The Missionary Program

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is well known for the missionaries it sends throughout the world to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The program follows the biblical pattern of sending out missionaries two by two.


The Church operates more than 330 missions in the world. A mission covers a geographic area with a central headquarters. Each is led by a mission president who is selected from the ranks of Church membership to a three-year position. The mission president relocates with his family to the mission area and directs the work of the missionaries.


Currently, some 60,000 Latter-day Saints are participating in proselytizing missions around the world. Approximately 75 percent of the Church's proselytizing missionaries are young men between the ages of 19 and 26. They are referred to as "Elder" because of their ordination to that priesthood office. Substantial numbers of single women (18 percent) and older couples (7 percent) also serve proselytizing missions. Each elder or sister missionary accepts an assignment from Church leaders to serve in a specific mission.. Missionaries generally work 60-65 hours per week, for two years (elders) or 18 months (women and couples), teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and participating in community service.
In addition, about 6,000 individuals (including couples) are given special service assignments. Health specialists and doctors go to developing countries where the Church's health services program teaches preventive care. Craftsmen, artisans, and construction supervisors train members in local building projects. Agricultural experts train people to produce food more effectively and economically. Other mission assignments include education, family history research, and leadership training.
The missionaries or their families donate money to the Church to pay for their personal expenses. When his or her assignment is completed, the missionary returns to home to pursue vocational, academic, or other personal goals.

Missionary Training Centers

Before leaving on a mission, each missionary is assigned to one of 15 missionary training centers around the world. Those required to learn another language spend eight weeks in training before traveling to their assigned mission. If the missionaries do not need to learn a new language, they attend only two or three weeks of basic orientation.


Aside from their brief orientation at a missionary training center, missionaries receive little formal training for their ministry. Missionary preparation comes primarily from personal study, and in many cases from examples taught in the home from childhood.

Church Growth Since 1830
Year Members Missions Missionaries Countries (1)
18306 (2)001
1844 26,146 3 586 8 (3)
19471,016,170 (4)43 2,132 29
1963 2,117,451 77 11,653 43
1971 3,090,953 98 15,205 50
1978 4,166,854 165 27,669 54
1982 5,162,619 180 26,606 86
1986 6,166,983 193 29,265 95
1989 7,308,700 228 39,739 100
1991 8,089,540 267 43,395 130
1994 9,024,569 303 48,708 156
1995 9,340,000 307 48,631 159
1996 9,694,500 309 53,000 160
1997 10,070,524 318 56,531 162

Notes to the above chart:
1 And territories
2 At founding, 6 April 1830
3 Estimated
4 Figures given hereafter are as calculated at year's end

Proselyting Missionaries
Young men75 percent
Single women18 percent
Couples7 percent
Totalapproximately 60,000

Missionary Training Centers Worldwide
LocationsProvo, Utah (USA)
Preston, England
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Mexico City, Mexico
Santiago, Chile
Bogotá, Columbia
Lima, Peru
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Hamilton, New Zealand
Manila, Philippines
Tokyo, Japan
Seoul, Korea
Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
Madrid, Spain

Languages taught at Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, USA

© 2000 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

© 2000 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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