Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve advised that prospective missionaries apply for college before entering the mission field.
“Young men and women: Your education is ever important to us, to you and to God. Where feasible, if you wish to attend a college or university after your mission, we encourage you to apply to your institution of choice before beginning your mission,” Elder Nelson said during his Saturday afternoon Conference talk.
“Many institutions of higher learning will grant an 18- to 30-month deferral to prospective missionaries. This will enable you, elders and sisters, to serve without worrying about where you will begin your advanced education.”
Elder Nelson then thanked universities across the globe for allowing young LDS highschoolers to defer enrollment in order to serve two-year or 18-month missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We are very grateful to leaders of educational institutions who are making such planning possible,” he said.
Last month The Universe reported that universities around Utah announced programs for scholarship and enrollment deferments in response to the missionary age change announcement.
The Deseret News reported that the University of Utah implemented a program that would allow students to defer for up to seven semesters just one month after LDS President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement that worthy LDS men could serve missions at 18 instead of 19 and women could serve at 19 instead of 21. The University of Utah had no enrollment deferment policy until November.
The LDS Church places a high degree of importance on education and higher learning. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, called obtaining an education “not merely a good idea” but a “commandment” for members of the Church in his 2009 talk, “Two Principles for Any Economy.”