14

Some time ago I read an article such as this one (dated June 25th, 2013), that says that:

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Sunday that missionaries won’t be going door-to-door to evangelize and will instead use the Internet to probe potential new members.

However I recently watched an episode of "Inside Man" (the documentary series) where Morgan Spurlock joined two Mormon missionaries on door-to-door activity. According to this article and information here at IMDb, the particular episode originally aired in May 2014.

Understandably even though the episode aired in May 2014, it was probably taped months earlier. So perhaps the June 2013 decision had not yet been fully implemented.

Or maybe the decision to stop going door-to-door was intended to affect a particular group of missionaries(?)

Anyway so the question I wanted to ask is: Are Mormon's really planning to discontinue all door-to-door preaching work, or have they perhaps already done so?

  • 1
    Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've had a Mormon visit to my door since 2013. Maybe they did stop. – fredsbend Feb 13 '16 at 8:06
  • They still go door-to-door where I live. Therefore the answer to this question is, "no" – warren Feb 17 '16 at 18:09
15

The LDS Church has a manual called "Preach My Gospel" that serves as a guidebook for missionary work. It is mostly directed at full-time missionaries, although non-missionaries use it for study or reference as well. As of today, in the ninth chapter, titled "How Do I Find People to Teach?", under the section on "Finding through Your Own Efforts", it provides a list of acceptable activities, which includes the following:

Go from home to home or talk to people on the streets.

Until that changes, the LDS Church will not be discontinuing all door-to-door preaching work.

It is actually a common misconception that most LDS missionary work is done through door-to-door proselytizing. If you look at some of the other suggestions in the aforementioned chapter of Preach My Gospel, you'll see that it is only one of many suggested ways of finding people to teach. The articles that you cite are referring to the fact that, since 2013, the church has been experimenting with using online proselytizing tools in addition to other methods of finding people to teach.

  • 1
    From that same chapter, church president Gordon B. Hinckley is quoted: "So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church." Of any method of finding people interested in learning about the LDS church, tracting is among the least effective. In some areas though, that might be one of the only ways. Through the internet that is changing. – Derrick Feb 13 '16 at 23:55
  • I remember seeing a list of the most effective finding methods when I was a missionary, and tracting was #13 on the list. – ShemSeger Feb 14 '16 at 0:04
3

It is true that LDS missionaries have made a slight shift away from door-to-door proselyting in certain geographical areas in the last few years; however, the practice has not been completely discontinued (except in countries where it is illegal) and, as far as I know, there are no plans to discontinue it.

The shift officially started when, in a 2013 discourse, Church leader Elder L Tom Perry stated:

When I was a young missionary, we were able to speak with contacts on the street and knock on doors to share the gospel. The world has changed since that time. Now many people are involved in the busyness of their lives. They hurry here and there, and they are often less willing to allow complete strangers to enter their homes, uninvited, to share a message of the restored gospel. Their main point of contact with others, even with close friends, is often via the Internet. The very nature of missionary work, therefore, must change if the Lord is to accomplish His work of gathering Israel "from the four corners of the earth." The missionaries are now authorized to use the Internet in their proselyting efforts.

Since this announcement, the Church has slowly implemented an "online proselyting" program with many facets. So far, this program has been limited to certain countries. It is still being developed and changed as missionaries provide feedback. It does not replace any previous instructions or resources; it is simply intended to expand the missionaries' proselyting options. Some missionaries proselyte primarily online; others do minimal online proselyting. Door-to-door proselyting is still a popular method for many missionaries. Church leaders have suggested that online proselyting may be more effective in many 1st world countries, and have encouraged these missionaries to shift in the online direction -- but they ultimately leave the decision of how to proselyte to the individual missions and missionaries.

In summary, door-to-door LDS proselyting is slowly becoming less common in some areas as missionaries begin online proselyting, but there are no plans to abolish it.

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