LDS Church announces changes to expand mission opportunities for young people

SALT LAKE CITY — Young people who are of age to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have new opportunities to serve as missionaries in various capacities that meet their personal needs or circumstances, the church announced Friday.

“During the recommendation process, all candidates will be considered first for full-time proselyting missions. Those unable to be called as proselyting missionaries for physical, mental or emotional reasons may be called as service missionaries. In some cases, candidates will be honorably excused from any formal missionary service,” a news release from the LDS church said. “Those called as service missionaries live at home and serve at Church operations, with nonprofit and charitable community organizations or in other assignments approved by their local Church leaders.”

Traditionally, service mission assignments came through local church leaders after first discussing the opportunities with a Bishop and then a stake president.

Now, the process will be the same as those serving proselyting missions.

“This call will be from the Prophet,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “They will apply just like every missionary, full-time missionary service.”

Just adding another step and for church members another opportunity to serve.

“Changing this from Stake to going through to the Prophet really shows them that they are important,” said Daniel Rowbottom, a Church member who served a proselyting mission in the Philippines. “You’re a service missionary, you’re a proselyting missionary—the key word there is 'missionary.'”

The changes to the church’s missionary recommendation process will take effect January 2 for potential missionaries in the United States and Canada.