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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Mchenry, IL

Why can't they both go at 18?

Some countries missionaries are older because of mandatory military requirement, like South Korea which is still technically at war, they go after and after college. It makes sense to go free of family responsibilities but an older person who had lived life can be a more reasonable person to connect to for many.

Murray, Utah


None, but we did have guys go over the wall and screw around quite a bit. I'm guessing you didn't actual spend time in basic if you think that doesn't occur?

Swing on by sometime and we can swap stories, both mission and military. I didn't spend any months in the mission office, so can't say whether or not other missionaries slept in or asked for days off. I was out in the field my whole time so can only speak for myself and the guys in the houses I was with. Don't recall any more sleeping in or gold bricking than when I was in the military. Not exactly sure why that means anything in regards to serving a mission at age 19 or 18 though. My guess is your mission experience was with 19+ elders, not 18 yr old elders.

Idaho Falls, ID

OK, here is something to think about. I would imagine that logically there won't be that many young men that will go the day they turn 18. Most turn 18 sometime during their senior year of high school (in the US anyway). They wouldn't go till they graduate. That would make many of them 18+. And then if some don't want to think about it till after graduation, there would be some lag time between getting their papers in, getting their call and actually going. Most of these young men will be well over 18 by the time they go- not that different from 19.

Sharonna- nice scriptures but they don't apply to this discussion.

Kevin Kirkham- Glass half empty?

Provo, UT

The world has 7 billion inhabitants for the LDS Church to contact and teach. The Church has 14 million members, with something like 40 percent active. A percentage of the young men become atheistic, agnostic, or indifferent in the year between high school graduation and their 19th birthdays and decide not to serve missions. Parents and leaders have not figured out a way to keep them from turning away from the Church. We can blame information on the Internet, but other things work into the equation. Military analysts always say that when a nation is losing the war, the age of the soldiers goes down. And like the US Military, the LDS Missionary Department will now get boys at 18 so that fewer people will have influenced / corrupted them before they get trained in the program.

Provo, UT

@ SS

Your comment makes sense about more immature missionaries since they can go at younger ages. However, I believe it will decrease the amount of immature missionaries. Instead of having a year where they are just waiting to go, or deciding if they want to go, I think we are going to get missionaries that are fired up and excited to go. Same with the sisters. Now they can go sooner, and I think we might see more sisters going now, and marrying after. Either way though, you got it right, President Monson did not make this choice, the Lord did, and President Monson listened to Him. Exciting news.

I was actually at this session, and the sound of the crowd when President Monson announced this is something I will never forget, especially when he announced that sisters can go at age 19. There was a buzz and an excitement for a brief couple seconds. Conference was awesome as always.

Provo, UT

@Furry 1993

A mission has a funny way of making you grow up. I don't think maturity will be a problem. Those who are worthy and able to go at age 18 will go. If not, they will wait, but they can still go. Better late than never. That is awesome though that your sons both went, the 21 year old, the important thing is not when he went, it is that he went.

Provo, UT

@ Dennis

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

I am glad you are more competent than President Monson and the Lord. If 19 is such a stretch, how have so many people joined the church? There are also very little incidents that happen from these so called "immature" 19 year olds.

Provo, UT

@ A Scientist

I think it is funny how LDS members are called judgemental. We are no more or less judgemental than any other group of people.

There is gossip between Hollywood Stars, pro athletes, and people from all walks of life. I will say that if I see someone with multiple tattoos and piercings, I will form an opinion of that person. On the other side if I see someone well groomed and nicely dressed, I will also form an opinion of that person. Now, maybe the person with the tattoos and piercings is a person with character, and maybe the well groomed person is a criminal. Bottom line, we all are guilty of being judgemental. I am not saying it is right, but it is true. It is why we need the gospel. We all have our hypocrisies and faults. Sometimes being judgemental is not bad though. We trust some people, others we don't, sometimes for good reason.

So you are right, as LDS members, we are judgemental, but this just in...... So are Catholics, Baptists, atheists, etc. etc. etc

layton, UT

RE: O'really, Sharonna, nice scriptures but they don't apply to this discussion.

Church lowers age requirement. Qualifications for Elders, nd 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).

From the Christian point of view, They do apply. The timing is interesting, right after the Romney wins the debate with, Obama.
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).

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Sharrona again you have no play in this. It doesn't apply to you nor do the scriptures. As Elder Hales said on Sunday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christian and in many ways more than any other on the face of the earth.

