Volunteer Missions for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Last updated 4/18/2015
What is a "mission"?
Latter-day Saints (Mormons) refer to their voluntary full-time (and some part-time) unpaid service to the church as "missions." You may be more familiar with our bike-riding missionaries who visit door-to-door sharing our message. There are many other ways we serve the community such as laborers, guides, professionals, or consutants.
Our community service missionaries are found around the globe helping people in need or sharing some free service that we offer to the public. One such free service is our love of genealogy and family history research. If you visit our headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah you'll see hundreds of such missionaries.
Family History missions
Our church maintains about 2,500 local family history research centers in North America and thousands of others around the globe that are free to the public. These are all staffed by local volunteers who are not compensated in any way for their service. Our church also maintains the world's largest genealogy library located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We maintain several websites including FamilySearch.org which has the world's largest and one of it's oldest electronic genealogy databases.
Paid professional genealogists and software experts staff the library and website but the majority of the labor is done by unpaid missionaries. These are usually retired couples who volunteer their services from 6 months to 2 years for no compensation. They pay for their own room, board, and other expenses. We have known some who served several back-to-back 2 year missions this way.
What were Ron & Linda's missions?
My wife Linda and I have served twice. Our first mission was from May 2007 to October 2008. Our second was from September 2011 to February 2012. Our first mission was in Worldwide Support for FamilySearch.org (software support) supervising the missionaries who maintained the toll free help line.
Our second mission was in Data Quality helping maintain the accuracy of our massive genealogy database and supervising a team of others doing the same. We were often asked to train new, incoming missionaries during their week in the Training Area.
I wrote an email about a data center visit which helps to explain some of the services offered by FamilySearch.org: