Dropping the Mission Age

By: Mormon Heretic
October 6, 2012

Well, if you tuned in late to General Conference, you missed the announcement that men can now serve at age 18 if they have completed high school, and women can now serve at age 19.  Why do you think the Church made this change?  How do you think it will change missionary work?  What else was noteworthy in General Conference?

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56 Responses to Dropping the Mission Age

  1. N on October 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Well judging by the following talk, its so they have less time to mess up morally.

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  2. Mormon Heretic on October 6, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    N, you might be on to something there.

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  3. Bruce Bogtrotter on October 6, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Agreed – lower the missionary age to lower the apostasy rates.

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  4. shenpa warrior on October 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Some have suggested that this is going to somehow make missionaries less mature overall. I disagree with that. Age difference in that time of life won’t make a big difference. They’re all out of high school. I think research on development supports this as well. If they wanted more “mature” missionaries they’d have to be 25+ or something. :)

    Also, I’m wondering about the difference between men and women. What’s the purpose of that? I don’t think it’s about women getting married anymore, as almost no one should be getting married at that age. Indirectly perhaps it might suggest that women and men serving missions are still not given the same emphasis?

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  5. Mormon Heretic on October 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    shenpa warrior, you are right about that. Pres Monson said missionary service is a priesthood responsibility for men, but for women a mission is still considered “elective” and they are not under the same expectation to serve.

    I am still curious why women aren’t under the same expectation to serve. It just seems like an antiquated policy to me.

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  6. Douglas on October 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Since a mission is as much a “coming of age” ritual (an 18 or 24-month one), it was probably seen as better to just get it done out of high school.
    I would have some concern about taking a young man straight out of high school when beforehand he worked to save up money and prepared. IMO, that’s as much useful for preparation as nine years of Primary and Six Years of Young Men’s. But I don’t make a habit of steadying the Ark. I go under the assumption that the First Presidency knows what it’s doing.

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  7. Cowboy on October 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    All we can do is guess, but I would imagine they want to address some kind of fall-off rate. Whether it’s because they want to reduce the propensity to become”distracted”, or whether they want to reduce the risk of “worthiness jeopardy”, or because of the propensity for apostasy, I would still guess that it’s based on the drop in the number missionaries who are willing to serve.

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  8. KT on October 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Cowboy – totally agreed. I knew quite a few LDS young men that made moral “mistakes” after high school and before they went on a mission, which put it off, or they didn’t then go at all. Also, I think way more young women are remaining active than ment. Plus, it’s so much more convenient to go right away and then make the rest of your life plans. I’m sure they are losing numbers and this was a move to rectify that.

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  9. Jared on October 6, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    When did high school graduation become a requirement?

    I was a 22 year old high school drop out, VN vet, when I went on my mission in 1969. HS graduation wasn’t a rule then.

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  10. Mormon Heretic on October 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Jared, today it became a requirement. Really, I think it is a pragmatic issue. Many people turn 18 during their senior year of high school, and President Monson doesn’t want people to drop out of high school the moment they turn 18 to serve a mission.

    He did say “high school graduate or equivalent”. If someone drops out of high school and then later decides to serve a mission at 21 or 22, I don’t think being a dropout will disqualify them. Certainly they could get a GED, but even if they don’t, I am pretty sure they can still serve as long as they are older than 18. So, I am sure there will continue to be men (or women) such as yourself that can serve.

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  11. Mormon Heretic on October 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Is Elder Packer is missing from this session? I didn’t see him when they sustained the apostles.

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  12. Bob on October 6, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    What about a GED?
    I think the ages (18/19) are too young.
    I think just as many will pass on a mission for college.
    But only time will tell. Too any dynamics have been put into play to make a reasoned guess.

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  13. ken on October 6, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Maybe I stand alone in the universe, but I don’t think going on a mission at 18 is a good idea. For some, perhaps, but most young men at that age are too young, too immature, too uneducated, too culturally arrogant, not to mention unable to differentiate between LDS theology and LDS culture. I predict a backlash of sorts as thousands of young men come home and realize they have missed a big part of their youth, that they knew way too little before leaving, and have been basicallyt propagandized into how they should think and behave. I believe the fallout from 18-year old missionaries will be greater, not less, than what we are experiencing now. I’m just saying!

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  14. Julia on October 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    I think the, “or equivalent” is aimed at the home school community more than anything else.

    My mom is a YW president who struggles with having more than half the girls become functionally inactive, once they become seniors in high school. Because she teaches at the high school she stays in contact with them, but the ones who go inactive generally are not interested in going to church schools, and most of them don’t go to college at all. She is very excited to have YW be able to stay in their family wards after high school graduation, and have the chance to be involved in the missionary prep program with the YM. Their stake has a huge percentage of their YM go on missions (between 65-80% depending on the year) of young men who are ordained priests.

    Combined with the new teaching materials and the increased opportunities for YW leaders to tailor programs to their girls, she is thrilled. As the mother who taught me feminist ideals, I wasn’t sure how she was going to be able to survive being YWs president. I had always assumed she was never called to serve there because of them. When she got the call almost a year ago, her mantra became, I can change all the bad things taught to my daughters.

    After the excited, extremely fast and energetic phone call I got as soon as the session ended, I would say that the is the perfect YWs president to help with the huge transition that is coming with the new manuals and focuses that they bring. I hope that during this transition that lots of my fMh sisters (and other women concerned about these issues) will receive callings in YW to help change the program to a better place than it has been!

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  15. Nick Literski on October 6, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    The simple fact is that the LDS church is experiencing a large exodus of young adult members. Young adulthood is a time of questioning the values and ideas one was raised with, and that questioning becomes more pronounced as a young adult is exposed to people with other backgrounds via college, the workplace, etc.

    At the same time, making significant sacrifices for a cause binds us stronger to that cause—it’s just human nature. We don’t want to give up something, or admit that we were misguided in wanting something, after we’ve “paid dearly” for it.

    Put these two facts together, and you have the reason for lowering the missionary age. Get the young adults to make big sacrifices before their faith is challenged by exposure to the outside world, and you’ll almost certainly increase retention.

