What Do Mormon Missionaries Do?
The goal of a Mormon missionary is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all mankind. Following the Lord's command to "Go…into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Matthew 16:15), missionaries' first duty is to find people to teach. Every activity of a Mormon missionary is focused on finding, teaching, and when possible, baptizing potential converts.
Mormon missionaries are each issued The Missionary Handbook, affectionately nicknamed "The White Bible" because of its plain, white cover. It is a pocket-sized document outlining the proper conduct for missionaries. The suggested schedule has missionaries arise at 6:30am, preparing for the day at home until 9:30am. One hour is allotted to dress, groom, and breakfast, another hour for study with one's missionary companion, and one hour for personal study. This includes doctrinal study, based in scripture reading, and developing missionary skills from the provided manual. For missionaries learning a foreign language, additional time may be allowed during morning study.
From 9:30am to 9:30pm Mormon missionaries are expected to proselyte. This means finding, teaching, and baptizing converts. The most commonly perceived method of finding for missionaries is going door-to-door. The image of two young men in white shirts and ties knocking on a door is understood as missionaries by most anyone familiar with Mormons and is even strengthened by the use of this image in official Church media. The Missionary Handbook lists a number of finding methods in order of effectiveness. Door-to-door contacting is at the bottom of the list. Traditionally, this is how missionary work was done. With no established membership, missionaries in early Mormon history just talked to everyone they saw to spread Mormon beliefs. Now, with millions of members, the preferred method of finding people interested in knowing more about the Church is by member referral.
Curfew for Mormon missionaries is at 9:30pm, with one hour given to retire. This leaves virtually no time during the day for housekeeping or leisure, but one day a week is designated as "preparation day." On this day missionaries take time to clean, relax, and recreate, although there are still restrictions on what activities are appropriate. "Preparation day" ends at 6:00pm and missionaries are then expected to proselyte until 9:30pm.
This rigorous schedule is followed by Mormon missionaries throughout their service. Between teaching appointments, member visits, and Church meetings, missionaries spend their days searching for people concerned about their relationship with God and interested in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ.