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Speculation rife as Mormons plan 'historic' missionary broadcast

Published June 21, 2013 3:56 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The LDS Church's announcement that it is broadcasting what it says will be a "historic" meeting on Sunday, June 23, has Mormons buzzing.

For the first time, members, who have been encouraged to watch the broadcast at their local chapels, will get a glimpse of a special session of the annual New Mission Presidents seminar, typically closed to the public. This is also the largest class of new mission presidents on record — more than 150 — because the Utah-based faith is adding 58 new missions worldwide.

The session, titled"The Work of Salvation," will be broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo at 4 p.m. MDT. The program will include speeches by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, senior apostle Boyd K. Packer and other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about how members and missionaries work together in a unified effort, according to the church's website.

The church has suggested altering a congregation's schedule if it conflicts with the broadcast, which has prompted many to expect a "big announcement" regarding missionary work.

This has led to rampant speculation on the Internet and among members.

"I hope that church leaders will announce that the missionary program will be modified to more directly account for the church's relatively recently announced 'Fourth Mission of the Church' — caring for the poor and needy," writes John F. at bycommonconsent.com. "Missionaries would spend daytime hours primarily involved in full-time service in activities and venues that provide permanent, reliable succor to the poor and needy worldwide."

The writer's next guess was that "all missionaries in North America will be issued iPads and required to work a certain number of hours per day as part of the " 'Internet mission' effort."

Others wonder if it has more to do with missionary methods (end of door-to-door tracting?) or finances.

The LDS Church did not have an immediate comment Friday.

Peggy Fletcher Stack