I just posted my personal challenge about studying the conference talks for the next 6 months. Here’s to taking the first step.
Some of the highlights from President Monson’s talk:
…we are pleased to have 139 temples in operation throughout the world, with 27 more announced or under construction.
The Historic Announcement about Missionary Work
Brothers and sisters, I now turn to another matter—namely, missionary service.
For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at the age of 18 when they are worthy, able, have graduated from high school, and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy and has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities.
Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary service for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come.
I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated 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 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age. Rather, based on individual circumstances as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
For some reason, when I heard him say these words, I got teary eyed. I wonder if it was because this means that in a little over 10 years, C will be getting ready to serve a mission; or if it’s because this may effect M’s and Ch’s thoughts on going on a mission too.
I know that I love missionary work and always want to be a part of it in some way.
I’ve read a few articles about the effects this change in age will have on the Church, on BYU, and on the Mormon culture overall. Some I agree with; some I don’t.
I think ultimately this is inspired council from our Prophet and Apostles. I think they’ve thought it out, they’ve prayed, they’ve studied, and they’ve received modern-day revelation.
After the morning session of conference there was a press conference where Elder Holland replied:
God is hastening His work. And He needs more and more willing and worthy missionaries to spread the light and the truth and the hope and the salvation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to an often dark and fearful world.
I think one common misconception already coming to the surface is that ALL 18 year old boys and ALL 19 year old girls are now going to serve at that age. As Elder Nelson mentioned “These age adjustments are new options now available to bishops in evaluating what is best for each of their youth…Young men and young women should not begin their service before they are ready spiritually and temporally.”
Other Announcements at the Press Conference
- Time at each of the Church’s 15 Missionary Training Centers (MTCs) will be reduced by one-third for all missionaries.
- At the Church’s flagship MTC in Provo, Utah, new instructors and staff will have to be hired and the amount of housing will have to be increased almost immediately. The Church is considering comparable expansion at some other MTCs, but is not planning on building any new MTCs at this time.
- Missionaries will benefit from a recently implemented 12-week training course being administered in the mission field through mission presidents. The program is designed to improve every missionary’s teaching skills while in the field.
- The Church is considering adding new missions in the future. Until those new missions are created, the existing 347 missions will absorb any increase in the number of missionaries.
- Prospective missionaries may be recommended by their bishop and stake president for full-time service 120 days prior to their birthday or to their availability date (which takes into account high school graduation or its equivalent). Young men may enter the MTC after graduating and reaching 18 years of age. Women may enter after their 19th birthday. No adjustment has been made to the upper age limit (25 years for young men, no limit for young women).
I also like what President Monson says at the end of his opening remarks:
…may we listen attentively to the messages which will be presented during the next two days, that we may feel the Spirit of the Lord and gain the knowledge He would desire for us.
What a way to kick-off General Conference!
What an eye-opener!
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the clarity and direction it gives me in my life as I choose to follow it’s teachings – the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I’m grateful to make the time today to study and map out a plan.
I look forward to meeting my goals to study the conference talks for the next 6 months.
How do YOU feel about the new announcement about missionary service age?