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Missionary Physical: A Complete Guide

Let’s talk about Missionary Physicals for prospective missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

It is important for missionaries who will be serving for 18 months-24 months away from home to have any health issues addressed prior to leaving on a mission…especially if they are serving out of their home country. The information in the Personal Health History and The Physician’s Health Evaluation of Missionary Candidate form can help decision makers make appropriate assignments that will keep missionaries healthy. 

For example, some chronic health issues might require more medical oversight and can be better managed in a country with an established medicine. 

How do I prepare for my Missionary Physical? 

When filling out mission paperwork, there is paperwork for both medical and dental that has to be filled out and signed. Additionally, your missionary will need to fill out a Personal Health History that they will take with to the doctor appointment. Both of these forms are available to print FROM WITHIN THE MISSIONARY PORTAL. 

The Physician’s Health Evaluation of Missionary Candidate form has to be signed by a medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP).

When Should my Missionary Have His/Her Physical Done? 

The results of a missionary physical are good for one year. If there are health issues that need to be addressed, then having a physical early in the process for preparing for a mission would be a great idea. 

Since you can turn in your papers 150 days before your availability date, Dr. Mangum at Primary Healthcare recommends having the physical about 6 months before availability. This gives plenty of time to work on any issues without having a huge lapse in time without medical treatment prior to leaving on the mission. 

What is a Personal Health History (PHH)? 

The PHH is a form that prospective missionaries fill out with all of their medical history and potential health issues. 

In order to fill out the Personal Health History, your missionary should 

  • Gather all of their current over-the-counter and prescription medications
  • Know dates of any surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Understand the importance of being completely honest on this form

I have heard about prospective missionaries purposely leaving health information off of their history because they wanted to serve a foreign mission. PLEASE talk to your son or daughter about the impact on their long-term health of not being treated properly because they weren’t honest. 

Are foreign missions cool? Yes! Are U.S. Missions cool? Yes! Is having permanent health problems or getting sent home early because you are sick worth it? NO! 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…God is guiding this work and your missionary will go right where they need to go! HOWEVER, those people making the decisions need all of the best information to get your missionary placed correctly. 

The sooner your missionary (and you!) are at peace with the will of Heavenly Father and His placing them in the right mission the better off everyone will be. 

I think this form is something your almost-missionary can fill out without help. But I also don’t think it is bad to give them a little assistance if they need it. Just let them take the lead! 

What kind of doctor should complete the Missionary Physical? 

My son’s pediatrician did his physical, since he was 17 when we had it done. However, I would highly recommend that you have a Primary Care Physician do the physical. This way, they will have your son or daughter’s health baseline and can be their doctor when they return from their mission! 

Primary Care Physicians are able to serve as a quarterback of sorts for health care. They have all of the information to make health decisions, but also are connected to a network of specialists that they can refer you to as needed. 

If you are in Utah and are looking for an amazing physician for a Missionary Physical I highly recommend Dr. Kevin Mangum at Primary Healthcare. Not only is he a return missionary well acquainted with the physical demands of missionary work, he also is a very caring and talented doctor who also practices sports medicine. Primary Healthcare has same-day appointments and you can even schedule online at He has over 180 Five Star Reviews on Google!

You also might enjoy: 100 of the Best Extras for Missionaries

What does a Missionary Physical Look Like? 

The goal of a missionary physical is to make sure your missionary is in tip-top shape for the physical demands of a mission which can be quite exhausting. My son in Brazil walks anywhere from 8-12 miles a day! 

This might look like addressing health issues like asthma, endometriosis, allergies, diabetes, foot or other joint pain, depression, anxiety etc. 

The physical will begin with the physician reviewing the completed Personal Health History with the prospective missionary. That is why it is super important for your missionary to fill it out and be completely honest with any health issues they have. 

Next, the physician will perform a full physical, checking things like ears, throat, stomach, lungs, mobility etc. The mission papers also require a urinalysis, bloodwork and a tuberculosis test which will be completed during the visit but the results won’t come back for a few days/weeks. 

If there are health issues that the physician believes can be addressed with medication, physical therapy, diet changes, a specialist etc then the physician will help to get those things in process. 

Should I go With My Missionary To Their Physical? 

As always, I will defer to your own relationship with your child! However, I think this is a great time to let them go on their own if possible (I had to go with my 17-year-old son per the pediatrician’s office policy). 

Having them go to the Missionary Physical on their own will give them the opportunity to talk openly with the physician about health issues they might not feel comfortable talking about in front of you. 

Some kids might want you to come, and that is okay too! Do what feels in the best interest of your child. 

Related Content: Teaching Your Missionary To Advocate for Themselves

Will the Missionary Physical Impact Where My Missionary WIll Serve? 

After the examination and labwork is completed, your Physician will select one of five levels of assessment listed on the form. 

  • Level A: No limitation (No limitation of activity in lifting, carrying, walking 6 or more miles per day, or spending 12 to 16 hours per day in missionary activity). 
  • Level B: Slight Limitation (Slight limitation of activity; slight decrease of function or stamina, such as problems with walking (limited to 3-6 miles per day) or with extensive standing.)
  • Level C: Moderate Limitation (Moderate limitation of activity; moderate decrease of function or stamina; requires limited walking (0-3 miles per day) or sedentary work.)
  • Level D: Marked Limitation  (Marked limitation of activity or has special requirements, such as specific climate, use of wheelchair, frequent rest periods, special medical needs, or medical visits.)
  • Level E: Not Appropriate (Conditions exist that preclude full-time missionary service.)

There is a huge variation in the physicality of different missions around the world. Some missions have cars, some missions have bikes, some missions are primarily walking, some missions are walking in mountains or jungles or snow. 

My guess is that each mission is marked as a different level. So a missionary with severe asthma would not be sent to a Level A area but could handle a Level B area with medication. 

Another question on the form is, “Does the missionary have any chronic physical or mental condition that will need follow-up care or continuing medication during his/her mission?” With the follow-up, “If yes, what is the condition? By what kind of physician and how often should the missionary be seen? What medications are required? Provide your answers in the comments box below.” 

The missionary department wants to sent each missionary up for success. They won’t place a missionary in an area where they don’t have access to the type of care or medication they need. 

So yes, the Physical can impact where your missionary will serve, but for all of the best reasons! 

What happens after the Missionary Physical?

After you complete the physical, your missionary will leave the Personal Health History Paper and the Physician’s Health Evaluation of Missionary Candidate form with the physician. After reviewing bloodwork, the physician will complete the form and send it by mail to your bishop or branch president (the instructions and address are on the paperwork). If you live outside of Utah/Idaho, you may want to tell the physician the instructions and talk about the importance of getting it mailed ASAP. 

Once your physical and dentist appointment paperwork is completed and you’ve hit submit on your end, the ball is now in your bishop’s court! You can read more about the whole mission call process here. 

I hope this helps! Mission paperwork can feel overwhelming but just take it one step at a time. You’ve got this! 

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