The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has about 86-thousand missionaries serving around the world. Church leaders are expecting that number to peak later this year. KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.
The number of missionaries grew by about a third after the church lowered the age requirements to 18 for men and 19 for women in October 2012. In a video posted on the church’s news website, Elder David Evans of the First Quorum of the Seventy said there were about 58-thousand serving two years ago, but the total is expected to reach 88-thousand later this year and then gradually drop to about 77-thousand. He says the church has also created dozens of new missions around the world.
“Those 58 new missions were created not to handle the surge of missionaries," Evans said in the video. The 58 new missions were created to create missions that will be of appropriate size after the surge of missionaries.”
The nine Mister Mac clothing stores around Utah specialize in outfitting Mormon missionaries with the standard dark suits for men and conservative dresses for women. David Haden, who manages the Orem store, says missionaries represent about 30-percent of their total sales.
Haden tells KUER, "I think all our stores have seen a large increase of numbers of young men and women serving. So it’s been a boon to all our stores.”
Haden says he doesn’t expect to see business drop off once the number of missionaries starts to decline.
Several of Utah’s public colleges saw a significant drop in the number of entering freshmen after the announcement, but they’re planning for enrollment to increase when those missionaries start returning home.