This is neat-o and lots of blessings for lots of people.
That's a really poorly-designed graphic. The longer bars represent the
smaller numbers--totally counterintuitive.
Well duh! Since they lowered the missionary age this was to be expected. I
can't wait to see how spectacularly this is going to fail.
I expect that at some point the surge in the number of missionaries will peak,
then drop as the number of those serving reaches equilibrium.
@James KirkHow is this going to fail? I don't think that it is
something that can fail. There will most likely definitely be a peak in the
numbers and then lower when both age groups aren't together anymore. That
wouldn't be failing, that would be expected. As for success in mission
work, it's all about loving and caring for the people you are around.
It's about inviting people to come unto Christ. It's about coming to
Christ for one's self. If the missionaries do this, then no matter what
they have succeeded.
My first thought when I saw this was "How will they all find room to tract?
The U.S. will get burned over."I served a mission in Los Angeles
and we spent most of our time tracting. I felt like we burned through hundreds
of relationships to find the few who were willing to talk about God on their
doorsteps. After awhile you knock every door in the area and people start to
recognize you. It's demoralizing for the missionary and awkward for the
people they contact.There has to be a way for missionaries to build
relationships with everyone they meet, to be respectful and helpful, and not
burn 100 bridges for every 1 they build — and that way is through service.
If someone knocked on my door and said they were from a church in the
neighborhood, and asked if they could help me around the house, I'd be
happy to see them. Then there's an opportunity to answer questions, invite
my kids to scouts or a primary activity, and introduce me to a nearby family who
attends the congregation. Hopefully the critical mass of new
missionaries will force a shift toward service.
Ubruni,where have you been the last few months? This lower age in missionary
service certainly is NOT about tracting. Just the opposite in fact. Two major
areas of focus are on the social media and about service being given. Don't
expect them to do your housework for you however.
Sure as more 18-year-olds go, less 19-year-olds go, so you would think you would
meet equilibrium in the near future. However, the sisters are expected to reach
30% of the mission force. The 18-month missionaries I know are choosing to
depart in the summer to take advantage of time between school semesters. I think we will see another peak next summer when even more sisters join
the mission before this year's new missionaries complete their full-time in
late 2014...perhaps around 90,000.
I don't presume to tell another church how to run their business and not
being LDS, I am certainly no expert. But in the past several months, I have
supported friends by going to about a half dozen farewells for their sons and
daughters.I'm concerned about the lack of maturity I see in these
kids. I think (especially with the young men) that one year of college makes a
big difference in maturity. Boys who just a few months/weeks prior were in high
school playing "high school games" in relationships and silly pranks.
Now they are mature enough to go out and witness to adults about something as
important as religion and salvation? I guess we'll see how this
works out, but if one of these 'boys' came to my front porch, it would
be very hard to take them seriously.
@ubruni - sounds like it's time for the rest of us to talk more openly
about our faith and to bring interested friends to the missionaries rather than
relying on the poorer use of time that is knocking on doors. I had very few
good experiences knocking doors.
"thpslc" Amen Brother!For this to work, the following needs
to be implemented:1. The duration of the MTC should be increased by
2-3 weeks for additional training, coaching, mentoring. The duration of the
mission should be lengthened to compensate for the maturity issue on the front
side2. The Current TEACH MY GOSPEL Program needs to be modified with
the inclusion of discussion-type pass offs' to ensure the discussions are
taught coherently and uniformly. Side note: I have had a couple of the new
missionaries in my home. Even with a strong spirit, they are completely unable
to teach the basic 1st discussion in a coherent and therefore meaningful manner.
3. The missionary department needs to seriously reconsider the
castoffs from the "Raise the Bar" fiasco. Either we are a church that
believes in repentance or, we are not. Also, If the Polynesians get a pass on
the missionary weight restrictions, everyone else should too! 4. I
think the maturity level of the missionaries is going to require even further
reduction in the size of missions. To adequately manage this new type of
missionary, a mission president should probably only have 50-75 missionaries.
I too have had similar thoughts and concerns about the maturity of new
missionaries at 18. I am reminded that 18 is now open and optional, not
mandatory. But it is amazing what the Lord can do with people who approach Him
humbily and actively seek his help. Missionaries don't convert people,
it's the Spirit that truely converts. Someone once told me that "the
Church must be true or 50,000 (at the time) young kids spread around the world
would have messed it up a long time ago". Missionary service is not easy. It
is a lot to sacrifice whether you are 18, 19, or 20+. Some are going to fail at
18...but they are probably the same ones that would have at 19. Most will
succeed because they have accepted the responsiblity the Lord placed on their
shoulders. "He" will help them carry it.
The missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ [WHQ: Monongahela, PA] are those
only who teach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of the
I've spoken with tons of sisters of highschool age here... I've asked
what their plans would have been if the age was still set at 21. And to a
'T' each of them has said that they had always wanted to serve a
mission, but were not committed because the time was so far off.Now
that they can serve so soon after highschool graduation, they now have a high
level of commitment. They are all so excited!In my mind and
thinking, the biggest impact has been for the sisters. And since girls naturally
outnumber the boys, they are going to be the majority of missionaries serving,
eventually surpassing the numbers of Elders."The Church" has
had a hard time accepting this new reality, not often talking about the
mercurial rise in the numbers of sisters who serve. To "them" (TPTB),
missions are still the domain of the young Elders, but it won't be so for
long. Even though there is no "official" focus on "encouraging"
sisters to serve missions, there has been a tidal wave of pent up desire by the
young women to have the same opportunities and experiences of their male
I understand and honestly believe that it is the spirit that converts. I also
understand and know from experience that generally it requires a testimony for a
young man or woman to put life on hold for several years in order to put the
Lord first. However, all that being said, if the missionaries are unable to
coherently relate the basic story of the restoration, provide one or two related
scriptures, and relate it to existing knowledge found in the bible coherently.
The spirit may bare witness of the intent of the messenger but, it more than
likely will not plant the seed deep enough for it to take sufficient root to
mature into a fully active member.Please do not discount those with
concerns as folks lacking faith. I have witnessed the current crop of
missionaries in action. The program needs serious reconsideration and tweaking
if the church is going to do right by these young folks who have volunteered
Way of the Warrior posted:=I expect that at some point the surge in
the number of missionaries will peak,=then drop as the number of those
serving reaches equilibrium.Yes, it probably will peak and drop, but
I don't think it will drop back to the level it was at previously. More
sisters are feeling like a mission is within their grasp, and so I think more
will go, and I expect that will be a permanent change.
Byu Rugby posted:=However, all that being said, if the missionaries
are unable to coherently=relate the basic story of the restoration,
provide one or two related=scriptures, and relate it to existing knowledge
found in the bible coherently.What's the need for providing
"one or two related scriptures" and relating the message "to
existing knowledge found in the bible"? The missionaries will tell their
investigators that they should pray and ask God whether or not God inspired
their message; that's all the authorization that they need.
An other item to be addressed. The annoying spoken sentence cadence, especially
among the sisters, that makes everything sound like a question. I find this
very distracting to the message. Is this method of dialogue taught at the MTC?
Has anyone else noticed this?
MichiganderOnly in your little world is that the case.
While I agree that there are going to be people serving missions, particularly
sisters that wouldn't have served before lowering the age, I also think
this just got a lot of young men out earlier than they would've partially
causing this surge. I have to believe the #'s are going to come way back
down and could actually cause a bit of a vacuum about 12-18 months from now
these missionaries all start going home.
@thpslc, You raise a very fair point. I've seen at least one
18-year old depart who didn't strike me as particularly ready for the
reasons you raise. For myself, I can imagine leaving at 18, but that one year
as a freshman far from home made an incredible difference on my own mission. My
hope is that bishops are willing to quietly encourage some young men and women
to hold off a little bit rather than go out unprepared. @byu
rugby,I agree 100% about the ability to repent. We should be as open
as possible to the atonement and forgiveness, and be very, very cautious about
establishing blanket rules that discourage sincere repentance.
From where we're sitting, the missionaries are just wasting their time. No
stable people will talk to them, unless it's to argue or out of idle
curiosity. As it has ever been, the people who join and stick would have joined
from a phone call or an infomercial. Moving out of your parents' home,
breaking off all ties with family and friends, and going somewhere new has its
own value, but the mission program as currently constituted is neither the only
nor the best way to do this. Greater blessings would come from establishing a
chain of satellite campuses of Smith University (a respectable name). LDS kids
could learn engineering while working on infrastructure in less developed
countries; they could study healthcare while working in nursing homes and mobile
clinics in North America; they could study languages, humanities, and the
science full-time in developed countries; etc. Proselytizing takes care of
itself if your busy in the vineyard. They would find the elect in a much more
productive way, while getting an education.
Many interesting scenarios have been suggested here and several, I think, are
quite valid. But let's not presume failure or problems that may or may not
surface. Let's give this a try and see how it works.As one
writer suggested, some 18 and 19 year olds will not be as succesfull, due to
maturity issues and so forth --- that has been the case for the past many
decades. Will the surge peak and drop off? That remains to be
seen. Keep in mind, this isn't just about the United States. In many
foreign countries, young men are required to enlist a portion of their lives for
military service before their early twenties. This precluded hundreds if not
thousands of young men from serving missions. Letting them serve at age 18
gives just enough wiggle room to serve a mission and fulfill military service.
