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LDS Church lowers age requirement for missionary service

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  • staypuffinpc Provo, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:47 a.m.

    BYU campus is going to look very different in the future.

  • dr.bridell mclean, VA
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    Wow, this is fantastic.
    I doubt that many of us can imagine the impact this will have.
    It would not surprise me if the number of missionaries serving were to double!
    It will dramatically increase the number of sisters serving, and in turn will strengthen so many marriages between two equal-feeling returned missionaries.
    Mark this landmark day. Remember where you were when you heard it. Start thinking about your kids and grandkids and recounting the years!

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    This is great news for certain countries. For example, Brazilians will have more opportunities to work a mission around mandatory military service.

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:30 a.m.

    If a young man's excuse for not going on a mission was his girlfriend, it won't be any longer. She'll be on a mission!

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:39 a.m.

    This is great for some, it's exciting news. It will also increase the amount of immature missionaries in the field. But, I believe the church knows what they are doing.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    So many young men get 'lost' in that time from when they graduate from high school and turn 19.

    This is a great a change!

    Changing the age for women will greatly change and expand the missionary efforts as well.

    These are historic changes and the shift of the demographic of single and married students will be significant moving forward at the BYU campuses.

    For those young men that were typically college bound at 18 or were focusing on work before their mission, this will now keep the majority focus of that mission with their ward bishop, not the singles ward bishop, as it should be.

    I'm sure the home ward and singles wards bishop are ecstatic about these changes!

  • Scott Thought SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    It is official. The new age for young men to go on missions is now 18. The age at which young women can go is not 19. Isn't that great. Conference is so great. With the darkness in the world, it is so wonderful to see the strength of the gospel being set as a candle on a hill and not hid under a bushel. It is so awesome.

  • Ying Fah Provo, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    Don't they have enough missionaries already?

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    This makes it easier to serve a mission before U.S. military service too.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 6, 2012 12:10 p.m.

    This is great news and one can see that Jesus Christ is at the Head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It goes to show that the truth of the Doctrine & Covenants that by the weak things of the earth the Gospel of the Lord will go forth and be taught. What greater news than this and two new temples? As the bar has been raised so also has the greater need for the gospel to be taught and brought to the four corners of the earth.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska,

    Agreed! Jeffrey R. Holland just barely exclaimed how "giddy" this makes him feel. Who couldn't be giddy? This is great!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    @dr. bridell
    "It would not surprise me if the number of missionaries serving were to double!"

    For the first year probably since two years worth of guys (19 and 18 year old guys) will be starting the same year. I suspect it'd probably drop back down afterwards to something slightly higher than current levels. For women serving missions it might even triple at first (since 21 20 and 19 year olds might all start at the same time that first year) and then will drift down to whatever the more stable level going forward is. I suspect growth in missionaries will be most pronounced with women.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Oct. 6, 2012 1:01 p.m.

    Huge news. Wow !

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 6, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    I'm not LDS but I have many friends who are including one who served as an LDS Mission President. My feeling is that the most significant part of this announcement is the fact that women no longer have to wait until age 21 to serve. I suspect that is where the biggest increase in missionaries is going to come from. They certainly represent the Church well and I wish them all the best in their new adventure.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    As a mother who has raised two sons to adulthood, I am divided on this. While some young men are mature enough at 18 to serve, the majority are not. A lot of young men aren't mature enough until several years after. Our younger son began his mission as soon as he turned 19. Our older son wasn't ready until he was almost 21. We took a lot of grief becuase we alowed our older son to delay his mission until he was ready to go. Both had wonderful missions, but that is in large part because they went when they were ready to go and when Heavenly Father wanted them to go.

    I trust the Bishops and Stake Presidents properly to evauate the maturity of prospective missionaries. I do not, however, trust that parents of young men will not try to push them out on a mission before they are ready to go. There is enough pressure to serve now, when the age of service is 19. I can see it getting worse when the age is lowered. A year between school and service gives the young men an opportunity to achieve the necessary maturity.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 1:24 p.m.

    We were in sort of a decline, so this may be helpful in returning the numbers of regular full-time missionaries and of convert baptisms to mid-1990s levels, when they were considerably higher.

