Any single retired person may also be called to serve in what is known as senior missionary service.
In the last two decades, the LDS Church has stepped up its call for senior couple missionaries.
Until 2018, mission calls were mailed to prospective missionaries.
In addition to spiritual preparedness, church bishops are instructed to ensure that prospective missionaries are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of full-time missionary work.
In the same speech where he called for "every young man" to fill a mission, Kimball added, "we realize that while all men definitely should, all men are not prepared to teach the gospel abroad." Apart from general issues of worthiness and ability, there are a number of specific situations that will disqualify a person from becoming a full-time missionary for the LDS Church.
The church began emailing calls to prospective missionaries residing in Utah and Idaho in the summer of 2018, with the goal of expanding to the rest of the United States and all countries with reliable internet by the beginning of 2019.
Before beginning their mission, prospective male missionaries are usually ordained to the office of an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood (if they do not hold this office already).
Monson announced that all male missionaries, regardless of nation, could serve from age 18.
Missionaries can be sent home for violating mission rules, and occasionally missionaries choose to go home for health or various other reasons.
From the beginnings of the LDS Church, people of black African descent could be members of the church, but up until 1978 the LDS Church did not call men of black African descent to serve on missions, due to the ban on blacks holding the priesthood.
The priesthood ban was lifted during Kimball's presidency and since 1978 there have been no restrictions to missionary service that are based on race or ethnicity.
After application to the church and the requisite approval, prospective missionaries receive a "call to serve"—an official notification of their location assignment—from the President of the Church.