The numbers may not drop off as much as many seem to hope they will.
The logistics of this missionary wave are challenging for those serving in every
mission office and for mission presidents. Exciting, but challenging. This next
week we are madly preparing for the arrival of 45 missionaries--including 14
visa waiters. A large transfer used to be about 20 every year and a half....I
will say the missionaries in our mission have been great to begin training
early, accommodate transfers mid-cycle that occur from time to time, and in
serving in threesomes on occasion. Missions remain great experiences
for the young missionaries because they grow spiritually and in many other ways.
They learn many things and carry a special spirit with them. Out of small means
come great things.
As to the "Raise the Bar" castoffs, I strongly believe that we should
have non-proselyting service missions.As to the number, I do not
believe that God is at all concerned with the number, only the outcome relative
to actually bringing souls to a greater happiness and potential. Whether the
number goes up or down is of no consequence so long as He can work with the
remaining few or many.As to the quirks of missionary indoctrination,
they are unfortunate. For some reason we teach that you must check your
personality at the door in order to be a good missionary. Nothing could be
further from the truth. We teach that "you should never accept the first
rejection" and annoy people making enemies when we could have made friends.
We teach people to leverage every friendship into prospective converts in a very
inorganic way. That is, I believe coming from the bottom up not the top down,
and an unfortunate byproduct of trying to keep our strong side firmly planted in
the world with a weak Sunday loafer acting churchy.We must be true.
We must be honest. We must be sincere. We must serve.
Not every 18 year old is ready to serve. I know that the young men's
program is shifting it's focus to ramp up preparation for a mission right
after high school, but still many boys need that extra year after high school.
Let those boys go and serve as they are ready. 19? 20? I do believe that many
young men will be ready at 18 and will serve effectively, but I do see some boys
going out who are not yet mature enough at all. Yes, a mission helps one grow up
and mature quickly, but its best if they have some maturity under their belt
before they go. Serving a mission changed my life, and I wouldnt trade the
experience for anything. Was I ready at 19? Not as much as I should have been.
Maybe the church sees too mant young men leave the ranks after 18 and before 19
so they are sending them out earlier. The young man has a better chance of
staying active and keeping the church in his life that way.... just a thought.
Im excited though to see young men who are ready to serve have the chance to go
out at 18
I just hope missionaries will learn to communicate with their mouths and stop
looking down and texting.
I served my mission in SE Asia in a country were door knocking was illegal. We
did street contacting and member referrals and were very busy teaching. Lots of
room for more missionaries in Asia!
RonW "I too have had similar thoughts and concerns about the maturity of new
missionaries at 18. I am reminded that 18 is now open and optional, not
mandatory."It's never been mandatory.
garybeach "They would find the elect in a much more productive way, while
getting an education."Serving in the slums of Rio de Janiero was
the best part of my education.
While I believe in the doctrine of the Church, I don't agree with their
projections of eventually having 100,000 + missionaries, ever! Like many of you
have said, right now there is a surge because the Church incorporated 3 age
groups of YSA's. I believe the numbers will drop within the next 3 years
because those who were absorbed by the change will be going home and numbers
won't be maintained. But, I also agree that the new homeostasis will be
higher than before because of the larger amount of sisters going who would have
not gone previously. I also agree with BYU Rugby that the
"Preach My Gospel" program is too vague. I have had these discussions
given in my home. The only reason the young man receiving the lessons
understood them is because he had been attending church 6 mos before he was able
to have the discussions. Even then, we spent many additional hours with him
explaining various concepts. There is a service program in a
mission being piloted as we speak and expected to be disseminated into other
missions as well within the next couple of years. To be continued.
re: 18 year olds: For YM outside of the U.S.except,ions have already been made
for them to serve before age 19. So that point is mute. They are partially the
reason as to why the age was unilaterally changed. The other reason is that the
Church has lost a lot of young men between the ages of 18 & 19. Those
statistics have been tracted for about 20 years now (have personal knowledge).
Someone said that it would be hard to take an 18 year old seriously.
I have heard the testimonies that these young men bear. To me, it has much
more credibility because they are so young and immature. The Spirit is so
strong that it amazes me that they are "only 18." I agree,
though that increasing the numbers of missionaries that a single President is
responsible for makes that job much more difficult. It would be good to
increase the number of missions and decrease the number of missionaries they are
responsible for because more things slip through the cracks and less care can be
given to individual missionaries (also personal experience).Just
glad I'm not the one in charge!