    I think one of the reasons the age is lower for young men is that church leaders have said it is a "responsibility" for young men to serve, whereas it is more of an "opportunity" for young women. It's interesting, though, that young women at age 18 are considered more mature than young men of the same age.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 1:43 p.m.

    My son will be able to go right out of high school if he chooses.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    Furry 1993 "We took a lot of grief becuase we alowed our older son to delay his mission until he was ready to go."

    That is really sad. My son didn't go on a mission and we took no grief from others. Hopefully this option of 18 after high school will give more opportunity to young men and women, not less. I don't expect there will be pressure for young men not ready to depart a year earlier. Some men need to live away from mom at college before jumping into a 2-year mission.

    I expect more opportunities for the faithful young women is apparent, plus more options for those that want to serve the military, mature young men and women that graduate from high school early, countries that have different graduation years or mandatory military service, and for sports scholarships.

    I hope that young women will get called to 2-year missions soon. 18-month missionaries may get home nearer the same time as 2-year missions which will help with 20-someting dating too. This is a good day.

  • donburi South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    This is great news! But many posters in their exuberance seem to be forgetting a key statement:

    "I am not suggesting that all young men will – or should – serve at this earlier age," President Monson said. Rather, he said, the option is now available based on individual circumstances and the recommendation of their local church leaders.

    I sincerely hope that those who are not ready to go on missions at these earlier ages do not go until they are ready. A year away at college right after HS is great preparation for a mission for those who have never lived away from home. Some may need to work for a year after HS to earn the necessary mission funds. Many will be better off with the additional year that brings added maturity and spirituality.

    I agree with Furry1993. Missionaries should go only when they are ready, whatever that age is. And nobody should be ridiculed or questioned for choosing to go later.

  • ijw Holladay, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    Continued revelation--so exciting. Will be great for many young men and women to have this option.

    Furry 1993: You are so right. There is often a different timing for individuals. I have personally seen this. We all need to be more supportive and less judgmental of the correct timing for others.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    Absolutely ridiculous. 19 is a stretch for the maturity level of young men. This will backfire for sure.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    "And nobody should be ridiculed or questioned for choosing to go later."

    Right. But the reality is, those who do not go immediately when they turn 18 and graduate HS will be looked down upon, judged by their fellow "Saints", as less worthy.

    As an outsider who is intimately acquainted with the Church in Utah, and attending Church meetings and activities more frequently than most LDS members, here is what I have observed.

    It is the nature of Mormons to do that. It is a culture that has developed a very strong "righteousness competition", with everybody competing silently and nonchalantly for recognition and callings, but feigning humility and pretending they don't judge others and they don't aspire to positions. But they all do, and the judgement is frequently very harsh. People are ostracized, children are left out, teens ignore rather than befriend, and YM and YW refuse to go on dates, or break up with others, telling them they are less worthy. I have seen it countless times. There is no doubt this age requirement change will be no different.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    "I agree with Furry1993. Missionaries should go only when they are ready, whatever that age is. And nobody should be ridiculed or questioned for choosing to go later."

    Or
    choosing to not going at all.

    There is a lot of pressure on young men within the church to serve a mission. We need to make more space for young men who choose to not serve a mission. Many young men leave the church around missionary age. Why? For some it is because they seek to escape the mission pressure and they feel they don't "fit" anymore. Personally I would like to see the church offer a variety of ways for the youth to serve. For example, shorter term service missions. Or opportunities to teach english.

    If I were a mission president I would be concerned about this new standard for young men. Inevitably there will be more instances of immature young men going out on missions.

  • GK Willington SLC, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    @ A Scientist

    Agreed.

    re: staypuffinpc

    Yes. It will. Alot more married 21 yr olds.

  • shark Buena Vista, VA
    Oct. 6, 2012 3:44 p.m.

    To A Scientist,
    This is the 2nd time I've agreed with you within about 3 weeks. Usually I don't. Sad to say, but in many instances, I think your predictions will come true, although not in every case. I suspect that the judging mentality of some LDS members may be more pronounced in Utah than it is outside of Utah. In our stake conference recently a sister gave a great talk about not judging. I took it to heart and wish everyone else would too, although in so saying (as well as my thoughts about Utah) I suppose I may sound judgmental! Sorry.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    @A Scientist
    "But the reality is, those who do not go immediately when they turn 18 and graduate HS will be looked down upon, judged by their fellow "Saints", as less worthy."

