There is far too much pressure put on young people to go on a mission, get
married young, get married in the Temple, have children right away, etc. The
pressure on these kids is ENORMOUS and needs to STOP. They need to know what
their options are and then be left alone to come to a decision about what the
best decision is for them, their situation including their strengths and
challenges, and what feels like the right decision to them. These are all life
changing decisions and we need to give them breathing room and time to make them
without all the pressure. If we really love them we will do that for them.
Reading the comments makes me glad, once again, that I was raised in the Mormon
faith but not in the Mormon culture. T can truly say I've never done
anything in the Gospel because I felt pressure to do so. It was a
great blessing to grow up in Oregon and Washington and New York where no one at
school cared if I went to Church on Sunday. I had to decide early on whether I
believed what I had been taught and whether I wanted to live a life few, if any,
of my peers and classmates were living.Best wishes to this young
Your stake probably offers a missionary prep class. If you think you might go,
then try it out. You don't HAVE TO serve, but it may help you know if
it's for you or not.
I had a wise mission president who frequently said that a mission is the most
miserable place a young man or woman could be if they were there for the wrong
reason and had no desire to serve.I spent almost a year deciding if
I wanted to serve. Serving was the most wonderful and difficult time of my life.
And many of those difficulties were companions who apparently were there because
their girlfriend wanted them them to serve a mission.It is good for
young people to ponder, pray and consider it before just jumping in because of
pressure from family or friends who think they should go. Those who do so and
choose to serve make the best missionaries.
The claims someone "impacted nobody while at BYU' just miss the
reality. Not all the hearts that are heavy are outside the church, not all who
struggle with sin and need to feel the love of Christ are away from sacrament
Big Gigantic red flag here. Sis, go to college. Do not let anyone force you to
go for any reason. Accepting their reasons will only make you resent your
mission (as you so wisely already know) but eventually your family and the
church. The shame and guilt used by some on this thread and in our culture is
horribly wrong. It is better to not go and retain your testimony than to go for
the wrong reasons and lose it. Did we not hear in the most recent general
confercence about the mistakes some leaders have made? Please, please, do not
go, at least not at this time.
Since young adults are delaying getting married like never before, I actually
think the Brethren were hoping missions would become a place where young adults
of similar age met and...sigh...fall in love.
Welcome to life in Utah. I am a male, and was expected to go, and I did, but it
was a terrible experience, I did learn many things, but I absolutely dread my
children going on missions. I struggle with social anxiety and every day
speaking to strangers was pure torture, every transfer was pure terror. I
honestly believe I should not have been required to serve a mission because of
my disability, but not going on a mission in Utah as a young man is guaranteed
judgement that you aren't worthy to go, at least as a young woman you
won't be judged immoral because you did not serve a mission.
This may not be a popular opinion but no young person, male or female, should
feel pressured to serve a mission. In my mission we had far to many who were
there to please mom and dad or someone else and they accomplished nothing. The
LDS church and its members need to move past the pressure and guilt associated
with many "callings" and truly allow people to make decisions based on
their own desires. Going to college, working or entering the armed services
(among many other options) should be a viable plans for graduating high school
aged young adult. Missions are great but not for everybody and acting like it is
good for everyone is not doing anyone any good.
To me sister missionaries are very special. First they do not have to serve they
chose too. Second they can open the hearts of people that Elders can not. I feel
that for each sister they need to prayerfully take the time to think about that
choice. If they serve great if they don't great. I do know this they serve
a mission in life far greater then knocking on doors. They serve the Mission of
motherhood and they have a lasting impact on not just the children they raise
but generations that follow. To me sisters are awesome no matter if they serve
with a black name tag or not.
I agree with almost every comment here. They've all said the same thing.
It's between you and the Lord. There's a fine line here.
You shouldn't go just because others want you to go. You should make the
decision on your own. On the other hand, I don't know anyone who
hasn't benefited greatly by a mission. It's a marvelous spiritual
experience with great rewards. The important thing is that one makes it a matter
of prayer. The Lord doesn't want uncommitted people in the field. It's
hard on companions and mission presidents! My granddaughter was
"touched" as soon as she heard the news and put in her papers
immediately. She is having the time of her life and will come back prepared to
be a better wife, mother, and human being. But we didn't push her into it.
