The Mormon Church, as it is commonly known, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, Utah and currently has a membership over 13 million worldwide. Unlike Catholic and Protestant faiths, Mormonism believes that after the death of the ancient apostles, Christ’s Church went into a state of Apostasy, where the keys and authority of the priesthood were lost, resulting in the loss of the ability of perform priesthood ordinances, and Christ’s true Church as he had organized it. After almost 1800 years of religious darkness, Mormons believe that a young man by the name of Joseph Smith restored the original priesthood authority and organization of Jesus Christ, through personal revelations from God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and angels between 1820 and 1830. From these humble beginnings, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has claimed a line of prophetic priesthood authority from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson who is currently the President and senior Prophet and Apostle of the Church.
Mormons take seriously Christ’s command, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added). Therefore, the Church has a vibrant and growing missionary program. Single young men can chose to go on a Mormon mission as early as age 19, single young women as early as 21, and many retired couples also chose to spend their “golden years” in missionary work too. While young men and women are encouraged to serve as a missionary no one is forced.
In addition to the age requirements above, to become a Mormon missionary one must be a member of the Church, physically, mentally, and, emotionally, ready, and worthy - which means believing in and living the doctrines and covenants of the Church. To determine this, the person seeking to be a missionary has an interview with his Bishop and Stake President who have priesthood stewardship over the members of their congregations. If the applicant is found worthy and capable then an application is filled out and sent to Church headquarters, where The Prophet and Apostles seek inspiration as to where potential missionary should serve. Usually within two to three weeks the applicant receives their “missionary call” and is given anywhere from two to five months to prepare to leave. Before a missionary goes to his field of labor, they spend either three weeks (English speaking missions) or two months (foreign speaking mission) in a Missionary Training Center to received needed instruction.
Mormon Missionaries consider it an honor to serve 2 years (for young men), 18 months (for young women), or any where form 6 months to 3 years for couples in the service of the Lord.