    They'd be judged that way by SOME fellow Saints. I didn't serve a mission and that led to negative views by some and probably cost me a few dates, but most members were perfectly fine with my not having served a mission.

    "But they all do"

    Your suggestion that they all do that is as misrepresentative as the notion that none of them do that. Some do, some don't. Those who ignore either category aren't going to help any sort of productive discussion on the matter move forward.

  • omahahusker Modesto, CA
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:28 p.m.

    As many LDS "Good Intentioned" moms earn their Eagle Scout for their sons, now see the number of young men (still boys) forced into the mission field. The number of homesick boys will easily double, but you never hear the stats of young men being returned early. This isn't a good call.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:33 p.m.

    When I was in boot camp at Parris Island there were a couple of 17 year olds and they were fine. Guys will just grow up a little quicker.
    As the father of a 17 year old male I think it makes sense to leave out of high school. It also makes sense if you dont think your kid is ready to use free agency and wait or dont go if you dont want to.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    To those who have reservations. One I never served a mission. I went straight into the military and stayed for 20 years. However, it can be said that I would do it again considering the home life I was under. It is a personal choice for those who serve a mission. Note that the only major requirement is that they have graduated from high school. The fact is that NOT every 18 year old is expected to go on a mission at that age. As has been said on numerous occasions today. It is based solely on when they feel it is right for them to go. It is only some LDS who put undo pressure on the Young Men to go at their appointed time. It is the majority who wants every young man to go when he is ready to go.

    Those who feel differently don't understand that this isn't a decision made lightly but one that has come from great wisdom of the one who leads the Church, JESUS CHRIST and him a lone. You must get on board with this decision and accept it with all integretity.

    It is time.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:46 p.m.

    Like so many of you, I think this is exciting news! Granted not all 18 year olds are mature enough. Some reach 40 and still aren't mature enough. Revelations are given and then it is up to us to decide how best to follow them; as has been stated here, President Monson didn't say 18 was mandatory, but a possibility now. While on my mission there was a young man who entered the mission field when he was 17. This was in Germany and he was mature enough and serving early allowed him to also complete his military requirements before age 25. He got special permission and was an outstanding missionary.

    As Elder Holland stated "He is hastening his work" and indicated this was a part of that mandate. I thought it also interesting - he mentioned that it works better when young men and young women are serving together to have the sisters older than the guys; thus, sister missionaries wait until they are 19 -- apparently is solves many potential problems.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Oct. 6, 2012 4:47 p.m.

    I was nearly 22 when I went on a mission, it was very challenging but it is the core of who I am over 35 years later. Was I the best or most mature missionary, not at all. But did it help to prepare me to be married to a man in a wheelchair and his early death, for sure. Did it help to prepare me for motherhood and my only child leaving the church, yes, the Gospel is my core and that came from my mission and has helped me through many trials and choices. I think that missions are also there for the youth to help them to gain a better understanding of the Gospel. So the bonus is helping to bring others into the church, but it also is to help bring them into the church.

  • JParkerfan St. George, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    One question I have is that logistically it could be difficult. All of these 18 yr. olds wanting to go right after graduation. How does the church handle all of the missionaries going to MTC in June?

  • Aimless Bellevue, WA
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:07 p.m.

    MoJules:
    You are so right that the missionary is the one whose life is changed and blessed the most! In our family, we sent out five missionaries, including one daughter. I think the benefits remain with them always.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:36 p.m.

    To:Bill in Nebraska, This is great news and one can see that Jesus Christ is at the Head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
    Church lowers age requirement. Qualifications Elders, … and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. if a man is blameless, the husband of ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.(1 Titus 5-6)
    “But realize this, that in the last days…[there will be men] holding to a form of godliness” who do not belong to God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
    .

  • bountifulmomofsix BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:41 p.m.

    How exciting that the option to serve at a younger age has been extended to the young men and women of the church!

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:46 p.m.

