Missions in Mormonism
Missionary efforts, which is when members of a religion seek to make converts to their faith by means of direct evangelism, massive rallies, through various acts of service, or other methods, are important to almost all religions in the world. Ever since Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith in the early 1800's, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has looked to expand by acquiring new members.
Mormon missionaries are often easily recognized because they have the same appearance all around the world. As seen in the picture to the right, missionaries dress in their trademark white, button-up dress shirts, sometimes with a tie, and have dark-colored pants. Most have name badges that say "Elder," followed by the missionary's first name. Some missionaries ride bicycles in their assigned area. All missionaries carry a Book of Mormon with them. Their tactic is to go door-to-door and talk to people about their faith.
Number of missionaries
The LDS Church sponsors a massive missionary movement involving about 54,000 young missionaries at any one time (typically a ratio of four male "elders" for every female "sister"). There are currently 330 missions underway in 162 nations currently. Mormon missionaries are usually between 19 and 21 years old and dedicate two years of their life in seeking converts.
Missionaries live under very strict restrictions devoid of entertainment and contact sports, and adhere to a specific dress code. In the past, missionaries could indicate a preference for their country of service, but now they go wherever they are called. Mormon missionaries finance their own way.
According to recent studies, women are playing an increasing role in LDS missionary efforts. The New York Times recently noted,
"In the coming years, these women are expected to fundamentally alter this most American of churches, whose ruling patriarchs not long ago excommunicated feminist scholars and warned women not to hold jobs while raising children. Church leaders have been forced to reassess their views because Mormon women are increasingly supporting households, marrying later and less frequently, and having fewer children. And for the first time, waves of women...are taking part in the church's crucial coming-of-age ritual, returning home from their missions with unprecedented scriptural fluency, new confidence and new ideas about themselves." 
Recommended for You
More on Mormonism
World Religions - Main pages
- Missionaries - Mormon.org
- LDS Mission Network
- Mormon Missionary Work - LightPlanet
- Regrets of going on a Mormon mission - Exmormon.org
1. "Growing Role for Mormon Women"; New York Times, March 1, 2014