New York Times article features how COVID-19 pandemic affected missionary work

The New York Times recently spoke with Latter-day Saint missionaries about how proselytizing has changed for their generation

Among the changes to modern missionary work, one of the biggest is how missionaries utilize social media to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

The New York Times spoke with several young Latter-day Saint missionaries about the changes to missionary work that have occurred since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic four-plus years ago.

The article, published May 10, highlights that missionaries are now utilizing social media to connect with interested individuals, rather than just going door to door.

Elder Andres Gonzalez, from Utah, recorded videos in Spanish to post to social media, encouraging people in Los Angeles, California, to contact the missionaries if they wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ.

“It’s a little bit hard,” Elder Gonzalez said, explaining that many people around him are busy. However, he remains hopeful of being able to teach interested people the gospel. “Some of them, they really are ready. They make time, even just like five minutes.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared on social media Friday afternoon that he read the article and is proud of “Elder Gonzalez and all of our missionaries around the globe.”

Elder Cook noted that the world is changing quickly but that the purpose of missionary work in the Church has not changed.

That purpose is “to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end,” he wrote.

While the purpose of missionary work remains the same, some of the recent changes to how missionaries serve include the missionary dress code policy changes in 2018 and in 2020, allowing missionaries to call home weekly in 2019, and a greater focus on sharing the gospel over social media around 2020.

It has been two years since Prophet Russell M. Nelson reaffirmed the importance of sharing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.

“The Lord has asked every worthy, able young man to prepare for and serve a mission,” the prophet said during the April 2022 general conference. “For you young and able sisters, a mission is also a powerful, but optional, opportunity.”

This summer, 36 new missions will open in locations around the world. The total number of missions will be 450 — the highest number in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The number of young teaching and service missionaries and senior missionaries has expanded from 56,000 at the end of 2021 to 62,500 at the end of 2022 to today’s more than 74,000. They serve in more than 150 countries and teach in more than 60 languages, according to

“Dear young friends,” President Nelson said, “you are each vital to the Lord. He has held you in reserve until now to help gather Israel. Your decision to serve a mission, whether a proselyting or a service mission, will bless you and many others. We also welcome senior couples to serve when their circumstances permit. Their efforts are simply irreplaceable.”

President Nelson emphasized that missionaries teach and testify of the Savior. “The spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ needed more than ever. Everyone deserves the chance to know about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Every person deserves to know where they can find the hope and peace that ‘[pass] all understanding.’”

Read the entire New York Times article at (it is a subscription-based website; however, accounts can be created with limited free access to some articles).

Related Stories
What Church leaders are saying about increased missionary numbers and 36 new missions
Service missionaries being integrated into teaching missions
Why Gatlin Bair, the biggest football recruit in Idaho history, is serving a Latter-day Saint mission
Sister missionaries react to the news that new sisters can enter the mission field at the age of 19. The announcement was made during the Saturday morning session of October 2012 general conference on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Related Story
Video: Elder Uchtdorf says missionary work should move 'back to the future' after pandemic
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed