The articles in the category document the process of starting the missionary paperwork, getting the application in, and details about when and how the mission call comes.

Acceptance Letter

Woman Writing a LetterReading your mission call letter that you receive from the prophet assigning you to your field of labor is always nerve raking and exciting. Most people will pause, celebrate, cry, or all of the above after reading the line that says “you are assigned to labor in the ________ mission.”

When you read to the end of the letter, though, you will notice that the prophet asks you to “please send your written acceptance promptly.” I’m not aware of any specific deadline for writing this letter. I assume promptly means within days or a week at most. I also presume if you don’t send that acceptance letter within a couple of weeks, you or your stake president will be getting a call from the Church’s Missionary Department.

When I received my mission call, way back  in the 1990s, acceptance letters were sent through the mail (snail mail, that is). Nowadays, acceptance letters are sent through the same missionary online recommendation system you used to send in your original application. You’ll log in and sending in your acceptance letter will be as easy as sending an email.

Now, with regard to what should be included in your acceptance letter, Elder David B. Haight, formerly of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once spoke about the mission call acceptance letter. You may want to read his words as you consider what to say in your letter.

Included in the packet is a page that may go unnoticed at first. It is a form, the Missionary Call Acceptance. This is a personal letter in which the missionary, addressing the First Presidency, formally accepts his or her missionary call. The form contains 15 lines on which the missionary expresses feelings about the singular opportunity of serving the Lord. The letters are usually handwritten, brief, and direct. Yet these few words speak volumes and convey deep meaning. Behind each one is a faith-promoting story.

“My Savior has blessed me more than I ever imagined. He gave His life for me. The least I can do is give Him two years of my life.”

…In accepting a call to serve, the missionary is expressing sufficient faith to act on his or her beliefs. Blessings will inevitably follow, as so many returned missionaries can testify. Faith in the Savior becomes an anchor to the soul.

“I can’t express the happiness and joy I feel as I accept this call to serve. I am ready and willing to commit two years of my life to preaching the gospel.”

In the acceptance letter, many missionaries state, “I gratefully accept my call to serve.” But I wonder how many missionaries realize the implications of the word accept. It means to receive willingly something given or offered; to respond favorably to; consider right and proper. It also means to be admitted into a group or community. In a gospel sense, it implies submission to the will of the Lord and willingness to follow the prophet, who extends the call. The mission “call” is to serve the Lord with all one’s heart, might, mind, and strength. The mission “assignment” is to serve in the assigned field of labor. The acceptance letter implies willingness to accept both the call and the assignment as the Lord’s will.

“Preparing for my mission has been a long struggle. After deciding to serve a mission, it took almost one and one-half years to overcome problems in my conduct.”

…“Deciding to go on a mission wasn’t easy. Having a strong passion for the game of baseball made it hard.”

Numerous acceptance letters speak of sacrifice. The young man quoted above was well on his way to fulfilling a life-long dream to play baseball in college, and then perhaps enjoy a career in professional baseball. After ponderous and prayerful thought, however, the answer was certain: he was to serve the Lord. Once the decision was made, his priorities in life became clear.

…Prospective missionaries write about giving up a prized car, a girlfriend, music, a lucrative job, and many other things. Too many allow such worldly treasures to blind them to spiritual opportunity and divert them from their foreordained mission. On the other hand, we are continually amazed and gratified by those who forsake all to serve the Lord.

“Just two short years ago, I did not have any purpose in life. When I walked the streets, I was scared that people would ask, ‘How are you?’ Finally, two missionaries helped me find the love of Christ. I will find people who have the same feelings I had and show them the purpose of life.”

Mormon wrote, “Perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moro. 8:16). When prospective missionaries learn of life’s purpose and of the Lord’s love, they gain the courage to act in spite of fears. In doing so, they learn the fears were an illusion, a creation of their minds. The Lord repeatedly assures missionaries that He will give them strength to succeed in the face of obstacles. “He that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom” (D&C 52:17). President Harold B. Lee often stated, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.”

