Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will do less tracting and more tweeting as they try to recruit new members.
Mormon missionaries have traditionally spent much of their time “tracting,” or going from door to door. Their use of e-mail has been limited to a message home each week. But new mission presidents and others were told during a meeting at Brigham Young University on Sunday that they’ll now be able to use social media such as Facebook and text messaging to reach out to potential converts.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also said missionaries will be using the church’s meetinghouses as a resource.
“One complaint we often hear from individuals who are interested in the church is they build up courage to stop by one of our buildings, only to find it locked and empty," Perry told the meeting in the Marriott Center. "So we have also decided to open our meetinghouses to guided tours. The missionaries will be at the meetinghouse to greet interested individuals and guide them through our houses of worship.”
At first, only missionaries in North America will be using the Internet resources in their work, and tools such as iPads and laptops will belong to the church.
The church has expanded its worldwide missionary force by more than 12,000 after last year’s announcement that men are eligible to serve at age 18 and women at 19. It expects to have 85,000 missionaries in service by the end of this year.