Talk:Missionary (LDS Church)

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External link repeatedly being added[edit]

The following external link is repeatedly being added: I and other editors have removed this link repeatedly. I feel that it runs afoul of WP:ELNO, especially #11 and #12. It appears to be a website that is not controlled or owned by any recognized authority or reliable source. It also contains much general information about beliefs of the church rather than information specific to missionaries of the church, which runs afoul of #13. Does anyone else wish to comment on this? Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

yes, if you don't mind 1) First of all that site is not a blog, personal webpage or a fansite; I suggested that you look up definitions of those earlier in our private talk, to no avail. 2) Absolutely no relation to #12 of WPELNO 3) There is a lot of information specific to missionaries examples: Mormon missionary rules ( all 167 of them )

reasons for young people to serve on a mission

goals to achieve and many more

PS Chasing off non-Mormon editors from contributing is no different than reserving the right to edit Third Reich articles to Neo-Nazies only. Thank you very much — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:50, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this link does not belong on Wikipedia. In addition to ELNO #11 and #12, also violates #2. —Eustress talk 16:55, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, even ignoring the impressive use of Godwin's Law, it's an unofficial fansite. tedder (talk) 16:57, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Nor have I ever seen Godwin's law invoked so rapidly with so little warrant. They're "Nazis", as well. I'm not a Mormon (although I have a decent knowledge of many topics LDS-related, as do I for most Western religions; I don't do anything but copy-edit on subjects I know nothing about), and I made quite major changes to the lead which worked perfectly according to WP:BRD. No one chased me off. St John Chrysostom Δόξατω Θεώ

Convert baptism analysis[edit]

I just reverted a good faith edit that analyzed convert baptisms. It appears to violate WP:NOR, specifically the prohibition of "...any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources." 72Dino (talk) 18:17, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the edit was problematic. It appeared to be an attempt to demonstrate that the LDS Church's missionary work is stagnating and/or that it is not growing as fast as the Assemblies of God. Good Ol’factory (talk) 20:54, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Image pertinence[edit]

Headstone of a missionary that was murdered by the Zarate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation while serving in Bolivia.

I removed File:JBBall Gravestone.jpg (pictured right), but anon User: reverted my action (diff), arguing the image has a "direct relationship to the risks [of] missionary work -- this person was murdered on his mission, as described in the caption". However, MOS:Images states that "Images must be relevant to the article that they appear in and be significantly and directly related to the article's topic." The image by itself has no direct pertinence to the article -- the headstone doesn't say anything about the deceased person's missionary service. Therefore, I suggest the image be removed for good. —Eustress talk 22:28, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I disagree, and thank the IP editor for finding it and adding it to the article. Before the picture there was none in the Incidents subsection. I have inserted a sentence in the section on the incident (in retrospect a notable omission, given the wide publicity it received when it occurred), and have attached its cite to the picture's caption as further explanation. Ylee (talk) 22:32, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I support Eustress's reasoning. It struck me as out-of-place and irrelevant while reading the article. St John Chrysostom Δόξατω Θεώ 07:11, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Lead issues[edit]

Hello and thank you for your assistance in making the lead compliant with enwp guidelines. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • I'll concede on the bolding issue in the first sentence -- it's not ideal, but I understand your concern. Perhaps someone else can suggest a superior alternative?
  • Per WP:LDS, first reference to church should be "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)".
  • "Personnel" is not ideal for describing missionaries, since the word typically connotes employment (see wikt:personnel); nor are they commissioned at the mission-level -- they are called at the worldwide level and then organized geographically into missions, in a very centralized process

Regards —Eustress talk 15:56, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm still here and I've come back to read the lead once a day to try to figure out a better way of phrasing the first sentence to avoid the wikilink in the title as per MOSBOLDTITLE, but I'm still clueless. Any passers-by with a clue stick, please hit me. St John Chrysostom Δόξατω Θεώ 07:10, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Neutrality in Missionary Conduct Section[edit]

There are a couple things I noticed about this section:

  1. This section has a sentence which does not appear to be religiously neutral: "A missionary's first priority is to the Lord, then to the mission president and finally to their companion." By using the words "to the Lord", the author implies that there is a lord, which obviously is not neutral in a religious sense. I basically just want to make sure that this should be rephrased.
  2. This section's sources are almost all from the Mormon Handbook, which itself seems like it would be of biased nature. However I do not really know if this is the case. It could be a totally acceptable source.

