From the beginnings of the LDS Church, people of black African descent could be members of the church, but up until 1978 the LDS Church did not call men of black African descent to serve on missions, due to the ban on blacks holding the priesthood.The priesthood ban was lifted during Kimball's presidency and since 1978 there has been no restrictions to missionary service that are based on race or ethnicity.In addition to spiritual preparedness, church bishops are instructed to ensure that prospective missionaries are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of full-time missionary work.
Monson announced that all male missionaries, regardless of nation, could serve from age 18.
Missionaries can be sent home for violating mission rules, and occasionally missionaries choose to go home for health or various other reasons.
Many Latter-day Saints save money during their teenage years to cover their mission expenses.
Throughout the church's history, over one million missionaries have been sent on missions.
The LDS Church strongly encourages, but does not require, missionary service for young men.
All Mormon missionaries serve voluntarily and do not receive a salary for their work; they typically finance missions themselves or with assistance from family or other church members.
After application to the church and the requisite approval, prospective missionaries receive a "call to serve"—an official notification of their location assignment—through the mail from the President of the Church.
The mission call also informs the prospective missionary what language he or she will be expected to use during his or her mission.
The mission assignment could be to any one of the 418 Most full-time Mormon missionaries are single young men and women in their late teens and early twenties and older couples no longer with children in the home.
Missionaries are often assigned to serve far from their homes, including in other countries.
Many missionaries learn a new language at a missionary training center as part of their assignment.