ANYWAY, there was one certain aspect of this little conference that has been the talk of the town, probably the talk of Mormons everywhere! (and sadly, it’s not the new announced temple in Tucson, making SIX in AZ… we passed Idaho, baby!)
Nope, not that. But something that has been mentioned in every class of mine, in the library and in line at the testing center. I hear bits and pieces of these conversations every time I walk across campus (all four times a day). It’s EVERYWHERE.
It’s the new missionary ages.
Not going to lie, my heart did a little skippy thing when I heard President Monson announce this little fact on Saturday morning. 18 years for boys (if they have graduated high school) and 19 years for girls. So crazy!
Why so much emotion, though? Maybe I just think it’s weird because my whole life it’s always been 19 for boys and 21 for girls. Maybe it’s because it’s going to change the whole culture at church schools and in large populations of LDS single adults. Maybe it’s because I’m really interested in how it’s going to change -- How many more girls will go? Will this add more or less pressure for girls? Will the girls who stay get married super fast? Will people start marrying people their own age? Will this change the stereotypes of sister missionaries? Will more high school sweethearts get married? Will girls start getting less education? Is there already an outpouring of 19-21 year old girls talking to their bishops? Will there be a mad rush to the MTC from June to September every year? And how long will it take for these changes to occur? Will boys still attend school for a semester or two to try living on their own before they leave?
I don’t know. I still think it’s crazy to think about.
But this is what I know: There’s a reason for all of it. And it's a good one.
And this is what I think: This will increase the number of missionaries out in the field because there’s a need for more. The church is steadily growing. And society is getting more and more wicked and strange... And it’s not going to get any better. We need to become stronger and get this gospel out to all corners of the earth. It’s time to prepare. We’re in the public eye right now with Mitt Romney in the presidential election; we need to use this to our advantage. We have the greatest message here on the earth; we need to share it with everyone! The time is now! The Lord needs more. And although this change will change the dynamics of the people serving, it's not about the people. It's about the work.
Wonderfully, exciting times! I’m definitely grateful to be a member of this church. And the blessings of continuing revelation.