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  16. hawkgrrrl on October 6, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    http://www.religionnews.com/blogs/jana-riess/mormon-sister-missionaries-progress-with-an-asterisk

    I tend to agree with Jana Reiss. It’s an important progressive step and I am ready to bask in that moment (wishing it had been that way when I served), but it still feels like the service of sisters is secondary, when most of the sisters I served with were the hardest working and often accomplished as much in 18 months as the elders did in 24 (except for the head cases).

    I agree it will result in more missionary service due to the various reasons people don’t make it. It will probably also result in more intermarriage among missionaries after they return, which is probably not a bad thing either for church growth.

    As a mother of a son who will be 18 in 6 months, I am feeling a bit torn. He’s in the process of applying for colleges right now, so unless he goes to BYU that puts him in an awkward position.

    Here’s another possible justification to lower it for both: the unemployment rates right now being high. This will pull a few more out of a stagnant workforce and put them to use elsewhere. Maybe in a few years, the jobs situation will have improved.

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  17. LDS Anarchist on October 6, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    I re-worded your question a little bit:

    Why do you think the 1st Presidency and 12 apostles made this change in church policy?

    Desperation. This seems to me to be a stop-gap measure. “What do we do about the young adults? We are losing too many of them!” “Get them working and sacrificing earlier by sending them on missions!” I don’t think they are sure it is going to work, either. I almost get the feeling that President Monson is the one that finally pushed it through and the rest of the 14 men involved in this decision are just trusting that he knows what he’s doing and that he is inspired. In other words, the policy of follow the brethren (or heeding the precepts of men) appears to be a top-down principle, lived by even the highest offices of the church, as the apostles all, eventually, just get in line and in step with what the church president says.

    How do you think it will change missionary work?

    I think it will result in a less-prepared missionary force, less mature, less capable of dealing with the rigors of missionary work and being away from home, less knowledgeable and less trained in theology, more arrogant and sure of themselves (cocky), less capable of resisting the temptations of the devil, more miserable in the mission field, more apt to goofing off and wasting their mission time.

    I think it will result in more missionaries entering the mission field, but with more of the above qualities I listed.

    I think it will result in more in-mission transgressions, specifically sexual trysts between sisters and elders. I’ll explain why:

    In my own mission, all the male missionaries were horn-dogs. We were horny, horny, horny, every last one of us. Our hormones were off the charts to begin with, owing to our ages, but placed away from home and with non-member women sometimes throwing themselves at us, the sexual temptations were crazily high. But most (not all) elders I met were able to resist these hormonal influences because they were interested in only one type of woman, the ones they had back home, the ones who grew up in the church, and who had their same ideals, etc.

    The sister missionaries in my mission were largely older, unattractive females and the elders had no interest in them, whatsoever. Plus they dressed so unappealingly that no one wanted to even look at them. I’m being brutally honest in this write-up because this was the general feeling among the men in my mission.

    Occasionally (very occasionally) a hot sister missionary would enter the mission and she would be the focus of all the elders’ attention. None of us could help it, we were horn-dogs with no avenue of release. But, thankfully, such hot sisters were extremely rare, so for the most part the elders just dealt with it as best they could and looked forward to their return home, when they could get themselves the type of woman they wanted. As for the elders who were in areas that had hot sister missionaries, well, these sisters were already adults, starting at 21 years old, while the elders were still just big teenagers, so the sisters looked upon the elders as too young and immature and avoided their advances, if there were any. But there was always plenty of flirting going on.

    This new policy is going to change that situation, for if 19 year old girls end up going on missions with 18 or 19 year old boys, you no longer have a situation where there is at least one adult. Although their bodies are technically mature, their brains are still kids, the neurons don’t fully connect until age 20 or more, so a 19-year old girl is not going to look at an 18 or 19-year elder as too immature for her.

    Additionally, the 19-year old girl is, typically, hot. These aren’t girls who couldn’t get married, (for whatever reason,) these are girls in their bodily prime, so the dynamic will be different. Now these even younger elders will be surrounded with lots of very hot girls, the very type of women he is attracted to, the type back home. Sure, they still dress like hags, but you can stick a burlap bag on a hot woman and she still looks hot. Every guy thinks this.

    The other thing is that many of the sister missionaries on my mission were emotional wrecks. They had a constant need for emotional support from the elders who were their leaders. Not all of them were, but a very great many. The zone and other leaders had their hands full in trying to console these woman all the time and encourage them to continue to work cheerfully and have hope, faith, etc.

    When you have needy women or girls and horny men who need to console them, that is a recipe for transgression. So, this new policy may have the effect of taking boys and girls who are chaste, and putting them in a mission environment that makes it harder for them to remain chaste, without any of the normal moral constraints that family, friends and others might have on them were they not away from home.

    The mission field is extremely stressful, with lots of disappointment, for both men and women, and putting children (as far as their not fully developed brains, goes) together in such a situation does not strike me as a wise course of action. In fact, this policy might actually do more damage to the general morality of the rising generations of members than the old policy.

    I suppose we’ll see greater numbers of sisters and elders being sent home early due to transgression and indiscretions. Or, those who transgress in secret will return home at the appointed time, but with these sins still secretly on their backs. Neither case bodes well for these people, their families and the church at large. But, I suppose the increase in transgressions will just be chalked off to the world having gotten more wicked, thus the temptations are greater “out there” in the field, and thus harder to resist.

    I also think that the investigators will suffer greatly from this new situation. An elder who is secretly engaging in fornication brings an altogether different spirit to a discussion. Also, even without any transgression, being taught by cocky, untrained, know-it-all 18-year olds who have no gospel or life maturity or experience may not go over too well with a lot of people.

    Add in secret, sexual transgression and you’ll have young men whose sexual appetite will now turn its attention to the girls of the families they are teaching.

    Now, I’m not speaking from any studies or anything, I’m just speaking based upon what I saw in the two years I served a mission and extrapolating that to this new set of circumstances.

    So, all in all, I think this a very bad idea and may be a policy that introduces a lot of wickedness into the church via these young male and female missionaries, despite the best of intentions by Monson and the rest.

