Release dates & early releases

Release dates — which allow for the 24-month period of service for elders and 18 months for sisters — are predetermined by the Missionary Department. Release dates are not set by the mission president, nor are they determined by the missionary himself or herself.

The release date is not an exact 24- or 18-month anniversary from when the missionary entered the Missionary Training Center. But it is generally within a couple of days — or a week or two — of that starting date. And the release date coincides with the arrival of replacement missionaries from the Missionary Training Center.

The Mission President's Handbook states: Early releases or extensions should be rare exceptions.

The Three-Fold Factors of Early Releases of a Missionary

  • How the release affects the family
  • How the release affects the missionary
  • How the release affects the mission

The Family

Parents are anxious to have the missionary home and quickly resume education or work or participate in planned family vacations, reunions or other events. Please be cautious these plans don't encroach on the missionary's tenure of service as well as the "return and report" experiences - the release by the stake president, reporting to the stake high council and speaking in sacrament meeting.

Primary consideration currently given for an early release in the Arizona Phoenix Mission is to begin/resume one's college education. It shouldn't be more than a week or two before the scheduled release date, with the missionary returning home for just a couple of days before the start of classes. Depending on home/college locations and required travel, there may not be time for a report to the high council or in a sacrament meeting, which could be scheduled later during a break or vacation.

The Missionary

The missionary is anxious to complete a full-term mission. The missionary thrives on the "exit experiences" at the mission's end with his or her own group that were together in the Missionary Training Center and arrived together here in the Arizona Phoenix Mission.

They enjoy the closure and conclusion together — the exit interviews, the departure dinner and spiritual meeting with the mission presidency, the family time with the Griffins, the last night together at the mission home before going to the airport the next morning, saying a final farewell before departing for different destinations. This is a very powerful, multi-day exit experience, and it's something we really can't replicate for one or a few missionaries leaving early to return for college classes.

The Mission

The impact of a missionary's early release on the mission often isn't understood. A missionary leaving before the scheduled transfer date means a companion is left alone in the proselyting area. That in turn means temporary companionships must be formed - often in the more-awkward trios — with areas either combined or left vacant until adjustments and replacements come at the regular transfer time.

Early departing missionaries miss out on the aforementioned exit experiences of their returning group. Meeting the mission and overseeing over 160 missionaries while trying also to maintain our family residence means we can't turn the mission home into a makeshift hotel, constantly welcoming, meeting, feeding, housing and shuttle small groups of arriving and departing missionaries on much more than the regularly scheduled basis.

Scheduled release dates through 2017

31 January 2017
14 March 2017
30 May 2017
11 July 2017
22 August 2017
3 October 2017
14 November 2017
26 December 2017

NEW Address for Arizona Phoenix Mission Office

Family and friends, the Arizona Phoenix Mission office has a new address! Please use the following NEW address for sending packages and letters. Consider updating your records in case of an emergency. If applicable, consider updating ward leadership as well. The phone number for the APM office has NOT changed. Thank you!

6833 W Bell Rd. Glendale, AZ 85308

Phone: 623-334-3823

Have questions about Christmas?  Please refer to our Q&A Christmas page: 2015 Christmas Q&A

Have a wonderful Christ-centered Christmas!
- APM Mission Office

Mobile Devices for Missionaries: Principles for Parents and Leaders

The Church is increasing the number of its technology-equipped missions within the United States, and missionaries will be purchasing iPads prior to missionary service. As such, the Church released a letter for parents and leaders to review. This letter explains the purpose and principles behind using technology, with a number of good references as well as ways parents and leaders can be supportive to — rather than be distracting to — a missionary's use of digital devices and online proselyting. 

Arizona Phoenix Mission

This Mission Blog is an informational blog generic to the great ARIZONA PHOENIX MISSION.  It it not a photo blog like some Mission President Wives run, it is basic FAQ that many missionary parents have.

President/Wife Griffins (2014-2017) keep a private photo blog for parents and family of currently/former serving Arizona Phoenix missionaries. Access to this blog is given through the missionaries. Please email your missionary for access information.

If you are a follower of former President/Wife Taylors (2011-2014) that blog is kept private to just parents and family of currently serving Arizona Phoenix missionaries and returned APM missionaries (this particular blog is public and accessible via any online search).

Secondly, there's an incorrect address for the mission office circulating throughout cyberspace, thanks to an incorrect address listed on a missionary alumni page that gets perpetuated through any Google search.

The correct address for the Arizona Phoenix Mission is:
6833 W Bell Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85308

Do us a favor and click on the "Arizona Phoenix Mission office — CORRECT ADDRESS" link on the FAQ left-side menu to get more information on the problem and solution. By clicking on the post, you increase the number of "hits" or post views, which increase this blog's readership, which increases its rise on Google search listings. It's SEO — search-engine optimization — at its finest.

Third, we wanted to create an online site that would provide information on a number of topics of interest — mission releases, returning home, communication with missionaries, deaths in the family, health and insurance matters and such.

If you have questions about the mission or any of its policy or procedures, please call the mission office at: 623-334-3823

Skype for Christmas calls and other online/digital updates

The Arizona Phoenix Mission is authorized to use Skype or Face-Time video-calls for missionaries calling home for Christmas this year (2016). Please understand the following directives that our missionaries are following when making their Christmas calls.

