The name tag or badge worn by missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of their most recognizable visual features. On the one hand, it is simply a name tag, while on the other hand, it is symbolic of the work missionaries have been called to do. It is a symbol of the Church they have been called the represent and of the Savior whose messengers they are.
Full-time missionaries of the Church are required to wear the name tag at all times in public. The mission rules given to service missionaries says this: “It is an honor and a privilege to wear the missionary badge. Always wear it while you are traveling to or from your missionary assignment, at your missionary assignment, and at Church meetings.”
Preach My Gospel, the manual that serves as a guide to missionaries in their service, invites missionaries pay close attention to the name tag. “Note that the two most prominent parts are your name and the Savior’s name.” The name tag is a reminder to always “represent the Savior as one of His disciples” and to behave in such a way that “people to associate your name with the Savior’s in a positive way.”
An Outward Sign of Identity
Here is a reminder about the importance of the missionary name tag from Sister Susan W. Tanner’s talk in the May 2007 Ensign Magazine titled Daughters of Heavenly Father.
“Has your mother or father ever reminded you as you were leaving the house to ‘remember who you are’? What do they mean by that? ‘Remember that you are part of this family, with a reputation to uphold.’ And, even more importantly, ‘remember that you are a child of God and must act accordingly.’ Missionaries wear a badge as a constant reminder that they are representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This reminds missionaries to dress modestly and comely, to treat people with politeness, and to strive to have Christ’s image in their countenances. They must do these things because they wear that name tag, an outward sign of their identity.”
A Sister Missionary’s Name Tag
The following story from Elder Robert L. Simpson’s talk in the May 1984 Ensign Magazine called The Simplicity of Gospel Truths.
“Few are aware of the pure Christian service being administered at refugee camps in Thailand and in the Philippines by our missionary sisters. Basically, these sisters are restricted to teaching the English language and Western culture, but there is a deeper teaching that takes place through their pure love and sweet attitude toward these displaced people.
The story is told of a young camp refugee from Cambodia who was relocated in California. He found his way into one of our Church meetinghouses because the name of the Church on the sign out front corresponded with the one he used to look at each day on the name tag of the wonderful missionary sister who taught him at the camp. People don’t soon forget acts of simple kindness. Pure love can transcend all differences.”
The Tag as Statement of Your Missionary Commission
Many people also see the tag as a sign of the commission missionaries have been given. Elder Bruce R. McConkie famously spoke of the Missionary Commission when he said, as a missionary, “My Commission is to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work. How great is my calling!” (see more info on Elder McConkie’s My Missionary Commission)