Why Does the Mormon Church Send Out Missionaries?
|In the Mormon Church missionary work is seen as a principle that has always been a part of Christ’s gospel. Revelations recorded by the Prophet Joseph Smith show that missionary work is a necessary part of the Mormon Church. “And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.”1 The quickest answer to why the Church sends out missionaries is because God has commanded it. Beyond simple obedience, Mormon belief also teaches that the gospel provides great joy and is something that every person should have the opportunity to enjoy. Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, “the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has within it the power to bring deep and abiding happiness to the human soul—something that will be valued and cherished for the rest of time and for all eternity. We are not just trying to get people to join our Church; we are sharing with them the fullness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”2All men in the Church are encouraged to serve Mormon missions when they turn nineteen.Many not of the Mormon faith wonder why the Church would send out young men. Leaders of the Church admonish these young men to prepare, and to know the gospel. They are also taught that it is through the spirit of God that people learn the gospel and desire to make it part of their lives. Any worthy member of the Church can carry the spirit with him, so it does not really matter who goes out to preach the gospel, as long as he is willing to serve. Missionary work gives these young men the opportunity to grow and learn while in the service of others, and this at an age when young men of the world become more prone to make dangerous decisions regarding their behavior. For the young man who decides to serve a mission, the years of service prepare him well for responsible adulthood.Past president of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “is not this the story of missionary work? He who goes forth as a servant of the Lord saves himself. He grows in faith. He grows in capacity. He grows in understanding. He grows in love for the Lord. He likewise blesses those who hear him. Every person in this Church, with rare exception, is a member because of missionaries who either taught him or taught his forbearers. Every person could stand and bear testimony and express appreciation for those who were the means of bringing to him or his forbearers this work of salvation and eternal life.”3Missionary work in the Mormon Church is not left entirely to full-time missionaries. Every member is encouraged to help teach others about the joy of the gospel. Members are asked to help the missionary effort by helping missionaries find those who may be interested in learning more about the gospel. Leaders of the Church have outlined three ways that members can do this: being an example, talking to friends of different faiths, and inviting people to Church meetings and social events. Thousands have been brought into the Church through the good example of its members. There are many who have joined the Church who have said that the example of a friend was what first interested them in learning more about the gospel. For many people talking about religion is something that may seem awkward at times, but Mormon members are encouraged to be open about their beliefs and answer questions. They then can direct friends who are interested to the full-time missionaries.
1 Section 133:37 Doctrine and Covenants