3 questions every Latter-day Saint returned missionary should hear and ponder

Young men and women returning home from the mission field can be ideal mentors for the youth

Returned missionaries can make a difference in the lives of the youth.

A bishop shared with us how he called a recently returned missionary as an adviser to the Young Men, even though he knew this young adult would only be in the ward a short time before he left for school. 

The following Wednesday, the returned missionary was driving a group of young men to and from an activity and spent the time in the car talking about his mission. One of the young men in the car later told the bishop, “When I got in the car, I wasn’t planning on serving a mission. When I got out of the car, I was.”  

We desire to see that experience replicated throughout The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With that end in mind, here are three questions every returned missionary should hear from their mission presidents as they head home, from stake presidents when they get released, and from bishops and parents who are anxious to help them make a smooth transition home.  

1. Are you spending time in the temple? 

Serving in the temple helps us keep our covenant relationship with God and Christ in the front of our mind. In addition, the temple is the ideal environment in which to focus on the Savior and seek His grace — His divine power — in our lives. We cannot lift others if we are not on higher ground. The temple is that higher ground.

2. How can you mentor youth and children in your ward and family? 

We do not need a name tag or a calling to reach out to youth who need good examples and mentors. Missionaries often travel far from home to teach friends. When they return home, they will find youth who need them just like those distant friends did. We can learn names and greet youth and children before and after meetings. Returned missionaries can find ways through the walls teenagers sometimes build around themselves just like they did with the friends they found and taught on their missions.

A group of young women receive instruction at a For the Strength of Youth conference at Brigham Young University on Aug. 12, 2021.
A group of young women receive instruction at a For the Strength of Youth conference at Brigham Young University on Aug. 12, 2021. | Jon Ryan Jensen, Church News

3. Have you considered being an FSY counselor? 

More than 122,000 teenagers attended For the Strength of Youth conferences throughout North America — 200,000 worldwide — over the last summer.

When asked what they liked most, answers varied from games and dances to scripture study and testimony meetings. However, one answer that is consistent across the board is “We loved our counselors!” 

Young people love having “near peers” to look toward as role models. Counselors help them see they can have fun and live the gospel at the same time. Counselors are still young enough that their words resonate with youth. The young people know their counselors face the same challenges and temptations they do, and they choose to keep the faith. Teens go home from FSY saying, “If my counselor can do it, so can I.” 

Counselors find that the experience has benefits beyond helping the youth. It gives them the opportunity to work with YSA peers who become good friends. They also find happiness and fulfillment by having an outward focus and dedicating themselves to something larger than themselves.

Learn more about becoming an FSY counselor at

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