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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Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I wanted to say my 13 year-old daughter is very excited about the reduced age of going on a mission.

Orem, UT

Forward, pressing forward... :)

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Some have genuine concern about the younger age to which the missionaries can no go. This has already been mentioned in some of the comments, but Elder Holland did say that leaving at the earlier age is "optional".

Ogden, UT

I'm surprised that the President didn't preface the announcement with a statement that this was made a matter of prayer. It more than likely was, but members need to have this assurance.

Miss Piggie
Ogden, UT

@A Scientist:

"... 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."

It will provide an excuse for the 'less worthy' to use age/maturity as an excuse while getting their lives squared away.

Herndon, VA

Young LDS women between 19 and 21 who don’t feel they have found their place will be blessed.
Many more young women will serve as missionaries.
These young women will add tremendously to the spirituality of the missions to which they are sent.
Reluctant pre-mission young men, seeing their female peers and dates leaving on missions, may get with it and go.
More missionaries will serve simply because the tendency will be to go earlier rather than later. It’s long been demonstrated that the longer a young man waits to go, the less likely he is to serve at all.
Satan takes down or clips off many young men between the ages of 16 and 19. Now there will be something of a shield in place to help preserve these precious young men. Now, with a focus to be prepared by one’s high school graduation date – now that is something not so “far-off” and vague in the teenage mind!
I believe this move will strengthen young marriages and families, because the young men will be better prepared for marriage, and the young women who serve will bring into the marriage many advantages for themselves and their families.


Furry 1993: You are right about timing for different individuals. That is why I think this is such a great announcement! I have known so many who were ready at 18, or 19,or 20, or 21, or older. That is terrible that your son was given grief because he didn't go, "when they decided he should have." I am 58 and just now getting my bachelor's degree ( I did have my associates degree years ago.) does that mean something is wrong with me because I chose a different path than to get all my education when younger? And your son was smart to chose to wait until he was ready. I also hope no one judges youth who go at 18 as being too young, I think an 18 year old who is ready, willing, and able, will make just as valiant and awesome a missionary as a young man of 21 who is ready, willing and able and choses to wait until then!

Harwich, MA

@runnerguy50.....Parris Island didn't have 'options'. Once the Marines have you the opportunity to sleep in, talk back, take a day off, relax etc. etc. doesn't exist. Missionaries can do whatever they want whenever they want. It's simply personal obligation to do the work and live the life. Nobody is going to kick you in the teeth or make you walk 15 miles with a loaded pack because you filled out your paperwork late. It's not near the same thing.


I, too, am very excited and optimistic about this revelation. That said, one component I haven't heard referenced is the financial one. For those ready and choosing to leave at 18 and 19, their window of earning income to support themselves is now dramatically reduced (especially young women and their families). It will definitely be more of a strain on family budgets, but a completely worthy one. Our 17 year old turns 18 in March, and we thought he and we would have another 18 months to prepare financially.

That being said, I know the Lord will provide...

Montesano, WA

I have five sons one is now serving one who is 18 and is ready to serve and who himself has made it possible to pay his own way. I have another who is sixteen who I feel would be better to wait till nineteen to server and two other sons who the jury is still out on do to age. I feel that for the majority it will be good for them to serve at 18 then 19 If I had that chance at 18 I would have gone but I went Military first then mission. I am pleased to see the age for sisters in now lower and I hope to see a influx in sisters serving as well they bring a spirit to the mission field that elders can not. And last I support the Prophet and the debate ends with hiim.

Murray, Utah


I went to boot camp as an 18 yr old a week or two after graduating high school. Nobody had to "kick me in the teeth" to get me to fulfill and meet the stringent discipline required. Just my personal obligation and oath to do it. Likewise nobody had to threaten me with sending me home from my mission to get me to meet the very demanding requirements of a mission. Just my personal obligation and oath to do it. I'm sure a great many service men and missionaries fall in the same boat. And yes, military service is more the same as missionary service in this regard than not. SOME or MANY 18 yr olds are perfectly capable of the maturity and self-discipline required to serve either in the military OR on a full-time mission.


