Comments about ‘LDS Church lowers age requirement for missionary service’

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Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Harwich, MA

Absolutely ridiculous. 19 is a stretch for the maturity level of young men. This will backfire for sure.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

"And nobody should be ridiculed or questioned for choosing to go later."

Right. But the reality is, those who do not go immediately when they turn 18 and graduate HS will be looked down upon, judged by their fellow "Saints", as less worthy.

As an outsider who is intimately acquainted with the Church in Utah, and attending Church meetings and activities more frequently than most LDS members, here is what I have observed.

It is the nature of Mormons to do that. It is a culture that has developed a very strong "righteousness competition", with everybody competing silently and nonchalantly for recognition and callings, but feigning humility and pretending they don't judge others and they don't aspire to positions. But they all do, and the judgement is frequently very harsh. People are ostracized, children are left out, teens ignore rather than befriend, and YM and YW refuse to go on dates, or break up with others, telling them they are less worthy. I have seen it countless times. There is no doubt this age requirement change will be no different.


"I agree with Furry1993. Missionaries should go only when they are ready, whatever that age is. And nobody should be ridiculed or questioned for choosing to go later."

choosing to not going at all.

There is a lot of pressure on young men within the church to serve a mission. We need to make more space for young men who choose to not serve a mission. Many young men leave the church around missionary age. Why? For some it is because they seek to escape the mission pressure and they feel they don't "fit" anymore. Personally I would like to see the church offer a variety of ways for the youth to serve. For example, shorter term service missions. Or opportunities to teach english.

If I were a mission president I would be concerned about this new standard for young men. Inevitably there will be more instances of immature young men going out on missions.

GK Willington

@ A Scientist


re: staypuffinpc

Yes. It will. Alot more married 21 yr olds.

Buena Vista, VA

To A Scientist,
This is the 2nd time I've agreed with you within about 3 weeks. Usually I don't. Sad to say, but in many instances, I think your predictions will come true, although not in every case. I suspect that the judging mentality of some LDS members may be more pronounced in Utah than it is outside of Utah. In our stake conference recently a sister gave a great talk about not judging. I took it to heart and wish everyone else would too, although in so saying (as well as my thoughts about Utah) I suppose I may sound judgmental! Sorry.

Salt Lake City, UT

@A Scientist
"But the reality is, those who do not go immediately when they turn 18 and graduate HS will be looked down upon, judged by their fellow "Saints", as less worthy."

They'd be judged that way by SOME fellow Saints. I didn't serve a mission and that led to negative views by some and probably cost me a few dates, but most members were perfectly fine with my not having served a mission.

"But they all do"

Your suggestion that they all do that is as misrepresentative as the notion that none of them do that. Some do, some don't. Those who ignore either category aren't going to help any sort of productive discussion on the matter move forward.

Modesto, CA

As many LDS "Good Intentioned" moms earn their Eagle Scout for their sons, now see the number of young men (still boys) forced into the mission field. The number of homesick boys will easily double, but you never hear the stats of young men being returned early. This isn't a good call.

Virginia Beach, Va

When I was in boot camp at Parris Island there were a couple of 17 year olds and they were fine. Guys will just grow up a little quicker.
As the father of a 17 year old male I think it makes sense to leave out of high school. It also makes sense if you dont think your kid is ready to use free agency and wait or dont go if you dont want to.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To those who have reservations. One I never served a mission. I went straight into the military and stayed for 20 years. However, it can be said that I would do it again considering the home life I was under. It is a personal choice for those who serve a mission. Note that the only major requirement is that they have graduated from high school. The fact is that NOT every 18 year old is expected to go on a mission at that age. As has been said on numerous occasions today. It is based solely on when they feel it is right for them to go. It is only some LDS who put undo pressure on the Young Men to go at their appointed time. It is the majority who wants every young man to go when he is ready to go.

Those who feel differently don't understand that this isn't a decision made lightly but one that has come from great wisdom of the one who leads the Church, JESUS CHRIST and him a lone. You must get on board with this decision and accept it with all integretity.

