I think it is exciting to call young men at 18 and young women at a younger age
than before.If all 18 year olds, (before this change) could go to BYU for
a year or even a semester before they go on a mission I feel it would have been
a positive pre-mission experience. However, all of these young men could not
get in and ended up at other colleges and universities and some of them decided
not to go on a mission.I spent many months of my mission living in the
mission home and often picked up missionaries whenthey arrived. Some
seemed a little immature but nearly all of them became great missionaries.I left for my mission 50 years ago this year and we have lived in Missouri for
33 years and I cansee a very positive change with these new
missionaries....they seem anxious to serve and in most cases are very humble
young men, (and women). These are exciting times!!
Hope my memory is accurate on this: I was in the very first group of Elders
(Japan Sapporo) to go thru the new LTM (now MTC) at the present location from
Day 1 of my mission in July 1976. 3-4 Dorms and a couple of classroom building
were the only completed buildings on the site. Japanese and Portugese speaking
elders were the initial residents with maybe Taiwan? elders also. The MTC was
not complete and we had to walk to the BYU campus 3 times a day for meals. We
did our laundry at DT I think and haircuts were at the Wilkinson center. The
remainder of the missionaries were moved into the MTC over the next month as
buildings were completed and I recall that most everyone was there by the middle
of August 1976. These recent changes are reflective of the growth of the
I am excited to see the big increase in the number of missionaries that is
currently taking place, I do however have concerns that with the expected
increase in new members that the wards and stakes throughout the world are also
stepping up to the challenge of keeping the members active.
I hope this doesn't come across as condescending, and although i can
obviously see the benefits of changing the age requirements, i feel that some
investigators may have trouble taking an 18 year old man seriously. Im a 20 year
old woman and people still say, "oh you're just a baby!" But i
suppose they will just have to prove people wrong in that respect and continue
to be a good example!
I think we might have more optimistic missionaries who are so excited to go that
their enthusiasm will help them get through the rough patches. I also think
that they are so young that the parents and adults will spend more time getting
the youth ready while they are young and receptive. This preparation may lead
to fewer missionaries giving up or going home. At least we know that most of
these new missionaries are full of enthusiasm and excitement.
@Dixie Dan,I hope not either --- however, there are also
missionaries who leave in their twenties to serve and still aren't ready
for the rigors of missionary life. It's not always an age thing, there are
many factors and I suspect the church is also aware of this factor and the
percentages of those who do not stay the full time.I think it is
also important that when a young man or young woman needs to return home that we
are still supportive of them and do not allow them to feel like failures.
Missions aren't easy. Just the fact that they were willing to try says
loads about them and that alone makes them a cut above the majority of their
peers throughout the world.
It's all very exciting, must be upcoming news of expansion of missionary
efforts in other parts of the world and will certainly help having a greater
missionary presence in the US, especially in Utah.
I do not believe that the drop in missionary numbers will be large as the two
and three year cohorts begin returning from their missions. In 1960, the Church
lowered the age that young me could serve from 20 to 19 and young women from 23
to 21. At that time, the number of missionaries serving decreased 3% in 1962
and increased after that. Nineteen and 21 are more convenient ages to serve
than 20 and 23. I suspect that 18 and 19 are more convenient ages to serve than
19 and 21. The percentage of young men and young women serving will probably
increase. How about a bravo to the Prophet and the Twelve for an inspired
@mhilton"Theoretically, I guess the number of converts should arise,
but that will remaine to be seen."Not just the number of
converts, missionaries work with the less active too and the church will see an
increase in attendance as lost sheep return to the fold. My son is serving in a
spanish speaking mission in Ventura CA and based on his letters they are
re-activating members and then teaching and baptizing their non-member
boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc.With the missionary force
nearly doubling in the first year we'll see a significant increase in
convert baptisms but also sacrament meeting attendance and eventually temple
attendance will increase quite a bit as well as less active members come back to
church along with their converted loved ones.
