In October of last year, the Church announced changes to the missionary program. Managing Director Gary Crittenden and General Authority Seventy Elder Brent H. Nielson shared several announcements, including the introduction of a new set of eligibility and worthiness interview questions for prospective missionaries.
The Church re-released these questions in the August edition of the New Era in an easy-to-review format for families to use when preparing their children for mission worthiness, eligibility and capacity considerations. The interview questions cover several topics of concern for prospective missionaries and are essential to determine how each prospective missionary can best serve in the Army of the Lord.
Just as the previous interview questions did, they cover questions of worthiness and testimony. They are firm and direct, requiring a prospective missionary to be honest with themselves and God. The questions are focused on encouraging the disclosure of all serious transgressions, including addictions, and ensuring the repentance process is completed before God, and the law if necessary, prior to missionaries reporting to serve in the field.
Undisclosed transgressions or serious sins not repaired through appropriate channels of authority are harmful not only to the Church, but especially to the individual preaching a Gospel of repentance they have not themselves obeyed fully.
The next area of discussion addressed in the interview, which should be honestly discussed during preparation, is a prospective missionary’s capacity and eligibility to serve. The questions in this section touch on any ongoing or undisclosed legal and financial obligations, and how these will be dealt with during Church service.
The largest expansion of the interview questions involves the physical, mental, and emotional capacity of the candidate. The aggressive demands of full-time missionary service have been shown to be more than many can bear, and in many cases the private trials of struggling missionaries may have been relieved with candid questions and more thorough evaluations of the candidate’s mental and physical health before assignment.
In the Mormon Newsroom’s October release regarding these new interview questions, special note was made that health challenges are the most common reason missionaries return home early from the field. These include mental and physical conditions, both of which are addressed in the capacity and eligibility section of the interview questions.
For any family looking to prepare their youth for mission service, start early. Review these candid questions and standards on LDS.org on the New Era page, or on the ArizonaBeehive.com website positing of this article. Remember that missionary service is wide and varied with opportunities for everyone willing to serve. Accommodations exist for those willing to work toward eligibility, capacity and worthiness goals with the help of their leadership and family.