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  18. Julia on October 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    LDS Anarchist-

    You don’t think much of the youth, especially the young women, do you? Having more sister missionaries, “hot” or not, is likely to make it so that there is no need for the “emotionally needy” sisters to deal with horny guys who think they are trash. (I wonder if being treated like trash makes someone insecure and needy?) I predict that as the numbers between men and women get to a 70/30 split or closer, that the sister missionaries will be able to largely “govern themselves,” only relying on the Elders to do final interviews (although they may take care of those too) and perform the baptisms. Certainly a greater number of sisters will allow for more frequent transfers, so that companionships that don’t work well can be switched up sooner.

    I have a number of close friends who have taken the discussions, in my home, including my husband. The sister missionaries were at least as productive, and oftentimes much more loving towards their investigators. Maybe it is simply because they were ugly (in your eyes) but in our home, they were teaching by word and example. I know a number of 18 and 19 year olds that would make great missionaries right now.

    I truly think that most of your “everyone will have sex” line is I reflection of you and the mission you served in, but also a reflection of the problems that come when there are not enough women. Even if I were to ascribe the same thoughts and feelings that you express to the Elders, I don’t see that same reflection coming from sister missionaries, just because they are two years younger than the current sisters. I would expect that even more strong, beautiful (hot?) and talented sisters will be able to strengthen each other even more than they do now.

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  19. Contrary on October 6, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    I think the decision has to do in part with the “Google apostasy” that is currently taking a huge toll on the church. (http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/the-google-apostasy/)

    Kids in high school have their attention directed in other areas besides surfing the internet about LDS doctrine and history.

    Once they graduate and begin thinking about a mission they are much more liable to begin searching online about church doctrine and history.

    Those taking college classes during that interim year are also often encouraged to seek knowledge on the internet and learn about many of the disconcerting things about the church.

    By having young men leave as soon as high school is over, perhaps the church is hoping to get more kids out in the mission field before they can become skeptical and disenchanted.

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  20. Julia on October 6, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Contrary-
    That assumes that high school students aren’t learning those “disconcerting” things. I learned most of them in seminary.

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  21. Contrary on October 6, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Julia

    If you really did learn about the types of things I am referring to, in seminary, you are an anomaly, as were your teachers.

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  22. whizzbang on October 6, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    I wonder about the maturity of the 18 yr old missionaries coming out. The brethren keep mentioning that the 18 yr olds already serving or have served have done so with distinction. yet , all of these missionaries come from areas that the Church is a blip on the religion radar and so i think they are more mature about religion. I wonder about kids growing up in the Mormon bubble if they are so converted and mature about religion. I await to see the results.

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  23. Julia on October 6, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Contrary-

    I think you are right, but it wasn’t unusual for my seminary. A few years ago I had a friend, who grew up in Utah, tell me that she had decided to leave the church. I told her that she was always welcome in my home, no matter what choices she made, and asked if she needed to talk. She said she didn’t want to talk to me because she didn’t want to steal my testimony.

    When she came over a few weeks later, with a notebook containing all of her research, she sat down and told me how betrayed she felt that no one taught the true history of the church. As she went through the issues; scrying and sear stones, ancestors involved in Mountain Meadows, racist statements by leaders, Joseph Smith’s polygamous wives, Masonic rights, and the genetic research on Native Americans. I told her I was so sorry to hear that she was struggling with those parts of LDS history. I found my seminary notebooks and we went through my assignments from Church History. The more we went through, the more angry she got. As we read the “Prophets Are People” assignments, and the final test she lost her anger and simply shook her head. I let her take my notebook home with her, so she could read it when she had more energy.

    She isn’t active, but her husband and children are. I don’t know if she will get over her betrayal at some point or not, but she is a wonderful wife, mother and friend, and my heart breaks that she feels so betrayed by her family and the church.

    I sometimes get flack for being open about what I know, especially by more conservative members of the church. Personally, I feel that I wrestled with an angel about issues even more intimate than church history, and found a way to peace through the gospel. I don’t know that I saw having a seminary teacher who pushed us as a blessing at the time, but I do now. Having the chance to learn about, process, pray and accept the prophets and leaders of the church as mortal men, gave me the ability to see leaders who hurt me deeply in the same light. It is probably the most previous part of my testimony.

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  24. Julia on October 6, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Oops…… most precious part of my testimony.

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  25. LDS Anarchist on October 6, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Julia,

    You seem to have taken what I said very personally. I spoke from my experience both in the church and also being on a mission. Now, perhaps 19 year old elders today are all sanctified and so their hormones do not influence them, at all, but in my mission, all the elders freely spoke their mind and opinions about the opposite sex, including the sister missionaries, (when the women weren’t around), while attempting to strengthen each other to remain obedient. We all knew everyone’s thoughts concerning the attractions of the opposite sex. This was discussed openly, as men are accustomed to do. I suppose the sister missionaries also talked about the men and elders they came in contact with, among themselves.

    You asked, “You don’t think much of the youth, especially the young women, do you?”

    On the contrary, it is because I think much of the youth AND the young women that I am concerned about this new policy. The leadership doesn’t seem to have taken into consideration the natural tendency of youth, males and females, at their certain ages, their natural vulnerabilities and dispositions, etc.

    What I described above was what I witnessed, firsthand, how 19 and 20 year old boys/men reacted to the environment we were placed in on that mission, when 21+ year old sister missionaries were around. You won’t get the behind-the-scenes perspective unless an elder, such as myself, decides to tell you all about it, and I daresay that most elders would keep mum about everything they witnessed. I’m not saying all the elders and sisters in my mission were evil or bad, just very, very hormonal. This is simple biology and it was based on our age and exacerbated by a very stressful environment.

    Again, it does not appear to me to be wise to simply throw our youth into these potentially dangerous (spiritually, that is) situations. The former policy was, in my view, a safer approach, because there was some natural distance between the elders and the sisters, in their ages. The new policy sounds like the ingredients of nitroglycerin.

    In other words, if human nature is still the same, and 18 and 19 year old boys and girls still act the same as they did when I went on a mission, then this will make it harder, not easier, to keep the commandments.

    Also, let me just say that I don’t think that any of the leadership elders ever thought of any of the sisters as “trash,” as you put it, nor did they ever treat them as such, as far as I could tell. There were effective missionaries, regardless of gender, and ineffective ones, again regardless of gender. I could see no difference between the quality of the baptism between the two genders.