It was all on her own.
There's nothing worse or more disheartening than a missionary who is not
ready/prepared to serve, whether it is a Sister or Elder. I know because I was
one of those who was not properly prepared when I went into the mission field.
My ambitions weren't because it was my priesthood responsibility per se,
but because I was ready to get away from my home for two years and be out on my
own as it were. Many good things came from serving and the experience was a
blessing in a lot of regards, but I will never, ever be one of those returned
missionaries who say it was the best two years of their lives. When my two years
were up, it was time to get back to life and move forward.If you
don't feel ready, don't go, but pray and prepare yourself for when the
spirit moves you to know when that right time is.
I believe that if I had pressured my children to go on missions, at least one of
them would not have gone. I told them that I was sure that they would do the
right thing, and they did. As for last child to make that decision (a daughter)
it's up to her. And a girl is not expected to go, even though she is
Perhaps the problem here is that she feels she even needs to ask for advice,
which would pre-suppose that she is seeking approval, like we all do, but
eventually we must come to the conclusion that we live with our choices, other
don't. Women are especially susceptible to this type of "my life is
run by committee" subconsciously powerful thinking. With all the love I
could muster, I'd slap her in the face and earnestly say to her "stop
it!, just stop it!."
Missionary service is a priesthood responsibility. Worthy young men should
serve.Sister missionaries is a totally different ball game! They
have the option to serve if they feel like it is right for them. There should be
no "pressure" to do so, even with the age change.
From Brent T in Aurora Co we are informed "... and I do believe that
returned sister missionaries make better wives (less co-dependency, bring more
to the union)". Wow, I will be sure to tell my wife and daughter and my
dauters in law that they are all "lesser wives" because they didn't
serve a mission. I really find that thought to be offensive, narrow minded -
and CERTAINLY UNTRUE! We were recently taught by President Uckdorf to not judge
one another. Let us accept one another for whom we are, each a child of God and
of great worth in his eyes - whether we serve a mission or not.
I know of a sister who has chosen to go on a mission in her early 30's, as
prospects for a husband are not happening. Whether the young woman chooses to go
or not is ultimately her choice, as it is for a young man. The age has been
lowered to help many others out in their desires to serve, and they have come to
that conclusion on their own.For those that choose not to go, please,
please do not judge them. People have NO IDEA what a person struggles with -
emotionally, mentally or physically - and it is not their choice to choose for
someone else. We need to remember - everyone has their own free will and
choice. Let them use it.
I think you probably will get lots of people asking if you are going to go. But
you don't have to take that as pressure, people are just curious. If you
"own" the decision, as others have discussed, you can answer
confidently, "I'm really happy with my decision to go to school right
now." If others suggest you're doing something wrong don't worry
about it too much. Someone will always think you're doing it wrong your
If you are young and really want to do some good in the world and affect your
peers, I suggest you consider attending a university or college located outside
Utah. My youngest son has chose (so far) not to serve a mission, but
is attending a UC school where he has impacted many people by his example. His
older brother, who served a mission and then attended BYU, impacted nobody while
he was at BYU. Surrounding yourself with other like-minded people is not what
Jesus did, and is not what we should do. You can get a better education, and be
a 'missionary' if you branch out into the world where the people who
need to hear the word live.
I know with the struggles of being a missionary; being away from your family,
leaving a boyfriend, giving up college for a time, there are going to be
struggles to overcome. I know from the dedicated sisters who brought my
granddaughter to baptism, that you need to be truly called. There is a huge
difference being called by God and everyone else thinking you should do it.
Pray about it. God will let you know if he needs you.
The consensus in all the comments is "pray about it". And I totally
agree. Went to BYU as a 17 year old determined to find my knight in shining
armor. Received my patriarchal blessing as a freshman, and in it was a long
paragraph about serving a mission. Didn't like that part, folded that
paragraph out of the blessing, so I could read it and skip over it! Graduated
from college, taught school, went back to BYU for a master's. Had the
prophet, Harold B. Lee, tell me personally that I was going to serve a mission.
