I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I am a missionary.

I’ve promised to share my testimony and the teachings of the LDS Church to the peoples of this world*.

If I were to couch in definite terms two of the most potent convictions in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints, I would name: First, an abiding assurance that the gospel, as taught by the Redeemer when he lived among men and which was later modified, changed and corrupted by men, has been restored by the Redeemer in its purity and fulness; and second, following naturally the first, a conviction in the heart of every member of this Church that the responsibility rests upon the membership of the Church to preach the restored gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

David O. McKay, In Conference Report, Apr. 1927, 102

This is different than what most think of with the phrase ‘Mormon missionary.’ In terms of an official calling to serve, there are four specific opportunities:

First is the classic missionary who knocks on doors and hands out copies of The Book of Mormon. Single, unmarried young men or single, unmarried young women may devote a specific period of their young lives to serving and teaching. For young men, they may apply for a mission at age 18 and serve for two years; for young women, they may apply for a mission at age 19 and serve for 18 months. This is different than the standard was for years, when men were 19 and women 21.

Serving a mission in that fashion is a commitment to the work -where the young people are called to a specific area; live and work with a companion of the same sex at all times; and follow rules and regimens regarding dress, behavior, daily schedule, service, contact with family back home (though this has also improved), and what sort of media they view or listen to.

Second, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be called as a mission president while he is married with a family at home. His entire family travels to the mission site with him and supports him and lives their regular lives for the duration of the three-year calling.

Mission presidents share a variety of responsibilities in their service. They are directed to first maintain their own well-being and that of their families. They instruct missionaries to effectively teach gospel principles as well as to maintain their individual health. In addition, the president assumes responsibility for the baptism of new converts and their initial development as new members of the Church.

LDS Newsroom, “Mission President

Third is older adults who wish to apply for and be called to a senior mission:

You may be recommended to serve as a missionary beginning at the age of 40 if you have no dependent children under the age of 18 living in your home. There is not an upper age limit for senior missionary service as long as you are physically able to meet the needs of the assignment.

Senior Missionary Service

Senior missionaries are usually a retired couple, and they can do the same sort of tasks as the young ones everyone is familiar with. Usually, however, they keep to less strenuous tasks like office work, visits, and training.

Fourth is serving in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), or in places like the LDS Church museums. Also, within this and the other three categories, an interested person may be called to a service mission.

Missionaries in all these shapes and sizes and ages do not get paid for their service. Certain expenses are covered by mission funds; like subsidization so all missions for young adults cost a uniform amount, housing for the mission president, clothing for the choir members, etc.

©2022 Chel Owens

*Although I’ve promised to be a missionary, this doesn’t mean I’m attempting to convert any readers. My sole purpose in writing about the LDS Church is to inform, clarify confusion, and answer questions.

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I attend church each Sunday* as part of a ward; the wards (or branches) are grouped into stakes (or districts), then areas. There is a man called to preside over each level, leading up to the president of the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (currently President Russell M. Nelson).

Like school boundaries, an LDS ward or branch (if there aren’t enough church-goers to form a full ward) is a geographical area drawn to include 150 to 500 members. That group is assigned a building and a time to meet each Sunday. A man is called to be the bishop; he, in turn, calls two counselors and a secretary. Those three men are known as the bishopric.

The bishop holds the priesthood keys to lead the work of the Church in the ward (see 3.4.1). He and his counselors form a bishopric. They receive guidance from the stake presidency. They care for ward members with love, helping them become true followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 7:48).

LDS General Handbook, “The Bishopric

The bishop is like a pastor, rabbi, or priest. None of the bishopric is paid, however, and each is usually married.

The bishoprics in a stake are presided over by a stake presidency, which also has a president and counselors. They are also not paid and are usually married.

Stake presidencies are presided over by an area president and counselors. Again, unpaid. Again, usually married.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many, many councils, counselors, presiding members, general authorities, presidents of specific levels and groups, members of the Seventies, etc. above the local level of leadership. For an explanation, read the General Handbook on “Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Above it all is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The head of the LDS Church and the Twelve is President Russell M. Nelson, the current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Unlike the majority of callings in the LDS Church, those filling the positions in upper management levels do receive a monetary stipend. In 2000, the pay of one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve was estimated at $89,325.05.

General Authorities, as these upper-level leaders are referred to, serve full-time as their only job. They often travel. They oversee operations all over the world.

General Authorities leave their careers when they are called into full time Church service. When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the Church, and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all General Authorities. None of the funds for this living allowance come from the tithing of Church members, but instead from proceeds of the Church’s financial investments.

Eric Hawkins, reported in “MormonLeaks web page posts documents about ‘living allowance’ of LDS general authorities

©2022 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.