Mormon Missionary Age Change


#1

During this past General Conference for the LDS Faith the prophet Thomas S. Monson declared that the age minimum for LDS missionaries would be changed.

For Men: it is now 18 (was 19)
For Women: it is now 19 (was 21)

Good move for a church to send younger missionaries or bad move?


#2

I say not relevant either way…


#3

I think it’s a bad move.

I don’t think 18 yr olds, or 19 for that matter, have the emotional maturity for these missions.

Let’s look back at those missionaries that desecrated a Catholic shrine a while back, and then posted pics on the internet.

If anything, they should have raised the age limit.

Plus, from what I have read from other places, the retention rate for returned missionaries is quite low, in addition to the low retention rate of converts.

I would think, let them settle into a little bit of adult hood, and their faith, then do a mission.

Just my :twocents:


#4

Mmmm…gonna disagree here.
I knew tons of RM’s both male and female. Most of them found their missions very personally fulfilling.

People can join various arms of the service at the age of 18 and many do well.


#5

I joined the Air Force when I was 17, and I did very well. But that was a different time back then.

From what I personally see of today’s youth, they are literally light years apart in maturity from what I was at that age.

So many kids (compared to me, they’re kids) today don’t take responsibility for their actions. Most couldn’t balance a checkbook, etc. etc.

But hey, that’s what makes the world such a fun place!! Difference of opinion. :stuck_out_tongue:

Did you make it to the Bishop Sheen thing? How was it?


#6

Indeed I did!!!

It was a whirlwind experience though and I was tired going in due to many crisis’ in my family and wasnt recovered from them.

So for me, it was exhaustive beyond what I was already feeling.


#7

I don’t think it makes much difference. But no way am I (in my 60s) going to recognize an 18-year-old (or a 21-year-old, or a 25-year-old) as an “Elder.”


#8

It’s a good thing. As has been mentioned, 18 years olds fight wars. The main reason they have so little initiative is they have so little expected of them. Until the widespread use of contraception people routinely got married at those ages.

More to the point though, the “missions” benefit the Mormon to to a degree Christianity should emulate. While it does bring others into the religion, what it does more so is teaches and strengthens the missionaries faith such that it is unshakeable once they complete the mission. Prior to the mission it is the faith of their parents. Post mission it is their faith.

If Christianity had something like this our churches would be stronger and our society would be stronger.


#9

Yes, Twopekingguys, them darn kids these days. I’m sure you were just a model child :roll eyes:

I suppose that the age change was methodically thought over, and is intended to serve the purpose of retaining LDS return missionaries, increase the number of LDS men who serve missions, and increase the number of LDS men who marry LDS women.

That one year you have in-between high school graduation and your mission call is enough time outside your Mormon bubble to really start rethinking your allegiance. It’s not unheard of for a questioning 18 year old LDS man to talk to his bishop about doubts, just to be told that he should serve a mission; that it will strengthen his testimony. It’s also not unheard of for that one year window to cause an LDS man to reject a mission call in the subsequent year (again, thanks to having that year outside the bubble).

Concerning marriage, that’s more to do with LDS who attend LDS universities (and specifically the women). A woman who wants to serve a mission will typically go to college, graduate, then serve a mission, just to come back a single 23-24 year old, with her only recourse to any men still left over in her singles’ ward. Lowering the female age for mission service closer to those of men, I wouldn’t be surprised, has something to do with ensuring that more LDS female return missionaries marry LDS men.

These are just my 2 cents from a former LDS missionary.


#10

bad.

at 19, many were way too young and had no clue what they were doing, but at least they had one year of college. I was 24 and ended at almost 26. Most of the time, I felt like I was babysitting.

I would bet the real reason is that, the older Mormons get, the more they find how they have been lied to, so they are trying move them younger…


#11

In no way did I say I was perfect, and quite frankly, I find your snarkiness uncalled for.

I will go on to say, that I currently work in law enforcement, so my knowledge of how 18 & 19 yr olds behave these days is first hand knowledge. It also extends to many 20 somethings.

Based upon my personal experience, I don’t believe missionaries of that age are emotionally equipped for what lies ahead of them.


#12

I personally agree that this is a bad move. I served a mission just 2 years ago and the corruption that is within the mission will only grow. Now when I say “corruption” i mean little things. Like breaking rules while on the mission with the opposite sex. But frankly, I feel they should have raised the age to 21 for men and kept it at 21 for girls. I know of at least 40 girls here at BYU who are turning 19 that have decided to serve. Nothing wrong with them wanting to serve but honestly, they do so ignorantly. Missions aren’t as glamorous as everyone thinks they are and the maturity level of 18 and 19 year old men and women aren’t the greatest (i was one of those immature ones).