Any responses would be great! Das Pferd (talk) 15:27, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

I think it's clear that, in context, "to the Lord" means "to the Lord as Mormons believe". How else would you word it?
Since this section has a whole subsection called "the Missionary Handbook", I think it's appropriate that a lot of material comes from it. If you can find third-party references for it, go for it. But I don't think you'll find many. Who would want to comment on Mormon Missionary conduct unless they have a problem with it? I think most critics of Mormons have a problem with Mormon theology, not how their missionaries behave. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:24, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Missionary death[edit]

Do you think this would clear WP:NOTNEWS? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:03, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't think it belongs in the article. There have been a number of missionaries that have died in accidents while serving. While tragic, I don't think it's notable for an encyclopedia. Bahooka (talk) 14:21, 29 June 2013 (UTC)


I'm a very visual person, so I'm planning to add this to the Schedule section.

Sample schedule of missionary serving in their native language
Activity 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Personal study
Companion study
Shower and dress
Plan and pray

Any objections? Any tweaks on wording (e.g. "Consume food" or "Meal" vs. "Eat")? Colors? Or on width? For example, we could render it wider, like this:

Activity 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Personal study

If there are no objections or suggestions, I'll add it within the next few days. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 17:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I appreciate the nature of visual learning, but I think this would add more space to an article that is already sufficiently large. It can also place undue weight on what is an item that not only is not central to the article, but currently is a very small section. It can also start an unusual precedent for other sections - would an editor want to start including an organizational chart for that section, etc. I applaud the good faith effort, but I don't see the need to add this. ChristensenMJ (talk) 19:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate the desire to not place undue weight on such a small section, but the visual is much easier for me to digest than the prose (which would stay in place). When I was serving, time management was a huge issue. I think it's a huge boon to the article. We can make it smaller as well; the way it's rendered above is just the default size.
This is precisely the type of feedback I wanted. Anyone else? — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 19:25, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
"Proselyte" should be "Proselytize", I think. "Proselyte" was originally a noun, but it's gradually becoming a verb synonym for "proselytize", but I think its acceptance as a verb is still largely limited to the U.S. (and perhaps by extension among LDS Church missionaries and membership). I have no problem with it being added to a section on schedule/time management. Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:55, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure the use of 'proselyte' as a verb is limited to the US. It may be 'gradually becoming a verb synonym' for 'proselytize', but most people - that's assuming they even know what the word means! - would consider it incorrect English. (talk) 15:45, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
This is not representational of all missionaries; specifically many foreign language missionaries have more time for language study each day in addition to gospel study. Additionally it doesn't account for the major increase in recent years for non-proselytizing service hours. -- (talk) 14:58, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
...and yes I know you specify "serving in their native language" in the title of the table, but how many people are going to completely gloss over that, as I did until I closely reexamined that table? Are we going to give an approximate percentage of missionaries are proselytizing in their own language, verses the overall population which includes non-native speakers &/or non-proselytizing service missionaries? -- (talk) 15:07, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Good Olfactory and ChristensenMJ, would you feel better about this addition if it were rendered in a smaller font, such as this:
Sample schedule of missionary serving in their native language
Activity 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Personal study
Companion study
. . .
?, yes, it only represents missionaries serving in their native tongue. Pointing it out in the title was my attempt at making it clear. I don't know of how to resolve this other than add an additional chart for foreign language missionaries, but I fear that would lead to even more undue weight to this section, which one editor is already troubled about with just the one chart. And the prose does point out that those serving in a foreign language spend an additional hour studying the language. I don't know how to account for service hours (I don't even know what they are). Do you have any ideas?
As for "an approximate percentage of missionaries are proselytizing in their own language, verses the overall population which includes non-native speakers &/or non-proselytizing service missionaries", that's not an issue for this schedule section or this graphic. However, I would love to see those stats in the article. The problem, of course, is finding a reliable source that has this info. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:16, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually,, one solution would be render the heading in a larger font, as below, to emphasize it's just for native language missionaries. Would this be acceptable to you? — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:21, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Sample schedule of missionaries serving in their native language
Activity 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Personal study
Companion study
. . .
By the way, the times don't really match up with the schedule in Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook. Bahooka (talk) 16:04, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
By George, Bahooka, you're right. I'll edit the table to match the schedule in the handbook. Thanks for pointing that out. I based the graphic on the prose in the article, which I guess should be updated as well. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 16:39, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments and since I was specifically asked about whether a smaller font would be better, for me it's still no. Perhaps another way to express my thought is that in some ways a missionary's day is not all that unique. They get up and prepare for the day - granted it's different than what others do to prepare - but then they go out and work, with breaks to eat at appropriate times. It's not a lot different than any of us getting up, getting ready for the day, and heading to work. I just don't think it's so unique that it needs special attention or additional information, above the existing small section which provides an explanation. This doesn't even address other issues such as those has raised and further attempt to address any and all intricacies of schedule by a second graph would certainly be overkill. A better, more direct ref, such as those provided above by Bahooka would also be good in the section, rather than the pdf currently there. ChristensenMJ (talk) 16:44, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, ChristensenMJ, for clarifying your position. I guess their day is largely similar to most people's, but I don't study for two to three hours every morning, and I still absorb information much easier visually, so my position hasn't changed.
I edited the section to reflect the references and included them. It didn't even match the PDF version it linked to.
So, so far, I have two yes (me, Good Olfactory), one no ChristensenMJ and two no vote (, Bahooka). So we really don't have a consensus yet. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 17:35, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, as I noted above, their mornings are indeed very different than what others do to prepare for a day. If there's a way to extenuate that, it might be worth a shot. ChristensenMJ (talk) 21:51, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Wow, almost a week and no further comments or input. Is there a way to get more editors involved? My mention on the LDS Project page didn't draw in any editors. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 13:59, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I brought up this subject on the main project talk page in hopes of more input. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 13:23, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
The feedback I received in total was several neutral responses, a few yes votes and just one no vote (I'm assuming Bahooka is fine with it now that I've updated the information to match the sources). Per the discussion on the Latter Day Saint movement WikiProject talk page, I went ahead and added it. I would have preferred more input and discussion, but it appears few people care about this. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm neutral on including it. My main concern was accuracy with the sources, and that has been resolved. Thanks, Bahooka (talk) 16:02, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Lowering of age[edit]

