Missionary age change update
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In the weeks following the historic announcement made during the opening session of the October general conference by President Thomas S. Monson changing the age men and women may begin serving a full-time mission, the response from applicants has increased dramatically.
On Oct. 23, Scott Trotter with Church Public Affairs said, “As Church leaders had anticipated when the change was announced, the number of individuals who have begun the missionary application process has increased significantly. Typically approximately 700 new applications are started each week. The last two weeks that number has increased to approximately 4,000 per week. Slightly more than half of the applicants are women.”
At a press conference following the announcement at general conference Oct. 6, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said that the increase in missionaries would likely require reducing the amount of time spent in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) by one third. For example, missionaries serving an English-speaking mission would require two weeks instead of three. Missionaries learning to speak a common language like Spanish would require six instead of nine weeks. Missionaries learning a difficult language like Russian would require eight weeks instead of twelve.
“These are early numbers and it is difficult to say exactly where we will be over the coming months but we are grateful for the willingness of our members to make the sacrifice to serve people around the world,” said Brother Trotter. “We recognize that Church members are interested to know additional details on the logistics of this change as discussed after the announcement and look forward to providing more details as the program moves forward.”