My wife and I served as full time senior missionaries in the Canary Islands from
fall 2004 to spring 2006. There came to our mission an 18 year old young man,
whose father was a mission president in Mexico. As I observed him, he compared
very favorably with the 19 year olds, and in some cases, I felt his maturity
surpassed many of the 19 year olds. He was very humble, teachable, and a hard
worker, throughout his mission service, as long as we were there. As I recall,
he handled a very difficult situation on one of the Islands while serving as a
branch president. I believe this is a great decision, and know in my heart that
it came through revelation to the brethren. As I read a few weeks ago about the
18 year olds serving in some of the foreign countries, I thought to myself, I
wonder if we will receive an announcement that this program will be expanded to
the whole Church, come conference time. This is great.
*Swoons*/sarcasmSo much ado about nothing.
This is a fantastic option. I have seen all too many times young men get into
trouble or just while away their time in between high school graduation and
their 19th birthday. There was too little time for getting a job and/or for
college but too much time for just "hanging out" while watching the
calendar. They would have been much better off spending that time in the mission
field. I am also thrilled with the option for young women. So many of them can
now plan for a mission instead of merely looking at it as an option if nothing
else has worked out. I have also seen young women, in committed relationships
but wanting to serve a mission, have to wait so long to be able to do so. The
new policy does indeed greatly facilitate young men and young women in moving
forward with their lives. There is much to be excited about here.
What a great change! This impacts our family in a huge way, as our youngest
son, advanced in school, faced attending college for two years before being
eligible to go on a mission. He also would not see his friends for four years,
and after his mission would have to take the MCAT immediately. Now, he can
leave for the mission field after his freshman year at BYU, with everything else
falling into place. This has us all smiley-faced at our house. A so very
direct answer to prayers for this son of ours.
The enthusiasm is obvious, but I don't think this is that big of a deal. It
was a decision based on pragmatism, that's all. The brethren even said that
they need to see how it works. And for those affected, it only means a change in
the paradigm of making decisions in managing ones life, something we all have to
This decision far less about revelation and much more about numbers. The amount
of men interested in serving missions is dropping especially among those that
graduate high school well before their 19th birthday. At age 21 it is less an
option for woman since many are become established in their post high school
lives or married. On paper it should increase the numbers. What's the downside? Now you will have 18-21yr old males serving along
side 19-21yr old women. The amount of missionaries being sent home will rise.
There is a big difference between a 22yr old woman's opinion of a 19-20yr
old man and a 19yr old woman's opinion of a 20yr old man. The dynamic will
change and probably not for the purposes the church is hoping.
I wonder why some even bother to comment here, mocking and belittling something
that oviously doesn't factor into their lives or matter one way or another
to them personally... unless somewhere deep inside, it does. Left the Church but
not completely? YOu know you can always come back. I think this
cahnge in policy is wonderful and could petentially impact our family in a big
way. A positive way. I've always wondered why young women were made to wait
two years longer than the young men when girls (by most accounts) tend to mature
earlier than boys. Yes there will be some negatives to this but no
more than there are at present. It's going to be even more important now to
emphasize the preparation aspect of being a missionary. Hopefully getting a jump
on that before the guys turn 18 and drift off into the land of greater
temptation will be a big positive.
I am sure that a big part of this change is the wise desire to get men out on a
mission as soon as possible after graduating from high school and not getting
distracted with college and the other things that college brings (grades,
part-time jobs, careers, and girls).My wife and I have one sone out
right now (he returns next August) and another son who is 15 1/2. He'll
turn 18 during his senior year. It means we need to work more dilligently to
get him ready to go as soon as possible after graduating high school in the
spring of 2015.Is there a time for all these things? Of course:
AFTER a mision.I hope our son is ready and willing to go as soon as
possible so he can help the carvan move ever onward. The church IS TRUE!
I have two sons that graduate from high school at 17. This won't change
their plans to finish a full year of college and now hope to serve a couple of
months before their 19th birthday. This will allow them to get right back to
school after their missions instead of waiting 5 months for the next semester.
On the other hand, they have several friends that were in limbo for
six months between high school and turning 19. This is a great option for them
too. I imagine their will be a surge of missionaries from the
northern hemisphere each summer and another smaller surge from the southern
hemisphere each winter to fit into school breaks.
The local sports radio pundits are going crazy over this determining what it
does to our local college recruiting. Before or after the missions,
eligibility, red-shirting, snagging recruits during their missions, no fit young
men in programs for a year going away to soften up on missions…all aside
from the ecclesiastical ramifications mentioned here
I think it's pretty sad that parents think so poorly of their children.
We're glad that children can get on missions before they're overcome
with temptation from the big, scary college? The inference that our children
are so poorly raised with such a low level of moral character is shocking.
Certainly, that would cause the Church to NOT want to send out these youth to
work in such a morally demanding field. Is there more
"temptation" at college than in high school? Depends on the kid; if
he's never had to make choices between right/wrong before because mommy and
daddy made the choices for them (i.e. going to Church, keeping chaste, leaving
bad situations, etc.) then yes, the temptation is dramatically increased for the
kid because he's never really encountered it before. For others, it's
no different because they've already made choices in their lives. Perhaps the reason these parents are using to explain the Church's
decision would be more appropriately applied to themselves. Now, kids
won't have to suffer as intensely the negative affects of helicopter
I wonder why anyone would criticize this announcement. It is especially strange
that someone would criticize reaction to something that, they suggest,is "no
big deal" or "much ado about nothing." Even beyond the religious
significance for Latter-day Saints, there is a huge cultural impact on Mormons
and the communities they live in.Personally, I always find it
exciting to see a significant change in Church practice. It reminds me that the
Lord is in charge. (Is anticipation of that feeling the true target of critics?
Probably.) I am excited for the young men and women I know who will take
advantage of this change.