High school graduation different this year for many LDS students

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  • Wild Blue Abilene, TX
    June 4, 2013 12:28 a.m.

    pt 1
    Dektol, I served a mission and I've served my country. Still do. And hands down I have to say that the mission was a thousand times better, prepared me more effectively and was a more important step in my life to developing me as a human, a citizen, a man, a father, a student, and a leader.

    I've flown an awful lot of combat missions and been to the best training our country has to offer and very little of it has compared to the lessons I learned 15 years ago in a foreign country sitting on a ragged couch baring testimony of Jesus Christ in a language I barely understood to people I didn't even know how much I loved at the time.

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    I am all for the change, and think that if a boy is immature at 18, he likely won't improve much after a year of college, for which he will likely be similarly unprepared.

    Much has been written about the preparation necessary for youth going on missions. What I didn't understand myself because of my family situation growing up is the importance of being taught correctly in the home. I wasn't a particularly good missionary myself; I was the first of my extended family to go on a mission, and did so out of a feeling of obligation rather than a desire based on a knowledge of the rewards of living the Gospel. From an early age, my wife and I have been trying to teach our kids by word and deed so they will go because they have the desire to bring the blessings they have experienced to others.

    Finally, quite unrelated: I hope Church leaders have the safety of our missionaries as their top priority. I think more can probably be done to prevent things going wrong.

  • JParkerfan St. George, UT
    June 3, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    For all of you that are worried about these young men and women being too immature to serve. Stop!!!!!
    The revelation wouldn't have been given if this were an issue. My son isn't even 18 yet and is leaving this summer. He will be a much better missionary than I was, and I think that I did o.k.
    I was old for my age so I left the fall after high school graduation. I didn't have any immaturity issues, or any out of the ordinary homesick problems. He has had the same opportunities to grow up that I had. College doesn't give you that. Most of my companions had gone to a year of school and were less mature than I was. Most of them had experimented with alcohol/drugs while in school.
    This is a good thing and a positive step forward. This generation of young people is up to the challenge!

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    June 3, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    Older couples should embark on an exercise program. At least walk 30 minutes a day. Even better do 40 minutes to an hour. Also go to the gym and work out your larger muscle groups. This is a year of destiny and these young people will benefit if there are more senior couples in the field. The greatest experiences of my wife and my life were in Tonga, Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Non members should understand that we do not want to convert everyone, but we do want everyone to hear about the Restored Gospel so they can make a choice.

  • DANL Broken Arrow, OK
    June 3, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    To go to a foreign mission you need to insure you complete all years of seminary. Most country's require this. What an inspired change. I can think of many young men that didn't go on a mission because of the timing. There is no question in my mind that the leaders of the church received revelation from God on the subject. I have worked with the youth for many years and know they are ready to go strait out of high school as long as they are participating in the youth program of the church. It is our responsibility as leaders to insure they complete the duty to god requirements and help them early in life.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    June 3, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Loved Vernal Mom's post.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 3, 2013 12:02 p.m.


    Reference the military being a good option, that depends on the individual. It was not for me and certainly was not an option for my son (now on a mission).

    The mission is not a sales training program. Yes, there are aspects of it that are that way. But there is serving, and studying, loving the people, teaching and learning yourself.

    I had been to college for a year and my own experience was that college was a lot easier to handle when I returned. I knew how to study, how to organize my time (a lot better than I did before) and I had much more maturity than just two more years would indicate.

    I don't know about top athletes - but there are really very few of them. Those I have known who had athletic ability were glad they went no matter how things worked out later regarding playing or scholarships.

    Perhaps the most personally valuable attribute one gains on a mission is perspective. What is important and what is not. Returned missionaries are hardly perfect, but the mission does give them a leg up on life and its challenges.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    June 2, 2013 8:43 p.m.

    Dektol, just like a mission is not for everyone, neither is the military. I bow to those who give us the freedom so others can serve missions. I hope I'm wrong, but I sense you are putting down missions. Both offer service. No one can ever take anything away from our brave men and women of the military. I also wish no one will take anything away from missionaries. After disasters, missionaries off thousands of hours of free assistance and service to people. Looks to me that everyone wins.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    June 2, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    I must say that I am impressed with the maturity and commitment of young men I am aware of who are about to enter the mission field.

    One young man, with whose parents my wife and I were friendly years ago but from whose neighborhood we had moved, recognized me at a store where he was then working. He came up to me and,after having confirmed I was who he though I was, excitedly informed me he was going to the MTC in a few weeks. The young man was courteous, genuine, and showed no signs at all of egotism. He was on fire with his call and wanted to share it with those he knew.

    Another two young men at our ward came up to me, at different times,each telling me he was going to go on a mission. They had the same excitement and exhibited great maturity. There was no swagger or sense of self importance apparent, just enthusiasm that could hardly be contained. Two of the three told me where they were going, and one said he did not know but would go anywhere he was sent.

    No room to talk of grandsons!

  • estudiante GRAND RAPIDS, MI
    June 2, 2013 7:25 p.m.

    This is a fantastic idea. My only concern is the sisters are close enough in age to the elders that there may be too much fraternization. The typical 21-year-old woman will not find an 18-year-old man interesting.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    June 2, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    I find it fascinating that while much of our society is struggling with young adults "failing to launch," the church is "launching" its youth even earlier.

