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Bloggernacle Back Bench: Missionary age announcement reaction

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

LDS missionaries react to the news that women can enter the mission field at the age of 19, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

If I were to point to one specific defining moment of this last general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think most would agree with me that the big missionary age announcement that kicked off the conference Saturday morning would be it. Watching how the new “General Conference Highlights — October 2012” video (just more than 23 minutes of awesome conference summary) begins with the announcement actually gave me chills. Click in to see what I mean.

Not surprisingly, the Bloggernacle is still talking about the announcement and will for a long time to come as the impact becomes more apparent. Here are a few fascinating blog reactions:

“I wanted to share a few thoughts about the lowering of the age requirements for LDS missionaries…First about numbers: Church leaders are expecting a significant increase in the number of missionaries serving. I think it will have a greater affect initially on the number of women serving than the number of men, although it will affect both. We currently have 58,000 missionaries serving. Back in the '90s it was usually at 60,000 but was down to around 52,000 for a while in recent years. The trend will continue upward.” — Jared on “Lowering the Age and Raising the Bar.”

“More responsibility now rests on parents to prepare their children for missions. Because more missionaries will likely be serving, the time in the Missionary Training Centers will be cut by a third. I love this change and subscribe to the idea the lessons in the MTC should be a review, not a revelation. Cooking, cleaning, washing your laundry and ironing your shirts will receive more emphasis all through the teens.” —Michelle on “Bordering on the Giddy, General Conference.

“My thoughts have also turned to how we can help prepare our young missionaries, particularly our sisters. As a former Young Women leader, I see many opportunities to help our young women expand their gospel knowledge and preparation in ways that we have not done before, as that has been largely left up to the Relief Society since sisters normally had several years there before serving a mission. I see great potential in using the Personal Progress program, and in particular, mentoring of our young women in the program to aid them in their mission preparation." — Angie Gardner on “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.”

“In the general conference of the (LDS) Church this weekend, the prophet (President) Thomas S. Monson announced that sister missionaries may now serve as young as 19 (instead of the former age requirement for women, which was 21). This is a huge deal for many girls who hesitate about serving because the timing is difficult or because they feel they should get married instead…as for me, I would have been able to serve in June anyway, but I honestly did not feel the inclination for a long time. I kept thinking about it and quickly pushing the thought away out of fear. Eighteen months is a long time, after all. And I have a life here in Provo, a very full life. But when President Monson made the announcement, I felt a surge of the Spirit telling me that not only was this divine revelation for the whole church, it was also a revelation meant just for me. It was the answer to my prayers.” — Lola on “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.”

And finally, Larry Richman rightly points to the “Special Magazine on Missionary Preparation” from March 2007, available online for free for any potential missionaries just so excited to get out and serve.

Now let’s find other reverberating posts from the past week in the Bloggernacle:

Power pick: This is one of my favorite semi-annual after-conference traditions, the guess which wordle matches which talk (or song) game at Keepapitchinin. So click in to “Come Play Conference Wordles! (October 2012)” and see if you can match the word-art depictions — with the major themes and words highlighted by size — to the general conference talk or song. Just looked at the first one, both “honeybees” and “beehives” are prominently displayed. I bet you can guess that one! Then see if you can figure out the rest.

Techie tip: Want to write your testimony in a Book of Mormon and give it to someone but don’t speak their language? It’s the “Book of Mormon Testimony Translator” to the rescue. This new site is a free service from returned missionaries and other bilingual LDS members. You just enter your testimony into the testimony form, fill out your name, age, and email, and then click on the language to which you want it translated. Cool, huh? And if you want to become a part of this marvelous project, they are always looking for volunteers. Click in to learn more about it.

General conference highlights, October 2012

This brief recap of the five sessions of the October 2012 general conference (by the Mormon Channel) delivers some of the main points of conference.

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience. Email: ejensen@desnews.com

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