LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced in October’s Church general conference that, effective immediately, men can serve at the age of 18 and women at the age of 19; and effective immediately, as he was saying it, the plans of thousands of young adults changed.
Representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said there are almost 600 future missionaries starting their applications every day.
However, the Church’s offices aren’t the only ones that are busier now. The phones at the BYU Health Center are ringing off the hook. Since the LDS Church lowered the ages when people can serve missions, more people than ever before are trying to get a mission prep examination.
“The day after conference was over, I came in at seven (and) the phone rang non-stop,” said Daneen Wake, Health Center reception supervisor.
Those early birds were able to beat the rush and get appointments. However, others like Amy Smith, a future sister missionary, took longer to decide to call.
“I called the Health Center, and I got an appointment but it was…three weeks out, and I am not that patient,” Smith said.
The Health Center says they used to have fewer than 10 mission physicals a week and now they have more than 100. The earliest these future missionaries can get an appointment for physicals is the last week of November. However, if they want a specific doctor, the wait might be longer.
“Some of the general practitioners are booked out clear until January,” said Wake.
This overbooking issue has made some impatient future missionaries look for other solutions. Some students have called around to different doctors here in Provo in order to make sooner appointments.
The Health Center employees say they save some space for people that need to see the doctor for other medical reasons. They also brought in another nurse to help speed up the process.