  • Missionaries "may telephone their parents or guardians on Christmas and one other occasion during the year, usually Mothers Day or another significant holiday" (Mission President's Handbook, p. 22).
  • Calls are to be "short (... no longer than 30 to 40 minutes) and should not distract missionaries from their service" (Missionary Handbook, p 37).
  • Rather than make a video-call, some missionaries are asking if they can make a traditional audio call from their cell phone.
  • If a missionary's parents are divorced or separated, they are allowed to divide up their 30 to 40 minutes among the parents as they chose.
  • Missionaries are not to place additional calls to other immediate or extended family members or friends, including siblings serving full-time missions.
  • Missionaries are not to use other video-calling services, including Google apps such as Google Chat and Google Hangout.
  • A week or two before Christmas, missionaries should communicate their their parents and schedule approximate dates/times to place these calls.
  • For missionaries using Skye or FaceTime, they are not to be using members' computer equipment.
A previous post on this site — "An online-proselyting mission" - detailed the directives given to the Arizona Phoenix Mission when it was authorized to use internet services including Skype, Facebook (including Facebook chat), email, texting,, and blogs in proselyting efforts.

Ten of our missionaries helped test digital devices - iPad minis and iPhones and Church-developed apps such as a digital area book and a digital planner for missionaries - starting back in late May 2013. And in late October, all Arizona Phoenix missionaries received their own iPad mini for the aforementioned uses.

We'd like to remind parents, family members, relatives and friends of some of the key directives regarding the digital devices and the online privileges that have been given to our missionaries. You can help them follow the directives by encouraging them to do so and to not put them in awkward or distracting situations online.

  • Missionaries can use their email account on Preparation Days to email family and friends. They are asked not to use that account other times during the week in their proselyting efforts.
  • Missionaries have a separate email account that they use for ward contacts and daily missionary and proselyting purposes. Family and friends should make their contact throughout their missionary's myldsmail account.
  • Missionaries are using Facebook pages, posts and message for proselyting purposes only - to communicate with investigators, contacts, converts and local members. It is not to be used to carry on non-proselyting conversations with family, friends, other missionaries or returned missionaries.
  • Your communications with your missionary should be done through the regular email process - or you can call the mission office with time-sensative or urgent information (such as financial updates, insurance or medical information, family emergencies/deaths, etc.) that in turn can be passed on to your missionary.
  • The missionary's Facebook page is not a place to post preparation-day photos or photos that don't reflect one's sacred calling. Missionaries have been asked to not post baptism-day photos with their converts.
Please understand if the missionaries hide or shy away from your statuses, your newsfeeds, your photos, your likes - they can be distracting to them. Help them stick to appropriate online activities. 

Please avoid posting inappropriate comments, links, likes, photos and tags for your missionary. Help them keep to appropriate online activities. 

An online-proselyting mission

As of July 31, 2013, the Arizona Phoenix Mission became an online-proselyting mission, authorized to use; Facebook (including chat); email; Skype; blogs; and text messaging to help the missionaries accomplish their purpose. Initially approved for online proselyting are the assistants to the presidents, zone leaders and sister training leaders - to learn, to do and then to be ready to train as other APM missionaries receive their authorization to work online later (We were all online by the end of August 2013).

For more than six months, the 10 members of the mission's Glendale Central district have been using iPads and iPhones as the APM is one of 6 missions in the Church piloting their use. Each companionship has an iPhone, each missionary an iPad Mini, and the companionship's devices are synced together. Apps include digital area books, digital planners, maps, GPS and other approved online resources.
(Since the end of October 2013, ALL our missionaries are using the iPad minis)

Before family, friends and returned missionaries hop on Facebook and start friending current missionaries and trying to do normal Facebook activities with them, please be mindful of their sacred purpose and the directives they've received from the Missionary Department, which include:

  • "Your Facebook page should only be used as a missionary tool to communicate with investigators, contacts, converts and local members. It should not be used to carry on non-missionary conversations with family, friends, other missionaries or returned missionaries . . . "
  • "Your Facebook page is not a place to post preparation-day pictures or to carry on conversations that do not fulfill your purpose as a missionary . . . "
  • "Remember that working online is a sacred trust and privilege."
  • "Should missionaries use Facebook to communicate with family and friends? Online work should be focused on missionary activities, not communicating with family and friends. With mission president permission, missionaries may use Facebook for missionary purposes to communicate with family or friends. Otherwise, missionaries should only communicate with family and friends on preparation day via email or letters. Missionaries should continue to use their account for these communications."
Please understand if the missionaries hide or shy away from your statuses, your newsfeeds, your photos, your likes - they can be distracting to them. Help them stick to appropriate online activities.

We recently received authorization to use Skype for Christmas or Mothers Day calls home to parents. Missionaries may choose this option for their calls.

Please avoid posting inappropriate comments, links, likes, photos and tags for your missionary. Help them keep to appropriate online activities.

Feel free to follow the Mission President and Wife on Facebook or to use that as a tool to contact them.  Each Mission President has also another group page that the Missionary Department asks that they keep just to their returned missionaries.
We hope this is informative and inspiring. The work is hastening. This is evidence of that.

The Missionary Handbook...Our "BOOK OF BLESSINGS"

Parents,  we realized how hard it is to search to actually find the Missionary Handbook on and thought maybe you would enjoy having access to the handbook your son or daughter uses as a guide on their mission.

Click the following link to access the Missionary Handbook.

We encourage you to read the MISSIONARY HANDBOOK.  We think it will help you understand what is expected of LDS missionaries as they serve.  By obeying the rules that have been studied and developed over YEARS AND YEARS of missionary service, we know that we are BLESSED!  An obedient Mission is a HAPPY MISSION!

We know that our whole lives we are following handbooks...our scriptures, our General Conference talks/Prophets, our General Handbooks from the Church, etc.
We know that Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us guidelines that free us to really become who we can become!