The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement regarding some changes that will take effect in the church’s missionary program very soon. These changes range from smartphone usage to new interview questions, especially for missionaries. Because missionary work is constantly changing, it is only fitting that the program change with it.
One of the major changes that will be applying to most missionaries is that prior to leaving the MTC, they will be issued with a smartphone instead of a tablet. As the statement mentions, smartphones will “assist them in their study, finding and teaching”. The purpose of these smartphones is to help missionaries become more effective in all aspects of their lives, from studying to teaching. This seems like a more efficient approach than issuing out tablets as well, because it will be one less thing to carry around for missionaries. Also, this will enable missionaries to communicate in more ways with potential investigators and members of the Church, thus helping them become more effective missionaries.
Another big change coming to the missionary program is the addition of new questions to missionary interviews prior to submitting mission papers. The new questions are more detailed than the traditional worthiness interview questions, including questions about personal health, testimony and other things that could potentially impede missionary effectiveness.
I think that with all of these changes, the benefits outweigh the costs. With the new smartphones, new temptations may arise for missionaries, but being able to communicate faster and more effectively with investigators through social media will prove very helpful. In my opinion, the questions being added to the missionary interviews are great. They are questions that cause potential missionaries to think about their important decision to serve, as well as give valuable information to church leaders about the health and well being of that potential missionary.
I invite you to read the statement and think about the revelatory aspects of the changes. I’m sure every missionary will benefit from these changes, especially before they enter the mission field.
To see the official statement, visit http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/multimedia/file/15137_000_letter.pdf .