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 Mormon missionaries, fulfilling the Great Commission of taking the 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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 15 Missionary Training Centers (often called MTCs). They will spend anywhere from two weeks (for those not learning a foreign language) to nine weeks in training before departing to serve in one of the Church’s 421 missions (number of missions as of December 31, 2016).

Mormon 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 Mormon families have daily prayer and scripture study together. Mormon youth also attend weekly [high school] and [college] religion courses offered by the Church. And the family generally attends Church together on Sundays for three 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 until difficulties in obtaining passports and visas to their assigned areas could be resolved.

The MTC was originally called the "Language Training Mission." 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. The missionaries are not allowed to phone home, text, chat with friends on the Internet, watch TV or non-Mormon videos, read a novel or a newspaper, listen to popular music, or go on dates.

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 55 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 via weekly emails.

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.

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 14 international MTCs worldwide (previous MTCs in Tokyo and Seoul, Korea, have since been closed).

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
Areas Served
Training Language
Buenos Aires, Argentina Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay Spanish
São Paulo, Brazil Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola Portuguese
Santiago, Chile Chile Spanish
Bogota, Colombia Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela Spanish
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, West Indies English (native speakers only), French/Creole (native speakers only), Spanish
Preston, England Great Britain, German-speaking Europe German, English
Accra, Ghana West Africa, DR Congo, Madagascar English (native speakers only), French
Guatemala City, Guatemala Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama Spanish
Mexico City, Mexico Mexico, other countries in North, Central and South America Spanish
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 (native speakers only)
Lima, Peru Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru Spanish
Manila, Philippines All missions in the Philippines and Asia areas Cambodian, Cebuano, English, Indonesian, Mandarin, Mongolian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese (all languages except Tagalog native speakers only)
Johannesburg, South Africa Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Zimbabwe English (native speakers only)
Madrid, Spain Belgium, Cape Verde, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Russian (all languages except Spanish and Russian native speakers only)
Provo, Utah, United States Worldwide 50 different languages

Missionary Training Centers to Close

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the closure of two missionary training centers in January 2019: Santiago, Chile, and Madrid, Spain. This decision came as Church leaders considered the best use of resources worldwide, according to the needs and demands of each area. Following the closures, missionaries who would have attended either of these centers will be trained at one of the remaining 13 missionary training centers around the world. Both the Chile and Spain training centers are in Church-owned buildings that also serve other Church functions, such as temple patron housing. The Church will decide the best use of this space in the future.

News Source: Two Missionary Training Centers to Close

In September 2019, the Church also announced the closure of the Guatemala Missionary Training Center effective January 2020. "Plans for future use of the facilities will be determined in coordination with local leaders. This decision comes as part of a long process of learning, planning and determining the best use of resources worldwide according to the needs and demands of each area. Specifically, this move will allow for the better use of the Mexico MTC which is well equipped to accommodate large groups of missionaries who are being trained in the Spanish language."

News Source: [1]

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