    No sports, education, military training, or any other silly so-called equivalent training, as some here recommend, can compare to giving up everything that you are to become something even greater.

    Sure, there will be problems with missionaries sent home early--that's always been the case. Every mission has the kid who wasn't ready, or is there because dad promised him a car when he gets home.

    But having taught college freshmen for many years, I've also seen young men completely lose their ways in that limbo-stage between high school graduation and missions. Now, that wasted phase is eliminated, and I predict that in 5-10 years we'll see more young men ready to launch into a real world of adulthood, having gone straight to missions after high school.

    Awesome thing that, being led by the Lord . . . He always gets it right.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    June 2, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Most would be much better off going into the Military than the future sales training program that is Mormon missionary duty. The Nation would be much better off as well.

    Those who are top athletes will lose out the most on fulfilling the potential they have in sport because of the two years off.

  • Tiger5 Cache county, USA
    June 2, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    I hope money isn't the main reason, but we need way more elder couples I think. Lots of older couples waste so much time in retirement. They are bored. A mission is so rewarding.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    June 2, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    My son is graduating from high school and has received his mission call. He is excited and understands it is not going to be all fun. I served a mission many many many (really, many!) years ago. I never sugar-coated my mission experiences. It was a great experiences but it was not easy. I have told my son about my wonderful experiences and my miserable times when my testimony was rattled. I have another son who served a faithful mission and he has also been upfront about the good and tough times of being a missionary. My sons have also grown up knowing missions are not for everyone and a person who does not serve a mission is as valuable to this world and to God as those who do serve. In short, the only times my sons got in serious trouble in their lives was if they were disrespectful or did not stand up against bullies. I am not an active LDS person for a bunch of reasons, but I know the gospel is true and pray for success of those who serve an those who do not.

  • liahona Westbank, BC
    June 2, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    Out of the 18 year olds that have entered the MTC, nothing is mentioned about those who have been sent home because of immaturity or are missing family, specifically their mothers. I think there are definitely some 18 year olds that are ready, but probably just as many that are not. Same applies to the women
    Mission presidents or senior companions, at the best of times, don't need to babysit these immature missionaries. This is a serious work. I've encountered too many immature missionaries that are an embarrassment.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 2, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    George of the jungle - you are right, necessity is the mother of invention. In this self indulgent world older teenagers and young adults need to learn:
    the world doesn't revolve around them
    a good life takes hard work
    there are people who are looking for more meaning in their lives,
    appreciation for their parents,
    to sacrifice their own interest for others,
    to really cement what they believe,
    to serve,
    respect for authority,
    respect and love of other cultures and people

    Most return missionaries have learned these things - and more - at such a young age. Thank goodness for missions in the LDS church.

  • james d. morrison Boise, CA
    June 2, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    remember, when they said that they could go at 18, they also said that not everyone should go at 18 and some might be better off waiting until they are 19.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 2, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Necessity is the mother of invention. No jobs, can't afford collage. What's there to do.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    June 2, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    Kids these days are more mature, and then much less mature then even 20 years ago. This new program will push parents to focus more on training there kids faster.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    June 2, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    President Monson said you don't have to go at 18 can. I do know one kid that finished one year of Schooling first. That said I think most will go at 18. For sisters I don't think every sister will go however a higher percentage will go than did before. Not all are fit for missionary service. For worthy and able men for the last several decades it has been expected though.

    Our stake will have seminary graduation tonight and I would like to see how many of the Seniors already have mission calls. One kid in our ward does. Some kids may have had distractions between now and High School but will go now that may not have. Interesting how the Lord hastens his work.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    June 2, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    This is one of the greatest changes I've witnessed in my life. Super!

  • Vernal Mom Vernal, UT
    June 2, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    I love this article! Having a Sophomore Boy, we have seen a great change in our high school - especially the Senior boys. Where there used to be initiations, teasing, and even slight hazing in the three sports my son plays - we instead watched these fine young men take the younger boys under their wing and be great examples and mentors. As Seniors, they decided as a group that they did not want to treat the younger boys the way they were treated in the past. I'm so proud of them! Four boys who just graduated have already entered the MTC.

  • Mom Johnson West Jordan, UT
    June 2, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    I do not have mission age children, as they are all married, but I feel the energy, too. It's all encompassing. I am so happy that the youth are able to go after their time spent in Seminary. It gives them a great jump start. May God bless the Seminary teachers who inspire these young people by their teachings. And may God bless the missionaries so that they absolutely know the Lord is mindful of each one of them and they have a great purpose in His plan.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    June 2, 2013 6:07 a.m.

    It's my utmost prayer and desire that all those young people called are well prepared for the task at hand. Missionary work is very hard and requires total commitment, dedication, and a burning desire to serve the Lord even in the face of difficult opposition. It's the kind of work that tries men's soul let alone teenagers still in their youth. I know the Lord calls the weak things of the world to confound the wise but I had still witnessed a few young men who I thought were not quite prepared enough, eg...weak testimony, difficulty adjusting to missionary life, easily frustrated and want to go home, etc, etc. The work is not for the faint at heart so I hope the kids are made to be aware of that and not just be caught up in the excitement of the moment just because their friends are going. It's serious business and the Lord needs the best, the willing, and the totally committed! May our noble youths are made to understand that during their preparation. God bless the youth of this Church!