Mormon missionaries get younger

0
More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

A change in the age requirement to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has led to an increase in young people choosing to go on mission trips.

The required age dropped from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women in April and went into effect in October.

“Over the last few months we have started to see a tsunami of new, younger missionaries as they started to come into the field,” said Marc Fisher, a spokesman for the church.

More than 80,000 missionaries serve missions at any one time, with most under the age of 25. That’s up from 58,500 in September 2012.

Missions fall into two categories, Fisher said.

“Most of the younger missionaries are proselytizing – knocking on doors and teaching friends and family,” he said. “The service trips usually fall more into experienced missionaries who are couples and retired.”

Fisher was 19 when he served his mission in Los Angeles.

“The process is really fascinating on deciding where they go. One of the apostles – there are 12 – is assigned to review applications. Based on several different factors such as where someone might be needed or need to go for their personal growth, the apostle makes the determination,” Fisher said. “(Missionaries) have no say in where they’ll go. They simply say ‘I am willing and ready.’ They must also demonstrate they’re financially ready as the church doesn’t pay for the missions – they do that on their own.”

The opportunity to go on a mission at a younger age is a blessing, Fisher said.

“There are a lot of other opportunities that come into life that might make a mission not as important at that time or feasible,” he said. “To have this chance earlier in life to grow and learn away from home, sometimes before they even go to college, is just a great experience for them to have before they fully go out into the world.”

Fisher’s daughter, Avanlee, 16, is a sophomore at Carmel High School. She said the age change provides a “greater opportunity to serve.”

“The wait until age 21 for young women was difficult because it made it hard to plan for the mission. I knew it was possible I would get married or want to finish college and not be able to go on a mission,” she said. “Now it is more sure, and I can get out right away and serve the Lord.”

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Mormon missionaries get younger

0
More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

A change in the age requirement to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has led to an increase in young people choosing to go on mission trips.

The required age dropped from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women in April and went into effect in October.

“Over the last few months we have started to see a tsunami of new, younger missionaries as they started to come into the field,” said Marc Fisher, a spokesman for the church.

More than 80,000 missionaries serve missions at any one time, with most under the age of 25. That’s up from 58,500 in September 2012.

Missions fall into two categories, Fisher said.

“Most of the younger missionaries are proselytizing – knocking on doors and teaching friends and family,” he said. “The service trips usually fall more into experienced missionaries who are couples and retired.”

Fisher was 19 when he served his mission in Los Angeles.

“The process is really fascinating on deciding where they go. One of the apostles – there are 12 – is assigned to review applications. Based on several different factors such as where someone might be needed or need to go for their personal growth, the apostle makes the determination,” Fisher said. “(Missionaries) have no say in where they’ll go. They simply say ‘I am willing and ready.’ They must also demonstrate they’re financially ready as the church doesn’t pay for the missions – they do that on their own.”

The opportunity to go on a mission at a younger age is a blessing, Fisher said.

“There are a lot of other opportunities that come into life that might make a mission not as important at that time or feasible,” he said. “To have this chance earlier in life to grow and learn away from home, sometimes before they even go to college, is just a great experience for them to have before they fully go out into the world.”

Fisher’s daughter, Avanlee, 16, is a sophomore at Carmel High School. She said the age change provides a “greater opportunity to serve.”

“The wait until age 21 for young women was difficult because it made it hard to plan for the mission. I knew it was possible I would get married or want to finish college and not be able to go on a mission,” she said. “Now it is more sure, and I can get out right away and serve the Lord.”

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Mormon missionaries get younger

0
More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

A change in the age requirement to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has led to an increase in young people choosing to go on mission trips.

The required age dropped from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women in April and went into effect in October.

“Over the last few months we have started to see a tsunami of new, younger missionaries as they started to come into the field,” said Marc Fisher, a spokesman for the church.

More than 80,000 missionaries serve missions at any one time, with most under the age of 25. That’s up from 58,500 in September 2012.

Missions fall into two categories, Fisher said.

“Most of the younger missionaries are proselytizing – knocking on doors and teaching friends and family,” he said. “The service trips usually fall more into experienced missionaries who are couples and retired.”

Fisher was 19 when he served his mission in Los Angeles.

