Brigham Young University is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The missionary emphasis of the Church is perhaps one of its most recognized characteristics. Since the organization of the Church in 1830, over one million missionaries have served.
The Church operates 347 missions around the world in 145 nations speaking 164 languages. A mission covers a geographic area and has a central headquarters. Each is presided over by a mission president who is called from the ranks of the Church membership to serve for a period of three years. The mission president directs the work of the missionaries assigned to his mission.
More than 53,000 missionaries representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are serving proselytizing missions in 330 missions around the world. Seventy-five percent of the Church’s proselytizing missionaries are young men between the ages of 19 and 26. A substantial number of young women and older couples also serve proselytizing missions.
Missionaries work long hours—seven days a week for two years or 18 months for women and couples—teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and participating in community service.
In addition, about 5,100 individuals (including couples) are given special service assignments. Health specialists and doctors go to developing countries where the Church’s health services program teaches preventive care. Craftsmen, artisans and construction supervisors train members in local building projects. Agricultural experts train people to produce food more effectively and economically. Other mission assignments include education, family history research and leadership training.
The missionaries and/or their families donate money to the Church to pay for their personal expenses. When his or her assignment is completed, the missionary returns home to pursue vocational, academic or other personal goals. Aside from their brief orientation at a missionary training center, missionaries receive little formal training for their ministry. Missionary preparation comes primarily from personal study and, in many cases, from examples taught in the home from childhood.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized on April 6, 1830 with six members. Today, congregations of the Church are found in more than 160 nations and territories. With over 13 million members, it is one of the fastest growing religions in the world and one of the largest Christian churches in the United States.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian, but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the original church established by Jesus Christ. For more information on the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit www.lds.org.