The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon faith, is the largest active practitioner of missionary work, with over 50,000 missionaries serving worldwide. All members of the LDS church are called to do missionary work at some point in their life. However, most missionaries fulfill their mission as singles between the ages of 19 and 25. As stated in Cannon, practicing missionaries fulfill their missions not only to convert others to the Mormon faith, but also to come to an understanding of ultimate reality through specific encounters and experiences while on the quest.
Not just any member is able to serve as a missionary however. Each missionary must complete certain qualifications, and once these are complete, they must follow a strict code of conduct while in service. Looking further into the specific preparations to serve as a missionary, and the typical life a missionary must live while serving can give us a better understanding how members of the LDS church can come to ultimate reality in fulfilling their mission. (Cannon 63) In the New Testament, Matthew states, ” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…”(Matthew 28: 19-20).
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
It was in this passage that the LDS church built their missionary program around. However, there are certain qualifications one must complete in order to serve as a missionary. These qualifications are typically known as standards of worthiness. Among the standards that a prospective missionary must adhere to include regular study of the Standard Works, adherence to the law of chastity, adherence to the word of wisdom, and the payment of tithing. The Standard Works are a culmination of Holy Scriptures including the Bible and three other holy books called the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine of Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. “Missionary Program”) Also, regular attendance to church meetings and regular personal prayer are basic practices a prospective missionary must follow in order to fulfill their mission. Once these specific qualifications have been completed, a missionary will receive a specific “call to serve” from the president of the LDS church. This message typically informs the missionary where they will be serving their mission, and what language they will be expected to speak if they are called to serve in foreign countries. If a missionary is called to serve in a foreign ountry and speak a different language, they are usually first sent to a Missionary Training Center where they are trained in the specific language of their area of assignment. (“What is a Mission? “) Once a missionary has begun their mission, they usually adhere to a strict schedule. A typical day of a missionary consists of intensive study of the Book of Mormon and other Holy Scripture in the earlier hours of the day. They then spend the rest of their day doing missionary work which usually consists of both proselytizing from door to door and doing community service activities.
In proselytizing, it is a missionary’s main objective to meet new people, and essentially convert them to the beliefs and practices of the LDS church. While this is usually done by traveling door to door, it is also done by setting up appointments and even meeting people in the streets. Missionary work is completely voluntary and is completely funded by the missionaries themselves. Also, missionary’s contact with family and friends is typically limited to letters and brief phone calls during specific times of rest. They are also unable to attend social parties and are to avoid entertainment that is common among their age group.
In following this strict code of conduct they are able to fully devote themselves to their mission of serving and teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ. (“Missionary Program”) The general public commonly misconceives the fact that missionaries make the decision to carry on their mission on their own and receive no payment for their dedication to the LDS Church. Not only is practicing missionary work rooted in the tradition of Mormon belief, but it is looked at as a way to preach the words of Jesus Christ to the general public.
In living by and preaching the words of Christ, they gain valuable experience in places very foreign to them. (“What is a Mission? “) “Person’s who pursue the way of mystical quest are discontent with merely accepting what others say about ultimate reality; they want nothing less than to experience it directly for themselves. ” (Cannon 63) It is through the valuable experiences that missionaries are able to reflect on their lives and eventually come to an ultimate reality or a deeper realization of ultimate truth. Cannon 63) In conclusion, it is understood that members of the LDS church, who are responsible for the largest modern practice of missionary work, feel a true responsibility in preaching the words of Jesus Christ. From completing all the prerequisites to become a missionary, to following and abiding all the strict codes of conduct while serving their mission, Mormon missionaries learn to live by the Word of Christ and earn valuable experience in foreign cultures.
Through these experiences, Mormons can continue to grow and worship with an understanding of ultimate truth and ultimate reality. Works Cited Cannon, Dale. Six Ways of Being Religious. Belmont: Wadsworth Company, 1996. 63-65. “Missionary Program. ” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 27 Nov. 2007 <www. lds. org>. “What is a Mission? ” LDS Mission Network. Deseret Books. 27 Nov. 2007 <www. mission. net>.