I'm not a Mormon
is that all the missionaries
coming to my door were too old.
This could change everything for me.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

I hope this works out, but this reminds me of when the Church, in order to boost the numbers of missionaries serving, shortened missions for men to 18 months. The theory was that if there was less of a time and financial burden to serve a mission, more would go. They didn't. Since missionaries were returning after 18 months vs. 24, it meant that they were leaving just as they had mastered the languages, scriptures and discussions. Since they were returning quicker and we weren't getting more in, the number of missionaries out at any given point shrank. Each mission received fewer missionaries and so areas in the missions were closed. With fewer missionaries and with those missionaries being less experienced, baptisms plummeted. Once this was realized, the 18 month policy was abandoned. It was a huge failure.

Let's hope that this new policy doesn't have similar unintended consequences. In my stake, young men are encouraged to leave home for awhile before leaving on missions to help them gain experience being away from home. This helps prevent homesick missionaries wanting to return home. This won't happen now. Could this unforeseen consequence doom this change too?

layton, UT

RE: Kevin J. Kirkham I hope this works out, but this reminds me of when the Church, in order to boost the numbers of missionaries serving.

The increasing of Mormon missionaries may sour the Christian vote. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15 that false prophets will come in sheep’s clothing, He’s telling us they will look like His followers: they will look like Christians. The apostle Paul also warned that false apostles and deceitful workers “disguise themselves” as apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13).?

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Again, those who have concerns really didn't see or listen to the Press Conference held after the first session. Attending were Elder Holland and Elder Nelson of the Missionary Executive Committee along with Elder Evans of the Seventy. In that press conference they touched upon each and every questioned mentioned here. They stated emphatically that not all 18 year olds would be able to go but would wait until they are ready to go. For some this will allow them to fulfill their responsibilities of a mission before starting school and preparing for their lives after a mission. They also stated that the time in the MTC will be cut to allow more missionaries into the MTC. Also, this was not a whim but something that has already been going on in 48 countries through out the world. This was a matter of prayer. Sharrona you have no play in this at all.

The Lord, Jesus Christ, has directed this and we as members must accept it. If you haven't then you need to get on your knees until you do.

Harwich, MA

@GuisseppeG....how many times at basic training did you sleep in and tell the drill instructor you were going to take the day off? I spent 11 months in the Mission Home running the Mission with the Mission President. Want to share stories some time?

Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA

This morning while I was watching President Monson online, my 16-year-old daughter walked into the room. She asked what she had missed and I told her that President Monson had just reduced the mission age for women to 19. She screamed in excitement.

This evening, I have been wondering about another young person, who now has another option. I am referring to Jabari Parker, recruited by top basketball programs across the country. They know they would only have him for a year, because he will be eligible for the 2014 draft or he might go on a mission. Now, he has the option of going on a mission this coming summer. I look forward to seeing what he decides. I wonder if he does go, if an NBA team would draft him in 2015, with a few months left on his mission. I wonder if that would be a first--drafted into a major sport while serving a mission.

Cedar Hills, UT

18 - wow that is pretty young! It will work but it will take some adjustment with members and their boys. First off many young men work for a year after HS to earn a good chunk of their mission money. That is no more. Parents will have to now foot the entire mission
for the most part. A committed savings plan when kids are young will be the best way forward. Second, BYU freshman wards are no more. Can't have a ward of just girls! Third, young men need to REALLY get mission ready a lot earlier. No more waiting and taking the mission prep classes after graduation. 18 is really young and there are probably some who are ready at that age but most aren't. Having NEVER been away from home before to college or work until they land in South Africa as a fresh 18 year old is going to be a real eye opener. Everything is possible and when the prophet speak you just do it and let the Lord take care of the rest.

Cedar Hills, UT

Way too much pressure for a young man to wait til 19 and watch all all his friends go in the mission field. I suspect there is going to an adjustment period that will be really hard for mission presidents who are going to be dealing with some really young green homesick kids. I hope bishops in ward really take an active role and advise young men with mission finances as well as their maturity level. Bishops shouldn't sign the papers unless the young man is really ready to go. Having a young man feel forced into the field at 18 when he isn't ready is a disaster. Allowing a young man to go into the field thinking he is ready - when is really isn't is an equally bad situation.

Cedar Hills, UT

From playing video games in the basement to teaching the gospel in South Africa - only separated by a couple months now. Wow! One thing is for sure - the Young Mens program is going to have to get ALOT more serious to get these kids ready by 18. No more goof off night in the ward gym - now there is going to have to be some SERIOUS effort to mature these boy both mentally and spiritually in an accelerated way.

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