SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a new initiative to deliver its mission assignments on the internet instead of by mail.
"By the end of 2018, it is anticipated that nearly all missionaries around the world with reliable internet access will receive their calls online to serve in one of the Church’s 407 missions in more than 150 countries," a news release from the LDS church said.
The process has been tested in various parts of the world over the past few months, the announcement said, will now be expanded to all of Utah and Idaho.
"Previously, missionary candidates have had to wait days or weeks to receive their mission calls by mail. With this new process, they will receive an email and, in some cases, a text message informing them that their call is ready to open. Once the missionary is ready — with family and friends nearby — they can access their call letter using a smartphone, tablet or computer," according to the LDS church.
Missionaries will also have access to maps, country information and lists of items to bring.
We talked to return missionaries and future missionaries in Provo. Some welcomed the change, others aren’t ready to let go of the tradition.
“I like it, but I don’t like it,” said Eden McCarthy from Canada. She plans on serving a mission next year.
“It’s a cool experience to get that paper in the mail and be like, 'this is it,'" said McCarthy "And it’s like, right there. When you get the email, you get it right away and you can open it where ever. And it’s super-fast as well, which I think is awesome.”
Morgan Pyper, served a mission in Italy. He worries receiving the letter in your inbox instead of the mailbox, could take away from the build-up of the big announcement.
“I personally got mine in a letter, and it was awesome for me," said Pyper "Just because I saw all my siblings get one and it was something you just waited for. Something that was exciting.”
Grace Taito also has concerns. She is from Fiji and served a mission at the Salt Lake Temple Visitors Center.
“Fiji is pretty small so receiving a mission call is a big thing. Everybody announces it. You celebrate it together. I’ve watched mission call openings and I feel like there’s a different spirit to that than just being told,” said Taito.
Andrew Wilson just returned from his mission to Fresno, California six weeks ago, and is now attending BYU. He said it shouldn’t matter how the message is delivered.
“A call to serve is a call to serve. I think what’s important is that you have that call from God to go where he wants you to go," said Wilson.