LDS Church implements new program for returned missionaries

Monday , August 10, 2015 - 1:24 PM1 comment

By CALEB LARKIN
Standard-Examiner correspondent

LAYTON – The LDS church implemented a new program, My Plan, allowing return missionaries to maintain disciplines learned in the mission field.

The LDS main website explains the program is “a new online course designed to strengthen full-time missionaries.” My Plan has eight parts starting from before a missionary enters the Missionary Training Center (MTC) and culminating in the last six weeks of service in the mission field. The website went live August 1.

Brent Craven, the institute director for the Layton Institute of Religion, says maintaining the same level of focus and discipline after serving a mission is the greatest challenge a missionary faces.

“It’s easy to slide,” Craven said. He feels the program is “genius” because it “allows the mission president to connect the young man to understand where they’re headed.”

Richard Austin, a bishop for the Northridge Young Single Adult ward in Layton, agrees the biggest obstacle a return missionary faces is maintaining “a mission’s level of spirituality.” He explained that without keeping those standards and daily habits, harmful and addictive behaviors often invade to fill the space.

Austin suggested having a set plan prevents “rollercoaster spirituality.” He feels the development of a career path early prepares a young man and young woman for courting that leads to marriage and the ability to finance a family.

“It’s a tall order,” Austin said speaking of the expectations of return missionaries. “They have to stay morally clean, develop a career path, get educated, find a spouse, and they have to figure out how they are going to finance all that.” 

Cayden Mangun returned from his mission in New Zealand last month. He feels return missionaries have “too much time on their hands” and advocates a plan to give you something to work toward. He feels the My Plan program will help give missionaries direction.

Makayla Morris, from Layton, returned from her mission in January and agrees the biggest change for a return missionary is the lack of direction.

“You come home and everyone is continuing with their lives. You don’t know where you fit in,” Morris said. She explains a missionary always has their purpose in mind. “When you come home you have to write your own purpose.”

Morris expects My Plan will help missionaries identify their purpose after they return home.

“I have heard a lot from returned missionaries that they want an MTC for returning missionaries,” Craven said. “It’s not a coincidence that the leaders of the church are releasing this program now.”

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