    Great Joy. Molly can Now Serve A Mission without having to wait till age 21.Which was to long await and to unrealistic for most. Also an Elder can get out on his Mission with out interrupting his College Education. As for the Tucson Temple Congrads and its long needed and awaited. I hope many Sessions are in Spanish. I would like to see that Temple District lines and see if Northern Mexico is evolved in anyway. The Goal being to keep illegals out and not ease entry in anyway. However Mexican Citizens come over and trade on the U.S. side, just as we do on their side. Something could be worked out in regard to day passes. It might bring some freedom of Religion Questions to light. In both we will have to wait and see.

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:50 p.m.

    Now High chool Sweethearts can both be RM's with out spending all those years waiting. Great DAy!!!

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 8:44 p.m.

    I don't think I was ever "ridiculed" for not going on a mission but definitely was pressured (not by parents who were inactive). Going to BYU I entered a dating wasteland past the age of 20. Over time, women in the church start to judge you by the person you are or have become rather than the decisions you make at age 19. There is still some amount of judging even now than I'm in my mid 40's about "not serving" but for the most part I was never ridiculed or made fun of per se but quietly judged in later life and pressured (somewhat in a positive and loving way as I look back) when I was around missionary age).

    P.S. My 13 year-old daughter seems ver

  • marilee Savoy, IL
    Oct. 6, 2012 9:03 p.m.

    For Furry1993:
    That's too bad that that happened in your family. However, I believe this new "option" will reduce the stigma of elders going at different times. The policy seems to be more "go when you are ready and when the circumstances are best for you, your family and the Spirit." It's more flexible that "go when you are 19."
    I have 3 daughters--better start saving money.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Oct. 6, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    JParkerfan said:

    "One question I have is that logistically it could be difficult. All of these 18 yr. olds wanting to go right after graduation. How does the church handle all of the missionaries going to MTC in June?"

    I would think that callings will be extended to avoid just that. So they are not overloaded in June.
    Also, I just can't see someone graduating from high school. And immediately go right to the MTC. Who knows. It just seems like some time in between to prepare would be helpful.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 9:38 p.m.

    I wanted to say my 13 year-old daughter is very excited about the reduced age of going on a mission.

  • rogerdpack Orem, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:14 p.m.

    Forward, pressing forward... :)

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    Some have genuine concern about the younger age to which the missionaries can no go. This has already been mentioned in some of the comments, but Elder Holland did say that leaving at the earlier age is "optional".

  • Neanderthal Ogden, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:52 p.m.

    I'm surprised that the President didn't preface the announcement with a statement that this was made a matter of prayer. It more than likely was, but members need to have this assurance.

  • Miss Piggie Ogden, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:57 p.m.

    @A Scientist:

    "... the reality is, those who do not go immediately when they turn 18 and graduate HS will be looked down upon, judged by their fellow 'Saints,' as less worthy."

    It will provide an excuse for the 'less worthy' to use age/maturity as an excuse while getting their lives squared away.

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    Young LDS women between 19 and 21 who don’t feel they have found their place will be blessed.
    Many more young women will serve as missionaries.
    These young women will add tremendously to the spirituality of the missions to which they are sent.
    Reluctant pre-mission young men, seeing their female peers and dates leaving on missions, may get with it and go.
    More missionaries will serve simply because the tendency will be to go earlier rather than later. It’s long been demonstrated that the longer a young man waits to go, the less likely he is to serve at all.
    Satan takes down or clips off many young men between the ages of 16 and 19. Now there will be something of a shield in place to help preserve these precious young men. Now, with a focus to be prepared by one’s high school graduation date – now that is something not so “far-off” and vague in the teenage mind!
    I believe this move will strengthen young marriages and families, because the young men will be better prepared for marriage, and the young women who serve will bring into the marriage many advantages for themselves and their families.

  • justmesal MOUNTAIN VIEW, WY
    Oct. 7, 2012 12:58 a.m.

    Furry 1993: You are right about timing for different individuals. That is why I think this is such a great announcement! I have known so many who were ready at 18, or 19,or 20, or 21, or older. That is terrible that your son was given grief because he didn't go, "when they decided he should have." I am 58 and just now getting my bachelor's degree ( I did have my associates degree years ago.) does that mean something is wrong with me because I chose a different path than to get all my education when younger? And your son was smart to chose to wait until he was ready. I also hope no one judges youth who go at 18 as being too young, I think an 18 year old who is ready, willing, and able, will make just as valiant and awesome a missionary as a young man of 21 who is ready, willing and able and choses to wait until then!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 7, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    @runnerguy50.....Parris Island didn't have 'options'. Once the Marines have you the opportunity to sleep in, talk back, take a day off, relax etc. etc. doesn't exist. Missionaries can do whatever they want whenever they want. It's simply personal obligation to do the work and live the life. Nobody is going to kick you in the teeth or make you walk 15 miles with a loaded pack because you filled out your paperwork late. It's not near the same thing.