…Missionary Call Acceptance letters reveal a wealth of spirituality and faith. My own faith is continually strengthened by those who accept calls to serve God, who allow their love for the Lord to overshadow their fears, and who submit willingly to the call of our living prophet. I pray always that every eligible young man, and also every young woman who so desires, may experience the wondrous adventure of a mission.

A Spiritual Adventure, David B. Haight, New Era, June 2000.

Day of the Week Mission Calls are Issued and Mailed Out

LDS first presidency march 2018

Please note that the Church made an announcement on September 5, 2018 that by the end of the year, they anticipate that most mission call letters will be delivered electronically. This will likely necessitate changes in the process outlined in the article below, which deals with the Church mail room and sending out mission call packets via snail mail. Until it is determined what those changes are, I’ll leave the post below as it, but please note that the new electronic process for sending out mission calls will likely speed things up. 

I am frequently asked about steps in the LDS mission call process and a couple of the common questions are about what day of the week the apostles meet to make the mission assignments and subsequently, what day of the week does the mission call letter and packet will get mailed out. The answer to both of these questions is that it depends. Let me explain.

What day of the week do the apostles meet to make mission calls?

In most weeks, the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will meet and make these call assignments on Friday. But depending on their schedule, that day can vary. Thursdays are the second most common day in which they meet, but it’s not unheard of for them to make the assignments on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

The missionary call assignment meeting is held weekly and is presided over by one of the twelve apostles. While all mission call letters are signed by the prophet and president of the Church, we should remember that each of the Twelve Apostles are also a prophet, seer, and revelator, and the Church president has delegated to them the responsibility to make mission assignments. In the weekly meeting, the apostle reviews new missionary applications and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, assigns each missionary to a specific mission. President Henry B. Eyring once spoke about this process when he was explaining how each call is inspired. Elder Ronald A. Rasband also explained this process and how missionaries are called by God in his April 2010 General Conference talk.

What day of the week does the mission call letter go out?

On most weeks, the call packets are received by the Church headquarters mail room on Tuesday, and are mailed out that same day. Because Tuesday is the most likely day for the call packets to be mailed out, those living near Salt Lake City, will usually receive it one day later, on Wednesday. Those living further away from Utah, should plan accordingly for additional days for the call packet to arrive. Remember, however, that there is variation to that schedule and the day that the mission call letter is mailed out could be different than the norm if the day the called was issued was different in that week, or based on other factors unique to individual missionaries, mission circumstances, holiday schedules, and if translation needs to be involved.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

LDS Quorum of 12 Apostles April 2018

Mission Call Letter

mission call letter of jimmy smithAn important step in the Mission Call Process, and one that is the focus of much anticipation for the future missionary as well as family and friends, is receiving the mission call letter. After you’ve fill out your mission papers and submitted the application, it is a very anxious few weeks that you have to wait before finding out where you have been called to serve. And while those few weeks may seem like an eternity, eventually that envelope (or email) will arrive from church headquarters.

Some of you will choose to open the mission call packet in private, in your bedroom, or perhaps you’ll get away to somewhere in nature.  Many of you will gather around with your close family, and others will open the packet in the presence of a large number of family and friends.  Many will even have a virtual gathering, over the phone or using video conferencing, as they open their mission call packet. However you choose to do it, opening and reading your mission call letter will bring many feelings: spiritual confirmations, excitement, and tears of joy.

Mission Call Packet

Generally, about two to four weeks after the Church receives your mission application, a letter (either in a physical envelope, or often now in an email) will arrive from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Office of the First Presidency. The packet generally contains these items:

  • The Call Letter from the Prophet
  • A Letter from your Mission President
  • A Letter from the MTC President
  • General Instructions Checklist, including a list of clothing and other items to bring

Call Letter from the Prophet

When you open your call packet, the first letter you will see will be the call letter from the prophet. It will be addressed to you and will say, “Dear Elder or Sister _______, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the _______ mission.” This is the point where people tend to erupt into cheers and tears.  Once you’re able to continue, the letter will go on to tell you the language you will be speaking during your mission, and it will tell you where and when to report to the Missionary Training Center.

