First let me say that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is the actual and proper name for our church. Our church is often referred to as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church. This series of posts was at the request of some of my friends on Facebook. You can read more about that here–on my Landing Page or introduction for the Write 31 Days Challenge.
Once you have decided to go on a mission, the next step is to prepare your mission papers. This process has evolved a bit over the years and now instead of filling out the paper forms and then sending them in to Salt Lake City, they are now all done online through the Missionary Online Recommendation System. We recently found out that even the Young Church Service Missions have changed to using an online system as well. This was after we had filled out the paper forms that we were given for Chandler. It was new and had just changed and our Stake hadn’t yet received the information. It was a learning process for everyone! (For those of you who don’t know, a Stake is a group of congregations or wards, generally about three thousand to five thousand members in five to ten congregations.)
Once you are ready to start your mission paperwork, you will need to first visit with your Bishop. (A Bishop is the spiritual leader of a congregation or ward, much like a pastor.) The Bishop will then make it possible for the prospective missionary to log onto the the Missionary Online Recommendation System. Until the Bishop has done this, you can’t log onto the system. Once you are able to log in, then you just fill out all the necessary information and when you are done, you submit it. It then goes back to your Bishop and then the Stake President. You will meet with both of them and then they will attach their recommendations to the paperwork and submit it to Salt Lake City.
Even though the paperwork has changed to online systems, the information they contain is very much the same. Though the paperwork for serving a Young Church Service Mission is a little different.
For proselyting missions, there are eight sections that need to be completed. These are:
- Missionary Recommendation-This is where you fill out your name, address, and other contact information. You also will need to attach a picture of yourself dressed according to missionary dress standards.
- Priesthood Leaders’ Comments and Suggestions-This section has two parts: one for your Bishop to fill out, and one for your Stake President to fill out. When you have completed your paperwork, your bishop will review it and give you an interview. He will ask about your testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and make sure you are worthy, willing, and able to serve a mission. Then he will write a few comments on your application on what he thinks of your leadership potential, interests, talents, or limitations that should be considered in determining the mission assignment. A similar interview and written assessment will then also be done by your stake president.
- Education and Service of Missionary Candidate-This section of the mission application form will ask you about your native language and other languages you speak or have studied. You will be asked to tell about your education, and this will also include your seminary and institute education. (I found out this last part was really important as it allows you to have a license to preach the gospel in other parts of the world. I went to Spain, and they wanted to know what ecclesiastical training I had in order to be qualified to preach in their country. This came from the credits I had received from the seminary and institute programs.) You will also include in this section of your application, andy work experience, and military service. Next you will need to specify any extracurricular activities, special skills, accomplishments, previous Church callings, and other leadership experience. After that, you will then share how you will be financing your mission. You will need to explain how much money will be contributed from yourself, your family, your ward or branch, and other sources. You can also explain in this section if there are any special circumstances that should be considered when the Brethren actually make your mission call.
- Unit Information for Missionary Candidate-This is just the information like your membership record number, your home ward or branch unit number, the name of your bishop, and the name of your stake president. You can get any of this this information you don’t already know from your ward clerk.
- Personal Health History of Missionary Candidate-You are asked here to specify whether have currently, have had previously, or have never had about 50 different medical conditions. These conditions include things like serious injuries, various diseases, allergies, seizures, asthma, diabetes, tattoos, skin conditions, severe headaches, insomnia, tumors, cancers, learning disabilities, emotional instability, been a victim of abuse, used illegal drugs, etc. You will need to answer all of the questions completely and honestly.
- Physician’s Health Evaluation-This part of your paperwork is completed by your medical doctor. The Doctor will note your height, weight, and blood pressure. He or she will do a urinalysis and various tests: blood tests, a tuberculosis test, etc. The doctor will fill in your immunization dates (MMR, Polio, Hepatitis A and B), and give an overall missionary fitness report (the doctor’s assessment of your ability to serve) and note any physical or medical limitations. This part of the form is concluded with the physician’s signature, name, address, and other contact information.
- Dental Evaluation for Missionary Candidate-You will want to be sure to have your dental evaluation done early so that you can complete any necessary dental work before your mission. All dental treatment, including active orthodontic treatment (braces), must be completed before a prospective missionary begins to serve. The dentist will need to certify that you will be free of dental problems during the next two years. For many missionaries this means having wisdom teeth removed. (I was lucky and didn’t have to have mine removed as the dentist was sure I would never have any issues due to some back molars I never grew. I had lots of room for any and honestly, they only thought I might ever have one.)
- Personal Insurance Information for Missionary Candidate-The final section of the mission application form is several pages of authorizations, releases of information, and medical privacy notices that you and your parents will need to sign. Health insurance is not required, but if you have health insurance coverage it is helpful. The Church will need you to provide the necessary information about your health care policy so they are able to properly process your medical expenses for events that may happen on your mission.
Young Church Service Mission applications are a bit different. You won’t need to have your medical doctor and dentist sign off on your paperwork before you serve. Much of the other information is the same. Your paperwork will contain the following sections:
- Personal Information–This is your name, address, contact information, etc. Pretty simple.
- Mission Assignment Requested–This is where you share what type of mission assignment you are interested in doing. There are lots of ideas and possibilties listed on the Young Church Service Missionary website.
- Education and Skills–On this part of the application, you will list your education and any special skills you might have that will assist you in your missionary service. This will also let you indicate your interests. You will also share your employment history and information about your church service in your ward and if you have served a proselyting mission.
- Health Information–In this section you will be asked about all sorts of medical conditions and if you have ever had them. You will also indicate your general overall health, the condition of your eyesight, and if you have health insurance.
- Prieshood Leaders Comments and Suggestions–This is very similar to the same section for proselyting missionaries. This section has two parts: one for your Bishop to fill out, and one for your Stake President to fill out. When you have completed your paperwork, your bishop will review it and give you an interview. He will ask about your testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and make sure you are worthy, willing, and able to serve a mission. Then he will write a few comments on your application on what he thinks of your leadership potential, interests, talents, or limitations that should be considered in determining the mission assignment. A similar interview and written assessment will then also be done by your stake president.
Once your paperwork is all ready, it will be submitted and you will wait for your mission call. I will explain about mission calls tomorrow.