Children that grow up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that they will reach an age when they have to leave home and all that is familiar to them. Following high school, it is standard practice for a young Mormon to be sent out into the world to do missionary work. During this time, they will do community service, teach others about their church, and ideally grow stronger in their faith. This will often involve them traveling far away from home, even to foreign countries, for as long as two years. Up until this point, the young people were only allowed to call their parents twice a year — for Mother’s Day and Christmas. However, a new rule will now allow them to call home weekly, according to NBC News.
While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not require every young Mormon to leave their families behind to take on this new life, it is highly encouraged. This leads to some young people feeling pressured for a major life change that they aren’t ready for. As a result, many often feel isolated, cut off from their families, and develop feelings of depression and anxiety. Mormon rules permitted them to write a letter or email to their family once a week, but nothing compares to being able to hear the voices of your parents after potentially months away.
One day a week, Mormon missionaries will now be allowed to call, text, or video chat their families back home. For the nearly-65,000 Mormons currently serving as missionaries across the globe, this is news to be celebrated.
Missionaries now have more options to communicate with their families.— Mormon Newsroom (@MormonNewsroom) February 15, 2019
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced an update to guidelines, seeking greater family involvement in the missionary experience.https://t.co/9PF0slVOuw pic.twitter.com/RJyAxtr7Ms
Twenty-nine-year-old Jade Bryner once served as a Mormon missionary in Chicago. She is relieved that the church has decided to modify their rule and believes that it will help provide young people with the strength and support necessary to continue in their work.
“It’s a great way for missionaries to be able to let out some of their feelings, frustrations and get some support. I think it’s going to be a good thing and help missionaries stay out there longer than they have in the past.”
Mormon scholar Matthew Bowman believes the change was designed to enable families to feel that they can have some part in the work their children are doing and be able to offer support from afar. “The idea here is to keep their spirits up and morale up and lower the degree of separation that they’re dealing with,” he said.