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Saturday, February 23, 2013

LDS Missions

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a policy change in the ages acceptable for missionary service this past October. Men may now serve as young as age 18 instead of 19 with a high school graduation or its equivalent, and women may serve at age 19 instead of 21. This announcement was met with an enormous surge in applications - beyond a four-fold increase in applications processed each week!
Further, Purdy noted that "slightly more than half of the applicants are women." Prior to the announcement, women made up 14 percent of full-time LDS missionaries.
This is exciting for us Mormons.

More exciting still are the changes being made to LDS missions to accomodate this surge in missionary service. Many missions within the United States will roughly double the number of missionaries serving within it since foreign visa levels will remain essentially unchanged. Missionaries from foreign countries will continue to predominantly serve in their own areas and boost the numbers of missionaries within their own countries. However, now 58 new missions (split off from preexisting ones) have been announced. Here's what that means in the long term:
"Of course, there will be a surge that will last for about three years," he said, alluding to a "pent-up demand" in the numbers of young people now able to serve missions as a result of the lowering of the age of eligibility.
"But what we are doing is building and creating missions to what we expect will be needed after the peak part of the surge. So we anticipate not needing to close any of the missions as we go forward."
Thus, even after the surge, the number of missionaries will be much higher than what it has heretofore been, Elder Evans said. 
If you are interested in the what new missions have been created or the new mission presidents, please go here.  Mission presidents serve for three years and new ones are called once each year for a third of all missions, so the number of mission presidents on that list (on the link) represent about a third of all LDS missions plus 58 more. Missionaries serving in a mission that will be split will staff both the original mission and newly formed mission along with many new missionaries sent to both.

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