Missionary Age Change

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President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the ages for missionaries would change effective immediately.

“All worthy and able young men who graduate from high school, or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of eighteen. Able worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age nineteen,” said Monson.

This was announced this past weekend at the Saturday morning session of General Conference. With it came new opportunities for young people in the church.

At a press conference held Saturday afternoon, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the quorum of the twelve apostles said he is excited that eighteen year old men and nineteen year old women will now be able to serve missions. He also said it will be a huge help for prospective missionaries.

“This adjustment will be a blessing in the lives of many young men and young women who are eager to begin their missionary service. We hope that it will also allow our youth greater flexibility in planning for their schooling, careers, marriage, and military obligations,” said Nelson.

Many LDS teens who are preparing to serve missions are thrilled with the possibility of being able to serve sooner.

“I was just so excited and overwhelmed cause I realized that I can do this earlier on,” said fifteen year-old Darian Leavitt.

Seventeen year-old Megan Ingleby said, “Instead of waiting to see if I get married or not after college, I can plan on going on a mission.”

Elder Henry, a missionary currently serving in the Provo, Utah mission, said that if given the opportunity he would have started his mission at age eighteen.

“It’s a great experience for everyone. The sooner you do it, the sooner you experience God’s love in your life,” said Henry.

Some expressed concerns that eighteen and nineteen year olds are too young and people that age are not mature enough to serve. Elder Nelson says that is simply not the case.

“Our response by the mission presidents has been universal. Give me more eighteen year olds. They do well. They’re sweeter, they’re purer, they’re smarter,” said Elder Nelson.

The Church also emphasized that this is not a required change for missionaries, simply a new opportunity. They also announced that missionaries would spend one-third less time in the MTC and that the church will create some new missions soon.

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