The letter will tell you your purpose as a missionary, “to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” In the letter, the prophet also will ask you to work to become an effective missionary, to remain worthy, and he will mention some of the blessings of faithful missionary service. Finally, the letter from the prophet asks you to send a written acceptance letter, and then it is signed by our living prophet, the president of the Church.

Letter from your Mission President

Another major piece of your mission call packet will be a welcome and orientation letter from the mission president with whom you will be serving. He will express his testimony of mission work and his gratitude for your choice to serve a mission. He will express his joy and congratulations that you will be joining his mission and be engaged together in the greatest cause in the entire world.  He will remind you that, as a missionary, you will become an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will encourage you to continue reading the scriptures and preparing spiritually, including acquainting yourself with the Preach My Gospel manual. He may tell you a little about the people and places of your mission and encourage you to learn to love the people where you will serve. He may also have mission-specific instructions, in addition to those general instructions you will receive from Church headquarters, such as clothing that may differ from the norm due to weather conditions in your mission.

Letter from the MTC President

In the mission call packet, you will also receive instructions and a congratulatory letter from the president of the MTC where you will be receiving your missionary training. He will also express his gratitude for your decision to serve the Lord, and his excitement about your arrival to the Missionary Training Center. He will advise you of medical issues that need to be addressed prior to your arrival such as getting a seasonal flu shot. The letter will almost certainly discuss MTC arrival times, transportation, and other information you will need to know about getting started on your mission.  There will also be information such as your mailing address and email address, as well as contact phone numbers and web site addresses you can get more information.

General Instructions Checklist

missionary-suitcaseThe General Instructions Checklist will tell you the things you need to do right away, and things you’ll need to do before entering the MTC. It will advise you to complete any medical tests, treatments, and dental work before entering the MTC, including obtaining all required vaccinations outlined in the medical information section of the call packet. It will advise you to continue to prepare spiritually through prayer, and scripture study, especially studying the Book of Mormon. It will instruct you go to the temple to receive your endowment, and receive a patriarchal blessing, if you had not previously done those items.

The checklist will tell you what clothing, luggage, and other items to bring on your mission, and to get a missionary hair cut before arriving at the MTC and to be sure to show up in missionary attire. With regard to the clothing to bring on your mission, there are some variations between missions based on climate and other factors, and your mission president will advise you if that is that case, but for the most part, the clothing each missionary will need to bring is pretty standard. See my post about the missionary clothing list for more details.

Of course you will need luggage to carry your clothes and personal belongings.  It is recommended that missionaries bring 3 pieces of luggage that follow these guidelines: Two large suitcases (that you could check at the airport) and one smaller bag (a carry-on). The first, larger, checked suitcase should be no larger than 62 dimensional inches (height plus width plus depth), and no heavier than 70 pounds. The second piece should be no larger than 55 dimensional inches and no heavier than 70 pounds. The smaller, carry-on bag should be no larger than 45 dimensional inches. For more information, see missionary clothing needs and what should I bring to the MTC?.

Other Miscellaneous Items

mission-call-letter-in-mailboxAll together the packet can be a dozen or more pages depending on your mission and circumstances. There is frequently included a short biographical sketch of the mission president and his wife, an outline of behavior expected of missionaries, guidelines for getting ready for the mission, a section on missionary dress standards, medical requirements, a map of your mission, a short description of the area in which you will serve, and Church contact information if you have further questions.

No matter where you are called to serve, remember that missionaries are called by God through prophecy and revelation to our living prophets and apostles.  It is an extreme privilege to serve as an ambassador of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to represent his true Church on the earth today, and to be an instrument in His hands to bring people into His fold for their eternal salvation.

Missionaries Are Called by God

The following is an excerpt, text and video, from Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk from the April 2010 Priesthood Session of General Conference called The Divine Call of a Missionary. In the talk, Elder Rasband explains the LDS Mission Call Process, particularly, how missionaries are called by God through inspiration to living prophets.

Part of my early training as a new General Authority included an opportunity to sit with members of the Twelve as they assigned missionaries to serve in one of the 300-plus missions of this great Church.

