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SALT LAKE CITY — Future missionaries for The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will no longer have to rip open a letter to find out where they will serve their assignment.
The church announced through Mormon Newsroom Wednesday that missionary assignments will now be sent out online instead of by mail. The change has been tested in different areas globally and will now be expanded to all of Utah and Idaho. The new process is expected to take effect worldwide in all countries that have steady internet access by the end of 2018.
Young members preparing to serve as a missionary will now receive an email or a text message to inform them their mission call is available to see on a portal on the church website. All details, like a map of the mission boundaries, information about the location a missionary will serve in, what to bring and how to dress, will be included online like they were with the old letter system.
Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the church's missionary department said the changes will speed up the process in foreign countries, where a mission call may take weeks to be delivered by mail, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“Technology is there, and it’s so easy to do,” he said. “We just put it online and they can read it in a matter of minutes.”
There are more than 400 missions in more than 150 countries across the world, according to the church. Young men ages 18 and older serve for two years, while young women who are 19 and older serve for 18 months. It’s not uncommon for new missionaries to open their assignments in front of friends and family.
London Mohowski, of Alpine, is expecting to receive her mission call any day now. She said the new format may make it more tempting for her to check her calling when it comes in online.
“My parents would be disappointed if I didn’t wait for them,” she said, noting she’ll probably wait before she reads where she will serve as a missionary.
Hundreds of new missionaries checked into the church’s Missionary Training Center Wednesday. One of those was Kolei O’Reilly, who opened a letter to find out his mission call to Mesa, Arizona, on May 28.
He said he didn’t believe the new way to receive a mission call would change the experience of finding out where a missionary will go.
“I think the most important part of opening your call is having people see it,” he said. “As long as you open it in front of a bunch of people, it’s the same either way.”
Contributing: Sam Penrod, KSL TV
Editor's note: The headline previously said the mission calls would be emailed, but only a notification will be emailed and the mission calls are viewed on a portal on the church's website.