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If you’re reading this, you probably already know how overwhelmingly difficult it can be to come home early from a mission. Young adults who serve may experience physical injury, mental health issues, civil emergencies, worthiness concerns, serious conflicts with others, or disobedience to mission rules, causing them to leave their mission before their expected release date.

Regardless of the reason, God would not want this setback to leave any of His children spiritually crippled. So how can early-returned missionaries move forward from such a jarring transition? And how can parents, Church leaders, and loved ones help?

A Book of Mormon Missionary

One story from the book of Alma gives us a helpful example. The Nephite prophet Alma directed a mission to the wicked Zoramites, accompanied by a number of trusted individuals. One of these individuals, his son Corianton, “fors[ook] the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel” (Alma 39:3). Consequently, Alma sharply reproved Corianton and called him to repentance, noting, “I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good” (Alma 39:7).

Corianton received his father’s chastening humbly, repented of his sins, and returned to serve as a missionary among the Zoramites to “declare the word with truth and soberness” (Alma 42:31). The account goes on to say that after Alma had spoken with his sons, “the sons of Alma [both Shiblon and Corianton] did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them” (Alma 43:1).

Returning with Potential

What do we learn from this story? First, a missionary who leaves early—even for preventable reasons—is still capable of accomplishing great things.

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