Insider Info on 18 year old Missionaries

justrob Oct 2012

So my brother-in-law was beaming today to announce to the family that his father-in-law was actually one of the few people on the committee that decided to make the new mission age 18.
[Admin note: This is not verified, but believed to be accurate. See discussion inside.]

Some fun facts:
--they were tasked to figure out a way to stop/slow the attrition of perspective missionaries (because too many were leaving the church before they turned 19)

--They expect this age change to account for 25% more boys to go on missions (because they wont have left the church yet)

--they didn't change the age for sister missionaries, but mainly because they weren't asked to research sister missionaries. So, that must've been an after the fact "revelation" from the brethren (or PR move in my opinion)

--they kept this a secret, so not even the 70s knew about it (just the 15 & the tasked committee, which was apparently rather small)

His FIL told them this right after the announcement (because he was so proud).
I don't think he (or my BIL) realize that to me all this does is further prove the lack of any real revelation.

TSCC [this so called church] got a team together to brainstorm, crunch numbers, and figure out a way to ensnare teenagers better than they already are doing.

anointed one
We sent out 18 y.o. missionaries 30 years ago
I don't doubt the OP. This is the way the church works the so called 'revelation'.

I also suspect another, albeit minor, reason - how to deal with criticism in U.S.

Over 30 years ago, until the early 90s, we sent out 18.y.o. missionaries from the U.K. We received this dispensation because our university system did not allow you to start and stop your course as you may have been able to do in the U.S. So young men, after high school graduation, had to kick around for a year before going on a mission, They could not start at university nor start a career. Therefore they were allowed to go at 18 and start university when aged 20.

2 problems arose which caused this concession to be withdrawn. The major problem was from missionaries from the U.S. (the majority) who felt it unfair that the British could go at age 18 whereas thay had to be 19. The other, more minor issue, was the abuse in the U.K. The concession was supposed to be only for those who were definitely going to university. However, it became the norm for all young men to go at 18 regardless of their future education aspirations.

I guess this 'problem' for the church has increased as they state 48 countries have sent out 18 y.o. missionaries. In summary, I believe it has been done mainly to increase the pool of potential missionaries but also to appease the U.S. members for a seeming 'discrimination' in favor of those from non U.S. countries.

My opinion, for what it's worth. Definitely not a revelation from God, but then they never have received any so what's new. The church is rum for PR reasons and expedience to keep the deception going as long as possible.

Tom Phillips

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Just as I thought!

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
I suspected as much. Hemorraging youth, it's been a topic in adult firesides and such over the past year or so. Our ward was actually ahead of the curve on that, most youth were serving missions. Our son was the first in quite a few years not to go, and I was TBM. Oh the shame.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
It's not going to do any good. They are losing the smarter ones even before age 18 now.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Thanks for that insight.

It is just as suspected.

What the "leadership" doesn't realize is that the ones who research will research and the ones that don't - won't. They will continue to lose young people. And if those young people just wasted 2 years of their lives, the things that they tell others about the church will just get that much uglier.

The truth is the truth.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
As far as no one knowing about this, that is a lie. There was an article in the SL Tribune by Peggy Stack Fletcher on Aug. 25, 2011 about missionaries in six different countries being called at the age of 18. The church's own newsroom said that there are 48 countries now sending 18 year old missionaries. They may not have know when the decision was being made but they certainly know 18 year old missionaries are now and have been serving for at over a year in other countries.

This just might push young men to get out before they turn 18 n/t 

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Look for an increase in stupid elder tricks, tragedies, and accidents with the drop in age.
"Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don't reach full maturity until the age 25."

Been There
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
This generation has grown up on the Internet. They get the vast majority of information from the net. They know how to get around web filters. They now socialize far beyond the boundaries of the church. They can be far more honest on line. They use search engines for everything. The church offers less to young people today than it did in past generations.

...and then there's porn.

The Internet is killing Mormonism from the roots up, that is -- from the youngest people first. The church's reaction is to catch them quicker. Earlier interviews. Earlier preparation. Get them committed while they're still living at home in a more controlled environment. Don't let them see the world first (at college) before going on a mission.

bona dea
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
The mmission just might be the thing that does in the faith of an immature and unprepared 18 year old.Then there are the potential problems of pu tting kids in an adult situation.
Tara the Pagan
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
I agree with bona dea -- although maturity levels certainly vary from one person to another, it'll be interesting to see what happens when a lot of 18-yr-olds, who've never lived away from home, never had to shop, cook, budget, do their own laundry, etc., fare when they hit the mission field. What's going to happen to them when they face tough questions from people who've used the internet to find out about hidden history and crazy doctrines that these teens will have no knowledge of? And, how successful will the church be at keeping the missionaries themselves off the internet during their missions?

With less maturity and fewer life skills and coping skills, wouldn't 18-year-olds be more likely to not complete their missions, or even leave the church because of disastrous mission experiences? I could see this age-lowering move blowing up in TSCC's figurative face.

