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4 changes to missionary service through the years you may not have known about

by | Sep. 29, 2020

In the last few years, missionary service has seen many changes including allowing sister missionaries to wear slacks and allowing male missionaries to wear blue shirts in some areas, a standard application for proselyting and service missions, and increased communication with families through text and email.

And though some things have changed with policies regarding missionary service, the call to spread the gospel has remained the same since the beginning of the restored Church. In a recent “Ask Us” article on the Church History website, the Consultation Services team shares a timeline that shows some of the policies that have changed in missionary work. Here are some of the changes you may not have known about:

  • • It wasn’t until May 1911 that missionaries received the instruction that they should receive their endowment prior to departing on their missions.
  • • Starting in September 1940, prospective missionaries were also interviewed by a General Authority at stake conference. This practice was discontinued in August 1962.
  • • The age change announced by President Thomas S. Monson in 2012 wasn’t the first missionary age change. In 1947, a recommendation was made for youth and middle-aged individuals to be called on missions and in 1948, the preferred age for female missionaries was 23 (with some exceptions for women as young as 21). In 1950, men were recommended at age 20 or after two years of college or military service. A decade later, the age was lowered to 19 for men and 21 for women.
  • • The standard name tag we all associate with missionaries wasn’t standard until 1980. Missionaries could purchase these at the Provo Missionary Training bookstore. It wasn’t until 1990 that the first name tag was provided to missionaries at no cost.

► You may also like: How the length of missions has changed over time

Read more about policy changes with the timeline on the Church History website or learn about how to locate former missionaries through the “Ask Us” article.

Lead image: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 
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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. Follow her on Twitter with the handle @lindsey5brooke.

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