Latter-day Saint Returned Missionaries in the United States: A Survey on Religious Activity and Postmission Adjustment

Each year, approximately twenty to thirty thousand Latter-day Saint young adults leave to serve missions throughout the world.1 Once these young adults return home from their missionary service, most go on to further their education, begin a career, marry, and establish a family. Returned missionaries are a unique group in the Church and are often a point of interest. Parents, for example, note the challenges their missionary has as he or she makes the transition from the mission field to home. They sometimes observe their returned missionary confronting increased stress levels as he or she shifts from the singular focus of the mission field to making multiple and major decisions about school, work, and dating. Ward and stake leaders also have an interest in returned missionaries, often giving them counsel and encouragement as well as assigning them a suitable calling during this transitional time. President Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized the importance of this duty to Church leaders by saying, “I am satisfied that if every returning missionary had a meaningful responsibility the day he or she came home, we’d have fewer of them grow cold in their faith. I wish that you would make an effort to see that every returned missionary receives a meaningful assignment. Activity is the nurturing process of faithfulness.”

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