  • JoeCoug OREM, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 7:06 a.m.

    I, too, am very excited and optimistic about this revelation. That said, one component I haven't heard referenced is the financial one. For those ready and choosing to leave at 18 and 19, their window of earning income to support themselves is now dramatically reduced (especially young women and their families). It will definitely be more of a strain on family budgets, but a completely worthy one. Our 17 year old turns 18 in March, and we thought he and we would have another 18 months to prepare financially.

    That being said, I know the Lord will provide...

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Oct. 7, 2012 7:47 a.m.

    I have five sons one is now serving one who is 18 and is ready to serve and who himself has made it possible to pay his own way. I have another who is sixteen who I feel would be better to wait till nineteen to server and two other sons who the jury is still out on do to age. I feel that for the majority it will be good for them to serve at 18 then 19 If I had that chance at 18 I would have gone but I went Military first then mission. I am pleased to see the age for sisters in now lower and I hope to see a influx in sisters serving as well they bring a spirit to the mission field that elders can not. And last I support the Prophet and the debate ends with hiim.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    @Dennis

    I went to boot camp as an 18 yr old a week or two after graduating high school. Nobody had to "kick me in the teeth" to get me to fulfill and meet the stringent discipline required. Just my personal obligation and oath to do it. Likewise nobody had to threaten me with sending me home from my mission to get me to meet the very demanding requirements of a mission. Just my personal obligation and oath to do it. I'm sure a great many service men and missionaries fall in the same boat. And yes, military service is more the same as missionary service in this regard than not. SOME or MANY 18 yr olds are perfectly capable of the maturity and self-discipline required to serve either in the military OR on a full-time mission.

  • HotGlobe SAN RAFAEL, CA
    Oct. 7, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    The
    reason
    I'm not a Mormon
    is that all the missionaries
    coming to my door were too old.
    This could change everything for me.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    I hope this works out, but this reminds me of when the Church, in order to boost the numbers of missionaries serving, shortened missions for men to 18 months. The theory was that if there was less of a time and financial burden to serve a mission, more would go. They didn't. Since missionaries were returning after 18 months vs. 24, it meant that they were leaving just as they had mastered the languages, scriptures and discussions. Since they were returning quicker and we weren't getting more in, the number of missionaries out at any given point shrank. Each mission received fewer missionaries and so areas in the missions were closed. With fewer missionaries and with those missionaries being less experienced, baptisms plummeted. Once this was realized, the 18 month policy was abandoned. It was a huge failure.

    Let's hope that this new policy doesn't have similar unintended consequences. In my stake, young men are encouraged to leave home for awhile before leaving on missions to help them gain experience being away from home. This helps prevent homesick missionaries wanting to return home. This won't happen now. Could this unforeseen consequence doom this change too?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 4:16 p.m.

    RE: Kevin J. Kirkham I hope this works out, but this reminds me of when the Church, in order to boost the numbers of missionaries serving.

    The increasing of Mormon missionaries may sour the Christian vote. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15 that false prophets will come in sheep’s clothing, He’s telling us they will look like His followers: they will look like Christians. The apostle Paul also warned that false apostles and deceitful workers “disguise themselves” as apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13).?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 7, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    Again, those who have concerns really didn't see or listen to the Press Conference held after the first session. Attending were Elder Holland and Elder Nelson of the Missionary Executive Committee along with Elder Evans of the Seventy. In that press conference they touched upon each and every questioned mentioned here. They stated emphatically that not all 18 year olds would be able to go but would wait until they are ready to go. For some this will allow them to fulfill their responsibilities of a mission before starting school and preparing for their lives after a mission. They also stated that the time in the MTC will be cut to allow more missionaries into the MTC. Also, this was not a whim but something that has already been going on in 48 countries through out the world. This was a matter of prayer. Sharrona you have no play in this at all.

