Missionary Training Centers are centers devoted to training missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Purpose of the Mission Training Center
When the missionaries arrive they are assigned companions and are organized into districts and branches. They are trained in expected conduct, proselytizing methods, and if it is required, a foreign language. All missionaries are given at least three weeks in proselytizing methods. This includes lessons on church doctrine and teaching, proper manners and on non-confrontationalism. They are encouraged to actively study the Church's doctrine in order to be inspired on how best to teach others.
Missionaries who already speak the language of their assigned area are sent to their mission after just three weeks. Other missionaries may spend as much as an additional nine weeks in language training. Missionaries who are sent to foreign counties participate in rigorous full immersion in the language. In some cases, missionaries learning foreign languages will go directly to the MTC in the country where they are called to serve. This depends on the capacity of the MTC in the area.
Each MTC is directed by a mission president, just like the 335 missions worldwide. Classes in the MTC are typically taught by return missionaries. Branches are led by local church members called to serve in the MTC.
History of the Missionary Training Center
The Missionary Training Center was originally started by the LDS Church due to some missionaries who were stranded in the USA because of difficulties in obtaining passport visas to their assigned areas.
Originally called the Language Training Mission, the name was changed to the Missionary Training Center about the same time the Provo Temple was built. The name was changed to note that it was for more than just language training, although language training would still continue to be an important part of the facility.
The Missionary Training Center, Provo
The Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah is the largest center. The Provo MTC was the first MTC built by the Church. It is located between Brigham Young University and the Provo Utah Temple. While the concept of the MTC is the same around the world, there are some specific functions pertaining to the Provo, MTC. For example, missionaries that are serving from countries that do not have their own MTC come to the Provo, MTC. This means that at any given time there are classes being conducted for native foreign language speakers.
With the growth of the LDS Church in places outside of the USA, it soon became almost impossible for Mormons living outside the USA to be able to come to Provo and attend the MTC, both for financial reasons as well as for visa difficulties. Just as it was problematic for American citizens to go abroad, it became difficult for Mormons without American citizenship to come to Utah, often for the same reasons. MTCs are located in nations throughout the world including Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and Great Britain.