Two ideas regarding the age change and number of missionaries. By allowing
missionaries to go at 18 and 19, there is less time for these young men and
women to get caught up in the world and lose their way. This alone will
increase the number. In my estimation, this should account for nearly a 15-30%
increase in young men. The increase in sisters will be much larger.The other point is that there will be an increased need for senior
missionaries. With the increased number of missionaries, will come an increased
number of converts. In some areas with small branches, this increase in numbers
will create a huge strain on the local active membership to help train and
retain these new converts. Sure the young elders and sisters will do their best
to help, but senior missionaries provide leadership and stability that young
missionaries can't do.Therefore, I expect in the next 6 - 24
months, we will hear in conference the need for more senior couples. These same
individuals who are so proud of their grandchildren serving missions will now
need to step it up themselves.Just my own thoughts.
What about the young kids right out of high school that are offered scholarships
to attend college but forgoes college to serve a mission? Then two years later
the scholarship is no longer there and they either pay with a student loan or
don't go. I believe an education is more important than serving a mission
especially in these hard times. Serving a mission won't fulfill their
American Dream, but an education will. I believe too many parents put too much
pressure on their kids to serve a mission when college or a trade school or even
a job would be more practical and a mission later if desired. I see a lot of
coveting thy neighbor here in this small Utah town because parents want their
son or daughter to serve because their neighbor's have or will be. All for
the wrong reasons. Some kids are certainly not ready at 18 or 19 or just want
to please their parents.
Another unfortunate "advantage" for the Church in adopting this new
policy, is the fact that at 18 years of age, the young man hasn’t had the
opportunity to experience the new and liberating feeling most of us have
experienced at graduation time, of having finally arrived to
“adulthood”, with countless opportunities. However, in the Church
it’s an entirely different matter. To the contrary, the young man is
still under the control of his parents and the Church’s not so subtle
pressure to conform. He is “expected” to serve a mission. For most
LDS families, the conditioned mindset is not a question of “if” you
serve, but “when” you serve. Therefore, it stands to reason that by
waiting until age 19, the Church would have fewer young men choosing to serve,
than at age 18, where little if any “agency to choose” is given. To
refuse would be social suicide and rejection!
What would really be helpful is if there didn't seem to be such a
disconnect between the brethren and the general membership. I believe as the
church grows so to does the bureaucracy. Little tweaks to improve things in the
field often seem to take forever because the conduit is a one way proposition-
from the Headquarters down. I certainly do not refer to doctrinal or
organizational issues but, honest to goodness tactical implementation issues.
How many young men will be cast aside before the missionary
department finally receives enough feedback that we are ostracizing tens of
thousands of young men a year to arbitrary "one size fits all" raise the
bar missionary requirements. And, who wants to be the bishop and/or stake
president who tells an 18 year old and his dotting parents that despite the
absence of sin, excess weight, or other tangible issue, that the young man
should wait another year or two to serve? How many investigators will be lost
before someone decides that the teach my gospel program requires some checks and
balances to insure proper implementation?
"kvnsmnsn" You must be a Super Missionary! You can mumble through the
discussion. Leave out major portions of the restoration story Like visitations
from John the Baptist, etc.. Fail to tie the scriptures (like Moroni 10:4 or
James 1:5 )into the discussion and still, Whamo! converts just falling all over
the place.I am sorry if this sounds abrupt but, I am not going to
put my friends in front of a set of missionaries that are unable to at least
cover the basics in a fashion that allows the spirit to begin to work.I have had "sets" of the new missionaries at my home. Nice kids. Well
intentioned. Skinny and pure. But, completely unable to coherently and
concisely teach even the first discussion. If, I understand some correctly, we
are wasting time sending these youngsters to the MTC! We should hook up a
centrally monitored weight scale and electronic temple recommend pad at each
Stake Center with a smart display to issue the calls while "U" wait!
Save all kinds of time and money. Plus, we get an extra month of converts just
falling all over themselves at just the sight of the missionaries.
If you start paying attention around you you'll notice that a record number
of young men and young women are coming home EARLY from their missions because
they were not prepared mentally or physically for the experience. 18 year
My daughter is on a mission now, and not only are the other 18 and 19 year olds
prepared, she has been very happy with the maturity and purpose they possess.
They are full of joy, testimony, knowledge, and willing to work harder and
@ DMJ -- finally! someone besides me mentions "the annoying spoken sentence
cadence"! Every sentence is spoken like a question. MORE than annoying -- SO
distracting from the spirit. I almost don't like attending homecomings --
the RMs sound WAY different than they did at their farewells. I heard a radio
personality refer to that form of talking as "upspeak" -- a pretty good
definition. I don't know when or where it started but I think every teacher
at the MTC and every mission president should discourage their missionaries from
speaking that way. It's a false-humility kind of speaking or SOMEthing. I
don't know what, but it's TRULY annoying!