10 Things to Know about Mormon Missionaries
THEY’RE THE ONES WITH THE BLACK NAME TAGS AND SWEET BICYCLE HELMETS.
Some Mormon missionaries ride bikes, some walk, and some even drive cars. But all of them wear black name tags with their names and the actual name of the Mormon Church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So if missionaries knock on your door and they don’t have name tags, they’re from a different church.
YOU’RE NOT SEEING DOUBLE (UNLESS YOU SEE FOUR OF THEM).
Typically, missionaries work in pairs, called companionships. Sometimes there are more than two missionaries in a companionship but never fewer. And they’re not just companions—they’re roommates too. Companionships exist so missionaries can look out for each other. After all, most missionaries are working in places far from home. Their parents rest easier knowing they’re not out there alone.
THEY DON’T JUST LOOK YOUNG, THEY ARE YOUNG.
Most missionaries are between 18 and 25 years of age. Both men and women can serve missions, although companionships are exclusively male or female. Only unmarried members of the Church serve missions. That’s because their missions last from 18 months to two years, and that’s just too long for someone to be away from a spouse! One big exception to this: retired married couples can serve missions together too.
THERE’S NO SCRIPT.
Missionaries do receive some training. For example, some learn different languages. Missionaries also receive instruction on effective communication so they can be better teachers and, more important, better listeners. But the general rule is to adapt each discussion to the individual needs of the person being taught. So missionaries spend a lot of time playing it by ear.
THEY DON’T GET PAID, BUT THE BENEFITS ARE GREAT.
Being a missionary is a lot of work, but the pay is pretty low. In fact, missionaries don’t get paid at all. They actually pay their own way. And they do it willingly—even cheerfully. That’s because they truly love what they do. They are there because they want to be. They enjoy the personal growth. And, even more, they enjoy seeing the difference the gospel makes in the lives of those they teach.
YOU CAN TALK TO THEM IN PERSON—OR IN PIXEL.
If it’s more comfortable for you, you can chat online with missionaries. They’ll answer your questions about the gospel of Jesus Christ, Mormons, and Christ’s Church today. No need to worry about feeling obligated or getting involved more than you’d like. It’s up to you to decide how much you would like to learn.
THEY RESPECT THEIR MOTHERS, THE LAW, AND YOUR TIME.
Missionaries are not pushy, door-to-door salespeople. They’re nice people who only want to help. They try to keep meetings short and to the point—an hour tops. If you ask them to leave, they go. If you want to talk to them again but are busy, they work around your schedule.
NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH THEM, BUT MOST PEOPLE LIKE THEM.
When people talk with the missionaries, many different things can happen. Even if people decide to stop meeting with the missionaries, they usually feel like their experience with the missionaries was positive. That’s because missionaries tend to be nice people who only want to help others. That’s why you’ll likely see missionaries pitching in and doing service around the community whenever they get the chance.
LOTS OF PEOPLE DO AGREE WITH THEM.
Millions of people have had their lives changed by talking with the missionaries. All over the world, Mormon missionaries share a message of happiness about God’s plan and the divine mission of Jesus Christ. It’s amazing news that has the power to inspire and transform.
THEY’RE JUST FOLLOWING HIS LEAD.
Going around talking about God isn’t new. It’s what Jesus Christ did when He was alive. After His death and Resurrection, it’s what He instructed His disciples to do. That goes for our day too. So while the names of the missionaries vary on those black name tags, the most important name—Jesus Christ—is always there, included in the name of our Church. It is, and always has been, His message the missionaries share.