This video discusses the unparalleled missionary program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over 1.3 million missionaries have now served, not only paying their own way, but answering the call to serve at a time of life often associated with peak levels of self-absorption and self-interest. To quote a Business Week article interviewing Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen: “I don’t think there’s any more demanding profession that being a Mormon missionary.”
On this video in the Evidences series, I’m going to talk about missionary work, the missionary program of the Church. When Jesus Christ was on the earth and formed His church, He sent out His disciples, two by two was the pattern, to preach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. The restored gospel, restored church of Jesus Christ has a missionary program with the same pattern, and it is really unparalleled in the history of the world what has happened with this program.
Since 1830, we’ve had over 1.3 million missionaries that have served and returned home, having gone out to preach the gospel throughout the world. Currently, there’s actually 970,000 people currently alive that have served missions, so the vast majority of those are in this current day, 70,000 are serving today. Five of youth, of young adults, there are 5800 senior missionaries. There are 23,000 church service senior missionaries. Almost 100,000 total missionaries at this point collectively. About 25% of teens are going on missions. If you view it as from those that are active, it’s probably closer to 50% or more. There the men are able to go at age 18 and the women are eligible to go at age 19.
The men go for two years. The women go for 18 months. There’s 170 different languages that are spoken. They’re expected to learn this language in one of the 15 missionary training centers throughout the world. They learn the language in two months. On top of all this, they’re expected to pay their own way, and the church has levelized the cost to $400 a month for everybody that serves. And if you’re unable to pay completely, the church does provide a supplement to be able to still be able to serve. 160 million Books of Mormon have been given out since 1830 and there have been millions of hours of community service that the missionaries have done. And the thing that I love the most is the age that these missionaries go. It is at the peak time for them in self-absorption, self-interest.
They’ve just gotten out of high school, they’re focusing on thinking about colleges and careers. It’s the peak level of self-focus. And instead they completely turn outward and go and serve the Lord in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to share a couple of quotes. One was from the Deseret News. And they were actually quoting in 2011 there had been articles published in Business Week and Financial Times and commenting on these, it says, “Both Business Week and the Financial Times concluded aspects of missionary training and missionary service were catalysts for business success. International assignments and language learning spawning multicultural sensitivities and global adaptability; companionships leading to the development of interpersonal skills and the combination of suffering, sacrifice, and self-improvement, helping instill a strong work ethic.” Business Week quoted Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, a Rhodes scholar and LDS missionary in Korea in the early 1970s, “I don’t think there’s any more demanding profession than being a Mormon missionary.”
Now, this is the benefit to the missionary that we’re talking about here and some of the secular benefits. The church also on the newsroom site had a great piece that they talked about all the benefits from serving in mission, holistically and collectively. This is the quote. “Returning missionaries carry home a wealth of knowledge and experiences that set the course of their life. Firm faith in God, an increased knowledge of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel, an exposure to cultural diversity, a new language competence, possibly with a foreign language but often with an improvement in their communication skills, an increase in confidence and an overwhelming love for the people with whom they have served, abilities to set and reach goals, to gain a sense of responsibility for themselves and others, to concentrate on their educational studies, and then build positive relationships with people of varied backgrounds. The experience of that service for the individual missionary becomes a strong foundation for the future, both within the family and the church and in academic and professional pursuits. Many missionaries credit their full-time service with influencing their direction for the rest of their lives. Some move on to successful business pursuits. Others find useful in the service, education, or technical fields. Most also continue church and community service with a focus on family.”
And I know personally, I’ve been home for over 30 years from my mission, but I still reflect back so much of what is good in my life today I can tie back to the foundations of my mission. It really changed the trajectory path of my life and brought tremendous blessings and joy, not just when serving, but since then as well. One of my favorite quotes in the Bible is Isaiah 52:7. I want to read this and then show you a brief video clip of a missionary choir at a worldwide leadership training meeting and show you a clip of that that I found. But Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings and publishes peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publishes salvation, that sayeth unto Zion, ‘Thy God reigneth’. Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with a voice together shall they sing.” And please enjoy the singing that you’re going to see now.
Mormon Newsroom, Missionary Program: https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/…
Mormon Newsroom, Missionary Work – Experiences Shape the Future https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/articl…
Deseret news article summarizing both Business Week and Financial Times articles https://www.deseretnews.com/article/7…
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.