With the encouragement and permission of President Henry B. Eyring, I would like to relate to you an experience, very special to me, which I had with him several years ago when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.

I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.

First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.

As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”

He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.

He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.

From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world.

Having served as a missionary in my own country in the Eastern States Mission a number of years ago, I was deeply moved by this experience. Also, having served as a mission president, I was grateful for a further witness in my heart that the missionaries I had received in New York City were sent to me by revelation.

After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!

A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.

As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.

At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants.

Mission Papers Online: AKA the Missionary Online Recommendation System

missionary recommendation online systemMission papers can be filled out with the physical paper application forms, or in many parts of the world young people, bishops, and stake leaders can complete the mission papers online. The Church refers to this online mission papers website as the Missionary Online Recommendation System, and it can also be accessed at The online process is similar to the offline process in most respects except that the information is put in the internet-based system rather than the paper mission application form.

In order to log in and get started with the online mission application, a prospective missionary needs to have a Church Account.  A Church Account is the username and password you use to access personalized tools on such as your ward and stake calendar and directory. If you don’t have one, go here to register for an Church Account. You will need to know your membership number, which you can get from your ward clerk, to complete the process of getting an account.

Missionary Online Recommendation System HomepageWhen you are ready to begin the process of getting your mission call, talk to your bishop and he will log into the mission papers website and make it so you can log in. Even with an LDS Account, if your bishop hasn’t granted you access, you cannot get into the Missionary Online Recommendation System.

Once you’re in the online missionary application system, you’ll be able to fill in all the paperwork electronically for your bishop and stake president to see. Once your application has been sent to Church headquarters (by the stake president), you’ll be able to log into this same online system to track the progress and status of your mission call.

Good luck. Let me know if you have any questions. And God bless you in your mission preparation.

Mission Application Form

mission paperworkThe mission application form, also known as the Missionary Recommend Packet or the Checklist for Full-Time Missionary Recommendation, is the official paperwork you will need to fill out when applying to go on a mission for the LDS Church. You can get the mission application form from your bishop or branch president. He will give you all the paperwork or point you to the online recommendation system, and he will help you through the application process.

Below is an overview of the eight major sections of the mission application form, but before you read on:

  • If your bishop or branch president needs to order the paperwork, click on this link for the Missionary Recommend Packet from the Church.
  • You may also want to check out this article on the Mission Call Process. It’s a high-level overview and talks about the process of starting and submitting your paperwork.
  • You may also want to read the Mission Application Timeline article which talks about details of the application process with particular emphasis on the timing of each step.

Whether you fill out the physical paperwork, or complete the application online, the form has eight sections:

  1. Missionary Recommendation
  2. Priesthood Leaders’ Comments and Suggestions
  3. Education and Service of Missionary Candidate
  4. Unit Information for Missionary Candidate
  5. Personal Health History of Missionary Candidate
  6. Physician’s Health Evaluation
  7. Dental Evaluation for Missionary Candidate
  8. Personal Insurance Information of Missionary Candidate

Missionary Dress and Grooming Guidelines1. Missionary Recommendation

The first section of the mission application form is called the Missionary Recommendation.  This is where you fill out your name, address, and other contact information. In this section you attach a photograph of yourself, dressed according to missionary dress standards. You will fill in your birth date, confirmation date, and any criminal record you might have.  This part of the application asks for your citizenship information, and residency documents, if applicable. You will need to provide the name, occupation, and contact information of your parents, or caregiver if you live with someone other than your parents.

2. Priesthood Leaders’ Comments and Suggestions

The priesthood leader section has two parts. First is the Bishop’s or Branch President’s Recommendation.  Once you have completed all your paperwork, your bishop will review it and give you a worthiness interview.  He will ask about your testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and make sure you are worthy, willing, and able to serve a mission.  Then he will write a few comments on your application on what he thinks of your leadership potential, interests, talents, or limitations that should be considered in determining the mission assignment. A similar interview and written assessment will then also be done by your stake president, or mission president if you live in an area where no stake is organized.

students in classroom 3. Education and Service of Missionary Candidate

On this part of the mission application form, you are asked your native language and other languages you speak or have studied.  You will then describe your education, including seminary and institute, work experience, and military service.  Here you also specify any extracurricular activities, special skills, accomplishments, previous Church callings, and other leadership experience. This is also the section where you will outline how you will be financing your mission. You will be asked to describe your source of funds, indicating how much money will be contributed from yourself, your family, your ward or branch, and other sources.  You are also given the opportunity in this section to explain any special circumstances that the Brethren should consider when making your mission call.