Those feeling wow this is going to fail do not realize Jesus Christ is the head of the LDS Church and he has determined just as Peter, James, John and the other Apostles at the time of his death were just as immature in the faith as any 18 year old. They were sent into the world to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ just as we will send our young men into the world to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ today. As the Doctrine and Covenants state, "The lord will on the right hand and on their left and the angels will be there to bouy them up." The work is increasing and the time is right and the time is now.

Jump for joy as the Lord is in charge, not a mere man.

Mesa, AZ

Perhaps we will see modifications in the YM curriculum, and possibly limitations on involvement with Scouting. Maybe it will become only a deacons quorum activity, which for the most part is has, a long time ago..

Taylorsville, UT

Everyone questioning the age of 18 for young men should really listen to the News Conference that was held on Saturday. You can find it on the LDS.ORG page. In the news conference we were told that for the past decade in 48 countries, 18 year old men have been called on missions. In each case, it was requested by the young man's bishop or stake president due to military requirement rules, education/scholarship issues, and other reasons. So for the past 10 years, many 18 year olds have been called on missions and done well. In the news conference it was also stated that many of the mission presidents where these 18 years olds have served, request more all the time. The decision to lower the age from 19 to 18, has been a matter of prayer for a long time. I think my son would have been thrilled to have been able to serve at 18. He couldn't wait to go and he turned 19, 15 months after HS graduation.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

Qualifications for Elders, nd 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).

So, in order to be an Elder, a man MUST be married to one woman (if he loses his wife to death or divorce, he can't be an elder because he won't have a wife and he can't remarry since that would give him 2 wives) and he must have children too per the scripture. If he or his wife is infertile, that disqualifies him too. Is this what you are claiming?

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Jazzledazzle wrote:

"So you are right, as LDS members, we are judgemental, but this just in...... So are Catholics, Baptists, atheists, etc."

So that makes it OK? Is this an attempt at rationalization? Sure looks that way.

And there is an important difference with atheists being judgmental: atheists are not under any divine obligation, or covenant, to be otherwise.

But whatever helps you sleep at night...

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I remember when the age was 21, and then lowered to 19 for young men.

18 should be no problem.

If they're old enough to carry an M-16 and be shot at 1/2 way around the world,
Their certianly old enought to carry a BofM and be shouted at 1/2 way around the world.

layton, UT

RE: Kevin J. Kirkham So, If he or his wife is infertile, that disqualifies him too. Is this what you are claiming. NO,
1 …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).
Elders should be married but, No polygamy, Like the Apostles, “Don't we have the right to take a believing Wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?”)(1 Cor 9:5 NIV)

2. Elder qualifications defined, (4245,* presbyteros)=Presbyterian, among the Jews members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men.
Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and *presbyters interchangeably.

Herriman, UT

Does anyone know if young men planning on serving a mission the summer after they graduate...do they still apply for college or would they have to wait until they return from their mission to apply for college?

Layton, UT

This change will help the young men through a very difficult transition from Priests to Elders by giving the young men a purpose and higher adventure.

If you consider, many young men give up High School, the Seminary Program, High Adventure Scouts, Young Men Activities, Varsity Sports, and suddenly they transistion to the Elder's Quorum (which in my experience is not nearly as activity centered)--there's a huge disconnect there.

Some bishops encourage their young men to stay in Young Men, but that's got an almost "We're holding you back" sort of feel to it.
Some bishops send them off to Single's Wards, but then there's an even greater disconnect--and that's if they actually GO to their assigned ward, which many don't. And if they do, they're sort of stuck in a holding pattern due to the fact that they can't reasonably expect to form a single's relationship without losing a chance to serve a mission.
Some bishops give them a calling, often in the Primary... but that's only a Sunday thing.

It's better that they be allowed to go serve. Very inspired change...

Alaskan Ute
Fairbanks, AK

I suspect their are a lot of individuals like me, who wished this policy would have been in effect earlier. I was one who lost my way after high school, and will forever regret not serving a mission in my youth. My immature mistakes resulted in significant spiritual delays. I believe the change is inspired.

And by the way, my freshman daughter at BYU has announced she will be leaving for her mission after she completes her Freshman year. Yea!

Provo, UT

@raybies, plenty of people didn't serve missions, myself included, but still had no problem in the dating world, or getting married. The whole idea that somehow serving a mission alone guarantees some sort of impressive miracle in dating is a myth, and a rediculous one at that.

It's also true, and which you conveniently left out, that if you are excused from a mission, but otherwise worthy, you receive an honorable release, which is just as good as saying that you served a mission.

There are also special missions that people with issues of health can serve in alternate means to proselyting, such as family history or temple attendance, which was a call to me given my own health conditions. The church and priesthood leaders are far more caring and evaluating at finding ways for young adults to serve missions than it may seem.

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