I added a paragraph to the History section about the lowering of the age for missionary service. It is rather historical. It is somewhat redundant, since it's mentioned in passing in other parts of the article. But I went into more detail and it was a glaring omission since before, it just ended with M. Russell Ballard's statement that the bar to qualify for missionary service had been raised. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 13:46, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm not super up on this history—but how did/does the "raising the bar" relate to the changes in age? Did the change in age supercede the raising of the bar? It seemed that the raising of the bar resulted in a drop in the number of missionaries, but then the lowering of the age resulted in a surge. So has the church dropped the emphasis on raising the bar? I can't really find any sources on the relation between the two. Things seem to kind of gone quiet on raising the bar since the age change. Or am I missing something? Good Ol’factory (talk) 15:11, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Lowering the age from 20 to 19 in 1960 was also historic at the time and should be mentioned along with the more recent lowering of age requirements (see the first paragraph here.) I have not heard mention of "raising the bar" requirements since the lowering of the age, but I also have not heard of any change in those requirements. The bar is still up there where they raised it, but has not been lowered. There does not appear to be a connection between lowering the age and raising the bar unless it is in a reliable source that I have not seen. Bahooka (talk) 15:20, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't think there is a relation between the two events, outside of them both relating to missionary service. But, yes, it hasn't really been discussed much since the age change. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:42, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
And I agree with Bahooka that information on the first age lowering in 1960 should be included as well, but I think it needs more research first. It would be great to get information on its impact like we have on the more recent one. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:44, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Good Ol’factory (talk) 16:27, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Questionable changes[edit]

I reverted these edits by an anon IP user for several reasons:

  • The Church does not mandate young men to serve missions. They kind of sort of used to, but not anymore. They do strongly encourage it, however, hence the revert which states that.
  • Calling out how much time missionaries "work" each week and how little time they have off borders on original research and synthesis. Can the time they sleep and time for meals be considered "working"?