    I myself was taught by sister missionaries, and I think they did a decent job. But one never knows. I know you think you know people who would make good missionaries, but again, one never knows until one gets to the mission and starts preaching whether he or she will be an effective or ineffective missionary, or how they will react in that environment. You cannot say, based on gender, whether someone will be good or bad at it. So, I’m not dissing the sisters, (or the elders, for that matter,) I’m just stating the facts as I witnessed them, that this was the nature that I saw in this particular age group, under mission field variables.

    It is a romantic notion that injecting the mission with more females (and males), of a younger age, will somehow solve the problems that I witnessed already exist in missions, but it sounds to me kind of like a social experiment, and I, personally, would rather that the leadership not conduct experiments with our children.

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  26. Hedgehog on October 6, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I think the current economic situation is also a factor. Not so much opportunity for earning money between finishing school and going on a mission.

    I live in a country where the permissible age for boys has changed over the years. The eldest of my brothers served at age 18, and was able to leave as soon as he finished his A levels. I’m not aware of anyone dropping out of school in order to serve a mission, but in this country there was also a fair contingent that actually finished school at 16 anyway. Then the age was raised to 19 to ‘put everyone in line’ which was a highly unpopular move, and my three youngest brothers had to wait until 19, which wasn’t great. One finished up leaving on a mission later because studying is a lot less flexible here, and that was how his education panned out, and the other two did odd jobs until they reached 19, before going onto university when they returned. Then not too long ago they put the age back down to 18, which was received with sighs of relief all round, because the chance of any of them finding employment and saving money before they left was very slim. 18-24 unemployment is at an all-time high…

    That said I don’t discount many of the other ideas raised here either as also having a part to play.

    Though why they didn’t make the age the same for both and be done with it I just don’t know. So far as I know the employment situation is no better for girls. Yes, the girls serve for a shorter time, but depending how birthdays fall not all of them will be back in time to start the academic year at the same time as the boys. Also, will this mean the girls get up to an extra year in YW, or will they still move out to RS at 18?

    At the moment I kind of feel the gap could make this worse for girls, they have no chance to do anything educationally with the gap between finishing school and serving a mission, and will in some cases be starting university later than the boys, either that or they go to university anyway, and then hey they’ll be 21 like they were before… Is this some kind of sop thrown out to both the group who wanted the girls to have the same age as the boys (and that was 19 right), and the group who feel like girls ought not be there anyway, and the least you can do is make sure they’re older than the boys (and therefore less attractive to them)… I have news for that latter group, two of my brothers have wives quite a few years older than they are, I know of several returned missionaries who then married women serving at the same time (so older), and my sister is older than her husband…

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  27. Bob on October 7, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    #20: Julia,
    I doubt you know what all the ““disconcerting” things are__I don’t. Therefore, you do not know if you learned all about them in seminary.
    Can you show me were lowering “the age” has worked out? Driving, drinking, voting, marriage, sports, schooling, etc.?

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  28. hawkgrrrl on October 7, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I feel like I need to defend the sisters a bit. First of all, I would say the sisters in my mission were hotter than the elders were. I would also add that there were proportionally no more head cases among the sisters. There were a few elders who seemed to thrive on sexism and male power, although they weren’t the majority in my experience. Just a nasty minority if you got stuck with one of them as a DL. There were some elders who seemed to think they were in charge of the sisters and some who resented having to check in on the sisters at night (believe me, we thought it was beyond assinine), and some who went around moony eyed over the sisters. On the whole, I felt we worked together as equals with the elders and president seeing us all as having a valuable contribution to make. We were mostly treated like sisters within a family.

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  29. JR on October 7, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    I am an old lady now but there were plenty of “hot” 21 year old Sister missionaries in my mission. A 21 yr. old is not hot but a 19 yr. old is? Hmmm. (I’ll be nice and won’t say more) The male missionaries were nothing to brag about either in the looks department (personalities were not much better)! And I’m sure that hasn’t changed since my mission. There were plenty of romances between 19 yr. old Elders and 21 yr. old Sisters in my mission. I turned some of them in. It interferes with the work whether they mess around with a fellow missionary or a ward member and there was a lot of messing around with ward members from both Elders and Sisters. So it doesn’t matter the age, if a missionary is dedicated they will not mess around. Those that were lazy and slept until noon, and those that fooled around with the opposite sex were serving a mission for the wrong reasons and didn’t care to do any work. I also know of many instances of sexual transgression with non-members by male missionaries as well. As hawkgirl said it feels like females are secondary. I think it was right to lower the age for females but a big mistake to lower the age for males as they are very, very immature as it is at age 18, and 19 is not much better. There are exceptions, but few. Also they are not knowledgeable in anything. If the mission fields have more problems then hopefully the age will be raised for the males and hopefully they will leave the female age alone. We will have to wait and watch. I don’t know how missions are run now but when I served it was a bad experience and the mission pres. wasn’t that great. Like missionaries there are men who shouldn’t accept the call of mission pres. and do so for the wrong reasons. It also bothers me that there is no consistency in leadership at all levels and no leadership training. SLC should do more in that department.

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  30. Julia on October 7, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Bob-

    I am not sure why I would be the one to provide proofs for lowering age restrictions. I don’t really feel like googling it, and the only thing I would have personal experience with is graduating from high school a year early. That worked out fine for me, I was so done with high school, but my debate coach still holds it against me, to this day, convinced I would have gone to Nationals if I had completed my fourth year.

    You are probably right that I do not know every disconcerting thing, but so far all of the things that friends have “discovered,” which led to a crisis of faith, I have at least had some passing acquaintance with, at least as far as church history. My personal experiences with a father who was blatantly abusive and the priesthood leaders who supported him, generally leave me sympathetic to the victims, when another leader turns out to have feet of clay, but not shocked or surprised.

    If you have something specific you are hot to trot and share, I suppose you can, but that really wasn’t the point of my comment. I do expect that there will be both wonderful and terrible things that I see and experience in life, and as a member of the church, I don’t think my religious life will be an exception to wonderful and terrible. My point in sharing my experiences was that it is often the withholding of information that leads to feelings of betrayal or disaffection, not necessarily the information itself.

