Missions in Mormonism has its common ground with other missionary religions, however, there are aspects of it that distinguish it from other commonly used methods. There are currently close to 65,000 Latter-day Saint (LDS) missionaries worldwide.
Mormon boys are brought up in social expectation and excitement to go on a 2-year mission, and the mission serves as an important milestone and emotional investment for committed members of the religion. During the mission, the typically 19 to 20-year-olds are referred to as "elders".
- "The prophets have said that every young man should serve a mission... Young men, while preparing for a mission, you don't want to get your feet entangled in the anchor chain of the Love Boat. The kind of girl you want to date and marry will not only want you to go on a mission, she will expect you to... At this time in a young man's life, living the gospel means going on a mission. The prophets have said this for years." - John Bytheway, What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission
- "The question has been often asked, Is the mission program one of compulsion? And the answer, of course, is no. Everyone is given his free agency. The question is asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer of the Church is yes, and the answer of the Lord is yes. Enlarging this answer we say: Certainly every male member of the Church should fill a mission, like he should pay his tithing like he should attend his meetings, like he should keep his life clean and free from the ugliness of the world and plan a celestial marriage in the temple of the Lord. -Spencer Kimball, April 6, 1974 General Priesthood Meeting
Missions and emotional investment
Missionaries are supposed to read the Book of Mormon for thirty minutes every morning.
They have a short list of books they are allowed to read, most of which are published by the Mormon organization itself. This always includes:
- Preach My Gospel 
- True to the Faith - A Gospel Reference (PDF) - 
- Our Search for Happiness, by M. Russell Ballard
- Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
- Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage 
The full list varies depending on which mission president one is under, and may include books such as:
- Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W. Kimball
- Believing Christ, by Stephen Robinson
- Articles of Faith, by James Talmage
- Marvelous Work and a Wonder, by Le Grand Richards
- Standing For Something, by Gordon B. Hinckley
Refusal to missionize "closed-off" countries
- China (1 billion) 
- Pakistan (136 million)
- Bangladesh (126 million)
- Vietnam (70 million)
- Turkey (68 million)
- Ethiopia (62 million)
- Iran (58 million)
- Egypt (58 million)
- Myanmar (50 million)
- Sudan (36 million)
- Tanzania (31 million)
- Algeria (31 million)
- Morocco (30 million)
In speaking of the plethora of rules Mormon missionaries are bound by, Sharon Lindbloom writes: "Rather than supporting the idea that these young men 'have been set apart for [their] sacred calling with the promise that the Spirit will be given as [they] meet the requirements set by the Lord' (Preach My Gospel, p. 4), these rules reflect an assumed immaturity (social and spiritual), plus a lack of trust in the missionaries' judgment and inspiration. They're told who they may (and may not) email, what music they may (and may not) listen to, when and who they may (and may not) call on the phone and how long they may talk, how long they may linger over a meal, and what time they need to be in bed. Don't these missionary rules sound like something given to middle-school kids as they head off to summer camp? These young men, set apart and equipped for a 'sacred calling,' are not trusted to have the ability to make good choices regarding even the most basic stuff of everyday life. I don't doubt that the Mormon Church's long experience with their missionary program has necessitated the institution of such rules. What I don't get is why we're supposed to believe these kids have power and authority from God when even the LDS Church doesn't seem to believe it."
- "One seems to be punching a time card; the other seems to be dedicating their lives. There simply is no comparison." 
- It is unbiblical to refuse to missionize "unreached" people groups.
- It is unbiblical to not actively, financially facilitate missionary work.
- Mormonism prioritizes family over the clear biblical allowance and encouragement of singlehood and life-long missionary work.
- Fosters a missionary force that functions much like a sales team (see Mainstreaming).
- It’s closed off.
- It would harm the image of our organization (as it would make them fall into the disfavor of the Chinese government).
- There’s a time and a place for for everything. Now’s not the time.
Conclusions I can draw from the Mormon indifference to China:
- Comfort and security are more important than obeying the Great Commission of Jesus.
- Obeying man is more important that obeying God.
- Now isn’t the time for the Chinese to know Jesus.
- The eternal life of the Chinese people–of them knowing Christ for who he is–isn’t worth the risk of being in trouble with the law.
- Two years of culturally expected missionary work is better than spontaneously dedicating decades of frontier missionary work to China.
- Comfortably raising a family is more important than the advance of the kingdom of God and the praise of the name of Jesus in unreached people groups.
Early Mormon polygamists (including leaders) were willing to break the law by having multiple wives.
Joseph Smith was willing to destroy a printing press that tried to expose his very polygamy, which he was publicly lying about.
And now you’re saying that you’re not willing to break Chinese law by preaching the gospel to a closed nation with over 1 billion people who need Jesus?
Where are you priorities?
- "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47)
By refusing to send missionaries to places like China, Mormon leaders disobey a direct order of Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20).
Proclaiming Jesus was illegal very early on. But should that stop Christians from spreading the gospel? "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching..." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:28-29)
- "[M]ost LDS converts come from nominal Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, which makes sense given the way in which Mormon missionaries present their message. They offer a Restored Gospel, a term that is easy to understand if one already has an idea of what “gospel” means. LDS missionaries offer instruction to their prospective converts about such topics as prophets, apostles, churches, beliefs, angels, God, Jesus, and Scripture—none of which make any sense unless the listeners and their ecclesiastical predecessors are the result of traditional Christian evangelism, catechism, and Bible study. The Bible used by LDS missionaries in their quest for converts, the King James Version, is a translation produced by non-LDS Christian scholars. Consequently, LDS success, according to Mosser, is parasitical on Catholic and Protestant missionary work, education, and scholarship." -Francis Beckwith, "Sects In The City: Mormonism and the Philosophical Perils of Being a Missionary Faith" 
Like baptism, a mission brings a clean slate
- "The Lord has told us that our sins will be forgiven more readily as we bring souls unto Christ and remain steadfast in bearing testimony to the world, and surely every one of us is looking for additional help in being forgiven of our sins. (Ensign, Oct. 1977, p. 5.) ... One of our modern Apostles, Elder George G. Richards, promised: 'In the name of the Lord I want to promise you that in the acceptance of the mission call and the dedication of yourself to the work, the Lord will forgive you of past transgressions, and you can start out life with an absolutely clean sheet.' Who wouldn't want to claim that promise?" (Carlos Asay, "The Blessings of Sharing the Gospel", Ensign) 
- ↑ John Bytheway, What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission, pp. 4, 6 (ISBN 1573452076)
- ↑ See also: "The Power of Preach My Gospel", by Richard G. Scott.
- ↑ "No proselytism of any kind is allowed in China. Foreign Latter-day Saints -- mainly diplomats and businessmen - meet in branches in four cities, as well as in smaller groups in eighteen additional cities. There are a very few native members as well, mainly individuals who were converted when studying or working in other lands. Latter-day Saints working and serving in China are careful to strictly obey the laws of the land. While some Protestant groups engage in illegal proselytism, Latter-day Saints do not engage in missionary activity of any sort in mainland China outside of Hong Kong." 
- ↑ "The Dos and Don'ts of Mormon Missionary Life". Available online here.
Real Christian missionary work
- Caleb Project - Infobytes Animations (Flash animation; see section 6!)
- Gospel For Asia
- New Tribes Missions
- Wycliffe International
- International Mission Board (SBC)
- Mission to the World (PCA)
- HeartCry Missionary Society
- The Finishers Project
- Closed Door Ministries