Church Releases Standard Missionary Interview Questions
Contributed By Camille West, LDS.org Church News
- Prospective missionaries can use the questions to gauge their preparedness and have candid talks with their parents and leaders.
The First Presidency has released a set of standard questions for bishops and stake presidents to use while interviewing prospective full-time missionaries.
“Church leaders desire that this sacred time of service be a joyous and faith-building experience for every missionary, from young men and women to senior couples,” according to materials that accompanied the official letter dated October 20 to stake presidents and bishops.
The questions are intended to help prospective full-time missionaries understand and better prepare so they are not only “worthy, but physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for missionary service.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized the importance of having good mental and physical health while serving a full-time mission. “[Missionary] work is rigorous,” he said. “It demands strength and vitality. It demands mental sharpness and capacity. … Missionary work is not a rite of passage in the Church. It is a call extended by the President of the Church to those who are worthy and able to accomplish it. Good physical and mental health is vital, … for the work is demanding, the hours are long, and the stress can be heavy” (“Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 17–18).
Priesthood leaders use standard questions for baptism and temple recommend interviews, but until now, a list of specific questions for interviewing missionary candidates has not existed.
The questions do not indicate a change or addition to the requirements for full-time missionary service. They reflect the same standards found in the scriptures, Church handbooks, and other Church materials.
Those considering missionary service can use the questions to gauge their own preparedness and have meaningful conversations about the qualifications for missionary service with their parents and priesthood leaders.
Parents are encouraged to take an active role in helping children prepare for missionary service by helping them understand the qualifications and live the standards.
According to the Frequently Asked Questions document provided by the Church, information relating to the physical, mental, and emotional preparedness of the missionary candidate will be shared with medical professionals in the Missionary Department and will help in determining the best assignment opportunities for missionaries.
For worthy candidates not eligible for full-time service, priesthood leaders can help identify other appropriate service opportunities, such as serving as a Church-service missionary, volunteer, temple and family history consultant, temple worker, and more.
Parents and leaders can help youth understand that the Lord values all of the ways His children serve Him, share His gospel, and build the kingdom.
“Young men and young women with serious mental, emotional, or physical limitations are excused from full-time missionary service,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. “They shouldn’t feel guilty about that. They are just as precious and important to the Church as if they were able to go into the mission field.
“But while they don’t serve full-time, they can take every opportunity to find and help people join the Church. They can be member missionaries in college, at work, and in their neighborhoods. They ought to go forward, have a wonderful and full life, and help build the kingdom wherever they are” (“How to Prepare to Be a Good Missionary,” New Era, Mar. 2007, 6–11; Liahona, Mar. 2007, 10–15).
Suggestions for priesthood leaders
- Share interview questions with all prospective full-time missionaries and their parents before the interview and encourage them to review and discuss them.
- Discuss the interview questions as a ward council.
- Consider a fifth-Sunday discussion or other forum to share the interview questions with the adults and discuss ways parents can help youth prepare for missionary service.
- Share the interview questions with young men and young women beginning at an early age to help them understand the standards and qualifications for full-time missionary service.
Suggestions for parents
- Take an active role in helping your children prepare for missionary service.
- Share the qualifications for missionary service with your children and help them in their efforts to understand and live the standards.
- Use interview questions as topics for family home evening lessons and discussions.
To learn more about the future of missionary work in the Church, see this news release.