Why are missions mandatory for you men? And if you do not do it for 2 years they give you the title “without honor”?

Óscar from Buenos Aires,
(Comment originally posted in Spanish)

One Response to “Why are missions mandatory?”

Mateo Ramos
2018-05-20 11:28:05
A missionary visiting Brazilian friends in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil.
Hi Óscar. Thanks for your interesting questions.

Nothing in the LDS church is required. Everything we do is voluntary. The church doesn't have any legal authority to require its members to do anything. Beyond that, though, the church wouldn't want to force its members anyway. Forcing people that way would go contrary to our teachings about the importance of free choice.

It is true, though, that the church strongly encourages its young men to serve missions. Missions provide unique opportunities for spiritual growth. They also help the church grow. Serving a mission is a rich blessing that can transform a young person's life for the better.

Young women can also serve as missionaries, but it is true that the church encourages young men to serve missions more. I don't understand why that's the case. I think both young men and women should be equally encouraged to serve. Perhaps this aspect of Mormon culture will change in the future.

It is not true that missionaries who return home early always return without honor. On rare occasions, missionaries are sent home early because they violate God's commandments. Such missionaries have behaved dishonorably. They need to repent by applying Christ's atonement in their lives so they can recover spiritually. But many people leave their missions early because of health problems or other issues. These missionaries finish their missions honorably, just as someone who finishes the full two years.

I hope these answers help! All the best.

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