    The Lord, Jesus Christ, has directed this and we as members must accept it. If you haven't then you need to get on your knees until you do.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 7, 2012 6:20 p.m.

    @GuisseppeG....how many times at basic training did you sleep in and tell the drill instructor you were going to take the day off? I spent 11 months in the Mission Home running the Mission with the Mission President. Want to share stories some time?

  • Mike Johnson Stafford, VA
    Oct. 7, 2012 6:48 p.m.

    This morning while I was watching President Monson online, my 16-year-old daughter walked into the room. She asked what she had missed and I told her that President Monson had just reduced the mission age for women to 19. She screamed in excitement.

    This evening, I have been wondering about another young person, who now has another option. I am referring to Jabari Parker, recruited by top basketball programs across the country. They know they would only have him for a year, because he will be eligible for the 2014 draft or he might go on a mission. Now, he has the option of going on a mission this coming summer. I look forward to seeing what he decides. I wonder if he does go, if an NBA team would draft him in 2015, with a few months left on his mission. I wonder if that would be a first--drafted into a major sport while serving a mission.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 8:55 p.m.

    18 - wow that is pretty young! It will work but it will take some adjustment with members and their boys. First off many young men work for a year after HS to earn a good chunk of their mission money. That is no more. Parents will have to now foot the entire mission
    for the most part. A committed savings plan when kids are young will be the best way forward. Second, BYU freshman wards are no more. Can't have a ward of just girls! Third, young men need to REALLY get mission ready a lot earlier. No more waiting and taking the mission prep classes after graduation. 18 is really young and there are probably some who are ready at that age but most aren't. Having NEVER been away from home before to college or work until they land in South Africa as a fresh 18 year old is going to be a real eye opener. Everything is possible and when the prophet speak you just do it and let the Lord take care of the rest.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 9:01 p.m.

    Way too much pressure for a young man to wait til 19 and watch all all his friends go in the mission field. I suspect there is going to an adjustment period that will be really hard for mission presidents who are going to be dealing with some really young green homesick kids. I hope bishops in ward really take an active role and advise young men with mission finances as well as their maturity level. Bishops shouldn't sign the papers unless the young man is really ready to go. Having a young man feel forced into the field at 18 when he isn't ready is a disaster. Allowing a young man to go into the field thinking he is ready - when is really isn't is an equally bad situation.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 9:06 p.m.

    From playing video games in the basement to teaching the gospel in South Africa - only separated by a couple months now. Wow! One thing is for sure - the Young Mens program is going to have to get ALOT more serious to get these kids ready by 18. No more goof off night in the ward gym - now there is going to have to be some SERIOUS effort to mature these boy both mentally and spiritually in an accelerated way.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Oct. 7, 2012 9:31 p.m.

    Why can't they both go at 18?

    Some countries missionaries are older because of mandatory military requirement, like South Korea which is still technically at war, they go after and after college. It makes sense to go free of family responsibilities but an older person who had lived life can be a more reasonable person to connect to for many.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2012 9:54 p.m.

    @Dennis,

    None, but we did have guys go over the wall and screw around quite a bit. I'm guessing you didn't actual spend time in basic if you think that doesn't occur?

    Swing on by sometime and we can swap stories, both mission and military. I didn't spend any months in the mission office, so can't say whether or not other missionaries slept in or asked for days off. I was out in the field my whole time so can only speak for myself and the guys in the houses I was with. Don't recall any more sleeping in or gold bricking than when I was in the military. Not exactly sure why that means anything in regards to serving a mission at age 19 or 18 though. My guess is your mission experience was with 19+ elders, not 18 yr old elders.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 7, 2012 10:04 p.m.

    OK, here is something to think about. I would imagine that logically there won't be that many young men that will go the day they turn 18. Most turn 18 sometime during their senior year of high school (in the US anyway). They wouldn't go till they graduate. That would make many of them 18+. And then if some don't want to think about it till after graduation, there would be some lag time between getting their papers in, getting their call and actually going. Most of these young men will be well over 18 by the time they go- not that different from 19.

    Sharonna- nice scriptures but they don't apply to this discussion.

    Kevin Kirkham- Glass half empty?