If you think the changes are worthy, let's discuss here first. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 20:12, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment. I agree that "mandate" is a bit too strong. It's referred to as a "duty", a "call", even in some sources an "expectation", but as far as I know there are no negative repercussions for young men who do not go, apart from perhaps general social disappointment or disfavor. Certainly it would not make someone unworthy enough to be denied a temple recommend or the ability to participate in priesthood ordinances, etc. Good Ol’factory (talk) 22:07, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Comment. Actually, mandate is a very appropriate word. Most who see missionary service for men as mandatory do so in light of the quote by John Taylor, as found in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164. It says: "If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those you might have saved, had you done your duty." And further, when Thomas S. Monson announced in October 2012 the age changes for missionary service, he said, "We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service." (emphasis added) From this quote, service for young men is mandated. This means the wording is not only acceptable, but highly appropriate. Thoughts? --Jgstokes (talk) 07:36, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
      • "Mandate" usually implies that something is "mandatory". Serving a mission is not mandatory for young men in the usual sense of the word, in that there are no repercussions imposed by the church on one who chooses not to go. I think "duty", "responsibility", or "expectation" captures the reality better. I think Monson (and Taylor) were probably speaking in a somewhat spiritual sense—that it is a spiritual mandate and the person who chooses not to go with suffer spiritual repercussions. But that's not what the WP article needs to get at—what readers are probably going to want to know from the statement is a more practical issue: "does a young person have to go on a mission, or is it optional?". Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:05, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
      • Comment. I agree with Good Olfactory here. It is expected, but not mandatory. There are no negative repercussions from the Church for not serving. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 16:54, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
      • Comment: Well, while there are no formal consequences, in modern post-McKay era LDS society any male member that seems able-bodied who doesn't serve is looked at with a certain degree of suspicion, especially if he is from a multi-generational Mormon family. He will generally be perceived as having been either unworthy or lacking in testimony, either of which engenders a degree of prejudice with other members, and it will be difficult for him to remain active, even though this is the point he actually needs the church the most so far in his young life. It is especially difficult for those struggling from non-obvious reasons that kept them from serving (which they may try to keep private), such as mental health issues, which itself is compounded by the social stigma and general lack of openness about that among church membership. Not serving will impact his perceived eligibility as a potential husband, his ability to seek higher education at CES schools, and his eligibility for programs reserved for returned missionaries (like the Perpetual Education Fund). The lack of mission information on his membership record will impact how every bishop (and others in leadership positions) perceive him for the rest of his life, which can make a difference in how he is asked to serve. He will be forced over and over to either come up with a cover-story for why he didn't serve (perhaps even falsely admitting to transgression he later repented of, instead of mental illness he may still be struggling with), or make it known he isn't open to discussing it, and thereby letting imaginations run wild in the ward gossip vine. In short there are strong incentives built in for serving (even when you really shouldn't) and even stronger disincentives for not serving, assuming this theoretical "Prospective Elder" wants to remain active. However, coming home early can be even worse... -- (talk) 00:52, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
        • It sounds like it's fair to say that there are no sanctions, but it may have an impact on how others in the church perceive him in a variety of circumstances, and could even potentially disqualify him from certain privileges, such as PEF participation. Though I would still categorize that as non-mandatory, i.e., lacking a non-spiritual "mandate". Good Ol’factory (talk) 01:14, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
        • Comment. That's quite a sermon,, but unless you can find verifiable refs for all your claims (which I agree with to some degree), they can't go in the article. I once again agree with Good Olfactory's tempered perspective. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 12:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I didn't say that this very real scenario specifically should go in the article, but our personal observations and experiences can help inform editorial choices and the weight given to certain statements. -- (talk) 15:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Frecklefoot: I considered your suggestion about finding references, as this discussion has brought up several issues that I don't think are properly addressed in this article, including the circumstances and impact that not serving or returning early has on young Latter-day Saint men. As the refs I found demonstrate that a large portion of those in these two circumstances are struggling with mental health issues (sometimes euphemistically called "emotional issues" in some of these sources), I've also included refs describing 'Mormonism and mental health' in more general terms, as some context may likely be needed. I'm not great at writing big blocks of text (I'm really an editor not an author), so hopefully this material will give someone a firm foundation for writing that material. There may be enough here to write a separate article specifically about 'Mormonism and mental health', and not just about missionaries, but I'll leave that for others to decide. -- (talk) 17:16, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Potential refs[edit]

Given the request for refs in the section above, here is a sample of related ones that may be of use; they are sorted by date:

  • "Motivating Observations", YSA (, If you simply count who attends Sunday meetings in our YSA wards, or who attends YSA activities in stakes where there are no YSA units, the women often outnumber men by 3:1. Where did the young men go? In one area of the church, about 40% of our young men and women of record are active at age 16. About 20% of our young men of record, aged 19-24, have served or are serving missions. Because we correctly hold honorable missionary service up as such a strong ideal, however, those who do not or cannot serve missions often feel that they don’t then belong in the Church. If a young man chooses not to serve a mission or isn't qualified to serve, the probability that he will remain active is nearly zero. We fail in not sending them, and then we fail again when we do not have a way to catch them, help them build their faith, and stay active in the Church as adults. 

Additionally the following are not really directly citable, but still may contain useful individual articles or other information on this topic:

Thanks. -- (talk) 00:21, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Added your refs (except uncitable refs) to "refideas" ideas above to protect against loss via archiving at some future date. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 16:13, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Jeez, looking at some of these—there's a lot that could be written about the issue. I had no idea there was so much. At least some mention of it should be in this article, I think, since so much of it is related to the mental health of potential or actual LDS missionaries. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:39, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

outside the bathroom[edit]

This is bogus correct? All MTCs have this rule? [THERE IS NO SOURCE]:

At the missionary training center, missionaries are instructed to wait directly outside of the restroom if their companion is inside.

I could not find the term "sexual" more than once, and in different context. I could not find this on page 30? Bogus?

The rule is also intended to defend missionaries against complaints of sexual abuse, because one companion could always serve as a witness for another companion if needed for legal purposes.[1]:30

Thewhitebox (talk) 07:57, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference MissionaryHandbook was invoked but never defined (see the help page).