Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the Mormon Church by the media and others), once commented concerning missionary work, “When you’re on the Lord’s errand, you’re entitled to the Lord’s blessings.” Many missionary age young people of The Church of Jesus Christ have taken those words to heart, as many have made a decision to answer the call to serve after the announcement made at the beginning of the 182nd Semiannual Missionary name tag with number 85000 silhouette.General Conference by President Monson concerning the change in age requirements for serving a mission. Eligible and worthy young men may now serve a mission starting at 18 years of age, and young women may serve starting at 19 years of age.

The Church of Jesus Christ Witnesses Increase in Missionary Service

In an interview with the Deseret News on Wednesday, 29 May 2013, Church spokeswoman, Ruth Todd, stated, “We estimate more than 85,000 full-time missionaries serving by fall 2013.” [1]

At the time of President Monson’s monumental announcement in October 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ had 58,000 missionaries. Prior to the announcement, the number of missionaries serving full-time missions was increasing by an annual rate of 6%. In the wake of the announcement, The Church of Jesus Christ estimates that the number of missionaries serving throughout the world will have increased by an astounding 47% in the period of a year.

In a Deseret News article dated Wednesday, 29 May 2013, it was reported that “the most missionaries the church has had at the end of any year, which is the number it reports annually, was 61,638 at the end of 2002. That record was surpassed sometime early this year.” In her interview with the Deseret News, Todd indicated that the Church of Jesus Christ currently has 68,700 full-time missionaries, and that more than 22,500 young men and women have received their mission call, but have not yet reported to the MTC. She also indicated that another 6.200 have begun the process of obtaining a mission call. [1]

Making Room for the Expanding Mormon Missionary Force

With the increase in the number of young men and young women to be trained to enter the mission field comes the urgency to find a suitable place where that momentous training can be held. The Church of Jesus Christ, as a temporary solution to the overflow number of new missionaries entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, has converted student apartments located approximately a mile away from the MTC into a temporary training facility. At present there are 150 missionaries being housed in and learning at the new LDS Wyview/Raintree missionary training facility in Provo, Utah. The missionaries are housed in the Wyview apartment complex, and attend classes across the street in classrooms that have been set up in the Raintree apartment complex.

When all is said and done, there will be up to 1,700 missionaries over the next 18 months that will be trained at the new training facility. The amount of time that a missionary spends at the training center depends on his individual mission call. Some could spend as little as 12 days preparing to go to the field, while others could spend as much as 8 weeks learning a new language prior to being sent forth to proclaim the gospel.

To further accommodate the rapid growth in the number of new missionaries, the Church of Jesus Christ has also created a new training facility in Mexico City to accommodate those missionaries who are called to serve in Mexico and other Latin America countries. . In order to accomplish this, The Church of Jesus Christ closed the Benemerito de las Americas school, a high school operated by the Church, and converted it into the new Missionary Training Center. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in his remarks to the Brothers and Sisters in Mexico City said,

“I see tears in your eyes,” Elder Holland observed. “Tears are the price we pay for sacrifice and love.”

While expressing love and appreciation for the work that has been done on the Benemerito campus through the years, Elder Holland said its new role is even more significant.

“Instead of a few hundred educated here each year, many thousands will be trained each year,” he said. “Many will come from other countries. They will receive training, but they will also learn to love Mexico, its language and its people.

“This hallowed ground where we sit tonight will become more and more sacred with each passing year,” Elder Holland continued. “Better, higher and holier purposes will be fulfilled here that will bless the lives of generations yet unborn and help them become what God intends that we become.”

In that way, Elder Holland said, this transition for the facility “will be a blessing to the entire world.” [2]

The Church of Jesus Christ has also created 58 new missions around the world, thus widening the field that is “white already to harvest” (See Doctrine and Covenants 4:4.) Some interesting numbers to note from the graphics used as part of the 29 May 2013 Deseret News article are as follows: in October 2012, the Church reported that there were 58,000 full-time missionaries, in April 2013 the number was 65,634, at present the number of missionaries is 68,700, and by the fall of this year, it is expected that there will be at least 85,000 full-time missionaries.

Our Greatest and Most Important Duty

Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught, “After all that has been said, our greatest and most important duty is to preach the Two Mormon missionaries walking down the street.gospel” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 113.) Joseph Smith also taught, “A man who is full of the love of god is not content with blessing his family only, but thinks about all of the people in the world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 227.)

While serving as a Mission President in Australia, the late Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote the following:

I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Master and he has chosen me to represent him. To stand in his place, to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My voice is his voice, and my acts are his acts; my words are his words and my doctrine is his doctrine. My commission is to do what he wants done. To say what he wants said. To be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work.

Our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson has taught us, “Who the Lord calls, the Lord will qualify,” therefore, there are none who are called by God who should ever feel or fear that they are unqualified to do the work which they have received a call from on high to do. Let us heed what we are taught from modern-day revelation as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants section 4:

Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; for behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; and faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.


Additional Resources:

Missionary Work is Important to the Church of Jesus Christ

Missionary Training Center

Missionary Work and the Atonement of Jesus Christ



About Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.

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