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Numbers of new LDS missionaries 'unprecedented,' church says (+video)

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  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:41 p.m.

    Red Corvette: Same thought: Can't get a job; go on a mission!

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Jan. 7, 2013 9:11 p.m.

    You are correct, desperate times call for desperate measures. We certainly do live in desperate times, when the Gospel is needed now more than ever. These times when so many more people are searching for the light the Gospel brings......yes, we need more missionaries to bring that message to them.

  • Wee One Santa Monica, CA
    Jan. 7, 2013 9:26 p.m.

    Not too long ago there was an emphasis on "flooding the Earth" with the Book of Mormon. Now we are "flooding the Earth" with missionaries. Great things will no doubt be coming on the horizon as these young men/young women will be home around the same time filled with the Spirit. I expect marriages to go up and children being raised in many more homes where both mom and dad have served missions. I was told in our neck of the woods, 18/19 year olds will be here in early March.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Jan. 8, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    A wonderful part of all this is that so many more adults of this next generations will be able to testify from humble experience the things that their missions did for them, in terms of personal growth, sacrifice, consecration, and blessings to families across the globe. I am so grateful that the chance for my granddaughters to serve missions will be greater, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a positive affect on my grandsons, too. All of my children served missions, and it has blessed our family tremendously. I am grateful for inspired leaders and welcome this change.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 6:17 a.m.

    I love to read the "spin" put on comments by those outside the Church. They all preach gloom and doom and say the Church is going down in membership and activity. If that were true why would the Church be building so many more Temples and Chapels? The cost to build these buildings is tremendous not to mention the upkeep. Having traveled the world for the past 40 years, I can tell you that the Church is stronger than ever in ALL parts of the world, and grownig in places that you would not think of because the Church goes in the "front door". The that door does finally open, we walk in and the Church grows in leaps and bounds. Where other Churchs play the bribe game, we do not and thereby gain the trust of the Government in the long run and get a foothold that lasts. No unhallowed hand can stop the Church from rolling forth. Sure and steady.

  • Dauly Provo, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 6:20 a.m.

    Isn't it interesting that this article gets so much positive press yet the residents of Provo won't allow the MTC to build a taller building to hold the missionaries. Actions speak louder than words.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 6:23 a.m.

    It'd be a record now since 18 and 19 year old guys and 19 20 and 21 year old girls would all have this as the first year they'd be eligible. The real question is what it'll be next year, whether it falls back to what there was before the change or if it stays at some elevated (though not as high as this year) level.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 7:13 a.m.

    This huge increase in missionary applications is to be expected and is not surprising. The key thing is whether this high rate of applications will continue in two or three years. Many of the 18-year olds who are applying would have applied when they became 19 or 20. This policy change will, hopefully, pick up many of the 18-year olds who wouldn't have applied when they became 19 or 20.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 7:38 a.m.

    being one of those who graduated from High School at 18, I had to wait a year, and also put my name in a lottery to be able to serve a mission. I started my education, but I would have much rather started my mission early, then started my formal education. just one man's opinion.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    Dauly- would you like a highrise in your backyard? The church pulled back and decided not to build it out of respect for the neighborhood. Yes. Actions do speak loudly.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    I've been told that 18-year-old missionaries have already been serving in other countries. My daughter-in-law is from Japan, and she said that if high school graduates start college, they can't interrupt college for any reason. If they do interrupt it, they have to start over when they return from the interruption.

    I support the policy change because I support our leaders. Time will tell about the effect of this change on the rates of missionary-applications.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    Statistically, it will have to level off when the system adjusts and absorbs the shift. Atl134 is right.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Everything the prophets do is on the Lord's time, not man's time. There is a season and a time for all things and this is the season the Lord has appointed through his Prophet. What a blessing to have a Prophet that can lead and guide us through this life's paths if we listen to his counsel and guidance through the Holy Ghost that can help all people.

    The world has had strife and torment since the beginning and especially through our country's history, we have had our moments. We are so blessed in our nation to have relative peace from the torments that others in many countries experience.

    For those hunting for peace and light from the Lord can find that peace by searching the scriptures and listening with real intent to the missionaries. They have this zeal and spirit from their hearts and souls and from personal experiences through seminary and institute and from loving parents.

    These young men and women have desire to listen to the Prophet's voice. Thank goodness for good people throughout the world heeding calls to serve as those men and women who served the Willey-Martin pioneers.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    ATL134 and Esquire,

    Once the current tsunami wave passes (collapsing the next several years worth of applications into one) I do think there will be somewhat elevated levels of YM going on missions and significantly higher levels of YW. That is the talk I am hearing all around me from both YM and YW and I think it fairly reflects what I experienced "back in the day".