4. Unit Information for Missionary Candidate

Most of the information that needs to be filled out in this section will be provided by someone in your ward or branch such as the clerk.  This information includes: your membership record number, your home ward or branch unit number, the name of your bishop or branch president, and the name of your stake president.

doctor taking blood pressure 5. Personal Health History of Missionary Candidate

This is a section that you will fill out yourself or with the help of your parents.  You are asked here to specify whether have currently, have had previously, or have never had about 50 different medical conditions, including: serious injuries, various diseases, allergies, seizures, asthma, diabetes, tattoos, skin conditions, severe headaches, insomnia, tumors, cancers, learning disabilities, emotional instability, been a victim of abuse, used illegal drugs, etc. You will need to answer all of the questions completely and honestly.

6. Physician’s Health Evaluation

This section of the mission application form will be filled out by your medical doctor.  The Doctor will note your height, weight, and blood pressure.  He or she will do a urinalysis and various tests: blood tests, a tuberculosis test, etc. The doctor will fill in your immunization dates (MMR, Polio, Hepatitis A and B), and give an overall missionary fitness report (the doctor’s assessment of your ability to serve) and note any physical or medical limitations.  This part of the form is concluded with the physician’s signature, name, address, and other contact information.

dentist 7. Dental Evaluation for Missionary Candidate

Every missionary candidate needs to have a complete oral examination and corresponding form sections filled out by your dentist. All dental treatment, including active orthodontic treatment (braces), must be completed before a prospective missionary begins to serve. (Wearing a retainer appliance is not considered active treatment.) Have your dental examination early, perhaps as early as 6 months before you plan to go on your mission, to allow plenty of time to complete all dental treatment or your application may be delayed. The dentist will need to certify that you will be free of dental problems during the next two years (assuming proper oral hygiene is practiced). For many missionaries this means having wisdom teeth removed before going on a mission.

8. Personal Insurance Information of Missionary Candidate

The final section of the mission application form is several pages of authorizations, releases of information, and medical privacy notices that you and your parents will need to sign.  Health insurance is not required, but if you have health insurance coverage, please do not cancel it.  You will need to provide information about your health care policy so the Church can properly process your medical expenses for events that may happen on your mission. If you become sick or injured during the mission, the Church will provide initial payment for medical expenses, but that is not intended to replace your personal insurance. Health care expenses paid by the Church on your mission are made from the general funds of the Church and are thus sacred in nature and should be treated as such.

Mission Paperwork Complete

Once the paperwork is complete, you will need to make an appointment with your bishop and stake president. You will hand over the forms for them to review and ultimately submit to Church headquarters in Salt Lake.

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

Mission Application Timeline

Editor’s Note: On January 31, 2019, the Church announced that they have created new mission planning tools that helps prospective missionaries understand when they should submit their application to increase the likelihood of starting and ending their service at the right time. The Mission Release Date Planning Tool and Mission Submission Planning Tool can be found on the Church’s website.

Today I want to talk in more detail about the mission application timeline, the steps involved in the mission call process, when to begin, and how long to expect the steps to take. Please note that all times are approximate. Your individual circumstances may vary.

I have previously written about mission papers and the process for applying to go on a mission. That post dealt with the process from a high-level, perhaps too high of a level, because I still get a lot of questions on precisely when to initiate the steps in the application process. Below I will attempt to answer some of these common questions; let’s hope I succeed.

