Mormons allow more technology, smartphones for missionaries

Mormons allow more technology, smartphones for missionaries
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: The new Apple iPhone 8 is displayed at an Apple Store on September 22, 2017 in San Francisco, California. The new Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as well as the updated Apple Watch and Apple TV, went on sale today. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Mormon church’s gradual embrace of the digital age for missionaries is taking another step forward as the religion doubles the missions where technology is allowed and swaps out tablets for smartphones.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release Friday that the change signals ongoing adaption to reflect how people communicate and interact. The religion says most missionaries in the future will bring smartphones.

The move comes after the Utah-based religion launched a program to give some missionaries tablets in 2014 and the year before loosened rules on internet use for missionaries.

The church also said Friday that it’s implementing a set of 16 standardized questions designed to ensure local lay leaders properly screen prospective missionaries. Previously, lay leaders received only general guidance.

There are nearly 70,000 missionaries.