Missionary work has been a dominant part of Mormon life and thought since the beginning of the Mormon faith, and many narratives have been published that are based upon or feature missionary experience. Of early missionary stories the most famous is The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. Missionary stories were also a staple of the Home Literature movement that began in the 1880s as a reaction against the pulp fiction of the day. The Faith Promoting Series, a hallmark of the Home Literature movement, included many such missionary narratives as stories intended to teach and inspire Mormon youth. In the 1970s missionary stories were featured in popular Mormon musical theater (see Saturday's Warrior) and at the turn of the 21st century, in popular Mormon cinema (See God's Army, The Other Side of Heaven, The Field is White, and The Best Two Years), suggesting not only the ongoing centrality of the missionary experience in Mormon culture, but also that this type of story is a means by which Mormons can relate to those outside of their faith.
Non-fictional missionary narratives are an emerging subgenre, as returned missionaries are increasingly publishing memoirs about their experiences, such as Rulon T. Burton's Missionaries Two. Novels, short stories, and dramatic plays based on missionary experiences have since the 1970s become more frequently published or performed, beginning with the critically acclaimed drama Fires of the Mind by Robert Elliott, Bela Petsco's Nothing Very Important and Other Stories, and Franklin Fisher's Bones. As this subgenre of Mormon fiction has epanded it has come to include more comical modes of fiction, such as Alan Mitchell's The Angel of the Danube; missionary fiction that blends with domestic fiction and issues, such as John Bennion's Falling Toward Heaven, and missionary fiction based upon Latino experience or that is oriented towards evential filmic treatment, such as Gordon Laws' My People.
For critical discussion of Mormon missionary fiction, see Lavina Fielding Anderson, Truth and Consequences: The Identity Crisis in LDS Missionary Fiction."