SALT LAKE CITY — Latter-day Saint leaders announced two new "opportunities" Tuesday for missionaries who have returned to the U.S. and Canada and are waiting to be reassigned, and those who will yet return to these countries, among other adjustments.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has required many adjustments to missionary service, including the need for large numbers of missionaries to return to the United States and Canada from around the world. The ability to reassign these missionaries — even on a temporary basis — has now become more limited by changing conditions," the church's statement reads.
Missionaries who are returning home early to these two countries due to the coronavirus pandemic will now be temporarily released, and either keep their original end date and start serving again with their original or a temporary assignment "as soon as conditions allow," or start serving again in 12 to 18 months, leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Tuesday.
In addition, the following options are available to missionaries and prospective missionaries. All options include a temporary release from their missionary service, according to the church's statement.
Adjustments to Missionary Service: United States and Canada
- Missionaries from the U.S. and Canada who are training through the online Missionary Training Center: They need to decide by April 30, 2020, to either be released from their mission after completing their online training and "be reinstated" with their initial calling or a temporary assignment "as soon as conditions allow," keeping their original end date; or be released and start serving again within 12–18 months, getting a new end date.
- Missionaries who have been called but who have not yet started online MTC training: These missionaries need to choose by April 30, 2020, whether to begin online MTC training as scheduled, with the intention of serving in their original or a temporary assignment "as soon as conditions allow," again keeping their original end date; or delay, and begin service within 12–18 months, getting a new end date.
- Prospective missionaries: These missionaries can choose to apply now, receive a mission call, and begin to serve in either their original or a temporary assignment "as soon as conditions allow," keeping their original end date; or delay and apply at a later date.
The news release included the following table:
These new options come on the heels of other changes church leaders have made in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, including instituting an early release date for some missionaries serving in or returning to the U.S. and Canada.
Additionally, the church's annual general conference that will be held this weekend will be "via technology only." Leaders, speakers and others assigned to assist with general conference will participate in all five sessions at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City without the public or choir in attendance.