    Overall, I think this will be a very positive change for the mission program. Will there be challenges? Sure. Not necessarily any worse than the challenges today, just different.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    Elder Nelson is right. Rumors of underground missions are false. There are no missions, mission presidents, or called missionaries in communist countries. On the other hand, what people don't realize is that within the law, Chinese members in China are preaching the Gospel to their extended families. My experience working in Mainland China is that it is easy to find a ward or branch in every major city. When the missions finally open; there will be potential Chinese full-time missionaries ready to take the call too.

  • Allen#2 WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    Eddie: The church is building many new chapels BUT MANY chapels that had 3 wards meeting in them now have 1 or 2 wards because many members are moving away from where present chapels are located and the church is not stronger in all areas.

    Our stake has consolidated 8 wards into 6 since June 2008. A stake next to ours had 4 buildings with 7 wards. In 2001, the number of wards was reduced to 5. Two buildings have been demolished and the stake was consolidated into the stake next to it where the total of 10 wards was reduced to 8. Three Taylorsville stakes were reduced to 2 stakes within the last 2 years (but I don't know how many wards were discontinued).

    Barstow California had 2 wards and was a stake center a few years ago. There is now only 1 ward in Barstow and the stake was discontinued in 2008. The San Jose East Stake was discontinued in 2007. The Anaheim 3rd Ward has fewer members that it did a few years ago. (There is a list of many stakes that have been discontinued in the LDS Church Almanac including 21 stakes in California alone.)

  • Allen#2 WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    Eddie: The church is building many new chapels BUT MANY chapels that had 3 wards meeting in them now have 1 or 2 wards because many members are moving away from where present chapels are located indicating the church is not stronger in all areas.

    Our stake has consolidated 8 wards into 6 since June 2008. A stake next to ours had 4 buildings with 7 wards. In 2001, the number of wards was reduced to 5. Two buildings have been demolished and the stake was consolidated into the stake next to it where the total of 10 wards was reduced to 8. Three Taylorsville stakes were reduced to 2 stakes within the last 2 years (but I don't know how many wards were discontinued).

    Barstow California had 2 wards and was a stake center a few years ago. There is now only 1 ward in Barstow and the stake was discontinued in 2008. The San Jose East Stake was discontinued in 2007. The Anaheim 3rd Ward has fewer members that it did a few years ago. (There is a list of many stakes that have been discontinued in the LDS Church Almanac including 21 stakes in California alone.)

  • mjkkjk Provo, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    Re: O'really

    If that 9 story building (NOT a high rise) were for the church to train missionaries, then I would ABSOLUTELY support it.

    Some of us have lived in other parts of the world where we have 360 degrees of ugly. If it pains you to move your head slightly to the left or right in order to still see the mountains, you won't get much sympathy from me.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    atl134 asked, "The real question is what it'll be next year, whether it falls back to what there was before the change or if it stays at some elevated (though not as high as this year) level."

    As the article stated the biggest surge is from young women. Women that would not have gone are finding the opportunity and my guess, young men finding a mission more exciting if more of their peers are going. The numbers will not go back to the level before the change.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    I'll wager that a large focus of the bigger numbers is to search out members on the rolls but who no longer attend. Knocking on doors is a complete waste of time, I did it every day for two years with no results. They'll pester those who have moved on in hopes of baptizing their spouses/kids.

  • SoUtBoy25 Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    No mention of the tremendous burden this leaves on mission presidents that now oversee on average over 250 missionaries and districts. I think 120-150 missionaries is ideal, my mission had 80-100 in Europe. After visiting my father in South America, 200 missionaries and two districts had him working 24/7 including a call at 3am from a sister missionary after a drunken man had broken into their apt. Many of the young missionaries (especially the good latin elders and sisters) had little money and support from their parents and often were recent converts themselves. The mission was their first real gospel experience and often times the mission president and mission mom were the first real family experience they had. It would be sad to lose that relationship. One thing that really helped was older couple missionaries. However, there are far too few missionary couples. I wish the senior couples were as responsive as the young elders and sisters when the Church leaders called for them to serve.

  • Kenny_Merriken Lake City, FL
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    Maybe the LDS missionaries will soon enter the "front door" in Cuba in large numbers if they have not already done so.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    @mjkkjk I'm not dissing the church at all. My point is that for 40-50 years or more (guessing) these folks have NOT had a 9 story building blocking their view of the mountains or casting long morning shadows on their gardens or whatever. Then to suddenly have one is not what you bargained for when you bought the house. I don't know all the reasons the church decided against the 9 story building but I'm sure respect for the neighborhood was one of them. And obviously, the Lord is flexible in these things because the building plan was cancelled. The church always takes the neighbors into consideration when building, hoping to increase property values by gracing and beautifying an area rather than detracting from it.