CA girl
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Tara, what you say makes perfect sense and I hope to Dog you are right. I know in my mission, we had a couple of younger missionaries either from other countries or MPs kids. They were the worst missionaries because of the things you mentioned - no life skills, no coping skills, hadn't had that year of working or living on their own to prepare them. They are already having problems with missionaries who have trouble disconnecting their hyper-connected (Twitter, FB, texting) lives. This is going to make it infinitely worse.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
That's hilarious that they think it will cause 25% more boys to go on mission. Talk about pulling a projection out of their ass.

Maybe lots of boys are having sex between the age of 18 & 19? That kind of makes sense - going away for college and/or sitting around not doing much could increase opportunities for that.

If it really does increase the number going then it will cause a huge problem - the ones that start going are in general going to be the least committed to the church.

The thing is the age is really going to be more like 18 1/2 average because most kids turn 18 their senior year in high school.

What about after the mission?
If these guys are leaving right after high school, they aren't going to be applying for colleges at the time when most other students are, right? They'll be preparing to go on a mission instead. Won't it be harder to get into the whole college thing after they come back?

In addition to the reasons already mentioned, I see this as another ploy to get LDS kids to go to YBU, which will make all the allowances needed, and make it super-easy for the guys coming on campus after their mission.

Re: What about after the mission?
Leaving during college and then coming back midstream was problematic for me as well. There were several classes I took after my mission that built on classes taken before my mission - it sucked.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
You are right. Teens are about 1000% more savvy about the world now compared to when I was one. Only the most protected and shielded home-schooled morgbot kids will be unaffected. It's a new world. I wouldn't be surprised if TSCC comes out with some sort of edict telling parent to completely control all teen internet access soon... Which will only tempt them!

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Someone who goes on his mission straight out of high school will not have any experience on his own. Unlike a 19 year old who had a year at college, he won't be as able to think for himself about things. The mission president, APs, companion etc. will be more of a "support group" for a kid straight out of high school than for a kid with a year of college under his belt. I think it will definitely lower the attrition rate but my guess is that 25% is optimistic.

Tall Man, Short Hair
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
bona dea Wrote:
The mission just might be the thing that does in
the faith of an immature and unprepared 18 year

My thoughts exactly. Add to an already immature and ill-prepared sales force a group with lower maturity and less preparation. I see more apostasy, faster apostasy, and even an even lower quality sales force.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
We have always known, intuitively, that all "revelations" are decisions made by a committee for PR or financial reasons. We know the real reason polygamy was halted. We know the real reason the Blacks were finally given the priesthood. We know why temples are being strategically built on prime real estate lands. We know why TSCC built that mall, and why the members have to clean and maintain the real estate...I mean...the tax-free church buildings and grounds, as unpaid laborers. "Revelations" yeah, right. TSCC can't fool us anymore.
Brother Of Jerry
I bet current mission presidents are thanking their lucky stars they will be released before their mission is filled with "Elders" just out of HS.
I agree that "stupid missionary tricks" will go through the roof. Now a substantial portion of missionaries have lived on their own at least a year before going on a mission. This means that even the ones who have never lived away from home have examples that they can pattern themselves after.

If all the missionaries are straight out of HS, it will be the blind leading the blind. Pity the poor mission president. His job just got much much worse.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
I'm wondering if there will be an increase in kids bailing very early from missions, because at eighteen, they can't see enduring the pain of two full years of soul-searing bs just for the chance of an early marriage.

If leaving early catches on (strength in numbers), kids could blame the age change itself for their failure to complete their missions.

One thing is for sure---there will be a big increase in cry-baby missionaries, who are homesick and wetting themselves to leave. An eighteen year old in Tonga, serving in his home environment, has a very different outlook than an eighteen year old in Utah. A Utah kid in Africa will have a much different response to mission life than a foreign local kid serving in his local district. Good luck with that, Mission President's families!

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Young people today live out of their iphones. Everybody's got a smart phone or mini tab, and they can't live w.o them, 24/7.

Army - Brazil
I don't know who this will be handled in Brazil.

In Brazil there is still mandatory military service for young men at 18 (although only a percentage of them actually serve an entire year.)

But even if you are later dismissed and you don't serve at all, you still have to enlist the year you turn 18, and then be at the disposal of he Armed Forces until you get a final answer. (It may take a few months.) If you are called to serve, you HAVE to serve for 9/12 months. It is mandatory.

And even if you are not called to serve an entire year, you still have to spend a day in the army to sign your military papers (which you will need for the rest of your life in Brazil, for all kinds of administrative purposes - to get a passport, to work etc etc.)

So I don't see how Brazilians boys will be able to enter the MTC on the day that they turn 18... They will have to wait at least 6 months or even a year.

Most leave between 14 and 18
Most LDS youth leave between 14 and 18. I don't think they lose many between 18-19.

Perhaps they believe that they lose the 18 yos because they go off to college and quit going to church. Those guys likely quit going while in HS, but went to appease their parents. Out of the house, they have no interest in going.

I suppose a few of those may be more persuadable to a mission than if they had a year of college under their belt, but my brothers had no interest in a mission.

I think not having a year of college will hurt missionaries. They go straight from their parents' home to Copenhagen, Denmark with no experience on their own and no college level education.