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    The world has 7 billion inhabitants for the LDS Church to contact and teach. The Church has 14 million members, with something like 40 percent active. A percentage of the young men become atheistic, agnostic, or indifferent in the year between high school graduation and their 19th birthdays and decide not to serve missions. Parents and leaders have not figured out a way to keep them from turning away from the Church. We can blame information on the Internet, but other things work into the equation. Military analysts always say that when a nation is losing the war, the age of the soldiers goes down. And like the US Military, the LDS Missionary Department will now get boys at 18 so that fewer people will have influenced / corrupted them before they get trained in the program.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 6:04 a.m.

    @ SS

    Your comment makes sense about more immature missionaries since they can go at younger ages. However, I believe it will decrease the amount of immature missionaries. Instead of having a year where they are just waiting to go, or deciding if they want to go, I think we are going to get missionaries that are fired up and excited to go. Same with the sisters. Now they can go sooner, and I think we might see more sisters going now, and marrying after. Either way though, you got it right, President Monson did not make this choice, the Lord did, and President Monson listened to Him. Exciting news.

    I was actually at this session, and the sound of the crowd when President Monson announced this is something I will never forget, especially when he announced that sisters can go at age 19. There was a buzz and an excitement for a brief couple seconds. Conference was awesome as always.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 6:27 a.m.

    @Furry 1993

    A mission has a funny way of making you grow up. I don't think maturity will be a problem. Those who are worthy and able to go at age 18 will go. If not, they will wait, but they can still go. Better late than never. That is awesome though that your sons both went, the 21 year old, the important thing is not when he went, it is that he went.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    @ Dennis

    Absolutely ridiculous. 19 is a stretch for the maturity level of young men. This will backfire for sure.

    I am glad you are more competent than President Monson and the Lord. If 19 is such a stretch, how have so many people joined the church? There are also very little incidents that happen from these so called "immature" 19 year olds.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    @ A Scientist

    I think it is funny how LDS members are called judgemental. We are no more or less judgemental than any other group of people.

    There is gossip between Hollywood Stars, pro athletes, and people from all walks of life. I will say that if I see someone with multiple tattoos and piercings, I will form an opinion of that person. On the other side if I see someone well groomed and nicely dressed, I will also form an opinion of that person. Now, maybe the person with the tattoos and piercings is a person with character, and maybe the well groomed person is a criminal. Bottom line, we all are guilty of being judgemental. I am not saying it is right, but it is true. It is why we need the gospel. We all have our hypocrisies and faults. Sometimes being judgemental is not bad though. We trust some people, others we don't, sometimes for good reason.

    So you are right, as LDS members, we are judgemental, but this just in...... So are Catholics, Baptists, atheists, etc. etc. etc

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 8:55 a.m.

    RE: O'really, Sharonna, nice scriptures but they don't apply to this discussion.

    Church lowers age requirement. Qualifications for Elders, nd appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. if a man is blameless, the husband of ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.(1 Titus 5-6).

    From the Christian point of view, They do apply. The timing is interesting, right after the Romney wins the debate with, Obama.
    But realize this, that in the last days[there will be men] holding to a form of godliness who do not belong to God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 8, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    Sharrona again you have no play in this. It doesn't apply to you nor do the scriptures. As Elder Hales said on Sunday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christian and in many ways more than any other on the face of the earth.

    Those feeling wow this is going to fail do not realize Jesus Christ is the head of the LDS Church and he has determined just as Peter, James, John and the other Apostles at the time of his death were just as immature in the faith as any 18 year old. They were sent into the world to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ just as we will send our young men into the world to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ today. As the Doctrine and Covenants state, "The lord will on the right hand and on their left and the angels will be there to bouy them up." The work is increasing and the time is right and the time is now.

    Jump for joy as the Lord is in charge, not a mere man.

  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 8, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Perhaps we will see modifications in the YM curriculum, and possibly limitations on involvement with Scouting. Maybe it will become only a deacons quorum activity, which for the most part is has, a long time ago..

  • wjutjck Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 2:16 p.m.