    I, too, (one of the "some of us") have lived in ugly surroundings. Your comment was a bit on the condescending side for one with so much faith.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    Quite interesting and perplexing. What if all the other thousands of different organized religions and corporate churches like the Mormon church were to spend money and time to send our the hundred of thousands missionaries around the world filling people's minds with sugar plums and pie in the sky. I suppose it is a positive growing experience for the missionaries, if nothing else they get a good introduction into ML Marketing that is especially popular in Utah, but does it really help the world. Wouldn't it be a better approach to train and equip the missionaries to go out into the world and teach people how to fish, read, write, vote, community health, education, etc. It seems it would be less costly and much more beneficial to all concerned because once educated people will find their own way to a church (or not) on their own, of their own choice.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    @Twin Lights and Canyontrecker
    "I do think there will be somewhat elevated levels of YM going on missions and significantly higher levels of YW. "

    "Women that would not have gone are finding the opportunity and my guess, young men finding a mission more exciting if more of their peers are going. The numbers will not go back to the level before the change."

    I agree; that will most likely be the case with the only uncertainty being the extent that the numbers increase.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    Re: Allen#2

    I've been a member since 1979 and even back then I knew of wards that were disbanded and buildings that went to other congregations ect. Nothing new, it has and always will be a part of a growing church where people move to new areas. I know that so many people began moving to Utah that President Kimball began telling Saints to stay and build up the Church in their own area. There was no mandate to move to "Zion". Yet anyway. It is the Temples that are the key. Where the Church establishes a Temple, roots are pretty strong, and the way they have been going up all around the world, I'd say the Church now has a stable and large footprint on most of the planet. And with all the new missionaries, more to come........

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    In previous generations, the draft and military were both factors in young men going on a mission. That has not been a factor for 40 years, however, in the United States of America and during that time all Prophets have urged young men to go on missions. Now the sons and grandsons of those men are now entering that age group to go on missions, when they maybe didn't have the opportunity due to allotments on missionaries.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    @skeptic The missionaries do all that, too. I taught many people to read on my mission. My son who is on a mission right now helped a couple plan their wedding! The missionaries learn NOTHING of ML marketing on their missions. That's preposterous. They do go door to door and find people who are desperate for the positive change the gospel can give them. I've seen it with my own eye. It's folks like you who inject your sour and skeptical view of this great work who do more damage than an missionary could do.

    @SoUtBoy I'm sure we'll see more missions formed soon, too, reducing the number any single mission president has to preside over. It may be tight for awhile but they do have local assistants to help.

    As for stakes dissolving in CA, no wonder. Folks are trying to leave CA in droves.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    Missionaries learn sales skills. Point blank. All the follow ups, prospecting, hot/cold leads, ex-members, new-converts, etc ... it's all basic sales.

  • statman Lehi, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    We got to Skype with our son at Christmas, and this was one of the things we discussed with him. They'd just gotten an update from their mission president on what to expect: their mission (in CA) currently has ~150 missionaries, and will be getting 70 new missionaries in the next eight weeks. 60 of those will be sisters. They've been told to expect a peak of ~250 missionaries that will hit early in the summer. They'll be at that level until new missions are announced and at that point the total will drop back down to about 200. The final total they expect for sister missionaries is about 40%-45%, a little more than double what they have now. They were also told to expect that service would become a major component of their every-day activities - teaching ESL to hispanics, service at traditional service organizations like the red cross or civic organizations, and taking of advantage of individual service opporttunities where they present themselves.

    That was what one mission president told his missionaries in one California mission, but it is completely inline with the article and the video.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    @O'really,
    I have lived around Mormons most of my life and I have had interaction with the Mormon missionaries, I am sorry to tell you I have never seen or heard of them doing: as you say; all that. If in fact they are, then that is great, I hope it is true. Nevertheless, the question is how many schools and universities could be build at the cost of the churches and temples build, and how many educators could populate the schools and universities in place of itinerate missionaries knocking door to door changing little in the homes or communities. It would be sweet to see more done to really help people in need. If a person is a good person does it really matter if he/she is Mormon, or something different (Catholic, Protestant, Buda, Atheist, etc.)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    LValfre,

    Missionaries learn people skills, organization, and study habits. They have all served me well. But I do nothing with sales. The engineers, medical folks, pilots, and dozens of other career types I go to church with (not all quite so lofty) owe much to their mission experience.

    Skeptic,

    I never preached the “sugar plums and pie in the sky” sermon. I will have to look it up.

    Do missionaries help the people they contact and teach? In my own experience (as a convert) absolutely. I am not saying my life path was horrible without the Church, but it has vastly improved. Same for most of the converts I know - more stable marriages, avoidance of addictions and lower debt. Living the gospel avoids a host of problems. Also, members are strongly encouraged to vote, to be healthy, and to maximize their educational opportunities.

    BTW, the missionaries DO teach folks to read and write. In the last few weeks alone, I have seen our missionaries working on this. I know members whose literacy prior to joining the church was very limited and was vastly improved by working with the missionaries. Same for language skills (English for Hispanic immigrants).

