Smith Smith is regarded as the "first missionary" of the LDS Church. He preached in New York in June 1830.
1830 Canada Joseph Smith, Sr. and Don Carlos Smith Although Phineas Young preached in Upper Canada several months before the Smiths, when he did so he was not a member of the church and therefore was not an official missionary of the church. The Smiths preached in villages north of the St. Lawrence River in Upper Canada in September 1830.
1837 United Kingdom Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde Kimball and Hyde first preached in Preston, England
1840 Ireland John Taylor, James McGuffie, and William Black A few months before Taylor, McGuffie, and Black arrived in Ireland, Reuben Headlock preached in Belfast, which was part of Ireland at the time but which is now in Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom
1840 Australia William Barratt Barratt was a 17-year-old convert from England whose family emigrated to Australia. Before his departure, he was set apart as a missionary to Australia.
1841 Netherlands Orson Hyde Hyde spent a week in Rotterdam and Amsterdam preaching to Jewish rabbis.
1841 Germany Orson Hyde A British church member named James Howells preached in Germany in 1840, but he was not an official missionary of the church.
1841 Turkey Orson Hyde Hyde preached in Constantinople.
1841 Israel Orson Hyde Hyde preached in Jerusalem and dedicated Palestine for the return of the Jews.
1843 Samoa "four men"
1850 Denmark Erastus Snow, John E. Forsgren, and George P. Dykes First preached in Copenhagen
1850 France John Taylor and Curtis E. Boulton A Welsh convert named William Howells preached in France in 1849, but he was not an official missionary of the church.
1850 Italy Lorenzo Snow, Joseph Toronto, and Thomas Stenhouse First preached in Genoa
1850 Sweden John E. Forsgren
1850 Switzerland Thomas Stenhouse and Lorenzo Snow
1851 Norway Hans F. Petersen Petersen was one of the first converts baptized in Denmark
1851 Iceland Guðmundur Guðmundsson and Thorarinn Thorason Guðmundsson and Torason joined the church in Denmark and were sent back to their native Iceland as missionaries.
1851 India Joseph Richards Church members Benjamin Richey and George Barber preached in India in 1849, but they were not official missionaries of the church.
1851 Chile Parley P. Pratt and Rufus C. Allen
1852 Malta Lorenzo Snow
1853 South Africa Jesse Haven, Leonard L. Smith, and William H. Walker Preached first in Cape Town.
1853 China Hosea Stout, James Lewis, and Chapman Duncan Preached first in Hong Kong.
1853 Jamaica Darwin Richardson, Aaron F. Fan, Jesse Turpin, and A. B. Lambson
1853 Sri Lanka Chauncey W. West and Benjamin F. Dewey
1854 New Zealand Augustus Farnham and William Cooke Preached first in Auckland and Nelson
1854 Thailand Elam Luddington Preached first in Bangkok.
1856 Mauritius George Kershaw
1865 Austria Orson Pratt and William W. Ritter
1876 Mexico Daniel Webster Jones and Ammon N. Tenney
1876 Finland Carl A. Sundstrom and John E. Sundstrom Preached first in Vaasa.
1884 Czech Republic Thomas Biesinger Preached in Prague.
1885 Hungary Thomas Biesinger and Paul Hammer Preached in Budapest.
1888 Belgium Mischa Markow Preached in Antwerp.
1891 Tonga Brigham Smoot and Alva J. Butler
1895 Russia August Höglund Preached in St. Petersburg.
1899 Serbia Mischa Markow Preached in Belgrade.
1899 Croatia Mischa Markow
1899 Romania Mischa Markow
1900 Bulgaria Mischa Markow
1901 Japan Heber J. Grant, Horace S. Ensign, Louis A. Kelsch, and Alma O. Taylor
1903 Latvia Mischa Markow Preached in Riga.
1905 Greece
1925 Argentina Rulon S. Wells and Rey Pratt Preached first in Buenos Aires. Wells preached in German and Pratt preached in Spanish.
1928 Brazil Rheinhold Stoof, William F. Heinz, and Emil Schindler Preaching began among German speakers.
1929 Slovakia Arthur Gaeth Gaeth was the first mission president of the Czechoslovakia Mission. Thomas Biesinger had previously preached within Czechoslovakia, but only in the current territory of the Czech Republic.
1930 Zimbabwe
1946 Costa Rica Arwell L. Pierce, Robert B. Miller, and David D. Lingard
1947 Guatemala Seth G. Mattice, Earl E. Hansen, Robert B. Miller, and David D. Lingard
1947 Uruguay Frederick S. Williams
1949 El Salvador Glenn W. Skousen and Omer Farnsworth
1950 Paraguay
1952 Honduras James T. Thorup and George W. Allen
1953 Nicaragua Manuel Arias and Archie R. Mortensen
1954 Fiji Boyd L. Harris and Sheldon L. Abbott
1954 South Korea Richard L. Detton and Don G. Powell
1964 Bolivia Preached in Cochabamba.
1956 Peru Darwin Thomas, Edward T. Hall, Donald L. Hokanson, Shirrel M. Plowman
1956 Taiwan Weldon J. Kitchen, Keith Madsen, Duane W. Dean, and Melvin C. Fish
1961 Philippines Ray Goodson, Harry Murray, Kent Lowe, and Nestor Ledesma
1963 Luxembourg Hyrum M. Smith and Gerald E. Malmrose
1965 Ecuador Craig Carpenter, Bryant R. Gold, Lindon Robinson, and Paul O. Allen
1965 Panama Ted E. Brewerton
1966 Colombia Randall Harmsen and Jerry Broome Preached first in Bogotá.
1967 Venezuela Ted E. Brewerton, Floyd Baum, Neil Gruwell, David Bell, and Fred Podlesny
1968 Singapore
1970 Spain
1970 Indonesia "six missionaries"
1972 Kiribati Eb L. Davis
1972 Malaysia
1973 Vietnam Colin B. Van Orman, James L. Chrisensen, David T. Posey, and Richard C. Holloman
1974 Portugal William Grant Bangerter
1975 Slovenia Neil D. Schaerrer
1975 Vanuatu Asaeli Mokofisi & Peni Malohifo’ou (of Tonga) and Brett Edward Olsen & Rodvern Lowry (of Canada)
1976 Micronesia George L. Mortensen and Aldric Porter Preached first on Pohnpei.
1977 Marshall Islands William Wardel and Steven Cooper
1977 Poland Matthew and Marion Ciembronowicz
1977 Trinidad and Tobago Chris Doty, Doug Mathews, Randy Clark, and David Roos
1978 Dominican Republic John A. Davis and Ada Davis Latter-day Saints Eddie Amparo and Mercedes Amparo preached prior to 1978, but they were not official missionaries of the church.
1978 Ghana Edwin Q. "Ted" Cannon, Janath Cannon, Rendell N. Mabey, Rachel Mabey
1978 Nigeria Edwin Q. "Ted" Cannon, Janath Cannon, Rendell N. Mabey, Rachel Mabey
1978 Suriname John Limburg and Beverly Limburg
1978 Palau Ron Brown and Stanton Akana
1980 Belize Samuel Flores and Robert Henke
1980 Haiti Glenn E. Stringham
1980 Papua New Guinea L. Douglas Johnson and Eva Johnson
1980 St. Vincent and the Grenadines Steven B. Wooley and Terry Williams
1983 St. Lucia Todd Hardy, Paul Jackson, Jay Schroeder, and Marty Harris
1984 St. Kitts and Nevis Douglas Myers and Robert J. Molina
1984 Antigua and Barbuda Ralph Tate and Aileen Tate
1984 Nauru Joseph B. Keeler
1984 Tuvalu Joseph B. Keeler, Glen Cornwall, and Shirley Cornwall
1985 Grenada Robert W. Hoffmaster and Leonard G. Gill
1986 Democratic Republic of the Congo R. Bay Hutchings and Jean Hutchings
1987 Swaziland Kenneth Edwards and Betty Edwards
1987 Liberia
1987 Cyprus James O. Henrie and Evelyn H. Henrie
1988 Guyana Benjamin Hudson and Ruth Hudson
1988 Cape Verde Marion K. Hamblin, Christopher Lee, Ken Margetts
1988 Côte d'Ivoire Barnard S. Silver and Cherry Silver
1988 Sierra Leone
1989 Lesotho Marc Modersitzki and Bradley Saunderson
1990 Botswana R.J. Stone
1990 Namibia
1990 Uganda Lark Washburn and Arlea Washburn
1990 Estonia Gary L. Browning Browning was the president of the Finland Helsinki East Mission, which had jurisdiction over Estonia.
1991 Ukraine Gary L. Browning Browning was the president of the Finland Helsinki East Mission, which had jurisidiction over Ukraine.
1991 Kenya
1991 Republic of Congo
1992 Mongolia Kenneth H. Beesley and Donna Beesley
1992 Malawi James Griggs and Diane Griggs
1992 Tanzania
1992 Albania
1992 Lithuania Gary L. Browning; Robert Rees and Ruth Rees Browning was president of the Helsinki Finland East Mission, which had jurisdiction over Lithuania. The Rees were the first missionaries assigned to preach in Lithuania.
1993 Angola
1993 Cameroon
1993 Central African Republic "a French missionary couple"
1993 Ethiopia Eugene Hilton and Ruth Hilton
1993 Madagascar
1995 Solomon Islands E. Crawford Jones and Judith Jones
1997 Moldova
1999 Mozambique
1999 Georgia Philip Reber and Betty Reber
2001 Kazakhstan Barry A. Baker and Tamara H. Baker

