Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expanding their online teaching efforts. “The world is changing and so the way we do missionary work is changing as well,” said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, who serves on the Church’s Missionary Executive Council.
“We recognize that the methods and the approaches that we’re using to do missionary work need to change with what’s going on in our society with technology.”
Sister Oscarson and other Church leaders invited media inside the teaching center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Missionaries in the center are teaching in 41 languages. The facility is one of the Church’s 20 online teaching centers embracing the new technology.
“Our missionaries spend time finding people,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department. “They knock on doors and stop them on the street. Here, people are contacting us.”
Sister missionaries in the teaching centers engage with people around the world who reach out to them via Mormon.org to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elders are also being used at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. These video chat interactions can often resemble traditional lessons with prayer and scripture reading.
Sister Guiuo from the Philippines enjoys online teaching to people interested in improving their life. Recently, she talked with a single mom of four children. “She was really interested in how she could raise them knowing that they could trust in God and that they could be safe and happy.”
Visitors’ center missionaries can also share their contacts with missionaries in their hometowns and can be part of the process since they can join lessons via Skype or FaceTime.
Kaila Brady of Arizona was seeking spiritual guidance during a difficult time in her life. She found the online missionaries while conducting a Google search about Mormons. She and her parents were baptized. Just one month ago, she was married in the temple.
“Our missionaries are growing up using technology. … They are using this technology in their missionary work to do it more effectively and more efficiently,” said Sister Oscarson. “Rather than us knocking on their doors, they are knocking on doors now.”
Elder Nielson believes this method of teaching will expand. “This generation of young men and young women are really comfortable communicating online. They buy everything online and text their friends. This is how they communicate.”
In 2017, more than 600 Mormon missionaries taught over 140,000 people online in more than 30 languages. The missionaries participated in nearly 350,000 chats and more than 90,000 phone calls.
Teaching centers operate in the following 20 Latter-day Saint visitors’ centers, historic sites and other locations around the world:
- Hill Cumorah Historic Site (New York)
- Hyde Park Chapel Visitors’ Center (London)
- Idaho Falls Temple Visitors’ Center
- Independence Visitors’ Center (Missouri)
- Kirtland, Ohio, Historic Site
- Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center
- Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center
- Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center
- Mexico City Temple Visitors’ Center
- Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah
- New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center
- Oakland Temple Visitors’ Center
- Paris Temple Visitors’ Center
- Portland Oregon Temple Visitors’ Center
- Priesthood Restoration Historic Site (Pennsylvania)
- San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site
- St. George Temple Visitors’ Center
- Temple Square (Salt Lake City)
- Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center
- Winter Quarters Historic Site (Nebraska)