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Mission Call Process Overview

One of the most frequent questions I get on Mormon Mission Prep is about the process of starting the paperwork, getting the application in, and details about when and how the mission call comes. This article is designed to give a high-level overview of the mission call process, from meeting with the bishop, to fill out your mission papers, to getting your call letter from the prophet. For more details on the time to expect each step in the process to take, see my article Mission Application Timeline.

lds mission call process overview

The picture above is a good illustration of the step by step process for doing the paper work and getting the mission call. Below is more detail on each step:

Before the Paper Work

  • Prepare spiritually: Study the gospel, read the scriptures, pray and build a testimony of the Savior, His Atonement, and His restored Church including Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon (so be sure to read it!). Keep yourself spiritually clean and worthy to serve a mission.
  • Prepare temporally: Save money, stay physically fit, and remove any obstacles such as unpaid debts, legal issues, weight and health problems. Familiarize yourself with the requirements to serve a mission.

The Application Processmissionarymeetwithbishop

  • Meet with the Bishop: At least four months before you’re able to leave on a mission, set an appointment with your bishop for a personal interview.  He will give you the mission application form, or the information you need to log on to the online missionary recommendation system if the online system is available in your area. Your bishop will also conduct a thorough worthiness interview at this time. He will discuss the qualifications to serve a mission and help you through the repentance process if their are any sins you need to clear up before going on a mission.
  • Doctor and Dentist Visits: Make appointments with your doctor and dentist for evaluations. In the paper work the bishop will give you will be medical forms that they will need to fill out.
  • Missionary Candidate Information: There are several sections of personal information to complete, and whether you do it online or on the paper application it will be the same.  You’ll fill out background information about yourself, including your desire and ability to learn a language, your schooling, and how your mission will be financed. You’ll be asked to submit a photo (uploading it or mailing it in) with your application, so make sure that in this photo you are dressed according to missionary standards (i.e. conservative hair and clothing styles, etc. See my post on Missionary Dress and Grooming Standards).
  • Meet with the Bishop Again: Set another appointment with your bishop after all of the forms are completed, and he will review the application. He will conduct a thorough interview to determine your worthiness to serve a mission, your ability to serve, and your testimony of the Savior and the restored gospel.
  • Meet with the Stake President: After your interview with the bishop, he will tell you how to set up and appointment with the stake president.  Your bishop and stake president will complete some additional parts including their own written recommendations for your missionary service.  This will be the final step before the application is sent to Church headquarters (usually done by the Stake Clerk).

Receiving the Mission Callmissioncall

  • Assigned to a Mission by Prophecy: Your mission application is received by the Church and you are assigned to a specific mission by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who has been authorized by the President of the Church. The mission assignment comes after prayer and revelation. See my article about how missionaries are called by God for more information on this process.
  • Mission Call Letter: After the mission call is made, a packet is mailed to you.  It will contain information on your assigned mission, the date to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC), a list of specific items you should bring with you, and other helpful information. See my article on the mission call letter for more information about what you’ll find in the mission call packet.

Each Call Is Inspired

Though there are a lot of mechanical steps to go through in the process of getting your mission call, it’s important not to lose site of the spiritual–the spiritual preparation by the missionary and the spirit of revelation in the issuing of the mission call.  Here is what President Henry B. Eyring said about the inspiration of each mission call:

“I have had [many] experiences feeling of the Holy Ghost…But I’ve never felt what I have felt as I have…participated in the assigning of missionaries…Because of technology, it is possible for us to have your picture and the information about you displayed. And then quickly, on that same screen, all the missions of the Church with all of their needs are displayed. Within minutes, and sometimes less than a minute, the impression comes so powerfully that it would be, if it were a single instance, something that you would never forget. Can you imagine sitting there for hours at a time, having that happen time after time without interruption? I testify to you that it is real…[The Lord] somehow not only knows you but loves you enough to ensure that your call is where He needs you to go to teach the children of our Heavenly Father.” (Pres. Henry B. Eyring, “Called of God,” address delivered at the Missionary Training Center, Aug. 26, 1997).

Mission Papers

missionary recommendation application form

The Mission Papers, also known as the Checklist for Full-Time Missionary Recommendation or the Missionary Recommendation Form, is the application Mormon missionary candidates, young and old, fill out to initiate the process of serving a mission. Though we often call it paperwork, it is available in two formats: 1) the physical paper forms to fill out and 2) a web-based version to fill out the information online.

Paper Forms

missionary recommend packet at LDS Store

If your bishop does not have the paper forms, he can order them from the “Unit Materials” section of store.lds.org, the online store for the LDS Church. Visit that site, login with your LDS Account, and then search for “Missionary Recommend Packet” and you will find the mission papers. Or login to the LDS Store and click this link to go directly to the page to order the Missionary Recommend Packet.

If you are looking for the forms to download in PDF format, I’m sorry but the Church just does not make them available that way. Though you can try doing a Google search for Checklist for Full-Time Missionary Recommendation, and sometimes you’ll find people have posted them.

Online Forms

You must get access to the online version of the mission application from your bishop. The Missionary Online Recommendation System, that’s that official name of the website for the online mission papers, can be accessed at lds.org/mss. In order to get past the login screen, though, your bishop must first go into the site and get the process started and grant you access. He will let you know when that is done so you can login and begin to fill out the information.

Related Articles

The LDS Mission Call Process is one of the most frequent topics that people ask me about. Below is a summary and links to other articles I have written on the subject.

  • Mission Call Process Overview: This article gives answers to questions about the LDS Mission Call Process from meeting with your bishop, to submitting the mission papers / application, and then receiving the call letter.
  • Mission Application Timeline: In this article, I give details about the steps involved in the mission call process with particular emphasis on when to begin, and how long to expect each step to take.
  • Mission Application Form: This article talks in detail about the sections of Checklist for Full-Time Missionary Recommendation. It will give you a good idea of the information and other things you will need to do to fill out the papers. 
  • Missionaries Are Called by God: In this article, Elder Ronald A. Rasband explains the LDS Mission Call Process, particularly, how missionaries are called by God through inspiration to our living prophets.
  • Mission Call Letter: Two to four weeks after the Church receives you mission application, you will receive your call packet in the mail. This packet will contain your mission call letter from the prophet, as well as other materials, including a list of mission clothing and other items to bring. Read this article for more detail on the contents of the call packet.
  • LDS Mission Cost: How much does an LDS mission cost? Mormon missionaries pay their own expenses: $400 a month for young people from the United States (that’s $7,200 for sister missionaries who serve for 18 months, and $9,600 for men who serve two-years). Read the article for more detail.
  • Day of the Week Mission Calls are Issued and Mailed Out: Future missionaries often wonder what day of the week mission calls are issued and mailed out. The answer is it depends, though the most common scenario has the call issued on a Friday and the call letter being sent out from Church headquarters on a Tuesday. Check out the article for more detail.