Mormon Missionaries Reading ScripturesMission rules prohibit missionaries from reading just anything while they serve. They are not supposed to read newspapers or novels, for example, nor are they to read from many of the voluminous Church books that are out there. Here is a list of the approved reading material.

  • The Scriptures and Church study aids
  • The Preach My Gospel Manual
  • Official Church magazines (The Ensign, Liahona, etc.)
  • Other lesson manuals and official Church materials
  • The Church News

Books: The Missionary Reference Library

Missionaries are also allowed to bring the following books with them for reading (sold at as the Missionary Reference Library at the LDS eStore and Distribution Centers):

  • Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage
  • Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Our Search for Happiness, By M. Russell Ballard
  • True to the Faith

Any exceptions to this reading list would have to be approved by your mission president.

20 replies
  1. elizabeth salinas
    elizabeth salinas says:

    I want to go to on a mission in two years from now and i want to help random people to find this church and anything else and i just don’t know what to do… im 17 years old

  2. jodi
    jodi says:

    wanted to know if “The Missionarys little book of teaching tools” and “The missionaries little Quote book” are approved missionary books? Can a Missionary take these books with them on there mission?

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Sorry, but they are not on the approved missionary reading list. I’m sure they are harmless enough and may be helpful to some missionaries. But as a rule, the Church has said no books outside of the approved missionary reading list above. Individual mission presidents, though, can make exceptions, so maybe if you ask your president, he will say it is okay.

    • Dale
      Dale says:


      Those two books were compilations of quotes and other items we collected on our respective missions, my wife and I. There are copies of these books in pretty well every mission on the planet.

      My suggestion is, Take Them. It may be that you mission president says they are okay, and perhaps they may not. In the meantime, read them on your P-Day, mark them, and copy the items that (if you need to) you can transcribe to your own notebook or journal for your own use later.

      R.Dale Jeffery, author of those books
      and founder of the LDSMissionaries page on Facebook

  3. Barbara arrington
    Barbara arrington says:

    I have a son who is almost ready to be called out for his mission.My question is can he choose to do a service mission in his home state but out of his home town? He has severe flat feet that bother him a lot When he’s been standing on concrete al day .we cannot afford the expensive $350 orthotics he needs. He’s willing to work at a job.He currently has a job at. Home Depot. Thank you, Barbara Arrington

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      The first thing that will need to happen is to determine if your son can serve a regular full-time mission. This will be done through discussions with your family, your bishop, and your doctors. I don’t think anyone wants money to be an issue, so if $350 orthotics will allow him to serve a normal full-time mission, I’m sure you and your ward leaders will find a way to do it.

      If it is determined that the medical limitations prevent a regular full-time mission, then you and your local priesthood leaders should have an opportunity to discuss service mission options with the Church missionary department. Usually, I believe, church service mission are served in your home stake, but I also believe there are exceptions.
      I wish I could give you more definitive answers, but I’m afraid most of these details will have to be worked out with your local church leaders.

      Good luck and God bless you and your son.

    • John
      John says:

      A missionary for whom it will be helpful can, of course, read it. In fact, The Miracle of Forgiveness in particular is often recommended and given to elders at this current time.

      However, it is not particularly relevant for missionary work specifically. So, if the elder already understands the repentance process well and is not having any struggles, there is no urgent need to read it. Also, The Miracle of Forgiveness actually was taken off the missionary library list in 1982 (after being added in 1976).

  4. Josh
    Josh says:

    Does that list include language resources? I have a Beginner’s Japanese-English Dictionary which is helpful with reading and writing in actual Japanese, something not taught in the MTC.

    The MTC and Japanese scriptures for native English speakers use a Latin language based on Japanese called rōmaji, literally ‘roman letters.’

    I assume if you brought something like this they didn’t want you to have, they would just allow you to ship it home? Outgoing missionaries to Japan have at least 9 weeks of study, so there would be plenty of time to do it.

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Any exceptions to this reading list would have to be approved by your mission president. I assume most mission presidents would make an exception for language study resources, dictionaries, etc.

  5. John
    John says:

    This post is not accurate.

    Obviously it is perfectly good and healthy to read books outside of the list of Four Approved Books, when they are relevant and helpful to the missionary work. Books aimed at helping full-time missionaries to do missionary work more effectively are particularly relevant. They should be read with wisdom. Personal study time should *focus* on the standard works. But other material can also be read and studied, as the missionary deems proper and wise.

  6. Gallet Christ Sampu
    Gallet Christ Sampu says:

    May God bless all missionaries and let the Heavenly Father assist them with His Grace to fulfill His work by His willing, and it will be no one to say to his fellowmen “know the Lord , but all must know Him”.
    Christ G.Sampu

  7. Savanna
    Savanna says:

    Would the Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Mconkie likely be allowed by a mission president? That is one of those books that is incredibly helpful when studying the standard works. I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be allowed…maybe someone can shed some light on the subject?

  8. Steve
    Steve says:

    Hi Savanna!
    I served a mission 30 years ago, and I had with me on my mission all the approved books of the time. (The list was longer back then.) I was so busy with missionary work and learning to follow the Spirit that I did not have time to read them! Sure, I opened them up once in a while; however, I did not have time to delve into them until years later. You will be plenty occupied with digging about the trees of the vineyard. Looking back in history, early missionaries had one book on their reading list, and that was enough. (It’s still the most important one!) Focus on the longer reading list for your time, and when you feel you have mastered those, and you think you need something else to aid your mission service, ask your mission president for advice. The most important skills on your mission are developed in practice: faith, obedience, and following the Spirit. This is how the disciples of Christ were able to go about without purse or script. Have a wonderful mission!


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