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LDS missionaries now allowed to email friends, priesthood leaders and new converts

Photo courtesy of Philippine area

Keeping in touch with friends just got easier for full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For years, the church's Missionary Handbook limited email correspondence for young single missionaries to weekly communication with their respective families and mission presidents. But church spokesman Scott Trotter said this week that missionaries now "can also communicate by email with friends, priesthood leaders and new converts."

While in the mission field, Trotter noted, "missionaries should get permission from the mission president before communicating with converts and others of the opposite gender within the mission."

Other handbook policies regarding missionaries and email remain in place, including:

Missionaries should only use, the filtered service established by the church;

Email should only be used on the missionary's preparation day;

Email should be accessed on computers in public places, and never in a place where the missionary's companion can't see the computer screen;

Missionaries should not use members' computers.

"As your call letter states, you are 'expected to devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs," the Missionary Handbook indicates. "Do not become preoccupied with communicating with family and friends."