A few weeks later had Stephen Covey tell me the same. Yikes! I reluctantly got
on my knees and asked the Lord. He changed my heart in an instance, and I went
at the tender age of 25. Wonderful, hard mission in France and Switzerland.
Later married one of the elders from that mission. So many blessings from
I am a missionary serving with my favorite companion ever, my special wife. She
serves as the medical adviser to nearly 500 missionaries in two missions. PLEASE
don't give in to social pressure from anyone. All of our sons served
missions but one was 20 by the time HE felt it was right. He served well. And
what if you don't feel the inspiration to serve at all? Sister Pugmire has
already counseled with some who came before they were REALLY ready to commit ...
and it is a FULL, CONSECRATED commitment. Be prayerful. Be willing to take on
or two steps out of the light of faith and into the dark unknown but make
certain you are REALLY ready to take them. Thank you for your honest question
of the heart. If you will ask HIM, you will be given to KNOW FOR YOURSELF. May
He continue to bless your life... one way or the other. Elder Pugmire, Uruguay,
go when ready spiritually, emotionally, physically. our Savior needs
missionaries but what he desires is for those wanting to serve and serving to be
prepared and ready. never go when you are not ready. pray and prepare and when
the time is right YOU will know. i am proud of each missionary for their desires
to serve . this is a decision not to be taken lightly or just because others are
doing it now. be whom our Savior needs YOU to be.
I have no idea what you are planning to study in college, and maybe somewhere
down the road you may decide to serve a mission.An example of
getting your education first before serving a mission, might be like studying to
become a nurse, doctor, or dentist and then filling an LDS medical mission. Not
saying you have to do this. But it is an example of using the knowledge you
gain toward a profession you could later use to fulfill a mission in the church.
If you don't want to go, then don't go. I think it is wonderful they
have lowered the age, so those who do want to serve can. There are so many
choices available for young women, whether that be serving a mission, going to
school, or getting married and having a family. This is where you get
prayerfully work with the Lord in finding your path in life. In the end, you
may eventually do all three, just in a different order than someone else.
Moses was told to accept tabernacle donations only from those who gave with a
willing heart. Christ addressed the issue of social appearance/ willing heart by
vocally acknowledging the widow's mite. Ecclesiastes addresses
times and seasons. Not everyone gets all the times and seasons.
As a married convert, I didn't go on a mission. When the subject of a
senior mission came up, we had a whole bunch of "yea, but---" things in
the way. Meanwhile, we served in new callings, and did new things. Over time,
each "yabut" was exposed and cleared away. Then we were ready to go.
Others of my generation had similar walks to different destinations/ callings/
jobs -- all directed by the Lord.
Only one opinion matters...let the Holy Spirit guide.
This is just one of the many stresses that is part of our cultural norm. If you
don't want to go, don't go.
I have wished I could have served a mission when I was young. I have with my
husband and loved every minute, but I was old. My older two daughters served
missions and my youngest found her husband. When they announced women could
begin serving at age 19 I wrote on fb I would have gone had I had that option at
that age. My youngest daughter wrote back she would have too. What a great age
to get to serve. However having been in the mission field I have to say it is
very hard, but you learn a lot about living with other people. Sometimes there
is homesickness that is difficult. Sometimes the hours are long. I think all
these situations that come up help a person really get ready for marriage and
motherhood and serving in callings. Experiences you can get in a number of
ways, but a mission is a really nice way to learn and serve the Lord while at
it. But never go unless you want to go. That could be a disaster for you.
I've been thinking a little more on the subject. I will give Dave Ramsey
for the word intention. Intention is the plan. So what ever the plan is, do it
Sisters are not under an obligation to serve a mission. (Only onee poster
mentioned it.) The brethren have made this VERY CLEAR. Anyone who pressures a
young woman to serve, or makes them feel less than adequate for not serving,
needs to repent.One of my cousins said, upon reaching age 21 and
getting ready to graduate from BYU in the late 70's or early 80's:
"I'm down to the 4 m's. I don't know which to do but I am
not getting any offers for "marriage", I don't want to just go to
work and earn "money" right now as I have a life-time to do that, I
don't feel like a "mission" is the right thing, I guess I'll
go get a "master's degree." So she did. And I don't think
she had regrets regarding her decision.Give it a little time. There
is nothing wrong serving a mission at age 20 or 21 or 22 if you change your
mind. And you are not less of a person if you don't serve.