    I didn’t do anything super special to learn about those things, except maybe being on time to early bird seminary. It took me quite awhile to ask some of my disaffected friends about why they left. I assumed that it was a situation similar to mine with my father, or my best friend from grade school who is gay. I didn’t want to intrude on their personal pain. I certainly had contemplated leaving the church at several junctures, and while I wrestled my testimony back, I considered (and still do) it to be a valid response to leave a church that invalidates or injures you.

    My shock was that almost always the reason for the disaffection comes down to a feeling of hurt and betrayal at being lied to, or having information withheld. It took me a number of years to realize what a precious gift my seminary teacher gave us, when he made sure to teach us about the humanness of the prophets and apostles, as we learned the gospel principles he taught.

    LDS Anarchist-

    I wanted to be fair, and take a step back from my own feminist perspective, and ask my husband to read your comment and my response. As a Republican who grew up in Texas, as a nonmember, he usually can give me an “outsiders” view and tell me if I am overreacting. In this case, neither one of us thought my response was out if line. You are certainly welcome to your point of view, but I did not find any of the language you used to be respectful of male or female missionaries.

    I have no way if knowing how accurate your perceptions of your mission are, but if I take you at your words, it was a hot bed of lusting teenagers, doudy and needy women and every male missionary was just one “hot” elder away from fornicating. If the elders are that close to breaking their temple covenants, I don’t know why having more sister missionaries would impact them. Women are not responsible for the hormones of men, even if they are 18-21. Returned missionaries marry other missionaries they served with all the time, after their missions are done. I do not see the new program as being more dangerous for the poor young, hormonal “boys.”

    Part if what stood out to me was the stark contrast between your cynical tossing away of the service of missionaries, both male and female, as doomed to bring fornacation and disaster to their lives. When I compared that to the genuine excitement and love from so many church members, especially young women who cheered and laughed and cried, out of pure joy. For thousands of young women, who have suddenly had this huge gift opened up to them, this is a hope for dream, an answer to prayer, and a day of rejoicing.

    When I compare your characterization of sister missionaries, (many of them were emotional wrecks) and compare that to the YW I know personally, who plan to turn their mission papers in as fast as the possibly can, I don’t find a resemblance. Are there men and women who struggle on their missions? Of course! Are there even more who work through struggles and become beacons to the world? Absolutely!

    I do not accept that this is a rash decision by the Brethren, taken without real thought or care for the youth of the church. If nothing else, the simultaneous release of a new curriculum program for the YM and YW, on the same day, which focuses on the elements of Preach My Gospel tells me that this had been a carefully planned change, complete with the resources to prepare them for the new opportunities for missionary service. Whether a YM or YW is ever likely to go on a mission or not, they will have the chance to receive all of the knowledge and preparation their mission serving peers will. Every YM and YW will have a missionary and gospel focused curriculum. I do not see a less prepared group of youth entering the mission field. I think that this year’s Beehives and Deacons may be some of the best prepared missionaries we have had in my lifetime.

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  31. Left Field on October 7, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    I assumed that “high school graduate or equivalent” was a nod to countries that don’t have something named “high school.”

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  32. Bob on October 7, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Again, can one go on a mission with a GED?
    Typically the GED Test is only available to individuals seventeen (17) years of age and older.
    Sixteen (16) year olds are able to take the GED Test if they are approved by the Colorado GED Office for a GED Age Waiver. All of the requirements for applying for the GED Age Waiver are listed in the Age Waiver Application. Individuals under the age of 16 may not apply for a GED Age Waiver
    More than 18 million people have received a GED credential since the program began. One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received the GED test credential.

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  33. KT on October 7, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I have a new theory after hearing a summary of the priesthood session……… the “denegration of males” in our society and how guys are falling behind. I think lowering the missionary age answers several problems:
    1. It’s a ploy to allow guys to transition more seamlessly back into school when done with the mission(which will happen sooner now). While, more girls may now put off starting school until after their missions at 19, or have a rockier transition back to school because of turning 19 at various times throughout the school year, and thus the guys will have a leg up and get into the work force and/or grad school faster than women in the Church.
    2. Girls will now be less likely to spend time working outside the home or going to grad school because guys will get done sooner or near the same time as girls, whereas they haven’t been before.
    3. Families will be started sooner because the guys will be financially responsible sooner. = increased membership and more likely to stay in the Church.
    4. It’s a way for the Church to keep a firm hold over the young people that they are losing.

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  34. Steve on October 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    One issue I see is that, for LDS guy & girls who go to non-LDS schools, scholarships will be in jeopardy. Also, I think there will be an impact on military academy entrance.

    I know our local university awards scholarships to high school students based on a requirement that they attend the following year. I’ve been told that the military academies function the same way. Application after high school or if one is older is much harder.

    Does this mean that scholarships will be harder for LDS youth and military leadership?

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  35. Mormon Heretic on October 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Dick Harmon of the Deseret News wrote how the new policy will greatly impact BYU. It will be interesting to see what Jabari Parker does, the highly recruited Mormon senior in Chicago. Will he go on a mission first, or go to BYU, Duke, or Michigan State?

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  36. Mormon Heretic on October 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Bob, I answered your GED question in comment 10 (before you asked.)

    LDSA, I don’t deny that your mission experiences were legitimate. However, I do question whether your depictions are “typical”. I don’t think there is much of a difference between an 18 and 19 year old male. I teach them in college, and can’t tell you any obvious differences concerning maturity.

    I don’t believe your exaggerations of the male libido and your belief that they affect nearly all males is accurate. Sure, there is a sizable segment of males that are horndogs, but it is not as bad as you suggest, IMO. Your depictions remind me of a drug user that thinks that everybody does drugs. While I don’t deny that a drug user or a hormonal male exist, there are people that don’t abuse drugs, and there are males that follow the law of chastity whether on a mission or not.

    I do think that making women closer to men in age during mission age will have an impact, and there probably will be some morality issues. But I don’t think the sky is falling as you suggest.

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  37. Mormon Heretic on October 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Well, I see Packer is here today, though he doesn’t look very healthy.