Incidents

In August 2006, three male missionaries from Idaho, Nevada and California participated in the vandalism of a Roman Catholic shrine in San Luis, Colorado. This included pretending to sacrifice each other and holding the head of one of the statues. The LDS Church apologized for the desecration shortly after the incident. The incident recalled a 1972 occurrence in which a pair of missionaries in Thailand took pictures of themselves sitting on an ancient Buddha statue. Although the missionaries may not have recognized the statue for what it was, they were caught and sentenced to a year in prison, and their images were published in the newspapers. The King of Thailand pardoned them on his birthday, and they were released after six months. Missionaries of the church are counseled to respect other religions and cultures in order to avoid such conflicts.

Missionaries have also been the victims of violence at times, though rarely. From 1999 to 2006, only three LDS missionaries were murdered worldwide, while 22 died in accidents of some sort. Missionaries of other Christian faiths have a much higher murder-to-accident ratio, with 155 out of 164 missionaries dying due to murder rather than accident. One of the three LDS missionaries killed during that time was Elder Morgan Young, who died after he and his companion were shot while proselytizing in a residential area of Virginia. His companion survived. A few cases of kidnapping have also occurred, a recent one being in 1998, when two male missionaries were abducted while working in the Samara region of Russia. The kidnappers demanded USD$300,000 dollars for their return. The missionaries were released unharmed a few days later without payment of the ransom. In 2008, three men from Port Shepstone, South Africa were convicted of raping and robbing two Mormon women missionaries in June 2006.

References

  1. External links

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