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    @Allen#2
    So when you account for all the new Chapels, does that equal all the buildings being torn down or wards being combined? No it does not. When you stop to think that there are about three new buildings every two days, I think you would have to agree with me that the number of wards is growning a lot faster (also reference the number of wards and stakes in the Ensign during Conference time. I also see that you did not mention anything about Temple growth. Why have there not been any Temple "Closings" or being torn down due to lack of use? You are always going to have population shifts and stakes with a large number of wards that will take time for the Church to make the adjustments to boundries, sometimes this will take years due to the population shifts.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    @Ernest T. Bass
    I can tell your heart was really into that tracting idea ! ! ! I also did it for two years and had quite a bit of success. More success from member referrals but sill we found a lot with door to door work and making it interresting for those we came in contact with.

    Also as to whoever said we do not have missionaries in communist countries....that is not entirely true. We have missionaries who are called to a neighboring country (Cambodia) and then serve in Vietnam. They have to be part Vietnamese but they are serving. They may be called "Missionaries" per say while in Vietnam, but they are called to serve on a mission. A lot of things go into this that cannot be explained here, but they are serving in a communist county and baptizing every week.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    skeptic, If you think more schools, universities and better education would help our country then I think most would agree. But why are you blasting religions in general, especially the Mormons for not using the member's donations to build more schools you ask?
    Maybe it's because we already donate to that cause. It's called TAXES my friend. And I watch daily how my taxes are spent. Many times contrary to my beliefs or opinions. But I pay them.

    Now when it comes to voluntary donations to my religion, I also see how my offerings are spent and I agree and support how my church uses my donations 100%.
    Please keep in mind also that the missionaries and their families pay for missions for the most part. So that's totally seperate from what the church is doing.

    It does amuse me to always see the same little group rushing to be the first ones to comment on an article where they have nothing positive to say and usually know very little about what they are even talking about. - Coal for Christmas again?

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Jan. 8, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    @Skeptic: According to what I was taught, yes, it does matter. And if you "deny" the Mormon church, even thought you happen to abide by most of its principles, you are much worse off than someone who isn't as good a person or someone who has not heard the Mormon gospel. Again, this is what I was taught growing up, so someone can correct me - and better yet those who told me this - if I am wrong.

  • Twin Sister LINDON, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    @ mjkkjk and O'really. I grew up in the neighborhood that is right next to the MTC and my parents still live there. They've been there 50 plus years. When the MTC was first built, Church officials promised the neighbors in this neighborhood that they would not build a building taller than four stories in order to preserve home values in our neighborhood. The idea to construct a nine-story building was passed through a committee without consulting the residents of this neighborhood nor taking into account the promise made to home owners by Church officials long ago when the MTC was first built. Therefore, when members of the neighborhood reminded Church officials about their promise, and after much negotiating, and later when the First Presidency learned of the promise, the First Presidency withdrew the nine-story building plan in order to honor the promise the Church made to home owners in this neighborhood so long ago. There are other ways to increase housing for the new missionaries at the Provo MTC without building a nine-story building. The Church missionary efforts will not suffer due to this change in building plans.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 8, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    @xscribe: That is much to think about, although I don't really understand it. Perhaps it helps explain why the (FLDS) polygamist Mormons are so determined and loyal to stay the course and follow their prophet. Some how I feel that with time and study we should grow, and that means change; hopefully for the good. But on issues of religion, your guess is as good (or better) than mine, so I will take your word for it.

  • Allen#2 WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    The LDS Church membership is decreasing in many areas with older homes such as central parts of Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logan, Bountiful, Holladay, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, and West Valley City resulting in many chapels not being used to capacity. (Our 32 year old building now has 2 wards instead of 3 since 2008 as does another building within our stake). There are now 3 Stake House buildings in an adjacent stake where there were 2 stakes with 12 wards but now one stake with 8 wards.

    Sadly, membership shifts results in building new chapels and schools when there are under utilized chapels and schools within 10 to 20 miles.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 7:09 p.m.

    skeptic "Wouldn't it be a better approach to train and equip the missionaries to go out into the world and teach people how to fish, read, write, vote, community health, education, etc."

    You may try reading the article and seeing the attached video before commenting. The extra missionaries will allow for exactly what you asked. The video said, "need a fence fixed? Look at the missionaries." It also shows missionaries in t-shirts doing welfare projects.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:22 p.m.

    When I read articles and comment boards like these, I am astounded by the tremendous pride and vanity displayed. Truly there has never been such a puffed up group of people!

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    I think the church is going to have a lot more sister missionaries in the field, even after the first wave dies down. I know a lot of women who would have served a mission if they weren't sidetracked by getting their "MRS" before 21.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 11, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    Thanks for the information Twin Sister. Interesting to hear it from someone who really knows.