Not every sister is called to serve a mission. When I was young, I never felt I
was to serve a mission. But at 19, I did find the love of my life in a returned
missionary. As he served as ward mission leader, I was involved as his compation
in many missionary situations. I also helped several inactive sisters return to
activity through visiting teaching and fellowship. Three of our sons went on
missions, one son coverted a friend and they are now married and preparing to go
to the temple. Everyone's path is different. Especially for the sisters.
Just tell everyone that it is not what you feel you should do right now. That is
all you need to say.
When you pray to Heavenly Father about this choice really talk to Him. Tell Him
of your concerns, your hopes and dreams and tell Him what you feel you would
like to do and then before you end your prayer ask for peace in your heart if
your choice is right and then listen to the Holy Ghost - He will prompt you and
if you have a peaceful - hopeful feeling inside then it must be right but if you
don't it is not right. I've always fasted when I had a big decision to
make and never was I let don't - I knew what was right.
Young men or women should only go on missions if they feel called. And that
calling is between them and God not some obnoxious ward member who thinks they
know whats best for everyone.
It is totally, completely, 100% up to the person serving whether they should go
on a mission. Like Angela said, it's 18 months of being yelled at and
belittled by strangers and having another person attached to you at the hip, but
it's also a time of great spiritual growth. It doesn't matter if
you're talking about men or women - serving a mission is not for everybody
and it drives me nuts when people pressure these kids to go when they
aren't ready. Only you and the Lord can make the final decision. If you
decide not to do it now, but change your mind a few years down the road,
that's fine. If you decide not to go at all, that's fine too!
Personally, I would never trade my mission experience for anything - but I am
also not ready to repeat the experience in a hurry. Get all the information you
can, pray about it, examine your own feelings and abilities, then make your
decision and stick to it. And ignore all the busybodies pestering you about it
(that's not an easy thing to do, but they never go away anyway).
I know EXACTLY how she feels. I'm a 21 year old gal who was just finishing
up undergrad at BYU-Hawaii when the "announcement" was made. I was 20 at
the time, and had been telling everyone I would be serving a mission for years.
I really knew it was something I wanted to do- and almost every girl in my ward
took off for the MTC in the following semesters. But once I finished my student
teaching, and the future loomed very big; I knew I needed to re-evaluate. I
wasn't feeling that incredible desire I did the year before, and I felt
incredibly ashamed that I didn't. It was my mom, who served a mission
herself, that laid things out for me. "If it is something for you to do
right now, I think Heavenly Father will place that desire in your heart."
That desire just wasn't there to go serve a mission in that way, but that
doesn't make me unrighteous. I teach with missionaries nearly every week,
and share the gospel wherever I go in the world. Frankly, girls can go whenever
they wish, and its between them and the Lord only.
Sounds like one big concern is that you don't want to give up 18 or 24
months of your life. But a gap in a young person's life can be a huge plus
if the time is spent wisely.I joined the military as a teenager and
soon felt like I was in prison for four years. Life was passing me by while all
my friends were getting ahead in college or starting careers or families. But
my four years turned me into an adult fast. I left the military with lots of
maturity and confidence, and I plowed through college a lot more easily with my
newly learned discipline. Now I look back at my military experience as a huge
benefit in my life.I think a mission could have similar benefits, as
could the Peace Corps or many other worthwhile pursuits. Make your own
decision, but do consider how a mission might change you for the better.
Think Angela and Semi-Strong covered this well... that is, the decision is
between you and the hold... and should be... and you don't have to go at
19 or before any college... you can weight this decision for a few years... in
fact really until you graduate or are made ineligible due to marriage... and in
that, you can serve later with a husband or in retirement...I would
only add that some of the excitement of the new policy is that more returned
elders are going to be able to set a standard to marry a returned sister... and
I do believe that returned sister missionaries make better wives (less
co-dependency, bring more to the union) and statistically less will fail in
their first marriages. If that's harsh to read, while it isn't
universally true, applicable in every situation or absolutely required, this
valid thesis can be formed from observation.
