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A few days ago, The New York Times published a 1,500-word story on the way Latter-day Saint missionary service has changed in recent years.

Sometimes, this space takes to task news outlets that fail to follow journalism standards in reporting on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or those that misrepresent church life or practice, like using the word “rules” to describe broad and nuanced leadership advice.

The headline of the New York Times article will rankle a few — “For Mormon missionaries, some ‘big, big changes.’” The Deseret News has spoken to journalism experts about why journalists should honor requests by people and organizations who want the right to choose their name and descriptors.

From there, however, the article gets just about everything right, providing a wide-ranging roundup of alterations to missionary service and life that have appeared over the past decade or so.

The piece outlines how missionary dress requirements have changed, how missionaries spend more time contacting and preaching through social media and how they spend more time in service than in the past.

“Many young church members say the new rules have made missionary service more attractive and realistic,” the writer stated.

The reporter, Lauren Jackson, is an associate editor for a daily Times newsletter. She does a smart job of letting her curiosity lead the way. Many Latter-day Saints may find little new in her story, but will enjoy watching a professional learn and share what she found. Other readers likely will be fascinated by all that has transpired, especially during and since the pandemic.

Elder Quentin L. Cook referred to the story on his X account, formerly known as Twitter. He mentioned one of the missionaries Jackson interviewed and shared an update about how many missionaries are serving now — over 74,000 men and women — more, he said, “than were serving before the start of the pandemic.”

My recent stories

Latter-day Saint missionary from California arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting woman (May 14)

About the church

This week in church history: 195 years ago — on May 15, 1829 — John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored the Aaronic Priesthood; a short time later, biblical apostles Peter, James and John appeared and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood. Read more here.

Thousands of Latter-day Saints signed a petition and hundreds descended on Las Vegas City Hall on Tuesday night to ask the planning commission to approve plans to build the Lone Mountain Nevada Temple in the face of opposition. The commission voted to approve the temple plans. The vote now goes to the City Council, which already has amended code to allow a house of worship in a rural preservation area. (See video of the turnout below.)

Meet the two new members of the Primary general advisory council.

For Mormon missionaries, some ‘big, big changes’ (New York Times).

The First Presidency set the groundbreaking date for the Ribeirão Preto Brazil Temple.

The First Presidency released exterior renderings for temples in Brazil and Guatemala.

What I’m reading

The NFL’s new kickoff rules could add 2,000 more plays to games played next season. Coaches and players are workshopping their game plans for kickoffs, and some think the new rules will result in more big plays.

Behind the scenes