I tend to agree with Dixie Dan. The Church has been piloting the 18 year old
missionary with mostly foreign young men. Their lives are completely different
and they take on much more responsibiity at a younger age than do most young men
in the United States. I also am concerned about the young women. My daughter
is one of those, leaving in 3 weeks for the MTC. I just hope that we see in her
the maturity and growth that we've seen in eldeers past. As
for the number of missionaries, it should decrease as early as next year. This
year brought in 3 years of missionairs. Those sisters will start returning next
year and things should start leveling off. While, I believe the number of
sisters will overall be slightly icrease, it will level off. Same with the
elders. I'm glad the church has temporary facilities because I don't
think the level will remain at 80,000 missioanries.Theoretically, I
guess the number of converts should arise, but that will remaine to be seen.
It is so nice to hear the good news. I have a son who is serving in Nevada, and
my second son wainting for his mission call. The third one will leave next
year, and the youngest the year after. It is an amazing experience for the
missionary and for the parents. The sweetest words from my son are those e-mail
each week. =)
I send out a "bravo" for these wonderful, faithful and willing young
people. It takes a lot of courage and faith to leave your family, friends and
what is comfortable to serve the Lord. I admire them so much for wanting to
serve no matter the challenges, difficulties, lonliness for family. May the
Lord's choicest blessings continue to be with them.
It is exciting to see this amazing increase. One question I have is about the
long range change. If young men are opting to leave a year sooner, I would
expect that much of their increase in numbers will be temporary and level out
over the next 2 to 4 years. But for the young ladies, this is a complete change
of attitude. Many young women willing to serve at 19 would previously already
have been married or graduated from college and headed into a career by 21. So
it will be interesting to see how this change impacts the sisters of the church.
Also because of the large number of young adults who leave church activity
between high school and age 25, it will be interesting to see if those numbers
change as more kids commit at a younger age.
That 47% number seems to keep popping up everywhere.
I teach economics in college so I use tons of graphs. John makes a valid point
with which I disagree. By starting with 20,000 missionaries rather than zero,
the graph might overemphasize the current growth in the number of missionaries.
The cost of starting at zero is a lot of dead space. Whoever produced the graph
ameliorated potential exaggeration by clearly labeling the beginning and ending
number of missionaries. As an aside, bravo to Mom of 6.
This really isn't new. In the mid-1970s, just before construction on the
new MTC was started, missionaries were farmed out all over Provo, including in
local hotel roooms. In the space of six weeks, I lived in three different
locations, and had classes in at least that many places as well.
Maybe English speaking missionaries and other native-speaking missionaries could
go directly to their mission homes for 2-week training instead of Provo and the
other worldwide MTCs. That would provide some logistical relief as well.A young woman in our ward was just called to South Carolina, but
doesn't report until October.
I don't think there will be any increase in missionaries reutring early.
They have been piloting 18-year-old missionaries for over a decade, and with the
19-year-old sisters I really do not think there will be much change. In fact, my
best guess is that the number of sisters who get mission calls but do not serve
missions because they decide to get married instead will significantly decrease.
I do not know how prevalent such was, but I have had friends who did this, so it
did happen. In general I at least my one close friend who did that I think made
the right decision, but it was soemthing that made logistical difficulties for
mission presidents and others invovled.
I have to say that I don't like graphs like the one with this article. They
are misleading when they have a base line above zero.On the other
hand, this is an exciting time with so many more missionaries. Now we as
memebers of the Church need to step up and find people for them to teach.
I now have three out serving Missions. One daughter is now at the MTC and will
be leaving in two weeks for Italy. So proud of all the young people serving and
planning on serving. The Lord's work is marching on.
It will be interesting to see if the number of convert baptisms start to
increase by the end of the year. Also, I wonder if we will see an increase in
the number of missionaries who come home early as they were not ready for the
rigors of full time service? I hope not but I think some of those leaving have
been caught up in the excitement of going on a mission without fully realizing
what will be required of them.