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  38. Bob on October 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    #36+10: MH,
    Maybe my question shouldread: Is FOR THE CHURCH’ a GED an “equivalent”?
    As I understand, you still have to be finished with high School, or 19. 18+1mo. is not old enough. Therefore, “over 18″ is not old enough.

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  39. Mormon Heretic on October 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    No Bob, I think it was pretty clear. If you are 18 and have finished with a GED, that is fine to serve a mission. As Julia mentioned, there is no discrimination against home schoolers.

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  40. Mormon Heretic on October 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    This from the Deseret News:

    To say this new decision impacts BYU sports is an understatement. It changed the world for LDS athletes who are now 17 and juniors or seniors in high school.

    “We’ve already received tweets from people on this,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve. “They can go sooner and return sooner and play four straight years.”

    Did anybody know that Elder Holland Tweets?

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  41. LDS Anarchist on October 7, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    MH #36 wrote:

    LDSA, I don’t deny that your mission experiences were legitimate. However, I do question whether your depictions are “typical”. I don’t think there is much of a difference between an 18 and 19 year old male. I teach them in college, and can’t tell you any obvious differences concerning maturity.

    I agree with you on that. I also don’t see much difference in maturity between an 18 year old and a 19 year old. The age of (mental) maturity has always seemed to me to be age 20. I remember when I turned 20 on my mission, it was like I “woke up” from a dream.

    I don’t believe your exaggerations of the male libido and your belief that they affect nearly all males is accurate. Sure, there is a sizable segment of males that are horndogs, but it is not as bad as you suggest, IMO. Your depictions remind me of a drug user that thinks that everybody does drugs. While I don’t deny that a drug user or a hormonal male exist, there are people that don’t abuse drugs, and there are males that follow the law of chastity whether on a mission or not.

    The male (and female) sex drive is hardly an exaggeration. I never said that the elders (or sisters) of my mission gave in to the temptation, but there is no denying that we were all tempted. The mission president was at the mission office, far, far away, our parents were also very far, far away, and we were essentially all alone in our own areas. To the young mind, the elders and sisters could get together and do whatever they wanted and no one would ever know or find out, if everyone kept their mouths shut. We essentially governed ourselves, but we were still immature teenagers. The one companion kept the other companion in check, and vice versa. This is one of the reasons for companionships.

    But despite all the helps to keep us from breaking the law of chastity, or any other laws of God, the sex drive was always there and strong. We just suppressed it and went to work, which helps to keep it at bay. But we were in a sea of temptation, surrounded by non-member women who had no qualms about being with Americans for quick affair. This had nothing to do with the “hotness” or attractiveness of the elders, for we were all geeky, know-it-all kids, but the simple fact that we were young American boys. I do not know if the sister missionaries also had guys hitting on them all the time. They probably did, too, for all I know. But the sisters were older, meaning they had all passed the magical age of 20 and were much more mature than any 18 or 19 year old boy, or even girl, for 19 year old girls are very immature, too. So, the sisters had an easier time with these commandments than their younger counterparts.

    Now, returning to your drug analogy, the sex drive is like a drug. Again, it is romantic to think, “I’m not like that person. I’m not a drug addict,” while still never having tried the drug. No one knows who or who is not going to become a “drug addict” until they try the drug. However, the whole pull of the drug is the pleasure that it gives to the person. And this is the point. You can’t say that if you were to partake of that particular drug, it won’t give you pleasure. Yes, it will. It gives pleasure to both those who are “drug abusers and addicts” as well as those who use it recreationally and in moderation. So, no, everybody doesn’t do drugs (or act on their libido), but, yes, everyone would derive pleasure from doing drugs (or having sex), if they were to participate in these activities.

    Your comment reminds me of the idea in the church of a sexless, emasculated male. “Look once and you question your manhood. Look twice and you question your priesthood.” And other nonsensical sayings create the image of a sexless, emasculated male, that has no sex drive when on a mission, etc. This is utter nonsense. But boys routinely enter the mission field with such fictions in their head. Actually, the girls do, too.

    Everybody has a sex drive and it is strong, in both males and females. Heaping guilt on people who feel the pull of their sex drive at an age that Heavenly Father designed it to kick in so that they seek out a mate, is not the fault of these “adult bodied children,” it is the fault of a church that has its priorities in the wrong place, yet these kids think there is something morally wrong with them for finding every girl (and guy) around them attractive.

    One last thing, I have a niece that announced yesterday that she is putting in her papers now that she can go on a mission earlier. Everyone in the family is ecstatic about it. Yet this is the same girl who comes home every day, having fallen in love with a different boy. Maybe I have nothing to worry about, but I don’t like the writing on the wall.

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  42. LDS Anarchist on October 7, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Julia #30,

    I did not find any of the language you used to be respectful of male or female missionaries.

    I used the language that was common among the elders in the mission, so that you would have an inside view of what went on.

    Part if what stood out to me was the stark contrast between your cynical tossing away of the service of missionaries, both male and female, as doomed to bring fornacation and disaster to their lives. When I compared that to the genuine excitement and love from so many church members, especially young women who cheered and laughed and cried, out of pure joy. For thousands of young women, who have suddenly had this huge gift opened up to them, this is a hope for dream, an answer to prayer, and a day of rejoicing.

    When I went on my mission, I was shocked to discover that every single elder I met was there for reasons other than serving the Lord. They went because it was expected of them. They went because they were having their college tuition paid. They went because the girl back home would then marry them. They went because Daddy was going to get them the car they wanted. And on and on.

    Changes happened during the mission, of course, and some of these same men ended up converting to the Lord and serving for a better reason, but initially, this wasn’t why they were there. (I can’t speak for the sisters, since I didn’t engage in such intimate conversations with them.) Has the mission motivation of the elders entering the mission field changes, since then? I hope so, but I expect it hasn’t. There is still a whole heap of pressure to serve a mission, so all the ancillary motivations are probably still added.

    The other thing that shocked me was how many of the elders had never received any revelations, visions, etc. They all believed “the church was true” but couldn’t say why, just that they had a good feeling about it, etc. In other words, no one entered the mission with gospel maturity. Some matured while in the mission, but generally, we were all gospel morons, both scripture-wise and Spirit-wise.