However, missions for Christ in themselves are wonderful, but should be handled by mature adults who have some experience with the gospel. Not by someone who just goes to church on sundays and is on their phone the whole time.

just my 2 cents.


#13

We had two sister missionaries sent home and exd because they were caught actually living in a foursome with some guys


#14

From age 25 on any uneducated, unmarried, childless boy elders or girl missionaries who left mom and dad to proselytize were irrelevant. They had absolutely nothing to offer either in life experience or spiritual growth, all of the LDS missionaries I’ve encountered at anytime in my life have shown their irrelevance over and over again. IMO the LDS church would do much better if they took a page from the JW’s and had adults do the job. Really, sending children to tell adults about the meaning of life?


#15

[quote="twopekinguys, post:11, topic:301532"]
In no way did I say I was perfect, and quite frankly, I find your snarkiness uncalled for.

[/quote]

I was intending that to be playful sarcasm, not snarkiness, so I apologize. I just find it funny when folks wax nostalgic for "them good ole days", when more often than not nothing substantive has changed. I suppose I'll be saying the same thing in a decade or so.

I will go on to say, that I currently work in law enforcement, so my knowledge of how 18 & 19 yr olds behave these days is first hand knowledge. It also extends to many 20 somethings.

I don't doubt that 18-20 year olds are generally immature. What I doubt is that 18-20 year olds from a generation ago were any more mature than those today. Sure, the contexts and specifics are different, but kids are kids. I might grant you that those of today's generation are more brazen with their immaturity. :p

Based upon my personal experience, I don't believe missionaries of that age are emotionally equipped for what lies ahead of them.

Agreed.


#16

I think this might depend on where the missionary is from. Us Westerners? Sure. I was a dumb, sheltered punk at 19 who thought he knew the world over. My 2nd companion from sure hit me with a dose of reality, though. That kid (I almost hesitate to call him a kid) fled Rwanda during the genocide to Ghana after having both parents killed and raised his 2 younger siblings at the age of 11. Last I heard he’s doing relief work back home after earning his Masters in public policy from Georgetown.


#17

The maturity of today’s youth (yeesh, that makes me sound old) has nothing to do with times changing. It has everything to do with low expectations, as another posted mentioned, and the change in parenting culture.

Since around the 1980s, parents have moved to a culture of child worship and hysteria over safety that has resulted in the infantalization of children at older and older ages. I’ve seen 12-year-olds who aren’t allowed to enter a public bathroom alone, and 8-year-olds whose parents forbid them from using a simple table knife. Of course these kids are immature at age 18! How could they possibly be mature when they’ve never been given any independence, responsibility or credit for having a bit of sense?


#18

Mormon missionary applications surge after age rules lowered

Statistics released by the Church show the average number of missionary applications rose five-fold since the October 6 announcement by church leaders - from around 700 each week to more than 4,000.

More than half of the new applications are from young women, Church spokesman Scott Trotter said in a statement.

uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/us-usa-mormon-missionaries-idUKBRE89U1R220121031

I am not surprised by the surge on interest in being a missionary. Younger people tend to be more idealistic, and thus more interested. And the older a person gets, the more committed they become to other life paths.

Age 21 for women surely was a deterrent. The new age of 19 will allow the choice of becoming a missionary before other factors make it less inviting. However, I am unsure why women are expected to be a year older than men. My general impression is that at those ages, women tend to be more mature.


#19

Yes, a few years ago I bumped into a couple of young missionaries while waiting for a bus. I couldn’t help but stifle a laugh when they introduced themselves as Elder Bob and Elder Tom.

But… the missionaries do seem successful in recruiting new members. Its hard to argue with success.

And as others have pointed out, the challenge of being a missionary is likely very helpful in maturing a person and preparing them for their adult roles in life.


#20

I was 22 when I went on my mission. And I still knew nothing about the church. I had never been active until I was 21. So when I went to the mission home and started to learn what we believed in it was as if it was brand new. I remember learning that we lived before this life and thought wow. We believe that. I believe that too. So even though I was older than my senior companion, he knew much more than I did. I was just excited to share with others what I knew through power of the Holy Ghost. I use to tell people that I was so dumb as to what the church taught that I was surprised that we were the only ones that had the Book of Mormon. Of course I knew that much.


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