Life as an LDS (Mormon) Missionary

All Mormon Missionaries Must Follow a Mandated Routine

Two missionaries
Elder Chamberlain and Elder Arritt while serving in their missions. © Krista Cook

The life of a full-time LDS missionary can be rigorous.  Serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means being a representative of Jesus Christ at all times. This means 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But what do missionaries do? Find out about the life of a missionary; including what they teach, who they work under and what they invite others to do.  

LDS Missionaries Teach the Truth

One of the most important things Mormon missionaries do is to teach others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

They work to spread the good news to all those who will hear. The good news is that Christ's gospel has been restored to the earth.

This restoration includes the return of the priesthood. This is God's authority to act in His name. It also includes the ability to receive modern revelation, including The Book of Mormon, which came through a living prophet.

Missionaries also teach the importance of the family and how it is possible for us to live together with our families for all eternity. They teach our basic beliefs, including God's plan of salvation. In addition they teach principles of the gospel which are part of our Articles of Faith.

Those being taught by the missionaries, who are not already members of the Church of Jesus Christ, are called investigators.  

LDS Missionaries Obey Rules

For their safety, and to prevent possible problems, missionaries have a strict set of rules they must obey.

One of the biggest rules is that they always work in pairs, called a companionship. Men, called Elders, work two by two, as do women. Women are called Sisters.

Older married couples work together, but are not under all the same rules as the younger missionaries.

Additional rules include dress code, travel, viewing media and other forms of conduct.

Each mission's rules may be slightly different, as the mission president may adjust rules to fit the mission.  

LDS Missionaries Proselytize

With tens of thousands of missionaries throughout the world, you have most likely seen a pair of them at some point in your life. They may have knocked on your door. Part of the life of an LDS missionary is to seek out those who are ready and willing to hear their important message.

Missionaries proselytize by knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, flyers or pass-along cards and speaking to just about everyone they meet.

Missionaries find people to teach by working with local members who have friends or family members that want to know more. They sometimes receive referrals from the media. This includes commercials, Internet, radio, visitor centershistoric sitespageants and more.

LDS Missionaries Study

A large part of a missionary's life is to study the gospel, including the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, missionary guide books and their language, if they are learning a second language.

LDS Missionaries study on their own, with their companion and at meetings with other missionaries. Learning to more effectively study the scriptures helps missionaries in their efforts to teach the truth to investigators and those they meet.

 

LDS Missionaries Invite Others to Act

A missionary's purpose is to share the gospel with others and invite them to follow Jesus Christ. Missionaries will invite investigators to do any of the following:

  • Listen to their message
  • Read sections of The Book of Mormon
  • Pray
  • Attend church
  • Obey specific commandments
  • Repent
  • Invite others to be taught
  • Be baptized

Missionaries also invite current members of The Church of Jesus Christ to help them with their work; including sharing their testimony with others, accompanying them to a discussion, praying and inviting others to hear their message.  

LDS Missionaries Baptize Converts

Investigators who gain a testimony of the truth for themselves and desire to be baptized are prepared for baptism by meeting with the proper priesthood authority.

When they are ready, a person is baptized by one of the missionaries who taught them or any other worthy member who holds the priesthood.

 Investigators can make the choice of who they would like to baptize them.

LDS Missionaries Work Under a Mission President

Each mission has a mission president who presides over the mission and its missionaries. A mission president and his wife usually serve in this capacity for three years. Missionaries work under the mission president in a specific line of authority as follows:

  • Assistant to the President
  • Zone Leader
  • District Leader
  • Senior Companion
  • Junior Companion

A new missionary, straight from the Missionary Training Center (MTC), is nicknamed a greenie and works with his/her trainer.  

LDS Missionaries Receive Transfers

Very few missionaries are assigned to the same area for the entire duration of their mission. Most missionaries will work in one area for a few months, until the mission president has them transferred to a new area. Each mission covers a very large geographic area and the mission president is responsible for placing missionaries where they work.  

Local Members Provide Meals for LDS Missionaries

Local church members help the missionaries by having them in their home and feeding them lunch or dinner. Anyone can offer to feed the missionaries.

Each ward has special callings given to local members to help their missionaries, including a ward mission leader and ward missionaries. The ward mission leader coordinates the work between missionaries and local members, including meal assignments.  

LDS Missionary Daily Schedule

The following is a breakdown of an LDS missionary's daily schedule from Preach My Gospel.

*In consultation with the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency, a mission president may modify this schedule to meet local circumstances. 

Missionary Daily Schedule*
6:30 a.m.Arise, pray, exercise (30 minutes), and prepare for the day.
7:30 a.m.Breakfast.
8:00 a.m.Personal study: the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, doctrines of the missionary lessons, other chapters from Preach My Gospel, the Missionary Handbook, and the Missionary Health Guide.
9:00 a.m.Companion study: share what you have learned during personal study, prepare to teach, practice teaching, study chapters from Preach My Gospel, confirm plans for the day.
10:00 a.m.Begin proselyting. Missionaries learning a language study that language for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, including planning language learning activities to use during the day. Missionaries may take an hour for lunch and additional study, and an hour for dinner at times during the day that fit best with their proselyting. Normally dinner should be finished no later than 6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.Return to living quarters (unless teaching a lesson; then return by 9:30) and plan the next day's activities (30 minutes). Write in journal, prepare for bed, pray.
10:30 p.m.Retire to bed.

Updated by Krista Cook with assistance from Brandon Wegrowski.