New missionary age policy brings changes to BYU and the MTC

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This January photo shows the first wave of the new missionary surge. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
This January photo shows the first wave of the new missionary surge. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

Following President Monson’s historic announcement that the minimum age for men and women to serve a mission had been lowered, BYU campus has braced itself for the population and demographic changes that were sure to come.

The Church has been accepting applications from 18-year-old men and 19-year-old women since October 2012, when President Monson’s announcement was made.

“We have roughly 58,000 missionaries worldwide right now,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said in a press conference following the announcement. “We are always hoping to see an increase in that number.”

In the months following, new developments concerning Missionary Training Centers have become frequent, including the cancellation of the proposed Provo MTC tower and the plan to open an MTC in Mexico.

Eighteen-year-old men and 19-year-old women began entering the Provo MTC on Jan. 23, beginning the surge of missionaries expected since October.

The LDS Church announced the creation of 58 new missions around the world to accomodate this surge on February 22.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a press release announcing the next step to accommodate the surge of young missionaries following President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement.

“In addition to the previously announced changes in time spent at the missionary training center (MTC) and a new MTC in Mexico, some of the 347 existing missions will be divided to form an additional 58 missions,” the Church announced on its website.

In order to house the influx of young missionaries during their time in training, arrangements were made for them to stay at Raintree Commons and parts of Wyview Park starting in May 2013.

“We are so excited that the response of the members of the Church to serve missions has been large enough to require the MTC to look for additional space. We are glad we have the opportunity to help fill that need while still being able to support BYU students,” said Julie Franklin, director of residence life at BYU.

Discussions for a potential Provo MTC expansion are currently underway between MTC officials and residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

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