    You may call this cynicism, but these are my observations of the mission I served in.

    If nothing else, the simultaneous release of a new curriculum program for the YM and YW, on the same day, which focuses on the elements of Preach My Gospel tells me that this had been a carefully planned change, complete with the resources to prepare them for the new opportunities for missionary service. Whether a YM or YW is ever likely to go on a mission or not, they will have the chance to receive all of the knowledge and preparation their mission serving peers will. Every YM and YW will have a missionary and gospel focused curriculum. I do not see a less prepared group of youth entering the mission field. I think that this year’s Beehives and Deacons may be some of the best prepared missionaries we have had in my lifetime.

    None of this stuff causes one to mature in the gospel. The generations going on a mission are probably the best and most indoctrinated of all, but indoctrination and spiritual maturity are two separate things. One is gained by rote learning and going through a series of motions (rituals). The other by coming unto Christ. And yet, the missionaries in my day were taught that they had already “come unto Christ” by being baptized and confirmed a member of the church, which they then taught to the investigators. We still teach such nonsense.

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  43. LDS Anarchist on October 7, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Apparently I’m not the only one with misgivings about this announcement. One of the comments on the Deseret News article, ‘Change in missionary age inspired, life-changing’ wrote the following:

    Tim
    Villa Rica, GA

    This decision far less about revelation and much more about numbers. The amount of men interested in serving missions is dropping especially among those that graduate high school well before their 19th birthday. At age 21 it is less an option for woman since many are become established in their post high school lives or married. On paper it should increase the numbers.

    What’s the downside? Now you will have 18-21yr old males serving along side 19-21yr old women. The amount of missionaries being sent home will rise. There is a big difference between a 22yr old woman’s opinion of a 19-20yr old man and a 19yr old woman’s opinion of a 20yr old man. The dynamic will change and probably not for the purposes the church is hoping.

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  44. Rigel Hawthorne on October 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I’m glad my mission experience was unlike that of LDS Anarchist. All but one of my companions were there because they wanted to be there and subdued their sexual impulses in the manner that was expected of them. None of them referred to the Sisters as “hot”. They were, after all, sisters, and even though attractive ones among them to boot, off limits to being thought of in that sense. I wouldn’t have put it past the one non-converted Elder I was with to have let himself get caught in a situation with a female investigator that could have turned out bad, if he had a companion that pushed in the same temptation. He knew with me that it was a boundary that could never be questioned and it never came up. I was lucky in that I was blessed with the desire of my heart and not given leadership callings in the field other than trainer. So, I was not privy to the details of Elders in the district or zone who transgressed or Sisters that were head cases.

    I see a couple of benefits to the age change. Our Bishop worked with a recent young man who is on his mission, but needed the better part of a year to prepare for his mission. He is now out and doing great. Others may traditionally be caught up in the college work and preparation may not be complete at the time they are coming home from school and getting ready to go. The younger flexibility may help avoid putting off preparation that may have waited until age 19. If it takes longer than expected, the earlier start will still get them out at an age closer to the traditional age. For women, if they don’t fit in at college, then they can consider a mission while figuring out a different education or career plan. If they love college, then they can plan to go after finishing.

    I think of how much I grew by going away to college for a year before going on a mission and don’t think I would encourage my sons to leave at 18.

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  45. Douglas on October 7, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    The Lord knows what he’s doing in making a relatively minor change in the missionary program. Yes, there are potential pitfalls (the possiblity of elders and sisters in effect hooking up ‘en missione’ for one) but also other opportunities.
    I seem to recall that Joseph F. Smith was called to a full-time FOREIGN mission (at the time, the so-called “Sandwich” Islands as the Kingdom of Hawaii was then known to the Western world) at FIFTEEN.

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  46. hawkgrrrl on October 8, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    I don’t doubt that there will be quite a few members who wring their hands over the potential of a mass orgy breaking out in the MTC or mission field, but these are the same people who think men & women can’t serve in wards together without electricity sparking as their hands touch when reaching for the funeral potatoes. I just don’t see this same behaviour in a church setting. I believe most members are capable of keeping their berries in the basket.

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  47. Hedgehog on October 8, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    Agreed Hawkgrrrl.
    I believe I mentioned else-thread I attended a YSA ward where *gasp horror*, many lived in mix-sex households. I never heard of, saw or experienced any problems whatsoever. I hardly think a mission environment would be worse in that regard. Men and women treated each-other with respect. It was great.
    I always thought then that the segregating the sexes attitude was a case of people seeing the world how they wanted it to be, rather than how things really are… But perhaps the environment and attitudes we’re raised with play a part. I find the american religious right rhetoric terrifying, and from what I’ve observed (which is admittedly from a distance) there is too much of it bleeding into Utah church culture too. Europe is far more relaxed, and Britain has the awkward position of hanging between the two…

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  48. BrotherQ on October 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I think that we are all looking at this change in too general a sense. The OPTION, but not the requirement, to serve at the earlier ages will allow those who are ready and mature enough to go out at an earlier age. But there is no requirement that it be so. Many young men will wait and serve at a later age, when they are ready, and that might end up being around the age of 19 (give or take). I don’t see the missionary force suddenly turning immensely younger (as far as the males go). Many young men will choose to serve earlier, but not all. And the logistics of training locations will not allow the male part of the missionary force overnight to change into people who have recently turned 18. I think you see specific standards and requirements be issued dealing especially with the 18 year old male who wants to get his mission papers in.

    I think with sisters, it is different. I have a daughter who is 20, and was planning to serve next June, who just today made her appointment with her Bishop for her missionary interview to get started on the process. I never really understood the later age limitation for sisters, and I think you will see a significant and dramatic increase in sisters, immediately.

    There could be many reasons for this new policy. I think it simply allows those who are mature enough and sufficiently prepared at an earlier age to go out at that time. I am not sure it is quite as reactive as some of the earlier posts have made it. It is incremental, and follow the patterns of the past 50 years as the ages have been lowered from time to time.

    I am excited for my son who turns 18 in February, who now has more options and more things to think about as he plans out the next years of his life.

