First Presidency announces additional options for missionaries amid COVID-19

With tens of thousands of missionaries being released or returning to their home countries for reassignment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have made additional adjustments and options for missionary service. They include temporary releases and reassignments when conditions allow, or the delay of one’s missionary service.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has required many adjustments to missionary service, including the need for large numbers of missionaries to return to the United States and Canada from around the world,” according to the March 31 letter from the leaders. “The ability to reassign these missionaries — even on a temporary basis — has now become more limited by changing conditions. This has created a measure of uncertainty for many missionaries and their families.”

Acknowledging prayerful consideration of the circumstances, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have outlined two opportunities for missionary service for those who have returned and are awaiting reassignment or may yet be required to return to the United States and Canada, with either option requiring a temporary release prior to reassignment.

One option is to be reinstated to the original mission or a temporary assignment — as determined by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — as soon as conditions allow, with the missionary retaining the original end date. The other option is to return to service within 12 to 18 months and be given a new end date.

Sister missionaries smile after meeting with President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 20, 2018.
Sister missionaries smile after meeting with President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 20, 2018. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

All specific mission reassignments will be determined by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Stake presidents will receive additional information and direction, including information about senior missionaries.

“We are confident that missionaries and prospective missionaries will seek the counsel of parents, priesthood leaders and the Lord as they consider their future missionary service,” the leaders wrote in the letter. “Please know of our deep love for missionaries and their families as we all continue to participate in this great work together.”

An accompanying matrix for missionaries — those returning from international assignments, in online training, or with call in hand — as well as prospective missionaries provides the following adjustments:

For missionaries from the United States and Canada

Missionaries returning to the United States and Canada from international assignments are temporarily released and choose by April 30, 2020, to be:

  • reinstated either to the original or temporary assignment as soon as conditions allow, with the original end date,
  • or returned to service within 12 to 18 months, with a new end date.

Missionaries from the United States and Canada currently participating in online MTC training choose by April 30 to be:

  • released after online MTC training and reinstated to either original or temporary assignment as soon as conditions allow, with the original end date,
  • or released and return to service within 12 to 18 months, with a new end date.

Those who are currently under call but have not begun online MTC training choose by April 30 to:

  • begin online MTC training as scheduled and begin service in either original or temporary assignment as soon as conditions allow, with the original end date;
  • or delay mission and begin service within 12 to 18 months, with a new end date.

Prospective missionaries can choose to:

  • submit an application, receive a mission call, begin service in either the original or temporary assignment as soon as conditions allow, with the original end date,
  • or delay and submit the missionary application at a later date.

For missionaries from countries outside the United States and Canada

Missionaries returning to their home countries

  • will be reassigned to a mission in their home country and return to service as soon as conditions allow.

Missionaries currently in online MTC training or under call

  • will complete online MTC training and begin service in a mission in their home country as soon as conditions allow.

Prospective missionaries can choose:

  • to submit a missionary application, receive a mission call, complete online MTC training and begin service in a mission in their home country as soon as conditions allow,
  • or delay and submit a missionary application at a later date.

For all missionaries from countries outside the United States and Canada,

  • the missionary’s original end date would remain unchanged.
  • Until conditions change, all prospective missionaries will be assigned to their home countries.