I felt like I grew up a lot my first month of college alone. I was also homesick my first semester, but got over it at Xmas. I was not at all homesick my 2nd semester or later. I would hate to have gone 2 years with that same homesickness I first experienced.

I would have gone to college
I would have gone to college at 18. Since no one will go to BYU at 18, I would have gone to another school that I got into. I doubt I would have gone on a mission if I hadn't gone to BYU.

If I hadn't gone to BYU and on a mission, I would have left the church much earlier. I would have likely been out by 20 instead of 26.

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Wait, you Uncle is the Angel Moroni? So much for revelation.
Re: Army - Brazil
Just because the min age is 18 to serve a mission doesn't mean you can't leave at 19 or 20, just like now. In brazil, I imagine the boys who get out of military service will serve earlier and the ones who serve their time will start their missions later. Just that simple. I stand by my position that this change will actually do very little to change the average age of missionaries, it still takes time to do your papers, people will put it off, repentance from sine, etc. Many will leave at 19-21. During my mission we had a lot of guys who started their missions at 20 or 21 or 26 in a few cases.

Re: What about after the mission?
It does suck for being able to learn well, but at least non-mo colleges have a word for it "Deferment." You are only supposed to be able to defer for a year at most schools, but for religion many schools will make a 2 year exception.

But if you apply to a prestigious school at age 20 with nothing more than HS on your application, it will raise eyebrows and make it MUCH harder to get accepted.

Re: Army - Brazil
Sure, you don't HAVE to enter the MTC the day you turn 18. You can still go at 19, 20 etc.

But then there is all the pressure to go as soon as possible, so as not to miss "blessings", to be in the right place at the right time, to meet ASAP the investigators you promised in pre-Earth life to teach and save, and similar BULLSHIT young Mormons starting hearing as toddlers.

I was one of them. I did ALL I could to enter the MTC RIGHT AFTER I turned 19.

I see a lot of clueless Brazilian boys eager to enter the MTC, and forgetting to enlist. (Only to have to rush home during their mission time to do so, causing administrative pains for the mission president. This will last until an Area Presidency letter encourages local leaders to make sure the military duties are taken care of beforehand.)

Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
Sorry to burst your insider bubble but...

This big new announcement isn't even new, it's been in place for ten years!

"These age adjustments are new options now available to bishops in evaluating what is best for each of their youth,” he said. He continued, “Young men and young women should not begin their service before they are ready spiritually and temporally.”

He stated that schooling, family circumstances, health, and so forth still remain important considerations for the timing of missionary service.

Over the past decade, permission has been given in 48 countries to let young men serve at age 18. Now, the Church will have a single policy worldwide." ... e?lang=eng

And in addition to getting them out there at a younger age, the Church is going to compliment this move with LESS training!

"Time at each of the Church’s 15 Missionary Training Centers (MTCs) will be reduced by one-third for all missionaries."

And, the Church is more than happy for them to serve full time at age 17 and 3 quarters...

"Prospective missionaries may be recommended by their bishop and stake president for full-time service 120 days prior to their birthday..."

CSU Provo Student
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
This will not last. Just like the 18 mo. mission. It will prove to be a logistics disaster and the lawrd will say; 'nevermind'
Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
The OP Mormon is so happy his relative was part of the Corporate Decision?

I'm thinking it might be true that the intellectuals have been chased out of Mormonism.

I'm thinking it might be true that the intellectuals have been chased out of Mormonism.
I didn't get that at all considering the Subject line he used.

I think most of us like insider info.
It is no reflection on OP what his relatives are doing

makes no sense to me, sorry I don't get your message. Was is meant derogatory to OP? Is that the meaning you want me to take?

Isn't it a good thing that the intellectuals are leaving? confused here

So it's really just the beginning of worldwide correlation
in church practices as well as lesson content.


Re: Insider Info on 18yo Missionaries
everyone i knows first reaction to the announcement was exactly this, get them before they have a chance to mess up to the point where they cant or wont go on a mission. i dont think we needed a revelation for this to be well known.

Re: I'm thinking it might be true that the intellectuals have been chased out of Mormonism.
Sorry, I meant the mormon guy in the original post - I wasn't talking about justrob

I shouldn't post from my phone..haha

The meaning about the intellectuals leaving was because I thought it was dumb to think a corporate decision was Inspired.

Re: I'm thinking it might be true that the intellectuals have been chased out of Mormonism.
I assumed that was what you meant.
You & I have interacted before, and I couldn't imagine you pegging me for a troll of any kind ;)

It will create a temporary surge
A lot more male missionaries will go out over the next year, but this cohort is simply moving up their dates by a year. Two years later, the numbers will fall again. Some young men may be more likely to go straight from college, but some, like I probably would, may opt for college. These guys will not go to BYU with no one their age, and will likely go to a secular school, never serve a mission, and be far more likely to leave the church altogether.

The increase in missionaries will come from Sisters, who will be more likely to go at 19 than at 21. When they get back at 21, they will be exactly the same age as their male sophomore classmates. The increase in RMs among women will tilt the balance of power in the church towards women, as men are more likely to leave the church to go to college, or go on a mission and not go to college.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"