I am please to announce that last week we released a new website design for MormonMissionPrep.com. I’ve stuck with the same logo we introduced in 2013, but the rest of the site design and layout is new. The site is dramatically cleaner–less cluttered, fewer side bar items, fewer ads, more white space, etc., but the biggest change is that the site is on a new server and loads much much faster than before. Hopefully you will find it easier to navigate and find and read the content you are looking for. We had a few technical hiccups when we launched the new site design last week, but I think we have all the bugs worked out now. If you notice any problems, though, or if you have any suggestions, let me know via the contact page. Thanks and God bless you in your mission preparation!
When I was a freshman at BYU, during the winter semester of 1995, most of the young men in my ward were submitting their mission papers and receiving their mission calls. Our ward, like many others then and now, had a map of the world on which they put a pin indicating where each young man was going to serve on his mission. I thought it was a wonderful way for us to celebrate together and recognize the world wide influence these young men were going to have in bringing the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to virtually every corner of the globe.
In 2009, when I launched the Mormon Mission Prep website, part of my vision was to have a virtual mission call map, where men and women, young and old, could put a pin representing where they served their mission. My first attempt at this was a manual process where people emailed me their information and I then put it on a Google Map. But that was simply too difficult for me to maintain. My second attempt, a few years latter, I called the mission farewell feature, which allowed people to submit their information through a form but it lacked a graphical map interface. Today I’m announcing a new mission call map feature that automates the data collection process, making it easy for me to maintain, through a form submission, and also has a graphical map where the pictures of the missionaries will automatically appear showing where they have been called to serve.
This new, virtual mission call map is for not only for young people just receiving their calls. I’d love it if missionaries, young and old, newly returned or long-time returned submitted their information. When you submit your information, you will be asked for your name, mission location, mission start date, hometown, and your testimony about your mission call. Your picture will appear on the world-wide map and clicking on your picture will take users to a separate page with a bigger picture and your testimony and other information. That individual detail page is easily shareable on social media so you can share your call with all your family and friends.
I’m excited about this new feature and look forward to receiving many submissions, seeing where people are called to serve the Lord, and reading your sincere testimonies. Thanks!
In 2010, I wrote about Church Service Missions (CSMs) as an excellent opportunity for members who are unable to live away from home, to contribute in a meaningful way to the building of the Lord’s kingdom by serving in a variety of capacities. CSMs were always available for young people, but in recent years, the LDS Church has expanded this and created the Young Church Service Missionary (YCSM) program.
Who Is Eligible for a Young Church Service Mission?
The YCSM program is designed for young men who have been honorably excused from serving a proselyting mission for physical, mental, and emotional health reasons or who have returned home early from a full-time mission for reasons other than worthiness. The program is also for young women who desire to serve a mission but can’t fulfill a proselyting mission for reasons other than worthiness. The key requirement, as you are seeing, to be eligible for this program is that the youth must be worthy to serve a mission.
Other requirements to serve a YCSM are that the candidate, or the family, must be able to financially support the mission, including providing for living expenses (most YCSMs live at home), transportation, insurance, and health related needs. YCSMs must be the standard age for a mission by young adults, between 18-25 for young men, and 19-25 for young women. They must have a strong desire to serve a mission and show that they are willing and able to fulfill the assignment they are given.
What You Do as a Young Church Service Missionary?
Young church service missions are customized to meet the needs of each individual. The schedule is developed by the YCSM and the family with input from the Bishop and Stake President. YCSMs are not given regular proselyting or temple assignments, though weekly exchanges with the full-time missionaries or time for temple attendance may be included in their schedule. YCSMs usually serve with a Church department such as Deseret Industries, Family History, Information Technology (IT), Publishing Services, Facilities Management, Seminaries and Institutes, or Welfare. They can do a variety of tasks such as office support, building maintenance, computer support, special needs assistance, event support, cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc.
Young church service missionaries typically live at home and they can serve for anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Family involvement, from parents or other extended family, is generally a crucial part of helping the YCSM succeed as they will not have a missionary companion. YCSMs serve as close to full-time as possible and this can be accomplished with a single assignment or a combination of part-time assignments. Though assignments may largely center around temporal work, the Young church service mission should be a spiritual experience as well.
Here is a list, provided by the Church, of suggested places where young church service missionaries can serve.
