(SALT LAKE TRIBUNE) — Forget Christmas and Mother’s Day. Latter-day Saint missionaries may now call home — as well as text, email and video chat — once a week.
Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the new guidelines Friday for communicating with families.
“Regular communication with their families is an important part of a missionary’s service,” the church’s governing First Presidency said in a statement. “One of the major purposes of this adjustment is to encourage families to be more involved in their missionary’s efforts and experiences.”
Still, those young men and women serving full-time missions should “use judgment in determining the length of phone calls and video chats,” the statement said, “and to be considerate of their companions.”
Family members are asked “not to initiate calls or chats but instead should wait for the missionary to contact them on his or her weekly preparation day,” the leaders said.
“If a missionary’s parents live in different locations, he or she may contact each parent separately.”
The Utah-based faith encourages weekly communication with their families “using whatever approved method missionaries decide,” said Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf, chairman of the Missionary Executive Council.
“This may vary based on their circumstances, locations and schedules for that week. It is not expected that all missionaries will call or video chat with their parents every week. The precise manner of communication is left up to the missionary as he or she decides what will best meet their needs.”
The change also offers the chance to accommodate “varied family circumstances,” Uchtdorf said, “as well as better supporting those missionaries who would benefit from increased personal contact with family at home.”
Missionaries are encouraged still to call their families on special occasions, Uchtdorf said, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, parents’ birthdays and other culturally significant holidays.
“We love the missionaries and know the Lord values their selfless service,” Uchtdorf said. “We continue to try to find the best ways to support and help them and their families while they serve.”
(Peggy Fletcher Stack writes for the Salt Lake Tribune.)