Mormon missions

Missionaries from the Salt Lake City Mission sit in front of the temple during the Sunday morning session of 177th annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints April 1, 2007.

Keith Johnson, Deseret News archives

According to Jan. 1, 2012 data released in the 2013 LDS Church almanac, there are approximately 14,441,346 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of these members, some 55,410 were serving full-time missions in 347 missions at the time of publication. In February 2013, the LDS Church released a list of 58 new missions, which boosted the total number of missions from 347 to 405.

Traditionally, LDS missionaries served at different ages depending on gender. For males, the mission age of eligibility was set at 19, while women served at age 21. Young men serve for two years, and women serve for 18 months.

However, during the Saturday morning session of the LDS Church's 182nd Semiannual General Conference, Oct. 6, 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced changes to the church's missionary policy. According to the announcement, effective immediately, young men were eligibility to begin full-time missionary service following their graduation from high school, even if they were only 18 at the time, and young women were eligible to being service at age 19.

Changes tied the new missionary policies have been far-reaching, touching everything from an increase in missionary applications to tuition policies for Utah universities, college enrollment and even sports recruiting.

According to an Oct. 2012 Deseret News article, in the two weeks following the mission age policy changes, LDS missionary applications jumped 471 percent.

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