Candidates and Parents

    The ministry of the Savior exemplifies the two great commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). When we serve our neighbors, we demonstrate our love to Heavenly Father: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

    Able to Serve (3:32)

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    Service Missionary Handbook

    A service missionary handbook is given to every service missionary who is called. The handbook gives counsel and guidance about topics such as commitment to serving the Lord, personal conduct, and daily schedule. Before beginning the service mission, missionaries should carefully review the handbook with their parents and stake president.

    Common Questions

    What is the role of parents?

    Parents help identify the prospective service missionary’s interests, abilities, and talents. They give priesthood leaders and service mission leaders insight into ways the service missionary can serve effectively. Parents also provide input in determining which service opportunities would be the best match for the missionary. They commit to provide the support needed during the mission, such as following up on each day’s activities, providing transportation as needed, covering medical and auto expenses as needed, and offering loving support.

    What is the missionary recommendation process?

    Young men and young women who have a desire to serve a mission and are worthy to do so fill out an online recommendation that is processed by the stake president. Based on the information given in the application, including the evaluation of the bishop, the stake president, and medical professionals, a service missionary assignment may be made. The Quorum of the Twelve and General Authority Seventies oversee the mission recommendation process, and a missionary call is issued from the Lord through His prophet.

    Can a missionary candidate choose either a proselyting mission or a service mission?

    No. All applicants are considered first for proselyting missions. Young men and women who are unable to be called as proselyting missionaries for health reasons will be called as service missionaries. If an applicant is called as a service missionary, the call is from the prophet, and the service is tailored to the applicant's unique talents, skills, and gifts and the local environment.

    How are service missionaries called?

    Young men and young women who are unable to serve a full-time proselyting mission are called to be service missionaries. This assessment is made either during the missionary recommendation process or after an individual serves a portion of a proselyting mission and returns home before the expected completion date. A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to his or her talents, skills, and gifts.

    How is a service assignment created?

    After a young man or young woman has been called to serve as a service missionary, a customized mission matching the missionary’s capabilities is created by the stake president with the help of the missionary, his or her parents, and the service mission leaders. Assignments may be adjusted during the mission.

    What are the types of service missionary assignments?

    Service missionaries serve at approved community charitable organizations (such as food banks, refugee services, shelters), Church operations (such as storehouses, canneries, temples, seminaries and institutes), or in assignments from their local Church leaders.

    Where do service missionaries live?

    Service missionaries live at home and serve locally. In some rare cases, service missionaries may receive permission to serve away from home while living with relatives. In no circumstance do service missionaries live alone.

    When do service missionaries wear their name badges?

    Service missionaries always wear the service missionary name badge at their service assignment, during service mission meetings, and at Sunday Church meetings. They do not wear the name badge at other times.

    May service missionaries date?

    No. Dating is not permitted for service missionaries during their missions. Service missionaries can participate in ward, stake, and young single adult activities.

    Who pays for a service mission?

    Service missionaries and their families are responsible for the expenses related to their missionary service. These expenses include but are not limited to transportation, food, clothing, medical, dental, and auto insurance. Service missionaries are responsible for transportation to and from their service locations. Service missionaries receive no financial support from the General Missionary Fund.

    Do service missionaries have companions?

    Although service missionaries do not have companions like proselyting missionaries do, their safety and well-being are top priorities. The stake president and parents ensure that there is appropriate support, supervision, and protection during the service missionary’s daily service schedule. Where applicable, service mission leaders may create companionships for missionaries who are serving at the same location or for special service activities or gospel study.

    Are service missionaries given leadership opportunities during their service missions?

    Yes. Service mission leaders provide appropriate leadership development opportunities to missionaries as a part of their mission experience. These include zone leader, district leader, and other leadership roles for both sisters and elders.

    Is a service mission recorded on a membership record?

    Yes. It is recorded the same way as a proselyting mission.

    May a service mission be extended beyond 24 months (young men) or 18 months (young women)?

    No. The service missionary should transition into employment or post-high school training or education.

    Where can I find more information for an early-returned missionary?

    Please see the Early-Return Reassignment section of the Customized Experience page.

    May an early-returned missionary be called to serve for a term other than 6, 12, or 18 months?

    Yes. The missionary may be reassigned to serve for a period sufficient to complete the balance of 18 or 24 months of service.

    What are the safety and risk considerations for service missionaries?

    Safety and risk considerations are a vital priority to the interests of the missionary, the Church, and community charitable organizations. All charitable organization assignments require a prior written agreement that protects the missionary’s and the Church’s interests. This must be coordinated through the Service Mission Office. Certain types of activities are prohibited or restricted because they may pose a higher risk to individuals and organizations. Service missionaries may not engage in the following types of activities under any circumstances:

    • Unsupervised, one-on-one interactions with children or vulnerable adults
    • Bathing, babysitting, or providing other similar kinds of personal services
    • Operating machinery, equipment, or vehicles without proper training or certification

    Other higher-risk service opportunities carried out by service missionaries at charitable organizations are carefully managed through agreements. Similar higher-risk service opportunities at Church operations and at stake-assigned locations are managed through policy and training. These higher-risk activities include:

    • Tutoring or mentoring in group settings
    • Handling or possessing any cash, securities, or other valuables
    • Rendering a professional opinion
    • Operating machinery, equipment, or vehicles without proper training or certification
    Are these materials available in other languages?

    These materials are currently provided only in English. However, there are plans to offer them in multiple languages early in 2019.

    What happens when a service missionary is called and released?

    Service missionaries speak in sacrament meeting before and after their missions, receive the same recognition as proselyting missionaries (mission plaques, bulletins, newsletters, and so on), and report to the high council upon completion of their missions.

    In Summary

    Service missions complement proselyting missions by allowing others to experience God’s love through receiving Christlike service. Now more than ever, young women and men who have a desire to serve will be given the opportunity to further the work of the Lord as a missionary. This will be a great blessing to the missionaries, to their families, and to those they serve.