Many of my readers have wondered: how much does an LDS mission cost? The current LDS mission monthly cost for young men and women in the United States is $400 a month. That comes out to a total of $7,200 for 18-month long missions for sisters, and $9,600 for young men who serve two-year missions.
I specify that the figure above is for young men and women in the US, because mission costs vary for senior couples and for young people outside the US. To find out the current cost of an LDS mission outside the United States, please see your bishop or other Church leader in the country. For senior missionaries in the United States, the average cost of a mission for couples who do not live at home is approximately $1,500 per month. Mission costs for senior missionaries range from $800–$4,000 per month (which includes expenses for housing, utilities, food, and transportation), but about 80% of all missions cost less than $1,800 per month.
Missionaries are expected to pay their own expenses while on the mission. When my parents were young, each missionary paid his or her own actual living expenses. So a mission to Japan, for example, could have been much more expensive than a mission to Argentina. In 1990, though, a new program was introduced to equalize the financial responsibility for each missionary. Now, all young missionaries pay a flat monthly rate into the Church missionary fund. Each missionary, then, is allocated what he or she needs for the expenses in that mission. This approach has reduced the burden on the missionary, and his or her family, who may have been assigned to work in a more expensive area of the world.
The monthly allowance missionaries are given is designed to cover food, lodging, transportation, and other mission related expenses. Missionaries are asked to bring extra personal money for additional items they would like to purchase such as souvenirs. Church members around the world are asked to invite their local missionaries to meals to help reduce the overall cost of the missionary program.
Young people in the church are encouraged to save money throughout their childhood and teenage years to pay for as much of their mission as they can. Parents, family, and friends may also contribute financially to pay for a missionary’s expenses. Missionaries who cannot save the required funds may also obtain assistance from their home ward or stake, though personal and family sources of funds should be exhausted first. In some cases it may be better to delay a mission for a time and earn more money to pay for your mission rather than to rely heavily on others to fund your mission. The Lord expects that sacrifices, of both time and money, will need to be made in order to serve a mission. You, or anyone who makes such sacrifices, will be richly blessed by the Lord for doing so.
Supplemental Financial Assistance
For many countries outside the US, if authorized, there is supplemental financial support available from the Church. If the missionary candidate cannot be supported fully from personal, family, ward or branch, or stake or district funds, then a request can be made for this financial assistance. Missionaries are asked not to request this special assistance until they, their family, and ward or branch and stake or district have committed themselves to provide all the financial support they can.
Whether in the US or abroad, lack of finances should not stop a worthy individual from serving a mission. If you’ve done everything in your power to save for a mission but still don’t have enough, have faith that the Lord will open the way. Make an appointment to talk to your bishop and he will help you figure out the details and make a plan to cover the costs of your mission.
When filling out the mission application form, missionary candidates are asked to indicate the source of the funds that will pay for their mission. They are asked how much money will be contributed per month in support of the mission from: Self, Family, Ward or Branch, and other sources. So be prepared to answer that question.
Do all that you can to save for your mission. Start saving at an early age so that you can serve a faithful mission for the Lord and not be a financial burden on your family. The Lord will bless you many times over for the sacrifice of time and money you make to go on a mission.