Temporary MTC opens, LDS Church projects 47 percent increase in missionaries

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  • Rob68 Monett, MO
    May 31, 2013 10:33 p.m.

    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 when
    they 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 can
    see 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!!

  • NCCougar Roxboro, NC
    May 31, 2013 9:46 p.m.

    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 church.

  • apache1 Phoenix, AZ
    May 31, 2013 2:05 p.m.

    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.

  • starwishes20 sonora, CA
    May 31, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    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!

  • SuziQ Springville, UT
    May 30, 2013 11:25 p.m.

    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.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    May 30, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    @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.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    May 30, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    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.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    May 30, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    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 decision.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    May 30, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    "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.

  • mhilton Lancaster, CA
    May 30, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    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.

  • MireyaSB MÉxico, 00
    May 30, 2013 9:10 a.m.

    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. =)

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    May 30, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    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.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    May 30, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 30, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    That 47% number seems to keep popping up everywhere.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    May 30, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 30, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    May 30, 2013 12:11 a.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 29, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 29, 2013 11:03 p.m.

    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.

  • Mom to 6 Charlottesville, VA
    May 29, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    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.

  • Dixie Dan Saint George, UT
    May 29, 2013 6:25 p.m.

    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.