The LDS Church has just announced several new policies for missionary work. The first is new questions for the standard missionary interview. These questions will be used by bishops and stake presidents when they interview prospective missionaries.
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.”
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 standards for missionaries have not changed, but having standardized questions not only helps leader assess the readiness of potential missionaries, but can also guide those youth and their parents toward better preparation. A Q&A sheet was provided to local leaders of 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. This will be especially important for potential missionaries who have special needs. Usually, an assignment can be found where those needs can be addressed and still enable a missionary to perform great acts of service.
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.
To learn more about the future of missionary work in the Church, see this news release.
The Church will also trim its number of missions “to better fit the needs of each region of the world,” to replace the use of tablets in missions with smartphones and to increase the use of technology to help find people interested in religion.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said to mission presidents, “We are in an unusual and extremely important transition in our missionary work in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
There was a huge surge in the number of young, full-time missionaries after the age of service was lowered, and the number of missions grew to accommodate that surge. Now the number of missionaries has leveled off to around 70,000. The Church will decrease the number of missions to best reflect what looks like will be a more constant number.
After consulting with leaders in the technology world, the number of missions using mobile devices is being increased from 87 to 162. Online contacting and answering the questions of millions seeking faith online will be paramount to the forwarding of the Lord’s work.