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Editor’s Note: We love how detailed and accurate this description of LDS missions is. It describes preporatory steps like Seminary, the process of receiving a call, learning the language, day-to-day work, and coming home. Many people are curious about LDS missions; it’s always appreciated when reporters mention little details that non-members might not know, such as that missionaries don’t choose where they go.
For seven generations members of Benjamin Taylor’s family have served as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So as the Tyler resident approached high school graduation, it hit him that his turn was coming.
In July 2013, Taylor, now 22, left Tyler for Brazil, where he served two years.
“I feel like the mission, the whole experience, I got so much out of it, I don’t think if I could go to school for 20 years, I couldn’t learn what I learned in these two years,” he said.
Taylor, who returned this month, was among the 85,000 missionaries serving in 2014 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to information provided by Laura A. Mikulecky, director of public affairs for the Tyler Stake of the church. A stake is a certain geographic area of the church.
Like his peers, Taylor didn’t know where he would be assigned. Missionary applicants do not request a location. However, they do say if they believe they could learn a foreign language easily. Taylor responded in the affirmative on his application.
About two weeks after sending in his application in January 2013, Taylor received his assignment: Rio de Janeiro, a city of more than 6 million people.
Preparing for a mission
The preparation for a mission begins, in some sense, with the start of high school. At that time, members of the church are encouraged, but not required, to attend seminary class five days a week for four years.
During this class, which Taylor attended from 6 to 6:50 a.m. each weekday, members study the sacred texts of the faith, which include: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
This ensures that by the end of the four years, the student will have a solid knowledge base of the scriptures.
Upon being assigned a mission, Taylor’s first stop was São Paulo, where he spent six weeks at one of the church’s Missionary Training Centers to learn Portuguese. After that it was straight to Rio, which would be his home for the rest of his service.
Read More at the Tyler Morning Telegraph