Mormon Mission Application Timeline

Availability Date

calendarAs you can see in the chart above, the timing for when to start the application process depends on your availability date. So your first step will be to determine the date you are available to start serving a full-time mission.  Your availability date will be, at the earliest, the day your turn 18 if you’re a young man, or the day you turn 19 if you are a young woman.  Your availability date cannot be prior to this birthday, but could be later depending on circumstances such as schooling, etc.

Five Months Prior: Start Application Process

About five months prior to the date you are available to start serving, you will want to begin the application process. Starting your mission papers is done by first setting up a meeting with your bishop.  He will go over the spiritual and physical requirements to serve a mission.  He will tell you about the application process and he will either give you the paper work or give you directions to log in to the mission papers website (the Missionary Online Recommendation System).

You will want to make an appointment to go to the doctor and dentist at this time to have them fill out the medical forms necessary to complete the application. If you have known dental issues you may want to go to the dentist even earlier. This is also a good time to start taking the Church’s missionary preparation class and temple preparation course if you haven’t taken them yet. And if you haven’t gotten your patriarchal blessing by this point, you’ll want to make arrangements to do that as well.

Four Months Prior: Submit Paper Work

missionary meet with stake president

The process of going to the doctor and dentist, filling out the application, getting your photo, meeting with your bishop and stake president, etc. generally takes at least a month.  The last step of the paper work, meeting with the stake president, generally takes place around four months before you would like to begin your mission. Actually, I don’t think you are even allowed to submit your paperwork more than 4 months, 120 days, prior to your availability date. The stake president then submits your mission application to Church Headquarters.

Three Months Prior: Receive Mission Call Letter

After the application is submitted, depending on several factors, you should get your mission call letter in about 2 to 4 weeks.  That letter will have your mission assignment and the date you should report to the MTC.  The Church normally tries to allow two to four months between the issuing of the call and the beginning of the mission.  In the packet you receive from Church Headquarters will also be additional instructions and information from your mission president specific to your mission.

Two Months Prior: Melchizedek Priesthood Ordination for Men 

After receiving your call, if young men have not yet been given the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained to the office of an Elder, that should take place at this time. Young men need to be advanced to an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood prior to going to the temple. This is also the time, if you haven’t done so yet, to start shopping for all the items you need to bring on your mission. Your mission call packet will have details on clothes and other items specific to your mission, but for a general list of items check out my LDS missionary clothing list.

One Month Prior: Go To The Temple 

sister mission call letter

LDS temples are an integral part of missionary work and missionaries generally go to the holy temple to receive their endowment just prior to leaving on their mission.  Through the temple endowment, missionaries receive knowledge, power, and protection from on high to do their work.  The Church also has a seven-lesson temple preparation course that future missionaries ought to take.  Talk to your bishop about arrangements for this class; you’ll probably want to start taking this course around the same time you start your missionary application.


That’s it.  Here’s a recap of the steps of the mission application timeline.

  • First, determine your availability date.
  • 5 months prior: Start the application process by meeting with your bishop.
  • 4 months prior: Submit the paper work (generally done by the stake after your interview with the stake president).
  • 3 months prior: Receive your mission call letter and further preparation instructions specific to your mission.
  • 2 months prior: Young men should be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and office of an Elder.
  • 1 month prior: Go to the temple to receive your endowment.

Then it’s off to the MTC and your mission.  Good luck and may God bless and be with you.

Mission Papers

missionary-recommend-packet-at-LDS-StoreMission Papers for missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were once a paper or PDF form known as the Checklist for Full-Time Missionary Recommendation or the Missionary Recommendation Form. It is the application missionary candidates, young and old, fill out to initiate the process of serving a mission. Though we often call it paperwork, nowadays, it is almost always filled out electronically through a web-based application known as the Missionary Online Recommendation System. If you do not have access to complete the application online, you may be able to fill out the physical paper forms. Talk to your bishop and he may be able to order the paper forms from the Church.

Digital Mission Papers – Missionary Online Recommendation System

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 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 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 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 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.
  • Latter-day Saint Mission Cost: How much does a mission cost? Missionaries pay their own expenses: $500 a month for young people from the United States (that’s $9,000 for sister missionaries who serve for 18 months, and $12,000 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.