Below is an email I received this morning from the Bishop, who forwarded it from the Stake President here in my Texas area.
9 October 2012
Dear Bishops and President Cheeseburger:
For the last several months, our stake has offered a Missionary Preparation class to young men and women considering missionary service. Initially, this class was intended primarily for Priest and Laurel age youth, but we have felt strongly impressed to invite all YOUTH, as well as senior couples considering missions, to participate.
Attendance has been sparse. Those who attend have been enthusiastic, but typically we have three or fewer students in the class. Elder Callister of the Seventy has mandated that every stake under his stewardship offer Missionary Preparation classes. While we are compliant with that mandate, we are concerned that our efforts are not effective.
We need your help. Aside from the family, there is no organization in the Church that is more involved in preparing young men and young women for missions than the ward, and no one in the ward is more aware of the needs and challenges of prospective missionaries than the Bishop. Elder Callister has instructed us to assist you in preparing your youth for missions. We need you to help us identify the youth who would be best served by attending Missionary Preparation classes.
We want to assist your ward efforts toward missionary preparation. We do not want to undermine or overwhelm efforts you are already making, but if you and your ward council feel inspired to use us -- to teach classes, present firesides, or mentor individual youth -- we are ready to assist.
Throughout the Church, we are struggling to prepare young men for the duties and opportunities of adulthood. Our stake is no exception. As of 1 October, we have 73 Priest-age young men on our ward lists. Thirty-two of them are ordained Priests; that represents only 46 percent of the total. Among our prospective elders of missionary age, the numbers are more troubling: there are 111 missionary-age (ages 19 – 25) young men in the stake. Seventeen are ordained deacons. Twenty are ordained teachers. Thirty-six have never received the priesthood. The problem is not isolated: significant numbers of less active youth and prospective elders live in every unit of the stake.
We believe that many more young men are ready to prepare themselves to serve, than we are presently sending on missions. Some of these young men are presently less active members. Identifying them, inviting them to return, and aiding them in their preparations will require your inspiration and guidance. We are ready to help you, however you see fit to use us.
At President A's suggestion, I am forwarding a copy of this letter to Priesthood and youth leaders in your units. We encourage you to make missionary preparation a matter of discussion in upcoming ward council meetings.
Thank you for your examples, your dedication, and your selfless service.
Really? Invite all youth, how young are you thinking, like 10, 9, 8, 7 how old dangit? Less actives to go on missions? Use us however you see fit to use us; even individual mentoring?
Ok, so what do you think about this??
I think they are desperate and doomed to failure in this information age. 18 is only a year younger than 19, and the youngest they can go without taking on huge legal ramifications. At 18, I would have been less prepared and less interested in going. My heart would have sunk if that age change occurred before I graduated high school. They can squeeze all they want. More will just keep slipping through their fingers.
Great letter! I think it clearly demonstrated the reasoning behind the 'mission age' change. They are losing young men by the dozens and clearly getting desperate to keep them going on missions before they have a chance to decide otherwise.
Mike makes a good point, these upcoming generations are so accustomed to the information age that the idea of "throw that all to the wind and live a boring, robot, scripted life for 2 years" - just doesn't sound all that appealing when all their other non-LDS friends are living up their independence at 18.
I have a sister and several friends who are single females and intensely dedicated to the LDS church, however, regardless of the throngs of 'righteous' and willing women, they need men to keep the numbers growing and the callings filled.
Unfortunately, as more and more teens go their own way and don't fall into the outline of the LDS church, those that do stick around become more entrenched in their ideas that they are the chosen few and the select righteous ones.
I have 2 brothers who both have boys who turned 4 years old late in the summer. Both of my brothers are debating if they should put them in kindergarten next school year or wait until they are 6yo and more mature. When they asked me some time ago I told them, "it can't hurt to hold them back a year, your son will be 18 when he starts his senior year in high school and 18 when he finishes." I am very curious to know if this new 'doctrine' of going on a mission at 18 will sway their decisions at all. It saddens me quite a bit to think that my little nephews lives have already been planned out until they are 20 years old with no room for what THEY want.
Isn't it weird to see all the facebook posts of parents saying "my boy will be going on his mission in 3 instead of 4 years now!!" I saw one person comment on such a post, saying "and your son has already decided this?" Guess what the mother replied to the comment? She replied "Oh my child knows that where much is given much is required!"
Anyways, i close my eyes and feel like a swarms of bees are in my chest, I hurt for the youth of the church and all the brainwashing and life planning they will eventually, hopefully and most assuredly see through one day.
They're bleeding badly and are doing all they can to keep the floodgates closed!
They are hemorrhagic when it comes to members. They baptize 10 and loose 9. In Europe its even worse in that they are shrinking! People are pissed off at Missionaries screwing young ladies, politics within the LDS Church, and the insult to peoples common sense. This NEED to get them out younger is a signal that they are getting desperate for converts. It actually looks as if they are "throwing enough on the wall hoping some sticks!" Very sad.
See, with the development of the internet they cannot keep information and recognised "propoganda" quiet. People can communicate instantly, and do! People know about the Missionary raping young ladies in Africa. They know about the sex abuse and reality is coming into view. They can no longer control information as they did before. If some leader screws up in England they know if Africa and the US ten seconds later...via the Internet and mass communication. They are bleeding people and the transfusion of the Missionary converts can hardly keep up with it. Most of the time, it doesn't I have a close friend that world in the COB, the stories that is shared are beyond belief. The political infighting, the back stabbing between General Authorities, the diffing of holes for each other to fall in so thee other can suceed...is beyond belief. They might pickle Monson in hopes that the Head of the 12 never makes it to the First Presidency. He would split the Church with his attitudes and the way he would dictate things. There are already fears a dnangers over his dogmatic way of approaching things and people.
Missionaries are about the most abused group of people around. You are going from 6:30 am to 9:30 or 10 at night six days a week, and on P-day you go from 5-10, You do the math. And the Prez only supplicates for more, fault finds and tells you from his inspired office, under the air conditioner that the Lord wants more. Then in certain parts of the world, no joke here, some parents call their kids home because they are not given enough in the budget to eat properly. They work you like a slave, feed you worse than a slave (slaves were fed good as they were workers / producers). Talk about self centered self serving bastards killing the youth. And they wonder why so many leave after their missions never to return.
Hey, in life you generally get what you deserve. Missionaries are humans. They can think and they se what is going on. They are far from stupid.
Don, in Las Vegas
I think sending "less active" on a mission would be counterproductive. I was ordained as a teacher at age 18 but never served on a mission, I was busy getting a degree. then married outside the church and started my time as a protestant christian