    Everyone questioning the age of 18 for young men should really listen to the News Conference that was held on Saturday. You can find it on the LDS.ORG page. In the news conference we were told that for the past decade in 48 countries, 18 year old men have been called on missions. In each case, it was requested by the young man's bishop or stake president due to military requirement rules, education/scholarship issues, and other reasons. So for the past 10 years, many 18 year olds have been called on missions and done well. In the news conference it was also stated that many of the mission presidents where these 18 years olds have served, request more all the time. The decision to lower the age from 19 to 18, has been a matter of prayer for a long time. I think my son would have been thrilled to have been able to serve at 18. He couldn't wait to go and he turned 19, 15 months after HS graduation.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    sharrona
    Qualifications for Elders, nd appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. if a man is blameless, the husband of ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.(1 Titus 5-6).

    KJK
    So, in order to be an Elder, a man MUST be married to one woman (if he loses his wife to death or divorce, he can't be an elder because he won't have a wife and he can't remarry since that would give him 2 wives) and he must have children too per the scripture. If he or his wife is infertile, that disqualifies him too. Is this what you are claiming?

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    Jazzledazzle wrote:

    "So you are right, as LDS members, we are judgemental, but this just in...... So are Catholics, Baptists, atheists, etc."

    So that makes it OK? Is this an attempt at rationalization? Sure looks that way.

    And there is an important difference with atheists being judgmental: atheists are not under any divine obligation, or covenant, to be otherwise.

    But whatever helps you sleep at night...

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 2:03 p.m.

    I remember when the age was 21, and then lowered to 19 for young men.

    18 should be no problem.

    If they're old enough to carry an M-16 and be shot at 1/2 way around the world,
    Their certianly old enought to carry a BofM and be shouted at 1/2 way around the world.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    RE: Kevin J. Kirkham So, If he or his wife is infertile, that disqualifies him too. Is this what you are claiming. NO,
    1 …Elders in every city as I commanded you. if a man is blameless, the husband of *ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.(1 Titus 5-6).
    Elders should be married but, No polygamy, Like the Apostles, “Don't we have the right to take a believing Wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?”)(1 Cor 9:5 NIV)

    2. Elder qualifications defined, (4245,* presbyteros)=Presbyterian, among the Jews members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men.
    Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and *presbyters interchangeably.

  • BigBenzo88 Herriman, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 8:22 p.m.

    Does anyone know if young men planning on serving a mission the summer after they graduate...do they still apply for college or would they have to wait until they return from their mission to apply for college?

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 5:50 a.m.

    This change will help the young men through a very difficult transition from Priests to Elders by giving the young men a purpose and higher adventure.

    If you consider, many young men give up High School, the Seminary Program, High Adventure Scouts, Young Men Activities, Varsity Sports, and suddenly they transistion to the Elder's Quorum (which in my experience is not nearly as activity centered)--there's a huge disconnect there.

    Some bishops encourage their young men to stay in Young Men, but that's got an almost "We're holding you back" sort of feel to it.
    Some bishops send them off to Single's Wards, but then there's an even greater disconnect--and that's if they actually GO to their assigned ward, which many don't. And if they do, they're sort of stuck in a holding pattern due to the fact that they can't reasonably expect to form a single's relationship without losing a chance to serve a mission.
    Some bishops give them a calling, often in the Primary... but that's only a Sunday thing.

    It's better that they be allowed to go serve. Very inspired change...

  • Alaskan Ute Fairbanks, AK
    Oct. 10, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    I suspect their are a lot of individuals like me, who wished this policy would have been in effect earlier. I was one who lost my way after high school, and will forever regret not serving a mission in my youth. My immature mistakes resulted in significant spiritual delays. I believe the change is inspired.

    And by the way, my freshman daughter at BYU has announced she will be leaving for her mission after she completes her Freshman year. Yea!

  • morpheus2009 Provo, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    @raybies, plenty of people didn't serve missions, myself included, but still had no problem in the dating world, or getting married. The whole idea that somehow serving a mission alone guarantees some sort of impressive miracle in dating is a myth, and a rediculous one at that.

    It's also true, and which you conveniently left out, that if you are excused from a mission, but otherwise worthy, you receive an honorable release, which is just as good as saying that you served a mission.

    There are also special missions that people with issues of health can serve in alternate means to proselyting, such as family history or temple attendance, which was a call to me given my own health conditions. The church and priesthood leaders are far more caring and evaluating at finding ways for young adults to serve missions than it may seem.