How Do You Apply to be a YCSM?
If you desire to serve a Young church service mission, first meet with your bishop and discuss it with him. He will direct you to the online mission papers / recommendation system or give you the actual paper forms. Alternatively, you can download the Young Church-Service Missionary Recommendation Form. You will discuss the potential places to serve and you will begin to make those arrangements. Once the paperwork is completely filled out, the bishop and stake president will interview you, verify your worthiness, sign the application, and forward the application by email to the Young Church Service Missionary department at church headquarters, or mail it in.
How Will You Receive Your YCSM Call?
Once an appropriate mission service plan has been agreed upon by you, your family, and the Church operation, the application will be processed by Church Headquarters. The call letter will be sent to the Stake President. He will then extend to you the formal mission call, and you will be set apart as a missionary by your bishop. Your YCSM service is recorded on your individual membership record as serving a mission just as it is for a proselyting mission.
After you have been set apart, you should contact the church operation where you will be serving. The operation will supervise and train you in your mission assignment. Your stake president and bishop will remain your ecclesiastical leaders during your mission. They will interview you regularly, to see how the mission is going, and the stake president will basically serve as your mission president.
Click here to go to the official Young Church-Service Missionaries website and learn more about this program.
We have big news today. The Missionary Farewell feature is back. This was a very popular feature years ago. But in 2013, when I revamped the site, the feature broke and I never got it working again, until now.
The Missionary Farewell feature is designed to allow missionaries to tell us about their mission call. They simply fill out the mission farewell form with their name, name of the mission they are called to, their testimony and some other information. Then the information is posted on the Mormon Mission Prep site to share the good news with all site visitors.[one_half last=”no”][/one_half][one_half last=”yes”][/one_half]
While I was creating the list of public LDS Church websites, mobile apps, and social media accounts, I thought it might help to visually represent this universe of LDS Church digital content. So here it is…
The above is a picture of an interactive graphic I created with Prezi. If you go to the Prezi file with the button above, you can zoom in and out to see detail or the big picture. All the website addresses in the interactive graphic are live, and if clicked will take you to the respective website.
Enjoy this interactive graphic. I hope it helps you make a little more sense of the LDS Church digital universe. And as with the list of websites, if you notice something is missing, please let me know and I will add it. Thanks.
Not too long ago, my stake president asked me to put together a presentation on the LDS Church’s use of technology including all the different official Church websites that are out there. His fear, and I think it’s accurate, is that many people don’t utilize all the websites the Church has simply because they don’t know about them. I guess you could say there are many “who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).
I scoured the internet, as well as internal Church resources that I have access to, and was not able to find a comprehensive list of LDS Church websites. I found two good resources:–one was the LDS Media Talk list of LDS Church websites, and the other was the LDS Tech list of Church websites–but I found neither to be complete or fully up-to-date. Therefore, I decided to create my own list of LDS Church websites.
This list below is my best shot at listing all the official LDS Church digital properties including public websites, social media accounts, and mobile applications of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though it’s my best effort, I’m sure it is still incomplete and of course it will need to be updated as the Church launches new websites or major new sections of websites in the future. Also be aware that I do list major sections within large sites like LDS.org, and there is some subjectivity in what constitutes a large enough section to list separately. If you think something is missing and needs to be added to the list, please let me know. Thanks.
Social Media Properties
|Book of Mormon||https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.lds.bom|
|LDS Scripture Mastery||https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.lds.sm|
I haven’t been posting lately because life has gotten really busy with the birth of our sixth baby a few weeks ago. This was my wife Heather’s sixth c-section. She is a brave woman of great faith and she did great throughout the trials of pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. We are so grateful for competent and caring doctors and nurses and the watchful care of the Lord over our family.
We named the baby Scotland Charles Smith. Scotland after my many Scottish ancestors, several of whom were pioneers in joining the Church. Charles is a family name on my wife’s side, and I just thought he looked like a Charles. We may be predestining him to serve a mission in Scotland some day, but that wouldn’t be so bad.
Mother and baby are both doing very well. Here are some pics.
Call for Guest Post Authors
For the first few years after starting this website in 2009, I made efforts to post a new article weekly. At times this has been difficult, especially with a growing young family, and demands from work and Church callings. I have long felt I should make efforts to get other people involved in this website, contributing to the content and helping in their unique ways to prepare youth (and those not so young) for missionary service. Therefore, I am sending out a call for help in contributing mission prep ideas, stories, inspiration, and testimonies by writing a guest post for the website.