Dear "Sister": Any prospective missionary who goes to "Angela" -
and the like - for a final answer as to whether to serve a mission or not,
should not serve a mission.
A young woman shouldn't feel any guilt about not wanting to serve a
mission. If you've got other plans for your life and feel good about it
then move forward and don't look back.
I have two daughters missionary age. As soon as the announcement came, one of my
daughters was touched to the core. Before that GC session ended, she called to
announce she was going on a mission.My other daughter didn't
get touched like that. She was excited for her sister and friends, but the idea
of going herself never took root in her mind.One year later, the
first daughter is happily serving in Canada, and the second daughter is happily
married.The Lord will tell you what His plan is for you, and if
someone asks you if you're going, tell them that it's between you and
the Lord, and when He lets you know about your path, you'll let everyone
else know too. That may or may not include a mission, and you have nothing to
apologize for as long as you are following the Lord's promptings.
It's hard to make the best out of a bad situation. I would try to see what
the regrets will be, than pick the spot between the rock and the hard place.
I felt that pressure, even before the age change. I didn't go. It
wasn't right for me. Pray and follow the Spirit. The lessons I learned from
not serving a mission are probably similar to ones who do serve: to trust God
and serve Him even though you don't understand why His plan for you is the
way it is.
If you don't want to go, don't go. It's your life; own it. When I
consider that the expectation is you never get alone time for the entire time,
there's no way I'd want anything to do with it.
Do not go on a mission simply because others are pressuring you! As
Angela said, ponder and pray--but listen to your "gut."The
LDS culture is rife with "it was the best 2 yrs," but there are also
those for which it negatively impacted their lives.We never hear those
stories. We never really engage in full conversations about missions.I think we lose many fine young men around missionary age because of the
pressure for them to serve 2 yr missions. There is little space in our Mormon
culture for a young man who chooses not to go.Your "mission"
needn't be limited to the 2yr variety.
Good answer for young men too.
Angela gives great advice (as always). I would add just one more point - there
is time to make this decision.If you, after prayer and thoughtful
consideration, believe that school is you best choice, then go. Keep yourself
active and worthy. After the first semester or two, give this consideration
again.It may (stress may) be that a mission will be for you. Just
later. If so, perhaps your school experience will be valuable to you. I have a
son who went at 25. He had a great experience.Whatever else, keep
close to the Lord. His timeline and ours are often a bit different.
There is a great question that Christ directed towards his followers in Matthew
22:42 "What think ye of Christ". If we know him as the literal Son of
God and as our Redeemer, then what should we do with that information? He also
told us in John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." What
did Christ do with that information? What personal sacrifice did he make so
that each of us could know where to find relief from our sins and redemption for
our mistakes? If it was that important to Christ, and if we know him as our
Savior, what should we "want" to do?Every young brother has
the responsibility to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is part of his
priesthood responsibility to prepare himself until that desire fills his heart.
That same opportunity, but not that obligation, is extended to each young
sister. The question remains: "What think ye of Christ?"
This is the first time I've ever heard of a young WOMAN being under
pressure to serve a mission against her will. Usually, that pressure is all on
young men, whereas women are pressured to marry and have children at a
relatively early age, and are often even discouraged from missionary service
until they are over 25 and no longer seen as "in their prime". This is a
I agree with Angela - trust your feelings and make it a matter of prayer and you
will find what is right for you. It's difficult to make an independent
decision when surrounded by lots of people who are excited about the same things
(e.g. missions). I have daughters and a wife who did not serve a mission and
they have shared that it's difficult to hear some of the talk about women
and missions and how they feel like their decision is not as appreciated. I have
a daughter now serving, so the challenge is how to value the choices of each of
these women. I would say, whatever you do, make the most of your
life now - take advantage of experiences that will prepare you for your future,
experience and learn all you can and find ways to meet new people, expand your
perspectives, serve others and find your purpose in life. Set a pattern for your
life of finding activities that have meaning and expand your mind and spirit.
There are many ways of doing that.