Let’s talk about what it means to be worthy to serve a mission. The prophets have long taught that every worthy young man should serve a mission, and that every young man should strive to be worthy. Worthiness requirements for missionaries are set forth in the scriptures and through the living prophets. Below I briefly discuss what it means to be worthy to serve a mission according to the scriptures. In 2017, the Church revised the Standard Missionary Interview Questions and published them for all to see. Studying those questions in advance of the mission application process will also help future missionaries understand the physical, mental, and spiritual health requirements to serve.
Worthiness Requirements from the Scriptures
Missionaries who represent the Lord and His Church must meet the qualifications revealed in section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord said: “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day… And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence” (D&C 4:2, 5-6). The scriptures also discuss how missionaries are required to be morally clean. See D&C 38:42 where the Lord said “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”
Repentance of Serious Transgressions
A prospective missionary who has been guilty of serious sins such as violations of the law of chastity, drug abuse, serious crimes, or other sexual sins or serious transgressions must repent completely before they can be considered worthy to go on a mission. If this applies to you, your bishop and stake president must confirm that you have been free of transgression for sufficient time to manifest sincere repentance. This time period is generally one year from the most recent occurrence of a serious transgression, but could be as long as three years for multiple serious violations. You must show evidence of a broken heart and contrite spirit and demonstrate a lasting change of behavior, and follow the revealed steps of repentance.
Young people must also be worthy to enter the temple before they can be considered worthy to serve a full-time mission. We won’t go into detail on all the temple recommend topics here, but let’s hit the highlights. You must…
- Believe in God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
- Have a testimony of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
- Have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.
- Be honest in all you say and do, attend Church meetings, and live in harmony with the teachings of our Savior and His Church.
- Live the law of chastity.
- Be a full-tithe payer.
- Keep the Word of Wisdom.
- Not support or affiliate with anti-Mormon groups or individuals.
- Resolved any serious sins or misdeeds with priesthood authorities.