It is time.

Medical Lake, Washington

Like so many of you, I think this is exciting news! Granted not all 18 year olds are mature enough. Some reach 40 and still aren't mature enough. Revelations are given and then it is up to us to decide how best to follow them; as has been stated here, President Monson didn't say 18 was mandatory, but a possibility now. While on my mission there was a young man who entered the mission field when he was 17. This was in Germany and he was mature enough and serving early allowed him to also complete his military requirements before age 25. He got special permission and was an outstanding missionary.

As Elder Holland stated "He is hastening his work" and indicated this was a part of that mandate. I thought it also interesting - he mentioned that it works better when young men and young women are serving together to have the sisters older than the guys; thus, sister missionaries wait until they are 19 -- apparently is solves many potential problems.

Florissant, MO

I was nearly 22 when I went on a mission, it was very challenging but it is the core of who I am over 35 years later. Was I the best or most mature missionary, not at all. But did it help to prepare me to be married to a man in a wheelchair and his early death, for sure. Did it help to prepare me for motherhood and my only child leaving the church, yes, the Gospel is my core and that came from my mission and has helped me through many trials and choices. I think that missions are also there for the youth to help them to gain a better understanding of the Gospel. So the bonus is helping to bring others into the church, but it also is to help bring them into the church.

St. George, UT

One question I have is that logistically it could be difficult. All of these 18 yr. olds wanting to go right after graduation. How does the church handle all of the missionaries going to MTC in June?

Bellevue, WA

You are so right that the missionary is the one whose life is changed and blessed the most! In our family, we sent out five missionaries, including one daughter. I think the benefits remain with them always.

layton, UT

To:Bill in Nebraska, This is great news and one can see that Jesus Christ is at the Head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Church lowers age requirement. Qualifications Elders, … and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. if a man is blameless, the husband of ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.(1 Titus 5-6)
“But realize this, that in the last days…[there will be men] holding to a form of godliness” who do not belong to God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).


How exciting that the option to serve at a younger age has been extended to the young men and women of the church!

Oahu, HI

Great Joy. Molly can Now Serve A Mission without having to wait till age 21.Which was to long await and to unrealistic for most. Also an Elder can get out on his Mission with out interrupting his College Education. As for the Tucson Temple Congrads and its long needed and awaited. I hope many Sessions are in Spanish. I would like to see that Temple District lines and see if Northern Mexico is evolved in anyway. The Goal being to keep illegals out and not ease entry in anyway. However Mexican Citizens come over and trade on the U.S. side, just as we do on their side. Something could be worked out in regard to day passes. It might bring some freedom of Religion Questions to light. In both we will have to wait and see.

Oahu, HI

Now High chool Sweethearts can both be RM's with out spending all those years waiting. Great DAy!!!

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I don't think I was ever "ridiculed" for not going on a mission but definitely was pressured (not by parents who were inactive). Going to BYU I entered a dating wasteland past the age of 20. Over time, women in the church start to judge you by the person you are or have become rather than the decisions you make at age 19. There is still some amount of judging even now than I'm in my mid 40's about "not serving" but for the most part I was never ridiculed or made fun of per se but quietly judged in later life and pressured (somewhat in a positive and loving way as I look back) when I was around missionary age).

P.S. My 13 year-old daughter seems ver

Savoy, IL

For Furry1993:
That's too bad that that happened in your family. However, I believe this new "option" will reduce the stigma of elders going at different times. The policy seems to be more "go when you are ready and when the circumstances are best for you, your family and the Spirit." It's more flexible that "go when you are 19."
I have 3 daughters--better start saving money.


JParkerfan said:

"One question I have is that logistically it could be difficult. All of these 18 yr. olds wanting to go right after graduation. How does the church handle all of the missionaries going to MTC in June?"

I would think that callings will be extended to avoid just that. So they are not overloaded in June.
Also, I just can't see someone graduating from high school. And immediately go right to the MTC. Who knows. It just seems like some time in between to prepare would be helpful.

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