    All that being said, as we all sat and watched the announcement, my 20 year old daughter nearly leaped out of her seat with joy, and my 18 year old son turned ashen. It will be fun to see how it all turns out!

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  49. GBSmith on October 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    “I seem to recall that Joseph F. Smith was called to a full-time FOREIGN mission (at the time, the so-called “Sandwich” Islands as the Kingdom of Hawaii was then known to the Western world) at FIFTEEN.”

    I think what happened there is that he’d beaten up a school teacher that had been cruel to his sister so there was a need to get him out of town.

    Another possible reason for lowering the age for women is to make them more marriageable when they’re back. Women returning at 23 or older don’t fit a BYU and that marriage market and have some trouble fitting in at a YSA branch/ward. Leaving at 19 means that on return they’ll be in the mix with men returning. Just a practical reason

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  50. Bob on October 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I think mixing marriage with someome being RM is is more hope than a “a practical reason”. I have my personal reasons, but I can’t see it a driving force in once was.
    I feel a YW/RM will have less a wish to have a RM(at18) husband. They don’t like YM/RM. They will not be looking to pay for hudbands their way thru school.

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  51. Tiger on October 8, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Most of the reactionary threads that I’m seeing here are just juvenile and grasping at straws; all speculative reasons are irrelevant and carry no weight whatsoever. Our leaders, though not quite infallible or super-human (and they would never claim to be), have far more collective insight, administrative experience, and authoritative expertise—-multiply that vast knowledge by 15, then add a dollop of access to divine revelation and discernment not available to any other governing body anywhere else in the world. I’m not even going to bother speculating: Is it a social experiment? What will be the upsides/downsides? Will it curtail/engender libido, as some have suggested? Will it lead to more transgressions in the mission field? Will our missionary forces be more immature? Will it make them more marriageable as RMs? And so on and so on. I just merely laugh, admittedly with a bit of embarrassment, roll my eyes, and groan, “Puh-leez.”

    The simple fact of the matter is the prophet has spoken. More men and women have the opportunity to go earlier if they choose to do so. Our leaders constantly remind us and continually reiterate that our youth are a great generation, if not the greatest, and that they have great faith and confidence in them. They’re not just saying it either; they sincerely believe it. Although temptations abound, they are not subscribing to so-called libido, natural man, and social science theories. Obviously, they are excited to make this announcement and anticipate/expect many positive outcomes as a result.

    We don’t know why the minimum missionary age for women is 19, just as we never knew exactly why it was at age 21. However, the mandate is that missionary work is essentially a priesthood responsibility. So if the Melchizedek priesthood is available to young men beginning at age 18, then it makes sense to allow them to serve missions at that age (and why it was 19, we’ll probably never know).

    Of course, there will be a few Coriantons, but there will be many Ammons, Nephis, Helamans, and Ruths. Do you recall when Pres. Kimball announced that all worthy young men were required to serve a mission (or maybe you were not born yet…)? No doubt it set off a flurry of theorizing (and this was before blogs and the internet). But the church has continued to expand and the Lord’s army swelled to great numbers. We are only a small kingdom on the earth, and we will never have enough missionaries. Therefore, I welcome the prophetic news, and I see little reason for speculation, other than to debate the possible reasons, which are all probably way, way off the mark. Sorry to be a party pooper, and I didn’t mean to interrupt you (actually, yes, I did…). So go ahead, speculate away!

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  52. Tiger on October 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Any way one tries to spin it, he’s just spinning his wheels, while revealing in the process his foolishness, short-sightedness, and naiveté. Along with enduring to the end, it is the job of the church to implement policies as it sees fit, and for members to roll with the changes, and then stand back and see the salvation of God (D&C 123:17).

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  53. Justin on October 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Tiger [#51]:

    I think the question is, does “collective insight, administrative experience, and authoritative expertise” a prophet, seer, and revelator make

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  54. Cowboy on October 9, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Regarding Hawkgrrrl #46:

    There’s alway’s two side to the coin. I remember debating with a gentleman on my Mission about the Temple. He kept insisting that part of the reason the Temple was so secret was because Mormon’s engaged in occultic ritual orgy’s in there. My companion said something along the lines of:

    “sir, I regret to inform you, that unfortunately isn’t true…but’s it is nice experience all the same”.

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  55. Tiger on October 9, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    #53 No, it is the calling that makes them prophets, seers, and revelators; the Lord qualifies those he calls, and they typically bring their unique characteristics and knowledge with them to their office.

    BTW, an insightful assessment of the far-reaching effects of the missionary age change can be found at this blog post: http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2012/10/potential-effects-of-the-missionary-age-announcement/

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  56. Justin on October 9, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Interesting, Tiger [#55]:

    No, it is the calling that makes them prophets, seers, and revelators;

    That sounds backwards to my ears. You’re saying we call men who aren’t prophets, don’t see, and are not revelatory to the office of prophet, seer, and revelator — and then they just become such?

    I would imagine it would be more advisable for the church to seek out men who prophecy, see visions, and receive revelations — and then hold their hands up for them, in that calling.

    D&C 20:60 says

    every elder
    priest
    teacher
    or deacon
    is to be ordained
    according to the gifts
    and callings
    of God
    unto him

    Now — it seems you described:
    (1) calling (2) ordination (3) gifts

    meaning the gifts come with, or belong to, a calling. And that once a man is called to an office and ordained by the church — the Lord then gives him the gifts necessary to fulfill the duties of that office.

    I guess that makes sense if you read that scripture as saying:

    Every [priesthood office] is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God [which will come] unto him [through this ordination].

    But it reads to me that it is saying:
    (1) gifts (2) callings (3) ordination

    For example, if we look at Joseph Smith — we find that his life followed the gifts->callings->ordination order [rather than your callings->ordination->gifts order]

    Joseph was a prophet, seer, and revelator before he was ordained to any priesthood office in the church of Christ. In fact, he was using a seer stone before he was ever called by the Lord to be a seer.

    So, his gifts came to him first, then he received a calling from the Lord, and finally he was ordained to the offices of the priesthood by the church.

    …but interesting theory about the “unique characteristics and knowledge” that the current body of 15 apostles bring “with them to their office“. I still can’t see how that lends to them being prophets, seers, and revelators — but who knows?

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