It’s been a year since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed the age requirements for young men and women to serve as missionaries. That’s led to a huge increase in the number of young Mormons who’ve signed up to serve.
In the opening session of the church’s General Conference in October, 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced that young men would be allowed to begin missionary service at age 18 and young women at 19.
Since then, the number of LDS missionaries has grown from 58-thousand to almost 80-thousand. In a video on the church’s news website, Elder David Evans, the head of the missionary department, says women now account for 24-percent of the total, up from 15-percent just a year ago.
“Although it’s not an obligation," Evans says, "it’s clear that many young women are choosing missionary service as something they want to do. And when one chooses that out of the desire of their hearts, they make wonderful, wonderful missionaries.”
A policy change last year also allowed missionaries to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach potential converts. A church spokesperson confirms plans to issue missionaries a new system based on an app for an off-the-shelf device that will let them schedule their time and track their contacts. They’ll start using the new system sometime next year.