“The process is really fascinating on deciding where they go. One of the apostles – there are 12 – is assigned to review applications. Based on several different factors such as where someone might be needed or need to go for their personal growth, the apostle makes the determination,” Fisher said. “(Missionaries) have no say in where they’ll go. They simply say ‘I am willing and ready.’ They must also demonstrate they’re financially ready as the church doesn’t pay for the missions – they do that on their own.”

The opportunity to go on a mission at a younger age is a blessing, Fisher said.

“There are a lot of other opportunities that come into life that might make a mission not as important at that time or feasible,” he said. “To have this chance earlier in life to grow and learn away from home, sometimes before they even go to college, is just a great experience for them to have before they fully go out into the world.”

Fisher’s daughter, Avanlee, 16, is a sophomore at Carmel High School. She said the age change provides a “greater opportunity to serve.”

“The wait until age 21 for young women was difficult because it made it hard to plan for the mission. I knew it was possible I would get married or want to finish college and not be able to go on a mission,” she said. “Now it is more sure, and I can get out right away and serve the Lord.”

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Mormon missionaries get younger

2
More than 80,000  mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

More than 80,000 mormons serve missions each year. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

A change in the age requirement to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has led to an increase in young people choosing to go on mission trips.

The required age dropped from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women in April and went into effect in October.

“Over the last few months we have started to see a tsunami of new, younger missionaries as they started to come into the field,” said Marc Fisher, a spokesman for the church.

More than 80,000 missionaries serve missions at any one time, with most under the age of 25. That’s up from 58,500 in September 2012.

Missions fall into two categories, Fisher said.

“Most of the younger missionaries are proselytizing – knocking on doors and teaching friends and family,” he said. “The service trips usually fall more into experienced missionaries who are couples and retired.”

Fisher was 19 when he served his mission in Los Angeles.

“The process is really fascinating on deciding where they go. One of the apostles – there are 12 – is assigned to review applications. Based on several different factors such as where someone might be needed or need to go for their personal growth, the apostle makes the determination,” Fisher said. “(Missionaries) have no say in where they’ll go. They simply say ‘I am willing and ready.’ They must also demonstrate they’re financially ready as the church doesn’t pay for the missions – they do that on their own.”

The opportunity to go on a mission at a younger age is a blessing, Fisher said.

“There are a lot of other opportunities that come into life that might make a mission not as important at that time or feasible,” he said. “To have this chance earlier in life to grow and learn away from home, sometimes before they even go to college, is just a great experience for them to have before they fully go out into the world.”

Fisher’s daughter, Avanlee, 16, is a sophomore at Carmel High School. She said the age change provides a “greater opportunity to serve.”

“The wait until age 21 for young women was difficult because it made it hard to plan for the mission. I knew it was possible I would get married or want to finish college and not be able to go on a mission,” she said. “Now it is more sure, and I can get out right away and serve the Lord.”

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2 Comments

  1. It will be interesting to see the impact of this increased missionary workforce. The church is facing challenges on many fronts, with the proliferation of the Internet being perhaps the most difficult. Many people are learning things about the church that were previously hidden from open view thanks to Google. Church leaders have privately acknowledged there is an exodus of younger members. Enlisting missionaries at a younger age may well be motivated in part to stem this tide.

    Unfortunately, the church continues to tread uneasily in the information age with two very distinctive versions of itself. There’s the version you’ll hear from the missionaries, and there’s the expanded (and much less flattering) version you can get from Google. See for yourself. Compare the type of information you read on the official church website at http://www.LDS.org with the information revealed by dissident church members at http://www.MormonThink.com. It’s hard to believe they’re both looking at the same organization.

    One good example of this dissonance is with the translation of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries will present warm depictions of a thoughtful Joseph Smith earnestly working at a desk with a stack of golden plates. Actual eyewitnesses, however, never recall this taking place. Smith used a magical seer stone he previously employed in searching for buried treasure. He would place the stone in the bottom of a hat and claim the words for the sacred Mormon scripture would magically appear there. The golden plates were often not even in the room while Smith “translated” them. But ask most missionaries about the face-in-hat translation method, and you’ll just get blank stares. Can you name any other world religions that rely upon a magical stone in a hat to translate their scriptures?

  2. Protestants go on “mission trips” that last a few weeks. Mormons call them “missions,” not mission “trips,” because it’s longer than a mere trip. Missions last two years, with no breaks or vacations.

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