The new missionary manual is out and available for browsing. In line with the move to cut down on materials, the manual serves as the gospel study source, the discussions, and the missionary study guide, with a bit more to boot. Some things I noticed:
[** since this posting, the Church has changed their internet site and so the links no longer work. I don't know if they host the handbook somewhere else on the site or if they just decided it wasn't for posting, either way, the links in this article no longer function **]
Per the discussion of English, those not fluent in English are to spend time each day studying it. The manual states â€?If you do not speak English, you should study it as a missionary. This will bless you during your mission and throughout your life. Learning English will enable you to help build the Lordâ€™s kingdom in additional ways and will be a blessing for you and your family.â€? (Language is discussed in this section, scroll down a little).
Time for exercise is now an equal partner, getting its own 30 minute slot in the schedule (scroll down a little). Language study time, for those learning a foreign language, is specifically mentioned as deserving 30 to 60 minutes a day. I like this because, although exercise and language study were mentioned in the old materials, they often got put to the side for lack of more specific instruction. Of course, should one do all this study in the morning, and if one needs 60 minutes a day of language training, Missionaries will not be leaving the house until 11:00 in the morning!
The lunch hour is now for lunch and â€œadditional studyâ€?, so maybe thatâ€™s where the language study is supposed to fit in. Also, missionaries are to head in at 9:00, unless they are teaching a lesson, in which case they are to return by 9:30. This ties up a nice loose end from the old book. I like my rules clear and well-stated.
I found the parts of the manual I looked at to be better than what I remember we had as a missionary. It seems more focused. The chapter headings are designed as questions to be answered, such as â€œHow do I use Time Wisely?â€? and â€œWhat is the Role of the Book of Mormon?â€?. Each week, missionaries are to consider the different missionary techniques they used and decide which ones were effective and which werenâ€™t. And then progress.
The 5 lesson headings are:
Each missionary is supposed to think through how to teach these ideas either as on overview (3-5 minutes), a short form (10-15 minutes), or the full form (30-45 minutes). Each lesson has sub-principles that include a list of scriptures for the missionary to use as he prepares his lessons. Suggested outlines are provided, but they are only suggestions. As best I can tell, lesson order is no longer important, nor does all of one lesson need to be taught in a single sitting. The goal is to prep them for baptism by covering a set of basic doctrines and having them keep the standard commitments to read, pray, etc.