Guidelines for Writing a Guest Post
There are many reasons to contribute a guest post to this website, but I hope your number one motivation is to follow the Spirit of the Lord, build the Kingdom of God on earth, and be anxiously engaged in a good cause. In addition to the spiritual satisfaction, a guest post can be used secondarily to promote your missionary-related website, product, or service you many have. If you link to your website or promote for your product or service in your article, it should still be a substantive article related to missionary work or mission prep. If, rather than writing a guest post, you are more interested in simply advertising on the Mormon Mission Prep site, please use the contact form.
Ideas for Article Topics
At one time, early in the history of the Mormon Mission Prep website, I thought I would run out of ideas of things to talk about. In reality, I have found the opposite to be true. The longer I run the website, the more ideas I have and the further behind I feel I’m getting. I have dozens of ideas for mission prep articles but I simply do not have the time to write them all. If you need ideas for a guest post topic, please consider one of the following:
- Information and helps on budgeting and saving money for a mission
- Adjusting to missionary life (Home sickness, technology withdrawal, hard work, recognizing and following the spirit, the MTC, country specific tips, etc.)
- Humility: The gospel is to be proclaimed by the weak and simple
- Sacrifice is an essential part of missionary work
- What you learned from your mission
- Working with the ward mission leader
- “It is not your job to convert that is the job of the Holy Ghost.” -Pres Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- How helping other people makes you happy
- Missionary work goes on in the spirit world
- Preparing to receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood
- Mission prep is life prep
- Tips for getting along with companions
- A list of mission prep scriptures (like a scripture mastery list)
- Discerning the Will of the Lord for Me. I think this topic would help many young women, and some young men, who struggle to decide if they should go on a mission.
- Member-missionary tips
- Exercise tips
- Information for Moms of future missionaries
- Mission prep tips for primary aged children
- Motivating teenagers to prepare for and serve a mission
Of course you are not limited to these topics, so if you have other ideas for posts that would help missionaries prepare, send it in. Just click on the button above and fill out the form to get started.
I am pleased to introduce a new design for the Mormon Mission Prep website. The site has a cool new look and feel, a new logo, a responsive (mobile friendly) design, a restructured menu for easier use, and other upgrades.
- Responsive (mobile friendly) design: Mobile traffic to my site has doubled each year for the last few years to the point where mobile devices now account for 30% of the total traffic to the site. This new design detects the size of the user’s screen and customizes the layout of the site accordingly, so mobile phones and tablets get an experience more suited to their smaller screens. This will make browsing the website while you’re on the go much easier.
- New Logo: Mormon Mission Prep never has really had a logo in the past, but I have felt recently that we need one. I reached out to my friend Alan Taylor to help create a logo for the site, and the star with the M embedded was a stroke of genius. Thanks so much Alan! Alan runs a website called 18nineteen.com which sells really cool Mormon missionary themed t-shirts. Be sure to check it out.
There were many other structural and technical upgrades I made to the site, but I won’t bore you with those details. Overall, I think you will find the site much improved from a functional and visual perspective. I believe I have most of the bugs worked out of the new site, but if you find any, let me know in the comments section.
Be sure to tell all of your friends about the new Mormon Mission Prep. Thanks!
Reminder of ways to connect with the Mormon Missionary Preparation site
Updated: The Gaining a Desire to Serve a Mission webinar was a big success. Click here to watch this recording or the other webinars.
Gaining a Desire to Serve a Mission is the first of a series of webinars on LDS Missionary Preparation by Jimmy Smith of MormonMissionPrep.com. In this online seminar, we will discuss why every young man should serve a mission and some ways to get him motivated to do so. We will discuss the worth of souls in the sight of God, and why the Church needs many more missionaries. We will also talk about some of the blessings of missionary service.
You must register in order to attend the seminar. You can register right up until the starting time, but I recommend doing it early to make sure everything is working right on your computer. In fact, I recommend that you lo into the webinar 20 or 30 minutes early to make sure you can see and hear me.
The webinar will last for one hour. It will have a presentation lasting about 45 minutes, followed by Q&A (a question and answer session).
For more information and updates, visit the Mormon Mission Prep Webinar Series home page.