LDS President Thomas S Monson: All 18 year old high school graduates may serve missions

If you didn't hear the opening welcome message from LDS Inc. President Thomas S. Monson, you missed the big "reveal" that was rumored for this conference weekend.  He explained that 18 year old high school graduates were already being sent in other countries where military service is often required at age 20, and that this practice is now being extended to all countries everywhere.  All high school graduates who are 18 years old and worthy to go, are called to serve.  Correction: All male high school graduates 18 years old may serve.  Women are now required to wait until 19 years of age instead of 21.  Males used to have to wait till 19 in the US and other countries.

So what is your take on this new "mandate"?  I see it as a desperate move to recruit young men before they can open their minds from a little life experience on their own in college or outside of family living.  These moves general follow careful study of when young men are most likely to fall away, or become disinterested, or loss of worthiness.  I'm sure most LDS members will see this as a great thing, and provide many reasons for such.  What do you as an ex-mormon think?

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You make a good point, but for many exmormons, they themselves may be out, but their family, siblings, spouse and/or own kids are still in and affected by these policy changes for better or for worse.  I agree that we can limit some of the anger thinking about this stuff can cause by either avoiding it or not taking it personally.  Not talking about it doesn't make it go away though.

Fair enough. Thanks for the insight and another way to see things Mike

See that would be nice for me, but i live in Mormonville Utah, today my Facebook was completely spammed to hell with 'OMG MISSION IS 18 NOW NEED 2 GO YAY!' places like this are one of the few places i can come to to talk about what i think and how i feel without everyone saying 'well we all know you just listen to the spirit of satan' (actual quote from my father) and 'it wouldnt be so hard to talk about if you just opened your eyes and realized the truth like i have, ive seen so many miracles in person!' (another quote from a used to be good friend)

Sometimes its nice to just talk about what you think without people breathing down your throat telling you how your not going to heaven and whatnot

How hard for you to be living in Utah.  I'm single and don't live in Utah - so it's not tough for me.  My family has not said anything like that, but I know they must think something similar.  My sister did say "You probably left the church because you can't find a job."  I don't really say much about the church not being true because I don't want to cause their families to be in turmoil.  If one spouse is in and the other out, it can cause divorce.  For a long time my sister continued to speak to me as though I still believed the church.  Every time she did that, I reminded her I no longer believed it.  Finally, she got the message.

I got out at eighteen and for 25 years I never looked back.  I got the hell out of the state of Utah, pretty much ignored my mormon relatives except my mom, and moved on with my life.  Then I stumbled across the various forum on the internet and discovered there was a big hole in me that needed to be addressed.  I now have relationships with most of those relatives, I get to come places like here and mostly read, but sometimes share, and I get to smooth out the ragged edges of that hole.

Well there's no question now why they made this change.  Here's what they say in their own news release

"The Church anticipates that lowering the age requirement will significantly increase the number of missionaries who will serve by expanding the options for when they may begin their service."

and

“We are expanding our efforts to give more young men and women an opportunity to participate in that divine commission.”

So they are seeking more missionaries by supposedly making the opportunity more available due to the younger age requirement.  Other than marriage obviously nullifying the opportunity for young Mormons to serve missions, I find the unmentioned reasons more will or would serve at 18 or 19 more interesting.  The primary reasons young men would not serve at 19 but would at 18 are probably few, most commonly being apostasy, college life or other life distractions, loss of interest, or unworthiness.  The church has the stats of return missionaries being less unlikely to leave the church or go inactive, so it is understandable from their stand point, though self-serving, why they would make this change.  I definitely see more women serving missions before marriage with this change, so that is also a likely motivation for their age requirement being lowered as well.

Also worthy of mention, the time missionaries spend in the MTC is also being reduced by 1/3rd for all missionaries to allow for higher turnover and capacity.  Currently there are 58,000 full time missionaries, not much change from when I served slaved back in 98-00.

I'm gonna put my head gear on and talk to dad about this. (tom, 90 years old, very defensive)  I didn't read into it that teenage girls should be getting married.  I saw the church throwing them a bone of going early since they were lowering the boy's ages.  Don't misinterpret what I'm about to say, because my name's been off the records for 24 years, but, dad shows up with all these articles, his favorite Ensign stories, you get the drift, and what I've seen periodically over the years has been encouragement for women to education and prepare themselves for the world,d particularly if something were to happen to their husbands.  So I don't see them backing down and not wanting young girls to go to school, rather, giving them the same choices young men have with a year added.  Personally, I  think a young woman should get a degree in something marketable, ad if she wants to travel, join the Peace Corps.

I agree and am totally disgusted with the Mormon Church as brainwashing our youth which they have done with my sons BEHIND MY BACK, and went so far as to tell them I, their mother am FOLLOWING DARKNESS, because I visited other denominations. So, I left for good!

Since the church wants basically infants to go on missions, with as little knowledge as possible, I think they should be the ones paying for it.  It's a crime to make families come up with that kind of dough.

Agree with this additionally retention is weakening for LDs so more misionaries is one approach they are taking.

Our local Catholic high school has a religion class that studies other religions, and once a year they begin their annual visit to other churches.  I've seen the at the Presbyterian, and I know they visit many others.  Not sure about LDS, but they are encouraged to write about what they've seen, participated in, etc.  When was the last time an LDS group of teens did that for an assignment?

Policy changes like this come only after careful research by the corporation.  To me, it's an obvious move to keep young people on track but I wonder if it will backfire with the increased pressure on younger men to serve right out of high school.  For the young women, the message seems to be get married or go on a mission ASAP.  I know many TBMs will say, "isn't this a wonderful revelation" because it is a radical change from the norm.  I would like to hear the reaction from local leaders, seminary teachers, parents, and, of course, young people themselves, especially seniors in high school, who now have to change their college plans.

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