Gone are the days of the old missionary white handbook — the small pocket-size guide to all rules and schedules to help missionaries get through their missions.
On Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new, updated handbook of instructions for missionaries serving around the world.
The handbook, “Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ,” replaces the previous handbook that was last updated in 2010. Missionaries refer to the handbook regularly for guidance on dealing with a variety of situations and to help them act appropriately, according to a church press release.
New additions to the handbook include an enhanced section on missionary safety. Throughout the handbook, missionaries are directed to a series of videos recently released by the church that cover specific safety topics.
The handbook also provides guidelines to help missionaries become more culturally aware and sensitive, outlines policies regarding the use of technology and suggests ways to manage stress and obtain help with mental health challenges, according to the press release.
According to the church, the handbook also formalizes the new missionary communication policy, which was announced in February. Under that policy, missionaries may now communicate with their families on their weekly preparation day via text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chat, in addition to the letters and emails missionaries have always been permitted to send prior to the announcement.
Along with the handbook, a supplemental online document is also available to missionaries, giving further details on health, safety, proper use of technology and missionary leadership responsibilities, according to the release.
“To be an effective missionary, you must be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ,” states a letter from the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the opening pages of the new handbook. “Heavenly Father loves you, and He will help you to love and bless His children wherever you serve.”
The new handbook provides missionaries with tools to develop habits and behaviors to build their character and give them joy on their missions and after returning home.
“Your mission didn’t really begin the day you were set apart and won’t end the day you are released. A mission isn’t like putting on an employee or school uniform in the morning only to take it off again when the day is done,” the handbook states. “Your full-time mission experience can be a transforming event but should also be an integral part of your life mission experience.”
According to the church statement, a preliminary version of the handbook was provided in June to new mission leaders — mission presidents and their wives — at the 2019 Mission Leadership Seminar. The completed handbook will now be available electronically and in print to all missionaries worldwide.
“We love our missionaries and greatly desire their physical, spiritual and emotional well-being and safety,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council in the press release. “These standards will help protect and guide them as they seek to serve our Savior Jesus Christ.”
The new handbook encourages missionaries to enjoy their experience as the love and serve God and their neighbors.
“This is a time to rejoice and to experience lasting happiness and peace through Jesus Christ,” the handbook states.