Missionary Training Center

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Provo Utah Missionary Training Center

Each week, hundreds of families around the world bid farewell to their sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, as they embark on an 18-month (females) to 24-month (males) journey as missionaries, fulfilling the Great Commission of taking the restored gospel to all the world. Because the daily life of a missionary is demanding—a life that is devoted entirely to teaching others about Jesus Christ and serving the needy—the first stop on the journey for each new missionary is at one of the 10 Missionary Training Centers (often called MTCs) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They will spend their first week in online training and then afterward anywhere from two weeks (for those not learning a foreign language) to eight weeks in training before departing to serve in one of the Church’s 411 missions (number of missions as of June 19, 2023[1]).

Missionaries generally arrive at an MTC with a basic, foundational knowledge of religion and the scriptures gained from the years of instruction that they receive both at home and at Church. Many Latter-day Saint families have daily prayer and scripture study together. Latter-day Saint youth also attend weekly high school and college religion courses offered by the Church. And the family generally attends Church together on Sundays for two hours of additional religious instruction.

The Origin of the Missionary Training Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints originally started the Missionary Training Center to provide language training and to provide a place for missionaries to be housed while they were trained and sometimes until difficulties in obtaining passports and visas to their assigned areas could be resolved.

The MTC was originally called the "Language Training Mission" (LTM). The name was later changed in the 1970s to the "Missionary Training Center." The name was changed to note that it was for more than just language training, although language training would continue to be an important part of the facility's function.

Preparing Missionaries to Teach the Gospel

Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center

From the moment they arrive, the new missionaries are never alone; they are assigned a "companion" who is going to the same mission and will be with them always while at the MTC. Missionaries may communicate with their families on their weekly preparation day via text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chat in addition to letters and emails. Missionaries avoid entertainment, parties, or other activities common to this age-group as long as they are on their missions, so they can focus entirely on the work of serving and of teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The rigorous course of study at the MTC is rooted in gospel fundamentals. While at the MTC, missionaries engage in daily practice teaching situations and intense gospel classroom instruction from teachers who are themselves returned missionaries. They also attend weekly devotional addresses from Church leaders and MTC staff and perform weekly service opportunities. Missionaries are encouraged to actively study the Church's doctrine to receive inspiration on how best to teach and help others.

The Provo MTC, the largest Missionary Training Center campus of the Church, teaches more than 50 languages. It ranks second among the nation’s largest on-site language schools, behind only the U.S. Defense Department’s Language Institute in Monterey, California. Each language instructor is either a native speaker or is fluent thanks to his or her own missionary service. In addition to language instruction, teachers provide cultural training—the use of proper manners and non-confrontational behaviors—to help missionaries make a smoother transition into their assigned foreign country.

For many of these 18- and 19-year-old men and women, this is their first experience of living away from home, so they also learn some of the basic, necessary skills needed to live on their own. They do their own laundry, exercise daily, eat nutritious meals provided by each MTC cafeteria, and stay in touch with family and friends once a week.

Regardless of the MTC attended, all missionaries are given the chance to further learn the doctrines of Jesus Christ and to develop and strengthen Christlike attributes. Missionaries learn to teach principles with clarity and to help others have faith in Christ, repent, be baptized in Christ's name, receive the Holy Spirit, and continue in the ways of the Savior.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, missionaries trained virtually while living at home. After COVID-19 restraints lessened, missionaries trained at home and online for the first week of their service, if they were training in their native languages. If they were learning foreign languages, they trained at home for one or two weeks, depending upon the location of the MTC they would transfer to. (See Church Newsroom.)

Missionary Training Centers Worldwide

In addition to its flagship Provo Missionary Training Center in Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently operates 9 international MTCs worldwide: Brazil, England, Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, and now Thailand.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that a new missionary training center — its 10th worldwide — in January 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand. Effective January 2024, the Thailand MTC will be located in the annex adjacent to the new six-story Bangkok Thailand Temple. The Thailand MTC will help accommodate the training of new full-time missionaries who are from Southeast Asia and other regions.[2]

The Provo MTC completed an expansion project in June 2017 that resulted in 200 new missionary classrooms, large meeting spaces, 300-plus stalls in underground parking, open views from classrooms, and artwork and messaging throughout the two new six-story buildings and along the outdoor walkways for the expansive outdoor spaces. It has the capacity for 3,700 missionaries.

The new Ghana Missionary Training Center was completed in August 2017. Built next to the temple grounds in Accra, the new facility replaced the original MTC built in 2002.

Johannesburg South Africa Missionary Training Center - Courtesy of Provo Missionary Training Center
Location
Areas Served
Training Language
São Paulo, Brazil Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola, South America, Central America, Mexico, Japan, Portugal Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese
Preston, England Europe English, English as a Second Language, French, German, Greek
Accra, Ghana West Africa, DR Congo, Madagascar Amharic, English, English as a Second Language, French, Swahili
Mexico City, Mexico Mexico, other countries in North, Central and South America; Dominican Republic, Haiti Spanish, Haitian Creole, K'ekchi
Auckland, New Zealand Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga English, English as a Second Language, French (native speakers only), Samoan (native speakers only), Tongan
Lima, Peru Central and South America Spanish
Manila, Philippines Philippines and Asia Cambodian, Cebuano, English, English as a Second Language, Hiligaynon, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Mongolian, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese (all languages except Tagalog and English as a Second Language are for native speakers only)
Johannesburg, South Africa Southeast Africa, Madagascar English, Portuguese, Malagasy
Thailand Southeast Asia and other regions To be announced
Provo, Utah, United States Worldwide More than 50 different languages

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